June 7-10, 2012
By Dennis L. Maness, MLS
It’s hard to break a 41 year habit of being a librarian so I attended the “librarian-track” in the JamboFREE sessions held on Friday morning before the actual Jamboree classes started. (Sorry, Cath Trindle—I didn’t get to attend your “Projects!!” for genealogy societies.)
Curt Witcher talked about “Engaging Beginning Genealogists in the 21st Century”. In the talk he gave a profile of the 21st century “genie”:
· Not a genealogical society member (not good news for SMCGS!)
· Typically uses bricks-’n’-mortar repositories as a last resort
· Consumer of the latest technologies
· Engages in social media
· Expects “real time” answers/information
· Expects rapid technology changes—expects Moore’s Law (Originally about data density in transistors, it has come to mean that computer power and capacity doubles approximately every 18 months.)
· Born with digital data available
· Huge numbers of new genealogists only come through online activities—that is where they live.
· And they don’t consider themselves beginners!!
· More individuals (those who consider genealogy a hobby has gone from about 400,000 in 1977 when Roots was on TV, to today’s 9 million.)
· They have a wider variety of life experiences
· With an increasing variety of technology backgrounds
· They are using more technologies which are increasingly sophisticated.
· They want enjoyment and even more, they expect success.
Curt summed it up by saying “21st-ers don’t need us; however we (i.e. librarians) can make their genealogical experiences so much better.” And I believe that holds for non-librarian genealogical veterans too.
In The Exhibit Hall
At the BillionGraves table in the Exhibit Hall I learned that that organization has partnered with FamilySearch which most genealogists use regularly (and you do too, don’t you?). In the near future when someone conducts a name search on FamilySearch.org, they will get a hit from BillionGraves if a tombstone with that name has been photographed and entered into that system. That’s much like what Ancestry.com does now when a search finds an entry on Find-A-Grave.
The Bureau of Land Management—Eastern States, Dept. of the Interior table seemed not to attract as many visitors as many of the other exhibitors. Which is a shame since Land Records are being used more and more as important genealogical sources. Besides they were handing out the most colorful pencils!
The people at GenealogyBank talked me into renewing my subscription for two more years instead of one. Pretty smooth talkers at that table.
At the Legacy Family Tree table I got my copy of “Hey, America, Your Roots Are Showing” signed by Megan Smolenyak2. (I just love the way she prints her double-last name now!)
I brought an old Ambrotype to show to Maureen Taylor, the “Photo Detective” but it was always too crowded to get to her.
I resisted, again, joining the Sons of the American Revolution at their table. I guess the work on getting my wife into the DAR was too wearing on me.
And once again I didn’t win the drawing at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel table for a free week in Salt Lake City. Sighhhhhhhhhhh.