Sunday, December 11, 2011

Genie world abuzz with RootsTech decision: no books

For the past 24 hours, the genealogical world has been abuzz with a decision by the organizers of RootsTech that there be no book vendors at the conference. See Leland Meitzler's blog at

RootsTech, on its Facebook page, is thanking people for their (negative) comments and saying that it is going to revisit the issue. This is good news for the attendees, but has to leave a very sour taste in the mouths of book vendors who, months ago, sent in exhibitor applications, ordered more inventory, etc. 

Polly Kimmitt said it well: "We're supposed to be building a bridge between the worlds of genealogy and technology, not drawing a line in the sand." Thomas MacEntee is considering "Do Books Still Matter in Genealogy?" as the theme for his upcoming GeneaBloggers Radio show on Friday night. 

I'm a cautious person... always have been. (That should be obvious, considering I started this blog just a few months ago — after attending some lectures and READING A BOOK.) When I first became interested in genealogy, I wanted to learn "how to do it right." I wanted to learn the proper way to complete charts; learn the terminology; learn the basics. And at the time, that meant learning by reading a book. 

Today's genies have no fear of plunging right into technology, learning as they go. When it comes to technology, I'm FOR SURE not first out of the gate, but neither do I bring up the rear. 

I am (as I suspect many other genealogists are) somewhere in-between... we have a foot in each world, and aren't ready to jump blindly in either direction. We realize the benefits to ourselves, and to societies, in using new tech tools and embracing change. We'll take a bit of time to test the waters, accepting what technology we feel we can handle, and deferring on what seems beyond us right now. But I think we'll always still want the chance (and choice) to be able to "dance with the one that brung ya" as we took our first genealogy steps.

What do you think?

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