One of my favorite things to do is research my family history. Even more interesting to me is the technology that can make finding and exploring your heritage even easier. As a former employee of OneGreatFamily.com, a former Consultant for Ancestry.com and FamilyLink.com, and a current employee of the LDS Church (who owns FamilySearch.org), I think my passion has shown over the years. In fact, I even have mockups from before Facebook was popular on a way to take my previous Open Source project, Jeans (the original platform for this blog, in fact – click to see my very first post!), to become a Family-oriented Social Network. The fact is I love technology that brings us closer together, both in real life, and the life beyond. That’s why I’m really excited for the conference FamilySearch.org is putting on for Technology professionals of all types called RootsTech. This conference aims to discuss ways we can connect, in a better way, the living with the dead.
When you think about it, the process of connecting, throughout history, all the different types of relationships is fascinating. Technologists, developers, and the like are only currently discovering the complexities of mapping out relationships as we work to sort out the living and their interactions on Social Networks.
Now imagine the complexity of going beyond this life to map those living with those who have passed on. There are different historical relationship types to consider. There is historical context to consider. There are discovery aspects to consider. FamilySearch.org claims to have billions of user profile records in its database (that’s at least twice the size of Facebook’s active user base!).
With the advent of mobile, social networks, new database technology, new hardware technology, we are now able to find ancestors and learn more about our origins in new and unique ways. More information is available at our fingertips than was ever possible before. We are able to collaborate in ways we were never able to before. We’re learning things about those who have previously paved the way before us in ways we have never done before. RootsTech, FamilySearch.org’s new Family History Technology conference, aims to get all the best minds in this industry together to discuss these challenges, and share new ways of approaching relationships and data archiving and retrieval in this life and beyond.
The conference won’t be interesting to just Genealogy professionals though. The conference will be Keynoted by Shane Robinson, CTO of Hewlett Packard, as well as Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive. It should be interesting to all technology professionals with an interest in organizing relationships. We will have Unconference sessions with moderators such as Phil Windley, founder and organizer of the Internet Identity Workshop and others very involved in Semantic web technologies. I will also be participating in Phil’s panel.
If you’re interested in any sort of relationship-oriented technologies, there will be a lot to be learned at this conference, and you’ll learn many new and creative ways to organize data and relationships. I hope to see some of my Facebook, Google, and Twitter employee friends there. So come on out, book a ticket, and come for what is sure to be a really interesting, and fascinating event centered around relationship technologies among both the living, and the dead.
You can register and get more information here. The cost for registration is just $99 for a regular registration. It’s $35 for students. I can generally get a round trip plane ticket to/from California for around $200-$250 so it should be a fairly inexpensive trip! Oh, and come say hi if you’re in town visiting.
This post is my own opinion and by no means an official announcement or declaration by my employer. Family History is a personal passion! That’s why I’m sharing this with you today.