If you attended #RootsTech 2014 I bet you feel like I do -- exhausted and enlightened! As Shipley Munson, from FamilySearch put it the first thing this morning -- RootsTech 2014 is all about new technologies, new methodologies and new directions! Let me add one to that and say, a renewed sense of possibilities. The possibilities of new discoveries -- participation in new technologies -- and the increased possibilities for sharing and collaboration with all those thousands of cousins.
RootsTech is far-reaching even beyond the walls of this building and physical attendance. The latest attendance numbers have over 8,000 in attendance with people coming from every state in the U.S. except South Dakota --- hey where are you? Another 4,000 will be in attendance on Saturday. Genealogists are here from 32 other countries. I have visited with people from England, Ireland, Denmark, Canada, Spain, Germany and Mexico - just to name a few. Within the next three months or so, there will be about 622 sites around the world hosting familyhistory fairs and library sessions where contents from RootsTech will be broadcast. When all is said and done, it is expected that as many as 150,000 people will have participated in this conference! That is impact!
We have so much genealogy data available to us today at the tip of our fingers - a far cry from the way our ancestors had to do research. However, with all we have there is still an estimated 60 billion historical records that still exist and need to be digitally preserved and indexed. The bulk of online family history research today is focused on the records of North America, Europe and Latin America. Less than 7% of these records are searchable online today. So one of your missing ancestors is still findable, but hiding - waiting for you and others to uncover them by helping to index them. Thus, there is the possibility of uncovering their hiding places in your lifetime.
It is estimated that at the present rate of indexing it will take 300 years just to index all the currently found data. Every day, more records are being acquired and filmed more than are currently being indexed in a day. So that means we are going in the hole!
So FamilySearch and current partners, Ancestry.com, FindMyPast, and Myheritage are joining forces to make this indexing happen in one generation - as little as 20 to 30 years! Well, at least for me, in my grandchildren 's lifetime.
As the RootsTech pirate, Capt. Jack Starling said "Dead men tell no tales -- but their obituaries do!" Yes, the goal announced today is for 100 million obituaries to be indexed this year. So, come on everyone, call your friends, find those missing South Dakotans, contact all your cousins and challenge them to a dual at indexing obits this year! These obituaries tell the STORIES of our ancestor's lives.
If 100 million sounds like a lot to do, let me break that down. If the 12,000 people in attendance here at RootsTech just transcribed one obituary a day for a year we would index about four million obituaries. If we get all 150,000 people who ultimately watch RootsTech online or at a fair or library to do the same, we would have about 55 million indexed obits. Much better! Now, if all 150,000 people who benefit in any way from RootsTech were to ask someone else to do the same, we actually could easily beat that goal of 100 million indexed obituaries in less than one year! Come on, let's do this!!
Well, more to come tomorrow. Until then, enjoy a few pics from today's activities! And,beware of typos - it's been a long day... Zzzzzzz