Updated: Mar 23
There was lots of news at RootsTech this year. The virtual format allowed you to watch some live presentations, and add other sessions to your personal Playlist. I was unable to watch the live presentations since I was traveling. As it turned out, there were only three presentations about the Irish the this year’s RootsTech and since they were live presentations, they are not available to watch…disappointing:
Putting All the Pieces Together: DNA and Irish Online Resources
Shamrocks and Gold: Researching Your Irish Pioneers of the West
The Unplanned Irish Immigration to Canada
I did, however, find one on-demand Irish lecture for 2023 by Brian Donovan of Findmypast. Titled Irish Family History is Easy! Seriously, I strongly recommend you listen to it (it’s less than 25 minutes). As a follow up, you can select all of the years back to 2019 and find 33 Irish lectures. In 2021 Brian did a series of three lectures titled Tracing the Poor and Destitute which goes into more detail on some of the records mentioned in this year’s lecture.
That’s not to say there isn’t valuable information at RootsTech.org. Remember, FamilySearch makes all of this information available for free! I’m going to be spending time with many of the DNA lectures and depending on where you are with your research, there are excellent methodology lectures.
One of the fun aspects to RootsTech is the “Relatives at RootsTech” and you can participate even if you did not attend in person. It is based on your Family Tree at FamilySearch. I’m always amazed at the Facebook posts of people who claim hundreds and sometimes, thousands of relatives. Me, I had eleven this year. Part of the reason is I don’t have a complete tree at FamilySearch and I'm not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I find it difficult to add people to the tree, so I’ll add a line when I’m working on it (and in the past there hasn't been a lot of time). I’m also frustrated when people change the information, even when I have added sources.😡 I do, however, have some new leads to cousins from the information this year.
FamilySearch is important all year round, not just at the time of RootsTech. They are always adding new records to search, but don’t forget about the ability to browse the records. Many of the records that have been digitized from their vast collection of microfilm, are not searchable, but can be browsed. Not familiar with the concept of browsing? (You’re probably a relatively new genealogist). Back in the “old days” genealogists, including me, would spend hours hunched over a microfilm reader at the Family History Library (now the FamilySearch Library) scanning for our ancestors. We would roll the microfilm forward, stop to check and see where we were by date or page number, then continue to roll forward or back. Once in the general area, we would read page by page to find our ancestor.
Today the process is similar, but instead of cranking microfilm, we use our mouse from the comfort of our home. We can jump forward or backwards in the records to get to the area of interest, then with a click, move forward or backward. I use this frequently when searching the Registry of Deeds. Here’s a link to a blog post from last year about using the Registry of Deeds Project in conjunction with the digitized records at FamilySearch.
One last thing…always check the FamilySearch Wiki. Select the area you are researching to find out what records are available as well as what instructional videos and lectures will help you learn more about the locality or a certain type of record.