Thursday, September 19, 2013

FGS 2015 Conference Merges with RootsTech

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announced during their 2013 annual conference that they had combined their 2015 conference with RootsTech. When I first heard this, I cringed.

Many markets are dominated by one or two big brands. Think Jell-O. (Who’s number two?) Think Kleenix. (Who’s number two?) Think Band-Aids. Think Xerox. Think Microsoft Office. Think FedEx and UPS. (Who’s number three?) Think Coke and Pepsi. (How big is the third cola?) Think iPhone and Android. Think Windows PC and Apple. Think Campbell’s Soup and Progresso. Think Crest and Colgate.

This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. Some markets have three or more stable brands. But it is very common for numbers three and above to struggle and come and go.

That brings me back to national genealogical conferences. For a long time, there has been two: the annual conferences of FGS and NGS (the National Genealogical Society). When FamilySearch jumpstarted RootsTech into the marketplace in 2011, I worried they had just spelled the doom of one of the first two.

When DearMYRTLE editorialized that FGS and NGS should combine their conferences, I agreed with her reasoning. And I worried. (See “NGS and FGS: Rethink your policies in light of RootsTech.”)

Now FGS has announced it is combining (technically, co-locating) its 2015 conference with RootsTech. Again, I worry.

Here’s the announcement I received from RootsTech about the 2015 FGS conference:

FGS and RootsTech Events To Be Held In Tandem

February 12-14, 2015 in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY – RootsTech announced today that The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) will hold its 2015 National Conference in conjunction with the popular RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 12-14, 2015. RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, has quickly become the largest family history conference in North America. The unique culture of the RootsTech conference attracts growing throngs of attendees from around the world both in-person and online seeking to discover and share family connections, stories, and history.

FGS represents the over 500,000 members of hundreds of genealogical societies and presents an annual national conference program that helps strengthen and link the genealogical community. Conducting both conferences at the same time in the same facility gives interested attendees the option to conveniently benefit from both conference programs for a nominal additional cost.

The Salt Palace Convention Center will be the common venue, and both FamilySearch and FGS will produce a unique event addressing the educational needs of the family history, technology and genealogical society communities. Attendees will see familiar elements of both events including dynamic keynote presentations, hands-on workshops, a Society Showcase and free Expo Hall.

"The FGS conference attracts genealogy society leaders that serve the needs of genealogy patrons worldwide, and RootsTech caters to a very different audience of all ages seeking to discover, preserve, and share their family stories and history," said Dan Martinez, RootsTech Director of Marketing. "Holding the two annual conferences in the same venue will create a rich learning environment and increase benefits to all attendees."

Registration details for both events will be available in August 2014.

FGS President D. Joshua Taylor states, "FamilySearch has been a valued partner and sponsor for FGS during its past conferences. It only makes sense for both organizations to work together and produce what will be the most talked about genealogy event of 2015." Taylor added that such an event brings the best of RootsTech and FGS conferences together under one roof and will offer genealogists and family historians a wide array of activities and educational opportunities.

About RootsTech
RootsTech is a unique global family history event where people of all ages learn to discover and share their family stories and connections through technology. The first annual conference was held in 2011, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hosted by FamilySearch and sponsored by leading genealogical organizations, the conference includes hands-on demonstrations and forums to provide a highly interactive environment and accelerate learning. Content is geared all skill levels and ages, including a Family Discover Day for youth ages 12-18.

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