Published February 25, 2018

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In the increasingly online world, digital, virtual world, idioms from the that pre-modern, pre-computer world sometimes lose their context.

“Hanging up” a phone? Fewer and fewer people know where that literally comes from.

And then there’s the phrase “where you stand depends on where you sit.” When so many times communication is virtual instead of in a face-to-face, physical meeting – the double entendre of literal “standing” and “sitting” mixed with the figurative “stance” on an issue being determined by what role you “sit” in at a particular time.

And I’m so glad to add that last phrase – “at a particular time.”

It was in 2016 in this column that I opined the following: “I’ve never been to RootsTech. And I really don’t care.”

Well, what a difference that two years can make! RootTech 2018 begins on Wednesday … and I’ll be there for what is billed as “the largest family history event in the world.”

Held annually for several years now each winter in Salt Lake City, RootsTech brings thousands and thousands of people to hear speakers and view exhibits dealing with genealogy.

I previously had conflicts with other work I do and the prospect of going there in the dead of winter had no appeal.

But with the debut of my book The Family Tree Historical Newspapers Guide and being accepted as a speaker on the RootsTech program, it’s time for me to check out this event.

Since RootsTech is very much a FamilySearch showcase, there are a lot of presenters from that Mormon genealogy arm and usually some “latest and greatest” revelations about what’s new with this megasite.

In the same sort of “breaking news” vein, RootsTech kicks off with a one-day Innovator Summit, including a keynote, classes and the semifinals of the “Innovator Showdown,” which highlights cutting-edge business and technological opportunities in the family history world.

In the days that follow, there are more than 200 classes on genealogy, designed for all ages and levels from beginner to advanced family historians, as well as a vendor hall with hundreds of exhibitors.

I’ll be lecturing on “Beating OCR Bugs to Bag More from Historical Newspapers” on Wednesday.

In the Expo Hall, I’ll be appearing as part of Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems “Red Carpet Training Sessions” Thursday through Saturday, in addition to having my own exhibitor booth (No. 1843!).

On Saturday for Family Discovery Day, we’ll be encouraging people at my booth to “Make Headlines at RootsTech!” with selfie shot with a newspaper-like background.

Friends who’ve been to previous RootsTech tell me that unlike most other conferences – where the exhibit halls go quiet during classes – that the party never stops.

So that’s where I stand, based on where I’m sitting now – right in Salt Lake City.

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