Comparing RootsTech London versus RootsTech Salt Lake City, you see tons of similarities. Similar sponsors. Breakout session structure. Excitement and inspiration are in the air. (For more of an overview of RootsTech London see RootsTech London: Not your Average Family History Conference.)
What was different?
Obviously, RootsTech London is one day shorter. The lectures are oriented to Europeans with a strong influence of United Kingdom research.
Likewise, exhibitors geared more to European researchers. As in the Salt Lake City experience, you see big names and can have a friendly chat with new (or new to you) innovators. According to Tyler Stahle, the costs for exhibitors is quite similar to SLC, although “table” sized exhibit areas are discounted for societies.
There aren’t many “ribbon beards” though UK attendees seem enthused about the prospect. I can see that becoming a phenomenon here as well if RootsTech comes back to the UK.
LDS press representatives tell me that at that non-LDS to LDS attendees ratio is 80/20. The Salt Lake City ratio runs closer to 60/40. Interestingly, the number of paid attendees (3000 according to Jen Allen) exceeds RootsTech Salt Lake City’s initial year’s attendance.
According to Ben Bennett of FindMyPast, there’s a huge difference in the opportunities offered for U.S. Americans. In Salt Lake City, you can do research at the Family History Library. In the UK, you can visit history and walk the paths of your ancestors.
Different Venue: London Excel.
The Excel is a new venue to RootsTech, so it comes as no surprise that there were a few hiccups to work out. It’s roomy, but with all the volunteers wearing “Ask Me” T-shirts, it’s also easy to navigate. And British FamilySearch volunteers are just as helpful as the ones we’ve come to love in Salt Lake City.
Classrooms are well lit with overhead projectors. For me, that made it easier to stay focused and not give into the jet lag that made eyelids heavy.
Sharing the Excel with ComCon (Comic Conference) has made logistics difficult. Security routed RootsTech attendees to the exits farthest from the Rootstech hotel. On the other hand, it is fun to chat with storm troopers as you stop for a bite to eat .
Will RootsTech continue to come to Europe?
Impressed that Kadeena Cox choose to compete in both cycling and athletics, Steve Rockwood complimented her for “not succumbing to the tyranny of the OR and choosing the AND instead.”
It will take FamilySearch a few weeks to decide whether they want to come back to Europe annually, less frequently, or not at all. Stay tuned for updates.