Heather Murphy,
Professional Genealogist

By: Heather | September 06, 2018

The theme of RootsTech 2018 was "Connect. Belong."  We are all connected to each other,  family trees and DNA give us connections far and wide.  My FamilySearch app had a long list of fellow attendees with whom I shared a common ancestor, I visited with a few people while waiting in lines, but I didn't leave the conference feeling I made connections.

In the last ten years I have felt genealogically isolated.  As a new mom who evolved into a homeschooling mom my time and energy allocations did not include getting involved with the local genealogical societies.  Last year I finally felt the time was right to venture out more outside my family.

The small genealogical society I joined was like many others, the membership was generally retired  and few members did more than show up at the monthly meetings.  As a professional genealogist it was a place to share my knowledge and talents, but opportunities to grow and network were minimal.

I gradually discovered that technology has dramatically changed the connections between genealogists, not just between family members.  I joined Twitter to follow space satellite updates for my son only to discover a community of genealogists who connect through events like #genchat and #ancestorhour.  

I jumped on board the Virtual Genealogical Association as soon as it launched.  Not only is it a place to connect virtually, but also for meetups at conferences to connect face-to-face.  NextGen is a group to connect younger genealogists and they also have conference meetups.  As I attend conferences on my own it is great to have a welcoming group of people with common interests and goals.  

 Instagram is another place I have found connections.  This month Melissa at Genealogy Girl Talks  encourages genealogists to share about themselves through her Genealogy Photo A Day Challenge.

I discovered that now, no matter where I live or what I have going on in my life, I can be part of the genealogical community without needing to leave my four walls.


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