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.