Decompressing from NGS 2010, Salt Lake City

I arrived home yesterday afternoon from the National Genealogical Society’s annual conference, held this year in Salt Lake City. I’m still decompressing from a great week of presentations, speeches, singing from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and research. I do not this one post will encompass all that I have to say about the event, so here’s the first of a couple of posts on the Conference.

This year there were several items of note:

  • Jay L. Verkler, President of FamilySearch (which includes the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, the over 4,600 Family History Centers in more than 80 countries, and the website) gave the Wednesday morning keynote address, which included:
    • A presentation of “From the Granite Mountain to the Ends of the World,” a video virtual tour through the LDS Granite Mountain Records Vault, where the master copies of the Church’s 2.4 million microfilm reels are stored.

      I expect this video, entitled  will soon be posted to where the other LDS presentations from the Conference have been posted. The presentation is listed there, but does not have an active link yet.

      Update: The film is up on their website. See the entry “Granite Mountain Records Vault: The Video.”

    • An announcement that the FamilySearch website has posted 300 million new names in indexed genealogical records.
    • An announcement that digitizing the Church’s microfilm (once estimated to take 178 years) will instead be completed in … 10 years, due to technological improvements.Indexing will take additional time, but the fact that all the imaging will be done as soon as 2020 means that these records may be accessible in unindexed digital format (folks, the films are not indexed either!), and the indexing could be done via crowd sourcing, as the,, and websites are already doing.
  • The NGS Conference included a GenTech section, where genealogical software and website companies demonstrated their products. There was an unmanned booth (though sometimes there were people there!) with the proposed Genealogical Data Model (GDM).Here’s one researcher who hopes that the GDM is finally dusted off and used to create a true standard for the storage, maintenance, and sharing of genealogical data that will comply with the Genealogical Proof Standard and the sourcing guidelines of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills. This would give us a better way to share and compare genealogical information as well as to take it cleanly from one product to another without the current vagaries of GEDCOM.