Our RootsTech Story

Perhaps it seems a bit strange, but we are already looking beyond the holidays. Part of that thinking involves preparing for our big show of the year, RootsTech 2014.

Saving Memories Forever is a relative newbie to the genealogy world. Last year, for example, we attended our first RootsTech conference. And only a year before that, we launched our iPhone and Android apps and began the process of introducing ourselves and our system.

As the saying goes, we’ve come a long way. So has the genealogy market.

Consider this. Last year’s RootsTech theme promoted storytelling almost as if it was a new concept. In some respects, that indeed appeared to be the case. For example, Saving Memories Forever was, I believe, one of only two exhibitors there already focused on storytelling. And we were, I think, the only organization there equipped with an interactive and highly mobile smartphone app aimed at making the interviewing process seamless and mobile.

See How We’ve Grown

Things have changed over the course of this year. Storytelling has become much more mainstream, quickly evolving from being a new buzz word to an actual practice. Large, well-established organizations such as FamilySearch have welcomed fledgling story-oriented businesses such as Saving Memories Forever…even to the point of offering compatible API platforms. In time, with these platforms in place, who knows what sort of connections can be made? Surely they will benefit the field of genealogy.

In the overall market, storytelling is now often perceived as the gateway to family history. Storytelling is credited with the ability to “rope people in”. As family history grows in popularity, it seems that stories—more than mounds of census data– are now recognized as being a motivating force into the journey that is genealogy.

In addition, there has been more of a concerted effort to reach out to folks interested in the nuts and bolts of collecting stories. Thomas MacEntee’s recently published e-book entitled Preserving Your Family’s Oral History and Stories attests to that change. In addition, Saving Memories Forever now offers free webinars dealing with the same topic. Surely new interactive user-friendly technologies designed to capture stories are bound to come on the scene.

21st Century Tools for Capturing Stories

More and more family members are using modern technology to help them capture and preserve their family stories and legends. The range of tools varies and includes publishing online via blogs and websites or even creating self-published books.

But many realize that limiting stories to the written word can result in “flat” or “two-dimensional” ancestors. With today’s technologies via computers and smartphones, the options are not only limitless, but they can help build a vibrant family story using audio, photos and more. Saving Memories Forever offers a system that combines a free smartphone app with a private and secure website. It provides us with the means to create a “3D” legacy.

How Our Small Business Benefited from RootsTech 2013

While last year’s RootsTech focused on the importance of storytelling, attending the conference had an even greater personal and residual impact on us. As a direct result of attending the conference (Harvey was there; Jane wasn’t), our new business gained affirmation, direction, and those all-important connections.

We gained affirmation from the fact that the dominant message of the conference stressed the importance of telling, sharing, and saving stories. We gained direction in that we decided to focus primarily on the genealogy market. We gained connections in that Harvey was able to meet with contacts around the world. Several of the possibilities initially explored at RootsTech 2013 have come to fruition over the year. In addition, as a result of introductions at RootsTech 2013, Saving Memories Forever has developed key partnerships with other suppliers in the same field. Cathi Nelson from APPO and Saving Memories Forever now partner on several promotional programs.

His wife, Jane, also benefited via long distance. Unable to attend, Jane listened in on the live streaming of the major presentations from home. From that, she built invaluable new business relationships with some of the keynote speakers. Kim Weitkamp now provides monthly storytelling tips on the Saving Memories Forever website. In addition to serving as our business mentor, Thomas MacEntee frequently contributes genealogy tech tips in our weekly blog. Jane also reached out to several key genealogy bloggers who have since reviewed our system. We are grateful for their positive reviews.

To say that it has been an exciting year would be an understatement. We’ve had our share of bumps and turns, triumphs and tribulations. Almost every day we are greeted with new opportunities. Without doubt, we are better focused now and better prepared. We are thrilled by the prospect of learning and growing. We happily anticipate the lessons we will learn and the connections we will make at RootsTech 2014.

Jane_Harvey26d442This article was written by Harvey and Jane Baker, Co-Founders of Saving Memories Forever. Please visit their website at SavingMemoriesForever.com.

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