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Welcome to the Genealogy News from Geneatopia
I’m Patty Roy, also known as Dinah Larkham in Second Life.
Today is Friday February 17, 2017 and this is Episode 97.
This episode is devoted to mostly what happened and was announced at RootsTech that was held February 8 – 11 in Salt Lake City, Utah. This was the seventh RootsTech. Next year RootsTech will be held a little later, RootsTech 2018 will be held February 28 – March 3.
There were 12,000 attendees and over 100,000 watched the livestream for this year’s RootsTech. On Saturday attendance increased to 30,000. That last day of RootsTech is Family Discovery Day for Latter-day Saint families.
All the sessions that were livestreamed are available for viewing at the RootsTech website – rootstech.org.
Family Discovery Experience
The Family History Library opened the Family Discovery Experience on the main floor in time for RootsTech. When it was located next door it was called the Family Discovery Center and it was much smaller.
To get the most out of the Experience, you will need to have a tree at FamilySearch Family Tree. You receive an iPad where you login with your FamilySearch account. At each station, you use the iPad to personalize the experience. You can see the migration path of your ancestors, a breakdown of where your ancestors came from, a timeline that shows historical events in the context of your ancestors lives and how you’re related to some famous people.
There is a place where you can have your picture taken from many different places around the world. It uses a green screen as the background to take your picture and then adds the background in place of the green screen.
There are six recording studios to create audio and video recordings that you can use to record and preserve family memories.
Liz Wiseman Keynote
Keynote at the Innovator Summit on Wednesday was Liz Wiseman. She talked about people that pursued what they thought were good ideas when others think they are crazy.
Our ancestors may have been rookies and made the most of their situations. They may have moved for better opportunities when others thought they were crazy.
Rookies are people that find themselves in situations they find challenging. They may not be qualified or they may have taken on too much. They tend to observe, ask a lot of questions, network, and ask for help. Being a rookie means you must work hard to accomplish your tasks.
We should try jobs that we are not qualified for and don’t feel comfortable with so we can grow and learn.
When you are at the top of your game and you become a mentor you may be at a plateau and you are ready for a new challenges.
You may become bored in your work.
Remember your rookie roots and how you worked hard during that time to get where you are and take on new challenges.
Steve Rockwood, president and chief executive officer of FamilySearch, spoke at the general session of the Innovator Summit.
He talked about how innovations are very important for family history. With innovations and the internet, family history is available to everyone.
He demonstrated using Alexa to tell what happened in your family today such as birth and deaths and if there are any new hints on your FamilySearch Family Tree.
He mentioned how great it would be if we could tap phones to see if you are related to another person. If not related maybe you could tell if your ancestors came from the same area. Imagine how you would treat each other if you knew you were related.
Another type of innovation would be to find out when traveling if your ancestors were once there and who they were.
Family history helps everyone, even those who are incarcerated (prisoners). There was a video with interviews about prisoners indexing records.
Indexing becomes an answer to help with them. They feel they are doing good and helping other people, and they get a sense of accomplishment.
It gets them out of the cell block, keeps them busy, gives them some skills and a purpose.
Steve Rockwood also spoke on the first day of RootsTech which was Thursday.
He asked, “What’s been your greatest journey?” Then there was a video that showed that the day to day journeys of living your life with your family is what really matters.
The main stage had a home on it with one side with a kitchen and the other side with a family room.
The kitchen is where families have always gathered. What are your family memories of a food tradition?
You can upload and preserve those family memories on familsearch.org/recipes. Upload a recipe, photo, and family story so it will be available to all family members.
There are 90,000 family history consultants, 4,900 local Family History Centers worldwide in over 100 countries. They are there to help people connect to their ancestors and build their family trees. It’s a global network that you can tap into.
Jonathan Wing came to the stage and talked about all the names that make up his heritage. His last name came from his great grandfather who emigrated from China to London. When he got to London he was asked what his name was. In China you say your last name first and then your first name. So the person in London gave him a new English first name but kept the same last name (which was really his first name) of Wing. That is how Jonathan Wing got his last name.
All the last names in Jonathan’s family come from many different countries and it’s important that FamilySearch has records from all countries.
FamilySearch is dedicated to helping everyone find their ancestors in all possible countries. In order to accomplish this FamilySearch creates partnerships. They partner with societies, archives, universities, commercial companies, and philanthropists.
Steven Valentine who leads the partners and records effort at FamilySearch joined Steve Rockwood on the stage. He talked about what partnerships are doing for you. They open doors to records around the world. More Mexican records are online because of the partnership between Ancestry and FamilySearch. They worked together to digitize and index civil records from Mexico.
MyHeritage and FamilySearch will have millions of Swedish, Danish, and Finnish records coming online this year. Each of these countries records will grow by 5 times this year.
Findmypast and FamilySearch will continue to put more United States marriage records online. These are records that have never been published on any site.
Then Steve Valetnine mentioned this
“Over in France, Geneanet and FamilySearch will bring a renaissance of opportunities to those of you with French heritage.” I’m not sure what that means.
He went on to say that FamilySearch holds the largest single collection of Chinese genealogies outside of China. They are working with partners to give those with Chinese ancestry access to these records.
FamilySearch has been accelerating the number of records that are indexed thanks to the help of volunteers.
This past year Brigham Young University and FamilySearch partnered to index 26 million obituaries using a computer.
Steve Rockwood mentioned FamilySearch Family Tree which is a shared collaborative tree. He encouraged everyone to use the power of this tree. It has 1.1 billion names and it continues to grow. Its accuracy is growing every day with all the sources that are being added. The tree is open to sharing and partnering.
He encouraged everyone to use the tree just like they would use FamilySearch records. It can be a place to prove or disprove your hypotheses.
Some people have concerns that your hard work that is added to the tree can be changed. As sources increase the inappropriate changes are going to fall away. But if you are not comfortable with someone making any changes to your work there is another way that you can still share your tree.
He encouraged everyone to add their hard work to the Genealogies section of FamilySearch.org. This is where you can add your tree and it can’t be edited.
This is not a new feature, it’s been there for years. He just wants you to use the tree as you see fit. As you continue to work on your tree you can upload it to Genealogies. That way your hard work is preserved and shared to benefit others.
Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott Keynote
Keynote speakers on day one were the Property Brothers, Drew Scott and Jonathan Scott. The show Property Brothers has been on HGTV since 2011. The show is about transforming fixer-upper houses. They also do a few more different shows. They talked about the shows and how they help families and how their own family is important to them.
They believe that a home needs family history photos and other family objects displayed to make it a real home.
At the end of the presentation, Diane Loosle, Family History Library director , came out to tell the brothers about some research she had done about their ancestors.
Aaron Godfrey, vice president of marketing at MyHeritage came to the stage after the keynote. He talked about some things that have happened at MyHeritage over the last few months. That would include MyHeritage DNA and the ethnicity database that they are creating based on MyHeritage users who have ancestors in the same place over many years.
A video showed users talking about how a DNA test changed their life and another video about two brothers who were reunited.
MyHeritage was the sponsor for the first day of RootsTech. They had a few announcements during RootsTech.
They have a new Chief Science Officer who will be in charge of DNA at MyHeritage. His name is Dr. Yaniv Erlich. He is a DNA scientist and he will be leading the scientific development and strategy for MyHeritage DNA.
He is the founder of DNA.Land and the former principal investigator and a Whitehead Fellow at MIT’s Whitehead Institute.
For the past few years Dr. Erlich has been analyzing data found at Geni.com, a MyHeritage website. The names were stripped to protect privacy. He looked into longevity, fertility, migration patterns, and other traits. Dr. Erlich has recently written an article about the findings.
MyHeritage released two new features – Photo Discoveries and Consistency Checker.
Photo Discoveries looks for matches between people in your tree that match people in other MyHeritage users’ trees. If there is a photo that you don’t have in your tree, you will be notified.
As a free user you will only be able to see thumbnails of the photos. To see the original size photo will require a PremiumPlus or Complete subscription. As a subscriber you will only be able to add one Photo Discovery per day which can contain up to 10 photos based on a single Smart Match. The photos may come from different family trees. You select which photos you would like to add to your tree.
The photo will contain all the meta tags and a source citation for where the photo came from.
Photos may be photographs of people, copies of scanned documents, or any other image that is attached to a person.
The other new feature is Consistency Checker for online family trees at MyHeritage. It scans your tree looking for mistakes and inconsistencies so that you can make changes to improve the quality and accuracy of your tree.
There are 36 different checks. The first time you run it, it may take a long time. After that you can access the reports. If you want ,you can run the Consistency Checker again.
The issues with your tree are displayed in categories and a number for how many in each category. The categories are Errors, Warnings, and Notices.
To access the Consistency Checker for online trees you will need a PremiumPlus or Complete subscription.
African Heritage Day
African Heritage day was celebrated the first time ever at Roots Tech on the second day. There were sessions throughout the day focused on African research and special events in the Expo hall.
The second day was sponsored by Findmypast.
Ben Bennett from Findmypast was the first speaker. He is the vice president of marketing.
He talked about last year’s announcement to create the largest collection of U. S. marriage records online through a partnership between Findmypast and FamilySearch. They estimated the project would take 2 to 3 years to complete.
Findmypast is ahead of schedule. They have published nearly 70 million marriage records. The whole project is to get about 100 million marriage records online.
Findmypast is not just about records. They are interested in finding ways to help people share their family stories with others. Findmypast has invested in Twile in the past and they will be announcing additional innovations like this in the future.
Twile helps you visualize your family timeline and it’s now completely free for everyone to use. Twile is an online service that combines interactive timelines with photos, text, and video. You can invite others to collaborate so they can comment on what you have posted and add stories and milestones of their own to the timeline.
The free Twile service allows users to
• Build their family tree
• Share and collaborate with family
• Add unlimited milestones and photos
• Import trees and memories from FamilySearch
• Import and merge multiple GEDCOM files
Although Twile will not be charging a subscription fee, they plan to sell add-ons that customers will purchase to enhance their Twile experience.
Last month they released an infographic feature where you can produce an infographic from your family tree.
Last year Twile was the winner of the People’s Choice award and two innovation awards at RootsTech.
New Records at Findmypast
Just this week with a partnership with an historical society in Pennsylvania, Findmypast published more than 3 million new records for Pennsylvania. These records can only be found at Findmypast.
Findmypast announced a new partnership with numerous archdioceses of the Catholic church in the United States and the United Kingdom. Through those partnerships Findmypast has announced the Catholic Heritage Archive.
If you wanted to see Catholic records you had to go in person to the church or archive. It was up to the Priest to determine if you would be let in to see the records. So it has been very difficult to find and access Catholic records.
The records on Findmypast include births, marriages, and deaths and other important events from the past 300 years.
The first Catholic parish records to come online will be archdiocese of Philadelphia and from the archdioceses of Westminster and Birmingham in the UK.
In the coming months Findmypast will publish records from other archdioceses from New York, Baltimore, and Cincinnati. More will be announced in the future.
Levar Burton was the keynote speaker on Friday. Levar Burton was in the Star Trek television series, the host of Reading Rainbow and was in the original television miniseries Roots.
He talked about his mother and storytelling. He talked about what it was like to be a young black man and the role models on television. He talked about the technology that was used in Star Trek is becoming a reality.
He talked about how Roots changed and brought people together.
He asked everyone to close their eyes for 1 minute to remember who gave them the encouragement for them to become the best they could be and live up to their own potential. Levar had seen Fred Rogers, of Mr. Rogers fame, do this at a white house dinner and thought it was very effective.
No one gets thru life on their own. We all need assistance.
Thom Reed, senior marketing manager of FamilySearch, presented Levar with his family history. Lavar commented, “Is this what y’all do all day?” And then he was brought to tears as he was presented with his people.
Kenyatta Berry, Sherri Camp, and Melvin Collier talked about how they connect with their roots.
Kenyatta talked about naming conventions for slaves and the names of her ancestors.
Sherri Camp talked about how she connected to Africa through food.
Melvin Collier shared his connection to Africa through DNA research and his trip to Ghana to meet his relatives.
The Cavalry Baptist Choir performed some songs that were meant to make everyone feel connected to African heritage.
The Innovator Showdown is where 5 finalist competed for prizes.
The 5 judges were Alan Doan, John Richards, Kenyatta Berry, Thomas MacEntee, and Dalton Wright.
Alan Doan is the CEO of a business he co-founded called Missouri Star Quilt Co. where you can shop for fabrics online. It has transformed the town of Hamilton, Missouri, where it’s located, into a quilting meca with 14 quilt shops in a town of 1,500.
John Richards is the founder and CEO of Startup Ignition. He is an entrepreneur, venture investor, mentor, and educator. One of his many accomplishments was serving as Google Fiber’s Head of Operations as it launched in Provo, Utah. And he has spent over a decade teaching entrepreneurship at Brigham Young University.
Kenyatta Berry spoke during the Friday morning keynote. Kenyatta is a genealogist and a lawyer. She is one of the hosts on Genealogy Roadshow.
Thomas MacEntee is the founder of Geneabloggers. He is a speaker, author, and educator of all things related to genealogy.
Dalton Wright is a partner with Kickstart Seed Fund. This is a fund that develops close relationships with universities, angel groups and entrepreneurs to launch startups in Utah and the Mountain West.
1st place in the Innovator Showdown was Old News USA. It’s a mobile app that you can use search newspapers. Right now it’s only available on Android with an in-app purchase of $2. An iOS version is in the works and should be available sometime this year.
There are lots of thing to be found in old newspapers such as obituaries, family reunions, small town social news and legal troubles of our ancestors.
Newspapers are found at various sites with different search options. This can take time to go to each site and learn how to search at each site.
Old News USA makes it easier to research newspapers. To find articles about a person using the app you enter a name, date range, and location. The app will then list newspapers that may contain something about the person entered.
The app also lists search suggestions for the advance search screens for the individual newspapers. You tap the search suggestion and the newspaper article with the match is displayed. You tap the screen to bring up the next match and the app tells you when you have viewed them all.
You can save articles as a clipping or a pdf with a source citation.
The plan for monetization of the app is to offer branded apps to historic newspaper sites.
1st place received $20,000 in cash and $75,000 worth of in kind from sponsors.
2nd place was Qromatag. This is an iPhone app that costs $12.99. They mentioned if they won they would put the money into developing an Android app.
Old photos, or maybe not so old depending on your age, has something written on the back of the photo that tells something about the photo. The story written on the back went with the photo.
This isn’t true of digital images. There are some standards where you can embed information into photos but most people don’t use them.
Qromatag creates industry standard meta data. You can scan old photos into Qromatag or use existing digital photos. You also load in a GEDCOM file. You can tag people in the photos just by saying their names. You can record some information about the photo – up to 2,000 characters.
You can enter the date and the place the photo was taken and Qromatag will figure out the GPS coordinates for the place as well as the city, state, and country.
You use your iPhone and your voice to do this. The app uses voice recognition to enter what you said. Behind the scene Qromatag is using the industry standard meta data to save the information.
It puts your story and photo together forever.
2nd place received $14,000 in cash and $30,000 worth of in kind from sponsors.
3rd place was Double Match Triangulator. This is a free Windows program to do double matching with DNA results.
It can be difficult to analyze your DNA data using a spreadsheet. You can find your matches in the spreadsheet. This is single matching. You need to get the people you match to check to see if they match each other.
If you get your matches to send you their chromosome browser results files then you can find the double matches. This will eliminate false positives and identify all triangulated segments.
You can also make use of some smaller segments that you can’t use with single matching.
The program produces an Excel file that shows every double match on its own line, boxes are placed around overlapping segments, and all triangulations are shown.
3rd place received $6,000 in cash and $20,000 worth of in kind from sponsors.
The People’s Choice award is given to the one that got the most votes by the live audience and those watching on the livestream who voted using their cell phones to send a text message.
People’s choice award went to Kindex. It’s a searchable archive that anyone can build about anything and share with anyone. Everyone joins together to transcribe documents, place tags, and add all sorts of meta data.
Once you create your archive you invite others to have access to it so they can access it and maybe help with transcription. Each person will be given their own free archive to hopefully create an archive of their own.
It’s free for up to 50 records. You can keep your archive private or using a subdomain at the site you can make it public.
Currently the price during RootsTech is $10/month for your archive. For $15/month you can invite people to index and share records in your archive. If you pay for the year it’s $150.
The subdomain, the ability to invite and multiple-user access will be coming soon.
The People’s Choice award received $10,000 in cash and $15,000 worth of in kind from sponsors.
Last year Innovator Showdown winner was TapGenes. This year at RootsTech TapGenes launched some new products that predict family health risk and long term care costs. Genivity.com is a new program from TapGenes. It takes the next step of connecting your health to your wealth and your family. Health risks are a big factor in bankruptcy later in life. If you understand your family’s health risks, Genivity can help you plan for these situations to help your family. This product works with wealth managers and their clients.
TapGenes listened to user responses and took the money they won last year and put that into their product. They listened to their users and gave them what they had requested. TapGenes can alert you if you are taking medications that may have a genetic drug response.
TapGenes has the show discount to the Premium Plan available to everyone . You can get 50% off through February 28 with the promo code RT17. They now have an iOS app and eventually there will be an Android app.
RootsTech Day 3
Day three, Saturday, was sponsored by Ancestry. President and CEO of Ancestry.com, Tim Sullivan, opened the day. He provided a sneak peek to a product experience they have been working on for a long time. It will be launched in March. Everyone who has taken a DNA test at Ancestry will be getting this experience.
The experience is called Genetic Communities. It’s the AncestryDNA ethnicity results on steroids.
Data has been analyzed for population clusters and dates and places where people lived were analyzed from the trees at Ancestry.
They have found 1,000 Genetic Communities. The article recently published in the scientific journal Nature was about this. They will launch with several hundred Genetic Communities.
The community plots migration patterns. There’s also historical context about why people may have left certain areas.
The article in Nature explains using genetic data from over 700,000 individuals from North America to see migration patterns and settlement in post-colonial USA. They created a network of relationships among the individuals and identified clusters of individuals who were more related to one another.
Using family tree information, they were able to find the migration patterns for the clusters. Some of the type of Genetic Communities they found were Germans in Iowa, Mennonites in Kansas, Irish Catholics on the Eastern seaboard and so on for a total of 60.
All three days AncestryDNA was $49 at the conference. They had long lines to purchase each day. One woman bought 25 DNA kits. And in case you’re wondering that costs $1,715! An Ancestry employee said they would go back to Ancestry headquarters to get more kits if they needed to. Ancestry is located just south of Salt Lake City.
Some other Ancestry News
Many tech companies, including Ancestry.com, have taken a strong public stand on President Trump’s executive order to temporarily restrict citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States because of terrorism concerns.
More than 100 companies have signed a brief that states that the executive order violates the U.S. Constitution, discriminates based on nationality, and is bad for business.
The companies range from large corporations such as Apple and Alphabet’s Google to startups such as Uber. By joining together, the companies are sheltering themselves from being singled out by President Trump.
The immigration ban limits hiring employees from abroad. It makes it more difficult and expensive for U.S. companies to recruit, hire, and retain employees from other countries.
Ancestry Settles Suit
Ancestry.com has settled a lawsuit with OraSure Technologies and its subsidiary, DNA Genotek. Ancestry will pay DNA Genotek $12.5 million. DNA Genotek will grant Ancestry royalty-bearing, non-exclusive, worldwide license to certain patents pertaining to collecting DNA in human saliva. Ancestry will grant DNA Genotek a royalty-free, non-exclusive license to patents related to Ancestry’s existing saliva DNA collection kit.
The lawsuit claimed that Ancestry stole patented DNA testing technology when they created their own salvia-based DNA test. Ancestry purchased saliva test kits from DNA Genotek and later filed for its own patent for an improved version of the test.
Now back to day three of RootsTech.
David Rencher, Chief Genealogy Officer of FamilySearch, took the stage and talked about finding his half-sisters who he found out about when he got married. Then they told him there was yet another half-sibling out there. He is hoping that DNA will help him find this missing half-sibling.
David introduced CeCe Moore who is a genetic genealogist. She posed the questions
• Are our biological ancestors calling out to us to research the past?
• Is this where the drive comes from for doing genealogy?
• We know our ancestors have passed down their physical traits to us. What else may have been passed down?
Behaviors may have been passed down to use thru genetic memory. That includes experiences our ancestors had.
She then told the story of discovering that her brother-in-law, John, is a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. All because he had a DNA test that showed he had African ancestry and he didn’t know how that could be. CeCe investigated the paper trail to discover this.
Before John knew about his ancestry he visited the Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, and he felt a connection to it. CeCe has come across these connections in her work with adoptees.
Our ancestors are effecting us. Adoptees meet and find they have so much in common and like similar things.
Just a few years ago scientists said autosomal DNA could not be used for genealogy. It’s because of all of us as citizen scientists we have created a growing industry and databases with many DNA test results. We will continue to be the force that will open new possibilities.
The second keynote speaker on Saturday was Buddy Valastro. He talked about how you should do your best whatever you do and you should pursue a career that you love. He talked about his youth and working in his father’s bakery.
His wedding cakes ended up in magazines and then the Food Network called him to have him in some competitions. TLC wanted a cake show and reviewed the competition shows on the Food Network and found Buddy. They created a show called The Cake Boss.
In 2009 The Cake Boss was number one cable tv food show in history. It airs in 200 countries and territories, in 45 languages and seen by more than 7 billion people.
Buddy has a new show called Baker vs. Baker on Food Network.
There was a cake contest for birthday cakes, wedding, holiday like Halloween, Christmas, 4th of July, and graduation cakes,
Buddy and 5 local judges selected the winners. Each of the four category winners won $2,000.
The people’s choice award was a Thermador professional grade range with a retail price of $10,000. On the RootsTech app, you tap on the birthday cake icon to vote. Anyone could vote. The people’s choice award was the same cake that won in the holiday category. It was a spooky house for Halloween.
At the closing event they celebrated life with music and cake. Everyone got a piece of cake at the end of the day.
I’ll have a link in the show notes where you can find an article to view the winning cakes.
Also in the show notes I’ll have links to lots of videos that people made at RootsTech. Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems streamed presentations on Periscope and Facebook live. The Facebook live videos are still available. Amy Johnson Crow produced some Facebook Live videos.
Jill Ball and Bernice Bennett did a series of interviews and those are available on YouTube. Monday’s with Myrt and BlackProGen Live did some Google hangouts about RootsTech.
And there are a few other videos about RootsTech in the list. It should keep you busy for a very long time.
Family Tree Maker 2017
There was one more big announcement at RootsTech and that is the release of Family Tree Maker 2017. This new version of the software should be out in March. It will be available for Mac and Windows.
There are 4 new features. Here is how Mackiev, the company behind Family Tree Maker described the new features.
* Family Search: Searching, matching and merging. FamilySearch is integrated into FTM 2017 so you can get match suggestions automatically, search billions of free online records, and merge them into your tree.
* FamilySync: An upgrade from TreeSync. FamilySync is our version of the new technology replacing TreeSync. Families will love the new ability to sync multiple copies of FTM to one Ancestry tree.
* Color Coding: Tracing your past. Get organized and gain insights into your family history using our new color coding and filter tools with up to four colors at a time on a single person.
* Photo Darkroom: Elegantly simple editing tools. Powerful but easy to use tools that in just a few clicks can take an old photo faded beyond recognition and restore it to look like it did the day it was printed.
I want to thank everyone who has been to the website and found the Paypal button to help support the podcast. I really appreciate it.
And that’s it for this episode.
You can send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find links to things mentioned in this show in the show notes at Geneatopia.com as well as a transcript. The transcript can also be found in the Geneatopia Flipboard magazine.
This is episode 97.
Thanks for listening.
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