RootsTech 2016 – Expo Hall Discoveries, Part 1

All that’s left of this year’s conference are memories and a walk through the Expo Hall to sample new genealogical products and services. I had read that this year’s vendor list was 20% bigger than last year’s, but I have to honestly say that I didn’t get that feeling walking around. There were certainly more than enough booths to visit, but I noticed something this year that I don’t think existed during my first two RootsTech conferences – I saw at least two vendors that had two booths on opposite sides of the hall.

Making one’s way through the hall was much easier this year, likely because only one conference was running, not two parallels like last year. I enjoyed the extra walking space and, for the most part, could walk in a straight line and not have to meander from side to side to avoid knocking into people.

DISCLAIMER: I am sharing a sampling of the many offerings at the vendor booths this year. No one asked me to promote any product or service, nor am I receiving compensation in any manner or form from them. This is also NOT a recommendation to purchase anything. Links are provided in case you would like further information.

First up is the 2016 Innovator Summit winner, of the $20,000 First Prize –  TapGenes.

Since several other bloggers have already written about the twelve, and then six, finalists, I am only spotlighting the winner. TapGenes describes itself as helping “you crowdsource your family’s health information, helping you understand the thread that ties your family’s health together.”

They also “offer you the convenience of keeping all your family health history in one safe and secure place” by creating an easy-to-use Family Health Tree to keep information on “all that runs through the family.” Quotes are all their words. The site uses 128-bit encryption for security and privacy.

TapGenes is FamilySearch certified and free to join, as far as I can tell. Aside from the possibility of a site being hacked, this is a great idea to track common conditions and ailments that run through the family. It isn’t meant to be or to replace an individual unique medical history.

The rest of the spotlighted vendors are in ABC order:

It is a site where your family story can be shared with whomever you choose, which to me means there are privacy settings. Rather than being a family tree, it appears to focus on collaborative family story telling.

FOREVER promises to be here forever (hmmm) and says they are the world’s only permanent online storage. This is a pay site, but I think I remember this company from last year and it is pay-once-forever. They offer FOREVER Artisan, FOREVER Historian and FOREVER Services, which correspond to creating and printing your own photo projects, sharing and organizing media desktop files and scanning/media conversion services.

I didn’t ask the cost, but a standard “membership” is $349. The website mentions a free account, which was formerly called an Introductory Account. I don’t see where it specifies what is included with the free account, but if you are a creative person who wants to work digitally, it doesn’t cost anything to take a look at the site. It looks like quite a bit is offered.

genlighten is an online database to locate professional researchers “anywhere in the U.S. and beyond.” The difference with this site as compared to perhaps an accredited organization site is that individual researchers create their own postings.

If multiple researchers work the same areas, then the client (you or me) has an opportunity to compare expertise, rates and services. Genlighten members can also post specific requests of their own, e.g. a marriage record for William Coleman and Sarah Crouse, 1858, in Calais, Maine, along with the price you are willing to pay to have your request fulfilled. I think this is a great idea.

keepy is a free application (Apple, Android and Amazon kindle) for saving the story of your child’s life through photos and videos. Suggested items include all of his/her firsts in life. Art work was prominently displayed in the app at the conference.

Parents might not want to save every physical piece of paper that their child creates while growing up. This app gives a way to digitally save everything, while perhaps storing away only those more special projects. It is also an easy way to share with friends and relatives.

Legacyscribes has undertaken a huge project to digitize and transcribe old journals in high definition.

They have acquired some old journals independently, but also offer fee based services to scan clients’ historical journals.

Legacyscribes’ digitized journals can be keyword searched, translated into other languages, accessed by computer, tablet and phone and can be integrated into Family Search. This makes me wish I had a family journal, but, alas, I haven’t ever come across even a hint one in my family.

NOTE: Legacy seems to be an “in” word right now for company names. None of the companies with “Legacy” in its name is affiliated in any way with any other similarly named company.

FamilySearch had banks of computers available for visitors.

Membership organizations were also represented:  National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, International Association of
Jewish Genealogical Societies and International Commission for the Accreditation
of Professional Genealogists

That wraps up the first half of the alphabet. The second half will be online the day after tomorrow.


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