RootsTech 2019 – Expo Hall, Part 2

Are you ready to jump into Part 2 of the RootsTech 2019 Expo Hall experience? The hall got busier with each day of the conference, so by Saturday, it was really hopping.

Today’s post will feature several more new-to-me companies and products. Remember, this is not a recommendation to purchase or try out anything. It is simply an overview. If you see a product of interest, links to each company are provided and you can look further into what’s available.

First up is Famifi, a new video chat app for families. This is one of several vendors that I wasn’t able to talk to. It is available both in iOS and Android formats and appears to be free. I didn’t see any premium upgrades in the app store.

As its business card notes, it contains conversation starters and games for families to play together. There are only a few reviews online, but they are positive.

LifeTimes is an Australian company. I picked up an advertising card that mentions RootsTech 2018 twice; I don’t remember them from last year, nor did I talk to a rep this year.

Its website (BETA version) says “Bringing social, location and mobile to family history. Free and unlimited.” Since I didn’t sign up for an account, I can’t tell you much more about the company.

Free is always good, so you might want to visit to learn more.

Next, was a booth that has a fun product – it sells customized decks of cards with genealogical information on them. offers a digital archives to store all of your photos, videos and documents in one secure private online site. It is possible to share with others, both publicly and privately.

Its advertising mentions a one-time fee, but I don’t know how much that fee is. The website offers one free gigabyte when signing up.

Story by Stacy Julian has partnered with Close to My Heart.

Their story books were adorable and I think would be very appealing to kids especially. A full line of story-based products are offered.

The last three vendors in this year’s visits have what I think are among the most interesting ideas.

Did you know that newspaper obituaries today can easily cost almost $800? Thankfully, my family hasn’t had to write one of those for quite a while, but it was shocking to hear that while talking with thememories.I know it was “back in the old days,” but it used to be that obituaries were a community service provided by newspapers at no charge.

For one $95 Life Story fee, a family can post an obituary for a loved one with an unlimited word count and as many photos as you like. Guestbooks can be set up and funeral information posted, among other options. The life story of your family member can also be added to later on, creating a permanent memorial.

TOTA (or Traditions of the Ancestors) is another interesting concept. It is in beta mode now and anyone can sign up for a free account.

TOTA’s goal is to help everyone connect with their ethnic history and cultural roots.

There are a limited number of cultural/ethnic choices when you register, but there will be more as the site launches. Quite a few articles on many social topics are already posted on the site and soon readers will be able to add their own comments.

My last stop, at least in ABC-order was totheletter DNA, from Brisbane, Australia.

totheletter DNA is in the forefront of the next wave of DNA testing, using stamps, envelopes and other artifacts to try to obtain a DNA sample from a deceased ancestor.

I spoke to Joscelyn McBain, CEO, for a fair amount of time asking questions about success rate at this time, cost, etc. While the company has had a number of successes already, she warned that some items just don’t have enough DNA on them to be useful.

She also talked about types of items people have, what happens to items that might be of sentimental value, and costs involved.

If you are considering contacting a company to test family artifacts, totheletter DNA is one option.

That ends this year’s new-to-me companies and products. If any of them resonated with you, please contact the company directly for more detailed information.




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