Category Archives: RootsTech

Winding Down Live RootsTech 2024 with More to Come On Demand!

Although today is the last day for enjoying the in-person RootsTech 2024 experience, for those of us virtual attendees there are some conference features that will remain accessible – all those excellent on-demand recorded class sessions, BUT. . . .

The Expo Hall will close and most of the discount deals offered by the vendors will expire. So, if you are pondering a purchase, please visit the Expo Hall now – don’t wait until the last minute!

After you’ve done your shopping, be sure to attend any of the live online sessions in which you’re interested. Why? Because if you are there live and have a question, you might be able to actually ask it. Once the class has been recorded, the ability to ask is gone.

My Thoughts on RootsTech 2024 from #NotAtRootsTech

RootsTech has changed with the times over the last few years. The pandemic lockdown changed our lives in many ways, including how we access genealogy education.

RootsTech has led the way in moving from 100% in-person to 100% online and then to the middle hybrid road. They are to be commended for providing attendance opportunities to those around the world.

RootsTech has also provided the opportunity for family historians to learn how to get started, whether ancestry is English, Scandinavian, or from less common groups, such as Filipino, Portuguese or Japanese.

There are also many presenters discussing DNA, covering the range from beginning to advanced.

The Innovation and Tech Forum spotlighted six companies who have integrated AI, the hot 2024 topic, into their family history products.

The Expo Hall allows everyone to access vendors and learn about new products and take advantage of conference specials.

The on-demand recorded classes allow everyone to access sessions after the fact. This is especially beneficial for in-person attendees who had many classes in their schedule that were not being recorded. Therefore, if an attendee had an interest in a class that was being recorded, he/she didn’t have to choose between two presentations.

I have to admit I was disappointed about one fact – paltry the number of intermediate and/or advanced sessions offered to virtual attendees.

I have been doing genealogy research for decades and I seek out classes that teach more advanced methodology – not DNA, but general research.

There were quite a few sessions I would love to have attended, including the BCG sessions. However, this year, not only were they only available in-person, they were not being recorded for future viewing.

I was curious about how lopsided these presentations were, so I went through and counted up intermediate and advanced sessions offered online and in person.

Virtually, there were 11 intermediate and 2 advanced classes. However, in person choices included 27 intermediate and 15 advanced sessions!!!!

It is disappointing that so many of those more advanced classes were not recorded, thereby not providing those of us who couldn’t attend in person the opportunity to listen to and learn from those speakers.

To end on a positive note, there are still many opportunities for everyone to watch hundreds of class presentations. Most of the recorded classes will be accessible for a year and some even longer than that.

If you didn’t register for RootsTech, it still isn’t too late (even after today). Just sign in through your FamilySearch account and you are good to go.

In past years, I’ve always posted about “new to me” companies in the vendor hall. I’ve decided not to do that this year for a couple of reasons. First, this year, there aren’t many new companies appearing on the scene who are offering new interesting products. Second, of the companies that are new to me, the majority fall into two groups – storytelling and professional genealogists for hire. In fact, there are so many of these on offer that, along with the RootsTech sponsors, they complete most of the booths in the Expo Hall.

If you are interested in those products/services, this is a last reminder to check out the Expo Hall right now.

That’s it for my RootsTech 2024 reports.

RootsTech 2024 – Day 2

NOTE: Friday’s Family History Finds will post on Sunday, March 3, due to the RootsTech schedule.

UPDATE: MyHeritage has just made another big announcement:

MyHeritage has just released OldNews.com, an innovative website for historical newspapers! OldNews.com enables genealogists, researchers, and history enthusiasts to search, save, and share articles about people and events throughout history. At launch, OldNews.com includes a huge repository of hundreds of millions of historical newspaper pages from around the world, with millions more added monthly. The website features easy navigation and consists of a diverse range of high-quality publications, from major international newspapers to small-town journals and gazettes.

OldNews.com more than doubles the amount of historical newspaper content that was previously available on MyHeritage. The website includes all the historical newspapers from MyHeritage, plus new, unique content. OldNews.com offers a wide range of publications from local, national, and international news, with extensive coverage of the 1800s and 1900s. At launch, the website includes newspapers from across the U.S., Canada, U.K., Austria, Germany, Czechia, the Netherlands, and Australia.

Newspapers that were previously available on MyHeritage are still accessible for free. Newly added newspapers will require the new MyHeritage omni plan. OldNews.com is a subscription-based service. Anyone can start a 7-day free trial to explore the content before committing to an annual OldNews.com Pro subscription, which costs $99/year with 25% off the first year.

Full details can be found at Introducing OldNews.com, a New Website for Exploring Historical Newspapers.

Day 1 of RootsTech 2024, as expected, was busy with both class sessions and news.

First, with some of the news:
MyHeritage announced All-New Profile Pages WITH Hints. From the MyHeritage blog:

This major enhancement includes a more organized layout and cool features to help you maximize your discoveries about your ancestors and relatives. We’ve also added Hints, which are a unique, highly useful way of presenting new details from your matches within the context of an individual profile. The profile pages remain free and are now more useful than ever!

I am super impressed with the 2024 announcements so far from MyHeritage. First, the news about uploading new DNA kits to their website (between 27 February- 4 March 2024) in order to have FREE access to all features FOREVER. Now, hearing about the new Profile Page with hints.

Plus, CEO Gilad Japhet is presenting a talk today at 1:30 PM in person at RootsTech – The Latest MyHeritage News from Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet. The talk isn’t virtually accessible and isn’t being recorded, but perhaps there is still more news to come.

FamilySearch had some big news of its own. It has released the BETA version of full text searching. Currently, it is available for some United States land and probate records. Try it out! IMPORTANT NOTE: This is an experimental feature that is still being honed and improved.

Storied is offering a RootsTech special. Storied Books “crafting timeless heirlooms for family to cherish forever” and Family Recipes “because every family recipe has a story to tell” are two unique opportunities to preserve family stories and events. An annual plan, which includes one free StoriedBook, is available for $99, usually $155.

Ancestry is currently offering 50% off on World Explorer and All Access semi-annual subscriptions, plus 40% off DNA kits.

I watched the Innovation and Tech Forum yesterday and, not a surprise, the theme was AI and how artificial intelligence is bringing some positive features to the genealogy world. Participating companies included Microsoft Copilot, FamilySearch, LivingHistory, Storied, EmulateMe, and Storii. Each company has their own take on how artificial intelligence is being used to enhance their products. The forum was recorded and it’s worth the time to listen in.

Coming up at 9:30 is The Impact Forum.

Lots of sessions are virtually available today and I’ll be updating this post with more news.

RootsTech 2024 – Opening Day Fun!

NOTE: Because of the RootsTech schedule, Friday Family History Finds will post on Sunday, 3 March 2024.

RootsTech 2024 is here! It’s Opening Day! Start off your morning at home with a welcoming from Steve T. Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch and the first conference keynote from comedian Henry Cho.

There will be virtual sessions happening all day long and be sure to check out the Innovation and Tech Forum at 3:00 MST.

I was surprised to learn that the virtual Expo Hall opened yesterday at 4:00 PM so those of us at home don’t have to wait until after the morning keynotes to visit the vendors.

Have fun exploring and enjoy your first day at RootsTech 2024.