My Adventures at RootsTech – The Kick-off – Innovator Summit


Wednesday was the Innovator Summit. This was the technological side of the conference. The Keynote Speaker was Liz Wiseman and she was a fantastic speaker. She was inspirational. The main takeaway from her keynote was “a rookie moment.” A rookie moment is a time when you are doing something brand new and have no experience with the project. You take baby steps and ask lots of questions so your knowledge base grows and you gain your experience. Is there a job/project where you didn’t know what you were doing but you jumped in anyway and succeeded? Liz had us share a rookie moment with the person beside us. The person beside me was a chap from Vancouver BC who was there to do research on an idea he has for a future Innovator Summit.

Liz Wiseman provided questions to answer to help us focus on those moments. Rookie moments provide a feeling of discomfort in us which is a catalyst to help us grow. She encouraged us to throw away our notes and to ask naïve questions. Ask the questions of a toddler – Why? How? Who says? We need to surf with the amateurs and learn something new.


You can watch Liz Wiseman’s keynote on the RootsTech website.


The next session was Innovation and Industry Trends. This was the expert panel discussion. The panel consisted of Ben Bennett; Craig Bott, Grow Utah; Heather Holmes, TapGenes; Nick Jones, JRNL, Inc; Robert Kehrer, FamilySearch.



The principles to keep in mind are: differentiate; build products that people want; don’t reinvent the wheel; and sharing is caring.


TapGenes, last year’s winner of the Innovator Showdown, have a new app called Genivity which connects health and health care costs. It helps people balance both issues.



Robert Kehrer from FamilySearch said that there will be a greater need for indexers in the future. New items that are coming are fuzzy search advancements and process innovation.



Next it was the Innovator Showdown semi-finals. The semi-finalists were: JoyFlips a photo archiver for your devices; Cuzins app; Crowd Sourced Indexing – CSI a transcription project management tools for societies and user groups; Kindex which gathers records into a single digital archives where you can transcribe, tag records and eventually share it; Roots Finder app which makes it easy to share and expand your family history with other family members; Champollion 2.0 manages archival or ancient documents; Emberall is a mobile app that will help you record, organize, store and share life stories; Canada’s own Double Match Triangulator which combines two different chromosome browser results to give you the Double Match Triangulator information; QuormaTag allows you to add a date, location and people that are found in a digital picture; OldNews USA uses the Library of Congress Chronicling America collection. It create suggestions on where you may find some information. When you view the page the search term is highlighted. The app automatically zooms into the next match. It seemed like the judges had a hard decision to make.


The next session I attended was a panel discussion entitled: How will DNA Continue to Disrupt Our Industry? The panel were CeCe Moore, Angie Bush, and Dr. Scott Woodward. Now people go straight to DNA before doing the paper research. DNA tells us things the paper trail can’t. DNA can help those who do not have access to their genealogy. Everyone will find an end to the paper trail but the DNA trail will go on. There is still a huge demand and need for DNA educational resources. We have been carrying the DNA markers from our family tree for 1000 years. The more people you have triangulating a common ancestor the better. Ideally what we want to do is map out the chromosomes of the DNA matches and be told exactly who the common ancestor is but we are not able to do that – yet!


My last session of the day was: Organizing your Genealogy Files and Correspondence with Drew Smith. The room filled up quickly and he started the presentation but five minutes into it they found a larger room and we moved there to finish up the session. Design your own systems for organizing but there are some basic principles. The main one is to keep it simple. Paper, computer files, binders or a combination of any of them – it is up to you. When organizing your binder organize by first name then chronologically. Once you decide on your filing system it will still continue to evolve and change.



Wednesday night was the RootsTech Welcome Party. It was great fun and the finalists of the Innovator Showdown were announced. They were: Champollion 2.0; Double Match Triangulator; Emberall; Kindex; OldNews USA.


You can view Wednesday live streaming on the RootsTech website.

© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

My Adventures at RootsTech – The Preamble

Whew! RootsTech was a whirlwind! I was attending RootsTech not only as an attendee but for the first time I had the great pleasure of being a RootsTech Ambassador.

There was a great group of Canadians attending RootsTech this year. I know there were some I didn’t get to meet in person but I was following them on social media.



I arrived on Sunday evening which provided a fairly slow start to a very busy week. Monday and Tuesday was spent visiting the Family History Library. I had a research plan so knew exactly what I was looking for which helped me focus. Each item was completed in my plan but I didn’t find everything I was hoping to which can happen when doing research.
Monday night was the British Commonwealth dinner. We met at the Blue Lemon and it was a very large group of people from around the world. Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada and other countries were represented. It was a great time.


Commonwealth Bloggers Dinner


Tuesday at lunch we met at the Blue Lemon again but this time it was for Geneabloggers and DearMYRTLE was our hostess. This was another large group and we had a great time catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.



Tuesday afternoon was a tour of the Discovery Center at the Family History Library. This is a wonderful interactive family history center. You are given a tablet to take with you and attach each discovery station. You signed in with your FamilySearch account or with your name and email. I used my name and email. There were places where you took pictures in the fashion of your ancestors but you didn’t have to dress up, you stood in front of a screen chose your style of dress and hit the button to take a picture. It was a little difficult to use your hands to touch the screen button but you soon got the idea. There was a section where you went into a sound proof booth to record an interview. It was just you and they had larger rooms for couples and families. They provided questions or you could do it free style.



Other options were taking a picture in the homeland of your ancestors, putting in an ancestors name and year of birth and being shown a timeline for their life.  Since I had provided my email I presumed that I would receive the interview and pictures from the Discovery Center but that didn’t happen. Those that signed in with their FamilySearch account did receive the creations of their visit. I had a great time at the Discovery Center and would recommend a visit. Just remember to sign in with your FamilySearch account.



Tuesday night was the RootsTech Media Dinner for the Ambassadors. This is where I got to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. I decided I was going to make sure I sat at a table where I didn’t know anyone. I met Nicole Dyer and Diana Elder. My other dinner companion was Marie Cappart who is a genealogist from Belgium. There was a large group of FamilySearch people who were instrumental in organizing RootsTech. Thank you for all your hard work.


© 2017 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

#RootsTech – Famicity Press Release


This is a press release I received because I’m a RootsTech Ambassador


San Diego, California – Jan. 21, 2017: Even with today’s digitally connected, social media-centric world, staying in touch with your family can actually be more difficult than ever. Famicity changes this. Famicity is a social network platform that allows you to share cherished family memories–from the distant past to the present–simply and privately, with all your relatives. It’s a living record of your family at your fingertips, and it’s coming to Kickstarter.

A SOCIAL NETWORK FOR YOUR FAMILY Famicity is designed for the collection of family memories. There are no feed clogging ads, political articles, or otherwise superfluous posts like on Facebook and other networks. Famicity is also designed to protect, manage, and continue your family’s legacy, no matter where you are in the world. You can share photos, videos, and precious moments with your entire family with privacy and a peace of mind.

YOUR LEGACY AT YOUR FINGERTIPS With Famicity — write, share, organize and preserve the legacy of your family. It starts with an inviteonly family tree, creating a central location for your family’s history in the form of a timeline. Only family members can see your photos, videos, news, as well as have access to comment on those posts. It’s the perfect tool for those who want to share and enjoy their history with one another, a next-generation family photo album where relatives across the world can gather and share memories. Unlike a regular photo album, which can be so easy to lose and damage, your memories are safe in the cloud and are easy to share with distant family members. The family tree provides each family member with a timeline that helps you capture precious moments of a person’s life from his/her birth to the present. Each and every member of the family can feel included, tell their story and easily pass it down to future generations.

Memories of prior family generations are captured in old photos, notes and letters which are then uploaded to Famicity. This gives families the opportunity to share memorable stories chronologically. Famicity makes it easy for all to be family historians.

Not only is it easy to use, it is also private. The memories you share on Famicity are not shared with the public, and can only be accessed by family members allowed to see them, avoiding many of the problems that can come with posting cherished memories on other sites.


❏ Private. Only the family you invite can participate.

❏ Safe. Famicity won’t get lost or damaged like traditional photo albums.

❏ History. An easy space to store the entirety of your family’s history.

❏ Simple. Anyone in your family can use Famicity, from the very old to the very young.

❏ Easy to use. Everyone can participate and share albums, videos, documents and voice recordings.

❏ Social Network Family Feed. Get all the latest news of your family members on your feed.

KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN Famicity launched a Kickstarter campaign on January 30th, 2017 to raise funds to expand the beta development of the site and bring it to full production. People who donate early will be the one of the site’s first users and can avail of 2 year Premium Memberships starting at approximately $51 (€48)


#RootsTech – Twile Press Release


This is a press release I received because I’m a RootsTech Ambassador


Doncaster: 2nd February 2017 Family history timeline Twile have today released a new infographic feature, designed to help family historians share their research and engage younger generations.

With over 60% of family historians concerned that their findings will be lost or forgotten and 74% doubtful if anyone will continue their family history research*, Twile have come up a quick and interesting way of getting non-genealogists interested in their ancestry.

Twile’s new personalised family infographic is free and available to everyone – whether currently using Twile or not – at Users simply import their FamilySearch tree or upload a GEDCOM and their infographic is automatically created.

Users will be able to see statistics such as the average number of children per family, the most common surnames, the ratio of men to women and the average age of marriage.

The infographic can then be shared easily with other members of the family. Because 80% of family historians use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to communicate with friends and family, Twile have designed the infographic to be shared online, as well as downloaded and printed.

Twile CEO Paul Brooks comments “We’re constantly trying to find ways to help our customers get their wider family interested and engaged in their family history research. Our timeline goes a long way towards helping with that, but the new infographic injects some more fun into it.”

Twile will have a competition running throughout February to win a $200 Amazon gift card. Customers can create their infographic at, share it and tag Twile on Facebook (@TwileTimeline) or Twitter (@TwileTweets) to enter the prize draw.

About Twile

Twile is a UK-based interactive timeline of everything that’s ever happened in your family. The timeline consists of photos and milestones—such as births, marriages, and deaths—that tell the story of your family from your earliest known ancestor right through to today. Family historians can import their family tree from any online genealogy service and then add more recent events from their own life before inviting family members to explore and contribute.

While the Twile website is aimed primarily at family historians, it is also designed to encourage the rest of the family to add their own content, including the younger generations. Twile was the winner of two innovation awards at RootsTech 2016, including People’s Choice.

#RootsTech Press Release – New Genealogy Service


This is a press release I received because I’m a RootsTech Ambassador.


CEDAR HILLS, Utah – August 29, 2016 – A new family history service launched today that will fill a critical gap in the multi-billion dollar genealogy industry. genealogyDOTcoach (SM) is a new online service that matches up professional genealogists (called Genealogy Coaches) with people who want to have all the fun of making family history discoveries for themselves but just need a little assistance from someone they can trust. “With do-it-yourself sites like and it has become so easy for anyone to start climbing their family tree,” says co-founder, Janet Hovorka. “But, sometimes people get a little stuck in the process. The traditional option at that point has been to purchase a 10 or 20 hour research package from a professional genealogist. Many people can’t afford that kind of help. Others are reluctant to do so because they want the joy of making those family history discoveries themselves. genealogyDOTcoach aims to fill that gap.” The service launches with 25 coaches across 47 different categories. Topics include: getting started; genetic genealogy/DNA; tree analysis and writing a research plan; and document translation. Coaches also specialize in research for different regions of the world and different ethnic groups. The initial group of coaches have an average of 25 years of training and experience a piece. They are researchers, authors, and lecturers. The impressive list of coaches includes some of the most well-known genealogists in the industry. On the genealogyDOTcoach website, users can select a topic and see a list of coaches who specialize in that topic. They can review comments and ratings from previous clients, to help them select a coach they would like to work with. Sessions can be scheduled for 15, 30 or 60 minutes. Pricing starts as low as $15 for 15 minutes. Shortly before the coaching session, an email link is sent that allows the user to log in to a private video chat room. There they meet face to face, via video chat, to share screens and documents with the genealogy coach, and receive the help they need to keep them moving along in their family history journey. “Clients leave the coaching sessions with a game plan for how to move forward in their family history research,” says Hovorka. “Just like life coaches or athletic coaches, genealogy coaches can give you the boost you need to be better at what you enjoy.”


About genealogyDOTcoach


Complete listing of coaches with their bios found here:

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