Are Family History & #Genealogy Your Game This Season? Register to Attend #RootsTech — the Largest Coaching Conference in the Game

rootstech-hallIf you have been following me on Twitter @thesingleleaf, you already know that registration is underway at RootsTech.org. You may also know that Early Bird registration is scheduled to end this week and it is yet to be determined if this discount will go into overtime! It has in the past but, to my recollection, not every year, so as an official ambassador to the RootsTech Conference and to guarantee these savings, in its entirety and with permission,  I provide the following press release with emphasis added:

Popular RootsTech Event Open for Registration

FamilySearch International has announced that registration to RootsTech 2017 is now open. RootsTech is an annual family history and technology conference where guests of all ages are inspired to discover, preserve, and share their family roots, heritage, and stories across generations—past, present, and future. In 2016 the event attracted more than 28,000 attendees in-person from all 50 US states and 30+ countries. RootsTech 2017 will be held February 8–11 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The popular Innovator Summit and free Family Discovery Day are also open for registration. The website for registration is RootsTech.org.

rootstech-2017-badgeThe 4-day conference will offer attendees a full lineup of inspiring and well-known keynote speakers, over 200 informative sessions, including hands-on computer labs taught by industry professionals and leaders, interactive activities and helpful exhibitors in the expo hall, and entertaining evening events, all designed to inspire and empower personal family discoveries. Early bird discount pricing is available for a limited time on 4-day passes at just $159 and $189 for the RootsTech plus Innovator Summit pass. Passes for the Getting Started track start at $49 for a single day and $69 for a limited 3-day pass. All passes include access to the popular expo hall and morning keynote sessions.

Starting off the 4-day RootsTech conference is the Innovator Summit, a unique 1-day conference designed for serious entrepreneurs, developers, and innovators interested in giving their creative ideas traction in a growing multi-billion-dollar industry. The event also offers attendees the opportunity to interact and connect with industry influencers, executives, and investors. The Summit will include a morning general session (the keynote speaker will be announced soon), over 20 classes, the Innovator Showdown semi-finals, and more. Innovator Summit ONLY passes are available at the discount price of $99.

Along with the Innovator Summit, the Innovator Showdown returns to RootsTech with $100,000 in prizes. Innovators and entrepreneurs from around the world and from any industry are invited to compete with their latest products or services that enable individuals to discover, preserve, and share their personal and family stories, memories, or ancestral connections. The top 5 finalists will be invited to present their product or service on the main RootsTech stage before a panel of judges and a live audience on Friday, February 10, just after the morning keynote session.

rootstech-expo-hallRegistration for Family Discovery Day is also now open. The event takes place on Saturday, February 11, 2017, and is designed for families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This free and fun 1-day event includes inspiring messages from Church leaders, engaging classes for families, youth, and young single adults, and evening entertainment to inspire and help families and members discover, preserve, and share their family connections. Family Discovery Day attendees will also have access to all the interactive activities and exhibitors found in the RootsTech expo hall. Event details, including speakers and classes, will be made available soon at RootsTech.org. Registration is required.

RootsTech offers great keynote speakers, great sessions, and excellent exhibits that provide players of all levels with excellent coaching in their family history and genealogy pursuits. Onsite attendance also provides opportunities for individualized coaching as participants engage with industry leaders. Register early and get into the game! Hope to see you there!

 About RootsTech

RootsTech, held February 8–11, 2017, and hosted by FamilySearch, is the largest global family history event in the world! The seventh annual conference—celebrating families across generations—is the perfect place to discover and share your family’s stories and connections through technology.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am designated as an official ambassador to the RootsTech Conference and, as such, I am provided complimentary admission and other services, opportunities, and meals to accomplish my duties. Nevertheless, I have been with RootsTech since its inception and with its predecessor, the BYU Computerized Conference on Family History & Genealogy, for many years as a paid participant. As always, my coverage and opinions are my own and are not affected by my current status. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

©2016 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Entrepreneurs, Industry Leaders & Interested Genealogists Gathered for the Climb @RootsTechConf

A conference is a time of anticipation, a time of gathering, a time of seeing old friends and meeting new. It’s a time of learning and teaching. It’s a time of ideas, a time of product evaluations, and purchase considerations. It’s a time of networking, a time of connection, and a time of celebration. RootsTech is a celebration of “families across generations!”

RootsTech, with the Innovator Summit, is the largest conference of its kind. In 4 days, with 200+ sessions, and 26,000 on-site conference attendees, time is limited and moments are embraced. Nevertheless, when it’s over, there is not one person who could experience all that RootsTech has to offer: 26,000+ people on-site — 26,000+ unique life experiences!

The month of February hosts a favorite holiday of mine, Groundhog Day. Since the movie by the same name was released in 1993, Groundhog Day has come to symbolize repetition, at least until one gets it “right.”

In honor of this idea …

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The day began as entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and interested genealogists gathered for the climb at the Innovator Summit. Steve Rockwood opened the conference with his first public address since his appointment as CEO of FamilySearch International.

Rockwood says that powerful, positive core feelings about family history are universal. These feelings are the catalyst for action. FamilySearch International will focus on the following five categories of experiences that invoke these feelings to grow the family history audience:

  • Discovery — it can be as simple as a story at the dinner table or as complex as the algorithm that provides hinting
  • FamilyTree — growing the tree that binds and connects us together
  • Searchable Records — search faster, more effectively, “a huge nut to crack” for the benefit of the Google generation
  • Memories — stories and photos,  projected to involve more people in the industry than any other category as millennials are seen as “a journaling generation like the world has never seen”
  • Contextual Help — provide help where millennials are and in the way that they want to receive it

Rockwood closed by saying, “Let us continue to focus in on how to help family historians do their wonderful thing and grow that space, but at the same time, how could we then work with the partners here at RootsTech to maybe bring family history out and become part of the fabric of everyday life? My name is Steve Rockwood. I look at things inside out, upside down, and backwards. When I look at you, I get pumped. I’m excited. And we thank you for coming here and we hope this will be a very fruitful four days for you here at RootsTech. Thank you very much.”

Ken Krogue, president and founder of InsideSale.com, is an industry leader and a self-proclaimed family history and genealogy nut. “When you talk about your passion, good things happen.” I highly recommend you watch his presentation.

If you don’t have the time, you may glean a tidbit or two from this summary:

Principles of InsideSales Marketing

  • Innovation — applying what works in other worlds to your own
  • Go Sell Something — according to one study, four experiences increase one’s ability to sell: 1) a background in competitive sports, 2) being an LDS (Mormon) returned missionary, 3) being an Eagle Scout, and 4) a background in Microsoft Office, particularly Word and Excel
  • Keep a Fresh Perspective — new people bring vision
  • Find What Works Then Focus, Focus, Focus — 5 Things Business Can Learn From A Tree
  • Provide Crazy Value — Price, Quality, Speed (e.g. Costco)
  • “Divert a river … don’t dig a well.”
  • Swim with the Sharks
  • Does one person really matter? — The Currency of Digital Media: Views, Shares, and Comments
  • Research Marketing — shows the speed at which to respond = 5 minutes or less
  • Only Raise Money When You Don’t Need It
  • Find Investors Who Invest In You
  • Manage By the Numbers — use science and statistics to make decisions
  • Digital Media Rules — take the lead
  • Content + Distribution = Results
  • Give Back Along the Way
  • Tell Your Own Story
  • Mobilize Your People

Krogue also provided a list of things to watch in family history and genealogy:

  • Apps converging to platforms
  • From growth to profitability
  • Results focus
  • Wearable tech (e.g. life management)
  • Predictive analytics
  • DNA discoveries

Ken Krogue shared an amazing story about an exchange student who came to stay 2 blocks away from his home. He was up against a proverbial brick wall in pursuit of his Krogue lineage but one night Ken awoke with the realization that the exchange student, Tanita Sode, could be related to the Sode married to Krogue’s ancestor. Tanita asked her grandmother who revealed that she had 210 pages directly relating the Krogue lineage! Krogue asked, “how did that happen?”

Krogue outlined some activities he is involved in such as family history and social media events on Facebook. On Saturday he was going to show conference attendees how to hold a Family Reunion Event on Facebook. Unfortunately, with assignments looming, I was unable to stop by in the Expo Hall. If anyone would like to share what they learned from Krogue in the Expo Hall, email me or leave your nuggets of knowledge in the comments below. Thank you! :)

FamilySearch executives from multiple departments were available to discuss the latest and greatest from FamilySearch as well as receive some feedback. For more information, see the article titled Partner Town Hall with FamilySearch Executives that I wrote for the FamilySearch blog.

One last highlight of the day was the Innovator Showdown. The field of 12 presented to a lunchtime crowd as they competed for $100,00 in cash and in-kind services. The winners were announced at a Media Banquet that evening. Ancestor Cloud, JRNL, STUDIO, The History Project, TapGenes, and Twile all made the final cut to Friday’s Innovator Showdown.

Those that attend the Innovator Summit have the opportunity to hear from industry leaders, developers, and entrepreneurs. The evening holds a number of social events and the RootsTech Hackathon, named by TechCrunch as one of the most compelling hackathons! It’s a great addition to RootsTech. Mark Wednesday, February 8, 2017 for the next Innovator Summit!

Copyright ©2016 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

The Ascent Begins Today with the Innovator Summit @RootsTechConf

The Salt Palace Convention Center will serve as RootsTech’s base camp this year, beginning today through Saturday, February 6, 2016. Family historians, genealogists, and other interested parties will begin their ascent to greater knowledge and opportunities within the industry starting with the Innovator Summit.

Ken KrogueThe Innovator Summit is the world’s largest family history technology conference. Ken Krogue, a highly successful tech entrepreneur and founder of Insidesales.com, will give the keynote address at 9am followed by 2 sessions of choice.

At 12:15pm, those in attendance will be provided boxed lunches and have the opportunity to attend the 2016 RootsTech Innovator Showdown where 6 finalists will be chosen for the final showdown on Friday, February 5. You may view the video submissions of the 12 semifinalists at rootstech.org/showdown. They’re competing for a total of $100,000 in cash and prizes!

Following the Innovator Showdown, five 30 minute sessions will be offered at the Innovator Summit. RootsTech will simultaneously offer two sessions beginning at 3pm. These sessions will be followed by a networking social and the Innovator Hack-a-thon, an event that is touted “for those with a penchant for late night collaborative coding.”

RootsTech VIPs 2016On Thursday through Saturday, opening sessions will begin at 8:30am. The keynote speakers for Thursday will be Steve Rockwood, Managing Director for the Family History Department and President/CEO of FamilySearch International; Paula Williams Madison, Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC, a Los Angeles based media consultancy company with global reach and the author of Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem; and Bruce Feiler, “one of America’s most popular voices on contemporary life” and author of The Secrets of Happy Families and other notable books.

On Friday, attendees will hear from Josh and Naomi Davis of the blog Love Taza and David Isay of StoryCorps. Michael Leavitt’s keynote address will be streamed live on Saturday. He is a former governor of the state of Utah and the founder and chairman of Leavitt Partners. He will be followed by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a world-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize–winning author.

In addition, those in attendance will have the opportunity to explore the Expo Hall and attend numerous other social events, including concerts by Crescent Superband with Ryan Innes and Lower Lights. One event that I would like to highlight is the opportunity to view the documentary Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China at 2:00pm on Saturday in Room 151 of the Salt Lake Convention Center.

RootsTech 2016-FDD-with Sheri Dew and Wendy NelsonFamily Discovery Day will begin at 1pm on Saturday with an outstanding team recruited to inspire those who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to get into the game of family history and genealogy and provide temple ordinances for their ancestors. Elder Dale G. Renlund and Sister Ruth Renlund with their daughter Ashley will open this event in Hall D, followed by Sister Sheri Dew, Sister Wendy Watson Nelson, Sister Rosemary M. Wixom and Brother Stephen W. Owen. It is my hope that although Taysom Hill and Britain Covey play for in-state rivals, Taysom will connect with Britain to score a genealogical touchdown by inspiring families and youth at this year’s event!

If you are unable to attend this year’s conference or watch the live streaming of select sessions, including Family Discovery Day, follow #RootsTech on social media and the FamilySearch blog. You can receive automatic notifications of the latest posts by visiting familysearch.org/blog and providing your email address. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to The Single Leaf and I will do my best to keep you posted.

For those new to the family history and genealogy community and those who are seasoned, let us remember:
“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.”
― Barry Finlay, Kilimanjaro and Beyond

Copyright ©2016. Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Global RootsTech Conference Announces Free Online Broadcast Schedule

Global RootsTech Conference Announces Free Online Broadcast Schedule
For Immediate Release from RootsTech

SALT LAKE CITY, 29 January 2016—RootsTech, the world’s largest family history and technology conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 4-6, 2016, announced today that 15 of its popular sessions will be broadcast live and complimentary over the Internet. The live broadcasts will give those unable to attend in-person worldwide a sample of this year’s conference content. Interested viewers can watch the live presentations at RootsTech.org. The Family Discovery Day sessions will be broadcast on LDS.org.

The streamed sessions include the general sessions and a sampling of technology and family history presentations. Following are the broadcasted sessions and speakers. All times are in Mountain Standard Time (MST):

RootsTech Streaming Schedule (RootsTech.org Thursday, February 4; Friday, February 5; Saturday February 6, 2016)

RootsTech Straming Schedule

Family Discovery Day Streaming Schedule (LDS.org Saturday, February 6, 2016)

RootsTech 2016-FDD-Live Straming
About RootsTech
RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

RootsTech Begins in 7 Days!

 RootsTech VIPs 2016

Family History Enthusiasts Worldwide Gathering in Utah for RootsTech 2016

For Immediate Release From RootsTech

SALT LAKE CITY, 27 January 2016—RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, is looking forward to over 20,000 visitors over four days with an exciting array of speakers and entertainers, over 250 interesting and informative classes, a huge expo hall with more than 160 exhibitors. There is something for every level of family history—from the beginner to experienced. The three-day conference begins on Thursday, February 4, and goes through Saturday, February 6. For more information go to RootsTech.org.

The keynote speakers and offerings reflect the growing influence of family history. Today multiple generations of all ages are engaging through family storytelling and sharing memories within families using social media and an expanding array of new technologies and mobile apps. The opening session on February 4 will begin with Stephen T. Rockwood, who is the managing director for the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and President/CEO of FamilySearch International.

Also featured is Paula Williams Madison who is chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC, a Los Angeles based media consultancy company with global reach. After her retirement in 2011, Madison started doing research on her family lineage. She wrote the book and produced a movie Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem in April 2015 about her experiences. A free screening of the movie will be provided on Wednesday, February 3.

Bruce Feiler is one of America’s most popular commentators about contemporary life. He hosts the PBS series Walking the Bible and Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler. He wrote The Secrets of Happy Families containing best practices for busy parents from some of the country’s most creative minds. He has appeared on many television shows on NRP, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and others.

On Friday, February 5, David Isay, is a scheduled keynote. He’s the founder of StoryCorps, an award-winning organization that provides people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve their life stories. 50,000 interviews have been archived and preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. He has also written several New York Times bestsellers, including Listening is an Act of Love. He is a broadcaster and documentarian, and his research reveals ways to tell great stories for the family historian.

Also on Friday, Josh and Naomi Davis, popular family bloggers known as Love Taza, will speak. On their blog, they relate their life with their three children in bustling New York City. The blog has become a digital destination viewed by millions around the world. People love the inspiration about raising a family and the appreciation Naomi has for life’s simple joys.

On Saturday, February 6, Doris Kearns Goodwin is a world-renowned presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. She worked with Spielberg on the movie Lincoln, based in part on her award winning Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. She has written books about Frank and Eleanor Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and the Kennedys and shares her expertise and commentary on many television shows. She has a PhD in government from Harvard and was an assistant to Lyndon Johnson and has been a consultant in several PBS and History Channel documentaries.

Also on Saturday, Michael Leavitt, a three-term former governor of Utah, will speak. He also served in George W. Bush’s cabinet as an Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The second annual Innovator Summit is a one-day event on Wednesday, February 3, for developers, entrepreneurs, and innovators from around the globe to explore, examine, and discover business and technological opportunities within the family history industry—a rapidly growing multibillion dollar industry. Innovators from around the globe and from all industries will be competing for a piece of the $100,000 in total cash and in-kind prizes. The keynote speaker for this event will be Ken Krogue, an entrepreneur who has taken his business InsideSales.com from a small beginning to a billion dollar industry. He will share his expertise about social media and how to use the different forms effectively.

Along with the keynotes, RootsTech attendees will be able to hear from the Crescent Super Band, featuring Ryan Inness, and Lower Lights, a popular gospel and folk band.

More information about speakers, entertainers, classes, and how to register at RootsTech can be found at RootsTech.org.

About RootsTech

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

Making Difficult Research Easy and Accurate at the BYU Conference on Family History & Genealogy

Robert Kehrer discusses robo-keying as one of the most important technologies to expedite FamilySearch indexing

Robert Kehrer discusses robo-keying as one of the most important technologies to expedite FamilySearch indexing.

The day began as youth and adults gathered to hear Robert Kehrer, FamilySearch senior product manager of search technologies, present the new and upcoming features of FamilySearch during his keynote address titled, “FamilySearch: Making Difficult Research Easy and Accurate.”

It would be impossible to recount all of the features Mr. Kehrer demonstrated and discuss all of the statistics he provided in this post. He described his presentation as trying to pack 90 minutes of material into 60 minutes of time! Nevertheless, what he showed the crowd was impressive. He shared that when he first came to FamilySearch, he went incognito over to the Family History Library to experience first-hand what a visit entails for the average person. It was much more than he expected. Kehrer mentioned that statistically only about 3% of individuals are interested in the research process, which includes documenting and sourcing lineages through analysis and proof arguments, but there are many ways individuals can contribute. FamilySearch is working to make this happen.

One of the ways that those who are not interested in the research process contribute to FamilySearch is through indexing. Currently, FamilySearch has indexed 1.34 billion records, 68,569,328 records this year! There are 15,795,814 records awaiting arbitration. There are currently 450 projects and 213,184 contributors. The new indexing web application is simpler, easier, and more collaborative. It will run on all devices! For more information he recommended another conference session on Friday at 9:45 a.m. in room 2258 CONF, presented by Jennifer Tonioli Smith, titled, “FamilySearch Indexing: It’s a Whole New World!” There will be a Worldwide Indexing Event August 7-14, 2015. Mark your calendars to index at least one batch during this week :)

Some of the highlights of yesterday’s presentation included an upcoming feature in Memories that will provide a list view for easy editing, described by Mr. Kehrer as iTunes for genealogy; thumbnail images for record collections that are digitized but not yet indexed where markers can be placed for easy navigation in these records; and easier navigation in the catalog when viewing a microfilm reference number by allowing patrons to directly view the film if it has been digitized or having the option to order the microfilm. FamilyTree will soon allow sharing reservations, reminding users that FamilySearch will enforce the 110 year rule. There will soon be a direct messaging system to contact contributors to the FamilyTree. The mobile app will have a fully functioning search system. Indexes and images are now shown on the same page. When families are split by a page in records, such as censuses, FamilySearch will soon help users connect the dots so families displayed are shown together. Navigation arrows will be in place to view pages before and after. One of the most important technologies viewed yesterday was automated indexing which is performing with a high level of accuracy. Collections that have been released using this automation are noted so that if individuals find an error in the record they can provide feedback so that the record can be corrected. There will be a session on Friday, “FamilySearch Indexing, Robo-keying, and Partnering, Oh My!” on Friday by Jake Gehring at 1:30 p.m. in room 2258 CONF that he highly recommended attending if you’d like more information.

Some of the participants of the myFamily Youth Family History Camp

Some of the participants of the myFamily Youth Family History Camp

After the keynote address, the youth attending the myFamily camp loaded university vans for a day in Salt Lake City. While there, they toured the Family History Library, Temple Square, the Discovery Center, and the Church History Library.

Mary E.V. Hill teaches participants how to organize their genealogy.

Mary E.V. Hill teaches participants how to organize their genealogy.

Ugo Perego discussed the uses of DNA in genealogy as part of the DNA track.

Ugo Perego discussed the uses of DNA in genealogy as part of the DNA track.

Today Lisa Louise Cooke will be the keynote speaker at 8:30 a.m. Her topic will be, “The Future of Technology and Genealogy: Five Strategies You Need.” Following her presentation, sessions will be offered about methodology, migration, military records, and LDS ancestral research. Today Scandinavian, French, Dutch, and Italian research will be discussed, as well as a general overview of Latin American Catholic church and civil records. A track on the use of technology tools, such as Evernote and apps for smart phones and iPads, will be offered. Throughout the day presentations from those representing online subscription sites will be given by Fold3, Newspapers.com, Ancestry.com, and MyHeritage.

An appreciation shoutout to Nate, Brianna, Abby, and Isabell (and others) who host conference participants at the Morris Center cafeteria :)

An appreciation shoutout to Nate, Brianna, Abby, and Isabell (and others) who host conference participants at the Morris Center cafeteria :)

The onsite computer lab houses eight computers for use by conference participants. Many more are available at the BYU Family History Library.

The onsite computer lab houses eight computers for use by conference participants. Many more are available at the BYU Family History Library.

FamilySearch will continue to provide complimentary scanning as well as hosting a computer lab onsite for attendees. This is the last day many of our vendors will be onsite in rooms 2260 CONF. The vendor prize drawing will be held TODAY at 1 p.m. in room 2254 CONF. Vendor presentations will be held from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. in various rooms throughout the conference center. My Family Online, Historic Journals, Legacy Family Tree, Family Chartmasters, My Mission, Green Planet Maps, and SHOTBOX LLC will be represented. This evening at 7 p.m. at the Varsity Theater in the Wilkinson Center on BYU campus, Cokeville Miracle, a film by T.C. Christensen will be screened in preparation for the keynote address by this filmmaker in the plenary session tomorrow morning.

Copyright ©2015 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

RootsTech 2014: Reaching the Summit with New Mountains to Climb, Part 1

With Captain Jack Starling

With Captain Jack Starling

RootsTech 2014 offered participants an expanded view of all that is available to the family history and genealogy community. There were wow moments for many of those who came from 49 states and 32 countries! If anyone else knows someone from South Dakota, the lone holdout state, we’ve been asked to bring them along next year.

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

The Innovator Summit was held on Wednesday, February 5th. “RootsTech 2014: Reaching New Heights …” discusses the opening session. The day of the summit, I found myself tweeting, “[s]o many choices, so many friends, so little time!” The result of the larger conference and venue was that I attended a few sessions, not many, saw some friends, not all, and focused on capturing fleeting moments rather than reflective, hence the delay in sharing my experiences at RootsTech.

Find #MyToday at mytoday.co.

Find #MyToday at mytoday.co.

In one session, Cydni Tetro, who is employed as a Disney Imagineer, shared her vision of an app that would allow an individual to gather posts and tweets from multiple social media accounts into story form for preservation on the FamilySearch site. It is called #MyToday and it is in early beta. Cydni invited everyone to access mytoday.co and, using their Facebook account, create a story and provide feedback. Unfortunately, the story created will not be preserved but it will visually allow the creator an idea of the finished product.

In the evening the RootsTech 2014 FamilySearch Blogger and Media Dinner was held at the Salt Palace.

FamilySearch Industry Leaders Town Hall

FamilySearch Industry Leaders Town Hall

For the first time bloggers were invited to participate virtually. Announcements were made, including an introduction to The Year of the Obituary and FamilySearch’s Captain Jack Starling. The goal is to create an index of 100,000,000 obituaries because “dead men tell no tales, but their obituaries do.” FamilySearch is partnering with many organizations and volunteers to make this happen. The project will begin with obituaries from the United States and expand to other nations. Although an obituary is only as good as its source, obituaries provide vital and biographical information important to genealogical research. Sometimes they even include a story or two.

By the way, there was a town meeting held with some of the top executives from FamilySearch International. It was a great opportunity to ask questions. All were invited.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Please welcome to the stage ... Shipley Munson!

“Please welcome to the stage … Shipley Munson!”

Shipley Munson welcomed RootsTech attendees to this year’s conference. He introduced Dennis C. Brimhall, the CEO of FamilySearch International. Brimhall had four important points:

  1. The power of stories
  2. FamilySearch.org enhancements, including an attempt to create a texting app so that those who do not have access to computers and smart phones can participate via this technology
  3. The role and importance of records, including the importance of indexing
  4. The importance of partnerships to accelerate online record access. At the current pace, it will take an estimated 11 generations before the records at FamilySearch will be digitally preserved. With partnerships, it is estimated we can reduce this to one!

After Brimhall’s remarks Josh Taylor introduced his boss Annelies van den Belt, CEO of DC Thomson Family History. She introduced herself by sharing part of her own family history and her vision for the partnership entered into by the leading genealogy companies. Finally, Ree Drummond, The Pioneeer Woman, shared her introduction to family history and her blogging journey. She encouraged others to start blogging or writing their stories using the medium of their choice.
Expo Hall RootsTech 2014. WPThe Expo Hall opened shortly thereafter with vendors prepared to greet attendees. This year RootsTech provided free Expo passes to those who wanted to walk the hall. With presenters taking the stage at the BackBlaze theatre, the Expo Hall was a continual education hot spot. I must admit that I only caught a quick glimpse of all that was going on. I needed another day to devote to investigating everything available!

Dr. Spencer Wells, Kenny Freestone, Dr. Tim Janzen, and Benett Greenspan

(From L to R) Dr. Spencer Wells, Kenny Freestone, Dr. Tim Janzen, MD, and Bennett Greenspan

I enjoyed two sessions on DNA. CeCe Moore presented her strategies for “Using Genetic Genealogy to Discover the Ancestry of Adoptees (and Scale Recent Genealogical Brick Walls).” As an expert genetic genealogist, she moderated the session that allowed attendees to ask questions to the experts representing the leading DNA companies. One of the benefits of physically attending RootsTech is the opportunity for an attendee to receive an answer to his or her specific question from top experts in the field.

Vocal Point at RootsTech 2014 Opening Social

Vocal Point at RootsTech 2014 Opening Social

In the evening, attendees were treated to light refreshments and a concert by Vocal Point, who opened with “Footloose.” Vocal Point performed songs for all generations and shared a few anecdotes related to their own experience with family history.

RootsTech 2014 had so much to offer whether attending in person or virtually, so I have a musing question: how long do you think it would take to apply all that one could learn from RootsTech 2014?

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

RootsTech 2014: Reaching New Heights at the Innovator Summit

Chris Dancy WP RootsTech 2014 opened Wednesday with the Innovator Summit held at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. This year RootsTech set aside an entire day to focus on innovative ways to address the issues that affect genealogists and look to the future. The conference is being held in a bigger venue this year allowing more people the opportunity to attend the largest genealogy conference in North America. Projected numbers indicate that RootsTech 2014 will qualify as the largest genealogy conference in the world!

Ben Bennett, representing FamilySearch International, made the introductions. FamilySearch International invited those present to be forward-thinking and enhance the pursuit of genealogy through the development of new ideas. As it was advertised, “Join the Conversation. Change Your Future.”

Andrew Fox introduced findmypast and related that the company is looking to partner with tech organizations and provide a developer platform to expand the use of the information held in their databases. He said that findmypast can benefit the world of academia in science and social science. He mentioned a few projects that are currently being researched using specific record sets. Findmypast is continually evaluating how to use its data, recognizing that the applications are endless. The big announcement is that findmypast (fmp) is releasing the fmp capture app that will allow individuals to record audio, upload photos, and store notes. If you are in Salt Lake, stop by the findmypast booth for a demonstration.

Chris Dancy of BMC Software and a data exhaust cartographer gave the keynote presentation. I had the opportunity to talk with Chris before the session. It is obvious upon meeting him that he is futuristic in his thinking. Besides wearing Google glass, he was wearing 11 sensors that provide data on his current state of being. Since we were at a genealogy conference, I asked him about his heritage. He told me that he comes from Irish and Nordic heritage. With his forward-thinking, he has had his entire genome sequenced. Although he tested his DNA with 23andMe, he uses a company called Exogen Biotechnology. Inc. that monitors changes in his DNA on a regular basis. He uses this data to make adjustments in his lifestyle and environment.

In his presentation, “Facebook for the Dead”, he discussed the fact that, organically, it’s easy to die. Death used be “dualistic,” meaning that not only did people die but their data files died too. The statistic that 3.9 billion people will die during a individual’s lifetime and the fact that 7,000 people died during Chris Dancy’s presentation is daunting. Despite these sobering facts, Chris talked about the ways that people live on. Historically, Egyptians had the Book of the Dead as well as the Scroll of Ani. Now we are remembered through the remaining bits of data in our digital world.

It’s hard to die digitally. People can be followed on Twitter even after they take their last breath. Chris Dancy shared an experience he had in Las Vegas. He told the story of how he witnessed Michael Jackson being resurrected during a show wearing clothes Michael never wore and singing songs he never sang. It was as if Michael had never died. This type of digital reconstruction is possible not only possible for Michael Jackson but us too. Dancy cited cost as the prohibitive factor.

“We are putting are lives online, and we are also putting our deaths online,” and Chris Dancy gave himself as an example. With the previously mentioned 11 sensors and 7 system monitoring him, he is able to record his vital information on a Google calendar. He is making a digital history that will live on after his mortal death.

The dead population is beginning to grow larger than life in the cyber world. Chris Dancy urges people to evaluate the systems in their lives. He asked us to consider how our data will remember us. He mentioned that social networking companies have varied terms of service that affect our information upon death. The record of our lives becomes complicated by these terms. He mentioned that Google was one of the better companies with their terms of service. Nevertheless, Chris Dancy suggested that making it possible to link accounts and becoming aware of what is posted online will help construct an accurate legacy.

There are many resources that can be used to help preserve the past. One example is Eterni.me, a website that allows you to create a lasting digital history. Chris Dancy encouraged developers to create middle-ware to connect different sites together. The platform that is used is important but the most important factor is you.

Chris Dancy ended his address by talking about an episode of the British show Black Mirror entitled “Wish You Were Here” where the boyfriend of a character is virtually reconstructed and she questions his reality. Ultimately, we may be able to reconstruct a 3D virtual reality of the deceased using the data they left behind, especially photos aggregated online. In many ways, we are being enabled to virtually resurrect the past.

Copyright ©2014 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

Congratulations to the FamilySearch Indexing Volunteers – Your Efforts Counted…to a Billion!

One Million Digitized WPAs I have been reporting since RootsTech 2013, FamilySearch Indexing has been approaching the billionth indexed record. It really takes team effort to reach such a goal. Previously it took decades; this time it took less than 7 years :-) When it came to the 1940 US Census Community Project, organizations joined forces to complete the project. A few weeks into April 2012, 4.9 million records were indexed in one day and on July 2, 2012 indexers produced over 10 million records indexed and arbitrated in a 24-hour period. Now that was a WOW moment!

Today, someone will be named the indexer of the billionth record. Another could be named as the one who indexed the most records. And another could be named for the most accurate indexing. The list could go on, but it took every single record to count to a billion and therefore every single record and the indexer who contributed it counts! It’s part of being a team, whether on a project, with friends, in a family, with a business, or in the community, greater outcomes materialize with team effort and support :-) So today, THANK YOU to each and every volunteer who made it happen! You have provided indexes that will assist genealogists and family historians in finding the records that will piece history together! And, THANK YOU to FamilySearch International and the Indexing team for supplying and supporting these efforts. Volunteers could not do it without you! You provide so much :-)

This past week familysearch.org received a makeover. As individuals evaluated the new features and layout, I personally noticed that the links to the pages for indexing remained the same. For those who may have hesitated and would like to join in indexing the next billion, here is how you can become a part of this great team.

Go to www.familysearch.org. First ScreenClick on the Indexing box, the fifth one from the left, and then Learn More. (If the screen has rotated to highlight indexing, just click on Learn More.) This is the FamilySearch Indexing Home Screen.2 If you do not already have a FamiySearch account you will need to register. Click on “Sign In.” The form requires that you create a user name and password that will be used when accessing the FamilySearch Indexing software and other FamilySearch features. 4Be sure to read the Rights and Use Information as well as the Privacy Policy, then click on “Create an Account.” :-)5 When you return to the indexing home page click on “Download the software” and you will received the specialized software necessary for indexing. 2aOnce you have downloaded the software you are ready to begin. If you scroll down the Indexing home page you will see some interesting and pertinent information with links to even more information. Don’t be overwhelmed! You decide which project to work on and a way to find out more information about the projects is to click on “see all  projects” highlighted in blue under “Indexing is a worldwide effort.”6 The projects listed are from localities around the world! These pages will give you the details and sample pages to determine the right project for you!78910 (By the way, if you are logged into the software you may access the project information from the list of choices.)

As I mentioned, indexing is a team effort and if a collection is a priority to an organization it will be completed at a much faster rate. If your society has interest in records that will specifically benefit your members, why not adopt that project. You can even hold indexing meetings or parties. There are many ways to come together to index the records that benefit ourselves and the community.

As I mentioned previously, the projects being highlighted by FamilySearch Indexing are the US Immigration and Naturalization Project and the Italian Ancestors Project. Once indexed these records become accessible to all genealogists and family historians without subscription.

Today is the day to celebrate another billion records indexed! CONGRATULATIONS to FamilySearch Indexing and its volunteers. And, once again, THANK YOU :-)

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.

FamilySearch Indexing Fast Approaching a Billion Indexed Records

FS Thanks A BillionOne of the great announcements made at RootsTech 2013 was that FamilySearch Indexing is fast approaching a billion indexed records thanks to people like us. What once took decades has now taken a little over six years so that those interested can find an actual image of a record of an ancestor with a click of a mouse or a tap on a screen :-) Indexing makes research easy and convenient.

While at RootsTech 2013 I noticed at the indexing booth that the counter never stopped. About a dozen computers were made available so that those attending the conference could stop by and index a batch. Others around the world continued to index as well :-) As of this past Thursday, FamilySearch Indexing had reached 990,000,000 and counting. I hope this pace remains constant as indexers continue the quest. Ten million records doesn’t seem like that much since indexers already broke records last July 2nd and topped the goal of indexing 5 million by completing over 7 million in a 24 hour period with over 3 million records arbitrated for the 1940 US Census Community Project.

Now two additional projects are center stage: the US Immigration and Naturalization Project and the Italian Ancestors Project, but as an indexer, neither project is required. The indexer chooses which record set he or she would like to work with, such as a project listed as a high priority and/or one in the indexer’s area of interest. Projects are also labeled as beginner, intermediate, or advanced to assist the indexer in choosing an appropriate level of difficulty. On the screen that allows you to choose your project, in the left-hand corner, an indexer may choose how many batches he or she would like to download. The advantage to more than one batch is that when a record is handwritten the indexer can become accustomed to the recorders style and it is easier to read. This is true for all handwritten records, but especially for those written in a language foreign to the indexer. Currently many of the passenger lists are typed on the original records so data entry is easy.

If you would like to give indexing a try, you will need a familysearch.org account. There are two types of accounts: one for the general public and one for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Don’t be concerned about the LDS church account if you are not a member. The account log in for LDS members allows them to access church related directories, calendars, and other church information.)

Indexing Home Page

FamilSearch Sign In

FS Registration Page

Registration Information

Once you have an account, you may download the indexing software. This software can be used with Windows, Mac, or Linux :-)FS Indexing Get Started

Installing FS Indexing Pop-Up Window

Sign In to FamilySearch Indexing

Download BatchOnce installed, choose a project, download a batch, read the instructions for the project, and then begin. Please Read the InstructionsInstructions for each field are always to the right of the data input. Help is available by phone or chat. Give indexing a try, and if you find a specific batch that is incompatible with you, just send it back and try another one. Soon you will be indexing like a pro!

FS Indexing Image

What if indexing is not for you? There are other ways you can contribute to the genealogical community at familysearch.org. You can contribute by writing research articles for the wiki and/or tech tips in your area of expertise, make a tax-deductible donation, and/or evaluate upcoming features. It’s up to you! I’ve heard FamilySearch express gratitude many times for those who volunteer. All of us benefit from the record sets indexed and made available at no cost to us. If you use familysearch.org, thank an indexer! At RootsTech, FamilySearch Indexing found a fun way to give back to the volunteers as well. Anyone who indexed a batch at the conference received a photo on the mock dock of Ellis Island in honor of the US Immigration and Naturalization Project. Remember immigration and naturalization records can be the key to unlocking the mystery of an ancestor’s homeland. Why not give indexing a try? You may be the one to index the billionth record!

Copyright ©2013 Lynn Broderick and the Single Leaf. All Rights Reserved.