Tag Archive | rootstech

Using AI for Genealogy by Steve Little

One of the most unusual talks at the recent i4GG conference (videos coming soon) was the one about the use of AI for genealogy by Steve Little, the AI program director for the National Genealogical Society (NGS).  I learned that it was how you phrased your question that could lead to more accurate answers, e.g. “you are a professional genealogist … ” I found out that AI, particularly the paid versions, could extract text from documents, even handwritten ones and translate in context. Here is my favorite slide from that talk. Personally my first impression of ChatGPT had been that it was great at sounding good while making stuff up.

Slide from Steve Little’s talk, used by permission

Steve will be speaking at RootsTech at 8 am Thursday this week and will also be available at the NGS booth as per his post on FaceBook.

Amusingly, in my own talk about using bioancestry to solve unknown parentage cases, I had experimented with using AI generated images to illustrate a few of my points. For example, when I asked the deepAI image generator for a Hungarian violinist I got this image whose hands are imperfect, but it still adds pizzazz to the slide.

No sooner has my favorite DNA conference (i4GG) ended, than it is time to get ready for Rootstech! No I won’t be there in person this year, too much to do to prepare for our move to Connecticut. Hope everyone has a great time. I will attend virtually, so if you are logged in there, you can click here to see if you are related to me! As all my ancestors are fairly recent immigrants (earliest 1860s), I have only 434 relatives at Rootstech, the closest being a fifth cousin. Oh well.

Conferences Galore!

The largest genealogy conference in the world, Rootstech is virtual and free again this year. It starts in just a few hours!

For genetic genealogists, i4GG is on again for April 9-10 in San Diego in person, thanks to CeCe Moore. The East Coast is going to have its own genetic genealogy conference, now virtual, ECGGC on April 23-24. Click any name in the preceding to go to the conference site and yes I will be presenting at all of them.

For Rootstech, my recorded talk delves into the details of the case where I found a jewish sperm donor; click here for that or here for the blog post. My very basic talk on using DNA to figure out unknown parentage, which I did for them last year, is still on youtube (click here). Roberta Estes has written a number of helpful posts about Rootstech 2022 – one on how to navigate the website and find what you want (click here) and several on using the find your relatives app  (click here and here)

For i4GG I usually present what’s new at GEDmatch and sometimes more about the latest tools for finding unknown parentage. My 2020 live i4GG talks can still be purchased with all the other great ones from that wonderful last conference before COVID at https://i4gg.org/2020-videos/

At the brand new East Coast Genetic Genealogy Conference (ECGGC), I will give some of my favorite and newly revised talks, live but virtual. The titles below link to the previous versions of my slides but I will make a note here when the slides are updated.

Getting the scoop on new GEDmatch features over lunch with Verogen’s Tom and Brett

Virtual RootsTech 2021 is Almost Here

The excitement is building… RootsTech, the largest yearly genealogy conference, has gone virtual and what’s more it’s free this year! Over 400,000 people from all over the world have registered for RootsTech Connect. It starts this Thursday February 25–27, 2021, at rootstech.org [UPDATE 23-Feb-2021: Due to time differences, in the USA it starts the evening of Wednesday the 24th: the Expo Hall officially opens at 5pm Mountain time and the main stage and classes at 9 pm Mountain time… and yes I updated the number of attendees and will continute to do that].

Many companies have sales or specials at the time of Rootstech. One of the most exciting ones is that DNA uploads of tests from other testing companies will get the DNA tools for free this week at MyHeritage (click here to learn more). Be sure to go to the virtual Expo Hall, once it is open, to check out all the other specials.

Title slide from one of my presentations. Photo by Anne Call House from a past RootsTech. Click image for my speaker page

My own talks are a two part series on unknown parentage, as well as a presentation on one world collaborative trees: FamilySearch, GENI, and WIKItree. I saw a really large number of talks in my areas of interest:  DNA, Norway, Jewish, and Germany. Fortunately the talks will be available long after the conference ends. There are far too many for me to manage in just three days!

How are they going to handle the online conference?
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Rootstech Remotely and Google Photos

It makes me sad to be missing Rootstech this year (blame my husband) but I am experimenting today with viewing a few of the free streaming lectures online. To get the live stream just go to the Rootstech home page and sign up. Currently, you can watch only on the day of the lectures.

One of the pleasures of a conference like Rootstech is seeing old friends plus meeting and greeting many of your virtual friends, the ones you have researched with electronically but have never met in person. So it makes me sad not to be meeting fellow genetic genealogy blogger Roberta Estes who is attending for the first time. Follow her blog for daily reports.

Another pleasure of this conference is the amazing Exhibit Hall. Every vendor has a booth and new features to announce. Much to blog about for weeks to come! Personally I found about two lectures a day were best for my own self pacing. Then of course there is the wonderful Family History Library next door; a reason all by itself to visit Salt Lake City.

Today I went to Rootstech via streaming on my PC for a very informative lecture about using Google Photos from the in depth genealogist Michelle Goodrum. The nice thing was that I could stop the lecture and go play with my Google Photos as I learned about features I had never considered.

She also discussed the app, Photo Scan, that you can use on your smartphone to scan images and document pages by taking a picture at 4 different spots to get rid of glare reflections and misalignments. The result is automatically added to your google photos.

I had always known that my Android photos were magically whisked up into the cloud to my Google photos area at https://photos.google.com/ (you need to be logged in to your google account to see them). I had often downloaded one or two images from there to illustrate this blog or add to a profile on a genealogy site. But I had never realized all the ways Google had already organized them for me or that I could do some editing there plus add information and more organization!

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My Favorite Genealogy Conferences with DNA

Living in Southern California might have some effect on my choices, but there is only one conference that is genetic genealogy only and that is the one from i4GG with headliners CeCe Moore and Blaine Bettinger. This conference is coming soon to the city with the best weather in continental USA, my hometown these days, San Diego. Hope to see you there in early December on the weekend of the 9th and 10th.

Click on the illustration for the larger and more complete poster, which doesn’t include the highlight of my name (I did that myself for this version of the image). To register go to i4GG.org/registration/ – to convince a friend to join you there, send them this video link – https://vimeo.com/236356778

My talk will be about the latest tools at GEDmatch, a site with much to help you further analyze your DNA results. Those of you who have been enjoying the tools from DNAgedcom, like GWorks, will be delighted to get a chance to meet their author, Rob Warthen, at i4GG.

That is what I love best about these conferences, listening to and meeting the movers and shakers in the genetic genealogy world, talking to people whose eyes don’t glaze over when I describe my lastest DNA success, and being with folk who share my passion.

Another favorite conference is the SCGS (Southern California Genealogy Society) Jamboree in June because they have a whole day devoted to DNA on the Thursday before the main conference as well as many sessions thereafter. Plus there is a charming outdoor bar between the conference area and the hotel where we can all chat into the wee hours over wine or whatever. My talks are about DNA: using GWorks for adoption cases, my favorite segment triangulation talk (which I update every year), and a panel appearance. I will, of course, do a round table as well.

Lara Diamond, the jewish genealogy and dna expert, is also speaking at i4GG. I first met her at Rootstech, the largest genealogy conference anywhere which happens every February and got to over 20,000 people last year! This is clearly the biggest and the best genealogy conference there is and it has many DNA sessions. I am very sad to miss it this year but I am an ambassador and will watch online. Wish there was an online tour of the exhibition hall which is always full of great old and new products.

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