My Rootstech Wrap-up

Each year at Rootstech seems better than the last. How they will top this year’s I cannot imagine. ‘My favorite thing’ was the Rogers and Hammerstein musical evening with the Tabernacle Choir, narrated by Oscar’s grandson Andy Hammerstein, which included learning a bit about the history of that remarkable family.

Other high points for me were actor LeVar Burton’s keynote talk (found online by Roberta Estes click here), DNA expert Cece Moore’s keynote talk, and numerous really great presentations.

I particularly enjoyed meeting in person many people that I only knew from emails or by reputation like Curtis Rogers of GEDmatch, Dr. Yaniv Erlich of, Gilad Japhet of MyHeritage, David Nicholson of Living DNA, and Louis Kessler of Double Match Triangulator (DMT see below).

Innovator Showdown

Another thing I really love at Rootstech is learning about the new products for genealogists, particularly those which compete in the innovator showdown.

I was really pleased to see a DNA tool make it to 3rd place, the Double Match Triangulator by Louis Kessler. This is a tool that lets you compare two match lists from family Tree DNA, giving you real triangulation. I mentioned it in my talk and will blog about it soon. A semi-finalist product that I found quite interesting, was the Cuzins android app which uses the familysearch world tree to show you how any two celebrities are related. Friends will be added soon.

News from the Genealogy Companies

There were many exciting announcements of new features from all the big companies which will provide material for several weeks of more detailed blog posts. Here is a quick list

  • announced
    • a new feature in beta, Genetic Communities, using trees plus DNA to build groups by location and also migration patterns. Described the first thing in the Saturday opening video:
  • MyHeritage announced
  • MyHeritage DNA told us at their lunch that
    • They sent off thousands of free kits recently to collect founder populations around the world.
    • DNA uploads from other companies will continue to be free and ancestry composition will eventually be added for those kits as well
    • DNA relative matching has already improved and they have hired Dr Yanniv Erlich of to contunue improving it. will continue so upload your DNA there too
    • For their own DNA kits, they are using an Italian company which like Family Tree DNA, collects via cheek swab, much easier for old people, and uses an illumina chip.
  • FindMyPast announced that it is creating a comprehensive collection of Roman Catholic records for the United States, Britain and Ireland.

DNA companies

It was great to see 23andme had a booth, as they were missing last year. Their sale is on until the 14th.

Family Tree DNA was there in force of course and yes they will be taking uploads from the other companies very soon. Beta is almost complete on that. Thanks to Judy Russell’s blog, here is the coupon code for the sale on various Family Tree DNA tests until the 18th: LF3CG, andf or the mtDNA test, use coupon code TBN2Y.

Ancestry had an amazing $49 sale at the conference. I mailed off 10 kits to friends Saturday morning!

A new DNA testing company is Living DNA and an improved one is MyHeritage. More on those soon.

Other things that made me happy

Exciting for me was meeting a 10th cousin at the GENI booth whose ancestors also come from the same little town in Norway that my Dad’s father’s mother’s family is from – Mandal. She had never met anyone before who had even heard of the place! Sadly we share no DNA but we do have a similar wide faced look.

Also I love that the new tier 1 one-to-many function at GEDmatch includes tag groups plus links to your match’s gedcom at gedmatch and/or wikitree.

Sadly I only made it to one of retired Norwegian archivist Finn Karlsen’s talks but there is plenty of information and his handouts at

A fun part of the conference was the cake competition inspired by having cake master Buddy Valestro do a keynote at the conference. My favorite cake was the winner in the birthday cake category, a cake for a gardener, any volunteers to make one for me?

DNA Triangulation Talk

My apologies to the attendees of my talk for having the URL for my older triangulation slides in the syllabus. You can always go to for my latest presentation slides, in this case triangulation 2017. Also a newer version of the handout will be posted in downloads here by Monday (the original is at home, sorry!).

Randy Seaver, Judy Russell and I take a selfie

In Conclusion

And a big thank you to fellow san diegan Randy Seaver for compiling a list of Rootstech blog posts here:

I am looking forward to catching up on what I missed there and at the online videos for some of the talks that were streamed – – click on menu then each day to see the available talks.

This post was updated yet again midday on the 13th!

Disclaimer: My brother is Shipley Munson who organizes this conference and sings in the Tabernacle Choir.


2 thoughts on “My Rootstech Wrap-up

Click here to add your thoughts at the end of the comments
  1. Great Wrap up – thanks!! My great great grandfather on my dad’s mother’s side is from Mandal! Have you ever been there? I just got an AncestryDNA kit at RootsTech – maybe we are related? Our surname from their is Ericksen

  2. Look through my posts from June 2015 for my Norway trip but no I did not get to Mandal, just Christiansand where they went from Mandal …

    Ericksen is a patronymic and not much help. Our ancestors in Norway did not have surnames as we know them. When Norwegians went to the USA they usually either picked the farm name or their father’s name to use as a surname. Read

    Also click on the Norway tab under genealogy above. So many Norwegian records are online for free now. You could search the archive for the Mandal area for your gg-grandad by first name and birth year and might well find him that way.

    Soon we will know if we are related in the DNA! I will post my Mandal ancestor’s GENI url later today. Much to do …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.