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!
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!
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.
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
Last year’s Rootstech saw the advent of a great new event, the MyHeritage after party on Friday night, with lots of fun games (no I cannot throw a bean bag well) as well as music, karaoke, prizes, food, and drink. A great tension reliever after a hard day focusing on wonderful talks.
Shipley Munson and A.J.Jacobs on screen and on stage at Rootstech
I have five free party tickets to give out to my readers for this year’s after party on Friday February 10th. Everyone who completes my survey about my blog (click here) will be entered into a random drawing. You can also answer inline after the read more below. In addition, you can choose to do the questionnaire and not enter as well. Winners will be notified by email very soon.
This will be my fourth year at Rootstech and my third year speaking. My topic will again be DNA Triangulation, updated from previous renditions. This is one of my favorite subjects and I love to demonstrate how we used this in my family to confirm a shaky paper trail, as well as ways you can use this technique at the different companies.
Another point of excitement for fellow genetic genealogists is that our own wonderful Cece Moore is doing a keynote speech on Saturday. Continue reading →