RootsTech 2014

Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

#RootsTech -- Opening Keynote and etc.

After a very productive and interesting breakfast meeting with Tim Sullivan and Eric Shoup of Ancestry.com, but more about that later. Now I am at the opening of the Conference. This session is sponsored by findmypast.com. More about the FamilySearch.org agreements with the three large genealogical database companies soon.

After words from Shipley Monson, we hear from Dennis Brimhall for a greeting to the Conference. I guess I am included in the "Press" since I am sitting on the second row in the middle. There is a huge video camera on a boom taking our pictures. So here we go. There are supposed to be 12,000 attendees in person and thousands more online. The presentations that are being videoed are being sent to 622 locations around the world. That is 622 Stake Family History Fairs around the world. Since I am being videoed, I wonder how many will know what is blog is and want to watch my presentation?

Dennis says what would our great-great grandchildren wish we had preserved about our lives. We all want to find the stories and the photos  that document our lives. What FamilySearch has done this past year. They have some really good video presentations on the connection of photos and stories to show how there is an emotional impact with everyone when we involve everyone.

Over 12 million sources have been added to FamilySearch.org and users are now adding many photos and stories. Dennis suggests that we send links to the photos and stories so that all of our family members will become involved.

The challenge is how to do Family History without a computer. So FamilySearch put together the "My Family" book and 1.7 million copies have been sent out to the world. Want to develop a way to get information into FamilySearch from a cell phone, not a smartphone or a tablet. FamilySearch is always looking for more records. He introduces "Captain Jack" the pirate themed icon for Indexing obituaries. "Dead men tell no tales but their obituaries do!" More about this in another post.

There is so much going on, it will take a while to digest all of this and get it down in words. By the time I do this everything will have changed again anyway.

Obituaries are rich in stories and now the indexers can help in adding millions of indexed obituaries to FamilySearch Historical Records. There are already 1 billion indexed records. FamilySearch has 5.3 billion records from mainly the Americas and Europe. They are partnering with organizations and companies around the world to speed up the indexing and acquisition of the records.

Dennis speaks briefly about partnering with the genealogy companies and societies to speed up the process of digitizing the worlds records He gives an example of a program called FamilyMap. Then he gives a short demo of Puzzilla.org. I have talked to the developer and I will have a lot more to say about this program.

Now we have Joshua Taylor talking about the date of RootsTech 2015 and the combined conference with FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) He introduces Annelies van den Belt, the CEO of D. C. Thomson Family History or findmypast.com. It turns out that where I am sitting I am getting a lot of echoes and so I had a hard time understanding Annelies. What we are looking for is connectivity. She talks about the process of searching for our ancestors and need to have a timeline and a way for saving digital treasures. All of this leads to a democratized world. They intend to create better tools to find records about our ancestors.

I think the differences in style between the different countries around the world and they way they are demonstrated by these different genealogy companies is fascinating.

They have an expanding base in historical records. The next step is enrichment and enhancement through records such as newspapers. They will also be developing products such as mobile apps to access the records. This can be accomplished with partnerships such as the newspaper project with the British Library and others such as NYG&B and Eneclann, National Records of Scotland, LLGCNLW, FamilySearch and ACPL (looking up all these acronyms later, of course). Mentions Lives of First World War as an example of connectivity. There were 8 million people involved in that war. I have written about this project recently, I am sure I will again. With this database, you can read exactly what happened on each day and in each battle of the entire war. Even if your ancestor's service was not preserved by a diary, There will be other diaries that will give all the details. This is part of the 100 year observance of the War. It is Annelies' birthday.

Now we have The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. I am connected with her blog in that it was one of the first I was shown by my daughter as an example of an online blog. It is interesting to me that, now almost seven years later, I am sitting in a huge conference seeing her in person as a blogger. Her presentation was autobiographical and interesting.


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