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

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Semi-Finalist pool reduced to 22 in Innovator Showdown for RootsTech 2016

I am informed that the contestants for consideration as one of the twelve semi-finalists has been reduced to 22 for the RootsTech 2015 Innovators Summit. The list I obtained is as follows:

AncestorCloud, Arkiver, Briobi, EveryStory, Famicity, GenerationStory, GenSoup, Goze, JRNL KID, CHATTEROO, Kindex, Legacy Scribes, Little Family Tree, My Family App, Perspectives, PostcardTree, Scribbitt, Studio by Legacy Republic, TapGenes, The Family History Guide, The History Project, Tribergy, Twile, weGather.

I understand that this was about half of the total submissions. I find the following websites or other information about the contestants on this list that follows. It looks like they are in alphabetical order and where I have been able to find a website or other information, I have included a quote from their website or press release or whatever. I am only reasonably familiar with one or two of these programs. I must note that some of these programs have very generic names and I may have linked to the wrong website. If this is the case, be sure and send me an update and I will correct the links. 

Just an observation: I think that many of these programs need a quick, lead-in description so you can tell what they do. I found that even after poking around on their websites, I couldn't quite figure out what the program was supposed to do for me. I would not be inclined to purchase or sign up for a program for which I had no need. This problem is pretty endemic in the genealogical community. 

Another observation: by the time I got through this list, I was certain that there were some of these programs that were probably good, but short of downloading the program etc. and working with it, I was totally mystified by the website's sales talk. I would be very glad to have a dialog with the developers so they can explain to me why I might need their programs. 

Another, another observation: some of these developers need to do a Google search for their product names before they do some advertising etc. Some of these names are so general as to be nearly impossible to find. 

Even more observations: I would think that this Innovators Summit competition should be divided into startup and an ongoing program categories. Some of these programs have been around for a while and are fully developed websites. That doesn't seem fair to the bare startups. I also notice that very, very few of these programs mention FamilySearch or have anything to do with the Family Tree. This was not the case in past years. 

AncestorCloud is a community that connects family researchers with willing helpers and professional genealogists.

Connect with helpers to pick up records, take local photographs, translate documents, help with research questions or conduct custom research.

It's free to join and post a request.

  • Beautiful and easy to use. A place we will enjoy coming to collect, curate and share the stories of life – not just as parents but as people: travelers, artists, journal keepers, family historians, basically anyone with memories worth preserving.
  • Connects to the devices, social media and cloud storage accounts where all our photos and videos are saved.
  • Enables us to capture memories from our heads by writing notes and quotes in real time before they get forgotten.
  • Provides a powerful range of organizational tools like collections and tags that suit the preferences of different users.
  • Easy to share privately with close friends and family without making them sign-up for an account.
  • Integrates with other services like Walgreens to transform our digital moments into printed pictures and other great stuff.
  • Saves everything safely and privately in our own account on a cloud storage service we trust, like Dropbox.
We recognize the potential a social media product has in recording family histories. With Briobi, our mission is to create a free social media product that focuses on one objective: telling your life's story. Whether memories and photos are entered directly into Briobi or linked to other social media accounts, Briobi gives you one place to organize your memorable moments and eliminate the social media noise so you can tell your story.

App for iOs and Android. EveryStory is an easy way to capture, save, and share the stories behind your favorite photos. Simply upload some photos, tap the record button and tell your story.

FAMICITY is a service that allows every people to preserve and enhance their legacy. We expect to revolutionize the way family and friends are sharing by giving them a new place. Our service is available on computers, tablets and smartphones. You can already give it a try and enjoy great moments with family by creating your family tree and share the history of your ancestors. It's simple and made for every one from 7 to 107 years old!

GenerationStory is connecting the past with the future. Technology can now bridge the gap from generation to generation. For the next generation, organize your collection and share your story.

German. European based family tree program. Looks interesting but nothing on the website tells what it is. The only tag line is: Die europäische Online-Plattform für Ihre Familiengeschichte.

Here is what I found. I hope this is correct because one meaning of the word is a Japanese historic term referring to visually-impaired Japanese women, most of whom worked as musicians.

Goze is a mobile app where you can capture your true-life journey; collaborate on your events; curate your moments by exhibiting photos, videos, and memories; and control your audience by selecting your collaborators or simply saving the moment for yourself. Instantly, you can treasure your memories by exporting your events into photo books and DVD’s. Goze exhibits your life journey and you are the curator.

I could not find this one at all. I have no idea how to separate it out from all the similar entries online. 


See my comment above about figuring out what this program does.

Sorry, but I couldn't distinguish this from weather prediction and pharmaceuticals. I have no idea what this is. 

Legacy Scribe is a unique one-stop place that produces almost “everything in writing” and graphics
in the field of history. Our services range from quality research for individuals and memoirs of living people and histories of the homes they live in and histories of their ancestors to attractive brochures and business materials for professionals and organizations.

This is more like what I am writing about when I ask for a short explanation of what the program can do.

Little Family Tree
Sorry there were several programs with the same name. I am not sure which one is the one in the Innovators Summit

My Family App
This is another one with a common name. I cannot seem to find it among all the products with the same name. 

This is another vague name. I couldn't even connect this one to genealogy as a topic. Sorry again. 

PostcardTree is a way to find the stories, lost to time and space, about your ancestor's lives. It will allow you to search for any of your ancestors across millions of postcards on the PostcardTree platform.

Beautiful. Just what all the rest of them need. A short, meaningful description of what the program does. 

Scribblitt™ is a launch pad for creativity where kids grab an idea, and using tools provided and collaboration with other kids, teachers, writers and publishers, take it where they want to go, making their own characters, story and illustrations come to life in a professional product.

The Legacy Republic community celebrates the family connections made through reliving and sharing memories. We protect yesterday's treasured moments, so they may be enjoyed for generations to come. Legacy Republic offers premium products and services for your most important family heirloom – your memories. Powered by YesVideo, Inc., the largest and most trusted home movie digitization company in the world, we put the same love and attention into our services as you put into your memories. We guarantee you will be happy with the results.

Although it doesn't seem to mention a product called "Studio," the program transfers media from one format to another.

I just wrote about this program recently. 

TapGenes helps you crowdsource your family's health information, helping you understand the thread that ties your family's health together. TapGenes offers you the convenience of keeping all your family health history in one safe and secure place.

I have written and taught about this program extensively during the past few months. I just wrote a blog post on the program this week. I should disclose that I am actually shown on the website endorsing the program. We are using this program at the Brigham Young University Family History Library to train our new missionaries and volunteers. 

This explanation should be an example to the other developers. 

The Family History Guide is a website that represents a best-in-class learning environment for family history. Its scope is broad, but its focus is narrow enough to help you achieve your goals, step by step. Whether you're brand new to family history or a seasoned researcher - or somewhere in between - The Family History Guide can be your difference maker.

Here are some of the unique features you'll find on the site:

* Over 400 Goals for learning, supported by nearly 800 flexible Choices
* Step-by-step instructions to make learning easier
* Links to over 1,000 videos and articles from FamilySearch, Ancestry, and more
* Quick-links to search records from multiple sources
* Project Tracker sheets and Classroom materials for self-study or group instruction

That developed into an interactive timeline where he collected songs from when he started dating his wife to voice recordings of the couple recalling what it was like to sit across the table from each other for the first time. 
It was a sort-of digital time capsule that he’s now turning into a company calledThe History Project. The startup just closed $2 million in investments with backers include The New York Times as well as Matter Ventures and Altpoint Ventures.
Here is the tag line from the website:
At The History Project, we see a world where the moments that matter are preserved forever and accessed with ease. We strive to connect people with the stories and artifacts of life. As we capture the past with the technology of today, we create positive impact for generations to come. View our team's History Project.

The Tribergy prototype allows a user to create a group that has a specific focus or goal. We call these groups Tribes. A Tribe can be private by invitation only, or public groups that others can find & join. The integration with the FamilySearch API allows Tribe creators to associate the Tribe with a specific person in the FamilySearch Family Tree. When other Tribergy members login with their FamilySearch credentials, Tribergy looks for common ancestors between the member and public Tribes. For example, you may start a Tribe for your great grandfather. Other Tribergy members may have an ancestor that is related to your great grandfather. When matches are found, the member is then shown a list of the matching Tribes and given the choice to join that Tribe. This ability to find others that are working on parts of your family tree is an invaluable tool that helps avoid duplication of data and effort, provides a platform for communication, sharing of ideas and resources, etc. Tribergy was designed to fit into any social collaboration environment and not just genealogy. It can be used to plan a family reunion, manage marketing efforts, and manage goals such as writing books, remodeling your kitchen and much, much more.

Bring your family history to life
Create an amazing timeline of your family history with photos and milestones
  • Add milestones such as birth, marriage and death
  • Add photos of your ancestors and your living relatives
  • Share with your family to let them explore their ancestry
  • Totally private - choose who can access your timeline
Sorry, can't find this one either. 

So, that brings me to the end of this list. You can see my observations above. I kept adding them as I worked my way down the list. It will be interesting to see who gets into the semi-finals and finals. I will really try to be at the Innovators Summit this year. 


  1. James,

    All 46 of the original submissions are up at:

    Each program listed links to a page with information about the program.


  2. Mr. Tanner,

    If you go to the actual submission pages for the submissions you will find much more information on most of the submissions. For instance, my husband and I are the submitters for Little Family Tree app. Here is a link to our submission page Here is a link to our website We indeed have a clearly defined and fully developed product. Thank you for taking a look.

    Melissa Finlay