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

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Registration for RootsTech 2023 is now open


Quoting from the announcement dated 6 October 2022:

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—RootsTech, the world’s largest family history gathering, is back March 2–4, 2023, with an in-person event in Salt Lake City, Utah, to complement its massive online conference. Millions of virtual and in-person attendees will gather for inspiring keynote addresses, instructive classes, innovative technologies, and the opportunity to connect to their family—past, present, and future. Registration is now open for the 2023 event. The online event is free. The 3-day, in-person experience is $98. Register now at

You might note that there is no tiered price, it is a flat $98. There is likely not a discount for any special interest group or whatever. The online event is free to everyone. This will be an interesting experiment to see if the live event will draw big crowds if the online event is free. I suppose that those legislating for an in-person event will find out if this actually works. 

The theme for RootsTech 2023 is “Uniting.” RootsTech is all about bringing people, stories, memories, technology, innovation, communities, and ultimately—families—together.

“Families are the foundation of society,” said FamilySearch CEO Steve Rockwood. “Connecting and uniting families across generations strengthens individuals and nations alike. We are amazed and gratified to see the role RootsTech has been able to play in helping literally millions of individuals connect with their family, past, present, and future.”

This will be my 13th year attending RootsTech in person or virtually. I have been at all the live events except one when my wife and I were serving a mission in Annapolis, Maryland digitizing documents for FamilySearch. That year there was a live event, but I was online. 

There is a really good reason to attend in person because there will be about 200 live classes including one from me, and about 200 exhibitors in the Expo Hall. 

Hope to see you in person this next year in Salt Lake City, Utah. 


Sunday, October 2, 2022

Don't waste your opportunity to give to The Family History Guide

It's So Easy To Donate To The Family History Guide Association For Free

Did you know if you shop on Amazon you can donate to The Family History Guide Association for NO Charge to you?  That's right!  Amazon will donate .05% of your total purchase at no additional charge to you.  

Here's how it works:
  1. Go to
  2. Follow the prompts to select The Family History Guide Association as your charity
  3. Next, start shopping as usual on
  4. Amazon donates .05% of all your purchases to The Family History Guide Association
  5. There is NO COST TO YOU!!

Friday, September 30, 2022

Consider donating to The Family History Guide

As the end of the year approaches, please take a few minutes to click on the link above and consider donating to The Family History Guide. We are preparing to return to RootsTech 2023 in person but the cost of a booth and all that goes with having a presence in the Expo Hall has skyrocketed in price. In short, we need a lot of money by the end of the year to be able to see our friends and make new ones at RootsTech 2023 on March 2-4

You can donate directly through our website by scrolling down the page to the Donate link. 

Or you can read about donating on The Family History Guide Association website. The Family History Guide is a qualified 501(c)(3) public charity organization, and all donations are tax deductible. 

Another way to donate is by indicating The Family History Guide as your choice on the website and making all your Amazon purchases through the website rather than simply defaulting to The websites have exactly the same prices and availability but your purchases through the website create a small donation to your designated charity and if you designate The Family History Guide, then a check is sent to us with your donation. 

There aren't many ways to donate directly to the genealogy community and please consider The Family History Guide. 

What happens to your FamilySearch Memories when the contributor dies?,they%20may%20be%20easily%20found

This new article was posted recently and answers questions about a person's FamilySearch Family Tree contributions but leaves some questions unanswered. 

First and foremost, dead people do not have privacy rights except in some very limited circumstances involving famous people. Here is a quote about this issue from Wikipedia: Post-mortem privacy. 

Post-mortem privacy is a person's ability to control the dissemination of personal information after death. An individual's reputation and dignity after death is also subject to post-mortem privacy protections. In the US, no federal laws specifically extend post-mortem privacy protection. At the state level, privacy laws pertaining to the deceased vary significantly, but in general do not extend any clear rights of privacy beyond property rights. The relative lack of acknowledgment of post-mortem privacy rights has sparked controversy, as rapid technological advancements have resulted in increased amounts of personal information stored and shared online. 

 There are a lot of misunderstandings and inaccurate information and beliefs about this area of the website. I suggest a careful examination of exactly what the above article says and what it does not say. I am not going to try and interpret what it means, you can do that for yourself, but it you have any questions. I am available, as usual, through the BYU Family History Library Virtual Help Desk. Here is the link to the Virtual Help Desk Page and the hours it is open. You can ask the missionary at the desk to contact me and talk to me directly on a Zoom meeting or make an appointment to talk. 

Heredis 2023, an alternative desktop genealogy program


Heredis is a stand-alone, desktop, French genealogy program that has been around for the last 28 years. It is popular throughout Europe but not well-known in the United States. It comes in English, French and German Versions. It is also available for both Microsoft Windows and Apple OS. Here is the content of the announcement about the new Heredis 2023. 

The Heredis worker co-op is glad to introduce Heredis 2023, which will be available for download starting September 20, 2022, on This latest version of the software was conceived and designed so as to provide genealogists with an even more complete tool, meeting the needs of ALL genealogists. A genealogist who acquires Heredis should now be able to do it all with the software!

The list of features of the program is impressive.  Heredis is designed like many European genealogy programs and will look different than those from the United States. Some of the features are likely unique to the program. Here is one example.

This is a circular fan chart with up to 12 generations. It is highly customizable. For example, the chart can show descendants as well as ancestors. 

Here is a screenshot listing some of the features.

You can download a demo and try it for free at

Thursday, September 22, 2022

RootsTech 2023 is ramping up will be both in-person and online and March 2-4 is just around the corner. I am already writing my live presentation and working on my series of six videos. I am looking forward to being there in-person and seeing live people for a change. 

The classes and presentations from the past two years of RootsTech online are still mostly available. I am sure there will be some changes but It will be interesting to see how it turns out. 

As usual, if you are traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah to attend RootsTech in the Salt Palace, you need to know that Salt Lake is changing rapidly. There is new Hyatt Regency Hotel that is part of the Salt Palace Convention Center. Here is a photo of the construction from Google Streetview.

The hotel is opening in October 2022. There is a lot of other construction going on in the downtown area of Salt Lake City also. You might want to start checking for hotels and other accommodations. Remember that March in Utah can still be cold and snowy. 

Hope to see you at RootsTech 2023. 

How Reliable are Hard Drives, SSDs, and Online Storage?

We come to depend on our electronics as we do genealogical research and preserve our family history. In this presentation, I ask and answer a series of questions:

  • How reliable are hard drives, SSDs, and Online storage?
  • What is a backup?
  • Which is better, a flash drive, a hard drive, or an internet backup?
  • How many important photos do you have on your smartphone?
  • When was the last time you backed up your smartphone?
  • How many times have you lost or broken your smartphone?
  • When was the last time you checked to see your computer’s operating system?
  • When did you last update your computer’s operating system?
  • How old is your computer?
  • When did you last update your smartphone?
  • Where do you store your data?
  • What would happen if your computer failed today?
  • What would happen if you lost your smartphone?
Backing up your computer and other devices is a simple way to avoid catastrophic loss. Think about it.