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

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Upload DNA Data to MyHeritage and enjoy FREE access to all DNA features forever

 Yes, forever.

Here is the announcement I received from MyHeritage:

For each NEW DNA file uploaded this week (i.e. one that hasn’t been uploaded to MyHeritage in the past), the uploader will receive free access to all advanced DNA features, saving them the usual $29 unlock fee per file. This rare offer is valid for the next few days only, until March 4, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. 


There are many great reasons to upload DNA data to MyHeritage. You’ll get new DNA matches from all over the world, ethnicity reports covering 2,114 geographic regions, and access to the most comprehensive set of tools for analyzing your relationships to your DNA matches. MyHeritage is the only DNA company that has committed never to sell or license users’ data to third parties, and we provide full privacy controls so only you can see your data.


Make sure to share the news with your friends and followers so they don’t miss out on this change to get free access to all MyHeritage DNA features! Feel free to use the graphic below, and read more about it on our blog.

Read this carefully. This offer applies to DNA results, the raw data, from another company that hasn't been uploaded to before.  You can read more about the offer on the blog post linked above. 

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Six-part 20 Year History of MyHeritage now on YouTube

This is the trailer for this remarkable story of the 20-year growth of one of the most successful genealogy website company in the world. It has been my privilege to have been associated with them for much of that time. If you watch episode three you will see a picture of me and my wife which was used to promote the Photo Animation program that is one of incredible features of the website. I have hundreds of great memories from being involved with them and helping people learn about their own ancestral heritage from using MyHeritage. During the past year, I had a special experience help the MyHeritage engineers develop the MyHeritage Wiki. See I am proud to claim them as my friends. 

February 29th through March 2nd will be RootsTech 2024. MyHeritage will once again be there on the Expo floor and will presenting a series of classes. If you come to MyHeritage in person check the schedule for all the classes being taught by MyHeritage and look at the schedule of classes at the MyHeritage booth. I will be there on Thursday and Friday teaching a class. 

The most recent advanced programs released by MyHeritage are the AI Record Finder and the AI-Biographer™ 

I am sure we can see more great tech advancements in the future. 

Family Trees are not Fractals: Why duplicates in family trees should not exist


A fractal is a type of geometric shape that has a repeating pattern at different scales. Fractals are often very complex and beautiful, and they can be found in nature, art, and mathematics. Some examples of fractals are snowflakes, tree branches, coastlines, and the Mandelbrot set. The Mandelbrot set is one of the most famous fractals, named after the mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot who coined the term fractal. It is generated by a simple equation that produces an infinite variety of shapes and colors. See What are Fractals? – Fractal Foundation

Family trees are NOT fractals. So, what is a family tree? A human family tree is structured representation of the biological and cultural relationship of unique individuals. Fundamentally, each person is a unique node in the family tree structure. The basic concept is that individuals are biologically related in a unique pattern consisting of two biological parents. Because of cultural considerations this biological relationship has been modified to include other culturally defined relationships including adoption. foster parents, guardianships, and a variety of other relationships. 

Presently, the Family Tree is possibly the largest unified family tree in existence. However, the Family Tree is plagued with duplicates, constant revolving door changes, and unconnected individuals among other problems. 

I was reading about recent studies that are finding that despite the commonly held idea that trees and other natural objects are fractal in nature, forests are not fractal. Here are a few examples of what is being published. 

Why is it important to understand that a family tree is not fractal in nature? First, it is because of the word "tree" and secondly because of the unique nature of each node or individual. A family tree is a way to show the biological and cultural relationships between these unique individuals; all of us in the human family. 

So, how does this affect the structure and maintenance of the Family Tree? Because each individual is uniqe, each family is also unique. So, if my family has a traditional structure of two biologic parents and a certain number of children, once those individuals and the family unit are identified, the family is not subject to addition added children or biological parents. Here is where the Family Tree fails to adequately represent each family. Families in the Family Tree are not fractals, they are not subject to infinite expansion by mere mathematical formulas. Once all the actual members of the family are determined, the structure is frozen. However, there is another factor that is unpredictable: history and the further fact that the Family Tree is a wild-west free-for-all that allows changes by anyone at anytime except for a few restricted (Read Only) arbitrary and random individuals. 

Even if we take into account that families in the Family Tree are largely constituted from historical records and therefore subject to possible change due to presently unknown discoveries, there is a time when the amount of research necessary to establish the family structure such as the number and identity of the children born to the family exceeds some reasonable limit. In these cases, the failure of the Family Tree is to fail to recognize this established limit and impose a higher level of restrictions on making changes. Why can't there be a limit to the changes that can be made to families once they meet some rational criteria? It would be fairly easy to freeze families and then allow additions only upon application. Lack of this type of limitation is the most damaging evidence that the information in the Family Tree is not completely reliable. 

So, how could this happen? The simple method of establishing a threshold for freezing (or locking or restricting) a family would be to set a standard for documentation. For families in the United States for example, the required documentation could include census records, vital records where available, and other standard records. Further changes could only be made if a record was found such as a DNA test that showed additional family members. This could be structured to not limit the addition of sources, memories, or standardization but would severely avoid duplication. With the development of artificial intelligence programing, it is now possible to set these intelligent types of limits and avoid the constant changes made to established family units such as the Mayflower descendants and most of the families documents in New England. The changes could be avoided by requiring anyone trying to change the contents of the family to present historical sources showing a need to make a change with an explanation before any change would be allowed. In addition, some of the information in the Family Tree has been well established for over 100 years and yet is still being subject to constant change such as the Royal Families of Europe and other families structures.

More about this later, after RootsTech. 

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Kristin Chenoweth to Keynote RootsTech 2024

Quoting from an email, 

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—RootsTech by FamilySearch, a global celebration of family and genealogy, announced Emmy® and Tony® Award-winning actress, and singer, Kristin Chenoweth, as the final keynote speaker at RootsTech 2024. Chenoweth will take the main stage on Saturday, March 2, 2024.  Chenoweth will share her personal family story with RootsTech’s global audience and showcase her renowned soprano voice as she performs a curated selection of songs. You won’t want to miss Kristin Chenoweth live in person or online. Register now at

Chenoweth has performed for sold-out audiences across the world and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She is perhaps most famous for starring as Glinda in the original Broadway cast of Wicked. She has appeared in various television shows such as The West Wing, Pushing Daisies (Emmy® Award), Glee,Disney’s “Descendants”, and American Gods, a Starz Channel original. Kristin won a Tony Award for her role in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”, and also played Velma Von Tussle in NBC’s Hairspray Live! in 2016. For her next major project, she will be starring in and producing the new musical “The Queen of Versailles”, based on the 2012 award-winning documentary. 

Look me up if you come in person to RootsTech 2024.  

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Relatives at RootsTech 2024


I guess I am not going to be inviting my cousins over for dinner. This is an interesting number that came in an email to me. Here is the web version from a screen shot on Obviously, your results might vary. You can click on the image to see a enlarged version. 

it is also obvious that the numbers between the first image which arrived by email and the second image that is a screenshot done on the day of this post. Is there some way that this information can be processed? I know I can look at a list, but why and how would I look at 6,000+ names or much less the 39,000+ in the email notice sent to me. If there are 39,210 of my relatives registered for RootsTech 2024, and if the number of registrants is 108,064, then I am related to a little more than 36% of the attendees or about one out every three people at the conference. 

I will be at RootsTech 2024 in person and teaching 3 live classes see this link.

I will also be teaching at the MyHeritage booth, the BYU booth, and The Family History Guide booth. Come and look me up. 

The Relatives at RootsTech is on the website at and available as part of the RootsTech 2024 app for Android and iOS. 

Monday, February 12, 2024

RootsTech 2024 Family Discovery Day


RootsTech 2024 Family Discovery Day

Quoting from an email announcement:

RootsTech 2024 is coming up soon, and we are looking forward to hosting our annual Family Discovery Day on Saturday March 2, 2024, during the conference.

Come visit the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, and take part in a full day of free activities, games, and inspiration for you and your family! Remember, connect, and experience the impact of family with your loved ones this year at Family Discovery Day.

Register for Family Discovery Day for Free!

Register for the Full 2024 RootsTech Conference

If you cannot join us in person at Family Discovery Day 2024, participate online by tuning in to live-streamed events on the main stage.

The Late President M. Russell Ballard’s Family Discovery Day Message

A special Family Discovery Day message will be broadcast at 1:30 PM MT on March 2, 2024. For both in-person and online attendees to RootsTech 2024, tune in to a never-before-seen film (produced in 2023) of the late President M. Russell Ballard recounting his own family story and pioneer heritage.

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Announcing a new partnership between The Family History Guide and the National Genealogical Society

The illustration above is part of an announcement of the new partnership between the National Genealogical Society and The Family History Guide

Here is some additional information from the announcement quoting from a Facebook post by The Family History Guide:
Today we are excited to announce an official partnership between The Family History Guide Association and the National Genealogical Society ( The Family History Guide Association will provide educational materials and training to the National Genealogical Society, enabling their members to accelerate their learning and research skills in genealogy.  
"We are thrilled to connect our organization members with the wealth of information provided by The Family History Guide website. The website offers an incredible selection of resources that make genealogy more accessible, particularly to those just starting their journey. By partnering with The Family History Guide Association, we can point societies, libraries, archives, and museums to tools that will enhance their programs and services and help them develop education that sparks a love of family history research and discoveries for more people." - Matt Menashes, CAE, National Genealogical Society executive director
"The Family History Guide website debuted in 2015 with the goal of making everyone's family history journey easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable (and free!). An educational partnership with the National Genealogical Society is a match made in heaven, as it provides their organization members with training and research tools that will take their members and patrons to the next level of success in genealogy. I couldn't be more excited about the future of genealogy learning and doing with The Family History Guide Association and the National Genealogical Society joining forces now."
- Bob Taylor, originator of The Family History Guide website

As the Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Family History Guide Association, the sponsoring 501(c)3 charitable organization of The Family History Guide website, I am thrilled to join this important and significant partnership with the National Genealogical Society. This partnership will expand our mutual goals of helping people discover, explore and feel better through their family history and genealogical research and advance each of our missions to provide high-quality, online family history education and resources. I am honored to be part of this collaboration and I will do my best to promote this mutually beneficial partnership.

Friday, February 2, 2024

RootsTech: Keynote Speakers and Special Guests


In addition to this lineup of Keynote Speakers, Saturday, we will have a class and a visit from local basketball celebrity, Jimmer Fredette.

Here is the planned schedule.

Spend the day with the Fredettes on Saturday, March 2, 2024!

9:30 - 10:30 am: Take part in a beginners class alongside Jimmer and Whitney Fredette. Learn how to use the memories feature in the FamilySearch app while hearing stories about the Fredette family.

12:00 pm - 12:45 pm: After class, join the meet-and-greet and take a picture with Jimmer!

12:45 pm - 1:15 pm: Youth ages 8 – 14 can participate in a shoot-around with Jimmer himself! (Registration required, use the link above to sign up!)

Meanwhile, here is my own in-person, live class schedule (for now).