Monday 30 January 2017

RootsTech is Next Week! Wait! WHAT?

One week today I will be flying out to Salt Lake City to enjoy all that RootsTech has to offer. The camaraderie, the learning, the networking, the researching, the food, the shopping and yes, even the chaos. 

Although the planning has been in the works for sometime, suddenly it seems surreal that the time is actually here. NOW. I've been making my list for some time, but now I need to check it twice and make sure everything is ready for next Monday - bright and early. 

  1. Valid Passport - ⇃
  2. E-ticket - ⇃
  3. Hotel Reservation information ⇃
  4. Presentation ⇃
  5. Lots of Goodies to hand out in the Expo Hall ⇃
  6. RIBBONS ⇃
  7. Packing Cubes ready to be filled ⇃
  8. App downloaded ⇃
  9. Schedule - besides go, go and GO! this one is a bit fluid
  10. Tartan - being shipped - fingers crossed
  11. Chargers, cords, camera and cards ⇃
  12. Flexibility and a sense of adventure ⇃⇃⇃
As an Ambassador, I will be blogging from RootsTech and look forward to sharing the frenzy of the week with you. 

First up will be to meet up with my twin genealogy sister and head to the hotel to await the rest of our roommates. Monday night is our annual Commonwealth Dinner, organized by Jill Ball. Can't wait to see everyone! 

Friday 27 January 2017

RootsTech Live Streaming Schedule Announced

The long awaited announcement for the live streaming schedule for this year's RootsTech has been made. This allows people who can't make the trip to Salt Lake City to benefit from some of the talks.

Here's where you can find the line-up of talks and add them into your schedule for the week of February 8 - 11th.

Sunday 22 January 2017

Lots to DISCOVER at RootsTech

Traditionally, the Saturday of RootsTech has been Family Discovery Day. This day allows free admission to introduce families to the world of Family History. It is also the day where hundreds of LDS families descend on the Salt Palace Convention Centre to learn as much as they can about researching their family history, one of the tenets of their faith.

The Expo Hall is a buzz of activity. The classes are full of people, full of energy and full of excitement. Many of the classes on Saturday are geared specifically for the LDS families. Line ups are long. Crowds are heavy and yet the air is full of energy, fun and excited anticipation.

New this year to RootsTech is the opportunity for families - well anyone really - to enjoy the new DISCOVERY Centre at the Family History Library. The new display is on the main floor of the library. As an Ambassador, I will get to enjoy a VIP tour prior to the official opening. From the RootsTech website:

"With touch screen monitors and computers, individuals and families can learn about their unique identity, create their personal story, and explore family roots in exciting, interactive ways."

This really does bring Roots and Tech together in an innovative and engaging way.

If you are planning to attend RootsTech next month, be sure to schedule some time to research in the Family History Library and to take in the new Discovery Centre on the main floor.

Saturday 21 January 2017

Going to RootsTech? Lace Up Those Boots!

In just over two weeks, the largest Family History Conference, RootsTech, will be taking place. And let me tell you, it will be a whirlwind!

If you are planning to go to RootsTech, Lace up those boots, get ready to hit the Salt Palace at full tilt and enjoy everything that the conference has to offer. It is an amazing time of learning, buying, researching, buying, networking, buying, researching, sharing and enjoying 4 days immersed in all things genealogy.

Pack you chargers, pack your bank card and most importantly, pack your stamina. Here's the line up of what the week will look like:


The Conference begins with the Innovator Showdown. Ten semi-finalists are competing for top prize. These ten innovators who have worked hard to support, foster and inspire the family history industry will be introduced to the media and to the ambassadors at the Media dinner on Tuesday night. The winners will be announced before a live audience on Friday at 10:30.

If you are going to RootsTech, make sure to wander along Innovation Alley to visit all of the semi-finalists and learn about their offerings to make your family history research easier and more productive.


Wednesday morning is dedicated to current innovators and to future innovators. Classes and labs are on offer including one on the current and future trends in Family History. Genealogy sessions and labs are offered starting on Wednesday afternoon, including my session on Underused Databases for Scottish Research.

But RootsTech doesn't end when the Salt Palace closes at the end of the day! On Wednesday evening, there is the 80s themed Welcome Party to come attend at the Marriott. These evening activities allow for fun and friendship with others who are attending the conference.


Things really start to pick up on Thursday. FamilySearch CEO, Steve Rockwood, will start off the day, followed by Keynote Speakers Drew and Jonathan Scott of the Property Brothers. After the opening General Session, the Expo Hall opens. This is where the need to strap your laces comes in. The Salt Palace is HUGE. HUGE. There will be a lot of walking and the need for time management in order for attendees to get from the classes to the Expo Hall then back to classes and back to the Expo Hall. In addition to vendors and exhibitors, the Expo Hall is a place to catch some free wifi, grab some nourishment,  see what is new or improved at the Demo Stage, seek help or advice at either the Coaches Corner or at the Heirloom Show and Tell. Come see what's new along Innovator Alley and watch history come to life at the Discovery Zone.

Genealogist Tami Osmer Mize has once again put together an incredibly useful map of the Expo Hall to allow you a visual of who you want to see and where you can find them.


Friday is a replica of Thursday with a change of players for the morning's General Session. Here we will get to hear from genealogist and tv personality Kenyatta Berry (Genealogy Road Show) followed by LeVar Burton.


The conference culminates on Saturday with Family Discovery Day. This morning's General Session speakers are CeCe Moore and none other than Buddy Valastro. The Expo Hall gets a whole lot busier when LDS families and youth descend to learn as much as they can about family history.

The entire week will fly by. The memories, however, will last forever. You will come away inspired, energized, feeling more connected and more determined to work on your family history. The exhaustion will subside in a few days. The connections will be enduring.

Thursday 19 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - Kindex

Kindex is an archival app. Kindex allows you to gather records into a single digital archive, transcribe and tag records. It is also allows you to search and share their archive. Kindex rescues your family history stored in boxes and allows family members of all ages to index them.  

Kindex is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2017. 

Wednesday 18 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - JoyFLIPS

JoyFLIPS is an app that allows you to scan, curate and share the thousands of photos. It also allows you to share the stories of the photos through speech or text so that the story behind the photos can be passed down to future generations. Speech is converted to text which is fully searchable. The app also automatically adds documents from FamilySearch and old newspapers to add genealogy to the photos and stories. 

 JoyFLIPS is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2017

Tuesday 17 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - Emberall

Emberall is an app that allows you to capture video interviews of stories given by family members. These videos then get stored on the cloud, freeing up valuable space on your phone for you to conduct further interviews. 

Video allows you to hear the person, see them, feel their emotion and really experience depth to their stories. 

Emberall is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2017. 

Monday 16 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing

CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing takes crowd sourcing to a new level by making indexing a more seamless for genealogy societies and special interest groups. CSI basically automates the role of Project Manager for any crowd sourced indexing project. It sets up the project, the fields that need to be transcribed and tracks what has been done and what is yet to get done. The actual Project Manager can see the progress being made and deal with any problems as they arise. 

CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2017 

Sunday 15 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - Cuzins

Cuzins is an app much like Ancestry's "We're Related" app. The good news for Cuzins, though, is that you don't need a subscription to Ancestry in order to play along. Cuzins uses names and trees submitted through FamilySearch for it's database and matching filters. Let Cuzins show you who you might be related to. 

Cuzins is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2017

Saturday 14 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - Old News USA

Old Newspapers USA is an app that will allow you to search newspapers and find articles about your ancestors right from the palm of your hand! By adding in some basic information, you will get search results such as obits, marriage announcements and social page articles. You will also get suggestions of other newspapers to check. The app automatically zooms right into the article or announcement so no need to scour the entire page to find what you are looking for!

Old Newspapers USA is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2017. 

Friday 13 January 2017

Ready To Turn That Family Tree Into a Family Treasure?

Are you ready to turn your family history research into a family treasure? Something that can be shared, shown off and kept safe for future generations? Dear Myrtle and I chatted about just this very thing on her Wacky Wednesday this week. Here's the link to the recording: 

Still have questions? Give me shout and I will be happy to answer them!

The TECH in RootsTech - QRoma Tag

QRoma Tag is an iOS app that allows you to share stories directly onto your photos. As the developer says, it is the new "writing on the back of the photo". By entering your photo into the app, and speaking about the photo, the app creates metadata that becomes fully searchable and allows the story of the picture to always be part of the picture. By telling your story about the photo, including where and when it was taken as well as who is in it, the metadata gets attached to the photo directly, where it can be stored and shared for generations to come. 

QRoma Tag is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech. 

Thursday 12 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - RootsFinder

RootsFinder is designed to engage the future generation in family history and genealogy research. This cloud based program has the features and some of the functions of social media like Facebook and Google images, making the app user friendly to youth of all ages. RootsFinder makes sharing to social media easy and seemless, is fully integrated with FamilySearch and allows well sources information for the more serious or advanced genealogist. 

RootsFinder is a semi-finalist in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech. 

Wednesday 11 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - Double Match Triangulator

Double Match Triangulator combines two different people's Chromosome Browser Results files from FamilyTreeDNA to provide Double Match and Triangulation data that can be used to help determine genealogical relationships. 

No need for creating spreadsheets, this app does it for you! The colourful mapping helps you to see the matches and to identify the triangulation groups of people you share a common ancestor with. 

Double Match Triangulator is one of the semi-finalists in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech. 

Tuesday 10 January 2017

The TECH in RootsTech - Champollion 2.0

Champollion 2.0 is one of the semi-finalists in the Innovator Showdown. 

Champollion 2.0 is a powerful program that provides active help for everyone who works with historical documents. It has received very positive reviews in France.

Champollion 2.0 makes text and image interact with each other, changes lighting of the background and the clarity of the text in contrast. You can number the lines in the document, and annotations, crop images, and compare original images to the processed images. It also makes the document fully searchable.

Champollion currently only works with Windows.

Monday 9 January 2017

Preserving Your Roots with Tech at RootsTech - Forever is a gold sponsor of RootsTech 2017. 

Forever offers guaranteed, permanent online media storage. In addition, Forever offers media conversion, digital scrap-booking and the opportunity to share everything with your family. You can even leave your account to future generations. Your account is guaranteed for 100 years beyond your lifetime, with guaranteed back up and media migration services in the future. Collect, curate, and celebrate your family memories for generations with Forever! 

Sunday 8 January 2017

2017 - The Year of History Heritage and Archaeology

VisitScotland has deemed 2017 to be the year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. The year is set aside to celebrate the richness of Scotland's intriguing history, impressive cultural heritage and fascinating archaeology.

Scotland is an ancient land with a rich and tumultuous history. 

Culloden Moor

The Scots diaspora have settled worldwide and continue to honour their Scottish heritage. 

The ancient land occasionally gives up some of its long buried secrets, making a perfect stage for archaeologists across the nation. 

Skara Brae
How are YOU planning to celebrate the year of History Heritage and Archaeology?

Adding Tech to Your Roots - Ancestry

Ancestry is a platinum of RootsTech 2017.

Ancestry is a leader in family history. Ancestry pioneered online family history research. Ancestry provides access to databases, tree hosting, tree building and tree matching on a subscription basis. Ancestry's DNA test is now the fastest growing consumer genetic database in the world.

Saturday 7 January 2017

Putting Your Ancestor's Lives into Perspective

Victorian Slums, BBC Documentary

This documentary series gives incredible insight into the poverty and desperation that led our ancestors to relinquish their children to homes such as Barnardos or Middlemore for a better life. It really was a matter of survival. Even those that might have been mistreated here in Canada were at least alive - something that likely wouldn't have happened had they remained with their families. 

Middlemore actually did an experiment of sorts. Followed 40 kids sent to Canada and 40 who stayed in Birmingham. The 40 BHC did very well and the vast majority stayed with the families they lived with beyond their 18th birthday. Of the 40 in England none fared well. They either died or were in prison.

For many of our ancestors, leaving their homeland, it is easy can also see how surviving the trip over wasn't as much of a hardship as it would have been for us. They were already living in dank, dirty, overcrowded quarters with little to eat. At least the promise of a fresh new life lay on the other side of the voyage. As scary as that might have been. 

Although the series is set in London, it was the same situation in all of the large industrial cities - Birmingham and Glasgow included. While the series starts in the 1860s, the reality is that while times changed and things looked up for some, for the very poor, life simply became more desperate.  It's hard not to let our 21st century emotions colour our view of the reality of our ancestor's lives and the times they were living in. It becomes really important to keep their lives in an historical perspective.

Adding Tech to Your Roots at RootsTech - Find My Past

FindMyPast is a platinum sponsor of RootsTech 2017

FindMyPast has an unrivaled collection of British and Irish records. In addition, they are accumulating a growing collection of records from the US and has started to add Canadian records as well. 

FindMyPast provides access to records and provides the only online access to the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), an invaluable collection of local histories and genealogies from a wide variety of locations and times from the US and around the world.

Friday 6 January 2017


Free webinar for Scottish research
Monday January 16, 2017
7:00 pm eastern


If your ancestor is listed as an 'inmate' in the records, whether in a poor house, an asylum or a prison, they will have left paper trail detailing the circumstances of their lives at that time. In this webinar, we will look at the records that are available, the information they provide and how to access them.

To register:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

See you online!

Adding Tech to Your Roots at RootsTech - FamilySearch

FamilySearch is a platinum sponsor of RootsTech 2017. FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch provides free resources, record access, learning tools, support, tree hosting and tree building services. Come and see all that FamilySearch has to offer to genealogists of all skill levels. 

Thursday 5 January 2017

Adding Tech to Your Roots - MyHeritage

MyHeritage is a platinum sponsor for RootsTech 2017.

MyHeritage is the fastest-growing website for discovering, preserving, and sharing family history. As technology thought leaders, MyHeritage is transforming family history into an activity that’s accessible and instantly rewarding. MyHeritage provides an online tree building and tree sharing platform as well as record matches and is now venturing into the realm of DNA testing for genealogy. 

MyHeritage is available in 43 languages.

ScotlandsPeople releases latest Birth, Death and Marriage records

Entries from important statutory records have been released today onto ScotlandsPeople; the family history website operated by the National Records of Scotland.
Digital images of 110,000 birth entries from 1916, more than 47,000 marriage entries from 1941 and 64,000 death entries from 1966 are now available for members of the public to search, view and save, no matter where they are in the world.
Three entries give details relating to the lives of three Scots of note. These are: 
  • The birth of Jessie Grant Kesson (nee McDonald) (1916 – 1994), who wrote The White Bird Passes. Born in Invernesson 29 October 1916, Kesson rose from humble beginnings to become an acclaimed author receiving honorary degrees from both the University of Aberdeen and the University of Dundee.
  • An entry detailing the birth Jack Milroy (1915 -2001), the Scottish comedian, who was born James Cruden on 28 December 1915 in Govanhill, Glasgow. Being born so near to the end of the year, Jack’s birth was not registered by his father until 17 January 1916. Jack Milroy was best known for his double act with comedy actor Rikki Fulton. Jack played Francie in the famous comedy duo Francie and Josie.
  • The death record entry for Alexander Carrick, RSA (1882 – 1966), one of Scotland’s leading monumental sculptors of the early twentieth century. Carrick’s extensive body of work includes war memorials include those at Fraserburgh, Berwick and Killin in Perthshire. 
The 1941 marriage records reveal the details of those wed in wartime Scotland including one couple whose union was cut tragically short by the Clydebank blitz in 1941. They were married from just one month. 
Alexander Clarkson and Margaret O’Donnell, were married on 12 February 1941 in a civil ceremony by the Registrar in the district of Old Kilpatrick. Sadly, Margaret was killed when the Benbow Hotel where Alexander and Margaret were residents was hit by a bomb on the evening of 13 March, leaving only the shell of the building.

Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:
“The releases of these records give us a richer understanding of Scotland’s story and our people. The marriage certificates from the early '40s in particular provide further insight into the consequences of the Second World War, and how it affected the things we take for granted today.
“I’d encourage anyone interested in finding out more about their local history or genealogy to have a look at the wealth of records now available as part of our new ScotlandsPeople website. No matter where you are in the world, you can instantly find out more about your own personal story.”
The new version of the ScotlandsPeople website launched in September 2016; it has experienced an average 3.4 million site views a year and around 1 million unique users since its launch in 2002.
Since September, visitors to ScotlandsPeople can now search statutory record indexes including birth, death and marriage certificates for free. Users are now only charged if they wish to view or download a record image.   

Wednesday 4 January 2017

The ROOTS in RootsTech - LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton, first recognized for his role as Kunta Kinte in the original mini-series Roots will be a Keynote Speaker at RootsTech 2017. As we know, Roots was the impetus for so many of us getting started in researching our own roots. 

LeVar is also well known for his role as Geordie, the chief engineer on Star Trek: The Next Generation. 

We look forward to all that LeVar has to share with us about his life journey. 

Tuesday 3 January 2017

The ROOTS in RootsTech - Buddy Valastro

Cake Boss Buddy Valastro is scheduled to be a Keynote Speaker at RootsTech 2017. Well known for his love and dedication to his very large, very boisterous Italian family, and for honouring his ancestors by carrying on their trade as a pastry chef, Buddy is well suited to be a speaker at a large genealogy conference. 

Monday 2 January 2017

The ROOTS in RootsTech - Scott Brothers

Property Brothers and identical twins are to be Keynote Speakers at RootsTech 2017. These Canadian boys of Scottish descent are well known for their renovation and real estate skills. They are also well known for their commitment to their family. They are deeply proud of their Scottish heritage and make a really good fit as speakers at a major Genealogy Conference. 

Sunday 1 January 2017

Visit Your Roots with An Ancestral Tour to Scotland

Genealogy Tours of Scotland is teaming up with Borders Journeys and together we will be hosting a booth in the Expo Hall at RootsTech 2017. We are positioned near the back of the Expo Hall and across from the Demo Theatre. As a team, we will be promoting ancestral tourism in Scotland and would love to hear your stories, answer your questions and give you some assistance in your Scottish research. And I've heard that Jamie Fraser may make an appearance at our booth - right by the standing stones at Craig Na Dun! Bring your tartan and join us at RootsTech 2017!