It’s time for the RootsTech 2023 Conference. I’m attending virtually. I honestly don’t know how you all keep up in person! I’m tired trying to keep a schedule from my couch.
Just look at all the day 1 live sessions just on the Main Stage that you can watch in your pajamas if you so choose!
Here are some highlights from my day at RootsTech.
What’s New in Technology?
It’s always interesting to see what’s new and evolving in the world of genealogy and tech. This covered a few products that you may or may not have heard of before.
- Video messaging app, Marco Polo
- Advancements in processing data at FamilySearch.org
- Storied, a story creation app
- New features at BankofMemories.org
- And, my favorite, the AI Time Machine at MyHeritage.com
You can view this video, Innovation and Tech Forum 2023
Understanding British and European Cemeteries with Myko Clelland
When I started my family tree I already knew about San Francisco closing down cemeteries within the city and moving burial plots to Colma and elsewhere. But, the concept of temporary burials didn’t cross my mind until it was brought up amongst in Portuguese genealogists in a discussion some years ago.
In the US, the practice is if you buy a plot it’s pretty much yours forever. But that’s not so in other parts of the world where their are different cultural practices and/or land is limited. In many European countries, burial plots are rented and reused over time.
This was a really good presentation covering cemetery history and different practices throughout Europe. Well worth your time!
Watch it at this link: https://www.familysearch.org/rootstech/session/understanding-british-european-cemeteries
New Stuff at Ancestry.com
Crista Cowan laid out some of the new things Ancestry is coming out with. She covered a lot in this update from the new DNA ethnicity comparison tool between shared matches to the update to Ancestor Stories.
One of the things that’s going on at Ancestry is indexing newspapers to pull out the relevant family history stuff like marriage announcements, death notices, etc. I’m not fully clear on this but it appears they are going to attempt to put this into some sort of a consecutive story line of newspaper clippings (don’t quote me on that)
There are changes coming to the private messaging tool. You now have the ability to start a group chat message. I think this is intriguing as it may be a way to pull together a group of DNA matches who are connected but don’t know how. And, maybe that person who doesn’t answer PMs might jump in to correct you that her grandmother was not the one who was married twice.
One drawback is it pulls from all the Ancestry members (not just your DNA matches or people you’ve had contact with before). It would be really easy to include the wrong person.
The feature I was most interested in is coming down the pike: Info Request. One of the most confusing things about collaborating is getting on the same page especially if you have a lot of people in your tree with similar names.
You end up doing screen captures, then trying to explain yourself.
The way I understand Info Request is you’ll be able to go into your tree, pick the profile of the problem person, then message that with your question to another user. They can then see who the heck you are talking about and respond.
That wraps up my day at RootsTech. A lot of the live stuff happened before I had a chance to get online. Then there are all the on demand sessions. I will have a ton of catching up this weekend!
You can watch this session, What’s New At Ancestry
One Other Thing: Relative Finder
Last year, I finally decided to attach my people to the FamilySearch Family Tree so I could see if I had any cousins out there. I do! Though not the 40,000 some of you have. Last year, I found a new 2nd cousin in England, so it was worth it.
Since last year, I’ve learned that I’ve got Honeysett/Day relatives who left England for South Africa in the mid-1800s. They converted to Mormonism and decided to come to America. 90% of my 400+ RootsTech relatives come from this one marriage.
This year I decided to plug in some of my Portuguese ancestry. I now have 4 matches in Brazil to explore, lines that may prove helpful in solving some DNA matches on MyHeritage.
If you have your ancestry in the FamilySearch family tree and would like to see if you are related to me, give it a go. Are you one of the 471 people who are related to me? Tell me in the comments! And, let tell us if you’re at RootsTech and what your experience is.