When I planned for Roots Tech this year, I had a couple of vague objectives in mind. One, I wanted to look for books that might include info on a particular area I’ve been studying, Yates County, New York, in the late 1700’s, early 1800’s. And two. I wanted to get some information on two of the new genealogy web sites I’ve joined in the past year but haven’t had a chance to fully explore. I ended up conquering both these aims and more!
It just so happened that the Thursday Roots Tech was sponsored by My Heritage, one of those web sites I wanted to delve into. The company’s Chief Product Officer, Mike Mallin, spoke, along with Dennis Brimhall, the CEO of Family Search, and Tan Le, a young Australian inventor and founder of Emotive Lifesciences. All three talks were thrilling, but Tan Le definitely stole the show, ending the keynote session with a riveting account of her family’s emigration from Asia in a boat, fleeing a repressive government and dodging modern-day pirates.
My first class was presented by Daniel Horowitz, Chief Genealogist for My Heritage. From this entertaining talk, I learned a couple of things about the site that I never knew before. It offers 40 different languages, has features that allow you to invite people to interact in social-media-sort-of ways, and it has facial recognition technology (although he didn’t talk about that in depth). I’m excited to delve into My Heritage, and hook up with some of the renowned world-wide search engines.
Next I went to a class on brick walls in Irish roots research, presented by Rosalind McCutcheon from Irish Genealogical Research Society. She named lots of links and resources. The Roots Tech 2015 phone app made it easy to schedule everything, download the class syllabi, look up your friends who were in attendance, and keep up to date with alerts sent out to remind you to go to your chosen events. The booths in the Expo hall were better than ever! Dell sponsored a free coke vend, and the food choices included all kinds of Mexican, pulled pork on buns, deli sandwiches, and more. The sweet smell of vanilla and cinnamon crusty-glazed Sugar Bear nuts and kettle corn rolled over the convention center airspace in voluptuous waves. I passed the Italian Ice kiosk too late to get one in peach flavor, but the black cherry with vanilla custard gelato was mighty fine. And in the Expo Hall, I found a vendor and bought a book about probate records in New York during the past 350 years (including the above-mentioned Yates County!)
Later we went to a gigantic Family Search consultant class presented by Craig Miller, and learned about some upcoming new features. Family Search is a family history pedigree software platform similar to Ancestry.com, but free and it’s getting better and better all the time. The big difference between it and Ancestry is that Family Search has a global tree, everyone belongs to the same great big family. The last session of the day for me was Google Searching with David W. Smith.
Before we knew it the Opening Event was upon us, a concert with the One Voice choir featuring Lexi Walker and Alex Boyé and his band. Check out the You-tube vid of their version of “Let it Go” that has had over 60 million hits.
Later in the concert, Boyé shared some of his family history and stories of his fascinating journey from Africa to London to his current home in Utah. What a fabulous, full day at Roots Tech!