RootsTech 2013 – Friday, part 1

Jyl Pattee

Jyl Pattee

Friday morning started with another keynote. This time there were two speakers. The first was Jyl Pattee from the Mom It Forward website. Jyl talked about what she called Wow Moments! Those are events in our life that add meaning to life. She said the steps are:

  1. Create the Wow!
  2.  Capture the Wow!
  3.  Archive the Wow!
  4.  Share the Wow! AKA social websites.

Jyl showed a multi-media presentation that she had created about a recipe for Banana cookies that was left to her by her grandmother. In that were audio recordings of her grandmother, old family photos and videos that Jyl and her sisters creating the cookies. It shows all the possibilities of using technology to create the “Wow!”

Tim Sullivan

Tim Sullivan

The second keynote speaker was Tim Sullivan who is the President and CEO of He says that “it is a great time to be a family historian.” Tim says that collaboration is key to using Ancestry and that 2.7 million subscribers have uploaded 174 million photos and documents. New on Ancestry is iOS app version 4.1 for iPhone and iPad. Also Ancestry DNA now has 120,000 DNA samples. The biggest news was that over the next 5 years Ancestry will spend $100 million for new content including a collaboration with FamilySearch to add over 140 million US probate documents over next 3 years. That is one type of historic record that is currently under-represented on the internet.

This is a link to the Friday keynote presentation.

I attended “Evaluating Databases and Overcoming Their Errors” by Kory Meyerink. He stated that there no new original sources for long deceased persons. These records already exist. What we see coming to the internet are newly compiled records from previous research by others, Family sources and old original records. You also need to evaluate the data for errors. Those errors can come from data entry and/or conversion and also from incorrect information in the original records. It also will be helpful to see if you can determine the origin of the data. Look for information about the records or do further research on the internet.

“Researching Ancestors Online for Beginners” by Laura Prescott explored important websites to use for beginning genealogists including some that may surprise you. She reviewed 11 websites that are all great for research and are free. She her outline (DOC file or PDF file) for details.

This is a link to Ms. Presott’s online video.

“Eleven Layers of Online Searches at” by Barbara Renick was about using various search techniques to find information on your family members. Start out with searching various spelling of a family name, then add event date (birth, residence, etc.). Try searching with no given name or if a rare given name then search without a surname. If all that fails try searching another family member. After that search for a known neighbor. For more detail on her techniques, use her outline (DOC file or PDF file).