RootsTech 2013 – Saturday

David Pogue

David Pogue

If you only watch one online video from RootsTech than it should be the keynote by David Pogue. David is technology columnist for The New York Times and Scientific American. He is also an Emmy Award-winning tech correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning and the current host of NOVA ScienceNow, . Added to that is he is also a musician.

David says that we no longer are in the computer age but in the “mobile age.” That’s became young people are almost all accessing the internet on their smart phones. In order to attract the young people to genealogy internet firms need to make their web pages  easily viewed on all kinds of small handheld devices. He also showed some of the strange applications that are now available. David kept everybody laughing through his whole presentation. Then at the end he entertained us with a couple of tech parity songs.


The second keynote speaker was supposed to be Gilad Japhet who is the founder and CEO of MyHeritage. He had a family tragedy happen a couple of days before he was to speak and flew house to be with his family. instead of Mr. Japhet, Ori Soen, chief marketing officer from MyHeritage gave an overview of MtHeritage. He said that MyHeritage began 2005 and is now the 2nd largest genealogy company in the world. MyHeritige is available in 40 languages and is bringing family history to everyone.

Then Mr. Soen introduced James Tanner who is a blogger and MyHeritage user. James showed the record matching function to 1.5 billion trees plus matches to newspapers with 97% accuracy. MyHeritage will also do automatic searches of all the names you have and will continue to do those automatically and send you updated.

This a the link to the video of the keynote presentation.


Karen Clifford’s presentation was “Using Technology Effectively to Solve Research Problems.” Karen tells how various technologies (genealogy computer programs such as AncestralQuest, Legacy, and RootsMagic, research wiki’s, animated mapping programs, Adobe Photoshop, and Google’s University Search) can help to add stories of your family. She also tells how to discriminate between various levels of information (using original and compiled information). She has a well detailed outline to her presentation. It available as a DOC file and a PDF file.

This the video link to Ms. Clifford’s session.


In “Digital Storytelling: Beyond Bullet Points” Denice Olsen ells how to make presentations from your old family photos that will impress your family. She says that you can use PowerPoint or other similar programs that will add photos with borders, text, fancy backgrounds to make a great family presentation. There is also scrap-booking software that can do almost all the same functions as more powerful presentation software. And, these projects can be shared via email, carried with you on a tablet or smart phone, displayed on a digital frame and even viewed on your television screen. She has a nice outline that you can download as either a DOC file or PDF file.

This is link to to the video of this session.


I almost didn’t go to one of the last session but I’m glad I did. Only about 60 people showed up to hear Patricia Van Skaik, who is a librarian at the Cincinnati Public Library. Her talk was “Beyond Home Movies: YouTube Genealogy.” I knew that there were tutorials for genealogy on YouTune. I didn’t know of some of the videos would also act as both inspiration and entertainment. This video titled “Genealogy .. Fall in Love with Your Ancestors.” is a short video of inspiration. “Schnell Genealogy Birth Place/Date 3D Tour” is a video showing maps with birth dates and places of the Schnell family over the last 400 years. Patricia mentioned that on YouTube there are videos that you wouldn’t think of for genealogy. There are oral interviews, school projects, scrapbooks and even funeral services. She also notes that once you play a video, you should look at the suggestions to other similar videos.

That ends the sessions that I saw at the RootsTech conference. There were many more sessions that I couldn’t get to. That’s because at times they were running 14 sessions at a time. Still, a couple of sessions were full by the time that I got to them.