I am still thinking about the FGS Conference in Little Rock during the first week of September. One of the largest presence at the Conference was by Ancestry.com which makes sense seeing as they are the largest genealogy organization on the web and one of the largest genealogy corporations. They also had the largest space in the exhibit hall. They were asking everyone who came close to the exhibit if they had been to their website, Ancestry.com. I don’t think that very many people were just now discovering their website but they probably got some new subscribers. They also had a corner of their exhibit space that was demonstrating Family Tree Maker (2010). FTM never has been one of my favorite genealogy programs but it is the largest selling genealogy programs.
The keynote speaker for the Conference was Tim Sullivan who is the CEO of Ancestry. He showed photos of some very old documents that they were filming. Some had even been rolled up and stacked on top of an old toilet. He showed they can take documents that were very faded and make the writing visible again. They use various light sources including ultra-violet light and then combine the images on a computer to make a greatly enhanced image. He also mentioned that their website allows people to submit spelling corrections to records. He mentioned the figure 100,000 but I can’t remember if that was the amount they are getting a week or a month. Even if it is 100,000 a month, it is a lot. They have people that review the corrections before they are posted and were running way behind but are slowly catching up. That may help people searching in the future.
Ancestry had 5 hour long classes on Saturday that were well attended. I didn’t attend any of those classes but it appeared that there were at least 300 people in each session. The classes were:
- Getting the Most out of Your Ancestry.con Subscription
- Best Strategies for Searching Ancestry.com
- What’s New on Ancestry.com
- Tapping into the Ancestry.com and RootsWeb Community
- Getting the Most from Family Tree Maker
Ancestry also had a separate enclosed booth in which they would scan photos or documents for free. They brought both a high speed document scanner and a flat bed scan. You were only allowed 15 minutes worth of scan time and there was a line for the first couple of days. Then by Saturday, it appeared that they were allowing people to come back again with more things to scan as there wasn’t a line. You would get the scans on a free flash drive to take home.
I don’t subscribe to Ancestry anymore as I have done so much research in 30+ years that they don’t have much that is new for me. I occasionally see that that have a new collection and then head to the library and search the new collection. Ancestry is better for the novice genealogist that haven’t looked at thousands of sources.