Wednesday, June 28, 2017

RootsMagic Releases Ancestry Features

I haven't felt like blogging since RootsTech. My mind has been focused on other things. Today the RootsMagic TreeShare & WebHints for Ancestry features were finally released! This has been an amazing ride and totally worth the wait. Tomorrow is always another genealogy day!  And now I have the tools to make it more productive than ever.

Last year, we announced we were working with Ancestry® to integrate Ancestry Hints® and Ancestry’s records and online trees with our software. After months of development and the feedback of thousands of testers, we’re pleased to announce the release of RootsMagic 7.5, a free update to RootsMagic 7 that adds two amazing new features: TreeShare™ for Ancestry and the addition of Ancestry Hints to RootsMagic’s WebHints™ feature.

TreeShare for Ancestry

RootsMagic’s TreeShare for Ancestry will let you move data between your RootsMagic files on your computers and your personal Ancestry online trees. You can transfer people, events, notes, source citations, and even pictures between the two systems.
RootsMagic users also gain the ability to easily share and collaborate with others by giving family members access to their Ancestry online tree. Using the new TreeShare feature, family members can then synchronize the latest changes and additions to both the online tree and their desktop computers.

Ancestry Hints Integration

RootsMagic leverages the Ancestry Hints capability, and as possible matches are found, users may conveniently review them from within the software. RootsMagic then lets you add new information and media from matching records into your file.

Free RootsMagic Essentials Software

For those that are just starting their journey into the world of genealogy, RootsMagic offers “RootsMagic Essentials”- a free version of their software with a limited set of features tailored towards beginners.
If you have an account with Ancestry, RootsMagic Essentials includes the ability to upload your file to Ancestry or download your existing online trees from Ancestry.  If you are a subscriber to Ancestry, RootsMagic Essentials also allows you to search and view all of the content in your subscription.  Those wishing to compare and transfer individual records between RootsMagic and Ancestry will want to use the full-featured RootsMagic software.

Celebrate with a Giveaway

To celebrate this monumental release, we’re holding a special giveaway. We’re giving away a 1-Year Ancestry World Explorer Membership as well as 3 Ancestry DNA Testing Kits. To enter, use this entry form:

Available Now

The update is free for users of RootsMagic 7 and RootsMagic Essentials 7 and is available via direct download or through the “Check for Updates” feature within RootsMagic. To learn more about these features or to take advantage of a special offer for Ancestry users, please go to

Friday, February 10, 2017

OldNews USA Wins Top Honors at RootsTech 2017 Innovator Showdown

The following is from RootsTech.

OldNews USA Wins Top Honors at RootsTech 2017 Innovator Showdown news, it seems, is actually “new” news. Very innovative news in fact. Today at RootsTech, the world’s largest family history technology conference, OldNews USA took top honors in the 2017 Innovator Showdown, walking away with $95,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. OldNews is an android app designed to help users quickly discover their family in historical US newspapers. The app uses the Library of Congress “Chronicling America” collection of more than 11 million newspaper pages from 1789 to 1922 to deliver its results.

In front of a crowd of close to 14,000 live and online viewers, the six RootsTech Innovator Showdown finalists battled for $199,000 in cash and prizes and bragging rights in the rapidly-growing, multi-billion dollar family history industry. An experienced amateur genealogist, Bill Nelson of Auburn, Massachusetts, designed the program as a solution to tedious, difficult online newspaper searches. The OldNews USA app was designed to simplify and streamline the search process.

Using keywords, users can look for newspaper accounts of a person or topic with the option to look at articles of historical events. In a person search, you type names and dates into your mobile device and choose a location on Google Maps which produces a list of newspapers in the targeted geographic area for a time period. It brings up images of the actual newspapers with the name or event you are seeking highlighted so you can quickly locate it on the page. Images can be enlarged for easier access to detail.

Nelson is a software developer by trade. “I was new to android and needed something to practice on. I had felt the pain points of newspaper research and thought ‘this would be a good project,’” he said. Initially he developed the app for his own use, then realizing it could help other researchers, he expanded it into a mobile app.
OldNews is compatible with Android devices, but Nelson is working to create an app for IOS devices and computers. With his winnings, he can now get business and technological assistance to accelerate development. While OldNews USA is designed to search US newspapers, he hopes to adapted the app for other countries.

The 5 finalists were whittled down from more than 40 applicants from the US and Europe. Each took three minutes to convince the panel of five judges and live audience that their product was deserving of a chunk of the $190,000 in cash and prizes.

The major sponsors of the Innovator Showdown this year included Amazon Web Services (AWS), Kickstarter Seed FundSorenson Legacy Foundation, and others.

After each presentation, there was a four-minute question and answer period between each contestant and the judges. The judges then selected the top three winners, and the viewing audience selected the People’s Choice Award winner.

With $190,000 in cash and in-kind prizes and services from sponsors at stake—an increase of nearly $100,000 from the original projection—the pressure, tension, and energy of the event was tremendous.

2017 RootsTech Showdown Winners
  • First Place Judges’ Choice ($90,000 cash, AWS credits, and an investment from Kickstart Seed Fund), Bill Nelson of OldNews USA.
  • Second Place Judges’ Choice ($44,000 cash and AWS credits), The Qroma tag mobile app for embedding stories into pictures, tagging them by voice commands, and making the data accessible on various platforms.
  • Third Place Judges’ Choice Award ($26,000 cash and AWS credits), Louis Kessler, Double Match Triangulator, an app to help sort DNA matches into groups of relatives.
  • People’s Choice ($25,000 cash and AWS credits), Kindex, an app designed to help users create searchable, shareable archives of family letters and other documents using tags to help users easily locate information.
Emberall was the other finalist. It provides a method to capture and store pictures and videos creating an accessible archive.

The judges for the final round included Alan Doan, CEO of Missouri Star Quilt Company, John Richards, Founder and CEO of Startup Ignition, Kenyatta Berry, host of The Genealogy Road Show, Thomas MacEntee, founder of High-Definition Genealogy, and Dalton J. Wright, partner in Kickstart Seed Fund.
The Innovator Showdown, now in its third year, was designed to foster innovation in the family history industry.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

What Happened Today at the RootsTech 2017 Innovator Summit

The following is from RootsTech.

What Happened Today at the RootsTech 2017 Innovator Summit

We had a superb opening to our RootsTech Innovator Summit today. Audiences heard fantastic keynotes from FamilySearch International CEO Steve Rockwood and President of the Wiseman Group, Liz Wiseman. We were also treated to numerous presentations on the newest, cutting edge technology and concepts in the genealogical field. Budding businesses and innovative ideas were on display for our judges’ and for the audience’s vote at the RootsTech Innovator Showdown Semifinals.

Click on the video above for highlights from today’s activities.

Coming up tomorrow we look forward to hearing from Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International. He will kick off our General Session with his keynote.

After Steve Rockwood’s keynote, Drew and Jonathan Scott, hosts of HGTV’s Property Brothers, will take the stage and share stories about their family and more.

To learn more about what’s happening tomorrow at RootsTech, click below. 

RootsTech 2017 Day One Activities

I know RootsTech doesn't start until tomorrow but today was the beginning of events for me. I knew this was going to be way bigger this year, than previous years, when I saw the billboards advertising RootsTech on the highway coming in.

First, I had a VIP Tour of the new Family History Library Discovery Center. I was a little disorientated walking in. The main floor of the FHL is totally, amazingly, transformed. It was hard to picture that everything genealogy research was upstairs. You have to visit it to appreciate the experience. Yes, I cried during my visit. I did a day in history tour of my mother and the memories just flooded back seeing events right before her death. I could feel her in the room while I was sitting there. This place is holy and has the power to create eternal connections to your ancestors.

In the evening I attended the Media Dinner. My favorite way to start RootsTech. I found out tonight I am one of six original bloggers (now ambassadors) since RootsTech began in 2010. It has grown into something amazing. Speaking of amazing listen to these registrations stats.

  • Innovator Summit 1,400 attendees (closed registration)
  • RootsTech W-F tracks 12,000 attendees
  • Family Discovery Day 30,000 attendees for Saturday (closed registration)
  • Attendees from 43 countries, including all states in the US, but Nebraska
  • RootsTech Opening Event, "Music, It Runs in the Family at the Conference Center at Temple Square is sold out - 21,000 attendees

This was such a fun dinner.  Not only did we get a taste of what is coming we received cool gifts. Totally getting into the Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro keynote on Saturday. There are over 60 competitors entered into the cake decorating competition.  We received a run down of each days themes, and a glimpse of staging. Which is incredible! I can't believe how much RootsTech has transformed over the years.

Then I had my caricature done. Something I have always wanted, but have never had an opportunity to have one. I think it's totally me. It's hard to imagine the fun has just begun. This RootsTech is going to be great!

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another "RootsTech" genealogy day!