4    Feb 20120 comments

RootsTech 2012: Day two highlights

It was another exciting day at RootsTech. The MyHeritage booth was very busy all day, as the team told those who stopped by how MyHeritage and World Vital Records can help advance their research. Visitors were a mix of those new to MyHeritage, along with those who were already members.

Schelly, Steve Morse and Mark

A large audience heard Dave Barney of Google present the many uses of Google for genealogy. He demonstrated various features, ranging from Google Maps and  how to pinpoint your ancestors on a street level view map and how to zoom in to their historic homes, churches and more to show your family’s living history. He shared a photo of the Swedish church – still standing - where his ancestors were married more than two centuries ago. The building was shown in Google street view.

Tonight was a special Late Night at the Family History Library, which remained open until midnight (hundreds of people were there until the library closed!). Every computer was occupied on all floors, while many attendees arrived just in time to watch the third-season premiere of “Who Do You Think You Are?” featuring Martin Sheen. The show was broadcast in rooms - packed with viewers - on several floors.

Additionally, “rock star” geneablogger Thomas MacEntee (see photo left) celebrated the first anniversary of his very popular Geneabloggers Radio in a third-floor conference room, complete with party hats and a delicious cake!

Geneabloggers Thomas MacEntee (left) and DearMyrtle

In a radical departure from the normally busy but very quiet library, the sacred universal library rules of “no food” and “quiet please” were ignored, as there were delicious cookies, brownies and other edibles available.

The festive atmosphere of this special night incuded numerous genealogy world notables including outgoing FamilySearch CEO Jay Verkler.

The Who Do You Think You Are? third-season premiere of actor Martin Sheen’s quest provided a real zinger at the end. Sheen, who provided the narration for his episode, found out that his great-great-great-great-grandmother’s descendant and his great-great-great-great-grandfather’s descendant had married. The female ancestor had been prosecuted by his male ancestor (a judge) for an indiscretion - likely with a cleric - yet 150 years later, the descendants of both married. It was quite a shock for Sheen.

RootsTech Developers Challenge

We met with the second place winnter of the RootsTech Developer Challenge, Brooke Schreier Ganz of Los Angeles, whose LeafSeek, which helps you turn your genealogical or historical record collections into searchable online databases. It includes such features as built-in geo-spatial searches, pop-up Google Maps, Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching, name synonyms and language localization to help you turn your spreadsheets of names and dates into a full-featured genealogy search engine.

Comments from visitors

One visitor thanked WorldVitalRecords for the unique way it displays the US Social Security Death Index. “Along with the SSDI information, you provide “Historical Events” that happened on the birth and death dates of the individual. I love to read them - I have learned some great facts.”

One of the best things about these conferences is the opportunity to talk to MyHeritage users and those to whom we introduce MyHeritage. On day two, I met several people whose stories were so interesting that we will soon bring them to you in interviews.

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