RootsTech 2012: Day one highlights

RootsTech 2012: Day one highlights

MyHeritage’s experience at RootsTech has been a success, from setup to live hangouts and a very busy booth on the first day.

MyHeritage booth at RootsTech, before the conference began

MyHeritage booth at RootsTech, before the conference began

The team began setting up Wednesday afternoon. Our booth is a real standout with double arches of balloons in the MyHeritage logo colors. Everyone knows where our booth is located as the colorful balloons fly high above the exhibit floor.

MyHeritage Super Search

Today, the opening day, our CEO/founder Gilad Japhet demonstrated the new MyHeritage Super Search technology. The new online research system greatly expands search functionality and takes into account user errors, common name variations, and other important details which, in the past, have not been included in most ancestral searches. There are many options to filter results by collections, via additional refining, advanced search and filtering capabilities as demonstrated in his presentation. This exciting new research system is still under development.

FamilyGraph API

MyHeritage’s chief genealogist Daniel Horowitz presented the FamilyGraph API and its potential uses by developers and consumers

Rootstech Keynote

During the keynote opening session incoming FamilySearch CEO Dennis Brimhall introduced outgoing CEO Jay Verkler who, for 10 years, has helped grow FamilySearch capabilities and partnerships around the world. Brimhall announced that more than 4,200 attendees had registered for RootsTech 2012. Last year’s attendance was some 3,000.

The Modern High Tech World of Genealogy

RootsTech shows that the world of genealogy is entering the 21st century, with flashing lights, loud music and screen animations.

The genealogy world is becoming increasingly high-tech, as we saw attendees using smartphone and tablet apps and online trees, and exhibitors are also joining the revolution. Tweets, status updates and check-ins are in a constant state of updates as users utilize the same technology at the event where they are gathering to learn even more technology.
Attendees represent all stages and skills of research. Many visitors to the MyHeritage booth were new to family history research, while others were well-acquainted with our features and tools. Many attendees represented local family history societies and were planning to bring back the new information to their members. With so many technological advances offered at RootsTech, the conference offers a unique opportunity to see all the latest resources in the industry.
Our booth display offered eight computers, that were all occupied for much of the day. Society representatives learned to use and more effectively to bring that information back home. MyHeritage offers a complete package at an affordable price. From our 38 languages to the online ability to share resources with relatives via a family website.

Daniel with Tormod Engebu, one of MyHeritage translation volunteers

Daniel with Tormod Engebu, one of MyHeritage translation volunteers

One woman who visited our booth was so excited to learn that we had international family trees. She said, “Finally, a way to get me across the pond.” She quickly registered to create her own family website, which took only a minute. She couldn’t wait to return home and upload her GEDCOM to the new family tree website that she had created.

Another visitor let us know she is a loyal WorldVitalRecords member and will be so forever. She said that she is named after her great-great-grandmother. Her grandmother’s husband died in 1848, leaving her with two step-children, three of her own children and pregnant with a fourth. The woman had searched for years to find out what happened to her grandmother, using Ancestry, FamilySearch and others, with no result. One night, she went to WorldVitalRecords, entered her grandmother’s name and – in a small town in Iowa – was an obituary for her grandmother.

US genealogy advisor Schelly Talalay Dardashti talked with a young girl who had been studying her family history for five years, and we will bring her story to blog readers in a few weeks, to emphasize the new generation of genealogists.

It was a great opening day for a great conference. We’ll post Day Two tomorrow, so stay tuned for more of the exciting events.