Monday, March 4, 2024

RootTech 2024 Roundup

Artificial Intelligence made the biggest splash this year at RootsTech 2024. Check out the offerings and you will find AI applied to so many tasks in all areas of the genealogy world. The announcement that created the biggest shock waves came from FamilySearch. They have taken AI transcription technology and applied it - experimentally, so far - to their UNindexed  record sets. Their AI has the capability to transcribe handwriting, even old handwriting. I did a couple quick searches yesterday and it turned up results numbering in the hundreds to look through. This is an exciting new way to reseach my most stubbon elusive ancestors. Just FYI, you will find some shall we say "ODD" words included in  your transcriptions. The machine can only string together what it thinks it sees and sometimes that will surprise you. Poor sweet machine doesn't know that four letter words are four letter words... If that is what it sees, well, then you will see it too. Best to laugh and leave any sensitivities at the door.

Here is a link to the tool from FamilySearch and a blog post from Judy Russell She does a fine job of quickly walking us through the steps to return some new documents to review. 

FamilySearch Lab Tool - 

Judy Russell's post - 

Ancestry seems to be putting most of their energy these days into building and promoting their Family Story format and Facebook-like interface,  to engage younger generations into becoming curious about their family history via quick, small bite exposures using the redesigned home page and the My Ancestry Feed that they introduced last year. They also talked up their new ProTools (extra fee) introduce recently. This set of tools for working with and maintaing your family tree is basically the same maintenance tools that you would find on any good desktop family tree product - Advanced Filters, Tree Checker (duplicates, missing info), Charts and Reports, and enhanced Map Views. Details the Pro Tools are here

Ancestry is bringing their set of DNA Match tools closer to current industry standards by offering some upgrades in the early part of this year. The new tool offerings include a view how your share matches match each other and their sharing amounts (a tool My Heritage users have found useful for several years). This will be a great help to all of us. Other changes include a redesigned user experience for working with notes and color dots (and more dots and special dot icons), easier search features, and other enhancements. The Shared Match comparisons will be part of a paid upgrade. It is not clear at this point what will be part of the standard subscription and what will be fee based.  You can view Ancestry's DNA tools upgrade overview video here and Crista Cowan's feature presentation below.
What’s New at Ancestry® in 2024 - Crista Cowan 

Of course there are hours of  presentation content for all topics within the genealogy world generated at RootsTech each year. I found this video on finding records at FamilySearch most valuable this year. I have a lot of deep diving I need to do and this will certainly help. This webinar was packed with helpful tips. The video link is below. 
Where did you find that? Effective searches on - Debbie Gurtler

Another webinar that I really liked focused on writing. This webinar actuallly inspired me to sit down and start writing about my elusive ancestor the same day so I could see where there were holes were in his story. If you want to be inspired too, watch -

This was a fun research process demo. I have seen and used the Search Party method before and it is a nice way to get unstuck. 
Brick Wall Ancestors Need a Search Party - Janet Hovorka, Diahan Southard, Crista Cowan

Diahan Southard taught a four part series called You Can Do the DNA - This is a great series to watch whether you are just getting started working with your DNA Matches or are several years into the process. You never know what will spark a discovery and she has many good tips.
You Can Do the DNA - one,  twothreefour

On the DNA front there was also an nice panel discussion from the field's leading figures and a free commorative book that you can download. See the panel discussion here. 

Free digital copy of the book - So Far - Genetic Genealogy: The First 25 Years

Of course this just barely scratches the surface of the offerings at RootsTech. All the content generated over the last four days is available to view free in their content library. You can view this years content here and craft your own viewing party. Enjoy. 

RootsTech2024 Class Schedule - note that you will need to open the schedule for each day and theat there are several filters that you can use. 

The 3rd party vendor product announcements are usually as good as the presentations each year. If  you want to see the latest and greatest new tools coming our way, you will find them here. 

Visit Wake County Genealogical Society's Website - 

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