RootsTech 2020 SLC Opens Registration

It’s time for genealogists to start making plans for the RootsTech 2020 conference to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

I’ve been attending and speaking at RootsTech since 2011, the second year that the conference was held. It’s been so rewarding to be a part of the evolution of this event! This 10th anniversary in 2020 promises to top them all. 

Lisa Louise Cooke at Rootstech 2019

I’ll be delivering four presentations this year: 

  1. Reconstruct Your Ancestors’ Stories with Google
  2. Genealogy in Your Ears: Podcasters Talk Podcast 
  3. 3 Cool Cases Solved: How to Identify Your Photos (premiering at RootsTech!)
  4. The 2020 Genealogist’s Google Search Methodology

Lisa Louise Cooke is a speaker at RootsTech 2020

Each year holds new surprises and opportunities to connect with your fellow genealogists. Below is the recent RootsTech press release providing all the details on registration. And here’s a tip: If you’re travelling from out of town, book your accommodations right away. Some hotels have already sold out. 

RootsTech crowds enjoy the many attractions of the popular annual event.SALT LAKE CITY (18 September 2019)—

FamilySearch International has announced that registration for RootsTech 2020 Salt Lake City is now open.

RootsTech is a popular 4-day annual family history and technology conference where individuals and families are inspired to discover, share, and preserve their family roots, heritage, and stories.

The 2020 conference will be held February 26–29, 2020, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. For more information, visit rootstech.org/salt-lake. Discounts are available for early registrations.

In 2019, RootsTech attracted over 20,000 attendees from 38 different countries and all 50 states.

RootsTech 2020 will celebrate its 10th anniversary and the distinguished honor that it is the largest genealogy conference of its kind in the world.

The conference will feature a full lineup of inspiring and well-known keynote speakers, over 300 informative sessions, including hands-on computer workshops taught by industry professionals; interactive activities and helpful exhibitors in the expo hall; and entertaining events—all designed to inspire and empower personal family discoveries.

RootsTech 2017

Conference Details

The theme for RootsTech 2020 will be “The Story of YOU.” Many of the classes, keynote address, and venue décor will reflect this theme.

“At RootsTech, we believe that the stories we’re creating and preserving today are just as important as the stories of our ancestors,” said Jen Allen, event director. “Reflecting on and celebrating each of our personal journeys is an important part of family history that we are excited to explore at the 2020 conference.”

RootsTech 2020 will also introduce learning forums—new class sessions covering a variety of specialized topics including: records access and preservation, innovation and technology, and DNA. One of these forums will be offered on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

RootsTech 2020 will officially begin on Wednesday, February 26 with class sessions beginning at 8 AM MT. Wednesday’s general keynote session will begin on the main stage at 4:30 p.m. Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, will be the featured keynote speaker.

General keynote sessions on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will begin on the main stage at 11 AM MT and will lead directly into the lunch hour.

Read more about what’s new at RootsTech 2020.

International speaker Lisa Louise Cooke at RootsTech

RootsTech Conference Pricing

Early bird discount pricing is available for a limited time on 4-day passes at just $169 (a $130 discount on regularly priced passes). Single day RootsTech passes are also available for $99. Both one-day and full conference passes include access to the popular expo hall and keynote sessions. Early bird pricing ends October 11, 2019.

Family Discovery Day at RootsTech 2020

Registration for Family Discovery Day is also now open.

The event takes place on Saturday, February 26, 2020, and is designed for families and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This free 1-day event includes inspiring messages from Church leaders; engaging classes for families, youth, and young single adults; and evening entertainment to inspire and help families make family history connections.

Fun at Rootstech

My kids and their friend having fun at RootsTech

Family Discovery Day attendees will also have access to all the interactive activities and exhibitors found in the RootsTech expo hall. Event details, including speakers and class sessions, will be made available soon at RootsTech.org.

The event is free, but registration is required.

Considering Going for the First Time?

If you’ll be attending RootsTech for the first time, we’ve got loads of tips that will help make your experience awesome. Read my article RootsTech questions: Tips for attending world’s biggest genealogy event. 

rootstech guide first-timers

Looking for a Smaller Genealogy Event?

If you enjoy a more intimate genealogy event setting, consider joining me at Genealogy Roots. It’s two days of genealogy education with me and my special guest Geoff Rasmussen of Legacy Family Tree Webinars. It’s coming soon: October 10 & 11, 2019 in Sandy, Utah, just 25 minutes south of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Learn more and get the early-bird special on tickets here

Genealogy Roots 2019

Free Access to Military Records and Yearbooks at MyHeritage for a Limited Time

Here’s some great new. In honor of Memorial Day, MyHeritage is offering free access to all if their military records from May 20–26, 2020. 

Click here to get started, then in the menu click Research, then click Military

Military records at MyHeritage

May 20 through 26, 2020.

MyHeritage Military Records

Many of us may have a relative or ancestor who served in the military. We invite you to pay tribute to these heroes and honor their legacy by learning more about them through military records. 

The MyHeritage collection consists of 57 million records and includes draft, enlistment, and service records, pension records, and other military documents from North America and around the world, dating back to the American Revolutionary War in the late 18th century. 

MyHeritage Facebook Live Events

MyHeritage is also hosting 2 Facebook Live events about military records in the coming days: 

Searching Military Records on MyHeritage
Tune in TODAY, May 20 at 1 P.M. EDT to learn how to leverage MyHeritage’s vast collection of military records to learn more about your family history. 

Breaking Through Brick Walls with Military Records
On May 24 at 1 P.M EDT, you’ll learn how to use military records to break through brick walls in your genealogy research. 

Follow MyHeritage on Facebook to tune in live. You can also watch the recorded sessions later on, and check out the full list of our online events in May and June.

Lisa Louise Cooke, MyHeritage Facebook Live, June 3, 2 P.M. EDT

Topic: Fabulous Photo Discoveries at MyHeritage
Speaker: Lisa Louise Cooke
Description: Lisa Louise Cooke, founder of the genealogy research website Genealogy Gems, will illustrate the incredible potential of MyHeritage’s Photo Discoveries™ feature.

 

U.S. Yearbook Records Now Free and in Color

Following the release of the highly popular MyHeritage In Color™, we’ve colorized the entire MyHeritage U.S. Yearbook collection on MyHeritage. This collection includes 290 million names in 36 million yearbook pages, spanning from 1890 through 1979. You can now see colorized versions of your ancestors’ black and white yearbook photos next to the originals. To celebrate this moment, we’re offering FREE access to our U.S. Yearbooks through May 23, 2020.
 

Inexpensive DNA Health Reports: Recommended by Your DNA Guide

DNA health reports are becoming a more common option for those who test their DNA for family history. Should you order a DNA health report? Here are the ones Diahan Southard recommends most. Her top pick is inexpensive, available to all testers, and promises confidentiality for your genetic data.

DNA and Health

DNA Health Reports May Have Saved a Life

At Rootstech 2017 I was sitting at my booth answering questions and talking with many of you about your experience with genetic genealogy. A woman came up to the booth and exclaimed, “You saved my son’s life!”

She went on to explain that she had come across my booth at a previous RootsTech and engaged me in a discussion about using this kind of genetic genealogy test to find out more about a person’s health. I explained that while the focus of these genetic genealogy companies is to further our ancestral research, the DNA that they test does contain some health information. In fact, 23andMe used to offer a full health report as part of their service, but the FDA decided they better regulate that sort of thing, and put the kibosh on it. I told her that while 23andMe is slowly edging back into that arena, you can find out some interesting personal health information today, using the results from any of your genetic genealogy testing company.

How to Get DNA Health Reports

1. Download your results. The first step is to download your raw DNA data from wherever you were tested. Just as Lisa Louise Cooke is always encouraging us to be the owners of our own family tree data, we should be the owners of our own genetic data, too. Save a copy of your raw data to your computer. You can find instructions here on my website.

2. Choose a DNA health report provider and upload your DNA. A growing number of companies offer these reports. Within the genealogy industry, 23andMe sells them and recently Family Tree DNA began offering them to existing customers (more on that coming soon).

But the DNA health report provider I recommend the most is Promethease.com. Their service is available to anyone with a DNA sample–you don’t need to test with any specific company. It’s easy and inexpensive: just $5. This report will tell you about various aspects of your health, including your predisposition to certain diseases and ailments, as well as your likely response or sensitivity to certain drugs. And the site promises confidentiality and impartiality, which are crucial in this age. The Privacy statement reassures users, “At no time is your DNA data shared – or sold – to any external party, period. We also do not sell any products like vitamins or supplements.”

Editor’s note: the following paragraph was updated on January 3, 2018: Promethease now offers the option to keep your raw DNA on the site and obtain updated health reports for free at any time. Click here to read more about these options. An email sent to Promethease customers on January 3, 2018 explains, “We added this infrastructure so we could use de-identified stored data to better assess the accuracy of the raw data produced by different companies, platforms and technologies. This will also allow us to provide the best, independent assessment of true vs. false data in future Promethease reports and add new features.” The email also reminded users that updated reports are valuable because the genetic database that fuels the reports “doubles almost every year, and Promethease’s interface is always improving to enable better searching, filtering and exporting options.”

Here’s a screenshot of part of a sample report:

If you would like to read more about Promethease, I suggest reading over the ISOGG wiki page, paying special attention to blog posts by legal and genetic genealogy experts. There is also a Facebook group to ask and answer questions about Promethease.

One more option for DNA health tests that I want to bring to your attention: Livewello. At Livewello you can combine your own personal exploration of your genetics with the tracking of your family’s health. Livewello offers resources about these ailments and predispositions, as well as support groups and chat rooms for you to explore and ask questions. It does have a fee of $19.95 to join, and some of the feature reports do require a monthly subscription fee.

3. Remember that DNA health reports are in their infancy. It is critical to remember that research hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of the complex way our genetics interact with other factors in order to make our bodies work. So whatever you see on these kinds of reports, take it for what it is: just information, not some kind of crystal ball. If you see something concerning, you may want to consider talking to a genetic counselor.

This woman at my booth found out some interesting information on Promethease, then consulted the professionals already involved in her son’s care, ultimately changing the course of his treatment, and she believes, saved his life.

As more and more people get genetic testing completed, more and more tools are becoming available to track your personal health history. Whatever you decided to do, please remember that your raw data contains your own personal information that does identify you uniquely from anyone else on the planet. While you shouldn’t be afraid to try new tools and explore your personal genomics, it is very important to read the privacy information of each company carefully to be sure you know what you are consenting to when you are uploading your data. Most companies are fastidious about privacy, but many are also involved in research endeavors, including pharmaceuticals, so please be aware before you upload.

As the genealogists in the family, we are the keepers of many important truths and documents, and certainly, that includes our important health information.

Your DNA is Part of Your Story

Watch this free webinar with Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard to learn more about the role your DNA plays in your story. Get inspired, get informed–and get digging into your DNA! Click on the video below to watch it now.

How and Why to Create an Alternate Family Tree

alternate family treeUse an “alternate family tree” to emphasize unique or interesting patterns in your family history, such as eye or hair color, birthplace, age at death, or adoption. Here’s how to do it–and WHY.

Alternate family trees are popping up all over social media and genealogy blogs. Have you seen them? Some trees emphasize the age at death, cause of death, or birthplace for each individual.

There can be tremendous value to creating trees like these. Recognizing patterns can help tear down brick walls. Imagine a pedigree chart with birth places instead of names. It’s a new way to see migration patterns. I also love the a-ha moments I have! For example, the time I realized my hair and eye coloring likely came from my maternal great-grandmother who I have a special connection with.

I can share these quick “did you know” revelations with my relatives on social media (totally shareable images!) or at family reunions. Images are often more powerful than words because they are easy to glance over. Your family won’t be able to resist taking a look, and most importantly, sharing your tree images with other family members. Shared images can generate new information when shared with the right relative. Hey, here’s an idea: you could even blow up your alternate family tree to poster size for the next family reunion!

Take a look at these examples of my own alternate family trees for age at death (left) and birthplace (right).

Alternate_Trees_2 alternate family tree

 

Other alternate family trees may focus on occupations, schooling, or color of eyes or hair.

I was inspired to create an alternate family tree that had significance to my own immediate family. We have a lot of adoption in our family tree. My three children are adopted, my husband is adopted, and several of my great-grandparents were raised by other family members. This is a unique perspective. Blood lines are important, but even more important are those people who influenced my family the most as caregivers.

I created a pedigree that indicates who, if anyone, the father and mother figures were. Take a look:

Did you notice that every set of my great-grandparents had one or more parent die or abandon them? I was shocked to see this significant ancestral dynamic. I had never considered the likely effect of such a family tree. It was fascinating!

How to Create an Alternate Family Tree

The easiest way to create an alternate family tree is to use a genealogy software program. I use RootsMagic. RootsMagic is a genealogy software program for PC and Mac computers. (Note: To use RootsMagic on your Mac computer, you will need to use the MacBridge add-on.) You can purchase the full version of RootsMagic for $29.95 or you can use the RootsMagic Essentials for free!

There are two ways to make an alternate family tree using RootsMagic. You can start from scratch or use the wall chart report.

Starting from Scratch

To start a new pedigree:

  1. click the “blank sheet of paper” icon at the top left. Name your tree with a title that will indicate its purpose. (Example: Age-at-Death Tree)
  2. Instead of using the names of your ancestors, use whatever alternate pieces of information you wish in the name fields.
  3. Now, you simply click “Reports” across the top and choose “Pedigree.” You can generate the report and print out your new alternate tree.

Using an Existing Tree

If you already have your tree on RootsMagic, you can use the Wall Chart feature to create trees with unique data.

As an example, if I wanted to create an occupation family tree, I would first need to enter that data for each person by clicking on the individual and then “Add a Fact.” From the drop-down list, choose “occupation.” Type in the occupation in the description field at the right and click “Save.”

Alternate Family Tree

Add the occupation to each individual and when you are ready to print your alternate family tree, simply take the following steps in the image below.

Alternate Family Tree

After taking these six steps, it is time to “Generate Report.” You will be taken to a new screen where you will see your creation.

Once you have completed your alternate tree, it’s a great idea to print it and lay it out in front of you. You might ask yourself, “What does this information tell me?” The interpretation of the data will be unique for everyone. Maybe your “Cause of Death Tree” will make you think, “Oh no! I should really be watching my heart health!”

I hope that you will take the opportunity to create an alternate family tree or two today. Genealogy Gems Premium website members who like this idea will also want to listen to Genealogy Gems Podcast #136, due out later this month. In that episode, Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard goes in depth on the value of gathering family health history.

How does this view of your family tree make you feel?
We love to hear from you so leave your feelings or comments below,
and please feel free to share your alternate family tree on our Facebook page!

More Family Tree and RootsMagic Gems

The Oldest Veterans on YouTube

There is a time capsule of American military veterans on YouTube, and it is remarkable. As a follow-up to our recent post, The Faces of U.S. Military Veterans through the Centuries, we now bring you a line-up of amazing videos and photographs from the War of 1812 to World War II.

We begin this YouTube journey with the historical footage of the funeral procession of Hiram Cronk. Cronk was the last known surviving veteran of the War of 1812 when he died in 1905, at the age of 105. The clip found on YouTube shows row after row of marching men passing by on the screen. A YouTube comment identifies them as “Civil War veterans in their 60s [and] Mexican-American War veterans in their 80s.” Another comment identifies the last group of marching soldiers as re-enactors wearing War of 1812 soldier’s uniforms.

In fact, YouTube offers us many opportunities to see the faces and actions of earlier generations of soldiers. Have you seen the famous footage of the storming of the beaches at Normandy? It’s on YouTube!

After sharing our last post, The Faces of U.S. Military Veterans through the Centuries, I received a comment from Stephen, a Genealogy Gems reader. Stephen’s father served in the U.S. Army during WWII and was in the Aleutian Islands. That caught my eye because my father-in-law also served in the Aleutian Islands. It was a challenging landscape in which to serve, which is evident in the YouTube video I found online.

Aleutian Islands WWII Campaign: Combat runs over Kiska, Alaska

There are other military history gems found on YouTube you may never have expected to see. This next video is a collection of early combat photos beginning in 1863 with the U.S. Civil War. The creator of this video gave some background on combat photography. He said:

“The first war photography took place in the Mexican-American War by an anonymous photographer, but it wasn’t until the American Civil War that the first combat photos were taken…The limitations posed by the time and complexity it took to take a photo in the mid-to-late 1800’s made it difficult to obtain images during battles, but a few of naval actions did emerge. There was also not a tradition of journalists and artists putting their lives on the line for an image. The overall amount of combat photography before World War I was small, but a few images did emerge from a few courageous and pioneering people. By the time of World War I, governments saw the value in having large numbers of photographers to document conflicts for propaganda purposes and improved camera technology allowed combat photographers to routinely capture most iconic images of many conflicts.”

The earliest combat photos, 1863-1915

Google Drive and other tipsClick here for tips to find your family history on YouTube or read an entire chapter on the subject in my book, The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox.

Addition Resources:

Pin It on Pinterest

MENU