The third day of RootsTech 2013 began with snowy roads and about 2000 young people descending on the Salt Palace Convention Center. Upon arriving I met a group of young men that were going to earn their genealogy badge from the Boy Scouts of America, and later found 2000 youth contained in Hall 2 with presentations geared to an introduction to genealogy and family history. Smaller groups toured the facilities with guides. The young people were all smiles as they entered the exhibit hall. Pictures were taken by the RootsTech waterfall. But, as an adult attending the conference, the youth were hardly noticeable. Well-mannered and polite, they blended with genealogists of all ages.
There appeared to be fewer adult attendees this Saturday. The developers were gone. There were only three sessions, and a reduced fourth, offered. The Saturday keynote presentations were sponsored by MyHeritage. The recap is posted at RootsTech.org. David Pogue opened the general session. You don’t want to miss it!
After the opening session, my focus was DNA. The first presentation was a panel from the three leading companies providing DNA testing for genealogy: Family TreeDNA, 23andMe, and Ancestry. Bennett Greenspan, Tim Janzen, MD, and Catherine Ball represented the respective companies. CeCe Moore moderated for the panel. The attendance in each DNA presentation provided standing room only. Later in the day, a wall was removed to accommodate the crowd. By a raise of hands, the crowd was heavily interested in DNA for genealogy. Most individuals had the results from more than one test from more than one company. The main issue raised during the Q&A was the ability of individuals to compare data with results from all three companies. Bennett Greenspan, with concurrence of the panel, cited business profit as the main reason for the “brick wall.” Many discussed GEDmatch as a possible solution to the problem, but the way in which Ancestry released the raw data to customers is incompatible with the current version of GEDmatch. (Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, has written a blog post about Ancestry’s recent move to fulfill the promise to release raw data needed for comparisons that may be of interest to you.)
FamilySearch Indexing expressed gratitude to all of the volunteers who assist them by providing an opportunity for those in attendance to have a picture taken on the mock-up of the Ellis Island immigration dock. The present goal of FamilySearch Indexing is to reach the one billionth record indexed! It is estimated that the goal will be reached in the next few weeks. At the close of RootsTech 2013 the number of records indexed was at 988,216,302 and climbing. If you are a registered indexer with FamilySearch, why not get online and help in this worthy project that benefits everyone in the genealogical community. I personally found a new record subset of interest, US airplane immigration lists from after World War 2 to 1954. These records may be of interest to you as well. If you’ve never indexed before and would like to try it, give it a test run at familysearch.org. A batch of records can be competed in small increments of time and an index is a great tool to genealogists everywhere :-)
Usually, as the conference comes to a close, fatigue sets in as one says good-bye to old friends and new. Blue skies capped a very successful conference. Although there were other dinners and parties being held around the venue, I was at the Family History Library. According to Warren Bittner, CG, that is where “real” genealogists go to party :-) Warren was the coordinator of the Advanced German Research Course held this past January for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and at least five of us from that course were in attendance at the library last night, including our own Judy Russell, JD, CG. Although the library has changed its hours to close early on Saturdays, it remained open until 9pm to the delight of all who attended.
Thank you to all who volunteered to make RootsTech 2013 a success!
(By the way, Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings, an offical blogger, has compiled a list of blog posts written during the course of the conference. Thank you, Randy! A list of official bloggers and links to their sites can be found at RootsTech.org.)
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