Thursday, February 12, 2015

RootsTech 2015 - Thursday Keynote Talks

All three Thursday (12 February) Keynote talks were excellent - with Dennis Brimhall of FamilySearch, Mike Mallin of MyHeritage, and Tan Le from Emotiv.

1)  The introductory piece was the three Genealogy roadshow stars - Josh Taylor, Kenyatta Berry and Mary Tedesco - onstage talking about the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and their partnership with Billion Graves, and the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions project.

2)  Dennis Brimhall is CEO of FamilySearch International, and his talk focused on the FamilySearch partnerships with Ancestry, FindMyPast, MyHeritage, and other sites.  He specifically mentioned how they share digitizing images, indexing records, and sharing databases.  Here are some screen shots:


*  FindMyPast:


One database not on the Ancestry list is the 80 million vital records from Mexico; FamilySearch has digitized them from microfilm, and is indexing them.  The indexed and digitized records will be on both sites.

After this review of the partnerships, Dennis showed the MyHeritage video of their "Instant Discoveries" feature, and noted that "Family History is the joy of connecting ourselves to our ancestors."  He also said he is creating a "museum of me" and encouraged everyone to do it too.

Dennis reviewed what a family might find at the new Family Discovery Centers (eventually 25 larger centers, something smaller at FHCs around the world).  Using an iPad, that interacts with a computer, a user could find out their first and last name origin, name statistics, birth year (or any year) information, ancestors (found in the Family Tree), and map migration paths.  Ancestor profiles could be shown.  Users can audio photos, stories and audio files.

3)  Mike Mallin, the Chief Product Officer at MyHeritage asked "What is a Discovery - it's a gift of knowledge!"  He noted that MyHeritage is acting as the messenger - using the "Instant Discoveries" feature, a person can enter themself, their parents and grandparents, and MyHeritage tries to add content - up to 50 relatives, based on information in MyHeritage trees.  For free.  This "instant gratification" is vital in the wider genealogy market.

4)  Tan Le is an immigrant to Australia from Viet Nam, coming after the fall of Saigon on a refugee boat with her grandmother, mother and sister.  She described her family's life in Viet Nam, the boat trip, settling in Australia, and the effort to assimilate in Australia, with her mother worknig several jobs and the girls studying hard to get an education.  Tan is now the Founder and CEO of Emotiv.  What a powerful story!  You could hear a pin drop in the crowd of thousands.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

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