Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Good Genealogy News from RootsTech 2013

Some of the important genealogy and family history news that I learned at RootsTech 2013 included:

*  The FamilySearch website will be revamped - see https://www.familysearch.org/whats-new/ for screen views and videos.  I suggest that you watch the two-minute video at the top of the page.  Check out the Family Tree fan chart also - it looks like a great navigation tool also (but it's not available yet).

*  Ancestry.com will partner with FamilySearch to digitize and index 140 million U.S. probate record pages from 1800 to 1930.  FamilySearch is digitizing them state-by-state, but they are browse-only collections at this time.  I'm guessing that Ancestry will be able to access the images, and will do the Indexing task.  I figure that the index (country-wide, they said) will be available on FamilySearch as part of the partnership.

In my humble opinion, the indexing of probate records will open up many more research results for American researchers.  Probate records are one of the richest sources for relationship information, but are difficult to access in person or on microfilm, and very few probate record indexes are currently online.  I'm concerned by the year range - there is a wealth of probate records from before 1800 available in the American states.  Then there's the land records - the other major rich source that may solve relationship problems.

*  The MyHeritage announcement that they will have the complete 1790 to 1940 U.S. census collection images and index is a big deal - it will make MyHeritage second only to Ancestry.com in U.S. record collections, and fills a big hole in their database collection.  Record matches will help researchers find census records while they sleep.  The census records are not yet available at this writing.

*  The Legacy Mobile app is now available - I just downloaded it to my iPhone and logged in with my FamilySearch credentials.  It's beautiful, not sure how good it works yet.  I'll review it soon on Genea-Musings.

*   RootsMagic is the first program that has incorporated the API for the FamilySearch Family Tree, and it works great to match persons, upload events and relationships.  However, it does not yet include sources, notes, photos or discussions.

*  GEDCOM X, the GEDCOM replacement tool being developed by FamilySearch, may be available in Beta release in May 2013.  This may be the only GEDCOM replacement we get.

What other significant news from RootsTech 2013 did you hear about?  Tell me!

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

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