Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Do you have some treasured family recipes?

Our frineds at Familysearch invite you to contribute.

Savor Your Family's History: Share Your Treasured Recipes​

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (14 February 2017), You might have a family heirloom hidden in your kitchen—and it isn’t the china. prized possession is a favorite recipe that triggers the warm memories associated with loved ones. It brings back the memories of grandma’s special Sunday cookies or the traditional dishes prepared by mom’s busy cooking on Christmas Eve. This cherished recipe, often enjoyed at family celebrations or on holidays, is a heritage recipe that connects you to your family and its traditions. It tells the story of people, places and special memories of your life.
“No matter where you live and no matter where your family is from, in all cultures throughout the world, we have all gathered joyously around food in the kitchen, around the dinner or breakfast table, centered around homemade dishes prepared thoughtfully by a love one. We perpetuate these wonderful experiences and, in a very real sense, honor our heritage when we share these wonderful recipes with our children and grandchildren,” said Stephen Rockwood, president and chief executive officer of FamilySearch.

In conjunction with RootsTech 2017, FamilySearch, the world’s largest genealogical organization and a nonprofit, is launching a campaign to preserve and share these recipe stories. Individuals can share their recipes online by uploading recipes, the stories behind them and photos to Family recipe stories can be shared on social media with the hashtag #FamilySearch. The campaign was launched at RootsTech, the world class family history event held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Keynote addresses by Steve Rockwood and Food Network’s Cake Boss Buddy Valastro related fond memories and experiences of family homemade dishes and the need to preserve them for future generations. In the case of Valastro, the family’s love of food has morphed into a business empire.

Valastro also judged a cake competition at RootsTech 2017 sponsored by family-owned and operated Orson H. Gygi, a very popular Utah kitchen and restaurant supply company in the Intermountain West. The company donated $20,000 worth of prizes for the competition.

Gygi’s General Manager, Brad McDonald, said FamilySearch’s emphasis on family and fostering a sense of identity and belonging that occur in the kitchen and around the table fit nicely with the focus of his company, founded by his grandfather Orson Gygi 70 years ago. He sees the company as the distributor of the supplies and tools used to create these food heritage opportunities, to build family traditions.

In fact, one of his family’s traditions started years ago at a company kitchen. A daughter suggested the family get together to make Thanksgiving pies. Now, 15 years later, McDonald, his wife Mindy and their six daughters and their families, continue to gather annually to make about 30 pies to share with their extended families. Foster has shared her heritage recipe, “Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookies,” to thousands in her Utah cooking classes and online at her blog The recipe has a heritage story. It was developed after her son, Stephen, and his friend, Spencer, decided in high school to take treats every Sunday to those who needed uplifting.

After some hits and misses with the cookies, Foster developed her recipe that includes special instructions so the cookies turn out every time at both high altitude and sea level. She hears frequently from people who have essentially adopted her cookie-making formula as their own heritage recipe.

Anne Metcalf thanks her proselyting mission to Singapore where she served from (Insert Years) for her treasured Vietnamese spring roll recipe. When she was on her mission, she wrote her mother, Ngoc Chung Metcalf, a Vietnam native, asking for a copy of her delicious spring roll recipe. Once or twice a year, when Anne was a child, her mother would make a large batch of rolls from scratch by chopping the vegetables and grinding her own pork. Metcalf would help by rolling the delicacies. Her mother always shared the rolls with appreciative neighbors. “Everyone loved them,” Metcalf said.

But her mother never worked from a recipe. So, Metcalf asked her to calculate the recipe’s measurements and mail them to her on her mission. She’s grateful she made the request. “The recipe is in my mother’s handwriting and seeing the recipe is very special to me because she has passed,” Metcalf said. Thom Reed, it only takes a bite of sweet potato pie to be transported back to his grandmother’s kitchen. Theora Reed grew up in Mississippi and took her Southern cooking skills north to Gary, Indiana, where Thom formed his fond childhood memories of her. Holidays and special occasions meant Grandma Theora’s sweet potato pie.

After his grandmother died in 2001, Thom and his family embraced this heritage recipe. His 12-year-old daughter Jessie has learned to make her great grandmother’s recipe, making certain to add Theora’s special touch of sprinkling a little brown sugar on the crust before pouring in the filling. “There is nothing like sweet potato pie. Once you go to Grandma Theora’s recipe, you’ll never go back,” Thom said. Thom Reed, as well Si Foster and Anne Metcalf, have shared their recipes at as part of the initiative to share and preserve treasure family food traditions.

You can make certain your family’s recipes are accessible to your posterity. “We invite you to share your food-heritage memories on,” Rockwood said.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

MyHeritage News

News from genimatae, Daniel Horowitz, at MyHeritage

I'm delighted to announce the launch of the new Consistency Checker for online family trees at MyHeritage. This new tool scans your family tree and identifies potential mistakes and inconsistencies in your data so that you can quickly make the necessary changes in your tree, improving its overall quality and accuracy.

At MyHeritage, we hold accuracy in high regard and the Consistency Checker is an important tool for family historians of any skill level. We hope it will improve the quality of collaborative genealogy as a whole.

Please find attached a visual, and more information in the blog post here:

A New Genea Lovesong for Valentine's Day

Great fun at the MyHeritage after party.

Rootstech - A Cousin Connector

With permission from Jean, a genimate downunder, I am posting an email she sent me on the weekend.

Hi Jill

Read your second last communication and saw you had interviewed an Amy
Archibald. Well, Archibald is my maiden name and I do have LDS cousins
in USA, whom I met in 2007. Amy's first name didn't ring any bells, but
realised it would be her husband. Found her blog, with email address and
contacted her.

Turns out her husband's great, great, great grandfather is the brother
of my great, great, great grandfather!

Because you listed her name, I now have found another "cousin" and Amy's
husband has an Australian "twig".

Just wanted to let you know and thank you. You never know...

Enjoy Rootstech!!



Monday, February 13, 2017

Hoarse and Happy

Sunday 12 February 2017, Salt Lake City.

Rootstech is a health hazard. By the end of the week of Rootstech activities in Salt Lake City I find my voice becomes huskier as I do so much talking. The dry atmosphere in Salt Lake City causes my nose to bleed, the cold wind makes my eyes water and the elevation (for this person who lives at sea level) causes me to huff and puff up small inclines.....but I can live with those small inconveniences.

Rootstech provides me with an opportunity to get out of my geneacave and meet old and new friends in the flesh, One of my favourite activities during the conference is one of the Ambassador perks. We Ambassadors are given an opportunity to interview fellow Rootstechies in a professionally staffed fishbowl of a video studio in the Media Hub in the Expo Hall at the event.  Although we are initially only given two slots we can sometimes wangle more. I was thrilled to be able to interview seven people (including a couple of big fish) in the studio.

Some of the staff at work in the Fishbowl
I have already posted five of my interviews to my Youtube Channel and will follow up with my interviews with Bernhard Doppelganger and Dirk Weissleder when the videos are processed.

Here are direct links to those already posted:

Amy Archibald, Rootstech Ambassador

Myko Clelland, FindMyPast

Diane Loosle, Director Family History Library, Salt Lake City

Steve Rockwood, CEO, Familysearch International

Ron Tanner, Product Manager, Familysearch

Interviewing Ron Tanner in the Fishbowl

GAGs - GeniAus' Gems - 12 February 2017

I have been too busy having fun at Rootstech to catch up with blog reading this week.

I am therefore directing you to Randy Seaver's compilation of Rootstech blog posts so you can see why that is the case. Each year Randy compiles a list of all the geneabloog post with Rootstech content. Take a look and see what you are missing out on (and why I return to Salt Lake CIty for this event each year.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Innovator Showdown Winners

I was thrilled when three of my favourite entries received awards in the Innovator Showdown Finals at Rootstech.

Here is the Announcement from Familysearch:

Salt Lake City, UT,

OldNews USA Wins Top Honors at RootsTech 2017 Innovator Showdown

Old news, it seems, is actually “new” news. Very innovative news in fact. Today at RootsTech, the world’s largest family history technology conference, OldNews USA took top honors in the 2017 Innovator Showdown, walking away with $95,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. OldNews is an android app designed to help users quickly discover their family in historical US newspapers. The app uses the Library of Congress “Chronicling America” collection of more than 11 million newspaper pages from 1789 to 1922 to deliver its results.
In front of a crowd of close to 14,000 live and online viewers, the six RootsTech Innovator Showdown finalists battled for $199,000 in cash and prizes and bragging rights in the rapidly-growing, multi-billion dollar family history industry. An experienced amateur genealogist, Bill Nelson of Auburn, Massachusetts, designed the program as a solution to tedious, difficult online newspaper searches. The OldNews USA app was designed to simplify and streamline the search process.
Using keywords, users can look for newspaper accounts of a person or topic with the option to look at articles of historical events. In a person search, you type names and dates into your mobile device and choose a location on Google Maps which produces a list of newspapers in the targeted geographic area for a time period. It brings up images of the actual newspapers with the name or event you are seeking highlighted so you can quickly locate it on the page. Images can be enlarged for easier access to detail.
Nelson is a software developer by trade. “I was new to android and needed something to practice on. I had felt the pain points of newspaper research and thought ‘this would be a good project,’” he said. Initially he developed the app for his own use, then realizing it could help other researchers, he expanded it into a mobile app.
OldNews is compatible with Android devices, but Nelson is working to create an app for IOS devices and computers. With his winnings, he can now get business and technological assistance to accelerate development. While OldNews USA is designed to search US newspapers, he hopes to adapted the app for other countries.
The 5 finalists were whittled down from more than 40 applicants from around the world. Each took three minutes to convince the panel of five judges and live audience that their product was deserving of a chunk of the $190,000 in cash and prizes.
The major sponsors of the Innovator Showdown this year included Amazon Web Services (AWS), Kickstarter Seed FundSorenson Legacy Foundation, and others.
After each presentation, there was a four-minute question and answer period between each contestant and the judges. The judges then selected the top three winners, and the viewing audience selected the People’s Choice Award winner.
With $190,000 in cash and in-kind prizes and services from sponsors at stake—an increase of nearly $100,000 from the original projection—the pressure, tension, and energy of the event was tremendous.
2017 RootsTech Showdown Winners
  • First Place Judges’ Choice ($90,000 cash, AWS credits, and an investment from Kickstart Seed Fund), Bill Nelson of OldNews USA.
  • Second Place Judges’ Choice ($44,000 cash and AWS credits), The Qroma tag mobile app for embedding stories into pictures, tagging them by voice commands, and making the data accessible on various platforms.
  • Third Place Judges’ Choice Award ($26,000 cash and AWS credits), Louis Kessler, Double Match Triangulator, an app to help sort DNA matches into groups of relatives.
  • People’s Choice ($25,000 cash and AWS credits), Kindex, an app designed to help users create searchable, shareable archives of family letters and other documents using tags to help users easily locate information.
Emberall was the other finalist. It provides a method to capture and store pictures and videos creating an accessible archive.
The judges for the final round included Alan Doan, CEO of Missouri Star Quilt Company, John Richards, Founder and CEO of Startup Ignition, Kenyatta Berry, host of The Genealogy Road Show, Thomas MacEntee, founder of High-Definition Genealogy, and Dalton J. Wright, partner in Kickstart Seed Fund.
The Innovator Showdown, now in its third year, was designed to foster innovation in the family history industry.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Interview Overload

One of the things I love about Rootstech is the opportunity it creates for me to interview those involved in the genealogy world from ordinary people like me to leaders in the industry.

GeniAus and Jen Allen
It will take me several days to share the details of the interviews but I would like to thank the team in the media hub for creating opportunities for me to interview these people today.

  • The Scott Brothers
  • Jen Allen - Manager of Rootstech
  • Myko Clelland - FindMyPast
  • Steve Rockwood - CEO, Familysearch
  • Kenyatta Berry - Genealogist
  • Amy Archibald - Genealogist
  • Kendall Hulet -
  • Ron Tanner - Familysearch

and to top that off I was interviewed by a team from Rootstech.

I'm a little hoarse tonight.

Kenyatta Berry
Kendall Hulet

Rootstech Day 1

Someone who read the thoughts on keynote speakers that I posted yesterday asked me how would I rate the Scott Brothers' performance at Rootstech today. 

We spied the twins being interviewed backstage
I must say up front that I am a huge fan of  Drew and Jonathan Scott (also known as the Property Brothers) so any evaluation I make could be positively biased.

Waiting for the show to begin
I was impressed with the way Rootstech started with funny man and impressionist Jason warming up the crowd for the 15 minutes prior to going live. He had us in in a relaxed and receptive mood for the appearance of Familysearch CEO, Steve Rockwood (who I managed to interview later in the day).  Steve had a difficult gig but did an admirable job welcoming us and sharing news about Familysearch as many in the audience were waiting for the main event with the Scott twins. 

Familysearch CEO, Steve Rockwood takes the stage
I wrote that I expect keynotes to do more than one of these things: Inspire, Challenge, Educate, Engage, Entertain and Inform

The brothers gave an excellent performance which was engaging and entertaining and which delivered information about their life, work and family - this fan was mesmerised. To top that off the boys were energetic and enthusiastic and very easy on the eye. I felt as if they were addressing me not 12,000 people in the audience and another 100,000 via live streaming. The boys did speak a bit fast for this fan who wanted to hang on their every word but I can take that.

20 rows back it was hard to get clear shots of the boys on that huge stage
After the session I was able to take part in a shared interview with the brothers. We were not able to have individual photos taken with them but I managed a selfie. We should have a group photo in the coming days.

My selfie with the boys
Over the seven years of Rootstech we have seen some excellent keynote presentations, today's did not disappoint. It put me in an excellent frame of mind for the remainder of an interesting and exciting day.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

No Matches

A Tree in the Center
I was disappointed when I toured the new Family Discovery Centre in Salt Lake City yesterday that I found no matches in the Familysearch Family Tree which is interrogated to find distant cousins after one provides details of a Familysearch account.

My mate Jenny found that she was related to Mormon Pioneer Joseph Smith, Inventor Thomas Edison, Past US President Warren G Harding and our Friend in Genealogy DearMYRTLE aka Pat Richley-Erickson. Another Aussie, Helen Smith, had similar stunning results.

No wonder Jenny Joyce is smiling
I realised that my lack of success was due to the fact that I had not entered may people into my Familysearch tree so I hurried back to my hotel and added a few more.

Australian Jan Gow at play in the Center
This afternoon I cam across an American genimate, Claire, who had just been to the  Family Discovery Centre and found that she had a match with me. So putting my data into the tree yesterday brought results. I am going to try and add a few more people before I depart on Monday and return to see if I can find more cousins.

Cousins found or not the Family Discovery Centre provides a range of fun activities for all ages.

Innovator Showdown Semi-Finals

I attended for the first time in my Rootstech History the semi-finals of the Innovator Showdown. It was a most exciting and invigorating event in which ten new and innovative software applications were vying for a place in the finals on Friday 10 February where they will have the opportunity to win part of a $190,000 prize pool.

Those competing were:

Champollion 2.0 , CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing
CuzinsDouble Match Triangulator
KindexOldNews USA
QromaTag and RootsFinder.

As I had been on the judging panel that selected the 10 semi-finalists from the 40 entries I was most interested in the judging process which included two minute pitches by the developer of each product. After we had seen the presentations the judges retired to deliberate and we had to wait until this evening to discover which programs had made it into the finals. I was disappointed to see from the questions some of the judges put to the developers that some judges had not played with the products prior to the showdown. 

I was safor three of my favourites Champollion 2.0, CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing  and Cuzins that did not win a place in the finals as I feel the first two were unique and innovative and the third was a fun app that would appeal to all ages.  

I was delighted to see Double Match Triangulator (DMT) and Qroma Tag gain a place in the finals. I have used DMT and would definitely use Qroma tag if it was available for Android.

The five finalists are : Double Match TriangulatorEmberallKindex, OldNews USA and QromaTag.

The Showdown finalists after the announcement this evening
I look forward to the Innovator Showdown Finals on Friday.

Keynotes at Rootstech

Back in 2012 after attending another conference I reflected on what I expected from a Keynote presentation. I wrote:

Am I being harsh in expecting a keynote presenter to display passion for his/her subject, to tailor the talk for the particular audience, to have sufficient slides and content to fill the allotted time and to have a coherently organised presentation?  Keynote presenters should also know their subject and not have to read from a prepared speech.

I expect a keynote to do more than one of these things: Inspire, Challenge, Educate, Engage, Entertain and Inform. It is a privilege and an honour to be invited to present a keynote; a sense of responsibility and ethical behaviour should be demonstrated by those given this honour.

Julie Arduini says "Keynote presentations are motivational speeches designed to excite the audience for the rest of the event. When keynote presenters deliver a speech, they know what aids to bring and implement to supplement their speech. Keynote speakers have public speaking experience and are known for their ability to educate, inform and entertain."

Over the next few days we will hear from several keynotes at Rootstech 2017. What criteria will you use to evaluate the performance of the keynote presenters?

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Back to the Blue Lemon

Salt Lake City, 7 February.

Today's luncheon get together organised at the Blue Lemon by DearMYRTLE aka Pat Richley-Erickson brought together geneabloggers from all over the place. Having spent quite a deal of time with my Aussie mates I was pleased to sit with a group of bloggers from the US who had some interesting stories and useful tips for researching our collateral lines in the US.

As is my practice I tried to grab some photos of those in attendance. I find that having these pictures is a useful aide memoir when trying to remember people.

Thanks Pat and Russ for our beautiful blogger beads and for all your efforts in making us feel welcome in your city.

Ambassador Perk

One thing I love about being a Rootstech Ambassador (or Official Blogger) is the opportunity I am given to conduct interviews in the video studio in the media hub. At the very first Rootstech back in 2011 I was too shy to take up the offer but once I was blooded at the second Rootstech in 2012 I was hooked.

In earlier years when there were fewer Ambassadors/Bloggers there were many opportunities to avail oneself of this perk but these days it is harder to gain access. I am delighted that, this year, I have four slots in the video studio. I will be interviewing Ron Tanner from Familysearch, Myko Clelland from FindMyPast,  Steve Rockwood CEO of Familysearch and Canadian Genealogist and software developer Louis Kessler who is an Innovator Summit Semi-finalist. I will upload the videos here and to my Youtube Channel as soon as I can. 

In the meantime you can view my video interviews from earlier years via this link.

Here is my interview with keynote, David Pogue in 2013.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Minority Group at Rootstech

Salt Lake City, 6 February 2017

This evening we held the Annual Commonwealth Dinner for members of the British Commonwealth attending Rootstech. We had over 30 people representing Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand and Scotland gather at The Blue Lemon for a meal and a chat. A few more Genies from the Commonwealth will be arriving in Salt Lake City in the next few days but we Commonwealth People are still a minority group at Rootstech.

I ran around like a mad thing taking photos of those at the event and realise I missed one or two.

I think everyone came away having made some new genimates, meeting online friends in person for the first time or catching up with distant friends. It was pleasing to see The Society of Australian Genealogists and The Surname Society so well represented. Thanks to everyone who made the party such a success.

Following are some of the happy snaps I took of the attendees.

Record your story at Rootstech

Share a family story in an audio interview that will play on a new Mormon Channel podcast. This is f available to anyone to participate.
"Everyone has a story to tell, and we want to hear yours. You can share it with us at RootsTech, February 9-11. Stop by our booth, near the East entrance on Level 2, and tell us your inspirational or entertaining story. From conquering a challenge to your most memorable family meal, we want to hear it all. Reserve a time here. We look forward to meeting you."
Here is the link to reserve a time:

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Day off from Family History?

Salt Lake City, 5 February

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is closed on a Sunday so the Aussies who are in town for Rootstech had to find alternative means of entertainment.

I had received an invitation from Kiwi Genie, Roger Moffat, to join he and his wife Lisa for a trip  out into a local tourist spot. I was joined in the backseat by fellow Aussie blogger, Lilian Magill.

Our destination was the Snowbird Resort. As we headed up and up into the mountains I was concerned that I might have trouble breathing in the clear mountain air. Somehow Roger managed to get a parking spot right at the door of the Snowbird Reception Building so we didn't have to walk too far. We had an unremarkable lunch in the cafeteria before buying tickets for a return trip on the Aerial Tram which was a gondola/cablecar type vehicle. My Senior's return ticket was only $17!

Sardine Can
As foot passengers we were given priority boarding over the hordes of skiers who were waiting for a ride to the top. These chaps were packed in after us like a school of sardines. It was a long, spectacular ride that took me higher than any similar rides I have done although it reminded me of the scenery from the smaller gondolas in Banff.

The air at 11,000 feet was rather fresh and the temperature just above freezing but the sun was shining and the breeze light. We only spent about half an hour wandering around, taking photos and talking to some friendly skiers.

In contrast to our ride up the mountain the car for our descent was nearly empty, most of the passengers were tourists like us who gone up on for a joy ride. On our way down I enjoyed watching the skiers make their way down the very steep slopes on the mountain whereas on the way up I was mesmerised by the views.

On our return to Salt Lake City Lilian and I decided to have a rest and go for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory as we thought it might not be crowded on this night of the Superbowl. I sent out a private Facebook message to all the Aussies I knew who had arrived for Rootstech and rustled up a group for dinner. as downunder people Roger and Lisa also joined us. 

We had a beaut impromptu dinner for 10 (including three Aussie Rootstech Ambassadors) , the food was a vast improvement on our lunch and the company was ConGenieal (a new word for the Geneadictionary!). Although some of us knew each other we all made new friends or met online friends in the flesh for the first time.

Jennie Fairs volunteered to be photographer
That's Jennie on the right.
It wasn't a day off from family history after all. When genies gather family history is always on the menu as it was today.


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