Category Archives: RootsTech

1950 Census

The word from the FamilySearch Tech Guys is that the 1950 Census will be available this year in FamilySearch sometime in April, May or June. More detailed information will be announced at Rootstech 2022.

Rootstech 2022 is free and will be available online. To sign up, go to

AI Genie

The dream of many genealogists is that the technology industry would create an AI module that would build the “master tree” and then all we would need to do is maintain it by adding new births.

DeepMind’s latest venture, Neural Algorithmic Reasoning, is using Google Maps as a test bed. I wish they had pointed their test routines at and FamilySearch. Maybe next year?

Meanwhile, FamilySearch is not setting still. They have digitized all of their microfilms and are currently indexing the lot. The trouble has been that indexing has always depended on human volunteers. There seem to be more data than there are volunteers! People like you and me just aren’t helping.

One solution FamilySearch is developing is computer-assisted indexing using artificial intelligence. Yes, really. Read this really interesting article that appeared in my Google News feed today.

The artificial intelligence the computer uses is not perfect, and that’s where people come in. You can help the system get better by actually working on your family history at FamilySearch. Records indexed by a computer are labeled with a box in your system that reads “This record was indexed by a computer. If you find an error, click here to report it.” The AI system will learn from what you tell it.

Read the above article for more understanding. The people and the FamilySearch AI systems might be able to build the “master tree” before DeepMind gets around to it! 🙂

(The article appears to be in a LDS members only site, I am not sure how long it will remain in the public domain. If you are interested in this, I would advise you to read the article pronto.)

Monthly Meeting – April 1, 2021 – “Rootstech 2021 Forum: Share a Tip Learned at the Virtual Rootstech Experience” Co-hosts: Shelley McFadden & Joseph Donahue

Genealogist’s dream of attending the Annual Rootstech Conference in Salt Lake City, UT. Professional genealogists, and family researchers, gather to share and learn what is new in the world of genealogical research; all hoping to find a new solution to solve their own family mystery. How often have you thought about traveling to Salt Lake City, in order, to be educated by those famous genealogy professionals? This year, Rootstech is introducing – “Rootstech Connect: A FREE Online Conference Experience.” We can all attend this virtual event from our own home computer. The Conference – February 25-27, 2021. This event was livestreamed or on demand, and you can access the classes up to 12 months after the conference.

Monterey County Genealogy Society has decided to dedicate their April 1, 2021 program to the Rootstech Experience. Each of us will have an opportunity to share tips learned at this year’s Rootstech Conference. Our plan is to share with other members new or more effective ways to complete our family genealogy, learned at Rootstech.

Shelley McFadden holds a BFA in Fine Arts, and is a retired RN. She had worked for over 40 yrs on her family genealogy. She is member of MoCoGenSo, 1st V.President – Programs and past Acting President. Also a member of Commodore Sloat Chapter of the DAR, and Assoc. member of Aloha Chapter of DAR. Charter member of NSCDA in Hawaii. Teaches Beginning Genealogy and Newspaper Research.

Joseph T. Donahue, retired RN. All of my Great-Grandparents immigrated from other countries: Ireland, England, Germany, and Italy. As a young Child, I asked my Dad which was I mostly. He said Irish, a fact supported half a century later by DNA testing. I was named after my Dad’s Brother, who died in England while serving in the U.S. Army during WWII. In the early 1980’s, Aunt, Margie fueled my interest in genealogy by sharing info she gathered by interviewing my paternal Grandfather, research done as a member of the Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society, and travels to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT. I am a member of MoCoGenSo since and serve on their Board of Directors.

The Zoom meeting will start at 7:00 pm sharp. Zoom meeting details will be sent by invitation only. If you are not a member and wish to attend, send an email with your email address to our Membership VP, Marilyn Ruccello .

If you are not familiar with Zoom, click here.

”The more I work and practice, the luckier I seem to get.” – Gary Player

Lists of some Rootstech 2021 sessions

I went looking for lists of Rootstech presentations yesterday and found some lists. There are plenty more in the Expo Hall. Here are pointers to two lists of presentations. For each, there is a pointer to the actual URL within Rootstech in case they make changes and there is a pointer to a static PDF stored here for simplicity sake.

Rootstech Connect 2021 Sessions: A list of most of the Sessions. Does not include the Expo Hall sessions nor the Keynote presentations.


DNA Basics Learning Center Presentations: This is a list of the live sessions. The conference is over, this list is primarily useful for the name of the presenter. You can use the name to search with in the current site.


“I wish you could record silence and then play it on loudspeakers on full blast to make the whole room quiet.”

Rootstech 2021 presentations will be available for a year!

Rootstech 2021 was loaded with great presentations that I really enjoyed. I have added a few to my Playlist so I can go back and review throughout the year!

But… the site had some difficulties. I follow the blogger Roberta Estes and she kept talking about places I couldn’t find! First, there is no overall search function. And some things were buried under tiers or levels that were not obvious. There is no site map.

For example, Roberta mentioned a place called “DNA Learning Center”. I simply couldn’t find it in Rootstech. So, I signed in to Rootstech in one tab of my browser. Then I opened a new tab and did a Google search for “where is dna learning center in rootstech”! Google located it for me, I opened the url in a third tab and finally, I was there.

Through inspection of the url, I learned that the DNA Learning Center is located in a folder called “Expo Hall”. Geeze… How was I to know this?

Roberta kept saying there were over 1,000 presentations that one could view. She did say that you sometimes had to search by presenter name to find them. Humm…. When I counted the presentations by Keynotes and Sessions I couldn’t find nearly that many. And the darn menu in the right side has now changed since the “live” party is over. Keynotes and Calendar is gone.

Sure, you can now search for topic under the Sessions menu item. And you can search by speaker name under the Speakers menu item. But, I defy you to find easily the presentation by Beth Taylor called “Using DNA To Find Unknown Relatives” or “What Is A Centimorgan” by Robert Kehrer if you hadn’t been attending during the conference using the now defunct Calendar option.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that FamilySearch hosted the Rootstech conference. But a site map was needed along with a global search function. And downloadable lists can be very useful! Someone should send this note to the planners of Rootstech 2022.

Here is a link to one of Roberta’s posts showing her similar comments.

Now I am going to look around in the Innovators Portal in

Go here to discover a bit about your surname.

“Rootstech 2021 was great and is improving with age. Thank you, FamilySearch, for hosting such a wonderful virtual conference.” – James Robeson

Webmaster at MoCoGenSo

rootstech . org

“one of our followers reached out to the Help Desk at rootstech and received this reply.”

I am so sorry you have not received the marketing emails about RootsTech. We will go live on at 5:00 am Greenwich Mean Time on February 25th and stay on 24 hours a day for the next three days. You can join at whatever times are convenient for you.

All class sessions and discovery content will be available on demand, so you can watch at whatever time works for you; you’re not confined to watching at a specific time. Main stage presentations will also be available on demand after the second day. The virtual expo hall will be open throughout the event as well. All of the classes and after the second day, all of our keynote speakers will be available on demand, and will stay up on our site until RootsTech 2022.

Below are the links to the classes available and the Main Stage schedule.
Main Stage Schedule:
Sessions List:

The following video will give you a sneak peek at the live RootsTech website:

“(PST = GMT -8, therefore go live for PST is Feb 24, 9pm)”

Rootstech . org

Thousands of people have signed up to attend Rootstech and are starting to wonder why they haven’t heard about what to do Thursday. I think they have heard, but just didn’t realize it. We were all told to go to and view the schedule. So do it!

I went there today and found an interesting little “app” on the front screen (scroll down a bit) as shown in the graphic. Find your surname meaning and origin….. Yes we’ve seen lots of these over the years, but this one is fun. Try it out! Check not only your own surname, but your 3 other grandparents surnames. Save the results and send to your kids.

Genealogy can be fun, too!

RootsTech 2020

RootsTech 2020 is ready to start!

The conference will start Wednesday, running Feb. 26 to Feb. 29 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and promises to be bigger and better than ever!

RootsTech organizers have posted information on how to view some sessions free (called live streaming) at for those of us unable to attend.  (Remember that times shown are Mountain Time Zone.)

They will also record some classes, for viewing later. But those 30 classes are pay-for-view this year.

There will be something for everyone!

”If you save a tree in the forest, but don’t send out a press release about it, did you save it at all?” – Hadley Freeman

RootsTech 2019 DNA

RootsTech 2019 is drawing to a close. The word is that it was another success. One of these years, I may have to attend, but I hate cold weather! They videotaped some of the sessions for the world to watch anytime, which is a great resource for us all. You can watch the taped presentations here: Look in the section called Rootstech Sessions.

I have made a list of the “DNA topical” sessions below. This special list is not meant to suggest the other programs are not good. Rather, this list is to help our DNA Interest Group figure what to talk about next! 🙂

As an aside, I got all excited and ordered a MyHeritage test kit after hearing about all the new things they just announced! Color me sucker. PS., I really do love AncestryDNA’s new ThruLines too. I am going to be busy this year!

DNA Oriented Videos

Connecting Your DNA Matches

Diahan Southard takes you through your DNA match list and explains the Shared Matches tool. Learn how to create and employ a number of tools to boost your confidence in your genetic genealogy skills.

What You Don’t Know about Ancestry (Sponsored by Ancestry)

Join Crista Cowan (the Barefoot Genealogist) and preview Ancestry’s cool new tools that are geared to improve and accelerate your family history research.

Essential Considerations for DNA Evidence

Blaine Bettinger will explain how to use DNA evidence correctly and correlated with documentary evidence. In this session he will examine some of the considerations, limitations, and pitfalls we should consider when using DNA evidence.

Getting the Most Out of Billions of Records on MyHeritage SuperSearch (Sponsored by MyHeritage)

One of the best ways to maximize MyHeritage is to host your tree at MyHeritage, where the systems will automatically help you find new records, fill gaps in your existing tree, and provide matches that can help you efficiently discover new ancestors and family members. In this session, Mike Mansfield will help you learn how to move your tree from online tree systems to MyHeritage and how MyHeritage works with your tree to find new and additional information that you can easily evaluate and add to your tree.

Examining Your DNA Matches with DNA Painter

DNA Painter is a website that can help interpret and demystify your autosomal DNA results. Using practical examples, Jonny Perl will demonstrate how DNA Painter can be used for a variety of activities including chromosome mapping and relationship prediction for unknown DNA matches.

Leading with Science at 23andMe (Sponsored by 23andMe)

In this session, Sarah Lashkey will walk through how research works at 23andMe and how you can contribute to scientific discoveries.

Recorded Classes

Descendancy Research: Another Pathway to Genealogy

Presenter: Michael Lemar Strauss. This session will be recorded and available to view on demand after the conference.

You Can Do DNA

Presenters: Christi Lynn Jacobsen, Dana Leeds, Diahan Southard. This session will be recorded and available to view on demand after the conference.

“We must remember that impossible is not a fact, it’s an attitude.” – Christiana Figueres, Nature

RootsTech 2019

RootsTech 2019 is ready to start!

The conference will start Wednesday, running Feb. 27 to March 3 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and promises to be bigger and better than ever!

RootsTech organizers have posted information on how to view some sessions (called live streaming) free at for those of us unable to attend.  (Remember that times shown are Mountain Time Zone.)

They will also record some classes, for viewing later. This is new this year, so be sure to watch as this list is updated. I see 12 classes, plus the daily keynote sessions. There will be something for everyone!

”Don’t ask the barber whether you need a haircut.” – Warren Buffet