RootsTech 2016 Announces Opening Day Keynotes, Bruce Feiler and Paula Williams Madison

The following announcement was written by the RootsTech organizers:


RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, announced today the first three keynote speakers in its all-star lineup for RootsTech 2016. The first general session (Thursday, February 4, 2016) will feature three inspiring speakers, which include New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler, award-winning journalist Paula Williams Madison, and the president and CEO of FamilySearch International, Stephen Rockwood.

U.S. National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair Materials are now Available

poster-mThe U.S. National Archives held a Virtual Genealogy Fair on October 21 & 22. Presenters included Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero, Executive for Research Services William A. Mayer, and a number of other genealogy experts from National Archives locations across the nation. The presentations focused on tips and techniques for using Federal records at the National Archives for genealogy research.

The lectures are now available on YouTube. The first day’s presentations are available at while Day 2 may be found at

You can also download copies of the slides and the presentation handouts at

Thank You South Orange County California Genealogical Society

I want to thank the South Orange County California Genealogical Society for an enjoyable day in Saturday. The Society invited me to give presentations at an all-day event and I must say this was a fun group. About 130 genealogists attended. I thought it was a good group. At least, they laughed at my jokes.

Founded in 1994 in Mission Viejo, Orange County, California, the Society the third Saturday of each month. The South Orange County California Genealogical Society also maintains a genealogy library within the Mission Viejo Public Library. That collection includes quite a few genealogy books and CDs.

If you live in or near Mission Viejo, you need to check out the South Orange County California Genealogical Society and their genealogy collection at the Mission Viejo Public Library. You can learn more at the Society’s web site at

My Trip to Indianapolis

I must say that I had fun on Saturday in Indianapolis, Indiana. I spoke at an all-day session sponsored by the Genealogical Society of Marion County. I found the society to be a very active and enthusiastic group. It was fun.

The Genealogical Society of Marion County has offices in the former offices of Memorial Park Cemetery. The building is on the grounds of the Cemetery at 9370 East Washington St. The offices have been expanded and now offers an accessible library, as well as the ability to host educational programs, special interest groups and educational meetings. The Genealogical Society of Marion County publishes both Indy Lineages, a bi-monthly newsletter, and Family Quest, a quarterly journal.

If you have ancestry in Marion County or if you live in the county, you need to check out this society! You can read more at

Genealogy Jamboree 2016 Conference Call for Presentations has been Extended

The following announcement was written by the Southern California Genealogical Society:

The Southern California Genealogical Society announces its EXTENSION of the Call for Presentations for the 47th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, to be held Friday through Sunday, June 3 – 5, 2016 with a pre-conference day on Thursday, June 2, 2016, to include a full day of DNA presentations and in-depth workshops, at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel, Burbank, California. This call also includes the 2016 Jamboree Extension Series webinar program. Presentations will only be accepted through the online portal until October 7, 2015.

2016_Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree_Banner

Workshop for Descendants of Authors of Slave Narratives

The following announcement was written by the University at Buffalo:

Giving their ancestors a voice: UB workshop to provide descendants of slaves with tools to research family history

Descendants of Dred Scott, Solomon Northup, Jeffrey Brace, Lewis G. Clarke, Moses Grandy, William Grimes and Venture Smith to take part in historic event

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The descendants of former slaves will gather at the University at Buffalo for a groundbreaking workshop to reconnect participants with their ancestors, further reveal their family histories and bring new voice to rich historical stories often silenced by the difficulties of tracing obscure and hard-to-follow genealogical paths.

The unprecedented three-day Workshop for Descendants of Authors of Slave Narratives, which will explore participants’ ancestral roots through discussions, reflections and writing exercises, will be led by Kari Winter, professor of transnational studies and director of UB’s Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender.

New York State Family History Conference is a Success

I had an opportunity to attend the New York State Family History Conference in Syracuse, New York, last week. I had a good time and it appeared to me that the other 600 or so attendees also enjoyed themselves. I know the organizers were smiling throughout the three-day event. After all, they had a limit of 600 attendees and the event was fully booked.


Sponsored by the Central New York Genealogical Society and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, the New York State Family History Conference is a perfect example of a state event. It was popular, it attracted speakers from New York and several from other states as well. I gave a talk at the Friday luncheon and I was in good company. Other presentations were offered by:

RootsTech Event Registrations are now Available

The largest genealogy event in the world is now accepting registrations. If you plan to attend, you can purchase tickets now at a cheaper price than waiting until you arrive at the door. I also suggest you reserve a hotel room NOW as reservations will fill up quickly now that the announcement is out. (I made my hotel reservation months ago.) Hotel information may be found at

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

SALT LAKE CITY, 15 September 2015—FamilySearch announced today that registration for RootsTech 2016 is now open. RootsTech is a highly popular and growing global conference where people of all ages celebrate family and are inspired to share their memories and connections. The annual event attracts tens of thousands of participants worldwide. RootsTech 2016 will be held February 3–6 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The website for registration is

RootsTech Opening Scene

Discovering Your Family History: 7 Unique Technologies

As mentioned in the MyHeritage Blog, “MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet recently presented a keynote address to hundreds of attendees of the IAJGS 2015 conference in Israel. He discussed Seven Unique Technologies for Discovering Your Family History.

“His talk is a great introduction to understanding MyHeritage technologies, Smart Matches, Record Matches, Newspaper Matches and Instant Discoveries. Gilad described new technologies that MyHeritage has recently released, such as Global Name Translation, as well as new technologies that we are about to release.”

RootsTech Innovator Showdown – $100,000 in Prizes

I wrote about this a few weeks ago (at but further details are available now so I’ll write about it again. Developers and entrepreneurs will be interested to know of a one-of-a-kind event and opportunity to win $100,000 in total prizes in the RootsTech Innovator Showdown 2016.

I watched the announcements at the 2015 event and must say I was impressed with the products announced. They all were first-class. I suspect the same will be true of the 2016 event. Quoting from the Rootstech web site at

FamilySearch International is inviting innovators from around the globe and from all industries to develop the next generation of mobile and social applications to impact discovering, preserving, and sharing family connections across generations.

Forensic Genealogy Institute Announces Dates for 2016 Event

ForensicGenealogyInstituteThe 5th Annual Forensic Genealogy Institute will be held 10-12 March 2016. Sponsored by the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy, the topics to be covered include: Marketing, Legal Issues, Advanced Practicum, and a DNA Workshop.

This year’s location is the Historic Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas. Conveniently located near the River Walk and the Alamo, The Menger Hotel was established in 1859 and is the oldest continuously operated hotel west of the Mississippi. Its bar has been voted one of the Top 10 Most Historic Bars in the US and the hotel is the site where Teddy Roosevelt recruited the Rough Riders.

Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Annual Conference Call for Papers

The following announcement was written by the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association:

Interested scholars are invited to submit papers for the 2016 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Annual Conference in Seattle, Washington, March 21-25, 2016 Special Topics Area, Genealogy.

Academics studying and writing on American popular culture might examine genealogy within the context of television and literary disciplines, library and archival disciplines, American and public history disciplines, museum studies, or folklore. Proposals for papers or panel presentations regarding any aspect of these or other connections would be welcome.

Possible themes for papers/panels include but are not restricted to:

67th Deutsche Genealogentag in Gotha

The following announcement was written by the organizers of the 67th Deutsche Genealogentag:

On October 2-4, 2015 there will be the 67th Deutsche Genealogentag, the national conference of the DAGV (Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft genealogischer Verbaende, the umbrella organization of the German genealogical societies) held in the city of Gotha, Thuringia in the former East part of Germany. Gotha for itself is very important by its aristocrical background, e.g. Queen Victoria’s great love, her husband Prince Albert was a former Prince of Saxony-Coburg-Gotha. Many more European kings and queens trace their roots back to Gotha – the Genealogical Almanach of Nobel Families is called „the Gotha“ until today.

Hellenic Genealogy Conference in Salt Lake City on September 26

Are you researching Greek ancestry? If so, can you be in Salt Lake City on September 26, 2015? If you answered “yes” to both questions, plan on attending the first-ever Greek genealogy conference held in the western U.S. The event will be held at the Hellenic Memorial Building (Holy Trinity Cathedral) 279 South 300 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

If You Want to Attend the New York State Family History Conference, the Time to Buy a Ticket is NOW!

The following announcement was written by the New York State Family History Conference. Notice the words “is approaching “sold out” status.

The New York State Family History Conference, scheduled for September 17–19 in Syracuse, New York, in partnership with the Federation of Genealogical Societies, is approaching “sold out” status. “The idea of the conference,” said Sue Miller, Education Director of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, “is to have the very top national presenters in a smaller, more personal conference environment.” The NYG&B and the Central New York Genealogical Society are the conference co-sponsors. Complete details are at

Book Your RootsTech Hotel Today

If you are planning to go to RootsTech in Salt Lake City February 3–6, 2016, here is a bit of advice: make your hotel reservation now! The nearby hotels usually are sold out many weeks before the conference.

Four Salt Lake City hotels are now taking reservations for RootsTech 2016. The Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek, Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, Hilton Salt Lake City Center, and Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown will offer reduced rates to RootsTech conference attendees. Each hotel is conveniently located near the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Develop a Genealogy App at the RootsTech Innovator Showdown and Win $20,000

FamilySearch International is inviting innovators from around the globe and from all industries to develop the next generation of mobile and social applications to impact discovering, preserving, and sharing family connections across generations.

The 2016 RootsTech Innovator Showdown is a global competition where developers and entrepreneurs participate by submitting cutting-edge applications to compete for a piece of the $100,000 in total cash and in-kind prizes provided by industry and national sponsors.

The $100,000 Innovator Showdown Prizes include:

Conference on Crypto-Jews to be Held in Miami July 19 through 21

This is short notice but I just found out about a conference that focuses on the history of Crypto-Jews.

Killed, expelled and harassed by the Inquisition, Crypto-Jews secretly maintained their Jewish customs while pretending to be Catholic. Some families ended up losing their traditions and religion entirely during centuries of persecution. But in the past few decades, academic interest in these lost Jews and personal search for heritage have converged to spark a trend of returnees.

For years, that interest concentrated in the southwest United States, where some Hispanics could trace their family back to Jews who had fled the Mexican Inquisition, an extension of the Spanish Inquisition. As a result, the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies is based in Colorado.

The IAJGS2015 Conference in Jerusalem was a Great Success

I just finished a five-day genealogy conference and I am exhausted. That’s my measurement of success: If I am this tired, I know it was a successful event.

I wrote a few days ago at about the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) conference held this year in Jerusalem, Israel. I am not Jewish but have attended a couple of past IAJGS conferences held in the U.S. and already knew these are high-energy affairs packed with presentation after presentation. Many years ago, I also had an opportunity to spend a summer in Israel but had never been back since then. When I learned the 2015 IAJGS conference was to be held in Jerusalem, I decided it was time to go back and see what has changed in the country.

In my earlier report, I wrote, “This year’s conference has attracted about 800 attendees from all over.” In fact, that was the EXPECTED number that I heard from the show’s organizers on the first day. They had hoped and planned on attracting about 800 attendees. They were wrong. On the last evening of the conference, the organizers announced the conference had attracted almost exactly 1,000 registered attendees!

A Report from the IAJGS2015 Conference in Jerusalem


This article was written in a room at the Ramada Jerusalem Hotel, located near the entrance to the city on the main road leading to all sections of Jerusalem. It is also the site of this year’s International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) conference. I’m not Jewish, but the organizers let me in the door anyway. So far, after two days of the five-day conference, I must say I have enjoyed myself. I have also seen lots of smiles on the faces of the other attendees.


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