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How to Remotely Watch RootsTech 2019 Salt Lake City

The following announcement was written by the RootsTech organizers:

If you are unable to attend RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City, you have two remote viewing options. Some of the show’s sessions will be streamed live for free at (see the broadcast schedule below)! If you want more, you can purchase a Virtual Pass to view additional sessions from the conference. RootsTech 2019 in Salt Lake City runs February 27 to March 3, 2019. Go to to view the entire schedule of events.

The RootsTech daily general sessions will be broadcast live and for free. They include keynote addresses by Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International, Patricia Heaton, popular actress from Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle, Saroo Brierley, whose incredible family reunification story which inspired the movie, Lion, and Jake Shimabukuro, world renowned ukulele master.

In addition to the select free classes broadcasted, RootsTech is offering a Virtual Pass, which provides access to 18 online recorded sessions from the conference. You can watch playbacks from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone device whenever and however you’d like—for just $129. Go to Virtual Pass for more information.

Help Wanted in the Heredis Booth at RootsTech

Heredis is a very successful genealogy program for both Windows and Macintosh that is developed in France and sold worldwide. The company will be at RootsTech and is looking for a bit of help in their exhibits booth. I received the following message from Audrey Cavalier of Heredis:

We are proud to announce our coming to RootsTech 2019, the world’s largest family-history technology conference, from February 28 to March 2 at Salt Lake City. For the second time, Heredis has a booth for this genealogical major event!

We will be presenting the newest version of Heredis: Heredis 2019!

rootstrust and Exotic Languages

The following announcement was written by Atavus, Inc.:

The GEDCOM 5.5.1 specification allows for romanized and phonetic variations of personal and place names. Name variations allow for a phonetic representation of a language whose symbols have no intrinsic phonetic value, like Chinese characters. Romanized variations use Latin letters, whereas phonetic variations use non-Latin alphabetic or syllabic symbols. Students of Chinese often use Pinyin to learn the pronunciation of the characters they are learning. Pinyin is one of numerous romanization systems for Chinese.

The Chinese of the Peoples Republic of China, Singapore and Malaysia write using simplified Chinese characters, whereas the Taiwanese and the people of Hong Kong and Macau use traditional Chinese characters. Written Japanese contains Chinese characters called kanji along with symbols from two different non-Latin, phonetic, syllabic symbol sets called katakana and hiragana making it, arguably, the world’s most complex writing system. Kanji can be represented phonetically using katakana or hiragana. Korean also uses a syllabic writing system called Hangul which is used in conjunction with Chinese characters call Hanja.

Some genealogists who have exotic ancestral personal and place names prefer to maintain them in the original language and provide a romanized variation as a comment. Others rather record names in a romanized form and document the original language and spelling as a comment.

Register for RootsTech 2019 Today!

The RootsTech organizers have opened registration for RootsTech 2019. You can take advantage of exclusive early bird pricing, and purchase your full conference pass for only $189. Regularly priced at $299, that’s over $100 in savings!

Can’t attend the full conference? 1-day passes are only $99. Register today.

Details may be found at:

RootsTech2018 highlights may be found in the video below:

RootsTech Expands to London in 2019!

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch, the organizers of RootsTech:

We’re thrilled to announce that the RootsTech conference is expanding to international borders! RootsTech London will take place October 24–26, 2019, at the ExCeL London Convention Centre.

“We are excited to further position RootsTech as a global community for everyone to discover their family and deepen their sense of belonging that we all yearn for,” said Jen Allen, event director.

RootsWeb Homepages and Freepages URLs Are Working Again

According to the RootsWeb Blog:

“If you had a homepages hosted web site (all of which should be restored), you will find your hompages URL will work.”


“If you had a freepages hosted site (and your site has been restored) you should be able to get to your content again.”

Details may be found at:

An Update on RootsFinder

I wrote about RootsFinder several months ago at To quote the original announcement of the service, “ is a free, online family tree that makes researching family history much easier. Unlike other online trees, which only provide hints to their own content, RootsFinder provides hints and search suggestions to websites.” I believe RootsFinder is valuable for all genealogists but especially useful for genealogy newcomers. See my earlier article for further details.

The folks who produce the RootsFinder software haven’t been idle since the announcement in February. Here is a new announcement from them describing the latest changes and updates:

RootsFinder is a free program that makes family history easy to research and easy to share, including DNA. Some of our recent developments include:

Research Your Armenian Roots—What You Need to Know (Part I)

The majority of Armenians are under the mistaken belief that all pre-genocide Armenian records have been destroyed and that little can be learned about their personal ancestry beyond what has been handed down through oral tradition. It is undoubtedly true that most pre-1915 Armenian church records were destroyed either during the genocide or in the years since. In addition, few genocide survivors were able or willing to recount their experiences or their family lineage. But that is not the complete story.

An article by George Aghjayan in the Armenian Weekly states:

“My objective here is to detail some of the available source records. In a number of articles in the Armenian Weekly and on, I have only touched on some of these sources. I would like to expand on those initial articles. The obvious question remains, what records exist but are undocumented, where can the be accessed, and how can they be similarly preserved?

RootsWeb Mailing List Down Time Thursday July 26, 2018

According o the RootsWeb Blog:

“We will be moving our Mailing Lists to newer and what should be better performing machines on Thursday July 26, 2018.

“You can expect somewhere between 4 and 8 hours of downtime.

“No emails will be lost, but everything will be delayed. Also, your admin tools will not be available.”

You can read more at:

RootsWeb Hosted Web Sites are Returning, the parent company of RootsWeb, is slowly bring RootsWeb hosted sites back online. (For more information about the issues involved, see my earlier articles by starting at Now an article in the RootsWeb Blog states:

“We are bringing hosted websites back in phases.

“We have identified about 600 USGENWEB sites to bring back first, listed below. Owners of these sites should have received an email with instructions on how to reset their password and get to their content. These sites are now available from the appropriate USGENWEB page. If you believe you should have been contacted, please contact us: Questions about USGENWEB. Please include the name of your site and any other information you have.

Will RootsWeb be Restored?

RootsWeb, a subsidiary of, suffered a major outage in October of last year when a system crash destroyed many of the pages on the web site. Most of these web pages had been created by RootsWeb users. The folks at managed to restore a few of the pages but thousands more have not yet been restored. See my past articles about the problem by starting at

Now Ancestry is asking their users to resubmit information about their previously-hosted web pages so the Ancestry technicians can find and restore the pages.

The following is a short copy-and-paste from the new RootsWeb Blog at

Caribbean-Americans Searching for Their Chinese Roots

The Atlas Obscura web site has published an interesting article by Eveline Chao about the search by Chinese-Jamaican-American or Canadians who wish to find their family history. Author Chao describes the good work done by Hakka Conferences and others to help each other find information about their ancestors.

It seems that many people originating in China with a distinct set of customs and a language also called Hakka left the country and moved to Jamaica in search of better economic opportunities. The British first brought Chinese and Indian workers to the Islands to replace slave labor on sugar plantations after Britain abolished slavery in 1834. (Initially, they used indentured servants from Ireland and Germany, but quickly turned East.) From 1853–1884, a recorded 17,904 Chinese—mostly men from Guangdong Province in southeast China—migrated to the British West Indies as indentured laborers, according to scholar Walton Look Lai. Some 160,000 migrated to the Caribbean overall (including Cuba).

Many Chinese immigrants intermarried with Afro-European-Chinese-Caribbean people. In later years, many of their descendants moved to the United States or to Canada. And you thought you had problems finding family records?

Meghan Markle’s English Roots

The world is abuzz this week as the former American actress, Meghan Markle, will marry Prince Henry of Wales (familiarly known as Prince Harry) on Saturday, May 19, 2018. He is the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Diana, Princess of Wales, and is sixth in the line of succession to the British throne. While Meghan Markle is an American, she is related to both Winston Churchill and William Shakespeare, along with many other famous English citizens.

According to the MyHeritage Blog at

“We found that Markle is William Shakespeare’s fifth cousin thirteen times removed. Her connection to Winston Churchill is even closer, as they are sixth cousin five times removed.

RootsTech2019 Call for Papers

Quoting from an announcement by FamilySearch:

“Join us as a presenter at RootsTech, the world’s largest family history and technology conference, happening February 27-March 2, 2019, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“As a RootsTech presenter, you’ll be surrounded with unique opportunities to share your personal knowledge, enhance your brand, and network with people throughout the industry.”

The full announcement is a bit lengthy so I won’t reproduce it here. However, you can read all the information by starting at:

NGS Announces Two New Online Courses: African American Roots: A Historical Perspective and Federal Land Records

The following announcement was written by the (U.S.) The National Genealogical Society:

FALLS CHURCH, VA, 28 APRIL 2018—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announces the release of its two newest Continuing Genealogical Studies courses, African American Roots: A Historical Perspective and Federal Land Records.

African American Roots: A Historical Perspective is a cloud-based, self-paced course that introduces you to the uniqueness of searching for African American ancestors.  A mixture of history and genealogy, it discusses the role Africans and African Americans played in the birth and growth of the United Sates from as early as the fifteenth century. Armed with this historical perspective, family historians learn where they might find information about African Americans in general and their own ancestors in particular.

A Report from RootsTech2018, with Pictures

RootsTech2018 was held in Salt Lake City on February 28 through March 3. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. I can also state that I am exhausted. It must have been a great event!

The crowds were huge. I never heard the final attendance figures but I believe about 14,000 genealogists attended the sessions on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Saturday was Family Discovery Day in which an additional 12,000+ adults and teenagers attended sessions specifically designed for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There were times you could barely walk sideways through the throngs of people in the hallways and in the exhibits hall.

Findmypast Acquires Genealogy Startup Twile – Winner of Two RootsTech Innovation Awards

I have written often in the past about Findmypast and several times about Twile. It is nice to learn of this “marriage.” Here is a major announcement made at RootsTech today, written by Findmypast:

Leading British family history website, Findmypast, has announced their acquisition of genealogy startup Twile, creators of the visual family history timeline and winner of two RootsTech innovation awards.

The acquisition reflects Findmypast’s drive to innovate and enhance customers’ family history experience by providing them with new ways to share their family stories.

Twile enables family historians to create interactive timelines with their family memories and set them against the context of world history. Twile provides new and engaging ways of telling your family’s story via beautiful infographics and other visualizations.

Watch Select Portions of RootsTech 2018 Live Online

Can’t make it to RootsTech in person this year? You can still be there virtually by watching portion of the sessions online. Not everything will be broadcast but major sessions will be, including the general sessions, will be streamed live on the homepage.

The full streaming schedule is available now at:

A Reminder About the EOGN Dinner after the RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City

This is a quick reminder: if you are going to be in Salt Lake City for this week’s RootsTech conference and if you would like to join me and a bunch of newsletter readers for dinner on Saturday evening after the conference ends, you are invited! However, you need to sign up for the dinner now.

Reservations are required and must be made no later than Tuesday, February 27 as I have to tell the hotel several days in advance how many meals to prepare. The dinner will be held on Saturday evening, March 3, at the Radisson Hotel, 215 W S Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101. The location literally is just a few steps from the Salt Palace conference center.

Details may be found at:

I’d love to see you there!

A Survival Guide to RootsTech

Will you be at the RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City next week? If so, make sure you read the Survival Guide to RootsTech available now at

The online guide covers such things as early check-in, the Expo Hall’s hours of operation, the RootsTech app for your cell phone or tablet computer, your attendee badge that needs to be scanned by the (new) scanners in order to gain admission to the various sessions, suggested clothing, and the fact that the Salt Palace offers free Wi-Fi for attendees.

You probably will want to study this document before you travel to Salt Lake City. Check it out at at