Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Day 3 of RootsTech 2015 and my interviews with Myko Clelland, of FindMyPast, Paul Howes and Tessa Keough


The KeyNote Session on Saturday was a double-whammy, with A J Jacobs, creator of The Global Family Reunion, followed by Donny Osmond. You can watch the entire session here.

The session started with the announcement of the Grand Prize Winner of the RootsTech 2015 Innovator Showdown, which was Storyworth, a service which is designed to help people record their family stories.

A J Jacobs described how he came to be organising the world's largest family get-together, the Global Family Reunion on 6th June 2015.  We all had "I am a Cousin" signs under our chairs so that when A J Jacobs came on stage, we would hold them up to welcome him. He also described us how he "lived the bible" for a whole year.  I found his presentation very amusing, and am disappointed that a prior engagement on 6th June 2015 will preclude me joining in the Global Family Reunion festivities.

Donny Osmond, who needs no introduction, regaled us with his family stories - as well as a bit of singing.  He can still sing!  He was also very amusing.

While Donny Osmond was backstage being photographed with the genealogy bloggers, I was busy interviewing Myko Clelland,  Partnerships and Outreach Manager at FindMyPast.  My interview with him is below:



Myko confirmed quite a few new partnerships that FindMyPast is looking into. In particular the partnership with FamilyTreeDNA could be very interesting to the UK genealogy community, who have not yet fully embraced the possibilities afforded by the use of DNA tests in genealogy research.

Later that day, I attended the Ancestry sponsored lunch, where they, too, were talking about DNA. Honestly, everyone seemed to be talking about DNA, it seems to have finally "come of age".  I learnt all about Ancestry's DNA circles, and how they have recently improved their algorithms, which should produce fewer "false positives".  As AncestryDNA has only just launched in the UK, I don't think many UK genealogists yet know about Ancestry's DNA circles.  As the AncestryDNA test is an autosomal test,  which looks at your entire ancestry within recent generations, what Ancestry try and do with the results, is to match up people who "might" share the same ancestors, in a similar way to the way the shaky leaf hints suggest people who "might" share your tree when looking at historical records.  Some of the question and answer session was a little bit beyond me, to be honest, although now my AncestryDNA results are in, I'm hoping to be joined into a DNA circle very soon!




The other main announcement coming from AncestryDNA, is that they hope to be launching in Australia and Canada soon.  This will also help to widen the database of people who have tested with AncestryDNA, which currently stands at 700,000.

Later that day, I had the pleasure of interviewing Paul Howes and Tessa Keough, both members of the Guild of One-Name Studies.  Here is a photo of me doing the interview (courtesy of Jill Ball):


My interview with Paul and Tessa can be seen below:




Thank you to Myko, Paul and Tessa for taking time out of their busy schedules for my interviews.

Rosemary Morgan
London Roots Research

Monday, 9 March 2015

Day 2 of RootsTech 2015 and my interview with Tahitia McCabe, from Strathclyde Genealogical Studies

Apologies to all for the delay in posting this - I have only just fully recovered from the cough / cold virus that hit me on my return from Salt Lake City.

Day 2 of RootsTech 2015 was Friday 13th February - traditionally a superstitious date if ever there was one.  Luckily I didn't see anything bad happen on that day!  In fact only good things happened as I hope this post conveys.

The Keynote session with Laura W Bush and her daughter, Jenna Bush Hager, was a real treat, as I mentioned in my earlier post.  

The interview of Laura Bush by her daughter, Jenna, showed that even a very well-known family such as theirs can enjoy talking about some very day-today issues.

Sadly, the Laura Bush / Jenna Hager session was not made available on the livestream and so no recording is available.  


However, the rest of the session, featuring D Joshua Taylor, director of family history at FindMyPast is available here. As well as detailing many new datasets recently added or about to be added, Joshua described several new Partnerships, including:

  • a partnership to share records with the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B)
  • a partnership with FamilyTreeDNA, to offer DNA testing services to the FindMyPast customer base.  (The link is now visible on the FindMyPast.com website.)
  • working with StoryPress "to help capture and share family stories" in combination with FMP data and family trees.  Joshua believes that everyone shouldbe able to have their own "Who Do You Think You Are?" family story
Joshua then told his own family story, tracing his family back to his ancestor, William Heaps, who was sentenced to transportation to Australia, and escaped from prison, for stealing cheese, and relating this to his own love of cheese. He then showed how he had used StoryPress to make his own Family History Story.

On the right are some of the RoostTech ambassadors backstage with Joshua after his KeyNote session.

Later the same day, I attended the FindMyPast lunch during which Ian Tester, Director of Partner Products, provided further details of how FindMyPast's WhoDoYouThinkYouAre? Story  can help you tell your own WhoDoYouThinkYouAre? Story.
Tahitia McCabe and yours truly(photo courtesy of Jill Ball)


Towards the end of the day I interviewed Tahitia McCabe, Knowledge Exchange Fellow, University of Strathclyde Genealogical Studies Programme. Luckily we just about completed the interview before the evening's "entertainment" of bagpipes started, which would have completely drowned us out!

Here I am with Tahitia in the media studio, at the start of the interview. During the interview Tahitia mentioned the University of Strathclyde Summer Institute of Genealogical Studios' summer courses, details of which can be found here. Personally, I'm rather tempted by the 5-day "Practical Applications of Genetic Genealogy" course.

My interview with Tahitia can be found here:



Thank you to Tahitia for taking time away from her Strathclyde booth to grant me this interview.

Rosemary Morgan

London Roots Research