Because the genealogy world has turned its eyes to Salt Lake City and FamilySearch’s RootsTech conference, this edition of the Genealogy News Corral focuses on news from the conference.
- Sharing and preserving stories and “opening the tent” to more people, particularly youth, are big themes at this year’s conference. Many attendees found inspiration in FamilySearch president Dennis Brimhall’s keynote talk about documenting people’s lives, asking What would our great-great-grandchildren wish we would have done? You can read about the opening keynote talks by Brimhall, storyteller Syd Lieberman and findmypast genealogist D. Joshua Taylor on the RootsTech blog. Watch these talks on the RootsTech websitescroll down on the home page to the Daily Recaps section.
- In his keynote talk this morning, Ancestry.com president Tim Sullivan made several announcements:
Over the next five years, Ancestry.com will commit at least $100 million to digitize and index new content.
Over the next three years, Ancestry.com and FamilySearch will collaborate to digitize and index 140 million+ pages of US probate records spanning 1800 to 1930. He called this the organizations’ “most ambitious collaboration” yet, and added the caveat that permission to put records online must be negotiated with repositories holding these records.
Ancestry.com is about to release new version of its iPhone iPad app with enhanced social media sharing, the ability to compare trees and other features. A third of new Ancestry.com registrants are through the site’s mobile apps (there’s also one for Android), and half of users over last 2 months come to Ancestry.com through a mobile device.
The Ancestry DNA database contains 120,000 DNA samples and has delivered more than 2 million fourth cousin relationships. To increase the size of the database, the price of the test will be lowered to $99, whether or not you’re a subscriber.
(Update: Sullivan didn’t include this in his keynote, but Ancestry.com has announced that test-takers can now download their raw DNA data.)
- In addition to a new logo unveiled to RootsTech official bloggers, FamilySearch will redesign its website with an emphasis on photos, as a way to engage more people. It’ll also add a fan chart view to its online Family Tree program. Blogger Renee Zamora has lots of details on the information presented during the dinner.
- According to the Ancestry Insider, who attended Wednesday’s dinner for the bloggers, FamilySearch is experimenting with broadcasting sessions to 16 satellite locations in seven countries (with translation where necessary). If successful, next year the number will be expanded to 600 locations. That increases to potential reach of the conference to 120,000 people.
- FamilySearch should reach its 1 billionth indexed record very soon, and is planning on awarding prizes to the indexer and arbitrator of that record.