RootsTech 2016 Wrap-Up

By Maureen A. Taylor

More than 26,000 people attended this year’s RootsTech conference, the largest US genealogy conference, held in Salt LakeCity and produced by FamilySearch. Your eyes aren’t deceiving you: 26,000. That’s a lot of genealogists.

Three days of lectures, a full day of Innovator Summit presentations and an amazing exhibit hall. Thank you to everyone who stopped by my Photo Detective booth to say hello!

Pictures were everywhere. Many booths had photo props and selfie sticks so you could take pictures of yourself to post to social media or email to family and friends.

RootsTech’s focus on innovation means it’s possible to see and try out all these new products. Many of semi-finalists for the Innovator Showdown incorporated photos into their products. Here are three of my favorites:

  • Scribbitt is an online journaling platform. Tell your family story in words and pictures. Share it on social media or privately with relatives. Use contemporary photos to chronicle your life or write about ancestral pictures.
  • The History Project brings together all your stuff—artifacts, photos, stories, video and more to create interactive narratives. Tech Crunch, CNN and the New York Times all gave this idea positive reviews.
  • Twile came all the way from the U.K. to promote their site. Build a colorful family history timeline with unlimited photos, historical data and add your GEDCOM file (or build your tree on their site). They were a finalist.
  • Tap Genes won first place in the competition. A simple idea with long range implications. Chart your family’s medical history or your own personal medical issues. While there is definitely a genealogical component to this, it can also help to know medication lists for older relatives in an emergency. This is a company to watch.

Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now