Friday, March 22, 2013

FamilySearch Initiatives at the RootsTech Bloggers Dinner

The night before RootsTech began, I was invited by FamilySearch to the Official Bloggers Dinner at Lion House Pantry.

I sat with Nancy Shively, Jill Ball, Rosemary Morgan, DearMYRTLE and her husband. This is where I got my blogger beads:

After a very good dinner, the FamilySearch crew got down to business. They told us about what to expect at RootsTech 2013 and what they've been up to. Here are the main points:

6700 vs. 4090
The attendance for RootsTech 2013 was expected to be 6700, as opposed to 4090 last year. This number could grow even further with walk up registrations. This does not count almost 2,000 youth (12-19) expected for special Saturday programs.

FamilyTree update
FamilyTree is up for some big changes. We got to see the new home page and new features, including fan charts and photos. The "new" FamilyTree puts stories and photos front and center. This is an attempt to reach out to a larger audience and get more people to do genealogy.

A promise
FamilySearch must have done some soul searching because they said that they will be rolling out new products and features...not just talking about rolling out new products and features. This is true. I've sat in several FamilySearch events and learned what was coming 10 months down the road. The neat things we saw with FamilyTree this night are apparently coming soon.

Brimhall found his groove.
Last year, FamilySearch CEO Dennis Brimhall was new to the job. So new that departed CEO Jay Verkler did some of the heavy lifting in the speaking department at RootsTech 2012. What a different a year makes, and Mr. Brimhall is the first to share about his genealogy learning curve. He encouraged us to "fall in love with our ancestors."  He has found his groove.

Brimhall also discussed the 1.1 million records that are being digitized daily around the world. Just let that settle in for a moment.

Ben Bennett talked about the initiative to get more people discovering their family history. He referred to it as helping patrons "S.T.A.R.T."
S = stories and photos (including tagging of photos)
T = together. Discovering together as a family
A = assistance and help. Many options available at FamilySearch
R = Really obvious ways to start (new FamilySearch home page)
T = Time. It only takes a few minutes.

FamilySearch also debuted a new logo, but I was sitting in a poor place to get a good photo of it. Sorry. Look for it at other blogs.

Hopefully I gave you an idea of what FamilySearch is planning in the coming weeks and months. They confidently said these changes are coming soon.

Thank you again to FamilySearch for the invitation and hospitality. As always, it was a memorable and informative evening.


  1. Thanks for the shout out, Amy. This conference is an awesome experience!

  2. Thanks for the update. I am excited about collaborative genealogy. BUT... when will get taken down? That's a question that I want answered. I will become a number one fan of all the great things FamilySearch FamilyTree has when the old is elminated. I hope that doesn't sound to rude.

    Keep the posts coming. I love it.

    1. Devon, I'm not a New Family Search user, so I can't comment on it, sorry. I did not hear anything at the FS dinner that indicated a date.

  3. I'm glad to know all this, Amy! Thanks for keeping us up to date.

    I really like the new emphasis of putting stories and photos front and center. That's what blogs do. I think that's what really engages people -- falling in love with their ancestors. I hope Family Search keeps sailing on in this direction. Steady as she goes.

    I don't suppose you know how a person could get (buy?) some of those great blogger beads?

    1. Mariann, DearMyrtle handed them out, but I don't think she had extras. You could ask just in case.

  4. Great report Amy. Thanks for your company.