RootsTech Review

Did you enjoy RootsTech? I didn’t attend nearly as much online as I anticipated, consoling myself that I could always go back later to view most of the presentations.

Of the presentations I did attend, they saved the best until the last. Diahan Southard’s dynamic presentation Shared DNA Matches – the only DNA Tool You Will Ever Need first won me over with the title. I never want to mess with segments. There was substantive content as she guided us step-by-step through her process. You’ll need to work to follow it through. She admitted it can get complicated and messy, but it’s worth it.  For those of us with ancestry outside the US, the process is limited by the lack of people who have tested.

Diahan also presented My Messy Complicated Birth Roots Story. I didn’t attend; I’ve heard it a couple of times previously and would have again if there wasn’t a conflict. I recommend it if you haven’t.

Another I attended, Different Ways to Work with Your Family Trees, had Uri Goren speaking on the MyHeritage Family Tree facility. I have over 200 people on my MyHeritage tree, but I was unaware of some of the capabilities he explained well. I came away wanting to use it more, but then reflected that MyHeritage has limited British data for hinting that’s available elsewhere. But, of course, you can always manually enter the data from elsewhere, which may be good if it causes you to examine it more carefully.

One of the more frontier presentations I attended was Creating the DeepBand: An Anchor Beyond the Census in England by Richard Taylor Rowley. The summary posted was:

Where can solid ground for genealogical research be found in pre-census England? The reality: As family trees continue to be pushed back further in time, more and more researchers are moving into this pre-census territory but often are not well-equipped to navigate it. Learn about DeepGen’s effort to create an England-wide band of integrated data for reference by the many intrepid travelers now working in the pre-census realm.

He used a polling app,, to ask the audience questions based on the results of his analysis for Northampton, like “What percentage of children died before the age of eight (1670 – 1726)?”

He has developed terminologies like Exploratory and Settled Genealogy. He regards exploratory as traditional, whereas Settled uses techniques familiar to those who have pursued a one-place study. He used an example where he separated what appeared to be one family into two based on an occupation found in a will. He also mentioned machine learning and artificial intelligence, along with several other newly invented terms. So what’s promotion and what’s really new?

You may be interested to read Janet Few’s RootsTech Roundup starting here.

RootsTech 2024 is from 29 February – 2 March.


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