Day 1 at RootsTech 2024

Although a medical appointment meant I missed a lot of the livestream, it didn’t concern me knowing that much would be available on replay.

I first tuned into the FamilySearch Tech Forum.

As anticipated, the focus was AI and the applications FamilySearch is making across various of its offerings. In particular, three sets of transcriptions of handwritten collections are now available, two US and one Mexican — US Land and Probate Records and Mexico Notary Records. We’re all hoping they get around to that handwritten record set we’ve been struggling with, the one we’re certain has elusive genealogy gold.

Go to and scroll down to FamilySearch Labs in the right-hand column.

There you’ll also find Family Group Trees, a way to “gather your family into a group, and see the same living tree and enrich your history with photos, stories, and sources.”

Mid-afternoon it was Ancestry’s turn with spokesperson Crista Cowan. She spoke about the Family Groups initiative, which appear to be quite similar to the FamilySearch Family Group Trees.

Crista also highlighted how Ancestry is scraping, initially for the US, to produce a Stories and Events Index. The files are huge, so there’s a seperate one for each state. The largest, Pennsylvania, U.S.,™ Stories and Events Index, 1800’s-current, has 1,768,049,707 entries. A search yields Name, Topic, Residence Date, Residence Place, Newspaper Title. You need a subscription to see the actual article.

Finally, Ancestry and partner sites have several specials available in connection with RootsTech. Check them out at You may need to be registered for RootsTech.

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