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Megan Marsden Christensen

5 innovative products showcased at RootsTech

By Megan Marsden Christensen  |  Posted Feb 14th, 2015 @ 4:51pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — This weekend, thousands of locals and visitors came together for RootsTech, the largest genealogy conference in the world.

Joining big-name companies such as FamilySearch and are several unique companies that help aspiring genealogists in their own way.

My Family Online

Instead of sifting through hundreds of documents on your own, this full-service genealogy company does it for you, according to company president, Roland Astorga. My Family Online uses a high-speed scanner to scan in about 1,000 documents per hour, Astorga said. The services include organizing photos, slides, documents, memorabilia, books, journals, audiotapes and videos, according to the website. Astorga said the product helps make it less daunting, and one of his favorite things a customer ever told him is that My Family Online takes away his guilt.

Family Tree DNA

Family Tree DNA is a pioneer in DNA genealogy, according to information specialist Richard Clark. This company provides a variety of DNA tests that can connect anyone to their ancestors dating back tens of thousands of years. Customers may choose from three tests: the Y-DNA, the mtDNA and the Family Finder. The Y-DNA test is only for males, and it traces their genealogy to their ancestors through their paternal line. The mtDNA test is for both males and females and it traces their heritage through their mother's line. The Family Finder test is also for males and females, and it traces their genealogy using autosomal DNA, which is inherited from both parents, all four grandparents, all eight great grandparents, etc. This test is popular for those who are adopted, Clark said.


Unlock the Past Cruises

Genealogy can be hard work, so why not pair it with a luxurious vacation? Company founder Alan Phillips started Unlock the Past Cruises in 2011. A large genealogy conference is held on the ship while at sea. Phillips said it's perfect for a genealogy enthusiast who is married to someone who isn't interested in genealogy, because there is something for everyone. While some people attend the conference, others enjoy the typical features of the cruise, such as movies and massages. The cruises sail to Australia, the British Isles, New Zealand, the Baltics and the Transatlantic. Unlock the Past is also a great way to network with other genealogists, Phillips said.


The DIYLegacies website is launching at RootsTech this weekend. Cofounders Carol Mullens Kern and Martha Humphries are two personal historians who joined forces to help others in their genealogical process. Their motto is "You can do it, or we can help," Kern and Humphries said. DIYLegacies provides tips, tricks and tutorials about genealogy, and if a genealogist can't figure it out, Kern and Humphries will provide coaching services. They help people organize photos, scan archived family heirlooms and offer other services.

Anybody can connect on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter, but is designed to connect relatives. Co-Founder Harrison Tang describes it as a "private Wikipedia." The recently launched is a social networking site that helps family members come together and preserve memories, Tang said. Once family members create an account, they can share memories and family stories. Soon, members can also add video and pictures. Tang doesn't expect it to become more viral than Facebook, but he hopes it will be bigger than sites like Linked In, because he believes family members would rather hang out with each other than their coworkers, he said.


Megan Marsden Christensen
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