RootsTech, Day 2.1 – Digital Images for Genealogists

The first breakout session I attended today was on Digital Images for Genealogists. Geoffrey Rasmussen of Legacy Family Tree was the presenter.

Right away, his emphasis was on using the highest resolution possible. Never make edits to the original master jpg or tiff file. He recommended as the ultimate resource on digital images.

His presentation focused mainly on PS Elements, the consumer version of PhotoShop, and Picasa. He also mentioned Heritage Collector, which was written for genealogists.

Rasmussen shared many tips for manipulating images and also discussed the benefits of tagging images for use and reference later.

I particularly liked the Picasa Face Movie tool that he demonstrated. It can show a person growing up/aging – perfect for genealogists.

He also talked about keeping images in the cloud. I was surprised to learn that Elements has options for this (I’m a PhotoShop user and it does not have this feature, so far as i know). Picasa also has cloud capabilities (but no smartphone integration without a third-party app). (NOTE: Actually, I’m hearing from others that it does work with smartphones!)

Another really neat tool he mentioned is the Eye-fi memory card for digital camera uploads, which can send pics to your computer or Picasa (and many other services) whenever it encounters a wireless network.

RootsTech, Day 2.0

I did and learned so much today (and the day’s not even over yet!) so I’m not going to do a full post on everything. Instead, I will do separate posts about each session I attended. Here are the highlights though:

The main session by Curt Witcher of the Allen County Public Library was pretty inspiring and incredible. This statement, paraphrased, really enlivened many of us in attendance: “Genealogy is about the experience and not proper citation format. People don’t keep doing things that make them miserable.”

Witcher also painted this picture of the 21st-century genealogist:
– not a genealogical society member (because societies aren’t embracing technology)
– brick-and-mortar resources are their last resort
– they have handhelds, expect real-time information and believe Moore’s law, which states that technology will double in capability/capacity every 18 months (lay version)

The breakout sessions I attended included one on photography tools for genealogists, an overview of efforts to digitize Irish records, a session on blogging and a discussion on technology (or the lack thereof) in genealogical societies. I’ll recap these sessions in future posts.

I had lunch with Amy Coffin and Kerry Scott and we had a great discussion about the future of the larger professional organizations and the implications of RootsTech on upcoming conferences.

Now, I’m eating leftovers and getting psyched for Late Night at the Library. There will be a viewing of Who Do You Think You Are?, a “radio broadcast” by Thomas MacEntee, classes on how to use the FHL and more. I think I need some more caffeine.

RootsTech, Day 1

I am excited and exhausted after my first day at RootsTech. I arrived in SLC after midnight and finally was in my hotel room by 1:30 a.m. (after first going to the wrong hotel). I woke up at 6:15 to eat and get ready for today’s sessions.

The opening session consisted of really big-picture stuff, featuring talks by HP exec Shane Robison and Jay Virkler of FamilySearch. I tend to get more out of the breakout sessions myself, but it was impressive to see all of the nearly 3,000 conference attendees assembled in one room.

Afterwards, I caught up with Thomas MacEntee and Amy Coffin in the Bloggers area of the exhibit hall. I got to meet Joan Miller and several other bloggers, one of my fave parts of these events.

The first breakout session I attended was 50 Most Popular Genealogy Websites. I have attended similar presentations at the Special Libraries Association conference, but this one was presented a bit differently. It was a very scientific look at the truly most popular sites by page rank. I did learn of a few sites new to me. The full list is available at

I really enjoyed Tami Glatz‘s session on Cool Tools to Enhance Your Online Research. She spent a lot of time drilling down into services like Evernote (which I need to use more), Dropbox, and the like. Of course, she demo’ed her genealogy toolbar, which I plan to download from

AC Ivory did a really excellent session on Mobile Apps for Genealogy, including live demos from his iPad. I’m considering his recommendation of Research Logger.

My favorite session was led by Thomas MacEntee and featured a panel discussion about self-publishing. Lisa Alzo (Three SlovakWomen), Dan Lynch (Google Your FamilyTree) and Lorine McGinnis Schulze (Olive Tree Genealogy) all shared their experiences. I learned a lot and am now brainstorming ideas for how-to booklets (10 pages or less) for the Kindle platform, which Thomas said is a moneymaker sought by Kindle. The session include lots of discussion about formats, pricing, marketing and more.

Highlights of the day included lunch with Amy Coffin at Blue Lemon, meeting Kerry Scott of Clue Wagon, and following and contributing to the RootsTech Twitter stream. It’s been fun chatting with bloggers who are participating remotely thanks to several sessions being streamed live.

I’ll be retiring early. Tomorrow is another jam-packed day including a late-night event at the Family History Library – my first trek there.