Sunday, March 4, 2018

RootsTech 2018 - Day 4

Day 4, the final day of RootsTech 2018, was an incredible event. We started the day with a talk by Ken Chahine of Ancestry DNA. He talked about the progress that has been made in DNA and genetic genealogy since 2014. In 2014, they had 300,000 DNA samples in their database. Now they have over 7 million. Ancestry DNA has found 350 global DNA regions to provide users with more detail on their ethnicity.

After that, we were entertained by Natalie Lafourcade. She is an Hispanic singer who sang on Coco. Tomorrow night she is performing for the Oscars. She performed several songs and talked about her heritage. Ancestry presented her with their research on her ancestry. They traced one of her lines back to France. Her other line was from Chile. They found that several of her ancestors were musicians. The whole presentation brought many in the audience to tears.

Natalie Lafourcade

After Natalie sang we heard from Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He started the discussion by saying how the miniseries Roots inspired him to look at his ancestry. He talked about discovering his several great grandmother Jane Gates (1819-1888). The experience of his search then led him to develop several TV series including "Faces of America" and "Finding Your Roots". He is now working on a curriculum based on students doing their genealogy. Every child would complete a family tree and take a DNA test. The results of the tree and DNA test would help the students learn about different cultures, social sciences, biological sciences, math and other subjects. He has put this program to a test with a summer camp and series called "Finding Your Roots - The Seedlings".

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

I attended a talk by Jennifer Utley, from Ancestry. Her talk focused on how Ancestry researches several genealogy based TV shows, including "Who Do You Think You Are" and "Long Lost Family".  Each 42 minute episode of "Who Do You Think You Are" requires 1,000 hours of research.

The last talk I attended was Lisa Louise Cooke's "Reconstruct Your Ancestor's World with Google". This presentation focused on the Google toolbox (Google Search Engine, Google Books, Google Patents, Youtube, Google Earth, Google Images, and Google Scholar.) Once you have determined the basic facts of someone's life, you need to use these tools to fill in the gaps such as the life in the community, companies your ancestor may have worked for, what events occurred during their life, etc. She gave an example of one of her ancestors who repaired carriages and then went on to work on horseless carriages later in life. She was able to determine who he worked for and find some images of the company along with images of her ancestor. Lisa also discussed basic search techniques that help to focus your search.

There were many more presentations during the week than I have mentioned in my blog. I was only able to provide feedback on the few that I attended. I plan on providing one more post about RootsTech on Sunday or Monday, once I get back home. That post will focus on the social life of a RootsTech attendee. Stay tuned for some fun.

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