Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are? Future Is Bright

While genealogists have been enjoying the much anticipated return of fave TV family history show Who Do You Think You Are?, the folks at NBC have been mulling over whether it has a future on their network.  Thankfully all of that TV watching we've been doing has paid off:  Who Do You Think You Are? has been renewed for the 2011-2012 season!  Who knows maybe the series will follow the CSI path:  WDYTYA Miami, WDYTYA L.A., WDYTYA Kansas City! 

Genealogists and non-genealogists alike have been breaking the rules about Friday night TV watching and made it a priority to tune in to watch the mysteries of celebrity's heritages unfold.  This has made season two (though at just over a 1/2 dozen episodes it's more like a quarter season...moan...whine...) the #1 Friday series on NBC  averaging a 1.4 rating, 5 share in adults 18-49 and 7.0 million viewers overall over its first two weeks.

Not surprising, over those two opening weeks, Who Do You Think You Are? was #1 in the time period in all key female demographics while scoring NBC's highest 18-49 (a coveted group) and total-viewer results in the Friday 8-9 p.m. (ET) slot since October 8.  Keep up the good work ladies!

While we have much to look forward to next year, the current season is just ramping up.  We can look forward to episodes featuring Kim Cattrall, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lionel Richie, Ashley Judd and Steve Buscemi.  Tune in to the Genealogy Gems Podcast to hear what Rosie O'Donnell had to say about her experience on the show, and take a trip back into the episode archives (episode 81) to hear from Executive Producer Lisa Kudrow.

And to learn more about how to discover your own family history, tune in to my other free podcast Family History: Genealogy Made Easy at .  Both podcasts are also available through iTunes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

RootsTech 2011: A bold fresh face on the genealogy conference scene

RootsTech 2011 is already proving to be a bold and innovative approach to genealogy conferences. There's an exciting buzz in the exhibit hall as the 2000+ attendees navigate their way through the high tech displays and interactive experiences.
On this first day I've been focused on producing interviews that will make their way to the Genealogy Gems Podcast, YouTube Channel and Genealogy Gems apps.  Already in the can are interviews with Curt Witcher, Manager of the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Dept., Patricia Van Skaik of the Public Library of Cinncinati, and Jan Gow of Aukland, New Zealand.  And there are many more scheduled.  Stay tuned to the podcast!

Here's the official press release on Roots Tech just in case you've been living under a rock!

SALT LAKE CITY—FamilySearch has been helping people find their ancestors for over 100 years, but the non-profit, volunteer-driven organization has never participated in anything quite like this before. FamilySearch is hosting a new annual conference called RootsTech that begins in Salt Lake City today. The goal of RootsTech is to foster innovation in the world of genealogy technology. Keynote addresses will be streamed complimentary at, and Twitter users can follow real-time updates using #rootstech.
“FamilySearch is committed to working with others to provide the records and resources that help people discover their family history,” Jay L. Verkler, chief executive officer of FamilySearch said. “We believe that one of the best ways to achieve that goal is to encourage new technologies that can make it even easier for people to find their ancestors.”

RootsTech grew out of an effort Brigham Young University began several years ago with its Conference on Computerized Family History and Genealogy. BYU is now a key partner in this new conference, along with other leaders in genealogy and technology including Microsoft, Dell, FamilySearch,, brightsolid, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and the National Genealogical Society.

Nearly 3,000 people are expected to attend RootsTech, which will be held in the Salt Palace Convention Center. The unique conference appeals to genealogists of all skill levels, who can learn new technology-based approaches to their research. The event will also attract the creators of genealogy-related technology, who can get feedback from peers and users on their ideas and creations.

RootsTech will help developers and others who create technology that is used by a broad swath of family history consumers to learn about the challenges facing the genealogy community. According to Verkler, that’s what makes this conference truly unique.

“The purpose of RootsTech is to encourage innovative technology solutions in the fields that have a bearing on genealogists. Therefore attendees will find that the conference topics and discussions apply to a wide variety of disciplines,” Verkler said.

The format of RootsTech is designed to encourage collaboration and discussion. There will be a variety of classes and hands-on workshops for both genealogists and technologists, as well as demonstrations and virtual sessions. Verkler will be one of the keynote speakers at the conference, along with several other leaders in the technology and genealogy world:

· Shane Robison - Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Technology officer at Hewlett-Packard
· Brewster Kahle - founder of the Internet Archive and the Open Content Alliance
· Curt Witcher - Historical Genealogy Department Manager, Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana