Friday, November 25, 2011

Contest Winner of the RootsTech Registration

Lots of Genealogy Gems Podcast listeners combed through the Genealogy Gems You Tube channel for the answers to the contest questions and a winner has been selected from all of the correct entries.  Congratulations to lucky winner Carol Genung who answered the following questions correctly:

1. Which "non-genealogist" did I interview at RootsTech last year about Family History Mobile Strategies?
Answer: Ty Hatch

2. Which popular genealogy blogger did I interview at RootsTech last year about the new "FamilyTech" Family Search Website?
Answer: James Tanner

3. Which well-known and energetic genealogy expert did I interview about Family History for Kids?
Answer:  Tony Burroughs

Carol has not only won a free registration (retail value $189) to the RootsTech Family History & Technology Conference being held February 2 - 4, 2012 in Salt Lake City, UT, but she will also be invited to join me for a chat at RootsTech about her experience for an upcoming video on the Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel!

And the good news for everyone else is that the Early Bird Registration price of $129 is still available until Nov. 30, 2012. Investing in your on-going education is critical to genealogical success and RootsTech offers a rich experience. I'll be there teaching three classes and I hope to see you there too!

Many thanks to the RootsTech folks for providing the registration prize. See you at RootsTech!

Monday, November 21, 2011

MyHeritage Acquires Genealogy Sites and

MyHeritage has made a big move in an effort to significantly enter the U.S. Genealogy Market by acquiring long standing family history websites and MyHeritage is one of the most popular family networks globally on the web  providing a place for millions of families to have a private and free place for their families to keep in touch and to showcase their roots. They offer a feature called Smart Matching™ technology which allows users an innovative way to find relatives and explore their family history. They boast a secure site for the storage of family photos, and history preservation. The company is backed by Accel Partners and Index Ventures, the investors of Facebook and Skype, and now with this most recent acquisition they add a tremendous amount of genealogical content - 3 billion + historical records -  to their offerings. 

This is MyHeritage's seventh and largest acquisition since 2007. With offices and staff in Europe, Australia and Israel, MyHeritage will also now be adding its first US-based office in Utah, the home of and often cited as the family history capital of the world.

MyHeritage CEO and Founder Gilad Japhet characterizes the move this way, “Combining close to one billion family tree profiles on MyHeritage with FamilyLink's massive library of historical data delivers a perfect one-stop-shop for families looking to discover and share their family history".

Founded in 2006, both and are subscription services to a huge database of several billion individuals within census, birth, marriage and death records, as well as the web’s largest archive of historical newspapers. When brought together under the MyHeritage umbrella, the company’s Smart Matching technology will automatically match any of the new historical data to the relevant users' ancestors and relatives within the family trees.

It's clear that the genealogy market is still very much up for grabs, even though on the surface it can often appear that Ancestry and FamilySearch are the only major players.  With on the move, and this latest in a series of strategic purchases by MyHeritage since 2007 genealogists stand to gain from a competitive marketplace.  MyHeritage's recent purchases include Pearl Street Software, makers of and the Family Tree Legends software; free family tree backup service; European family social network market leader OSN (Verwandt) GmbH; Dutch family network ZOOOF; British family network and Polish family network

According to their recent press release, "the majority of the employees will join MyHeritage, based out of the company’s new US office in Provo, Utah: bringing the benefit of their collective expertise within the family history and North American genealogy market. The CEO of, Paul Brockbank, previously CEO of Logoworks and GM of Hewlett Packard Web Print Solutions, will play a key role in supporting the transition over the coming months and will later join the MyHeritage advisory board. founder Paul Allen, previously a co-founder of, and's "We're Related" Facebook application, will not be part of the merger with MyHeritage."

What does the acquisition mean for customers? In the short-term, MyHeritage will continue to operate the two sites and, with the intention of achieving full integration within MyHeritage in 2012. "With immediate effect and for an introductory period, loyal subscribers and users of MyHeritage will be entitled to discounts of up to 50% on and subscriptions, and vice versa."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hurry For Your Chance to Win a Free Registration to RootsTech 2012 AND be a Video Star!

RootsTech made a big splash last year when it hit the U.S. genealogy stage and the 2012 conference is shaping up to be another exciting weekend of family history and technology!

As an official RootsTech blogger I'm very pleased to announce that one of my lucky readers will win a FREE registration to RootsTech 2012.  The lucky winner will also be invited to join me for a chat about their experience for an upcoming video on the Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel!

Entering to win is fun and easy! Here's what you do:

STEP 1: Go to the Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel and answer the following three questions:

  1. Which "non-genealogist" did I interview at RootsTech last year about Family History Mobile Strategies?
  2. Which popular genealogy blogger did I interview at RootsTech last year about the new "FamilyTech" Family Search Website?
  3. Which well-known and energetic genealogy expert did I interview about Family History for Kids?

STEP 2: Email your name, email address, phone number and answers to me at (with "CONTEST" in the subject line) by 11:59 PST on Wed. November 23, 2011.  

STEP 3: Visit this blog  to find out if you are the winner. I will draw the winner from the pool of correct entries on Thanksgiving Day (11/24/11) and one lucky person will have an extra reason to give genealogy thanks this year!  Good Luck Everyone!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Brimhall Succeeds Verkler as CEO at Genealogy Powerhouse FamilySearch

With RootsTech just about 12 weeks away, FamilySearch has announced a significant change in its executive management. Jay L. Verkler has been succeeded by Dennis C. Brimhall as CEO of FamilySearch.

Verkler was the driving force behind the launch of RootsTech, and I had an opportunity to sit down and talk with him about his vision and the reality of the event in 2011.

Here are the details announced today by FamilySearch in their press release:

"FamilySearch International announced today a change in its chief executive officer. Effective January 2, 2012, Dennis C. Brimhall will succeed Jay L. Verkler as CEO of FamilySearch.  Mr. Verkler will continue in a consulting capacity for a few months to ensure a smooth transition.

It is the business culture and practice of FamilySearch, as an organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to regularly rotate its senior leaders. This pattern assures the forward momentum of its core programs.

Over the the past decade under Mr. Verkler's leadership, FamilySearch has shifted its vast stores of genealogical records and resources to a digital, worldwide, internet-based focus. FamilySearch has developed partnerships with many genealogy and technology industry organizations, helping form a broad and deep industry community including companies, societies, and archives."

"Mr. Brimhall comes to FamilySearch with a deep background in management. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Northwester University's Kellogg School of Management. He recently served for 17 years as president and CEO of the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver from 1988 until 2005. Since then Mr. Brimhall has held positions of increasing responsibility in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

"FamilySearch looks forward to further strengthening its commitment to the global genealogical community, to publishing and digitizing the world's records, and encouraging all people to discover, preserve, and share their family histories."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Google's Plus Sign Now Has New Meaning

On October 27 I reported on this blog that Google quietly eliminated the use of the plus sign operator in Google Search. (A Change You Need to Know About

The technology community suspected that "the move was in response to their growing focus on Google+ and the possibility of a new use for the "plus" sign." I encouraged you to stay tuned.

You didn't have to wait long to find out why the change was made.  Yesterday Google announced on the Official Google Blog a use for that plus sign: Direct Connect from Google Search.

Direct Connect from Google Search
It's no surprise that the plus sign's new role has something to do with connecting users to Google+, the (fairly) new social networking platform. The + sign is now all about quickly connecting you directly to business Google+ Pages.

Many have wondered why Google+ didn't allow for business and organization profiles since that is a big part of the Facebook offering.  It appears now that the delay was in order to re-purpose the plus sign.

Google explained it this way: "Maybe you're watching a movie trailer, or you just heard that your favorite band is coming to town.  In both cases you want to connect with them right now, and Direct Connect makes it easy - even automatic.  Just go to Google and search for [+], followed by the page you're interested in (like +Angry Birds). We'll take you to their Google+ page, and if you want, we'll add them to your circles."

So the plus sign can now get us connected to Angry Birds, quicker?  Whoo hoo?! Gosh, I was perfectly happy with the way the plus sign got me to web pages that shared information about my ancestor (+Jehu Burkhart I miss you!)

Direct Connect is up and running for a couple of the big boy brands like +Google, +Pepsi, and +Toyota, so you can try those searches to see how they work.  Eventually the rest of the world will be allowed in and you can learn more about how Direct Connect for your organization in the Google Help Center. 

So remember, if you want to connect with Pepsi you can plus. But, if you're looking for a specific ancestor, word, or phrase you need to surround them in quotation marksAnd you can quote me on that!

Flip-Pal Portable Scanner Gets 2 Thumbs Up

As a busy mom and now grandma, I know how hard it is to find precious time for family history. That's why the focus of Genealogy Gems has always been to find the BEST resources available!

After personally evaluating and using the Flip Pal portable scanner, I can whole heartily recommend it. Here's what I love about it:
  1. Very lightweight
  2. Super easy to use - no heavy manual reading necessary!
  3. Flexible scanning options
  4. Love the built in image viewer!
I give Flip Pal 2 thumbs up! And I'm happy to announce that Genealogy Gems is now an affiliate of Flip-Pal which means that if you decide to pick up one of these little gems yourself and you do so clicking one of the links on our website, the purchase will also help financially support the free podcast. Now you can get a fantastic tool and help keep the free Genealogy Gems Podcast coming at the same time.

Enter Coupon Code BDAY11A for 10% off until Nov. 13, 2011*
At the recent Colorado Family History Expo I met with the Flip-Pal folks to learn even more about this portable little powerhouse, and they asked me to sit down for an interview:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

See You At The Georgia Family History Expo Nov. 11 & 12

It's hard to believe that it is already November, and that means I'll be attending the last genealogy conference of 2011.  The Georgia Family History Expo will be held November 11 & 12, 2011 in Duluth Georgia at the Gwinnett Center.

This is my first time attending this particular expo, and it promises to be an exciting one.  I'll be presenting three classes:

  • Google Earth for Genealogy
  • Ultimate Google Search Strategies
  • How to Create Awesome Family History Tours with Google Earth

When I'm not in class you will find me at my booth in the exhibit hall (booth #2) and my daughter (my right-arm) Vienna will be with me. We'll be answering your questions and I'll be signing copies of my book The Genealogist's Google Toolbox.

Expos offer a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere for soaking up family history and checking out the latest products and resources. I can't think of a better way to spend the day!

You can register online here.

Gwinnett Center
6400 Sugarloaf Parkway
Duluth, Georgia – 30097

Visit with Exhibitors from Across the United States: - Salt Lake City, Utah (Sponsor)
Georgia Genealogical Society – Atlanta, Georgia (Sponsor)
Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society – Metro Atlanta Chapter (Sponsor) — Los Angeles, California (Sponsor)
Genealogy Gems Podcast – San Ramon, California
Family Roots Publishing – Bountiful, Utah
Stories To Tell – Redding, California
AGES-online — Lenexa, Kansas
Family Tree DNA – Houston, Texas
Wolf's Head Books – St. Augustine, Florida – Huntersville, North Carolina
Genealogy Book Printing — Glenville, Georgia 
Creative Continuum — Anaheim, California
Gene Tree — Salt Lake City, Utah
Creative Memories — Stone Mountain, Georgia
The Genealogical Institute — Tremonton, Utah
And more

Hear from Nationally Recognized Speakers:
Lisa Louise Cooke – California
DearMYRTLE – Utah/Virginia
Arlene H. Eakle, Ph.D. - Utah
Thomas Jay Kemp – Connecticut
Robert Scott Davis – Alabama
M. Bridget Cook – Utah
Ann Mohr Osisek – Florida
Anita R. Paul – Georgia
Seema-Jayne Kenney – Massachusetts 
Ken Aubuchon – Kansas  
Joleen Aitchison – Missouri
And more

All the details are available online here

Over at his Genealogy Blog Leland Meitzler is reporting that The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah will be offering free book scanning services at this years expo:
"Benefits of scanning your book:
  • Share it with others easily and inexpensively
  • Have a copy of your book preserved by FamilySearch
  • Provide access to others who may share your ancestral lines by making the book available free of charge on
How it works:
  • Sign-up and reserve your time for your book to be scanned (300 page limit)
  • If your book is copyrighted, print out and have the copyright holder sign the permission form in order for scanning to be performed
  • Bring your book and signed permission form to the FamilySearch Scanning booth at the Expo on day of your reservation. Please drop the book off before 10:00 am, if possible, to allow maximum time for scanning
  • Pick up your book and the digital copy on a flash drive provided by FamilySearch at the end of the day
Sign up online to reserve a day for your book to be scanned:
Friday —
Saturday —"