The Best of RootsTech 2024

The Best of RootsTech 2024

I recently attended RootsTech 2024. Usually I would give you the lengthy rundown of everyone saw and how much I love them (which I could and I do) but this time I thought we'd get straight to the really good stuff:

Records are easier to search

One of the biggest pieces of news was FamilySearch's improved search function. You can now search ALL written content (not just that which has been previously indexed) using an AI-assisted search function that they're rolling out slowly. It only applies to US Land and Probate Records and some notary records from Mexico, but (1) you can do a ton with land records and (2) this is a good sign of things to come. 

Little note - to try it out, you have to sign in to your FamilySearch account and go to the labs page to "turn on the experiment" because it's not quite out for everyone yet. I didn't even know this was a thing and had to have someone walk me through it. How have I been missing trying out all the new stuff?

MyHeritage got bigger

I'm not one to say you need all the subscription sites, so if you aren't ready to dive into a new record archive, save this one for later. That being said, MyHeritage has more stuff now than ever AND it has great DNA and photo restoration tools so it's getting pretty competitive with Ancestry, FindMyPast, etc. 

The newest thing MyHeritage has going for it is, a website with a ton of historical newspapers. It's searchable using OCR (optical character recognition) so it's as easy to use as it can be. Also, you don't have to have an account to search, but you do have to have an account to see the full articles once you find them. You can either sign up for specifically, or you can get a MyHeritage Omni account which includes OldNews and a bunch of other things.

NGS has smaller/easier AI classes

The two classes on genealogy and AI that Steve Little offered for the National Genealogical Society were a hit and now NGS has a  series called AI toolbox which offers really specific family history tasks you can learn how to do with AI. The classes are cheaper and there are four to pick from

Artificial Intelligence was definitely on everyone's mind at RootsTech this year and people seemed more open to the idea of AI as a tool in a larger toolbox (rather than an evil creation that will destroy all of our hard work). Obviously, things continue to shift as technology develops but I felt like the overall tone was hopefuly-bordering-on-excited. 

There was more, but those were the big highlights from me. Mostly, I just enjoyed the company and had more good conversation than I could convey in a blog post. I can share some friends with you, since I interviewed people about their dream jobs in family history and the responses were great: 

I love RootsTech. It's great to be in person and see everyone. However, I am exhausted and I won't mind going virtual for the next couple of conferences. I am not above learning and socializing in my pajamas with snacks. See you at the NGS Conference in May?


Back to blog