Ancestry.com Is Makin’ Moves in Genetic Genealogy

This morning I watched the online streaming video of the Ancestry.com panel at RootsTech.  The format of the panel was conversational between President & CEO Tim Sullivan and other leaders within the company.

We all learned of some exciting developments in the pipeline for features to come at Ancestry.com – all of which will be great assets.  I in particular was most intrigued by what I was hearing with regard to their plans for how to work with DNA in the future.  Though they did not explicitly outline details, from the overall conversation, it was easy to read in between the lines.

Specifically, Ancestry is looking at what is needed to leverage DNA as content.  What does this mean? It means that DNA will become part of the genealogical experience.  How might that happen? For that, I refer back to a blog post I made this past November as I discussed thoughts on how DNA content could be better leveraged by 23andMe.

In that blog post, I made several points, but overall, expressed a desire for DNA companies to use DNA data in smarter ways.  Those of us getting tested are able to pinpoint specific segments to specific ancestors, yet, our knowledge of this is not internally captured in the system, nor shareable with anyone else via the system.  If that were to change, and it was as easy to “tag” DNA segments to specific individuals in an online tree that also existed in the system, a whole new world could be opened up for us all.   I invite you to read the post for further information.

While I have done a lot of testing with 23andMe – I do anticipate that Ancestry may get into a lead position on this — as they demonstrated today at RootsTech for non-genealogical data, they already have infrastructure in place to make it possible for us to tag records, on the fly, and in very shareable ways.  

Let us tag our DNA. Then, let us attach it to specific individuals in our tree.  Doing so would then help realize an amazing transformation in how we now work with genetic information to move forward our genealogical cause. I am looking forward to see how their DNA testing service grows.

I’M INSPIRED! ARE YOU?

Update:  Blaine Bettinger has a stellar post further describing the session and the implications. It’s a must read article!

Managing RootsTech Knowledge

For my professional work I am a knowledge management information specialist.  That means I help people manage and organize information.   It is clear to me that I was meant to do this for I LOVE to work with and organize information.  With the explosion that occurred this past weekend with RootsTech I saw an opportunity to get busy applying Knowledge Management.   The best way to do this? With FamilySearch’s very own Research Wiki.

The ResearchWiki is a site that anyone can contribute to and gives us all a platform for sharing what we know about genealogy.  Initially designed to describe FamilySearch information, it has a much greater potential.  I inquired via Twitter if the wiki was being used to collect course information from the conference and learned that it really had not.  I was *challenged* (in a good way) by the Wiki team to create a page if I wanted to see one on there.

So create one I did! It is at https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/RootsTech_2011.

RootsTech 2011 page on the FamilySearch Research Wiki

I was primarily interested in creating a page to help collate material related to all the conference courses.  Since I wasn’t there I can only hope that the presenters offer to share.  What a great resource it could be for archiving the experience.  So far, I’ve only seen one class that has a Wiki page for the class info – Tony Hansen’s of the Dallas Genealogy Society.

More information is needed for contribution when it comes to the classes. Did you present at RootsTech? Did you write a blog post about a specific class? If so, sign up and add to the page! If that’s too much for you, just send me an email and I’ll do it for you! :-)  Help me make this page the “go to” page for the history of what transpired.  Thanks to everyone for all the great information!

RootsTech Talking

Here is a snapshot of all of our RootsTech Twitter activity the past 7 days.   Almost 3500 tweets from 334 contributors.  494 tweets/day.  That’s a lot of talking people!  The peak was on Saturday, the last day.

But think about it. There were 3000+ attendees and only 10% on Twitter.  Imagine what it would be like if more were on Twitter. Oh my!

For a tweet-by-tweet transcript from Feb. 10-Feb 13th, you can access it here.   Want to do a custom report? Go to wthashtag.org/rootstech and put in your dates of interest.

Internet Archive Instead of ContentDM?

Here is news that I like to hear! The Internet Archive (IA)  posted recently that the Montana State Library has made the decision to use IA as their institutional repository in lieu of the contentDM platform.  I’m a fan of the Internet Archive; the variety of their offerings is incredible.  ContentDM is a popular choice among libraries for hosting digital content, but I find their system much less user-friendly – particularly in the display & navigation options.  I could do a whole separate blog post on that!

The Montana State Library has placed 3,000 digital items there so far, and ultimately expects to have about 55,000 items.  I have no genealogical interests whatsover in Montana, but this type of news excites me since I believe there is a lot of potential yet untapped for IA.   And just as a note — Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive, will be a keynote speaker at the RootsTech conference.  I’ll have my ears open for any other news that may come from them. :-)