Friday, March 1, 2024

RootsTech 2024 - What has been happening at RootsTech 2024


Whether you have been attending the RootsTech 2024 conference in person or online over the past couple of days, I am sure you will agree that there have been so many exciting new announcements, not to mention a great deal of amazing information sharing and learning experiences. I myself, could not attend in person this year so I will be sharing my online experience of the world's largest and my personal favorite genealogy conference. 

Steve Rockwood speaking at the Main Stage event on day 1 of RootsTech 2024

From the inspiring Keynote Speakers, to the huge variety of classes and the incredible Expo Hall, there is so much on offer for family historians at all levels of experience. 


The mainstage event held each day of the conference are not to be missed. Not only will you be privileged to hear inspiring stories and memories but you can hear breaking news from RootsTech sponsors. 

Below are some highlights from day 2 Keynote Speakers, Henry Co, Lynne Jackson and Nancy Borowick. 

Lynne Jackson gave an inspiring talk about how her enslaved ancestors Harriet and Dred Scott encouraged her to start a foundation in their honor. 

Henry Cho, comedian entertaining the main stage crowd on day 1 of RootsTech

A delighted audience listening to Henry Cho, Day 1 of RootsTech 2024

Archivists being recognized during the main stage even


Each year, RootsTech is sponsored by companies such as FamilySearch, Ancestry, FindmyPast, My Heritage, Storied, Family Tree DNA, Mylio Photos and many more. You can find all exhibitions. and talks by sponsors in the Expo hall and on the main stage. See some of the sponsors below.

Whether you are at RootsTech in person or online there is so much happening in the Expo Hall. With more than 120 exhibitors and sponsors promoting books, genealogy software, DNA and other innovations in the Expo Hall, there's something for everyone so don't miss it! 

Keynote Speaker, Nancy Borowick at a meet and greet and book signing in the Expo Hall. 


Create your own playlist of classes you plan to watch. There are a wealth of learning opportunities at RootsTech covering beginner level to advanced. have a notebook handy as there is SO much to learn. 

Cheryl Hudson Passey speaking about Tackling a new Research Location, at RootsTech 2024


RootsTech is where you will hear all the latest breaking news about new genealogy technologies, programs and websites to help with your family history research. 

Read here about some of the breaking news announcements at RootsTech 2024.

FamilySearch: Full text Search


Until now records held by FamilySearch have only been searchable if indexed. FamilySearch has launched at RootsTech 2024, an exciting new way to find information in historical records that have not been indexed. 

Full text search uses AI technology to read the handwriting on images 

At this stage, more than 100 million records are available in FamilySearch Full text Search and currently these are limited to US Probate and Land Records, US from the Freedmen Bureau, US Plantation records of the Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations Collection and Mexican Notarial records. More collections will be added over the coming months. 

To learn more about this incredible new feature, just click the link to watch a FamilySearch video about using Full Text Search

My Heritage:

My heritage is one of the leading global family history platforms. This week at RootsTech it announced it's new platform 

In a press release MY heritage said of enables genealogists, researchers, and history enthusiasts to search, save, and share articles about people and events throughout history. At launch, includes a huge repository of hundreds of millions of historical newspaper pages from around the world, with millions more added monthly. The website features easy navigation and consists of a diverse range of high-quality publications, from major international newspapers to small-town journals and gazettes. 

At launch, more than doubles the amount of historical newspaper content that was previously available on MyHeritage. The website includes all the historical newspapers from MyHeritage, plus new, unique content. The new content was processed using best-in-class optical character recognition (OCR) technology and enhanced with sophisticated algorithms developed in-house by MyHeritage. 

Fileshadow : Person Detection and Custom Object Identification in Images.

FileShadow Enhances Identification and Search for Individuals, Objects and Landmarks in Photos with Person Detection and Custom Object Identification 

On 29 February 2-24 at RootsTech Fileshadow announced the launch of a new genealogical feature for family historians : Person Detection and Custom Object Identification in Images.This feature will help you to identify people in photographs and make the person searchable when you are organising photographs around a person. 

According to Fileshadow's press release -

The Person Detection feature leverages advanced technology so users can tag faces in photographs. With this feature, users select a photo in FileShadow and click “Detect Faces.” The app then identifies faces with a red outline box. Users can click on one of the faces and assign a name/title to that face. The system will add that name/title as a tag for future searches and tagging. “FileShadow goes beyond AI-based object identification,” said Tyrone Pike, FileShadow’s president and CEO. “FileShadow now can identify and name people in photographs. Of course, everything is searchable, so finding people later will be easy. FileShadow also provides a way to create custom regions so objects in a photograph like horses, dogs or buildings can be named.” Click on this link  to access the website. 

Don't forget the FamilySearch APP

What are you enjoying about RootsTech 2024? 

RootsTech would love to hear feedback from you. You can upload a video sharing your RootsTech experience if you would like to. 

Have you checked out the Relatives at RootsTech feature on the FamilySearch App or RootsTech website? You will need to add your family tree to FamilySearch. I discovered a branch of my family I had never known immigrated to Australia from Northern Ireland and now DNA has confirmed the matches and my new cousins and I are exchanging information that each branch had uncovered exclusively.

You never know - you might be related to someone famous, though I suggest doing your own research to verify anything you find.  

How many relatives do you have at RootsTech this year? 

You can create collages of your memories using FamilySearch's Collage templated and your own photographs easily and its fun! Here is a collage I created of some RootsTech memories. 

Have a great time at RootsTech everyone. 

Friday, November 3, 2023

November RootsTech News

A RootsTech 2024 News Update


Above are the lucky WINNERS of the RootsTech 2024 Free Pass Sweepstakes. If you were not one of the winners of a Pass you can still register to attend RootsTech 2024 in Salt Lake City using the following DISCOUNT CODE when registering  RT24SWEEPSTAKES

Don't forget if you cannot go in person you can register to attend online!


For some of the many reasons why you should attend RootsTech 2024 listen to some past attendees talk about their RootsTech experiences in the Road to RootsTech Episode 2 below. 


Lynne M Jackson, author and president and founder of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation will be speaking on stage at RootsTech on Friday, March 1, 2024. Lynne has spent her life telling the story of her great-great grandparents Dred and Harriet Scott, an enslaved couple who took their case for freedom to the US Supreme Court. 

Lynne's efforts to ensure her ancestors' courageous fight for freedom, citizenship and equality is never forgotten fits perfectly the RootsTech 2024 theme of,REMEMBER. 

For more about this inspiring Keynote Speaker visit the FamilySearch website HERE.

                                              THE THEME SONG FOR ROOTSTECH 2024

You can listen to the theme song for RootsTech 2024 using the link to Youtube below....

Out of Time ℗ 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Released on: 2023-09-15 Music Publisher: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Composer Lyricist: Jonathan Wing

CLICK HERE to  REGISTER for RootsTech2024

Friday, October 13, 2023

Win a FREE 3 Day Pass to Attend RootsTech 2024 in Salt Lake City and Discount Code

WIN A FREE 3 DAY PASS TO ROOTSTECH 2024 and Discount Code


RootsTech 2024 is very generously giving away FREE 3 Day Passes to attend the world's largest genealogy Conference in Salt Lake City throughout the month of October. WINNERS will be announced on November 1 and I will also be announcing the winners on my social media platforms so watch this space! 

NOTE: These passes are currently only available to legal residents of the United States excepting for exclusions included in The Official Rules available online. You can read them  read HERE.  See information below for residents of other countries.

Don't worry if you have already registered as if you WIN you will be fully refunded.

                                                 Be there in person!  Image Sharn White 

The PASS is valued at $99 and includes 

  • 250 + classes and workshops
  • The Expo Hall with 120 + Exhibitors and Sponsors 
  • Not to be missed inspiring Keynote Speakers
  • Be among the first to hear about new industry technology and innovations
  • A fantastic opportunity to meet like minded people and network
  • Catch up with genealogy friends and socialize
  • Visit the Family Search Library and get personal help if needed
To enter simply CLICK on the LINK or use the bar code below to fill out a simple form. 

Don't miss your chance to WIN a FREE 3 Day Pass to attend RootsTech 2024 in person! ENTER TODAY.


As an official RootsTech Media Person I am able to offer residents of all other countries a DISCOUNT CODE of 10% on Registration. This discount will last until November 2. When you register simply pop in the following discount code towards the end of the registration process when the DISCOUNT CODE box appears. The code is RT24SWEEPSTAKES 

If you would like more information about the RootsTech Conference watch the Road to RootsTech video series. Episode 1 is below. 

Monday, September 18, 2023


 RootsTech 2024 an Update!

Official RootsTech 2024 Media Image 


Registration for RootsTech 2024 is open. You can register to attend online or in person HERE and watch the video below to hear exciting information about the RootsTech 2024 Conference to be held February 29-March 2, 2024. 

How are you planning to attend the RootsTech 2024 Conference? Excitingly, you can be part of the world's largest genealogy conference either in person in Salt Lake City, Utah or you if you can attend in the comfort of your own home simply by registering to attend online.

Just click on the link HERE to register for whichever way you intend to be a part of the exceptional learning experience provided by RootsTech 2024.


Great news! Online attendance is FREE

A 3 Day Pass - $99 US

1 Day Pass - $69 US 

What to expect if you attend in person: 

  • 250+ exclusive sessions only available in SLC
  • 120+ exhibitors/sponsors in the Expo Hall
  • Be the first to learn of industry innovations
  • Be part of the energy of the general keynote sessions
  • Develop new friendships and reunite with old friends
  • Get personalized help at the FamilySearch library

What to expect when you attend online worldwide:

  • 200+ new online sessions in over 26 languages
  • Join keynote sessions live from the comfort of your own home
  • Chat online with other attendees worldwide
  • Get digital syllabi and class handouts

 I am thrilled to announce that the RootsTech THEME for the 2024 Conference is 

Family history is about looking back into the past and finding out as much as possible about the lives of our ancestors but our research into our families also includes the memories we have of the family we have known in our lifetime - parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles. Recalling memories of the people, places, objects and events in our own lives can invoke even more memories about the past. 
Memories of our own life can become prompts for what we would like to discover about about family further back in time. 

You can find out about the RootsTech 2024 SPEAKERS and SESSIONS here.

If you would like to SUBSCRIBE to receive real life UPDATES about the RootsTech 2024
conference CLICK ON THIS LINK and scroll down to SUBSCRIBE FOR UPDATES.

In the leadup to RootsTech why not continue your learning experience with the On Demand Library Sessions HERE

Check out the Official RootsTech website for more news and activities and never miss out on any updates about RootsTech 2024!

I hope to see you all at RootsTech 2024!

Monday, November 8, 2021

SAME NAMES - CONFUSING COUPLES - Which Robert and Margaret Campbell are mine?

Which Robert and Margaret Campbell are mine?

Main Street, Houston, Renfrewshire, Geograph, Creative Commons Licence

A few years ago I wrote a blog post about navigating the problem created when ancestors' names were recorded incorrectly on records. I illustrated some of the methods I used to solve the tricky name puzzles many of our ancestors left for us to solve. 

Ancestors with common names can also cause a significant amount of confusion and can require the same kind of detective work in the search for which ancestor is yours.
This blog post shows how I addressed the situation of finding more than one couple of the same name, similar age and who live nearby each other, and how I worked through the same name confusion to find evidence to prove which couple belonged on my family tree. 

I have found a number of my ancestors placed incorrectly on other online family trees and they are often there because of 'same name and same place' confusion. When we are searching for an ancestor and we find several couples who are potentially ancestors, with the same names, the importance of finding genealogical evidence becomes a crucial element of our research.

Elizabeth GIBSON, Glasgow, granddaughter of Margaret Campbell. Image belongs to author © 

My Scottish third great grandmother was named on her marriage record to James Gibson as Margaret CAMPBELL. [1]  Both Margaret and Campbell are common names in Scotland and if your Scottish ancestors were anything like mine, they likely followed traditional Scottish naming patterns which ensured that the same names were repeated in families over several generations and family members with the same names born in or around the same place at the same time. My blog post about this very situation, The Tale of Two Williams and the Importance of Genealogical Evidence can be found here. 

Common names can cause the same confusion when searching for ancestors even when people are not related. Confusing! Couples with the same names can be quite the recipe for a genealogical headache.

                                                     Image Pixabay, Creative Commons Licence

Working backwards from my Scottish paternal great grandmother, Elizabeth Gibson (1830 - 1876) through her father James Gibson (1830 - 1876) and his father James Gibson (1796- ), I discovered  my third great grandmother was named Margaret CAMPBELL. [1]  

                                                     Birth of James Gibson, 25 December 1830 [2]

My three times great grandparents, Margaret Campbell and James Gibson married [3] on February 3, 1828 at Houston and Killellan, Renfrewshire, after banns were read in the Church of Scotland. Both were stated to be 'of that Parish' meaning that they lived there at the time of their marriage. Prior to the introduction of civil registration for births, deaths and marriages in Scotland on 1 January 1855, it was the duty of Parish ministers and clerks to record births, baptisms, burials and marriages, however these records contain little helpful information, beyond the parish of residence of the couple, the date banns were read and the marriage date and sometimes the groom's occupation.[4] 

Marriage of Margaret Campbell and James Gibson 1828 [5]

When Margaret Campbell and James Gibson booked their names for proclamation of banns on purpose of marriage [5] they were both described as parishioners of Houston and Killellan. 
Being a parishioner does not automatically infer that a person was born in the parish but it is a good place to look for the birth of the bride since often it was the bride's parish in which a marriage took place. Banns were usually read in two parishes if those intending to wed were from different parishes [6].

In this case it seemed reasonable for me to search for a birth for Margaret Campbell in Houston and Killellan, that being the place where she married James Gibson. 


Margaret Campbell is a common name in Scotland and although I found quite a few birth records of females with this name, there was only one Margaret Campbell who was born in Houston and Killellan, Renfrewshire. Margaret Campbell was born, along with her twin brother Robert, on the 30th of May 1802 [7] to Robert Campbell and Margaret White in Houston and Killellan, Renfrewshire. 

Robert Campbell and Margaret White had married in Houston and Killellan on 25 December 1794.[8] According to Margaret's birth record her father Robert Campbell was a Tailor. [9]

                                            Birth of Margaret and Robert Campbell, 25 December 1794 [10]

Since I found no death record for Margaret Campbell nee White of Houston and Killellan, it seemed a reasonable conclusion that her parents Margaret White and Robert Campbell were my four times great grandparents. 

Looking at the 1841 census in Houston and Killellan [11] I found Robert Campbell aged 76 years, a Tailor living in Old Town, Houston with wife Margaret 70 years and son Robert 35 years, a Shoe Maker. 

                          1841 Census, Houston and Killellan, Robert Campbell and Margaret White [12]

Robert Campbell and Margaret White had the following children all born in Houston and Killellan.  [13]

John 1799
Robert 1802
Margaret 1802
Mary 1804

The 1841 census record in Houston and Killellan informed me that Margaret White was born in Renfrewshire [14] but that Robert was not and I discovered from the 1851 Census that Robert Campbell was born in Callender, Perth. [15]  Since there had been Campbells living in Houston and Killellan from at least the late 17th century it is possible that family connections were the reason Robert Campbell had moved from Callender in Perth to Houston and Killellan, Renfrewshire. Family connections for these Campbell families are yet to be explored. 

                                    Callender, Perth to Houston and Killellan, Renfrewshire, Google Maps 

I felt confident that I had found my fourth great grandparents Robert Campbell and Margaret White because their daughter was the only Margaret Campbell who was born in Houston and Killellan and married there within the timeframe I was searching. A  problem arose however, for me when I looked at other family trees on Ancestry which had my ancestors Margaret Campbell and James Gibson on them. Almost every other tree named Margaret Campbell's parents as Robert Campbell and Margaret Love. Robert and Margaret Campbell were from Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire, around nine miles from Houston and Killellan. 

Same name couples can cause so much confusion! Although I believed it more likely that that Margaret White, who was born in Houston and Killellan, was the person who married Robert Campbell in Houston and Killellan when she was 26 years old, I also know that no research is complete without investigating every clue you find. I set out to find what I could about Margaret Love and Robert Campbell because I needed to understand why other people had reached a different conclusion to the one I had reached. 

                                                 Houston to Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire, Google Maps


I discovered banns being read for the marriage of Robert Campbell and Margaret Love in Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire on the 4th of February 1792. [16] The couple were both stated to be  'in this parish' meaning that at the that time they both lived in Lochwinnoch, although banns read the same day in Abbey, Renfrewshire stated that Robert Campbell was from Lochwinnoch and Margaret from Abbey, Renfrewshire. [17] 

                                         Marriage of Robert Campbell and Margaret Love, Lochwinnoch [18]

Robert Campbell and Margaret Love had the following children born in Lochwinnoch [19 ]

Mary 1793
James 1794
Robert 1802
Margaret 1806

Robert Campbell and Margaret Love were still living in Lochwinnoch at the time of the 1841 Census. [19] Robert Campbell was a Coal Agent and according to the census record neither he or Margaret (Love) were born in Lochwinnoch. 

                          Robert Campbell and Margaret Love, 1841 Census, Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire  [20]

I had found a clear case of same name confusion. Two couples named Robert and Margaret Campbell, living within nine miles of each other both had a daughter named Margaret. One Margaret Campbell was born in 1802 in Houston and Killellan and the other was born in Lochwinnoch nine miles away in 1806. 

My problem was that I needed evidence to show which Margaret Campbell married my third great grandfather James Gibson in Houston and Killellan in 1828. Was she the daughter of Robert Campbell and Margaret White of Houston and Killellan or was she the daughter of Robert Campbell and Margaret Love of Lochwinnoch?  My evidence needed to go beyond the fact that one Margaret Campbell was born and raised in Houston and Killellan so therefore she was the person who married James Gibson there in 1828. 

                         My tree on the right with Margaret White and other trees with Margaret Love.


Looking for clues as to how I could prove that Margaret Campbell, wife of Robert who lived in Houston and Kilellan was Margaret White who was born in Houston to parents John Campbell and Janet Roberston, I revisited the 1841 Census record again to see if the Campbell's neighbours might offer some help. 

Looking at FANS (Friends and Neighbours)  is often the only way to find evidence of a family connection. Too often when we are researching, we  overlook neighbours in our research. As soon as I  looked at  the household living next door to Robert and Margaret Campbell,  I realised I had overlooked a vital piece of evidence. 

                                  1841 Census, Robert and Margaret Campbell, Houston and Killellan [21]

What I knew about Margaret Campbell of Houston and Killellan was the she was born in 1769 [22] to parents John Campbell and Janet Robertson of Houston and Killellan. Margaret's siblings were as follows William (), Janet (1767) and Mary (1771). [23]

When I re-examined the 1841 Census where had found Robert Campbell and Margaret White living in Houston and Killellan, aged in the 70's, I saw that right next door to them lived two women of independent means named Janet White 75 and Mary White aged 69 years.  Both were born in Houston and Killellan and both women were  the  age of Margaret's older sister Janet and younger sister Mary. With the two women were two boys named John Gibson aged 12 years and James aged 10 years. [24]

                                                   Houston and Killellan Church, Wikimedia Commons

Finding the two boys John and James Gibson solved a mystery for me since I had found their father James Gibson living at 41 Ferguslie, Abbey, Renfrewshire aged 45 years employed as a Spirit Dealer and with him was his only daughter Mary aged 7 years but his sons John and James were missing. James Gibson widowed by 1841 and so it made sense that the boys were living elsewhere with family.

Finding the two White sisters Janet and Mary living next door to their married sister Margaret Campbell (nee White) and the Gibson boys, one of whom was my three times great grandfather James, was the crucial piece of evidence I needed to prove that my four times great grandmother was Margaret White from Houston and Killellan and not Margaret Love from Lochwinnoch. 

When I conducted my initial research, my finding had been that Margaret White was my ancestor and that it was she who married Robert Campbell in Houston and Killellan in 1794. The fact that a number of online family trees still have Margaret Love on them incorrectly in her place, demonstrates the necessity for careful investigation when you come across couples with the same names. 

Perhaps Robert Campbell of Lochwinnoch and Robert Campbell of Houston and Killellan, originally from Callender, Perth were related which would mean that Margaret Love belongs somewhere on my family tree but she is not my four times great grandmother or the mother of Margaret Campbell who married James Gibson in 1828 in Houston and Killellan, Renfrewshire.


I am hoping that DNA will determine whether the Campbell family from Lochwinnoch is related to the Campbell family from Houston and Killellan. 


 Marriage of Robert Campbell and Margaret White, 25 December 1794, Houston and Killellan,  Scotlands People, Statutory Registers, Marriages
1. Birth of James Gibson, 27 December 1830, Scotlands People, Old Parish registers, Births 559/60 p. 326
2. Ibid. 
3. M
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
7. Births of Margaret White and Robert Campbell, 30 May 1802, Scotlands People, Old Parish registers, Births
8. Marriage of Robert Campbell and Margaret White, 25 December 1794, Houston and Killellan,  Scotlands People, Statutory Registers, Marriages
9. Births of Margaret White and Robert Campbell, 30 May 1802, Scotlands People, Old Parish registers, Births 
10. Ibid.
11.1841 Census, Houston and Killellan, Scotlands People 
12. Ibid.
13. Births of Campbell Children, Scotlands People
14. 1841 Census, Houston and Killellan, Scotlands People
15. 1851 Census, Houston and Killellan, Scotlands People
16. Marriage of Robert Campbell and Margaret Love, Lochwinnoch, Renfrewhsire, Scotlands People, Statutory Registers, Marriages, 570.
17. Marriage of Robert Campbell and Margaret Love, Abbey, Renfrewshire, Scotlands People, Statutory Registers, Marriages, 559. 
18. Marriage of Robert Campbell and Margaret Love, Lochwinnoch, Renfrewhsire, Scotlands People, Statutory Registers, Marriages, 570
19.  Births of children of Robert Campbell and Margaret Love, Lochwinnoch, Scotlands People
20. 1841 Census, Lochwinnoch, Scotlands People
21. 1841 Census, Houston and Killellan, Scotlands People
22. 1841 Census, Houston and Killellan, Scotlands People
23.  Births of Children to Robert and Margaret Campbell, Houston and Killellan, Soctlands People
24. 1841 Census, Houston and Killellan, Scotlands People