Feb 102017
 
Apps for family storytellers innovator summit

This year’s Innovator Summit featured several great apps for family storytellers

RootsTech is a great place to discover apps for family storytellers. In fact, Rootstech is to storytellers as Virginia is to lovers. A homeplace. A source of inspiration. A show case of innovation.

Innnovator Summit’s Apps for Storytellers

Although FamilySearch’s Steve Rockwood advised innovators to look beyond the storytelling, thankfully a couple of this year’s innovators didn’t get the memo.

Emberall helps you let loved ones tell their own stories in their own words via short video clips. Which, according to Embrell’s Karen Corbitt, is the preferred format for millennials.

When downloaded on an Android or iOS smart phone, the app guides users through creating an album and interview question prompts. Using the smart phone’s video, loved ones record their responses. Better yet, Emberall tags and categorizes the video clips, making them easy to find and share. You can also upload the videos to presentation quality DVDs.

Tony Knight of Qroma wins 2nd place

Qroma Tag and Tony Knight won the 2nd place price in the Innovator Showdown

QromaTag came from innovator Tony Knight’s desire to uncover the stories behind the photos his father left behind when he died. Tony asks, “How many times have you looked at a photo and wondered what was going on? If it was a print, you might be tempted to flip it over to see if anything was written on the back.” Sadly, those of us who’ve been obsessively scanning photos for years haven’t taken the time or had the expertise to add meta data to the photo file.  (Metadata is bits and bytes of information stored in photo files.)

Luckily, Tony knows more about things like EXIF, IPTC, Voice Recognition and standard outputs than the average bear. With QromaTag, you can record the exact GPS coordinates of the place your grandparents’ home used to stand. In addition, you can use—get this—voice recognition to tag photos with names, places, and even 2000 characters to attach “the most important parts of a story” to the photo.  This makes finding the photos to use in stories much easier. It’s currently available for iOS, but will be out soon for Android.

Qroma Tag won 2nd place in the RootsTech Innovator Showdown.

Previous Innovation Summit Winners

Twile.com (Last year’s Innovator Showdown People’s choice winner) “makes your family history more visual and engaging” with the creation of timelines and aesthetically pleasing info-graphics. Though Twile can pull family’s memories, photos and stories in the same place, it can also be used to enhance your stories. For family history buffs, their partnership with FamilySearch makes them even more attractive. “Twile” comes from “erstwhile” and is now completely free to use.

Storyworth.com (the 2015 Innovator Showdown winner) helps with the problem of getting stories from loved ones who probably would never get around to writing themselves.  A subscription service, loved ones (or you) will receive weekly story prompts. They can respond via email or phone and those stories are kept on an ad-free private server.

Other Apps for Family Storytellers

Storycorps’ app  remains at the top of my list.  Like many other apps, it offers prompts to facilitate interviews, but it offers the users a chance to upload their interview to the Library of Congress. In my experience, these interviews are stilted questions and answers, but rather include a lot of heart.

Rev.com transcription for voice recorders, intrigues Valerie Brown Eichler, a friend who blogs at familycherished.com. Imagine, recording your oral history interviews and having a service that automatically transcribes the interview.  Neither one of us have tried it out for accuracy, but it’s definitely one to watch.

Your Turn:

What are your favorite storytelling apps?  Let me know!

Feb 082017
 
Rootstech 2017 logo

RootsTech 2017 is finally here: February 8 – 11, 2017

RootsTech hasn’t officially started yet, but already, excitement is in the air. Twelve thousand people will descend on the Salt Lake Palace for RootsTech by Thursday, according to FamilySearch’s Shipley Munson. They’ll come from 43 countries and 49 states. (Currently, there are no registrations from Nebraska. Go figure.)  By Saturday, aka Family Discovery Day, the conference will max out at 30,000 attendees. Wow.

Wednesday’s Innovator Summit showcases not only innovation, but exhibits FamilySearch’s dedication to fostering innovation for the family history sector. Jen Allen, the RootsTech event manager, says that RootsTech 2017 has seen more innovators, as well as younger innovators–something that organizers take  pride in. Continue reading »

Jan 062017
 
Momentum for the new year

Gathering momentum for the new year uphill ride

How do you gather momentum for the new year in the bleak mid-winter?

Remember riding your bike when you were young? Starting out downhill, pedaling like mad to gather speed and momentum for the hill ahead? You don’t have to dust your bike off (though if you’re able, it’s a great idea) to approach the new year with passion. There are other ways to store up emotional energy and keep a healthy cadence rather than a half-hearted slog during the coming months.

Try the following in addition to the tried-and-true procrastination busters. Continue reading »

Sep 212016
 

RootsTech Family History Confernce StageI’m not raving about the RootsTech family history conference to fulfill my Ambassador obligations. It’s the other way around. I’m excited about being an Ambassador because I love going to RootsTech. The conference doesn’t take place until February 8 – 11, but if you plan now you can take advantage of early bird registration prices.

Genealogy Today lists three reasons family history buffs should go to a national conference: Lectures, exhibits, and other genealogists. To me, those are more like categories. I embellished them and came up with a few more. Continue reading »

Feb 092016
 
Rootstech 2016 bag and badge

The badge and bag are in the suitcase, but is the RootsTech 2016 experience really over?

Inevitably—or at least nearly so—bloggers post summaries of their RootsTech experiences. Speaking and serving as a RootsTech 2016 Ambassador has been a whirlwind. I learned a lot and met a ton of wonderful people. It’d be nice to tie it up with a nice bow as I leave Salt Lake City.

On the other hand, it seems inappropriate.

Summaries feel like something has ended. And, although the conference is over—and I have the weariness to prove it—in many ways it hasn’t ended. Continue reading »

Feb 062016
 
Family Stories fire on a stick

How are family stories like fire on a stick? Michael Leavitt explains.

“Family stories are fire on a stick.” That s a quote from Michael Leavitt.

Michael O. Leavitt, three-time governor of Utah and former US cabinet member under President George Bush, was a keynote speaker at RootsTech 2016. He.entertained the RootsTech audience with stories. Not stories of his ancestors, as you might expect, but rather shared his own memories.

For instance, he told of calling home–in this case the governor’s mansion–and speaking to his young son.  His son whispered to his dad that mom couldn’t come to the phone. Neither could his older sister. “What are the busy doing?” asked the governor.

“Looking for me!”

He also shared stories of public life. Not surprisingly, some of the ex-governor’s fondest memories from his years in office revolve around the Salt Lake City Olympics Games. Continue reading »

Feb 042016
 

Stories of the heart - heart specialists We all knew that I think that stories of the heart are the future of family history, but I have some good company. Steve Rockwood, CEO of FamilySearch International emphasized that in his opening keynote for Rootstech.

Serious genealogists made up the majority of the 12,000 in-person audience. (Estimates including online audience range up to 125,000.) “To get and keep non-genealogists’ attention,” Rockwell explained, “you have to focus on the person, not records.” He also emphasized that stories need to be short and meaningful–stories of the heart. Continue reading »

Feb 042016
 

Rootstech Innovator Showdown logo

 

 

Update: Innovator Showdown Winners:

TapGenes Innovator Showdown winner

1st place of $20K in cash and $25K worth of in-kind prizes went to Heather Holmes of Tap Genes. One of the hard questions Heather fielded from the sharks was how she planned to deal with HIPPA requirements. She answered that TapGenes was developed by a team of health care professionals and is fully HIPPA compliant.

Studio Innovator Showdown.

The 2nd place prize of $14K in cash and $15K of in-kind prizes went to Michael Chang of  Studio (by Legacy Republic).  Chang referred to Studio/Legacy Republic’s business model as the “Avon of memory preservation.”

Both the third place prize of $6K in cash and $10K worth of in-kind prizes, as well as the people’s choice prize of $10K went to Paul Brooks of  Twile. Paul scored points with the crowd–and probably also the judges, with his integration with FamilySearch and the fact that Twile already has 1 million stories. Continue reading »

Jan 282016
 
Innovator Showdown Semifinalists and showdown

2015’s Innovator Showdown, image courtesy of RootsTech

This time next week I’ll be in Salt Lake City, walking around with a giddy feeling in my stomach. Having looked forward to and prepared for RootsTech for it for months, I’ll be trying to absorb all the family history, storytelling, and technical insight I can.

A highlight of the RootsTech conference will be the Innovator Showdown. Family history innovators from all over the globe compete for $100,000 in cash and prizes. For attendees, it’s like watching a Shark Tank for family history technology. In other words, way cool and fun.

Currently, there are twelve Innovator Showdown Semifinalists. By Thursday, February 4, that field will be narrowed to six. At that point, conference attendees get a big say in who wins the grand prize and bragging rights. Continue reading »

Jan 112016
 
Attend RootsTech 2016 for free logo

Rootstech 2016 combines family history and storytelling.

It’s not hyperbole. Family history and storytelling will come together at RootsTech this February. RootsTech, the world’s largest genealogy conference, attracts thousands of professional and hobby family historians annually.

Family History and Storytelling

Continue reading »