Wednesday morning of RootsTech kicked off with a cheerful breakfast hosted by Ancestry.com. Their CEO Margo Georgiadis, who joins the company from previously serving as CEO of Mattel Inc, welcomed us. With a tech industry background, Margo says she’s excited to join her passion for genealogy with her career as CEO.
Many of Ancestry’s product managers and team leaders started working for the Utah based company within the last two years. The newness to the company seems to have infused them with new energy to listen to customers and bring forth long requested improvements.
Ancestry emphasized a number of their new releases, one of which I’m very excited about -- Tree Tags. As John Ericksen discussed the new features, I wondered if MyTreeTags could solve one of my biggest frustrations on the Ancestry.com platform.
You may have read my popular post -- “Your Ancestor Is Not A Tree, a Flower or a Ship.” While visiting with Crista Cowan, I asked if MyTreeTags aims to resolve this pesky problem. With a giddy smile, Crista said absolutely!
Our conversation led to some wonderful insight that I followed up with when I interviewed John Ericksen for the YouTube channel. Many will be excited about the other announcements from Ancestry, but I’m personally excited to experiment and then promote MyTreeTags.
I’m still on the fence about AncestryDNA ThruLines™ which professes that it can “show you the common ancestors who likely connect you to your DNA Matches and gives you a clearer view of how you all may be related.”
Initial public reaction on Twitter, Facebook, etc says that the accuracy is suspect. With any new innovation, the initial reaction is rarely overwhelming positive. ThruLines is in beta and draws upon public or private and searchable trees.
The reliance upon the tree information for potential new ancestors generates doubts about the helpfulness of the new innovation. Especially since I just released a video about what to do with junk on the ancestry trees.
Those trees could have blatant or unsuspecting errors, which would throw a wrench into the recommendations. Genealogy research is only as good as the input entered into various programs.
Beyond the quality of the trees consulted to provide ThruLine suggestions, another challenge surrounds folks with adoptions on their trees. For ThruLines to work well, I need to partition off my adopted line so the tree will be solely biological. That saddens me right now, so I need to think about that.
New Records Queued for Release
With RootsTech new announcements released, the coolest news involves the forthcoming avalanche of record collections. I interviewed Todd Godfrey, who is responsible for content acquisition.
This year he stressed that the pipeline for new record collections from around the world is ready to bust. One collection of interest comes from France, which has numerous challenge for worldwide researchers accessing that country’s material online. For those with Asian heritage, things remain challenging but collections from Hawaii will appear online which will help those in America with Japanese and Chinese lineage.
Overall Impression of Ancestry
Once again, the biggest takeaway from the Ancestry breakfast during RootsTech is the enthusiasm of the company team and project leaders. They have a new energy that is contagious. We’ll have to see what the future holds. Here’s wishing the team the best 2019, because if they do well, subscribers will benefit in the long run.