Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Myrt's take on Tim Sullivan's #RootsTech keynote

Ancestry's Matthew Deighton stopped by the RootsTech 2013 Media Hub and spent some time with Ol' Myrt. Today he sent me a recap of Tim Sullivan's keynote address, and the link to the archived video.

You can view the entire address online at RootsTech.org: Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com

Here are some of Matthew's favorite highlights (with Ol' Myrt's parenthetical comments):

Ancestry.com is partnering with FamilySearch to bring 140 million pages of US Probate Records covering more than 130 years. (Loving it! Genealogists need to branch out beyond census images, and I consider probate records a better resource for understanding family relationships.)

Over the next 5 years, Ancestry.com will be spending $100 million to digitize, index and put online new content on Ancestry.com, Fold3, Archives and Newspapers.com. (This lays to rest concerns the new owners of Ancestry.com may cut back on acquisitions.)

AncestryDNA is now available to everyone (subscriber and non-subscribers) for $99. (Good price point for entry-level DNA testing, but the results are still not transferable to another service.)

The AncestryDNA database has more than 120,000 samples and they’ve delivered more than 2 million fourth cousin DNA matches.

 Ancestry.com’s new iOS 4.1 update (Available now!)

 More than 1/3 of new registrants on Ancestry.com are coming from mobile devices. (Cool, I do this with my iPad and my iPhone. Just how does Ancestry.com track this? What percent are iOS? Droid?)

Ancestry believes "that same 1/3 are younger than their typical website user, signaling a great sign of the future health of the family history category." (How do they know for sure this "same 1/3 are younger? What about people like Mr. Myrt who are just getting into the Ancestry app?)

Collaboration is key. Ancestry now “encourages everyone to share and help each other. (Remember last year we dissed Tim's RT2012 keynote for frequently mentioning the word “competition”.)

Ancestry is constantly looking at ways to appeal to the beginner and the expert genealogist. Ancestry recognizes this  can be difficult when the two ends of the spectrum speak a different language, but Tim says they are determined to find the best way to appeal to both parties. (How about starting with better meta data and source citations bundling with the download of an image; releasing a syncing api so all genealogy software can sync to our Ancestry Member Trees; the ability to mark "thinking about this connection" on our public member trees?)

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

Blog: http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
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  1. Regarding AncestryDNA results not being transferrable. . .I went to DNA panel discussion the same day as this keynote and Bennett Greenspan said that Family Tree DNA would immediately start work on the ability to import Ancestry DNA results. Should be available in a few months.