Maegan Kasteler | Jul 29, 2019

RootsTech London: Classes for Beginners

RootsTech has always had a broad range of classes covering many topics and skill levels. RootsTech London is no exception. We are excited to be offering a number of classes from beginner to professional. Here are just a few of the many beginner classes we are excited about.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Comparing the Genealogy Giants: Ancestry, FamilySearch, Findmypast, and MyHeritage

This session prepares genealogists for one of the important questions they must routinely ask about their research: “Which genealogy websites should be I be using right now?” This comparative introduction showcases four global powerhouse websites:,,, and Attendees will meet each site and learn about its priorities and target audiences. They will see how their statistics stack up for historical record content and family trees and see an introductory comparison to their DNA tools. They can compare subscription costs and learn about free access options, including Family History Center access. Perhaps most valuably, they’ll hear an industry insider’s tips on each site’s best features—and cautions or challenges for working with each one.

Presenter: Sunny Morton
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Auditorium

Online Family Reunions: Using Social Media to Locate Cousins to Share and Preserve Family History

For over half a decade the presenter has used social media to reconnect with cousins and distant cousins across the globe. Learn how to create and maintain a “Family Homestead” on Facebook to share memories, stories, and photographs. Learn how to utilize social media to host virtual family reunions for those relatives who cannot attend a physical reunion.

Presenter: David Lambert
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Room 13

Engaging the Younger Audience through Technology

The creation of life stories and memories can bridge intergenerational gaps. Engaging and motivating younger generations through the use of new technologies will make the creation of personal histories more engaging and attractive. Young people familiar with the concept of capturing the moment are well aligned to engage in this activity. The democratization of history will enable future generations to learn from the experiences of all age groups, not just societies. Passing on information while you’re still alive is key to maintaining historical truth and to ensuring personal history is not left behind. Family history has naturally focused on past generations—the emergence of artificial intelligence, data science, and machine learning has transformed those efforts—but the transition of the biographies and archives of the living to those family history platforms has yet to be fully realized. In many cases, upon passing, people’s data is lost forever, without provision being made for its preservation. You only die when you leave no memories.

Presenter: Simon Gibson
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Room 1

Tips and Tricks in Finding and Documenting Your Middle Eastern Family Stories

Middle Eastern families are very close (even if separated by distance). This provides great opportunities to capture stories, build trees, and use technology to preserve your Middle Eastern heritage. In this class, I will share anecdotal experiences about gathering information about ancestors from this area. I will also discuss results and next steps from some of FamilySearch’s Middle Eastern record investigations that occurred in 2018 and 2019.

Presenter: Omar Kadri
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Room 1

Friday, 25 October 2019

The Seven Deadly Sins of Digitizing Photos

Stop the senseless slaughter of pixels! There is a right way and a wrong way to digitize your family history assets (photos, slides, letters, and documents). Before you undertake to digitize your memories, make sure you understand best practices so that your digital files can be used for multiple purposes and will be preserved for future generations. This class uses clear, easy-to-understand visual examples to clarify what can be an intimidating technical process. Learn to avoid the “seven deadly sins” of improper digitization: 1) low resolution 2) high compression 3) wrong file format 4) no identification 5) bad storage 6) incorrect transfer/upload 7) no redundancy.

Presenter: Alison Taylor
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: S22-A

Digging Into Our Refugee Roots: How to Unearth and Share Refugee Stories from Our Family Histories

All our stories, if we follow them deep enough and far enough, will connect with refugee and migrant stories. In this session, Their Story Is Our Story founder and Global Mom: A Memoir and On Loss and Living Onward author Melissa Dalton-Bradford will show attendees how as world citizens all of us connect to refugee or immigrant roots. Refugee and immigrant stories bring honor, dignity, and courage into our family bloodlines and add depth, meaning, and texture to our family histories. Furthermore, this class will teach attendees how to effectively utilize social media to uncover and share firsthand refugee stories with extended family and friends.

Presenter: Melissa Dalton-Bradford
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Room 9

Time Machines, Pensieves, and Portkeys: Memory Technology that Bridges Generations

We need to consider both the psychological aspects as well as the technological elements to save and share our personal and family history memories. Brain science and history have shown that some of the most powerful memory tools are pictures and stories. Focus needs to be placed on finding really good stories and powerful pictures. So why Time Machines, Pensieves, and Portkeys? They may be the future technologies—besides, they capture our imaginations, and that is a key to memory. Creative imagination and literary authors often drive breakthrough technologies. We don’t know what technology we will be using 50 years from now. We do know from thousands of years of history that we should use the best technology we have available, but our first thought should be identifying our best pictures and stories and then using the most current, prolific, and available technology to encode, store, and provide means for retrieval. This class will provide a fun yet practical set of tools to save and share our memories.

Presenter: Thomas Taylor
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Room 1

Save and Share Online Information: 5 Tools for the Connected Genealogist

In this presentation, I will discuss tools such as Pocket, Evernote, Feedly, Buffer, and Crowdfire to save, read, and share genealogical information/articles/blog posts that can be found online. No more stress in remembering what or where you have read it; no more confusion in sharing the information with your community.

Presenter: Sophie Boudarel
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Location: Room 4

Saturday, 26 October 2019

DNA is Dynamite: How to Ignite Your Ancestral Research

This session is aimed at beginners and will give an overview of the basic information required to understand the three main types of DNA tests available for ancestral research. Michelle will explain how each test works and cover the inheritance patterns of the different types of DNA that can be tested, including the importance of the X chromosome. She will talk attendees through the first steps they should take once their results arrive and provide easy to follow hints and tips on how to get the most out of those results. Practical real-life examples will illustrate how DNA testing can be used to connect with previously unknown cousins, break down brick walls, and confirm the accuracy of family trees.

Presenter: Michelle Leonard
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Room 4

Beginning Scandinavian Research on Your Home Computer

Successful research in Scandinavian records requires an understanding of the culture and events affecting our ancestors. This lecture presents tools to help focus research on one unique family group within the sea of patronymics. The major record groups used in Scandinavian research will also be introduced. Attendees will feel empowered to start researching their Nordic roots when they return home.

Presenter: Jennifer Hansen
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: Room 12

Beginner’s Guide to Researching Your Chinese Ancestors

For those that don’t read or write Chinese, researching one’s Chinese ancestors can seem quite daunting. During this talk, experts from Chinese genealogy start-up My China Roots will describe some of the main challenges of conducting family history in China before providing some tips on what sources to look out for in the UK, what ancestral traces or records can be found in China, and how to get the most out of a visit to one’s ancestral village.

Presenter: Clotilde Yap
Time: 3:30 p.m.
Location: Room 17

As a note, these are not all of the beginner level classes. There are many other classes being offered at RootsTech London. A full list of classes being offered can be found here.


Maegan Kasteler

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