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Kimberly Powell

New Genealogy Tools & Toys Discovered at RootsTech

By February 15, 2011

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As Dick Eastman so aptly said, the 2011 RootsTech conference was a rock concert! Over 3,000 family history enthusiasts were in attendance and the excitement was absolutely infectious. New technologies, new ideas, new presenters...just wow!

The three day conference was a whirlwind of activity, so much so that I didn't even have time to make it around half of the wonderful RootsTech Expo Hall. I do, however, want to share a few of the new technologies and products that I learned about while in attendance. Things I found cool...

Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner - The Flip-Pal Scanner (www.flip-pal.com) is definitely going on my wish list! The Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner is not only small and portable, it allows the lid to be removed so that you can scan photos without having to remove them from an album or frame. It works well for books that can't be opened completely flat as well - or for books that are too big for your usual scanner. EasyStitch software helps to seamlessly combine multiple scans into one - good for larger document pages, maps and books. Scans are saved as jpg files to an included SD card (or you can use your own as long as you check their list of supported cards), allowing for easy transfer of the scanned images to your computer. The Flip-Pal mobile scanner runs on batteries, doesn't require a computer for scanning and has a see-through window so you can see what you're scanning. Best of all, it is only 10.25″ x 6.5″ x 1.25″ - an easy size to fit in a backpack or computer bag. Want to see more? Here's a great video of DearMyrtle demonstrating the Flip-Pal scanner. Compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X.

MagiCensus - MagiKey Family Tree (www.themagikey.com), and a new version coming soon called MagiCensus, is a new stand-alone genealogy software program. What interested me most, however, is a Census Tracker tool included within the program. This census tool can either incorporate automatically with the MagiKey software, or accepts gedcom imports from any of the other popular genealogy programs. The developers have even compensated for the differences in gedcom standards and tags between programs, and will both import and export from most popular genealogy programs without any loss of data (meaning you can continue to use another family tree program if you desire, and still use MagiCensus for its census tracking capabilities). A template is provided within the program for each census year (from the U.S., Canada, England, Scotland, Norway, Ireland and Denmark) making it easy to extract all pertinent data. Once the family has been extracted and linked, MagiKey Family Tree automates the rest, calculating approximate ages and/or birth dates, and helping to track family members through multiple census years. It displays the information in a Family Census Table, links information to the Timeline view, and includes the census information in place event reports. Currently available for Windows only.

Tpstry - Tpstry (http://tpstry.com) is an addictive new family Web site that focuses on helping users reach out to their living relatives, collect family memories and combine those memories into a larger centralized family history for sharing. You get the page started and then ask all of your relatives to join in to help answer questions about family members they knew personally. Tpstry makes it easy by prompting you with all sorts of questions to help capture your family's undocumented family memories and stories. Questions like has your grandmother ever ridden a roller coaster? What was your grandfather's dream car? Has anyone in your family crashed a wedding? The types of questions that help define the personality of a person and capture the stories that you'll usually never find in newspapers and documents. If you're not a huge fan of formal family history interviews, or have a relatives spread out around the world, then Tpstry might be a fun way to capture your family's stories. Everything currently available on the site is included in the free basic plan.

Have any of you ever used any of these tools/programs? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments below! Or tell me about something new you learned about at RootsTech.

February 15, 2011 at 10:35 am
(1) UnboxYourPhotos says:

Thanks for sharing these. I’m particularly interested in Tpstry and going to check it our right now!!

February 15, 2011 at 11:06 am
(2) Susan says:

It would be lovely if you and/or the vendor would make clear what OS software is written for. MagiCensus looks wonderful but after 10 minutes searching I could find nothing on their website about the OS/hardware requirements. Nor can I comment on their site without registering.

February 15, 2011 at 11:31 am
(3) ~Kimberly says:

Hi Susan,

Excellent input! I’ve updated the blog post to indicate that MagiCensus is only available for Windows and that the Flip-Pro works on both Mac and Windows computers. I’ll be sure to try and include this information in the future – especially now that I’m on a Mac myself!

February 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm
(4) @recordswiki says:

Great to see so much publicity over the RootsTech conference; it seems to have been a big hit! We (we’re part of the FamilySearch wiki) have even had a few attendees create pages on the FS wiki about it. I loved seeing all the new technology and find out new ways to use what’s already out there.

Thanks for this post- put up a tweet about it just a bit ago since we thought our followers would enjoy the information.

February 15, 2011 at 3:16 pm
(5) Nettie says:

I downloaded the MagiCensus freebie and was not impressed with the way the software was working, right after they had first created it. I would rather use Gary Minders Excel spreadsheets for now. They [MagiCensus] had a lot to do to fix it to work right, maybe ….. this time……

February 15, 2011 at 4:14 pm
(6) ~Kimberly says:

I should have mentioned that I was looking at a beta of the new program which isn’t yet available for download, although you could get the beta version at the conference. They appeared to have worked out a lot of the bugs in the census portion. I didn’t really spend any time looking at the family tree software (MagiTree), so I can’t speak to that. I will say that the developers were very enthusiastic and welcome feedback/suggestions.

February 18, 2011 at 9:22 am
(7) Raelyn says:

Thank you for the nice review of MagiCensus. We have indeed made a lot of changes from when we first released the program last year. It is almost a completely different product, hence the coming name change. If you have previously tried the free trial you can get an extended trial at which will have many updates if you used the trial last spring.

We should be releasing a limited time trial for the MagiCensus Beta very soon, which includes new sourcing templates, new reports, and a lot more census tracker features. We are working on supporting the State Censuses from 1880-1900 (a feature not in the version shown at RootsTech) and want to get that working before releasing the limited time trial.

We would greatly appreciate any comments or feedback or suggestions for the program. We want you to have a good user experience but need feedback in order to make it the best program we can. Use this link to contact us

We plan on being at RootsTech 2012 again. See ya there.

February 18, 2011 at 9:27 am
(8) Raelyn Davis says:

To Susan:

Thank you for the feedback, I have added the software requirements to the main page.

February 22, 2011 at 12:09 pm
(9) Dawn says:

Thank you for all this. I saw some of the streamlined seminars, but just couldnt get there this time.

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