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.