RootsTech roundup 2024


07 March 2024
From the ever-increasing use of AI for generating and indexing content, to the production of printed publications and boots-on-the-ground family history tours of a lifetime, RootsTech 2024 showcased a huge range of genealogy companies and projects from around the globe.

The past few years have seen machine learning and AI increasingly enlisted by genealogy companies and the last 12 months has seen the pace of change only grow. When it comes to content, newspaper collections are the focus of Ancestry, MyHeritage and Storied, all of which offer newspaper collections as either standalone or higher tier databases to users.

Notably, AI is being used by Ancestry to glean the details of individuals from newspaper accounts, and match these details with those in their site users’ family trees. MyHeritage has plans to implement this development in the coming months. At Storied newspapers are the cornerstone record collection – complementing the company remit, to encourage people to tell and share the stories of their families.

60 billion records!

Today – spring 2024 – there are 60 billion records on Ancestry, and not only is the process of indexing material made much quicker by AI, but the speed facilitated by the new technology has allowed for the creation of whole new approaches to indexing. AI being used to create indexes & to provide hints for instance.

One such endeavour is the Ancestry, Stories & Events Index. Crista Cowan, Corporate Genealogist at Ancestry explains: “Ancestry has gone through the entire collection at and created a searchable index for over 16 billion records” – and has accomplished this in just 14 months. AI is being utilized to make connections and suggest hints between people in the newspaper collections and people in your family tree – even when an ancestor in the newspaper may not be mentioned by their own full name, but may instead, be recorded under their husband’s name.

To find out more about the Stories & Events Index and other recent developments at Ancestry, see

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Newspaper collection doubled in size

AI is similarly being employed by MyHeritage on the brand new website from MyHeritage, doubles the quantity of newspapers pages previously available via MyHeritage and notably includes many newspapers collections from European countries, something which Myko Clelland, Director of Content in Europe for MyHeritage particularly celebrates. The European coverage is useful for emigrant communities, such as in the USA, wishing to learn more about their roots, and complements the strength of the MyHeritage DNA database across Europe. In the near future AI will be being employed on to match newspaper details, such as the names of people found in obituaries to the family trees of MyHeritage users. newspaper clues will also be provided as notifications to MyHeritage users.

To find out more about and the many other AI developments from MyHeritage, see

AI meets analogue launched at RootsTech 2023, the company goal being to provide an engaging, affordable platform on which people of all ages would be encouraged to tell and share their stories and memories. Over the past year, there are a few select developments of which CEO Kendall Hulet is particularly proud, one of which is the ability to curate your stories into a printed book.

Kendall continues: “My mother passed away recently. And I created a group on Storied, and anyone in our family could contribute a story or a memory about her. I got 65 contributions from 35 people in one week. They’re very cool; some of them are long, some of them are short. Some have photos, some don’t. They are all beautiful little tributes about my Mom.” A book isn’t just an analogue treasure, however. Kendall explains: “One thing that is really neat is that there is a QR code on each page. Scan the QR code and you can see more photos, listen to audio, and read the comments” – all found back on the web page for that story. “People love it,” adds Kendall – and many people have been creating family recipe books with Storied.

To find out more about books see

From boots-on-the-ground tours, to journal apps

Each year, new genealogy companies make welcome additions to the range of genealogy products and services at RootsTech, two such, for instance, being genealogy tour guides Kindred Lands and the guided journal app Audiobiography.

And the people!

One of the greatest enjoyments of RootsTech is catching up with genealogy friends and making new connections. From the co-incidental meeting of two programmers on the Family Tree booth (Simon Davies of and former NASA scientist (yes it is Rocket Science!) Robert Anderson, who worked on the Cassini mission to Saturn), to the chance encounter by Family Tree Editor Helen Tovey with new-found 13th cousin Jody (thanks to the FamilySearch Relatives at RootsTech tool). Fact met fiction too, along the lines of going in search of Holmes at Baker Street, with the chance encounter with the Venator offices in the presence of genealogy crime novelist Nathan Dylan Goodwin.

Thank you to everyone who popped by the Family Tree booth - it was a pleasure to see you!

Last but by no means least a little clip of an interview with WikiTree founder Chris Witten. Founded 15 years ago, WikiTree exists to help genealogists collaborate to create a thoroughly sourced, well researched online shared family tree. Here what Chris has to say. Recording from the Expo hall at RootsTech 2024 a few minutes before the show opened on the first day.