Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Congratulations to our great friends.

I've been a little slow lately with some much needed congratulations.  We have had several good friends with big announcements and we want to wish them our warmest best wishes.  Lots and lots of Kudos to: 


Latest Version of Genealogy and Family Tree Software Now Available to the Public
SPRINGVILLE, Utah. — November 19, 2012 — RootsMagic, Inc. today announced the official release of RootsMagic 6, the latest version of the award-winning genealogy software which makes researching, organizing, and sharing your family history easy and enjoyable.  With this release comes an update to the popular “RootsMagic Essentials” free genealogy software.
Family History Made Easy
Family Tree Magazine said RootsMagic is “probably the best all-around genealogy program" and "offers a winning combination of features for both casual and serious genealogists.”
Throughout it’s 11-year history, RootsMagic has helped people research and share their family trees with innovative features such as moving people from one file to another with your mouse, a SourceWizard to help you document your work, creating a Shareable CD to give to family and friends, and running RootsMagic off of a USB flash drive when you are away from home.  RootsMagic has also received numerous awards, including the award for “Easiest to Sync” from FamilySearch for their work in interfacing with that system.
New Features
RootsMagic 6 adds many new features while making existing features even easier to use.  “This release includes something for everybody,” said Bruce Buzbee, president.  “Whether you want an easier way to share your family history with family or are looking for better tools to help you organize your work, RootsMagic 6 has something new for you.”  New features include:
  • Online Publishing - Easily share your information online, including notes, sources, and pictures.  Choose which information to include, then publish it to your own page at my.RootsMagic.com.
  • Live Timeline View - A live-edit panel on RootsMagic's timeline view makes this one of the most powerful editing features ever!  Make corrections to your data while viewing it in context with other family members life events.
  • Find Everywhere - With a single search you can now find every  record in your file containing the text you want.  Quickly find people, families, notes, sources, places, to-do items, research logs, and more.  Then edit those found records directly from the search results.
  • WebTags - Link people, sources, places, and more to websites using RootsMagic 6's new WebTags.
  • CountyCheck Explorer - Look up a county, state, or country from a multi-national database.  It can even show you online maps of county boundaries for that date.
  • Plus dozens of other enhancements and features
Free “RootsMagic Essentials”
RootsMagic 6 is also available in an updated, free edition named, “RootsMagic 6 Essentials”.  RootsMagic Essentials contains many core features from the RootsMagic software and the two products are fully-compatible with one another.  “Many people are curious about their family history and don’t know where to begin,” said Michael Booth, vice president.  “RootsMagic Essentials is the perfect way for someone to get started, risk-free.”  RootsMagic Essentials is available for download at http://www.rootsmagic.com.
Available Now
RootsMagic 6 is now available online at http://www.rootsmagic.com or by calling 1-800-766-8762.  New users may purchase RootsMagic 6 for only $29.95.  Users of previous versions of RootsMagic and it’s predecessor, Family Origins may purchase RootsMagic 6 for the upgrade price of only $19.95.

Genealogy Gems

(SAN FRANCISCO, California) – December 11, 2012 –  Sometime over the first busy holiday in December 2012, The Genealogy Gems Podcast reached an incredible milestone: 1 Million Episode Downloads!

In early 2007 when the first episode was published by Lisa Louise Cooke, podcasting was in its  infancy, having just come into being in mid-2005. “It was like being part of a new Wild West of technology,” says Cooke, a genealogist since the age of about 10. “For the first time anyone with an interesting  idea, a computer, and a willingness to work long hours could produce a worldwide ‘radio’ show. The day I listened to a podcast for the first time, I knew this medium was what I had been waiting for to reach genealogists.”

Apparently a lot of other folks were also anxiously waiting for Cooke’s discovery. From long time genealogists to dabbling family history newbies, they flocked to the free podcast available through Apple’s iTunes Store and the Genealogy Gems website (www.genealogygems.com). Over the next  five years they listened in to soak up genealogy research strategies, expert interviews, tips on harnessing the power of technology in their research, and creative ideas for sharing their findings.

“There’s a lot of noise out there online that can be overwhelming,” says Cooke. “My goal has always been to spend my time sifting through all of that information, and chiseling out the gems – the items that are really worthwhile – so that my listeners can have faster and greater success . Ultimately the genealogy gems I provide on the show lead to my listener’s genealogy gems: their precious  ancestors!”

What started as a single podcast episode has turned in to a multi-media genealogy publishing company. Genealogy Gems now encompasses offerings, many that are free, that accommodate every learning style: audio, video, articles, books, dvds, toolbar, live classes, and online webinars. The Genealogy Gems mobile app (available in the iTunes App Store, and an Android version through
Amazon) gives genealogists the flexibility to hit the road and take it all with them.

“I speak at events across the U.S. and internationally,” says Cooke, who will be a featured speaker at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in London for the third consecutive year in February 2013, “but  not everyone can get out to a genealogy conference. It’s critical to me that we meet people where they are, and that’s what the Genealogy Gems website, YouTube channel, app, and toolbar are all about.  The fact that the podcast has now been downloaded 1 million times confirms that that we are  accomplishing that goal.”

And My Heritage

MyHeritage acquires Geni.com and raises $25m in new funding round
Family history network buys rival and advances international expansion with new funds
LOS ANGELES, California, PROVO, Utah & TEL AVIV, Israel – November 28, 2012 – MyHeritage, the popular online family history network, announced today it has acquired long-time rival Geni.com and closed a new USD$25M funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), with existing investors Index Ventures and Accel Partners also participatingGeni.com Founder David Sacks and BVP Partner Adam Fisher are joining the MyHeritage Board of Directors.
The acquisition reinforces MyHeritage’s position as a global power player in the family history industry and accelerates its vision of helping families everywhere build and share their legacy online. The purchase of Geni.com is the eighth and largest acquisition made by MyHeritage since the launch of its online family history network in 2005. It extends MyHeritage’s network to 72 million registered users, 1.5 billion profiles and 27 million family trees, containing the most internationally diverse family history content in the world.
The new investment round will be used by MyHeritage to boost growth of its historical content services and expand commercial operations worldwide. In addition to acquiring significant record collections from Europe and rolling out global crowd-sourcing projects, the funds will enable MyHeritage to explore additional M&A opportunities and ramp up its international marketing operations. The latest funding round brings the total funds raised so far by MyHeritage to USD$49 million.
“Exploring and curating one's family past is both a timeless and universal hobby pursued by hundreds of millions of people around the world; I personally grew my own family tree to include more than 2,500 people,” said BVP Partner Adam Fisher. “The freemium model of MyHeritage/Geni not only makes online family history accessible to the casual user, but underscores the importance of user generated data to the product offering itself, which grows every day. As the international market leader with an aggressive expansion plan, we see tremendous value in their subscription business and are excited to work closely with Gilad and his team as they build on their success.”
“Today’s news is a major turning-point for the family history industry, giving us significant new resources to extend our market leadership and deliver new value to families worldwide,” said Founder and CEO of MyHeritage, Gilad Japhet. “Well established as an innovative and social brand, Geni.com is a natural addition to MyHeritage and together we look forward to taking collaborative family history to new heights.  Over the past few years our dedicated workforce has transformed MyHeritage from a garage start-up into a successful, dynamic and global company. With new funds, impressive new talent from Geni.com and new world-class leaders on our Board, we look forward to fulfilling our potential and accomplishing our mission to bring family history to the masses.”
Founded in 2007, Geni.com is well known as a pioneer in collaborative family tree building with its focus on creating the World Family Tree, and enjoys a large following in the US. Geni.com will continue to operate as a separate brand based out of its California office, which will also serve as the main engineering hub for MyHeritage in the US, alongside its main content offices in Utah. The entire staff at Geni.com will join the MyHeritage team.
The services of MyHeritage and Geni.com will initially run independently. MyHeritage plans to give respective users the option to collaborate on family history research by enabling two-way information flows between the sites that will facilitate new family discoveries and provide greater value to the users of both services.
Users from both sites will be able to discover long-lost relatives and new ancestral connections through MyHeritage’s Smart Matching technology, which finds common matches between family trees. To add new color to the ancestries of Geni.com users, MyHeritage will apply its recently launched Record Matching™ technology that matches historical records, such as birth, death, census and immigration records, to individuals in Geni.com family trees. Geni.com users will be able to enjoy extended offerings provided by MyHeritage including DNA kits for genetic genealogy.
Geni.com Founder, David Sacks, a renowned entrepreneur, and most recently the Founder and CEO of Yammer (sold to Microsoft in June 2012 for $1.2 billion), will take a seat on the Board of Directors. David’s contributions as a visionary in the family history field, combined with his sharp eye for product, make him a strategic addition to MyHeritage management.
“What we've learned over the years building Geni is that there are three key assets that customers want in the genealogy space: records, private trees, and the world family tree. This deal brings together all of these pieces to form the most complete offering in the genealogy space. Together with MyHeritage, we look forward to continuing Geni's mission of connecting humanity through a single family tree”, said Founder of Geni.com David Sacks.
We are so thankful for such wonderful friends and partners in these companies.  We appreciate the value they bring to the genealogy community.  If you haven't tried out their products lately--we highly suggest you do.

Cat's Cradle--the perfect generational bridge.

Did your ancestors
play this game?
How long has it been since you've played Cat's Cradle?  Your ancestors probably played it.  Do your children and grandchildren know how?  Cat's Cradle is a fun game that only needs a length of string and two people to create an intriguing challenge that will help your children explore the past. 

Playing Cat's Cradle is a perfect example of how you can connect with your kids by connecting them with their past.  Play it with them for a while and see what fun ensues.  If you need instructions, take a look here and here.  It can be a great inter-generational game.  The older people in your family can probably teach the next generations a thing or two.

I've been in two situations lately where we've been playing historical games with kids and it's been so fun to watch modern day kids get so enthralled with the games their grandmothers played.  Be sure to tell some stories about your ancestor's childhoods while you are playing. 

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