RootsTech Survival Guide – The Innovator Showdown Semi-Finalists

As mentioned in the last installment of our RootsTech Survival Guide, The Innovator Showdown is the contest held for developers and entrepreneurs who have created a product that may be of benefit to genealogists. Of all of the submissions received, the field of entries has been narrowed down to twelve semi-finalists. These  semi-finalists entry projects will be on display at RootsTech in a special area so that attendees may review the submissions.

RootsTech attendees who choose to attend Friday’s Innovator Showdown on Friday of the conference week (10:30 a.m. in Hall D) will be able to vote on their favorite for the People’s Choice Award, and the first, second and third place winners will be chosen at that time by a panel of judges. The prizes total over $100,000!

While the twelve semi-finalists and their websites are posted on the RootsTech website,  we’ve taken some time to look into all twelve projects, and are providing a short summary of the entry projects for you below. Please do take the time to check out these sites when you can.  There are several that are operational already, and pretty fun to use too.

Here are the 12 Semi- Finalists, a link to their website, to their contest entry video, and a brief summary of what we learned about them from what is online.

AncestorCLoudAncestor Cloud

Website    |         Submission video
AncestorCloud is an online community of genealogy information “Seekers” and “Helpers”. It’s free to post and view requests. Seekers will offer a “reward” for the help they are requesting, and Ancestor Cloud takes a small portion of that reward.



Website    |         Submission video
A French site with the option of English, Famicity boasts “A unique place to write and share your story”. Build a family tree, and add documents, photos and stories to complete biographies.



Website       |         Submission video
In German, when translated using Google Translate (so pardon any oddities), GenSoup is “The European Online platform for your family History”. The site is an online platform which enables users to enter or import their family trees and to help them with their research. The first part of GenSoup is now in private beta and can be tried and tested at




Website       |         Submission video
A site promoting journaling not only for family history, but also for personal growth, with both private and sharing modes. The site offers many prompts in several areas, the ability to create many different journals, and ultimately the ability to create a book from your entries.


Kindex Kindex

Website       |         Submission video   |   Sneak Peak!
The Kindex web app helps users create a “living archive where anyone can contribute, index, and share family records”. Think of it as your own personal Family History library, including images of items and documents that you or your family members that you share with are in possession of or have access to. Kindex will be available for subscription purchase.



Legacy Scribes

Website       |         Submission video
Digitize your old journals, and they will be transcribed and made searchable. One-time fee for unlimited, permanent cloud storage.



Website       |         Submission video
A journaling website promoting collecting and sharing your own family photos, stories, daily activity and history, using a format similar to familiar social media outlets.



Studio (by Legacy Republic)

Website       |         Submission video

Studio is a portable photo album scanner. It provides scanning and photo restoration technology of albums and scrapbook pages without removing or disturbing the pages or photos, which can ruin the images.  that first makes a 3D laser image of old photos, then combines them with iphone photography, adjusts for paper and aging issues, enhances and auto-crops the final image, and overall mimic the human eye. Company “Legacy Maker Consultants” will operate the equipment for users.



Website       |         Submission video

Build your family health history in a cloud-based, family-tree type environment, with the ability to include medications, allergies, etc. Invite your family to participate to get a bigger picture of hereditary issues as well.



The Family History Guide

Website       |         Submission video

A free website, with step by step lessons on just about every aspect of family history research. Provides goals for learning; links to videos, articles, and records from FamilySearch, Ancestry, and other websites; as well as classroom materials for self-study or group instruction.


HistoryProjectThe History Project

Website       |         Submission video

Offers the ability to create your family story by creating a timeline. Each timeline is considered a project, and you can create multiple projects.  Events are moments on the timeline, and can contain images, audio, video or text documents that you upload or import from Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox or elsewhere. You can invite others to collaborate, or work privately. Free if you want to create it yourself, but also offers a fee-based option if they help you create your timeline for you.




Website       |         Submission video

Automatically creates your timeline by adding milestones and/or photos you upload from your computer or Facebook, and allows you to write the stories that go with them. You can include your family members’ events as well. It’s an easy way to see your life in pictures and then fill in the stories as you have time.


What are your thoughts and impressions on these innovative genealogy/technology projects?

RootsTech Survival Guide: The Innovator’s Summit

Wednesday at RootsTech 2016, before the actual conference begins, is the The Innovator Summit.

Although more for the ‘man behind the curtain’, the Innovator Summit at RootsTech is a one-day event of presentations geared toward vendors, developers, entrepreneurs, and innovators to learn about and share ideas on the creating the software and products that drive our online and offline genealogy research.

A Day Full of Innovation & Entrepreneurs

The Innovator Summit is not included in the regular 3-day RootsTech Pass, but can be purchased in addition to a 3-day pass, or by itself.  The Innovator Summit starts with a morning keynote session, a full list of classes taught by family history business professionals, a boxed lunch, admission to the semi-final round of the 2016 RootsTech Innovator Showdown, and concludes with an opportunity to meet and greet with other Innovator Summit attendees and participants at an evening networking event.

This year’s Innovator Summit keynote speaker will be Kenneth Krogue, who is the cofounder of, a contributor for Forbes online, and a popular speaker at industry events. The Keynote Session begins at 9:00 a.m.

The presenters and classes cover just about every possible topic under the heading of ‘genealogy innovation and entrepreneurship’. Speakers include Bennett Greenspan, Jeff Haddon, Tammy Hepps, Harrison Tang, among many others, as well as a panel discussion on DIY Small Business Guerrilla Marketing Strategies led by Lisa Louise Cook, Allison Dolan, and Jenna Mills.   Class titles include  Family History Technology Workshop Highlights, Design a Standards-Based API for Genealogical Data, DNA – How is it Redefining Our Industry, and many other classes of interest to developers and entrepreneurs. You can find the complete list of Innovator Summit classes here: Innovator Summit Class List

The Innovator Showdown

A big part of the Innovator Summit is the Innovator Showdown, where developers compete for cash prizes for their projects involving emerging businesses and technologies in the genealogy world. A panel of judges has narrowed down the submissions to twelve semifinalists, whose submissions will be displayed at RootsTech in the Expo Hall’s “Innovator Alley”.  You can find the list of these Semifinalists, along with a link to their video submission here.

During lunch on Wednesday those twelve semifinalists will each give a brief presentation. The judges will then determine the 6 finalists, and those finalists will be announced at the Media Dinner that evening.

On Friday at 10:30 am in Hall D, the six finalists will present their projects before the panel of judges as well as an audience of RootsTech attendees, who will vote for the people’s choice winner.  The judges will select and announce the top 3 winners, who will share in over $100,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. If you purchase a pass to Wednesday’s Innovator Summit, you are also able to attend the Friday Showdown.

You may register for the Innovator Summit here, but even if you opt not to attend the Innovator Summit day on Wednesday, all RootsTech attendees are welcome to  attend and vote at the Showdown for their favorite new technology, product or service on Friday.


The finalists will present before a panel of judges and a live audience on Friday at 10:30 am (photo from