Conference Bonanza: six major genealogy events on three continents

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March was a busy month for the MyHeritage conference team. The marathon month kicked off with RootsTech 2018, with a team from MyHeritage HQ heading out to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the world’s biggest family history conference. This was the largest RootsTech in its eight-year history, attracting 14,000 attendees, plus over 100,000 people watching sessions online from around the world.

MyHeritageBooth

MyHeritage unveiled a brand new booth design at RootsTech this year, with a large DNA sales desk, comfortable tables and stools for taking our cheek-swab DNA test, and a giant video wall showcasing families we have reunited.

Lectures and Demos at MyHeritage Booth

On the other side of the booth, we ran back-to-back booth demos on topics ranging from the new One-to-Many DNA Chromosome Browser to how to annotate historical records on MyHeritage. The demos were packed with people wanting to learn more about our many features, new and existing, directly from the product managers and staff involved in developing them.

DNA Project Manager Ran Snir assisting a user
DNA Product Manager Ran Snir giving Jen Campbell a demo

Here are some highlights of the four-day conference:

MyHeritage was proud to be the RootsTech General Session Sponsor on Thursday, March 1, 2018.

During the opening session, MyHeritage’s VP of Marketing, Aaron Godfrey, gave a keynote address. He spoke about what an incredible year it has been for MyHeritage and introduced two half-siblings reunited through MyHeritage, Morgan and Jennisara, live on stage, before announcing the launch of our new adoption project, DNA Quest. This project involves MyHeritage giving away 15,000 DNA kits to help adoptees find their biological family.

Some reactions on Twitter to our announcement of DNA Quest:

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Watch Aaron’s full keynote speech here:

Thursday also featured the MyHeritage sponsored lunch, where Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage’s Founder and CEO, made five exciting announcements, receiving a standing ovation at the end of his presentation. These included the new one-to-many chromosome browser, 325 million new record collections, the new FamilySearch Tree Sync (beta), the DNA Quest adoption initiative and our Chief Science Officer’s groundbreaking research paper published in Science.

Some of the audience in anticipation of Gilad’s speech
Some of the audience in anticipation of Gilad’s speech

Watch MyHeritage Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet’s, RootsTech full presentation.

On Friday night MyHeritage hosted an exclusive RootsTech VIP after-party.

AfterParty

More than four hundred of the industry’s movers and shakers joined us at our Roaring Twenties party. Many of them took a turn on the dance floor, decorated their own headbands and fedoras, challenged each-other at giant checkers or just relaxed in front of a Chaplin movie with a RootsTech Rejuvenator cocktail in their hands.

VIPAfterParty

Party

Watch this clip from our Roaring Twenties RootsTech After Party

Throughout RootsTech — including every afternoon at our main booth, at our sponsored lunch and at the VIP party — we ran raffles giving away DNA kits, Amazon Echos and even an iPad mini. Attendees also had the chance to win a free DNA kit at our pop-up cornhole/ bean-bag toss booth.

BeanBagTossDNAKits

Saturday was also Family Discovery Day at RootsTech, so we had the kids working hard completing a family-themed Word Search in order to win a frisbee. Once the giveaways were all gone it was time to pack up the booth and take the long journey back to head office.

There was no time to rest after our return from RootsTech, as the Sydney Congress in Australia, Historiske Dage in Denmark and Suku Finland conferences were lined up for the following weekend.

Tony and Karen hard at work at the MyHeritage booth in Sydney
Tony and Karen hard at work at the MyHeritage booth in Sydney

At the 15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry in Sydney, Australia, we ran a table staffed by Golan Levi, our UX Expert, and three super-user volunteers, Tony, Karen and Caroline. They did an excellent job of demonstrating and explaining MyHeritage and helping people take their DNA tests. Golan also gave an in-depth presentation about techniques used to build the family trees of tribal people during MyHeritage’s pro bono Tribal Quest project.

Susanne and support rep Daniella at Historiske Dage in Denmark
Susanne and support rep Daniella at Historiske Dage in Denmark

At Historiske Dage (Historical Days) in Copenhagen, Denmark, more than 10,000 people came to celebrate the past with costumes and vintage vehicles. Many attendees also joined us at the MyHeritage booth where super-user Ole demonstrated MyHeritage and Susanne and MyHeritage’s Daniella assisted people with questions and sold DNA kits. After Aaron Godfrey’s on-stage interview on Sunday lunchtime, there was such a high demand, we sold out of DNA kits. One lucky raffle winner didn’t need to worry though as she snapped up the last kit!

Support representative Eve, Finnish country manager Annikka and super-user Seppo at Suku 2018
Support representative Eve, Finnish country manager Annikka and super-user Seppo at Suku 2018

Over at Suku in Tampere, Finland, the team was assisting users with super-user Seppo on hand for detailed questions and demonstrations. Finnish country manager Annikka and Eve from the MyHeritage support team helped people to swab and to solve any queries attendees had.

That busy weekend for MyHeritage was followed by the last European conference of March — Genealogiebörse in Cloppenburg, Germany on 18 March, an event that last ran over 14 years ago. More than 500 people came to visit the event which featured local genealogical societies and genealogy companies.

German country manager Silvia at Genealogiebörse
German country manager Silvia at Genealogiebörse

We then ended March with the Family History Expo at The Villages in Florida, USA. The Villages community boasts over 55,000 households over the age of 55 and a thriving Genealogical Society. MyHeritage’s jam-packed booth demos and an enthusiastic audience made for a very exciting and successful event.

Mike Mansfield’s lecture on MyHeritage DNA

March might be over but you can find us at these global conferences in 2018! Be on the lookout for the MyHeritage team! We are looking forward to meeting you in person!

The MyHeritage conference team - Kiara, Daniel and Mia
The MyHeritage conference team – Kiara, Daniel and Mia

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