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Talking heads and phone scans

In case there’s a genealogist anywhere in the world who’s been under a rock for the past few months, yes, RootsTech 2022 did kick off yesterday as a totally virtual — and totally free — online conference.

Rootstech banner

As it is when it’s live in Salt Lake City, this FamilySearch-sponsored event is bold and brash and … big.

Overwhelmingly big.

The Legal Genealogist has no clue how to even suggest strategies for coping with three days of Main Stage events (things kick off today at noon Eastern time with the Innovators Portal).

Or the more than 1,500 learning sessions on 185 topics in more than 30 languages being offered.

Or the — as of this morning — 24,097 relatives at RootsTech I’m supposed to have, of which I’d estimate about 20,000 are not related to me at all because of errors in the online tree on which the connections are built.

Or even the product announcements.

O. M. G. the product announcements.

If images are your thing, there are two from yesterday You Do Not Want To Miss.

Yeah. In capital letters.

Ancestry rolled out a new scanning feature connected to its mobile app that is stunningly simple, convenient and easy to use. In partnership with Photomyne, a well-known image processing service, Ancestry now has offered users the opportunity to scan any image or sets of images directly into the family tree gallery online using a cellphone or tablet. As the announcement said, it’s an “easier way to digitize old family photos, by scanning and uploading multiple photographs at once through the Ancestry mobile app. A process of cropping, rotation, and image enhancement is automatically applied. The images then appear in your tree gallery, ready for you to attach to your Ancestry family tree, helping you preserve images and memories.”1

The enhancement tools — which can be used on existing gallery images using the web browser version of Ancestry — create high quality images that can then be used to create a 12-slide storyline using another new app feature: “Ancestry® Stories is a story builder that helps you combine photographs, saved historical records, and text to craft a story about any ancestor or relative in your family tree, to save and share.”2

Not to be outdone, MyHeritage yesterday announced its story-telling feature — and — well — it’s a doozy.

Called LiveStory, this allows users to create animated videos of their ancestors telling their life stories. It uses AI technology pioneered by D-ID, the company behind last year’s Deep Nostalgia™ feature. MyHeritage explains: “All you need is a clear photo of the individual and a simple narrative written in the first person to create your own LiveStory in just minutes! If you already have a family tree on MyHeritage, we can create an automatic LiveStory for you using information and photos from your tree. You can then edit the narrative and add photographs, customize the voice, and preview the result as much as you like until your LiveStory is ready to share with your family and friends.”3

And, it continues: “The narrative that describes a person’s life story, taken automatically from their MyHeritage family tree and enhanced by the user, is converted to high-quality audio using text-to-speech technology. Cutting-edge reenactment technology then creates a high-resolution video animating the person’s face and mouth to speak the audio, by generating realistic lip-sync. The gestures in the driver videos that are used to create the animation sequences are real human gestures. However, the end result is not authentic, but rather a technological simulation of how the person in your photo would have moved and looked if they were captured on video and spoke the words that you provided.”4

You can see an example and get more info in this short video.5

Talking heads and phone scans.

And those are just a couple of news snippets from Day 1 of RootsTech…


Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “RootsTech Day 1 snippets,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 4 Mar 2022).


  1. Crista Cowen, “Give More Meaning To Spring Cleaning With New Tools to Preserve Family Photos Forever,” Ancestry Blog, posted 3 Mar 2022 ( : accessed 4 Mar 2022).
  2. Ancestry press kit, 3 March 2022.
  3. Introducing LiveStory: Give Voice to Your Family Stories,” MyHeritage Blog, posted 3 Mar 2022 ( : accessed 4 Mar 2022).
  4. Ibid.
  5. Yes, of course, I tried it. No, I’m not at all sure how I feel about it. I go back and forth between “this is really cool” and “this is really creepy.”
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