[Editor’s Note: We received the following amazing news via press release from FamilySearch this morning. As a RootsTech 2017 Ambassador we look forward to seeing all our genealogy friends at RootsTech in Salt Lake City this coming February!]
The Scott Brothers (HGTV’s Property Brothers) Will Keynote RootsTech 2017
Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott, who star in HGTV’s “The Property Brothers,” will give RootsTech 2017 attendees unique insights into the role their family has had in their lives. The 6′ 5″ identical twin brothers will be the Thursday keynote speakers at RootsTech on February 9, 2017, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The popular brothers share passions for film and entertainment and for renovating older homes into dream homes. They have combined those passions to form an entertainment empire which became Scott Brothers Entertainment—an independent production company.
Their journey in entertainment includes much more than home improvement shows. Jonathan began performing in live theater and in TV and film as a child. He became a successful illusionist winning many awards and even performed live in Las Vegas. Drew was a high school basketball star and began acting in theater, improve, and sketch comedy in his teens. He even performed as a clown until he tired of the costumes and face paint.
The pair developed a passion for real estate as teens, purchasing their first fixer-upper house when they were 17. They did some renovations, and sold it a year later for a $50,000 profit to help support them as actors for a time before they decided to go back to college.
The Scott brothers were born in Vancouver, Canada. Their parents didn’t know they were going to have twins until the doctor saw Drew shortly after Jonathan was born. Because they lived on a ranch, Drew and Jonathan embraced the value of work at a young age—starting their first business at age seven. Their parents supported their various endeavors and encouraged them to pursue their dreams. “Our dad told us, ‘Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Think of five ways you can do it, and then do it,’” Drew said, and that advice has become their mantra.
Both Drew and Jonathan are licensed real estate agents, but for their show, Drew is shown as the real estate agent and Jonathan as the contractor. Together they built their dream home in Las Vegas which has been featured on their series. The Scotts are involved in various philanthropic initiatives in North America and around the world.
At RootsTech, the brothers will talk about their unique family ties, and the can-do attitudes it fostered, their positive outlooks, and childhoods, their careers, their shared passions for buying and renovating property, and for the entertainment industry.
RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.
23andMe.com “Reinventing the way you look at ancestry”
Have you noticed more and more commercials on television advertising DNA test kits for genealogy and family history? Besides the plethora ofAncestryDNAcommercials extoling various finds so earth shattering that you’d trade in your lederhosen for a kilt, there’s a new ad from23andMewhich aired starting this week:
With Mark Wahlberg, of PBS’Antiques Roadshowfame as host, here is a transcript of the 30-second commercial:
Wahlberg: “When it comes to finding out about family and ancestors, we might look at old portraits and photographs, or sift through historical documents, or even search through public records. But now, there’s another way. 23andMe is reinventing the way you look at your ancestors using the science of genetics: your DNA. With just a small saliva sample, you’ll learn about your ancestry through your 23 pairs of chromosomes that make you who you are. With 23andMe.com, you could find out your percentages of the DNA from 31 populations around the world. You can even see how much DNA you have in common with family or family. And, if you want, you can find DNA relatives – those people who share some of your DNA and choose to message them. With 23andMe, you can experience your ancestry in a whole new way.”
Voiceover: “Order your DNA kit today. To receive 23andMe’s ancestry service available now for $99 at 23andMe.com.”
Is a DNA Test Kit Now the Easy Button for Genealogy?
As a genealogist who has been researching ancestors before the advent of the Internet, I have to say it does irk me that the new 23andMe commercial appears to offer up DNA testing as a “substitute” for tried and true methods of research. At least they didn’t state “there’s a better way.” I’m hoping that anyone who takes a DNA test for genealogy research purposes will pursue further research rather than simply enter a revolving door. The tendency is to believe that the DNA test results are an adequate substitute for traditional genealogy research.
What the newcomers won’t realize—or will realize much later— is that there is much more to family history than a new-fangled test. Once people are in this revolving door, we need to make sure they stay and start exploring family stories, photographs and source documents to build a solid genealogical foundation.
And Did You Get the “Dig” at Ancestry?
Look closely at the closing screen on the commercial above? 23andMe clearly states “no subscription fees” to set itself apart from AncestryDNA’s push to cross-sell its customers a subscription to Ancestry.com. What the entry-level or novice would not know from the commercial is that there are not many genealogy research tools at 23andMe as compared to Ancestry and that 23andMe testers rely solely upon community connections for research. Those of us who’ve been at this for years understand that, yes, Ancestry is using its DNA tests as an entry point for those who are “curious” in the genealogy market; however, an Ancestry subscription can help facilitate a more rewarding experience when it comes to tracing one’s roots.
The Interesting Use of the Term “Ancestry” in DNA Marketing
If you listen closely to the commercial, you will hear the term “ancestry” used several times. As I listened, I was curious as to the status of the Ancestry trademark. Thanks to Dick Eastman,hereis some clarification on using the term “ancestry”: AncestryDNA filed a trademark complaint against DNA Diagnostics Center, Inc. (”DDC”) for using the term “AncestrybyDNA” which it had done since 2002. The Federal District court ruled that since Ancestry entered the DNA market almost ten years later (2012), that is usage was “junior” to that of DDC.
According to the latest quarterly report from Ancestry.com dated 30 June 2016, they have filed an appeal and a decision is pending:
“On November 16, 2015, Ancestry.com Operations Inc. and Ancestry.com DNA, LLC (collectively “Ancestry”) filed a complaint against DNA Diagnostic Center, Inc. (“DDC”) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio for trademark infringement, unfair competition, false advertising, and breach of contract (Case No. 1:15-cv-00737-SSB-SKB). Ancestry’s claims relate to DDC’s unauthorized use of Ancestry’s registered Ancestry and AncestryDNA trademarks in its advertisements for a competing product and its use of close variations of Ancestry’s registered trademarks, which Ancestry contends has created consumer confusion. Ancestry’s claims are also based upon DDC’s breach of a prior agreement with Ancestry that it would cease the allegedly infringing conduct and false advertising. On January 19, 2016, DDC filed its Answer to Ancestry’s Complaint and filed several Counterclaims, including Counterclaims for trademark infringement, unfair competition, and for cancellation of Ancestry’s registered AncestryDNA trademark. DDC’s Counterclaims are based upon its use and registration of the mark AncestryByDNA, notwithstanding Ancestry’s prior use of the Ancestry trademark since 1983. Ancestry moved to dismiss several of DDC’s Counterclaims and that motion to dismiss is pending. On March 7, 2016, DDC also amended its Counterclaims to add a request to cancel a trademark registration Ancestry owns for “Ancestry,” which was issued in 1990. Ancestry has also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on its claims, the preliminary injunction hearing was held on January 29, 2016 before the Magistrate Judge, and DDC has filed an opposition to the motion. On February 16, 2016, the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation granted Ancestry’s motion in part, enjoining DDC from using the trademarks “Ancestry,” “Ancestry DNA” and/or “DNA Ancestry.” On April 25, 2016, the District Judge issued an order reversing the Magistrate Judge’s recommendation and denied the motion for preliminary injunction. On May 6, 2016, Ancestry appealed the District Judge’s order to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the appeal is currently pending. While the Company cannot assure the ultimate outcome of this litigation, it does not believe it will be resolved in a manner that would have a material adverse effect on its business.”
In the meantime, it seems to be that everyone is adding, or will soon be adding, the term “ancestry” with “dna” when marketing DNA test kits.
More and more DNA test kit marketing makes the entire process seem like some “parlor game” similar to the Ouija board my family would pull out of the closet (usually after a few adult beverages). A curiosity, fun and good for a few laughs.
Most genealogists and family historians who are serious about research, now that a DNA test kit “adds to” the tried and true methods of research. DNA tests are not “kids’ stuff” or fun and games. An entire sub-industry of the genealogy market has popped up selling everything from test kits, to webinars, to books and other forms of education.
And just like the old Ouija board, those testing purely out of curiosity should make sure they know what they are getting into. Careful what you ask for!
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Eastman, Dick “Ancestry.com Loses a Trademark Case Against DNA Diagnostics Center for the Marketing of “AncestryByDNA,” 3 May 2016 (https://blog.eogn.com/, accessed 4 October 2016) citing “Federal Court Upholds DNA Diagnostics Center’s Use of “Ancestry” for DNA Testing and Rules that Ancestry.com Caused Marketplace Confusion,” press release by DNA Diagnostics Center, Inc. dated 3 May 2016 (https://dnacenter.com/ddc-press-releases.html, accessed 4 October 2016).
If you missed last night’s episode of Genealogy Roadshow entitled Los Angeles, you can view it below or at the PBS website by clicking here.
A woman learns of a link to Schwabb’s Pharmacy; a legendary Hollywood hot-spot; another woman seeks a connection to one of the first African-American college graduates; a man’s ancestor is tied to several historic events and iconic companies; and a woman discovers a scoundrel amongst her ancestors. Also: a family tree that’s captivated the “Roadshow” team for years; and insight on the Ellis Island immigration experience.
This episode concludes the third season of Genealogy Roadshow – stayed tuned for more information on if Genealogy Roadshow is renewed for a fourth season on PBS!