RootsTech 2015 – Session Live Streaming Schedule Announced

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.
Rootstech 2015 has just announced the schedule of sessions that will be live streamed over the Internet. Click here for the complete schedule of 14 sessions that can be viewed at http://www.rootstech.org. Also note that all times shown on the schedule are in Mountain Time (GMT -7).

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Review: Larsen Digital

Recently I had Larsen Digital scan several family photos for me and I was not only blown away by the excellent results, but especially by the customer service!

A few months ago, I was contacted by Larsen Digital (http://www.slidescanning.com) to review their photo scanning services. For year now, I have referred genealogists to use Larsen Digital based on their solid reputation and the fact that they were located in the Salt Lake City area. So, when Kristin from Larsen Digital offered to scan some of my family photos and produce a DVD slide show, I knew it was time to see for myself how Larsen’s services performed.

Why I Didn’t Scan These Photos Myself

I am a big proponent of all aspects of “Do-It-Yourself” genealogy including scanning documents and photos. However, there are times when I would rather go to the experts for these services. Here is why:

  • If I have a limited number of an item, such as 100 slides, I cannot justify purchasing a $100 or $200 scanner that I will never use again!
  • Using a service like Larsen Digital is a big timesaver and economical. If I tracked the time I spent scanning photos, correcting color (and hoping I got it right), etc. . . . and compared it to the price per slide or photo for a scanning vendor, I bet I would save money.
  • I am not an expert in scanning. Period. I know the basics and the equipment I use, such as my 10-year old flatbed scanner, could do an acceptable job. However, do I want just “acceptable” for my family history items? If I am dedicated to leaving a family legacy through my genealogy research and family history materials, then I owe it to my family to get it right.

More About Larsen Digital

In speaking with Kristin at Larsen Digital, I discovered that, “Larsen Digital is a family owned business founded when the owner, Brent Larsen, tried to do genealogy work for his grandmother. Without the ability to easily create copies of the photos and videos to enhance the genealogy, Brent had to find an alternative way to preserve his family’s legacy.”

“Since 1995, we have been offering our digital conversion services making it easy for families to preserve their cherished family history forever. We do all our work ourselves and we would never outsource or work to India. We are focused on staying up-to-date with current technology trends, offering our customers the latest in technology.”

As I reviewed the Larsen Digital site, here are a few key issues I noted that not every scanning vendor offers:

  • Use of professional equipment and the highest standards to ensure the best possible scan.
  • All scanning is done right here in the USA! They never outsource their work!
  • Free return shipping on orders over $100.
  • Free color correction on most scan orders.

Some other nice features of Larsen Digital’s service: They will upload your files to various cloud services including Dropbox and Google Drive. In addition, you can get a free sample scan of five slides, one negative strip or five photos!

I Was Amazed at the Finished Product!

I sent a small group of photos in a padded envelope using the prepaid label that Larsen Digital had sent me. After about a week, I received an email from Kristin with links to download the digital images as well as the slideshow. My originals followed via UPS a few days later and arrived safe and sound!

About four or five of the photos showed significant aging, mostly just bends and cracks; I had selected them on purpose. A wedding photo had some bends and a tear on the right side of the photo.  Another photo of my brother Michael and me (see above) had “something going across one of the boy’s eyes.” Larsen decided to restore these two photos so that I could see the difference between color correction and full digital restoration.

Recently I had Larsen Digital scan several family photos for me and I was not only blown away by the excellent results, but especially by the customer service!

The slideshow is a great way to share these photos with my family members! I downloaded the mp4 format file and the show comes complete with music:

Conclusion

I was more than pleased with the work performed by Larsen Digital. At every step during the process from placing my order to receiving my originals back, the team at Larsen made sure I received email updates about my project. If I had questions about the ordering process or if I needed to check on the timeline for completion, I could always call or send an email. The customer support was phenomenal.

I am seriously considering sending a large group of negatives and my 8mm home moves to Larsen. I keep delaying this monumental project, telling myself that I will order a scanner and get to it someday. Well, as I wait for that “someday,” guess what? The material used to produce the negatives and movies degrades and at some point, no amount of color correction or restoration can save those memories.

The services at Larsen Digital exceeded all of my expectations and I would definitely recommend them to any genealogist and family historian.

* * *

A Special Offer from Larsen Digital

I have secured a special offer on several services from Larsen Digital. Take advantage of these deals soon – they expire on March 31, 2015. Visit http://www.slidescanning.com and get started today on your new project!

  • 20% off Movie Film & Video Tapes – use promo code Genea20
  • 15% off Slides, Negatives, Photos & Scrapbook Pages – use promo code Genea15

Visit Larsen Digital at RootsTech

I will be at RootsTech in Salt Lake City later this week and I will be stopping by the Larsen Digital booth (#1408) to say hello and thank Kristin and her group for all their work. If you are at FGS 2015/RootsTech, please visit Larsen Digital!

Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statements.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

MyHeritage Adds 900 Million Records to its Global Digital Archive

MyHeritage announces the addition of 900 million global historical records to its SuperSearch feature bringing the total number of records to over 6 billion.

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah – February 2, 2015: MyHeritage, the leading destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, today announced that 900 million global historical records have been added to its searchable digital archive, bringing the total to more than 6 billion. By combining its huge and rapidly expanding digital repository of historical records with its matching technologies and newly-released Instant Discoveries™ experience, MyHeritage is helping families unlock their past faster and on a larger scale than ever before.

The additional content announced today is among the fruits of MyHeritage’s strategic partnership with FamilySearch, the world’s largest genealogy organization. The records consist primarily of family tree profiles that have been submitted by more than 22 million users on FamilySearch. Integration ensures that this data is refreshed on MyHeritage on a daily basis as it is updated on FamilySearch. Adding this data to MyHeritage alongside the 27 million global family trees submitted by users of MyHeritage, brings together for the very first time 2 of the world’s 3 largest family tree collections. The beneficiaries are the users of the two organizations that will receive matches whenever MyHeritage technologies locate overlaps between the trees. Millions of users will make new discoveries and find new, previously unknown ancestors and relatives thanks to this partnership.

Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage said: “Unraveling the family history of the people of the world requires two primary ingredients – advanced technologies and massive amounts of data. MyHeritage is constantly pushing the limits in developing big data technology for family history discoveries, and today’s announcement marks a substantial advancement in our accumulation of data. We’re proud to work closely with FamilySearch to empower families across the globe to learn about their past and, through it, about themselves. Today’s big step helps make the world a little smaller and bring people closer together.”

Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch said: “Partnerships are a major focus in FamilySearch’s strategy to increase family history discoveries for more people. We value our strategic partnership with MyHeritage and appreciate their global reach and contribution to technology in the family history space. We believe this integration is paramount to the greater good of the community and look forward to a fruitful 2015 and beyond.”

About MyHeritage

MyHeritage is the leading destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history. As technology thought leaders and innovators, MyHeritage is transforming family history into an activity that’s accessible and instantly rewarding. Trusted by millions of families, its global user community enjoys access to a massive library of historical records, the most internationally diverse collection of family trees and ground-breaking search, matching and Instant Discovery technologies. MyHeritage empowers families with an easy way to share their story, past and present, and treasure it for generations to come. MyHeritage is available in 40 languages. www.myheritage.com