Rootstech 2021 Day 3: Picture Perfect & Great Prices!

How can a virtual conference possibly be this tiring? I’ve been trying to watch a few sessions, but I’ve spent most of my time in various chat rooms answering questions.

Of course, I discovered that 23andMe changed their product AFTER I recorded and submitted the Triangulation video. Guess what you’ll be reading next week!

Yep, a clarification article. I’m using the word “clarification” loosely here, because it’s still confusing.

So, what’s going on in the genealogy community and at RootsTech today?

Well, for starters, MyHeritage has been acquired. This was out of left field. Wow.

MyHeritage Acquisition

MyHeritage has been acquired by private equity firm, Francisco Partners.

I have no idea if the MyHeritage acquisition was timed to correspond to RootsTech, but regardless, it did.

We’re used to big announcements at RootsTech, but not this big, and not announcements of this nature, either.

In the past several months, all of the other 3 major genetic genealogy companies have been acquired. MyHeritage is number four.

Here’s the Business Wire link, and here’s a very nice article from a personal perspective of a long-standing MyHeritage board member.

I have to tell you, this made me draw a sharp breath, so I reached out to three people at MyHeritage in positions to know. After hearing from all three within hours, I’m greatly relieved.

Founder Gilad Japhet is remaining in position as CEO, as is the rest of the staff. This acquisition means more investment dollars which means that MyHeritage can digitize more records and produce more tools for genealogists.

2021, in the genetic genealogy world, is a new ballgame. All 4 vendors now have new owners, and a year ago, GEDmatch was sold as well.

Gilad is, at heart, first and foremost a genealogist, as is Bennett Greenspan from FamilyTreeDNA who retained a board seat after the GenebyGene/myDNA merger.

I was relieved to read in the MyHeritage PR release the following:

MyHeritage takes a best-in-class approach to user privacy and does not sell or license personal data. Under MyHeritage’s partnership with Francisco Partners, this commitment will be further strengthened and users will benefit from enhancements to the company’s privacy framework. As a first step in this strategy, MyHeritage will shortly update its privacy policy to include the unequivocal prohibition for the company to license or sell genetic data to any 3rd party. These updates will be highly unique amongst the larger genealogy and genetic DNA industry and are a testament to the commitment both MyHeritage and Francisco Partners share to privacy and consumers.

That’s not all MyHeritage has been up to.

MyHeritage Introduces Deep Nostalgia

MyHeritage introduced yet another photo enhancement tool. You’ll want to try this for yourself.

Deep Nostalgia is different than photo enhancement. It animates faces. Some people love this, and others think it’s kind of creepy. I’ve animated several photos, and I think it has to do with the photo to begin with, and if you knew the person in real life.

For one of my friends who only has photos of their parents and grandparents, and never knew them, this technology has been a gift of the highest magnitude.

I immediately went and animated my grandmother who died the year I was born.

I would suggest starting with a photo of yourself maybe to see if you want to go further. Or, maybe, just jump right in.

So far, my favorite is the picture of my mother as a child that you can see right here. I love this little girl so very much. This technology is the only way I’ll ever “see” my mother move as a child. I want to hug her. She looks so much like my daughter about the same age.

The enhancement technology itself is amazing, even without animation.

I clicked to animate this photo, above, and look at my Mom’s face, below, after the animation. Where you see the animation button, below, you’ll discover that you can select animations 1-10 and they are quite different. If you don’t like one, try a different one. I liked this one of my Mom.

MyHeritage enhances the photos before animating. Their technology has improved dramatically from the first versions, just a few months ago. This picture of my mother during her show business years is stunning. Upload any photo or click on a photo in your photo gallery at MyHeritage, then just click on the animate button.

Additionally, MyHeritage rolled out a few new features in the past couple of weeks and I’ve been so busy I almost missed them.

You can now see if a shared match has a tree and access it directly from the Shared DNA match page. You can also see any notes and how many people are in this person’s tree by flying your mouse over the respective icons. Adding those notes in this location is a godsend for me, because I always note as much as I can discover about each match and now I don’t have to click to open each match just to “see who they are.”

click images to enlarge

You can read more in the MyHeritage blog, here.


I watched the “What’s New at Ancestry” video to see if they have any announcements since RootsTech is typically a platform for those types of splashes. The information in the video is from 2020. I didn’t find anything new involving DNA, although Crista was discussing new green leaf genealogy hint algorithms and such.

She did say that while ethnicity percentages will be updated once a year or so, Genetic Communities is updated on an ongoing basis. She mentioned Ancestry’s Genetic Communities patented technology combines the consumer genetic network and their family trees.

Crista clarified that ethnicity estimates are looking at where your DNA was 500-1000 years ago. Genetic Communities is looking at where your family members lived in the last 100-200 years. The last update, just a couple weeks ago, applied to 8 million users, of 18 million total. I received one new subset community.

Nothing mentioned about 2021.

DNA Kit Sales

I was surprised to discover that Ancestry is not offering any promotions in their booth. Not for DNA and not for subscriptions. Even at Amazon, the Ancestry DNA kit is $99.

If you’re wondering about 23andMe, they weren’t at RootsTech last year and they are absent this year too. If you’ve tested at 23andMe, you can transfer to both MyHeritage and Family Tree DNA.

If you need upload, download or transfer instructions for any vendor, click here.

That’s OK, amble on over to the MyHeritage and FamilyTreeDNA booths who are both having great sales.

Family Tree DNA – Best DNA Price of RootsTech 2021

  • At FamilyTreeDNA, their autosomal Family Finder test is now only $49. This is the best price of the conference. Click here to purchase using coupon code RTCTFF.
  • I noticed that FamilyTreeDNA added a sale code for the Autosomal Transfer advanced tool unlock too, good through March 7th. If you’ve been waiting, now’s a great time. You can click here to sign on, upload your DNA file if you’ve tested elsewhere and then unlock using code RTCAU10.

You can see all of the FamilyTreeDNA show prices, here.

MyHeritage – Free Advanced Tools Unlock Expires in Two Days

Ok, let’s do something fun now.

RootsTech “Souvenir” Photos

You can get a “souvenir” photo of yourself, or someone else, at RootsTech. Yep, time travel, of sorts. Click here.

I didn’t want a photo of myself taken in my office when I haven’t had a haircut in over a year, so I selected a photo I like much better.

RootsTech is building a real-time mosaic. Of course, your eyes have to be better than mine to find yourself😊

Surname Search

Another fun activity is the FamilySearch surname search tool that shows where in the world a particular surname is found.

Of course, in many cases, the top location is the US, land of immigrants, but hey, the genesis of the surname is quite interesting.

Have fun.

DNA Garb

Today’s DNA outfit is my chromosome sweater, and no, I didn’t make it.

Unlike the vests and dresses, this isn’t a dress-up item, but just something that’s soft and comfortable and I wear it in my office. I stuff it in my carry-on travel bag and you would be more likely to see me wearing this than any of my “good” DNA outfits😊

It’s still snowy where I live, which reminds me of Salt Lake City – so I just took a walk and pretended.

It’s hard to believe tomorrow is the last day of the conference already. What fun things are you doing at RootsTech?



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14 thoughts on “Rootstech 2021 Day 3: Picture Perfect & Great Prices!

  1. Even if you never did genealogy, you would know one thing for sure: Beauty runs in your family! And thank you for the updates!

  2. Hi Roberta-Thanks so much for your informative blog. I have tagged your triangulation video to play a bit later. Can you tell me: if I’ve had my DNA tested through My Heritage, would I get any different information if I uploaded my raw DNA from another test site to My Heritage?

  3. Hello Roberta, I am uploading my DNA to MyHeritage but I do not see what I am getting from them by doing so. I can only do a few animated videos. I guess they are going to be as expensive as Ancestry and get nickeled and dimed to death. I guess I will see what I get by that big Y 700 I put in there. If it proves disappointing I will exit out of them. Like you I am unsure about the acquisition aspects of these companies. Yes, now they seem ok but what about a future acquisition that may not be as friendly. I saw this happen with the drug company I worked for and the they were acquisitioned out of existence

    • MyHeritage only does autosomal, so you can’t upload your Y DNA. Right now their advanced autosomal tools are free.

  4. I’m so glad I caught the triangulation video. I now have a few ideas for math triangulating my matches. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for your thorough and detailed observations and notes. I’d missed the announcements from MyHeritage, both on the acquisition and on the new features and functions. You’re right, the ability to view notes on shared DNA matches will be quite a time saver NOW THAT I KNOW ABOUT IT!

    Thanks again!

    • I did not know about the Notes, either, until Roberta and William mentioned it for me!
      After exploring, I noticed an odd behavior: The notes are available when you are looking at your first 10 “Shared SNA Matches,” but once you have cliked “show more DNA matches” and it populates the next 10 (for a total of 20), most of the Notes disappear.
      I am not sure if MyHeritage has a bug reporting process, but hopefully this is a bug. Caise having the notes appear on just a mouseover was great!
      Thank you both for pointing it out.

  6. Roberta, I have so appreciated getting to “know” you a bit this week through your human and heartfelt perspective on our work. I share your appreciation and deep reverence for the space where our stories and our lives intersect with our ancestry, as well as the science and technology that allows us better access. My experiences, inspirations and feelings came to a head just before the pandemic started in a CD AND book project, “Treasures in My Chest”. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise and advice this week especially, but also the human emotion that moves us to do this work of reaching back through the veil. And deep condolences on the loss of your kilted friend; may his memory always be a blessing.

    • Thank you. None of us just randomly choose genealogy. All of us are inspired in some way. I hope your project goes well and thank you for doing that.

  7. Roberta, thanks very much for the tip about MyHeritage now showing if a SharedMatch has a tree (AND how many in it!!!) and if there are Notes. I agree those are big improvements. They have had the best DNA matching features for some time now, and this makes them even better.

    What I don’t get is why MyH is spending resources on the photo image technology (like the latest animation effect) when their Ethnicity Estimate algorithms are WAY behind all the other companies. They had announced an update for last year, then pushed it to January 2021, now it’s March and still no update. For years they’ve said I have 47% Scandinavian and there is NO Scandinavian in my paper tree other than maybe a single 10G grandparent. (10G! only one!)

    I was hoping they’d announce a new date for updating the Ethnicity Estimates. Did you hear anything about this at Rootstech? Thanks so much for all your wonderful information.

    • No. I didn’t. They are probably trying to spread their resources around and people love the photos. Hopefully some of them will DNA test too.

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