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‘How Does Your Name Sound’ and other new innovations to see at RootsTech Connect

While RootsTech Connect 2021 won’t be in person, the conference will feature new, innovative family history technology, Feb. 25-27.
Patrons stroll through the RootsTech Expo Hall at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2018. While RootsTech Connect 2021 won’t be in person, the conference, which takes place Feb. 25-27, will feature new, innovative family history technology.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

How does your name sound?

Just type your ancestral surname(s) into a box. Feel free to add as many family names as you want. Click a button marked “create music,” and letters will instantly be translated into music notes. Chad Schumacher, director of marketing at Kawai Pianos, calls it a “musical cryptogram.”

“It’s fun,” Schmacher said. “It may not be the most musical, but it’s fun to see my name represented in musical notes.”

“How Does Your Name Sound” is one of several new innovations in family history technology being featured this year at RootsTech Connect, Feb. 25-27.

Schumacher said the inspiration behind using a name to create a song was in a name — Kawai. Founder Koichi Kawai started the company in 1927 and his family still runs it three generations later, Schumacher said.

“They really wanted to implement the name. So it made complete sense to do this project with FamilySearch,” he said. “There is a familial and genealogical family history element to this.”

The first time he tried it, Schumacher entered his full name — Chad (English) Kelau Kanekula (Hawaiian) Schumacher (German). It was interesting to see a variety of cultures represented in his ancestral song.

“We want people to have fun with it, enjoy it,” Schumacher said. “Mix it up, add your full name and other people’s names, or even one long, continuous name. See the music and the notes come alive.”

Along with converting your family names into music with “How Does Your Name Sound,” there’s new technology for restoring color to old photos, programs that decipher handwriting for indexing purposes, and interactive education games, among others.

A list of these new innovations can be found in the “Innovator’s Portal” on FamilySearch.org, complete with videos and links explaining each one.

Matt Misbach, a solution architect at FamilySearch, said each innovator put their “heart and soul into their work.”

“They are motivated not only for business reasons, but also the hope that their innovation will help them discover gems in their own family history,” Misbach said.

MyHeritage and Adobe have developed technology for photo restoration and colorization, enabling users to repair old photographs.

Brigham Young University and FamilySearch have developed tools for handwriting recognition.

BYU’s “Reverse Indexing” uses advanced computer science methods to read multiple handwritten records at once.

Reverse indexing uses advanced computer science methods to read handwritten records.
Brigham Young University

With FamilySearch’s “Computer Assisted Indexing,” a person can upload scanned images of old letters and documents, including cursive handwriting, and the computer can help you to read them.

Augean has made it possible to create customized 3D charts, which will help solve many layout problems with genealogy charts.

Using 3D can solve many layout problems with genealogy charts. Interactive, customizable 3D charts, give a new dimension to genealogy.
Augean

Provide AncestoriesXR with some information about an ancestor, upload a few photos and a person can experience family history using immersive media storytelling.

For more on RootsTech Connect, visit RootsTech.org.