Saturday, January 15, 2022

SLIG 2022 Sponsor Highlight: AncestryProGenealogists

Janell Esplin, Talent Acquisition Manager with Ancestry, and a panel of four staff members answered SLIG participants' questions on Thursday about applying to and working for AncestryProGenealogists.

Highlights from questions and answers included:
  • Interested and qualified researchers are invited to apply with AncestryProGenealogists even if they are not certified or accredited. Although credentialing is valued, applicants should emphasize their professional experience both in and out of genealogy.
  • Applicants are encouraged to present themselves honestly in their applications and interviews. Don't oversell your research or language abilities.
  • Managers are looking for persons who have sound project and time management skills and the ability to work well with others, in addition to research skills.
  • One good way to get your foot in the door with AncestryProGenealogists is by becoming part of their contractor database of researchers who might be contacted to pull records locally.
Information about current openings and application procedures can be found at
Janell Esplin can be contacted at

We thank Janell and the panel members from AncestryProGenealogists for taking the time to meet and talk with SLIG participants. A special recognition also goes to AncestryProGenealogists for their ongoing support of SLIG overall, and this year's sponsorship of the Military course.

Janell Esplin is Talent Acquisition Manager at Ancestry, leading a team of recruiters who actively support Ancestry's Content, Family History Business, DNA Science and Operations, Legal and Member Services. She has brought over 75 genealogists into the Ancestry family and over 200 other persons into other openings across the organization. She has a passion for supporting her team and business partners to ensure that candidates have a great experience working with Ancestry. Before joining the Ancestry family, Janell was a recreation director in the human services field. Janell holds a bachelor's degree in behavioral sciences: psychology from Utah Valley University.
AncestryProGenealogists panel members:
  • Deena Darst: Research Team Manager (specializing in Heir/Forensic research)
  • Noah Lapidus: Genealogist (specializing in Souther African-American research)
  • Brian Schellenberg: Research Manager (specializing in German research)
  • Margaret Crymes: Research Manager (specializing in United Kingdom research)

Thursday, January 13, 2022

SLIG 2022 Sponsor Highlight: FamilySearch

SLIG Night at the Family History Library has been a longstanding SLIG tradition. This year, David Rencher, Lynn Turner, and the FHL staff provided us with an online night at the FHL, including a virtual tour of the library highlighting recent enhancements.

Highlights from the opening plenary:

  • David Rencher, FHL Director and FamilySearch Chief Genealogical Officer, spoke about some of the changes necessitated by COVID shutdowns and protocols. FHL has a new set of webpages and has made their lookup service and research helps available remotely.
  • Lynn Turner, FHL Assistant Director, led viewers on a virtual tour of the library and provided additional details;
Highlights from the breakout sessions:
  • General Topics (David Rencher and Lynn Turner):
    • RootsTech
      • RootsTech will be virtual in 2022 with over 1,200 presentations, including many in international languages. (
      • Registrants will have free access to all sessions through the end of 2022.
      • Future RootsTech formats are difficult to predict, with a hybrid format possible.
      • Offering RootsTech virtually extends its reach much farther than is possible in person.
      • Last year, about 5,000 research consultations were done during the RootsTech week. This year, the target is to do 8,000 consultations.
      • On-the-ground teams have intentionally sought out presenters in other parts of the world.
    • Collections (Bria Corry and Natalie Reese):
      • The collections team includes six to seven full-time employees, some interns, and volunteers.
      • The book digitization team is moving in-house to the FHL, hoping to digitize 10,000 books this year.
      • Anyone can donate a book, PDF, or Word document. Societies sometimes make large donations. (
      • Items in off-site storage can be requested to be pulled for use. Those items then remain in the library.
    • International–B1 and B2 floors (Debbie Gunter and Raymon Naisbitt):
      • It doesn't matter which floor you are on; you can request a specialist from any geographic area, and they will come to you.
      • The international reference section has been consolidated on one floor.
      • All maps are now in one location on B1.
    • U.S./Canada–2nd and 3rd floors (Jason Harrison and Todd Knowles):
      • Statewide census books and family genealogies are back on shelves.
      • Almost everything is on the shelves, though some rare or unusual books are in Special Collections.
      • FHL is revisiting agreements, as many contracts were made before digitizing technologies.
We greatly appreciate the efforts of the FHL staff in making this virtual visit possible and FamilySearch for their ongoing support of SLIG as a course sponsor.


David Rencher, CG, AG, FIGRS, FUGA, is Director of the Family History Library and Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch. A professional genealogist since 1977, he is one of the rare few who have earned both credentials: Accredited Genealogist with ICAPGen in Ireland research and Certified Genealogist with the Board for Certification of Genealogists. He is the Irish course coordinator and instructor for the Institute of Genealogical Research (IGHR), the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), and the British Institute of the International Society of British Genealogy and Family History. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1980 with a BA in Family and Local History. He has served as a member, a director, and/or an officer of a multitude of genealogical organizations. David has been named a fellow by the Utah Genealogical Association and the Irish Genealogical Research Society.

Lynn Turner, AG, is Assistant Director of the Family History Library. Lynn graduated with a BA in Family History and Genealogy from Brigham Young University with an emphasis in Spain and Latin America. He is an Accredited Genealogist through ICAPGen in Spain research.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

SLIG 2022 Sponsor Highlight: MyHeritage

MyHeritage What's New, Power User Tips & Open Q&A 

Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage gave us a fast-paced review of recent updates as well as a sneak peak of what is coming in Wednesday's sponsored presentation. 

Tree Highlights include:

  • Customized tree and improved list views
  • Sharable report views the relationship between any two individuals in the tree 
  • User control over smart match icons and settings
  • Photo list view allows editing of information, sorting, and filtering
  • Consistency checker
 DNA management highlights include:
  • DNA labels (a highly requested item)
  • Managed DNA kit pull-down menu in match view
  • Match filter by relationships, matching ancestral locations, and more
  • Profile list export to Excel for external analysis and management
Daniel also noted that many new records are "coming in from all over the world using transliteration technology to find relatives."

We sincerely appreciate MyHeritage's ongoing support of SLIG through sponsorship and their willingness to come to share updates important to further our research.


Dedicated to genealogy since 1986, Daniel Horowitz is involved in several crowdsource digitization and transcription projects and holds a board-level position at The Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA). Since 2006 Daniel has been working at MyHeritage liaising with genealogy societies, bloggers, and media, as well as lecturing, and attending conferences around the world.