Latter-day Saint Life

Award-Winning App Helps You Find Your Ancestors' Stories in Newspapers


If you've spent any time doing family history research, you know just how overwhelming it can be to search through newspapers trying to find a trace of your ancestors. That's why the RootsTech Innovator Showdown winner decided to simplify and speed up newspaper searches with his award-winning app. 

One of the judges, Partner in Kickstarter Seed Fund Dalton J. Wright, said at the showdown that the challenge with genealogy technology is fulfilling a need.

“In our industry we talk about painkillers and vitamins,” he said. “Is your solution an urgent need that somebody has or is it something that they ought to be doing, that’s good for them? And I think with genealogy products sometimes we see a lot of vitamins and we know we ought to be doing those, but in order to make a buying decision you have to fulfill a sense of urgency.”

The first-place winner of the showdown, earning $95,000 in cash and in-kind prizes, was Bill Nelson and his mobile app Old News USA. This mobile app fulfills a need in family history, allowing users to search old newspapers for their family stories in a quick, efficient way.

Nelson said in an interview that being a genealogist himself, he searched for a problem that needed fixing in family history research, and found it when he was trying to search through newspapers for his family’s stories.

“At the time I was doing newspaper research for my own family and I just thought it was painful. It was so hard and so tedious,” he said.

Lead image from Deseret News

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