RootsTech: Just Around the Corner

Carhenge photoOur bags are packed; we’re ready to go. Well, we’re almost ready. We’re waiting for some last minute orders to arrive, and, yes, we’re still organizing packets that we hope will be of interest to genealogy societies.  But we have looked up long enough to put some thought into interesting spots to visit as we drive through Nebraska and Wyoming.  “Carhenge” in Alliance, Nebraska sounds like a winner.

We’re super excited about this adventure to RootsTech 2014! We’re a Finalist for the RootsTech 2014 Developer Challenge Award!  What an incredible honor and opportunity.  It’s an honor to be chosen. It’s an honor to be validated by the folks at FamilySearch and all the other big name sponsors. And it’s an incredible opportunity to present Saving Memories Forever in more detail to people there and potentially the ENTIRE RootsTech audience. Thank you!

We’re Pumped

“OK, we’re amazed that we’re in the running,” admits Co-Owner, Jane Baker. “It sounds corny, but being given this opportunity is the dream of a lifetime. Ever since we put our family tree together 20 years ago, we’ve had this in the back of our minds.”

Co-Founder Harvey Baker continues, “We came here last year with a solid product, and over this past year, we’ve added some features that we think make our product even more appealing. While our zipfile feature makes it possible for members to download their stories on their own computers once in awhile, I think the Virtual Relative Approach is the one that really interests people. It gives families a second chance to capture the life stories of deceased relatives so that they can be shared with generations who will never even get a chance to meet him or her.”

“I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard ‘I wish I had your product when my grandfather was alive.’ ” adds Jane.

Changes in Just One Year

To be honest about it, we were actually pumped up about going to RootsTech 2014 just as an exhibitor. We had already arranged to meet up with some genealogy  friends who we know through e-mail, but haven’t ever actually met. Plus, Jane missed last year’s show so she was eager to take it all in.

“It’s just amazing how quickly things can change,” notes Harvey. “Last year when I attended our first RootsTech conference, Saving Memories Forever was one of only a handful of exhibitors there with a focus on storytelling. We got a warm response and people were very nice. But I’d also say that a number of people were still hesitant. The most eager audience came from members of computer-oriented groups and those leaders in the industry who have already taken the leap.”

“Things have changed over the course of the year,” continues Jane. “The computer-oriented groups are on board and we have, in fact, heard from some members of more traditional  genealogical societies. They’re curious.”

On a larger scale, storytelling has become much more mainstream, evolving from being a new buzz word into actual practice. Industry speakers are actively promoting the value of storytelling in their presentations, webinars, and even e-books. In addition, large genealogy organizations such as FamilySearch have welcomed fledgling story-oriented businesses even to the point of offering compatible API platforms.  In time, with these platforms in place, who knows what sort of connections can be made? Surely all this benefits the field of family history and genealogy.

Even the Small Fries Benefit 

Maybe it’s just luck, but this year’s RootsTech theme, “Connect with Families” also matches what Saving Memories Forever is all about. We’re excited to meet people and other exhibitors who share this interest.

We also look forward to meeting people in the field with whom we’ve had a long-distance relationship but have never met face-to-face: bloggers and consultants, speakers and leaders.  It will be exciting to learn how we all might work together. It will also be fun to explore the exhibitor hall and to talk with other exhibitors, getting their insight and seeing their products firsthand. Perhaps we’ll find some more potential business partners like we did last year.

Will it be exhausting? Without a doubt. Much as we’d like to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing, we may just have to head back to our Bed and Breakfast home to rest our aching feet. But we’ll be ready to go the next morning to greet strangers, attend some lectures, and to search out new opportunities.  We’ll see you at the show!

Jane and HarveyThis article was written by Harvey and Jane Baker, Co-Founders of Saving Memories Forever.




Virtual Relatives: Keeping the stories alive

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

While you probably don’t know Mary Walker personally, she may be a lot like you.   She’s a wife, mother, and grandmother.  She’s also a sister and aunt. She lives in Florida, deals with some health issues, loves to travel, and makes sure she spends her money wisely.

She also likes to write and she wrote a review on our behalf.  The part of her review that struck me the most was how she remembers her sister and Dad.

“Yesterday was my sister’s birthday and the day after tomorrow is my Dad’s birthday,” she wrote. “They are not with us anymore and although I have memories of them, you can never have enough.”

She is not alone. We’ve received a lot of comments about the importance of remembering deceased relatives.

Saving Memories Forever offers an easy approach that allows families to re-create the life of a deceased relative—through stories. We refer to this person as a Virtual Relative. Virtual Relative projects involve two general steps: recording and then managing.  The recording part involves recording the stories of relatives and friends who remember the deceased. The managing part involves saving and then sharing those stories in one central spot. By using our app and website, the project is both easy and rewarding.

“The Virtual Relative project is just another example of how flexible the system is,” notes Harvey Baker, Saving Memories Forever Co-Founder. “ But it’s especially nice to know that this particular use makes it possible for families to create rich life stories of people even years after their loved one’s death.”

Nancy Sutker, who just attended her family reunion in Texas, agrees. “A lot of family members who were there at our reunion remember my brother, Ben,” she recalls. “ He died 15 years ago, but they still remember him and can recall different parts of his life. For example, I remember the long games of Monopoly that Ben and I played on rainy summer days when we were growing up. Our cousins remember Ben for his outlandish pranks as a young teenager.  His wife remembers his kindness towards strangers and his laughter as he played with their kids.”

“If you think about it,” she concludes, “a person’s life is a collection of stories. It’s pretty amazing that by combining our stories, we are creating such a 3-dimensional picture of Ben’s life. ”

Nancy Sutker has never met Mary Walker. It’s unlikely that they ever will meet.  Even so, there is much common ground.

It’s likely that you, too, have a relative whose life you remember. The same goes for others in your family.  Maybe the time has come to act and to put together this life picture for your loved ones.The stories that you remember, after all,  aren’t going to write themselves. It ‘s your job—and your honor—to communicate the life stories of someone who no longer can.

Tomorrow’s blog will feature step-by-step instructions on how to create a Virtual Relative.

4 New Reviews… All Great!

We’ve received some wonderful reviews lately for the Saving Memories Forever Apps. We’d love to share them with you! Whether you are using the app by yourself or with someone else, you’ll find that someone on this list has shared how they’ve found the Saving Memories Forever iPhone and Android app helpful.

Amanda Joy of The Kids Did It uses her app to record stories from Grandma for her son to listen to when a phone call isn’t available!

Pamela of Mom Does Reviews shares her four easy steps for using Saving Memories Forever.

Coralie of Utah Coupon Deals loves adding photos and fun extras to her stories to add interest and additional information about her family history.

And, last but not least, we’ve got a very special review for you! Maria Bailey of MomTV shares this great video review about how our app makes telling (and re-telling) her family history easier.



How do you use the Saving Memories Forever App to save and share your family stories? Let us know! Leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

Internet Genealogy Magazine Review of Saving Memories Forever

Saving Memories Review Internet Genealogy Magazine December 2012

Saving Memories Forever is proud to announce that its iPhone App and website service have been reviewed in the latest issue of Internet Genealogy magazine!

Well-known genealogist and authority on “writing your family history” Lisa A. Alzo, a regular contributor at Internet Genealogy as well as other magazines, provides an in-depth review of the various features of Saving Memories Forever.

Get the latest issue of Internet Genealogy magazine to read this article and many others! You can also download the Saving Memories Forever review in PDF format by clicking here.