14 May 2010

FamilySearch Updated Info

This evening on the FHCNET message board, Ron Tanner, the new FamilySearch Product Manager posted the following statement which will be of interest to everyone. The message defines the current status of several portions of the FamilySearch products and gives a hint as to how the roll-out to non-members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be handled.

There is some confusion that needs to be cleared up. The website beta.familysearch.org that will eventually replace the
www.familysearch.orgsite is available to any user free of charge. The beta.familysearch.org website currently provides the millions of additional records and where digitized and indexed records will eventually reside.

The website new.familysearch.org is currently only available to members of the LDS church. Eventually as required features are added to new.familysearch.org, the site will become part of www.familysearch.org and will eventually allow public users to have access to the tree. That time has not been determined and when it does happen plans are to regulate the growth of the site by allowing current users to invite others until we can get the site to a point where it can sustain a significant number of users. Only then can access to the general public to new.familysearch.org be considered.

Ron Tanner
nFS Product Manager, FamilySearch

13 May 2010

What's With All The Tools?

Hopefully, I'm not overloading my blog, but, I want you to know how to use the tools that you find here...and then use them!

So lets take a look at each one and see how they can be of benefit to you.

First of all, take a look at the "Genealogy Blogs - News Feed" to the right, in the center column. Any kind of a web feed or news feed is a data format used to to display frequently updated content. This is similar to when you "like" someone on Facebook, or you subscribe to a newsletter through email, or you have messages sent to your mobile phone. In this case, I subscribe to a variety of Genealogy/Family History related blogs and put them into this feeder. All the blog articles automatically feed at the same time that the various blogs post their articles. The newest ones always go to the top, and, only one feed is shown for each blog. So if someone posts three different articles in an hour, only the most current one will display. The blog articles listed at the bottom of the feed may be months old. So every time you access my blog you will see updated content from all the listed blogs. I try to stick to the more generic blogs, rather than those that focus on a specific location or family.

At the bottom of the Blog feed you will find several tools and another type of widget with a feed.

I recently added a feed to the Mormon Times supplement to the Deseret News. The Mormon Times frequently has genealogy/family history articles that I think many of you would like to read. With this particular widget you need to double click on the Mormon Times.com line of text. That will open the feed and then you can click on the little blue icons to go directly to the article. (I'm going to try to streamline this process in the future.)

The first tool is the Google Book search box. Google Books is a service from Google that searches the full text of books that Google has scanned, converted to text and stored in its digital database. They have thousands of books that contain either the full book, a portion of a book, or a thumbnail of the paragraph from a book that is still in copyright. All you need to do is go down to the search box and type in anything you are looking for. It might be a name, a place, a how-to, or anything else you might want to search for. You will be taken to the Google site with a list of all the books that has what you searched for. Then click on the link and view the actual text.

Once the list of search results come up, you can use the filters on the left column to narrow down your search. For example, you can narrow your search to just those books that are in limited view or full view only, or just those that are in public domain.

Another tool is the Search the Genealogy Message Boards widget. Message boards are those online discussion sites. People post a question or comment and someone else answers the question or adds comments. When you join a message board you have a choice of having each post emailed to you individually as they are posted, or once a day in a digest mode. There are thousands of message boards and you probably don't want to subscribe to everyone...that would be a ton of email! Some of the message boards are set up to discuss certain software packages, some to talk about people with a certain surname or any surname from a particular location. There are boards for just about everything. Well, this search box will let you search across ALL the genealogy message board's archives. So type in a name for example and you will get a list of results from all the boards. Just click on the links and view the messages. You just might find that lost relative!

Genealogy Sleuth Search Engine is the next tool. It is similar to the message boards widget, except that this one creates a custom search and finds that name, place, etc., from more than just message boards. It might locate posted transcripts of data, family or local histories,  blog articles, and genealogy search sites. This is a great way to have your searches customized without you having to do the customization.

The last of the tools is the Genealogy Google Newspaper Archives Search box. Google has created another custom search that looks through their historical newspapers and archives. These are not the ones from the subscription sites but may contain some of the same material. The search results can create timelines which show selected results from relevant time periods. Here is an example of a name search for "parley pratt". The search brought back over 2000 records. I can then click on any decade on the timeline and limit the results to that specific time frame.
So come often and use these tools. They can save you hours of having to create your own custom searches and looking for the material you need!

Granite Mountain Records Vault and Indexing

While at the NGS Conference in Salt Lake two weeks ago we viewed a video about the Granite Mountain Records Vault. It was awesome to get to see the inside. I only live a few miles from here and have never had the opportunity to see the vaults. I can see the door, but that's it!

Since the conference the LDS Church has released a story about how FamilySearch plans to digitize BILLIONS of records that are housed in the vaults. Also included are photos and the video's that we saw at the conference.

View the article, photos and videos here.

Remember that YOU can help digitize the billions of records by participating in the FamilySearch Indexing. Just click on the link. Get your teenagers, cousins, siblings, friends, neighbors and anyone you know to work on making these records available to everyone for free! It's so easy! As you can see below, all you need to do is view the image and fill in the predefined blanks on a form. It only takes an average of 20 minutes to complete a batch. So take 20 minutes and give it a try.  PS. It's a great way to get your teens involved! And we all know that they get bored if they are not doing something and summer is coming. Besides they usually love working on their PC. Get a challenge going between your teens and their friends! ...or maybe between YOU and your TEENS!

Family history centers in Salt Lake area will be consolidated

Today, the Mormon Times supplement to the Deseret News announced the recent closing of 24 Family History Centers that have been housed in various LDS Church buildings throughout the Salt Lake Valley. Instead, the Church will open a new Family History Library named the "Riverton FamilySearch Library".

This new library, "designed to create more space, extended hours and expanded resources for family history work, will open next month in the south end of the Salt Lake Valley. The Riverton FamilySearch Library will be an asset similar to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City."  It is located in church offices at the intersection of 13400 South and Bangerter Highway in Riverton.

To read the entire article, click here.

For those of you who live on the west side of the valley and into Utah county, this will be very convenient and beneficial. All the resources you currently have at the smaller FHCs will be available, as well as the full version of Ancestry.com. In addition, more classes will be provided.

This change currently does not affect the other half of the Salt Lake Valley, but, I wouldn't be surprised to see this happen in the future. The Riverton FamilySearch Library is looking for volunteers to work at the center.

10 May 2010

Free Genealogy Books Using Google Books

Google Books has a great number of books online that are available for you to read for free. They make great resource tools while doing your family history or help you through a brick wall. And, if you are like me, you just don’t have room any longer to store all those purchased books – no matter the subject matter! Maybe you are interested in just a specific chapter of a book and don't want to go to the library or buy a copy.

If you have not signed up for a Google account, do so. Some books are complete and some are limited in the number of pages you can view.

How do you view the books? Just click on the link below and you will find the book online. You can use the zoom feature to increase the size of the text; click on the ‘+’ magnifying glass icon until you see the text the size you want it. Then you can click on the ‘-‘ magnifying glass to make it smaller. You can also click on the icon that looks like two pages side-by-side to display the facing pages.

Even though many of these books have pages missing because they are still under copyright, you will most likely still benefit from checking here first. It might help you decide whether you want to purchase the book or not.

Here is a sampling of what you will find online: (All have pages or a chapter missing unless specified.)

The Complete Beginner's Guide to Genealogy, The Internet, and Your Genealogy (Karen Clifford)

How to Do Everything with Your Genealogy   

The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy   2006 version.

The Genealogy Sourcebook - 1997

Genealogy Online   8th Edition  

Genealogy Online for Dummies - 5th Edition

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy - Second Edition

Geography and Genealogy:Locating Personal Pasts

The Sunny Side of Genealogy - A Humorous Collection...

Pocket Guide to Irish Research - Second Edition

Researchers Guide to American Genealogy - 3rd Edtion

Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors - 4th Printing 2005

How to Climb Your Family Tree: Genealogy for Beginners

The Hidden Half of the Family: A Sourcebook for Women's Genealogy

The Mayflower Descendant: a Quarterly Magazine of Pilgrims - Volumes 10 and 11 (complete)

The Mayflower Descendant: a Quarterly Magazine of Pilgrims - Volumes 17 and 18 (complete)

There are many, many more books, magazines, and other publications listed at Google Books. Some are complete, others partial, and others are thumbnail clips only. You can narrow down your search to just full print books, partial print books and those in public domain. If the book is still in print and available, you can select the links on the left to find the book and see the availability and  price.

At Google Books you will find genealogy books based on locality, surnames, novels, etc. Just use the Google Books search box towards the bottom of the middle column to the right. -->  ...or click here to go to the Google Books page directly. If you want to go to the advanced search, click here.

FYI: Google Books cover a wide variety of topics besides genealogy.

07 May 2010

...get that spider!

What is family history and genealogy? Just a bunch of boring names, dates and places? Or does it include the everyday experiences of life? This one ought to brighten your day!

I decided I wanted to preserve a Facebook conversation I had with some family and friends and I decided that this was a great example of the fun things in life that make people “real”. So enjoy this hysterically funny gem! At least I think it is!

JENNIE - has a spider trapped under a plastic container. Now I don't know what to do...

KAREN - Is it one of those BIG things?? If it is small be brave and step on it!

JENNIE - It's one of the big ones. There is no way I can step on it!

MINDY - Wow and I thought I was a wimp.....this reminds me of the night my mom and dad got to your house one time and you had a praying mantis under a plastic bowl that Gracey had brought in the house and you were freaked out and were waiting for Todd to come home to take it out! If I remember right, dad got it for you and chased you with it first before putting it back outside! Jen if this spider is smaller than a hobo.....I am so making fun of you! hehehe

SADIE - I just shivered after reading that!! Ewww! I hate spiders so bad!

KAREN - lol ..Mindy I was there that day too and remember that! Pick up the bowl and have a large book ready to throw on top of it! SMASH...Just don't miss!!

SUSIE -Slide a piece of paper under the cup and take it outside. While on the way outside make a pack with Mr. Spider that he stay outside where he belongs and you will not step on him and squish him! :) Works for me!

SUE - Jennie, I'm with you!!! If you step on it it's spirit will get ya! haha If Todd didn't come home, I'd be for finding someone else!

JENNIE - Haha, thanks a lot Mindy! It is HUGE! Susie, that would be waaaaay too brave to do it that way. Here's how it went down. . . I asked him how he got in the house. . .he didn't answer. . . I asked him if there were others. . .still no answer. So, I had no choice. I got all Jack Bauerish on him, lifted the container and sprayed spider spray in there.... It was supposed to kill on contact but it didn't! That's how big he is!! I couldn't stand to watch him suffer, even though he is a spider, so I basically kept spraying until he drowned! Now I'm afraid of its spirit, thanks Sue :) And I'm sure you have all figured out that Todd is out of town or I would have just waited until he got home from work like usual :)

TAMMY - Jennie, use the vacuum!

SUE - Not the vacuum! Then his spirit will float around the room !!!! And, you'll always be expecting him to crawl out -- just a little dazed!

HEATHER - Mom, You needed to do your scorpion technique by duck taping a phonebook to your swiffer sweeper and then kick the bowl away and run at it and scream as you crush it so you won't hear it crunch. I have seen you do it before with a scorpion. You could do it with the spider :)

SUE - Heather, I want to see that on video! :D

JENNIE - I actually thought about doing that Heather but this was a seriously big spider. Even Matthew was amazed by how big it was and it had two big long legs out the front. I'm always afraid to use the vacuum because in my mind every spider is pregnant and then she will have her babies in my vacuum and then, basically I would have to get rid of the vacuum :)

HEATHER - Oh man it was great. The scorpion was on the wall and my mom took a running start with her swiffer sweeper duck taped to a phone book and started screaming before she hit it so she would not here the crunch of it. I was so proud of her. She immediately called my dad to tell him how brave she was. HE HE Oh the memories :)

MELISSA - That sounds familiar. You need a can of Raid on hand, you spray the spider and then put the cup over it...just in case it doesn't die. Then you wait for your husband to get rid of it. Why do those little creepy things have to be so nasty? I hate spiders!

SUSIE - Phahahahaahahahaha..... ohh that so got a belly laugh out of me. I had a black widow in my laundry room, we talked for quite awhile. She would NOT agree to stay put or just leave my laundry room quietly.... So I hair sprayed her to death. Yep I think she drowned and became stiff. Hahahaha! I don’t think I've ever admitted to that until now.

SUE - Hair spray works great on flying insects too! They get sticky and can't move their wings! haha Beats the tar out of chasing that flying monster throughout the house and looking like one of those 10 leaping lords!

MICHELLE - I am dying laughing at this whole conversation! I can just picture you with the duct tape swiffer trying to smash the scorpion!! Hahaha!! Miss you so much!!

PS: I love my family!

05 May 2010

Summary of NGS Conference in Salt Lake City

Last week was terrific! After attending the NGS (National Genealogical Society) conference in downtown Salt Lake City at the Salt Palace, I was physically exhausted, spiritually uplifted, and felt like my brain was on overload! This was the best conference I've been to and will plan on attending next year in Charleston, South Carolina! Yes, I'm willing to go there to spend five days doing it all over again.

Why, you might ask? Because no matter how far into genealogy/family history you are, there is always more to learn and share with others. I really want to find those lost ancestors who drive me crazy on a daily basis. Conferences offer one of the best ways to learn the skills needed to find these ancestors. Classes range from the very beginning to the very advanced. So don't ever feel like you might not know enough to attend a conference - just go and find those classes that are right for you.

It's been many, many years since the NGS conference came to Salt Lake and it likely will be many more before they come again. So watch the bloggers and we'll keep you up to speed on what's going on around you. There are other conferences locally and you can always find something more to help you improve your skills.

Genealogy is one of the fastest growing activities in the world and changes occur almost daily. This year's conference had tracts of classes ranging from skill-building, methodology, records, writing and photography. Research classes offered training in international, British Isles, Polish, Swedish, immigration, African, Eastern European, Hispanic, and many other records and groups. FamilySearch had a strong presence at the conference. They taught classes, had mini workshops, had plenty of hands-on experience, and set up a large bank of PC's that created a mini Family History Library with all the subscription websites available. Besides all of this the GenTech group was large. About any vendor you can think of was in attendance with demo's, prizes, specials and training classes. It was a great experience for the approximate 2500 attendees. These conferences also open the doors of communication letting you visit and share with others, renew old relationships and meet-up with others from the online community.

Thursday evening the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints hosted "A Celebration of  Family History" at the Conference Center. All Family History consultants were given the chance to get four tickets to the celebration even if they did not attend the conference. I know many that did not take this opportunity and missed a remarkable program which included the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Symphony. Author and historian, David McCullough and Elder Eyring were speakers. However, based on what I saw that evening there were probably 13-15,000 people in attendance. There was plenty of room for walk-ins.

In case you missed it, there are a few things you can see online. There were several videos presented during the evening performance. You can view these at Photos-Videos-Story.

Watch the blog feed to the right of this article for updates from the various bloggers and other news media who were in attendance. If you miss any of them, here are a few, including summaries from some lectures.

Ancestry Insider - Review
Dick Eastman - Day 1 at conference 
Dick Eastman - Wrap-up report
Genea-Musings - Randy Seaver's Review
Genea-Musings - More from Randy
Upstate New York Genealogy Blog - Review
The Genealogy Search Blog - Review
Genealogy Files Moving to Digital
Ancestry.com Announcements at NGS - Dr D Digs Up Ancestors
Family connections help create 'spirit of unity
NGS Exhibition hall plenty lively
Decompressing from NGS 2010, Salt Lake City
Family History Conference Index
NGS Conference News
A Hopping Genealogy Joint
A Family History Celebration

NGS 2010 FH Conference was a Huge Success
Family Connections Help Create 'Spirit of Unity'
'Addicts' Revel in Finding Ancestry
Workshop Reviews:
Digitizing Family History Treasures
Using the Law for Research
How to Find Poor Ancestors
In a Cloud of Genealogy
Ellis Island Records have Problems
Preserving, Sharing Records of World 
Research Ancestors' Historical Context for Meaning
Train Up Your Voice Recognition Software
Finding Women: The Ultimate Family History Brick Wall
Camp Aims to Get Kids Interested in Family History
Sharing the Joy
Sorenson Molecular--100,000 DNA Samples
Attracting the Young Through Computerized Genealogy
Keeping the Stuff You Keep: Preserving Documents, Photos
Research Ancestors' Historical Context for Meaning
A Lot Doing a Little
Digitization Changes Family History, But Still Need for Non-Digital
Where do 300 Million Names Come From?

I'll continue to add links as I find recaps and articles.

Just a final note: I found so many new possibilities to help me in my search for my brick walls! I can't wait to find the time to work on my own ancestors - one of these days!!

Find your ancestors ---- while you still can!

Footnote Offers Newspapers Free for May!

Here is a great opportunity for all of you. During the month of May (yes, right now) Footnote.com is opening their historical newspapers to everyone for FREE! Take advantage of this wonderful gift! Search to your hearts content at  Footnote Newspapers.

Let me know of your successes! Post your comments below.

03 May 2010

UVPAFUG - Sat. May 8th - Come Join Me!


The next regular, second-Saturday-of-the-month meeting of the Utah Valley PAF (Personal Ancestral File) Users Group will be on Saturday, 8 May 2010, from 9 am to noon in the LDS "Red Chapel", 4050 North Timpview Drive (650 East), Provo. There is a map showing the location on the group's website http://uvpafug.org .

The main presentation for this meeting will be by Don and Diane Snow on FREEWARE AND SHAREWARE FOR FAMILY HISTORY. Their talk will show examples of free software and how they have used it in family history. The handout for the meeting will include the websites to download that freeware, plus many other free programs and will be posted on the Group's webpage. They will also give short reports about the 2010 BYU Computerized Genealogy Conference and the National Genealogical Society Annual Meeting, both held in the Salt Palace last week. They were speakers at the BYU Conference. The Snows have been involved with family history for many years and have served 4 LDS Church family history missions as a couple. Their last mission was to the London Family History Centre in England from which they returned 18 months ago. Don has been a Vice President of the Utah Valley PAF Users Group for many years. They are both retired BYU faculty members where Don taught Mathematics and Diane taught Humanities. This month they have just returned from serving as volunteer teachers in the fledgling Nauvoo Uinversity. See http://www.nauvoouniversity.com/ for information about this new school.

Following the main presentation there will be several classes taught concerning technology and family history. As always there will be classes and topics for all levels of expertise and interest. The classes and teachers presently scheduled for this meeting are as follows.

(1) Documenting Sources in PAF 5 and in New FamilySearch, by Duane Dudley;
(2) Genealogy on Your MAC - Bells and Whistles, by Venita Parry;
(3) Hardware and Software Q&A, by Jerry Castillo;
(4) Individual Help with PAF & NFS, by Finn Hansen and Max & Kathy Henrie;
(5) Q&A: Freeware and Shareware for Family History. by Don and Diane Snow;
(6) Video of last month's main presentation: FamilySearch's Extended Tree, by Tim Cross;
(7) Ancestral Quest, by Merlin Kitchen;
(8) Legacy 7.4, by Joel Graham; and
(9) RootsMagic 4, by Sue Maxwell.

All meetings of the Users Group are open to the public whether members of the Group or not. The Users Group has the goal of helping individuals use technology to further their family history and there are usually 100-125 attending the monthly meetings on the second Saturdays. Information about the Users Group, main presentations, classes, and class notes are available on the Group's website http://uvpafug.org