Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ogden Family History Conference Report

Yesterday, I attend the Ogden Regional Family History Conference held at the Weber State College.  This was my first time attending one of the ORFHC conferences and being on the Weber State College campus.  I gathered that this was the first year they have held the conference there.

The venue was great.  I didn't have a problem finding a chair in any of my classes.  The grand ballroom where the keynote was held, held 1,000 chairs. They estimated that only 70 chairs remained empty. There were additional people that came in throughout the conference hours, so they felt comfortable saying they had 1,000 attendees.  I had heard that the conference planners were concerned about enough people showing up. The attendance would determine if they would be holding another conference there.  I thought it an excellent turnout and hope to attend again next year.

The conference was free but you needed to download the syllabus off their website at . This was not an issue for me.  I was glad I checked back on the syllabus Friday night before the conference.  It had grown from 116 pages to over 180 pages.  They will keep the PDF syllabus on their website for another week. Anyone can download it, it's free!

Here are the notes I jotted down on the things I thought of interest.

Keynote Address by Ron Tanner, Product Manager, FamilySearch.
Ron is a very humorous and lively presenter.  I really like his presentations. He has great PowerPoint graphics to entertain you during the presentation.

-NFS rolled out to Japan this past Friday
-Korea and China's roll-out will be this week. This means all LDS members will finally have access to NFS.
-Check out , everything is being migrated over and it will replace  by the end of this year (except NFS).
-The website holds 20 TB of information.
-They have 370 servers dedicated to searches alone.
-There are 13-20 million disputes on NFS. They will be moved to the Discussion's area. The discussions have a limit of 500 characters, this will be increased.
-They will be adding Watch/Notify to Discussions in Nov 2010.  Users that have signed up to watch a specific discussion will be notified once a week of any changes being made.
-They will be adding the ability to reassign your temple cards.

NFS is being redesigned and the changes will come out slowly.  The goal is for an Open Edit, one page wiki style page on each individual in the family tree.
-This will allow anyone to correct info.
-Maintain a history log to roll back changes if needed.
-Improve and see SOURCES
-Area for theories and speculation, discussions and conclusions
-We will be able to send messages to others and make community requests

Session 1 - Discussing the Future of NFS by its Product Manager by Ron Tanner
Ron went over the new concept for NFS.  The code name for the new project is SCOE - Source Centric Open Edit.  The goal is switch from "My" tree to "Our" tree.  This will make a better environment for researchers to come to conclusions on facts for individuals, based on sources. Once research has been completed on a person, by gathering all sources available on them, users will then able to focus on looking for information on other individuals.  If we work as a community greater strides can be made on building the human family tree.

We will be able to upload source images to these pages. 50 Peta-bytes of storage space is anticipated.

To be Open Edit we need:
1. To Talk before making changes
2. Notification set up to alert individuals on changes made
3. Change log with an undo feature

New Features needed:
1. Discussion - Done
2. Notifications - coming Nov 2010
3. Change Log - no date given

Another big change is that the Ancestral File, IGI, and Pedigree Resource File will be all sucked out of NFS.  They will be put into a resource repository that we can link back to, via computer links.  This will help clean up all the bad data in there and make the good data come to light, when primary sources are added to verify information.

Interesting side note: Since the release of NFS members have gone from a steady 3% temple ordinance submission rate to a double digit increase.

Ron touched on this very briefly in either the Keynote address or his class afterwards.  The Church is working with various record holders around the work to make their collections accessible to others.  There are many different models. Some record holders want to charge a fee to view their records that we link to in the free indexes. He wanted it understood that no money comes to the LDS Church or FamilySearch for the viewing of these records. All monies will be paid directly to the record holders. More than likely you will be redirected to their website to pay them to view the image.

Session 2 - I didn't know that! by Joanne Hanson
This was an excellent class for beginners, but I only learned one thing new. I have been attending genealogy conferences too long!!

There was a Mormon Reformation in 1856 and 1857. Assigned individuals asked members questions from the catechism, after which each was to confess sins related to the questions asked, then members, were to be re-baptized in renewal of their covenants and in reaffirmation of their religious commitments.  This is the only time Mormons have used the terms "catechism" and "reaffirmation", you don't hear it now. Some Ward Census records will show the dates of multiple baptisms for members.

Here is a list of the questions recorded by Luman Shurtleff (spelling retained)
1. Have you committed murder by shedding inosent blood or consenting there unto?
2. Have you betraid your brethren or sisters in anything?
3. Have you committed adultery by haveing any connection with any women that was not your wife or a man that was not your husband?
4. Have you taken or made use of property not your own without the consent of the owner?
5. Have you cut hay whare you had no right or turned your animal into another persons grain or field without his knowledge or consent?
6. Have you lied about or malissiously misrepresented any person or thing?
7. Have you borrowed anything that you have not returned or paid for?
8. Have you borne false witness against your neighbor?
9. Have you taken the name of Deity in vain?
10. Have you coveted anything not your own?
11. Have you been intoxicated with strong drink?
12. Have you found lost property and not returned it to the owner or used all diligence to do so?
13. Have you branded an animal that you did not know to be your own?
14. Have you taken an others horse or mule from the range and rode it without the owners consent?
15. Have you fulfilled your promises in paying your debts or run into debts without the prospect of paying?
16. Have you taken water to irrigate with when it belong to another persons at the time you used it?
17. Do you pay your tithing promptly?
18. Do you teach your family the gospel of salvation?
19. Do you speak against your brethren or against any principle taught us in the Book of Mormon bible book of Doctrine and Covenants Revelations given through Joseph Smith the Prophet and the Presidency of the Church as now organized?
20. Do you pray in your family night and morning and attend to secret prair?
21. Do you wash your boddies and have your family do so as ofton as helth and clenliness requires and circumstances will permit?
22. Do you labor six days and rest or go to the House of Worship on the seventh?
23. Do you and your family attend ward meetings?
24. Do you preside over your household as a servant of God and is your family subject to you?
25. Have you labored diligently and earned faithfully the wages paid you by your employers?
26. Do you oppress the hireling in his wages?
27. Have you taken up and converted any stay animal to your own or in any manner appropriated one to your benefit with-out accounting theirfor to the proper authorities?

Session 3 - Digitally Preserving your Family History and Heritage by Barry Ewell,
I really like attending Barry's classes.  This one did not disappoint. I am going to have to make one of his cookie sheet photo trays.  You line a cookie sheet with contact paper and then mark lines on it to square up your images.  You can use magnetics to assist in holding down images this way.

The area I was focusing in on was his Digital Image and Folder Naming Strategy.  Organizing if you don't know by now is one of my favorite subjects.

His folder hierarchy is: Surname Folder>Direct Descendant Folder>Category Folder>Image Files
He uses common abbreviation
Spanish Fork - SF
Birth Certificates - BC
Correspondence - COR
Document - DOC

Folders set up by Family line>Surname>Family>Category
There is a folder for each generation
Ewell - James N 1932
-Histories & Reference

Images are named by Surname/Category/Individual Name/Description Title/Date Year/Pages
Jones-Obit-Mary Jones-Dies of Cancer-1998

He uses Mary E. V. Hill's color-coding system for his paper and digital files.

Session 4 - I wanted to attend Basic Research Practices in the Age of NFS: the Genealogy Proof Standard by Janet Hovorka, but I was only able to glimpse some of it.  I took the time to see the vendors and talk to different people.  I did wish we had a little more time between classes to see the vendors.

One thing about a free conference is that attendees have more money to spend on vendors.  I know the RootsMagic booth was swamped all day. People were buying even before we had a chance to set up.  I pitched in and helped before the keynote address, but I am sure they could of used my help more.

Session 5 & 6 - Organize in Color by Joanne Hanson & Joy Shelton
I was looking forward to this two part class.  I like hearing now different people set up their genealogy files. I am still kinda working out their work flow.  They usually teach this class at the ORFHC over a 4 week time period.  I am going to have to consider if I want to travel there to take it.

First off they deal with paper and I want a digital system.  I am rolling over in my mind how I could do this digitally.

First, I want to show the color arrangements - I hadn't thought of adding more than four, of course you can use less than four if you want.  Color just helps you identify the family records and where they belong.

You have colors for your four grandparents.
1. Blue - paternal grandfather
2. Green - paternal grandmother
3. Red - maternal grandfather
4. Yellow - maternal grandmother

If you want to enlarge that to your great-grandparents it can go to:
1. Blue - Purple - paternal grandfather's parent
2. Green - Brown - paternal grandmother's parents
3. Red - Pink - maternal grandfather's parents
4. Yellow - Orange - maternal grandmother's parents

That's the limit on colors expansion. Otherwise it's difficult to see subtle changes in color or to even find materials in those colors. You can use colored pencils to mark your papers on what line they belong to.

They had three sections to their system
A. Binders - organized by family group.  This is where all their documents and family histories go. Each binder has it's own Table of Contents, so you can see at a glance what you have in there.

B. Family Files/container - this is for holding your information. You could have just one file box with all the colors/family lines in it or one for each color/family line.  They went over filing your ancestor alphabetically or numerical.

It following folders are in each color group.
  1. Surname - story of the family name. Where it originates from.
  2. Inventory - List items you have inherited that belong to different ancestors
  3. Pedigree Chart
  4. Family Group Sheets
  5. Correspondence List
  6. To File - after your research trips you can put your materials in this file to incorporate into binders later.
  7. Other - list of items to big for the binders
C. Research File Box - to take on your research trips. It contains your current research.
  1. Loose-leaf Notebook-cover chart with Pedigree Charts & Family Group Sheets
  2. Time Line
  3. To Do List
  4. Research Log
  5. Spiral Notebook, colored - notes
  6. Continuation form
The Research File box also included Research Helps
  1. Maps
  2. Naming patterns
  3. Handwriting
  4. Sources
  5. Vital Records
  6. Calendar
  7. Make paper copies to add to "To File" = Binders
Everyone wanted a copy of their forms.  They are going to try and put them on the ORFHC website at . Information will also be posted on Joy's blog: .

In my quest for the perfect organizing system I had thought it would be just one system, one way to organize everything. It was a different concept to see multiple systems within a system. I realized last night as I was doing my checkbook that I use multiple processes to organize my finances.  There is a budget form that I keep in a folder of all my bills to pay.  As I pay things I note them on the budget form and enter the transaction manually in my ledger book.  Then I enter them into my financial software AceMoney. Each part has a separate purpose and as a whole keeps my finances organized and tell me the story of my financial past, present and future. Now I just need to figure out how these things all fit together for me!

I just love attending conferences and seeing and hearing new ideas and ways of doing things. I very, very rarely get bored hearing the same concept being taught. That's because the presenters puts their own spin or touch to it. There's always something to learn from someone.

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!


JL said...

Reading the part about filing with colors got me thinking. There should be an option in Windows, or whatever operating system being used, to assign colors to folders. I wonder why no-one ever thought of that? Maybe because big-time operating system programmers aren't genealogists. You can add images or icons to folders individually but that's way too slow. There should be a right-click option for choosing a color.

Renee Zamora said...

JL, I used a program a couple years ago called Folder Marker to do that very thing. The only problem I experienced is I lost the color-coding on my files when I reformatted my computer and installed my backups that were saved on CDs. Reinstalling Folder Marker didn't bring back the colors. I'm sure there are newer and better products out there. I have to check it out.

JL said...

Of course, how silly of me. Someone DID think of it already. It looks like that product is still happening.

The backups are always something to look out for. Software developers aren't likely to tell you up front, "Oh by the way, there's no way to back this up." I bet if you asked them, though, there's some obscure file somewhere that contains the info.

I don't color-code my genealogy files. My god, that sounds like so much work! But, it might make it easier for people who do file their papers that way. Folder Marker has many more options than just colors.

I was previewing the Windows 7 library function. There's another way to sort files no matter where they are on your hard-drive. Different family lines could have their own libraries without having to decide what goes where in the usual linear fashion. That always seems to be a thing in genealogy. Whether to put the unmarried women with their husbands or their fathers, and so on. With the libraries, it doesn't matter. Files can go in multiple libraries.

Renee Zamora said...

I read that the paid version of Folder Marker is portable. Just don't want to pay for it. I also read about Folerico that says it is free and portable. Just need to do a little research on it.

I don't have Windows 7 but the libraries concept sounds really great. I have often thought if you could just "tag" your files and make them appear in multiple places that would solve the whole issue.

JL said...

Folderico only works on 32-bit systems.

I read where Folder Marker is supposed to be portable. That might also be the free version. When I sent a newly-created (purple) folder to a flash-drive, the color went with it. It didn't work, though, on an already established folder. In other words, I'd have to delete all my backups and start over. Not likely.

"Tagging files and making them appear in multiple places" is definitely the cure. I'm looking forward to Windows 7.

Typo in previous comment. "unmarried" should say 'married'.