Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Some Things I Learned at the BYU FH&Gen Conf by Don Snow

The following has been republished by permission from Donald R. Snow, 2nd VP of the UVTAGG.



©2012 by Donald R. Snow

    These are not in any special order.  Some of them I learned in classes and others from talking to people in the halls.

  1. The conference information and schedule are posted at .  There was some talk that they may be able to post parts of the keynote addresses on that website.  This year everyone got a CD with a pdf of the syllabus, but the hard copy cost an extra $30 and I don't think very many bought the hard copy.  Because of that Diane and I printed and handed out one-page summaries of our two presentations.  Our talks were well-attended and seemed to go over well.  The updated notes are posted at .  Our talks were  Your Personal Genealogy Library:  Family History Books Online  and  The Best Things in Life are Free: Freeware for Family History . In the books online talk we discussed the Family History Library, Google Books, Internet Archive, HeritageQuest Online, and a few others.  In the freeware talk we discussed the programs Everything, Evernote, Q-Dir, PDF-XChange Viewer, FastStone Capture, and Phrase Express. 
  2. The first keynote address was by Richard Turley, Assistant Church Historian, on the early history of .  Most of his presentation dealt with events of 1999 with the launch of .  He talked about how the website was wildly more popular than they had ever supposed and he showed video clips of the NBC Today show interviewing him and others, the results of finding FH info for the Today Show anchors, and his interview by Barbara Walters.  Bro. Turley talked about other events that year including the gunman in the FHL and the tornado that touched down in Salt Lake City that summer.  His talk about the launch of brought back lots of memories for Diane and me since we had been called as FH missionaries to serve as Directors of the New York FHC in Manhattan and had no idea that that year was going to be so momentous for the Church and FH.  We were in on a lot of those happenings and interviews and were asked to do the FH for two of the NBC Today anchors and for the Head of PBS in New York City.  We even took Bro. Turley to a musical that we were able to get last-minute tickets to while he was there.
  3. One of the other keynote addresses was by Rod DeGiulio, VP of FamilySearch International.  He talked about what's happening with FamilySearch around the world now and, in particular, what's happening in Italy.  He was a VP of the Hewlett-Packard  Company and had spent 3 years in Italy.  After he retired from HP the Church hired him for FamilySearch International.  He talked about how he had been able to find some of his own Italian ancestry and told some remarkable stories about that and the contract the Church has signed with the Italian Government to digitize, index, and post online all the Italian civil registration records.  Wow!  What a gold mine that's going to be for anyone with Italian ancestry.  He said there are already 4 cameras digitizing their records.  Someone said their goal is to cut the time to 2 weeks from digitizing to posting the indexed record online.  He said they are getting inquiries now from other countries to see if the Church can help them with their records.
  4. The third keynote address was by John Titford, a British feature writer and speaker, about British accents and dialects.  He talked about different accents and uses of terms in various parts of the UK and had funny and interesting stories to tell.
  5. Pedigree Resource File (PRF) is online, but not all of it since the Church doesn't have permission to post everything online from the PRF CD's and DVD's.  So don't throw out your PRF CD's and DVD's from home or your FHC since they have information on them that is not online.
  6. The 1940 US Census is completely indexed at FamilySearch now, but will take another month to get the index and images posted completely. They told us that the next major project will be to index immigration and naturalization records.  FamilySearch will have a means of correcting mistakes in the 1940 US Census index soon and that's good since I'm indexed as Donald R. Suer, not Donald R. Snow, in Los Angeles in the 1940 Census.  It's the same way in Ancestry's index.
  7. The Church has a major need for Records Preservation Missionaries at present.  You can even serve at home.  Karma Tomlinson is the Records Preservation Mission Coordinator.  Email her for information.
  8. Google+ is similar to Facebook, but with a couple of additional features. It has only been out for about 1 year.
  9. The BYU Center for Family History and Genealogy -- -- has several new projects and their Immigrant Ancestor Project has lots more records now.  They have students going through the outbound migration records from European countries, rather than looking at the passenger lists coming into the US.  They have also just posted Bertram Merrell's Cheshire, England, Marriage Index.  See their website for many new projects.
  10. The BYU Family History Library has a wealth of LDS and Utah information posted on their website -- .
  11. Ancestral Quest 14 has a new feature of forming timelines of your ancestors, including local events like wars and censuses where it finds locations in your ancestor's data -- .
  12. The Church History Catalog is at which includes FH books online, BYU Digital Collections, Internet Archives (which has posted all Conference Reports since 1880, but the Church only printed one or two for General Conferences before 1900, all Improvement Era Magazines, and Instructor Magazines.)   It appears that all 400,000 images from the 74-DVD Selected Collections DVD's are now posted and that includes Erastus Snow's journal.  The Church History Library URL is .  At the CHL they also have minutes of meetings, manuscript histories, many photographs, and much more and if you are doing research on any Church organization be sure to check the CHL.  They passed out free booklets called "Selected LDS Family and Local History Sources at the Church History Library" which are available there.  Some other links that may be helpful are ; ; and Selected Church History Manuscript Collections which includes the Journal History Index 1830-1972 and many of the Journal History images --
  13. FamilySearch Family Tree is the new interface for "new FamilySearch".  They reported that nFS needs to be removed as soon as possible after FS Family Tree has all the capabilities since you can change some things in FS FT that can't be changed in nFS, so if you make some changes in FS FT they don't show in nFS.  So if you delete something in FS FT, it may still show in nFS.  You can now add source URL's in FS FT and edit relationships there, but you can't in nFS.  To access FS FT you use your LDS account and sign up (just need to do this once) at .  Then when you go to and sign in with your LDS account you see a new tab called "Family Tree" which shows your data in the new format.  You can edit your temple ordinance requests in FS FT, but you have to initiate them in nFS still.
  14. George W. Scott has written two free books to help you use FamilySearch Family Tree.  You can download them from .  They are called "How To Use Family Tree Wisely" (101-page manual for beginners) and "Family Tree, For The Experienced New FamilySearch User" (55-page manual).  He has also posted some free video tutorials about Family Tree on that site.
  15. George Ryskamp gave a talk comparing your tree on FamilySearch Family Tree versus posting it on Ancestry's trees.  He pointed out that it's like comparing apples and oranges and they have major differences.
  16. Jill Crandall, Director of the BYU Center for Family History and Genealogy, is producing a new program (beta test soon) called ResearchTies that helps with research logs and sources.  The URL is .
  17. There were several new vendors there this time, but some of the old familiar ones weren't there and I don't know why.
  18. One of the WPA (Works Project Administration) projects was an inventory of historical records in the US.  This was during the Great Depression (1935-1943) and they produced many helpful typewritten record lists.  Most of these have never been published nor posted online.  Before doing research in an area, check to see if you can find any WPA inventories of records in that area and you might find lots of records to search that you weren't aware of.  After the US Government ended their support, many states continued the projects to finish cataloging their records.  A helpful article is .  Some examples of WPA records from Washington County Utah that I have used are posted at .
  19. There are more than 80 lineage-linked family trees from 22 geographical regions on FamilySearch's Community Family Trees now.  This is different than the Trees button on FamilySearch.  You can get to FS Community Family Trees in several ways, one of which is .  Click on See Community Trees to see the list and locations of the projects all around the world.  There is also a section for oral histories.  
  20. The Ancestry Insider gave a humorous talk about Records Are The Darnest Things.  He had lots of funny examples and some are on his blog .

  21. That's a quick list of a few of the things I learned. I'm sure I'll remember others that I should have included.  With so many changes occurring daily in FH, it's hard to keep up with it all, but hopefully this list will help someone  out there.

1 comment:

NHD said...

Thank you! Great summary. Someday I'll make it to one of these...