Monday, March 09, 2015

Mapleton Family History Fair Recap

This past Saturday, March 7th, 2015 I was able to attend the Mapleton Family History Fair for the very first time. The theme was "Has Your Heart Been Turned" It's one of those golden family history fairs. Put on by a multi-stake family history center, free to the public, free pizza lunch provided, with an awesome lineup of speakers, plus a downloadable syllabus. (only available a short time)
This event was held at a local LDS Chapel and was well attended. The final count was 400 attendees. With a show of hands at the beginning of the meeting, most were not from the local area, myself included.

At the start of the meeting FHC Director Charlie Combs commented about the abundance of records available and how it could only be managed with technology.  What followed struck a cord with me. He said "Sometimes I think Record Hints is the manna the Father has given us. Are we going to eat the manna, or are we going to let it sit there and rot?" I have been feeling this over-whelming flood of records coming my way. This is truly a blessing so rich my basket overfloweth and I struggle to just contain it. I love thinking of my basket full of manna now. Truly we are being blessed in our day.

Keynote speaker was the entertaining Ron Tanner. LDS genealogist don't need a cup of coffee to get their day going, they need to listen to Ron Tanner instead. We found out that the new Family Tree Landscape (Pedigree) View has only been rolled out to 5% of the users on FamilySearch. Ron reviewed the new features being added to it. There will be portraits and the marriage date showing for the couples. Icons you see on the current descendant view will be showing - which include Record Hints. You won't need to hover over the names to see if there are additional spouses or children. I was touched when he said those involved in family history work receive the same blessings as our missionaries. We are involved in a great work.

Here are some of the FamilySearch and Family Tree stats he gave:
  • 2.5 M Person Added per Month
  • 2.6 M Conclusions Written per Month
  • 6.6 M Sources Added each Month
  • Family Tree has 1.1 Billion Persons & 194 Million + Sources
  • RootsTech 2014 contest was held for the person that entered the 12th Million Sources - look how far we have come in one year!
The tracks I attended where all by FamilySearch Product Managers, which happen to live in the Mapleton area. I'll list the classes I attended and the notes I made on them.

Family Tree & Descendancy Research - Jeff Hawkins

With the 4 steps he laid out they have been able to find new family members not currently in family tree for individuals to take to the temple. In some cases within 10 minutes. The syllabus has all his slides.

Our 4 Steps
  1. Pick a Great Great Great...Grandparent - Use place, birth date, and name to guide your choice
  2. Search for Their Descendants - Find someone in a historical record that is missing from Family Tree!
  3. Attach Records and Add Missing People - Use tools to attach the source and add the missing people to Family Tree
  4. Reserve and Share Names - Prepare, print, and take names to the temple
Step 1: Target US descendants born between 1830 and 1890 because these descendants will appear in US census records. These records are ideal for beginning genealogists.

Easiest Places
1. New England States (MA, ME, NH, CT, VT, RI)
2. Mid West States (IA, IL, OH, ID)
3. Mid Atlantic States (NY, PA, NJ)
4. South Atlantic States (NC, SC, VA)
5. Southern States (TN, AL, KY)
6. Western States

Easiest Dates: Targeting descendants born from 1830 to 1890. Must select their ancestors (go further back!). US Census shows relationships starting in 1880. Pick an ancestor prior to church membership. Pick Someone Around 1800!

Easiest Name: Pick someone with an UNCOMMON NAME.

How to Pick a GGG...Grandparent
1. Open FamilySearch and use the Fan Chart
2. The outer ring shows gg grandparents
3. Scan gg grandparents using person card
4. Look 1st at Place, then Time, then Name
5. If needed, extend a line to go further back
6. Re-root on target or open in a new tab.

Hot Tip #1: Learn to use Browser Tabs
Mac Users: Command <Click> (Opens in a new tab)
Windows Users: Control Click (Opens in a new tab)
He showed others which you can Google to find. I like to click on the mouse scroll wheel button to open a link into a new tab on my Windows computer. Opening a new tab helps you not lose your place while working in Family Tree or the search results.

Avoid people with Data Problems

Step 2: Is This Record Our Person???
1. Examine Dates, Places, Names, Relationships
2. Look for problems. How many facts align?
3. Are there multiple records?
4. Are there conflicting facts?

You are making a genealogical conclusion. Be Deliberate!

Hot Tip #2: Use the Research Wiki

Step 3: Attach the Record
1. Examine the evidence.
2. Make note of what matches and what doesn't
3. Reconcile these differences.
4. Use other records, etc.
5. Write a good Reason Statement, one that can be reused for all subsequent attaches (Saves time). Address conflicts and concerns.

Attention: Pay attention to those born within 110 years. It's possible they may still be living. Additional research may be required before adding them as "deceased" to Family Tree.

Hot Tip #3: Your Vineyard
1. Pick a place to work in your family tree
2. Become familiar with that place
3. Become familiar with that time
4. Develop the family narrative
5. Get to know these people.
6. Toil and improve the family tree for these people
7. Build out from there
8. Don't forget the women. They're harder to track.

I really like thinking about the area, I feel impressed to work on my family history, as my vineyard.

Step 4: Reserve and Share

Hot Tip #4: If Not You, Then Who?
"I have shown you a method you can use to find missing people. As your skills mature, you will need to find those descendants whose "hints" don't show, whose language you don't speak. If not you, then who?"

Hot Tip #5: Share with Someone Else: Once you've figured it out, help someone else!

There are 13 million names on the Temple Reservation Lists. These are ordinances that users are not sharing with the temple to complete. They are simply being held and not completed. He recommended that we don't become a spiritual jailer by holding these names.

FamilySearch's Search Feature - Robert Kehrer

Reviewed features currently in development, and coming soon

  • Open image in New Window
  • Auto Select Deceased if  > 110 yrs - determine by event date
  • Retired/Removed Records - Getting rid of duplicates. Notes what has happened to records you are currently linked to.
  • Attach & Detach Always available
  • Not-A-Match Available from Search
Offsite Image Icon
  • Instead of a typical camera icon there will another one showing the record takes you to a different website
Responsive design
  • The Historical Records search results will adjust the column size based on the size of our screens.
  • Image & Index Together
  • Sticky Header Row - when you scroll the page the header will move to the top of the screen, opening up more real estate on the screen
  • Flatter Results - emphasis on having record details available while still in the results page. If you click on a result it will expand that records in the list to display the details. It will also have a thumbnail image of the record. When you click on the thumbnail to view the record it will be overlaid on the top of the result page. This will help us not lose our place in the results. You can open it in another tab if you want but this will make for faster viewing of records.
Location Pages
  • When searching by locations we will begin to see links to the Wiki page and Learning Center so people can find out more about that area.
  • Sub Filters for Locations - an addition sub location field will be available to narrow down the locality searching. From a State you can filter to the County level for those results.
Miscellaneous Notes:
  • Genealogies - form, results, details & data
  • Correct Data - when the record image of a census image is displayed the transcript of all the people on that page will be displayed in a table below it. There will be a small pencil icon next to their names. Clicking it will allow you to enter spelling corrections.
  • Attaching Records to living people is coming soon
  • 5.2 billion historical records today.
  • Wildcard Searches - ? replaces 1 character, * replaces 1-infinite characters
Reason statements - emphasis on writing a reason statement that covers the entire record. The same reason statement will be populated to that field on other people you are attaching the record to. Learn to improve your reason statements. Studies prove people are not changing facts on people with good reason statements.  You can add reason statements to any fact on the Person Page.

Reason Statement Example: "The people in this 1930 census is the same as in the Family Tree based on the similarity of their names, genders, event dates and places and their relationships."

He demonstrated how to attach a record to a person not showing in the family view. I was stuck on how to do this. Now I know to change the focus person and look for their parents and siblings to attach the records to those extended family members.

FamilySearch Photo & Stories - Roger Bell

Mapleton Family History Center has an impressive list of equipment for scanning photos and documents. Reservations for a 2 hour block of time can be made by calling the Mapleton FHC.

Memories include: Photos, Documents, Audio & Stories
  • Limit is 5,000 photos per user - but may not be enforced.
  • 15 MB file size limit for upload
  • Image Detail - allows rotating the image and changing between it being a photo or document
  • Sometime this year - ability to share with a group, by invitation only, private spaces or living individuals.
He did show us a mock-up of a Memories page where everything you had was laid out in a list. I didn't get a good detail shot of that proto-type to share. I really like seeing things in a spreadsheet type layout, so it totally worked for me. I don't have many notes from this class, but I learned a lot about adding media and attaching it to people.

New Things from RootsTech 2015 - Tim Cross

He said the syllabus contains the slides of his presentation. They have the time frame on the video clips he showed. I haven't been able to find that syllabus on the Mapleton FHC Wiki Page. All the videos clips he showed were highlights of RootsTech that made me cry.

1. State of Family History, RootsTech, and FamilySearch - Dennis Brimhall video clip

2. Innovator's Summit - Nathan Furr video clip on RentTheRunway

3. Tan Le's life experience - video clip

4. More FREE access announced - AmericanAncestors available on

5. Discovery Center
6. Family Discovery Day
  • We saw a shift at Family Discovery Day. The priesthood is extending to the various auxiliaries an emphasis on family history work.
Beta Testing "Golden Hints" - Names Ready for the Temple - I believe theses are emailed to you.

Share with Family and Friends - temple reservations can be shared with a family member. An email is sent for them to accept those reservations. They will need to sign up for an account to do so. Once they accept those reservations they are transferred to their account. More features will be added to the Share with Family and Friends to make things smoother.

FamilySearch Mobile Apps - Todd Powell

The Mobile App for iOS and Android devices are called "FamilySearch Tree" and "Memories"

How long did it take to reach 50 Million Users
Telephone - 76 years
Radio - 38 years
Television - 13 years
Internet - 4 years
Facebook - 3.5 years
iPod - 3 years
Angry Bird app - 35 days

Mobile Traffic (of all global internet traffic)
2008 - 0%
2009 - 4%
2011 - 8%
2012 - 15%
2013 - 20%
2014 - 30%

Mobile Statistics (Billions of Smartphone Users: Globally)
2013 - 1.3 billion
2014 - 1.6 billion
2015 - 1.9 billion
2016 - 2.1 billon

Interesting figures on the growth around the world on the use of mobile devices. Mobile devices are adapted sooner in less developed countries because it takes less infrastructure to run them. Its easier to build a cell tower then to run cables for internet access.

FS Mobile App Stats - ending January 31, 2015
530k - Downloads
20k - Ancestors Added
109k - New Accounts
230k - Photos Added
6k - Stories Added
5k - New Recordings
4k - Sources Added

2015 Roadmap - Q1
  • Add New Person (with existing relationship)
  • Reserve Ordinance/Person - Currently testing reserving ordinances
  • Share to Temple - You can print an FOR (Family Ordinance Request) from the app. Take the barcode on the device to temple for them to print out the cards.
  • Share to Family & Friends
  • Mobile Notifications (for new artifacts) - When someone uploads a photo you will receive notifications on your device. This is already available on the Android version, in a couple of weeks on iOS devices.
  • iOS - Find Person - This week on iOS we will have the ability to find other people in the tree.
  • Can download 6 generations to the app for off-line viewing
  • Search and hinting are coming
Coming end of June (Q2)
  • Hinting on mobile app
  • Hint notifications
  • Hinting and Temple opportunities notification
That's the end of my notes on an excellent family history day. I must say Mapleton Family History Center Director Charlie Combs and his wife Patti did an wonderful job. This is a family history fair I will keep my eye on and plan to attend again.  I hope to see you there.

See ya tomorrow for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!

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