Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WorldVitalRecords Sponsors St. George Jamboree

PROVO, UT, November 27, 2007--- announced today its major sponsorship of the 2008 St. George Utah Genealogy and Family Heritage Jamboree to be held on February 8-9, 2008.

"Being a sponsor of this event is an awesome opportunity and privilege because we have never had sponsors before," said Kimberly Savage, VP of My Ancestors Found. "I have attended conferences for 20 years, and this is an excellent conference. Professionals who are on the cutting edge of learning will be attending, along with the leaders in the industry, such as, Footnote, Ancestry, and FamilySearch."

"This is the first time has had a sponsorship on this level, and we are thrilled to be able to contribute and be a part of this great conference. After attending last year's expo, I realized the importance of this conference and was really impressed with the attendees and their interest and knowledge of genealogy," said David Lifferth, President, "We’re really excited for this sponsorship opportunity and look forward to disseminating greater knowledge in this field through our speakers, as well as the services we provide."

"Pirates of the Pedigree" is the theme for the expo, which will be held at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George. The purpose of the expo is for individuals to find their family treasures, without allowing pirates to rob them of discovering the real stories and facts from their personal pedigrees.

"My Ancestors Found’s goal in putting on family history events is to educate, motivate and inspire the beginner to the advanced genealogist. We love to have fun and invite all to share the excitement of the Family History Expo," said Savage.

The expo will feature 101 presentations from well-known genealogists and speakers from all over the U.S, such as Richard Black from Godfrey Memorial Library, Myrt from DearMyrtle, Kip Sperry from Brigham Young University, David Lifferth from, Leland Meitzler from Everton, Bruce Buzbee from RootsMagic, Inc., Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak from Roots Television, and Beau Sharbrough from A complete list of all the speakers and their topics is available at

"The Family History Expo is more than a local or regional conference, it is an international event, with speakers and vendors from all across the US, Canada, and England," Savage said. "The lectures, variety of vendors in the exhibit hall, syllabus, and program booklet are superior to many events. Providing the syllabus on compact disc and also in a paper format is always appreciated by our attendees."

The St. George Utah Genealogy and My Ancestors Found will host the expo. More than 50 vendors and exhibitions will also be featured, along with many prizes and drawings. will have an exhibit at the expo and will also present several classes on innovative tools to connect families.

"In just a short amount of time since has launched, we have exploded in popularity. The next logical step for was to partner with My Ancestors Found on a level such as this to show people all that we have to offer. will be teaching classes, providing demonstrations, sponsoring the conference, donating prizes and giveaways, and will also have a booth for individuals to come and see all that we have to offer," said Amy Rhoads, Director, Community Building, " is using technology in ways that no other genealogy company has before. Utilizing technology in this way allows to offer its services at such affordable prices, coupled with offer features and benefits for individuals take their genealogy research to the next level."

Last year's expo in St. George brought in thousands of attendees. My Ancestors Found predicts that this expo may be one of the largest genealogy conferences of the year in North America.

"There's something for everybody at this expo, no matter what their level," Savage said. "Family history is an important link to the past. Genealogy isn’t just names and dates, its stories. It's great to know who you are and where you came from."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 18

I'm still doing training at work and plugging along - can't believe I've even gotten to the half-way point in training, 3 more weeks to go WAHOO!! Since my FamilySearch Indexing habit has been well established I was able to jump right in today and do some indexing. I indexed 2 batches of the Vermont 1850 U.S. Federal Census and now have a grand total of 1762 individuals indexed today.

I received the following comment on my blog article last week.
"That's amazing! I've been transcribing for several months and haven't had a single message from HQ (not even the one of the 16th Nov). I wonder what I'm doing wrong!" (Anonymous)
I can see from Anonymous' comment that you thought I was receiving an individual email from FamilySearch Indexing. No that is not the case. FamilySearch Indexing is leaving these messages for us in the "My Messages" section of the program.

When you first log into the program FamilySearch Indexing, you will see a screen that has several sections to it. Here is a break-down of what the program's opening page contains.
  • My Works - located in the top of the screen - this is where you download and work on your batches. You have two download options - "Download Indexing Batch" and "Download From..." The first option will assign you a random batch, the second allows you to pick from what current projects are available. This is how I choose batches to index from the 1850 U.S. Federal Census for the state of Vermont. There are a few other buttons under My Works - Work on Batch, Submit Batch, Return Batch and off to the right hand side Work Offline.
  • My Messages - below My Works on the left hand side. This is where you can see the latest messages from headquarters - such as the one I mentioned last week "Gratitude and Encouragement". After you have read the messages you can choose to delete them, the button to Delete Message is below the message box.
  • My Personal Goal - located on the right hand side. Here you have two options "Set New Goal" and "See My History". In "Set New Goal" you can determine a start and end date and it will help you track you progress and the number of names you would need to do daily to reach that goal. The Indexing Status for those figures is shown in the My Personal Goal section. The other button "See My History" opens a box where you can see the Project names you have worked on, how many names you have indexed in the current month, and the total to date of all individuals you have indexed in a project or as a combined total. I can see I have indexed this month 84 names for the Connecticut 1850 U.S. Federal Census and 294 for the Vermont 1850 U.S. Federal Census. That gives me a combined total of 378 names indexed this month. Combined total of 1762 to date.
  • Indexing Web Links - on the right hand side below My Personal Goal. Some handy links are given for the Current or Upcoming Indexing Projects, the FamilySearch Indexing Home Page or FamilySearch Home Page. I just wish they would add the link to the actual indexed images on FamilySearch Labs here.
  • Total names indexed: 1762 - Quit a few people miss this little section because it's on the bottom of the screen on the left hand side and the opposite side you will find you Download Complete status bar. The total names indexed gives you the same figure you would find if you went into See My History under My Personal Goal. This is the grand total of names you have indexed to date.
In My Messages this week we have the following notice.
From: Headquarters
Subject: Attention: 1871 Canadian Census Instructions
Date: 19 Nov 2007

To All Indexers and Arbitrators

Please note that most of the 1871 Canadian Census batches contain two pages on each document image. The pages were filmed one above the other. Both pages contain 20 records. After you have indexed the first 20 entries, be sure to scroll down and index the following 20. (See Number of Records per Image under Project-Specific Indexing Instructions.) Restart the line numbers beginning with number 1 for the second page on the image.

In the birthplace field, the instructions say to expand the abbreviations only if you are sure what they stand for. Do not assume that the abbreviation O is always Ontario. It could be Ottawa.

The age field must have a letter designation after the number. Type either a "y" to indicate years or an "m" to indicate months for ages that were recorded as a fraction, such as 3/12.

Arbitrators, if you receive a batch of 1871 Canadian Census records that was not indexed completely, please return it by doing the following:

1. From the file menu at the top of the indexing screen, click Reindex Batch...
2. Click the box in front of the Reindex A Key, Reindex B Key, or click in both boxes if neither indexer picked up the second page of 20 records.
3. Click OK.

Thank you very much for helping to create top-quality indexes, and thanks to all of you who are carefully following instructions.
It's been great getting to do FamilySearch Indexing. Since I've been working I find I haven't had the time to hardly do anything else. This past week I was feeling major genealogy withdrawals. I finally did get to do a little genealogy yesterday and I actually found a young child Loesa Jenkins that died 1 Feb 1853 from croup. She was just 2 years, 2 months and 18 days old - how sad. She was Lyman Jenkin and Anice Lapham's first born child.

Census records had helped me find the other 5 children but little Loesa didn't live long enough to get on any census records. It was just by chance I found her mentioned in an old newspaper article. I just felt like crying when I found mention of little Loesa's death. I need to make sure that Loesa gets sealed to her parents now. Can you imagine how long that mother has been without her child sealed to her.

Yes census records are great and help us join many family members together but don't forget to do other types of research out there too. I am just go grateful that with the little time I have had these past three weeks with working full time, that I was able to just put in a few hours yesterday and walk away with a new family member. That doesn't happen often, as I am sure many of you know. I feel like I am being blessed for my efforts in doing the best that I can with the time that I have. Don't forget in your efforts to help others, by doing FamilySearch Indexing, to also work on your own lines. You never know what family member is waiting in line for you to do their work for them. Just do the best that you can with the time that you have and I know your efforts will be blessed too.

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wholly Cruise

The largest family history conference on the seas.

Wholly Genes, Inc., of Columbia, Maryland, is proud to announce the 2008 Genealogy Conference and Cruise, October 26-November 2, 2008. This extremely popular annual event has a reputation for its unrivaled speaker list, exceeding even that of most land-based family history conferences. Like the three years before it, this is expected to be a sold-out event.

In 2008, eleven of the most prominent professional genealogists and technical experts from the U.S., England, and Ireland will share their experience and advice with several hundred family researchers while sailing to the tropical islands of the Caribbean. This year's event will include at least 16 hours of expert presentations on genealogy methodology and tools (without a focus on any particular software) and will use a schedule of non-conflicting lecture times so attendees can make the most of this unprecedented educational opportunity.

Attendees will also have the rare chance to schedule private one-on-one consultations, to share a casual meal, or to attend other social events with the speakers, many of whom are giants in the genealogy community:
  • Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, longtime editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.
  • Barbara Vines Little, CG, former president of the NationalGenealogical Society and Virginia Genealogical Society.
  • John Grenham, Ireland's foremost genealogist.
  • John Titford, LHG FSG, prominent British genealogist and popular author.
  • Craig Scott, MA, CG, certified genealogist and military record expert.
  • Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, professional genealogist and popular author.
  • Cyndi Howells of, an expert at online resources.
  • Tony Burroughs, FUGA, popular genealogical author, teacher, and lecturer.
Although not providing lectures, the following additional speakers will host breakfasts and private consultations:
  • Robert Charles Anderson, FASG, Director of the Great Migration Study Project for NEHGS.
  • Sandra Hewlett, CG, professional researcher and councilor for the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
  • Dick Eastman, technology expert and editor of Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.
In addition to attending the main lectures, users of The Master Genealogist (TMG) project manager will find a variety of presentations about how to make the most of that software and its
companion programs. Attendees will meet Bob Velke, President of Wholly Genes, Inc., and be able to schedule private consultations with him and many other prominent researchers in the TMG community, including John Cardinal, Lee Hoffman, Jim Byram, and members of the TMG support team.

Planned cocktail parties and other events will give attendees the chance to mingle with other group members, swap research interests, and make new friends. An attendee from North Carolina remembers the last such event as a "wonderful way to vacation, meet new friends
with similar interests, and learn a lot in the bargain!"

The 2008 conference will be held on the majestic Caribbean Princess as it sails from New York City to the exotic ports of St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Thomas and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Traveling companions who aren't interested in the lectures might want to relax with a book on a private balcony or take advantage of the many shipboard features, including pools, saunas, exercise equipment, jogging track, golf simulator, putting green, racket games, Internet cafe, and a
large casino. The lecture schedule leaves family and friends to spend evenings together for a quiet dinner or to enjoy live shipboard entertainment, night-clubs, and even an outdoor movie theater under the stars. Four tropical ports and optional guided shore excursions will round out a truly memorable vacation.

"A cruise ship makes a relaxing environment in which to learn from the experts and improve our research skills," said Velke. He added, "However, not many educational opportunities also include the ability to spend quality time with family and friends on tropical islands. We are very pleased that so many people have enjoyed this format in past years and we are looking forward to another great event."

Prices for the week-long 2008 Genealogy Conference and Cruise start at about $843 per person (inside cabin, double occupancy) and include the cruise, food, shipboard entertainment, and attendance to all conference events. A roommate-finding service is also available. Complete details can be found at

About the company:
Wholly Genes Software is a privately held corporation founded in 1993 with the goal of providing professional-caliber software tools to family historians. Its flagship product, The Master Genealogist, is among the highest rated family history project managers and is in use in more than 30 countries around the world.

Barbara Grempler, Conference Chair
Wholly Genes, Inc.
9110 Red Branch Road, STE O
Columbia, Maryland 21044
410-715-2260 x160

Monday, November 19, 2007

Applause for Amanda

I just found this blog through Google Alerts - Amanda Creates. She is a young mother with small children and she has just finished indexing 10,004 individuals in less than a years time. I am so impressed with her accomplishment. Why don't you read her article "10,000 (+4) Names!!" and leave her a nice little comment on her success. I'm sure that will brighten her day.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 17

I was getting a late start in doing my FamilySearch Indexing today. When I went into the program this message greeted me.
From Headquarters
Subject: Gratitude and Encouragement
Date: 16 Nov 2007


You have almost completed the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Thank you so much for all of your persistence and determination. You have done a fantastic job!

As we finish that project, we are releasing many others. We would really appreciate your help with two high-priority projects that are available right now. They are the 1871 Canadian Census and West Virginia Vital Records. These projects have some challenging aspects, and we remind you to carefully read and follow the project-specific and field-help instructions.

The document images for the 1871 Canadian Census may be difficult to read. Prayerfully approach this task, and do your best. Do not spend too much time. If you cannot read a record or a part of a record, it is not wrong to mark it as unreadable.

There are multiple record types in the West Virginia Vital Records project. Your batch might consist of birth, marriage, or death records. Because these records are so varied, form entry is the only format that can be used to index them.

Again, we appreciate each one of you. This work could not be accomplished without your enthusiasm and dedication. Keep up the great work!
I was happy to see that we have almost completed the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. I have been one of the lucky ones with my New York being one of the first completed. What I wasn't thrilled about was see that the high priority batches for Canada and West Virgina were going to take brain power. I just didn't have extra brain power after training full time all week.

I determined that I would index what I felt comfortable with and that was the 1850 U.S Federal Census for Vermont. The first batch had that elegant, fancy handwriting that is so difficult to follow. I just did the best I could with it. I hoped and hoped my next batch wouldn't be from the same census taker.

At first glance my second batch seemed to be a curse. It was so faded and washed out. I was beginning to think I was cursed for not working the high priority batches. As I started on the first record I realized that I could read it. It was all washed out but my eyes just knew what it was. I had to type really fast. It seemed like someone was just reading it out loud and I was taking dictations. That was a really neat experience. I guess I needed to stick with my Vermont after all. When it came time to have the quality check I realized I was looking at the record at 50% and not my normal 75% magnification. It was much more readable at 100% but I know I had some added help while transcribing those records while viewing it at 50%.

I have really been blessed these past two weeks with health I have not experienced in the nearly 7 years since my accident and illness. I guess when you undertake to do things with a righteous intent you will be given added blessings.

I've have a few readers tell me they are praying for me and I know with those prayers and my family I will get through the next four weeks of full time training. In the mean time I keep to my schedule and do what I am able. Thank goodness that includes FamilySearch Indexing and my genealogy. It is possible to accomplish things when you take it one step at a time. The habit I developed to index on Sundays has been really helpful.

Today I indexed 2 batches for a total of 84 individuals indexed and a grand total of 1,678 to date. It's been 17 weeks and I can see myself reaching 2,000 names indexed - maybe in time for Christmas. YIPEE!!!

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

New England History Festival Teleconference

Join us Tuesday November 20, 2007 8PM for a Teleconference Introduction to the NEW ENGLAND HISTORY FESTIVAL

John Horrigan will provide an excerpt from NEW ENGLAND'S DARK DAY, as well as an overview of the program and participating societies.

Register for the teleconference

Register for the on site event -
WHEN: Saturday, November 24th, 2007
TIME: 6:00 PM - 10:00PM
WHERE: Hibernian Hall, 151 Watertown Street, Watertown, MA 02472
Contact: John Horrigan 781-799-3781

Lost at Sea
Boston Molasses Flood
Naval Battles of the Revolution
New England's Dark Day
The History of New England Radio
The Salem Witch Trials

Featuring: Michael Tougias, Stephen Puleo, Donna Halper, Mike Ryan, Bill Rose, John Horrigan, Marilynne Roach

Special Guests include: University of Massachusetts Boston, Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History, Waltham Historical Society, Historical Society of Watertown, Community Heritage Maps, Salem History Society, National Archives and Records Administration

***ALL HISTORICAL SOCIETIES WELCOME! Contact John Horrigan at 781-799-3781 for free table space to promote your organization***.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

GenDB Cemetery Database Creator

The following article is from the Ohana Insight Nov 2007 Newsletter - now if someone would just index the Harrisena and Seelye Cemeteries in Queensbury, New York for me!

Spotlight on: GenDB Cemetery Database Creator

In 1946, someone indexed the headstones in a cemetery where my 2nd great grandparents and one of their son's were buried. A few years ago, I entered the name Martha Corey into the search box on a county website and watched as a page slowly appeared on my monitor. "Martha M Knight wife of Arnold Corey" caught my eye and I held my breath. I did not know Martha's maiden name but I knew she was married to Arnold Corey! His name appeared next as the husband of Martha Knight. Finally, their son's name appeared and I knew it was my family. Because someone in 1946 took the time to record headstone information and about 50 years later someone else scanned the pages and put them on the Internet, I found the maiden name of Martha Corey. I will be forever grateful.

We can be the anonymous stranger that helps someone achieve a genealogical breakthrough by becoming involved in cemetery indexing projects. Such projects are ideal for youth groups, service organizations and churches, and Eagle Scout projects. Why not incorporate an indexing project into a vacation or genealogy trip. Armed with a laptop and GenDB Cemetery Database Creator by Joseph Irvine, you can easily create a helpful index for yourself and others.

GenDB Cemetery Database Creator provides a place for entering the transcriber's contact information, the cemetery address, and information found on the headstone. Additional remarks and explanatory notes go into the comments field. The user simply goes from marker to marker entering the information into the program. The program saves the data as both a sorted and unsorted .txt file. This feature allows several people to work independently on their own computers. When done, copy the information from one file and paste it into another to create one complete record.

With GedDB you can share your index and become someone's hero. With the click of a button can alphabetize your file and create an HTML file for posting it online. If you do not have your own website, consider these options:
  • - Click the Projects link at the top of their page and select "The USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project" link.
  • - To contribute information you must register with the website. Registration is free.
County genealogy website where the cemetery is located - See note above for

I have three suggestions for getting started. First, look at indexing projects on both USGenWeb and FindAGrave to see if there are plans for indexing a cemetery in your area, then volunteer. Second, check with the cemetery for permission to index, see if an online index already exists, and get their rules and regulations regarding treatment of the headstones, etc. Third, if you did not volunteer for a project, decide on a website for your index and find out all their requirements. Some websites require a .txt format, others want it in .html or excel. GenDB Cemetery Database Creator creates the .txt and .html formats and you can easily convert the .txt file to excel if needed.

You may find the program on the Free Stuff tab of the Ohana Software website. Now, let's get out there and help one another find our families!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

FHLO - Corrections to Instructions

CORRECTED instructions for attending:

An online Family History Fair, “Remembering Our Ancestors” on Saturday, November 17, 2007, presented by Family History Live Online (FHLO). (Check the website for agenda/times:

Content for this fair MUST be downloaded in advance. We recommend you do so at least 24 hours before:

To download content for the fair:
  • Connect to the internet
  • Open the SG ReGL Viewer
  • Click on “UPDATE REGL”
  • Click on “UPDATE CONTENT”
  • In the field provided, enter the code: fhlo.fair17
  • Follow the instructions to download the content
To log-on to the fair:
  • Connect to the internet
  • Open the SG ReGl viewer
  • Click “CLICK TO LOG ON”
  • Click “JOIN A SESSION”
  • Enter your name, type of internet connection (cable, dialup, etc) and location (state or country) i.e.: Lynne.cable.UT
  • Enter the session code: fhlo.fair

Lynne Crawford
Family History Live Online

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Roll-out Continues

We have some more temples that were announced for the 90 day roll-out of New Family Search. This time it is the Australian temples - Sydney and Melbourne. Once again I wasn't going to call to confirm but I did have readers notify me of their letters.

It appears that you can keep track of the roll-out in several different flavors.

Google Maps of NFS Roll-out - created by Miles Meyers (link is on my blog)

Temple Districts Using NFS - article and graphics by the Ancestry Insider

NFS Roll-out - by ME! (link is on my blog)

I am kinda rushing to get to work - it's just been crazy with the training schedule but I am still alive and functioning and that is a major accomplishment for me. When I get a chance to do some more investigating I will let you know what I learn.

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

FHLO - Instructions

If you are planning on attending the Family History Live Online Fair Saturday you will want to be aware of these instructions.


An online Family History Fair, “Remembering Our Ancestors” on Saturday, November 17, 2007, presented by Family History Live Online (FHLO). (Check the website for agenda/times:

If you would like to attend the fair and registered with FHLO within the last month: please check which ReGL viewer you downloaded. This fair will be online using SG ReGL viewer NOT ReGL viewer 2008.

For instructions to download the appropriate viewer:

Go to our website: and click below the ReGL logo at the bottom left-hand corner of the home page.

To log-on to the fair:
  • Connect to the internet
  • Open the ReGl viewer
  • Click “CLICK TO LOG ON”
  • Click “JOIN A SESSION”
  • Enter your name, type of internet connection (cable, dialup, etc) and location (state or country) i.e.: Lynne.cable.UT
  • Enter the session code: fhlo.fair
“See” you at the fair!

Lynne Crawford
Family History Live Online

Mark Your Calendars! - UGA

UGA Utah Valley Chapter November 2007 Meeting

This month, the Utah Valley Chapter of UGA will present a popular speaker, Duane Dudley. He will be telling us how to access all those digital images that are being indexed by the LDS Church. This meeting will be on Friday, November 16, 2007, 7:00 pm. The location is the Utah South Area Family History Training Center at 85 North 600 East in Provo, Utah.

Everyone is welcome!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

More Announcements on NFS Roll-Out

I have updated my spreadsheet on the New FamilySearch Roll-out. I now have added both the Hawaii temples Laie and Kona, and the Bismark, ND temple. I also had a reader tell me that the Villahermosa, Mexico temple is already live. That I can't verify but I am adding it to the list. Rumor had it that 20 were being announced so I am missing one more. Let me know if you hear word and I will do the same.

New FamilySearch Roll-Out

Live: 7
Orlando, FL
St. Louis, MO
Billings, MT
Reno, NV
Albuquerque, NM
Cardston, Alberta, Canada
Villahermosa, Mexico

Announced: 19
Boston, MA
Detroit, MI
Columbus, OH
Winter Quarters, NE
Bismark, ND
Snowflake, AZ
Mesa, AZ
Las Vegas, NV
Dallas, TX
Baton Rouge, LA
San Antonio, TX
Sacramento, CA
Fresno, CA
Redlands, CA
San Diego, CA
Oakland, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Laie, HI
Kona, HI

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 16

All I wanta know is who took my Vermont 1850 Federal Census today? I went to do my FamilySearch Indexing and it said all of Vermont's 1850 Censuses were complete. Boy, I had to re-invent the wheel and work on a different state. Then I tried Boston, MA State Censuses first for 1865, then for 1855, same story no records available. I finally decided on the 1850 Connecticut Federal Census and yes, it was available, but it was not a happy adventure for me.

The first half of the first page was all faded out, plus difficult to read handwriting. The second batch was in beautiful and fancy handwriting, but very difficult to follow. I think this census taker just made up the symbols for the first capital letter. I was only able to follow some of them if I used the look up feature and put in the letters it contains. After indexing 84 individuals (grand total of 1,594 individuals indexed to date) I guess I can say today was an adventure after all.

Before my article this week I had planned on including an email with some very good pointers to watch out for, little did I know I saw a lot of them in mine own examples today. First here's the email of off the FREP Mailing list.
I have a couple of indexing concerns that I haven't seen addressed so I figured I'd mention them here. First, I've noticed that very few people who are indexing know what a double s looked like in the handwriting of the 1800s. It wasn't a problem when most people were indexing the 1900 census but now that people are indexing earlier records, it is.

Indexers are indexing Massachusetts as Map or Mafs, Ross as Rofs or Rop or Roys or Rojo, Clarissa as Claripa, Russell as Rufsell or Rupert, Cross as Crop or Crofs. I arbitrated a batch tonight where both the A and B keys had agreed that the state of birth for several of the people on the census was Map instead of realizing what they thought was a p was a double s and the state was Massachusetts. I've arbitrated batches where both people indexed the surname Ross as Rofz and another where they both put Rop. These are some that I noticed even though they didn't come up for arbitration. I don't know how many I never noticed. It is the exception to arbitrate a batch and find that someone can read the double s. This doesn't just affect one project but will affect almost every project of handwritten records we index before about 1900. I broadcast a message to my stake after the 1871 Canadian
census was made available to index and I noticed the problem, but I don't reach enough people to make a difference.

I also have a concern about the 1850 census. Very few indexers know that C E on the 1850 census stands for Canada East. I see it indexed in the state column as C E or I see it indexed in the correct column but as Canada England or Canada English (they are thinking it's like the 1900 census) If you haven't arbitrated the 1850 census from Vermont or New Hampshire, you might not have seen this but it is real common in the New Englnad states and other northern states. I arbitrated at least one batch tonight where both indexers agreed that the state of birth for a whole group of people was C E.

Orem Hillcrest
I found the Claripa or should we say Clarissa on one of my batches tonight. Please remember to read those handwriting guides and instructions on those projects you are working on. You will find them under the Project Specific Information. Another great resource is the Indexing Tutorial. Here's another email off the FREP Mailing list.
Those double "ss" can toss you a curve the first time you run into it. We also notice that a lot of people doing the Irish death records are not putting in the "y" after the age. It is clear in the instructions, but the example they use doesn't show the "y". We found that over half the indexers were doing it wrong. When you get both indexer's leaving it off the arbitrator ends up with a lot of work. We have passed that on to our stake and will remind our people of your suggestion.

Dick and Vicki Savage, Mapleton North Stake
On my first batch when the handwriting was so faded I didn't catch that I missed the "y" after all the ages. Of course the "y" isn't there it was just that my mind was distracted and I didn't catch it until my stress lightened up. It's a good thing to proof-read over your batch when you finish them to make sure you have caught all those extra things you have to remember. I actually had on both my batches this week a couple of infants and their ages marked in months. When you index those it makes you remember better why we need the "y" or "m" after the ages.

I felt bad for the one arbitrator on the FREP mailing list that was instructed by Salt Lake and go back and add the "y" or "m" after the ages on all 375 indexed individuals. Forgetting to index correctly the first time is making a lot of work for those arbitrators.

On a different note I received the following email from a reader.
Hi Renee,

I am new to indexing too. Adjusting (and keeping them adjusted) the highlights is difficult. Usually the image is crooked, so by the time you reach the end of a census line the highlight is off. Is there a way to correct this? On the View menu I see options to nudge up, down, etc., but these don't work for me. Do they work for others?

Ileen Johnson
When I started indexing I had the same problem. Then another reader J. Conklin sent me this great set of instructions. Here is the PDF on "How to Adjust Highlights". After a couple of weeks of referring back to the instructions I am able to do this almost with my eyes shut. My very first step after downloading the batch is to adjust the highlights, even when it doesn't at first look like there are any problems where they are set. Things do seem to migrate when you work yourself down a page otherwise.

I also received this other email from a reader that has started their own Adventure in Indexing the 1930 Mexico Census. I am so tickled that my ramblings have helped one person to start working on the project.

I started receiving your blogs via FeedBlitz and saw the request for people who could read both Spanish and English. So I volunteered.

I am 66 now and haven't practiced Spanish in years. From the time I was at least 10, I felt a draw to the language. I couldn't afford a Spanish dictionary, so I started my own lists on small notepads. When I ran across a Spanish word in my reading, I wrote it down on the correct alphabetical page, including the English translation if I could figure it out or if the book explained it. If not, I would often find the meaning in later reading (even months later).

I was really happy when I could start learning Spanish in school (9th grade), and I took it for four years. During those years I spoke Spanish with native speakers at every opportunity (mostly during Spanish club meetings) and listened to shortwave radio telecasts in Spanish. Then in college I took advanced classes in Spanish and also added French (beginning to advanced). However, marriage and children eventually intervened and I only kept up with my foreign language abilities intermittently.

But I saw this call for indexers as an opportunity to give back some of the benefit I have received from the FamilySearch website in my own family research. Although my spoken Spanish is poor, I can still read it quite well. So I signed up and went through the tutorial on indexing, then started work. With the 1930 Mexico census, the majority of the indexing work involves the names. The other fields are pretty easy to do (ages, marriage status, etc.). The birthplace field is mostly the same location for everyone (or almost everyone) on the page. I found that I recognized many of the Mexican names, so that made it a lot easier even when the handwriting is hard to read or the image is extremely light. It's been fun to see how much Spanish has come back to me in the few weeks I've worked on this census.

For the first 3-4 batches I submitted, I entered only the age in numbers and forgot to add a (for anos--years), m (for meses--months), or d (for dias--days).

When a batch (page of the census) has 50 lines filled, it takes me about 45-60 minutes to complete it, including running Quality Check. Many of the batches have only 8-20 names, and I can usually do those in 30 minutes or less. Since I'm retired, I have the time to do several batches a week. When I'm working on a difficult batch and have done the best I can to decipher the information, I am glad to know that another indexer will be working on the same batch and then an arbitrator will make the final decisions. And I get such pleasure out of knowing that people whose ancestors were in Mexico at that time will be as excited as I am when I find my ancestors in Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, etc.

One thing I've learned from this experience is how difficult it is for indexers to get the names right. While researching my own ancestors, I've been amazed at the way their names have been indexed, but I also know that I have an edge because I know how their name is spelled and the handwriting doesn't always make it clear. I also have a lot more respect for the work done by the enumerators AND the indexers.

A hint I have for you and other indexers is that when I have a difficult batch, I index it one day and then go over it again, line by line, a day or two later before submitting it. That way I nearly always find mistakes I've made or names I can now recognize that I couldn't the first time.

Do you know how many volunteers are working on the 1930 Mexico index? There must be quite a few. When I tried to D/L a batch tonight, I found that the Baja and Campeche set I've been working on didn't have any batches to index, so I chose Chihuahua.

Don't forget to tell potential indexers that they don't always have to type a word. They can type part of it and look it up. For instance, I rarely come across Estados Unidos de America (Spanish for USA), and why would I want to type all of that when I can type "Est" and choose Lookup to get the rest of it?

I feel so much accomplishment from doing this work, that I'm now hooked and probably will be doing this for years--as long as I'm needed, that is. I've found that, even when I'm tired, I HAVE to do at least one batch a day. Thanks for letting me know about this opportunity.

What a lovely note to leave on. Yes indexing can be frustrating but also very rewarding in the end. I just want to thank all of you for the great work you are doing in furthering this fantastic project along. Some of us are developing talents and sharing our knowledge and helping others in ways we never knew how important each of us are.

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

Mark Your Calendars! - FHLO Fair

This coming Saturday, November 17, 2007 Family History Live Online will be holding an In-Home Family History Fair from 8:00 am to Noon and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm MST. The Fair theme is "Remembering Our Ancestors".

You can attend from your home via your computer and Internet. Dial-up, DSL, cable...All Welcome. All you need to do is sign up as a free FHLO member by Nov 14, 2007 at Once you sign up as a member, you will receive instructions on how to download the software (which is also free). You need to join before Wednesday, Nov 14, to allow time for you to receive download instructions and the necessary Content ID and Access Codes. Content will be available for everyone else to start downloading on Wednesday Nov 14, 2007.

Fair Agenda

9:00 am - Welcome - Gena Philibert Ortega
9:15 am - Using - Justin Schroepfer
10:15 am - Break
10:30 am - Diaries, Journals, Letters of our Ancestors: A Window to Better Research and Writing Family Histories - Barry Ewell
11:30 am - Using FHLO - Tex Crawford
11:45 am - Lunch

12:50 pm - Welcome - Gena Philibert Ortega
1:00 pm - To Be Announced
2:00 pm - End of Fair
2:15 pm - Genealogy Jam
4:00 pm - End of Gen Jam

Saturday, November 10, 2007

NFS Roll-out Announcements

There has been major news in the past couple of days with several temple districts receiving news that new FamilySearch will be released within 90 days. This release has shown how effective it is to have Family History Consultants register with the Church as Family History Consultants. Registered FHCs were among the first to receive word in their temple districts of the roll out, even before their local priesthood leaders could make announcement over the pulpit. All FHC in these temple districts have been asked to register on the New FamilySearch website and to start training themselves and ward members of the changes to take effect.

In my efforts to confirm the "rumors" I found my task difficult. It appears the only people talking about temple districts in the 90 day cycle are the FHCs in those areas. I was able to determine that the official release dates are soft. Temples are to go live WITHIN 90 days, that means it could be less than 90 days. My sources were telling me January as the projected live date and that would make it an only 60 day prep-time.

I created a webpage with a spreadsheet to share on my blog so you will know what temple districts have been announced, dates to go live and those already live with NFS. If you look on the Renee's Genealogy Blog website you will see located on the right hand side a link "New FamilySearch Roll-out". I will continue to updated the spreadsheet as announcements are made.

The spreadsheet in broken down by areas - the same areas that lists temples in. You will see that it is color coded. The green dates are either when the announcement was made or when they are confirmed to go live. Red is for temples that are already live with NFS and the effective date.

Since I am only able to call the United States and Canada those are the only temples districts on my spreadsheet. As I learn of temples outside of this area, that have received announcements, I will add them to the list. I expect the announcements now to increase. There are a lot of temples that need to go live before the projected July 2008 roll-out completion.

Here is a quick list of Temple's Live or Announced for NFS.

Live: 6
Orlando, FL
St. Louis, MO
Billings, MT
Reno, NV
Albuquerque, NM
Cardston, Alberta, Canada

Announced: 16
Boston, MA
Detroit, MI
Columbus, OH
Winter Quarters, NE
Snowflake, AZ
Mesa, AZ
Las Vegas, NV
Dallas, TX
Baton Rouge, LA
San Antonio, TX
Sacramento, CA
Fresno, CA
Redlands, CA
San Diego, CA
Oakland, CA
Los Angeles, CA

That would make all the Temples in California, except Newport Beach, which seems kinda odd to me. If you can confirm anymore announcements let me know. I will do the same.

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

Friday, November 09, 2007

Mark Your Calendars! - St. George Jamboree

FamilySearch and My Ancestors Found Team Up to Sponsor the 4th Annual Family History EXPO in St. George, Utah.

MORGAN, UTAH - FamilySearch and My Ancestors Found (MAF) announce the 4th annual Family History EXPO in St. George, Utah, February 8-9, 2008. The EXPO (formerly known as the Genealogy and Family Heritage Jamboree) has become one of the largest and best attended family history events in the country.

Paul Nauta, Manager of Public Affairs, FamilySearch (TM) says, “I look forward to seeing you again in February 2008 in St. George. It appears your family history expositions continue to grow and succeed. We're happy to be involved and look forward to participating as a sponsor in 2008.”

“Working with FamilySearch is a natural, since our organizations share similar goals. FamilySearch works to preserve access to the world’s important record collections and serves to teach researchers how to evaluate the surviving source documents that mention ancestors,” says Holly Hansen, MAF President.

“The proliferation of indexes and scanned images on the web means genealogists must learn to sift through the information overload. Based on the 100+ course materials compiled for the syllabus, attendees of the Family History EXPO can expect to come away with increased knowledge, enthusiasm, and products designed to catapult them forward in their search for answers to family history questions.” Holly continues “The large exhibit hall will feature thousands of family history items demonstrated by experts from as far away as Hawaii, Connecticut, California, Illinois, Arizona, Utah, Washington, Maryland, New Jersey, Florida, Idaho, and England. Additional sponsors include the Godfrey Memorial Library,, and”

About FamilySearch
The Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), doing business as FamilySearch, is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources; these resources may be accessed through, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark licensed to GSU and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

About My Ancestors Found
Tapis and Associates, doing business as My Ancestors Found (MAF), sponsors events to educate and inspire individuals to discover their heritage through sponsoring family history events, producing educational and instructional materials of value to family historians. Event and product details can be accessed through

Kimberly Savage,
Vice President, Tapis & Associates
801.792.2596 Launches New Image Viewer

FINDMYPAST.COM LAUNCHES NEW IMAGE VIEWER TO INCREASE EASE OF ACCESS TO HISTORICAL RECORDS - Customers of the service now able to view, download and share records using innovative Flash-based viewer, the UK family history website, today launches a new image viewer to simplify the process of accessing the historical records on its website.

Previously, findmypast's customers were required to download a "plugin" (a small computer programme) onto their computer to view images of the millions of historical documents on the website. From today, new customers will be able to view the images without downloading a plugin, thanks to the new default "standard viewer". Existing customers who have already downloaded the plugin will continue to be able to view images using what is now called the "enhanced viewer".

"Until today we've required all our customers to download a plugin because that was the only way we could guarantee a sufficiently high quality image at a reasonable download speed" explained Paul Yates, Head of Product and Services at "Our new standard viewer allows us to make our images easier to view without compromising on quality".

The new viewer has been developed in-house by findmypast's development team and works by converting the millions of images held by in real time to a high quality jpeg format. It then uses Flash technology to allow the user to manipulate the image as they wish. "Frankly we were astonished by the image quality and download speed our team managed to achieve", Yates continued. "We think users will be delighted with the results".

The widespread use of the jpeg image format also means that downloaded records are now easier for findmypast's customers to save and share with others. Images of original historical documents can also be attached to users' family trees using findmypast's Family Tree Explorer software.

The new standard viewer is great news for Mac and Linux computer users and for those accessing the internet on public machines in libraries, family history centres, schools and universities or at places of work - anywhere in fact where downloading files is not permitted.

Users of the service can switch between the new "standard viewer" and the existing "enhanced viewer" at any time, allowing them to choose whichever best suits their needs.

The new viewer is available from today to all customers via the findmypast website at

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 15

It's week 15 for FamilySearch Indexing and I have now indexed 1,510 names. That is almost 100 names a week indexed. Way cool! It's been really fun, interesting and I'm really glad that I started this adventure.

At first I was kind of nervous about the 1850 U.S. Federal Census and the handwriting. But like anything the more you look at it the easier it becomes. This week the census taker really like to add what looked like an "e" after all the capital letter.

I had one family with two sets of twins. I'm guessing twins because of the ages. The oldest set were 13 years old girls both named Julia. One had the middle initial "E" and the other "G". I wonder who thought up that clever idea. I sure hope they didn't both actually go by Julia - how confusing. When the second set of twins showed up it was a girl and a boy this time - Chloe and Calvin. Now that would be easier but you can see they wanted the letter "C" for both of them. Anyways I found that interesting.

I indexed 126 individuals today and it went by so fast. I think the batches are so much faster than the 1900 census were. Less names and less information gathered. I don't mind the 1850 census at all now. Now watch the Vermont 1850 census get completed and I won't know what state to index.

The plan of action this week was to get a flyer ready for my ward bulletin board on the need for Spanish Indexers. That didn't happen - what did happen was I got a job. Yup me's going back to work. Not to excited about that but thank goodness it is part-time. I am disabled so I get social security which the amount recently deceased because I have a 18 year old now. My older son is planning a mission so yup we need the income. I have to get through 6 weeks of full-time training and I don't know how in the world I can physically manage that. But I'm game for it. Then I get to work from home - way cool.

The job start tomorrow, Monday - things really did move fast. Now I will have to see how FamilySearch Indexing works with my schedule. I still plan on doing it so there will be no shortages of articles on it. This has become such a habit now. Only now I get to report from the bases of being a working mom too.

I have two items of news to share with you about FamilySearch Indexing.
  1. According to The Journal's October 2007 issue FamilySearch Indexing hit a record high of 24,718 batches indexed in one day. It doesn't say how many individuals are in a single batch but I estimated 50 - because the 1900 U.S. Federal Census was that. That would be approximately 1,235,900 names in one day. Are we going great or what? I have to thank the Ancestry Insider for bring me that information.
  2. If you need instructions in Spanish on how to register to be a volunteer indexer for FamilySearch Indexing - Lorraine Hernandez on the LDSFHCConsultant mailing list has provided the link to them. They are in PDF format.
That's all for My Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing this week. I'm having a great time and I sure hope you are too.

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

Saturday, November 03, 2007

This is an excellent offer that I was alerted to by Sally Roll Pavia.

Free, limited-time offer: GenealogyAgents will monitor Websites and conduct multiple genealogy site searches for two ancestors at no cost to you for one year. Register before November 10, 2007 to take advantage of this offer.

The GenealogyAgent Website helps you monitor the Internet for your hard-to-find ancestors for new or updated information. If you are tired of repeatedly checking the same Websites or conducting the same searches only to find the information for an ancestor has not changed, they can help. GenealogyAgents was designed to help you monitor Websites and multiple genealogy site searches for any changes related your ancestors.

GenealogyAgents are software agents that act on your behalf to monitor Websites and conduct multiple genealogy site searches for any new information on your ancestors. They will send you an email message once a month to let you know if GenealogyAgents detected any changes related to your ancestors. This way you can be sure to catch any new information on those elusive ancestors.