Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mark Your Calendars - UVPAFUG Meeting!


The next regular, second-Saturday-of-the-month meeting of the Utah Valley PAF (Personal Ancestral File) Users Group will be on Saturday, 8 Mar 2008, from 9 am until noon in the LDS "Red" Chapel at 4000 North Timpview Drive (650 East), in Provo. The main presentation will be by Don Anderson on THE FUTURE OF FAMILY HISTORY CENTERS.

Will the number of FHC's stay the same or will there be fewer or more in the future? With all the microfilms digitized and online what will be the purpose of FHC's? Or will all the films be online? What about the ones the Church doesn't have the copyright permission to post? Will everyone have a computer at home and know how to use it? Will there be a "Computer Specialist" called in each ward to help those with no computers or computer expertise? Who will teach the Church members how to do genealogy research when their lines get past the easy-to-find names? Will the purpose of FHC's shift? These are some of the questions we hope to hear considered by our speaker, Don Anderson at this meeting.

Don R. Anderson is the Director of the Worldwide Support Services Division of the Family and Church History Department of the LDS Church. In this role Don has responsibility to provide help to individuals searching for their ancestors using family history department software and services as well as support for family history centers and priesthood leaders worldwide. Prior to his employment with the Department, Don was the Vice-President of Operations in Technical Support Services for the Convergys Customer Management Group. Don studied Business Administration at Weber State University. He is married to the former Anne Russell and they are the parents of two boys.

Following the main presentation there will be several classes taught concerning technology and family history. As usual, there will be something for everyone at all levels of expertise. The classes currently scheduled for this meeting are the following:

  1. Searching for Completed Ordinances in the Internet IGI and in New FamilySearch, by Duane Dudley
  2. Internet Q & A, by Laurie Castillo
  3. Administering a PHPGedView Web Site, by John Finlay
  4. Individual Mentoring in the FHC by Claudia Benson and a mini-class there on Improve Your Census Searches, by Rae Lee Steinacker
  5. Q&A on the Future of FHC's, by Don Anderson
  6. Video of last month's main presentation on FamilySearch Web Services and 3rd Party Applications, by Gordon Clarke
  7. Legacy, by Joel Graham.
  8. There will be NO Ancestral Quest nor RootsMagic classes this month.
All meetings of the Users Group are open to the public whether members of the Group or not. The Users Group has the goal of helping individuals use technology to further their family history and there are usually 100-125 attending the monthly meetings on the second Saturdays. Several of the officers, including Gerhard Ruf, President; Brian Cooper, 2nd VP; Lynne Shumway, PAFology Editor; Kay Baker and Gerry Eliason working with finances and membership; and Bruce Merrill, Eileen Phelps, and Marie Andersen, working with the DVD & Video Library, will all be there. They will help with membership, questions, distribute the current issue of the monthly newsletter PAFology, and check out DVD's and videos of past presentations and classes to members of the group. Information about the Users Group, main presentations, classes, and class notes are available on the Group's website . For further information contact President Gerhard Ruf at (801-225-6106), VP1 Elder Don Snow at, or VP2 Brian Cooper at

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 31

I kinda sorta did two batches of FamilySearch Indexing today. I had a very knowledgeable reader with 31 years experience offer to review my work before I submitted it this week. As fate had it my batches were kinda difficult to read in areas. I really had to use my indexing tools on the two batches I did. Must of been the same census taker with both batches. Oh, I guess I could of looked and seen that on the census record.

Whenever anything that I do gets reviewed I feel tester's panic. I tell people at work that I just can't type when they are watching. All my skills go down the tube. I didn't have anyone breathing down my neck while I was indexing but I still felt pressure to get it right. I will report back to you on my "grade". It's actually kinda exciting to see how I did now that the actual indexing part is over.

WAHOO! my results are back and here is the verdict on my indexing.
Corrections: [169]
2 = Ira
5 E A = C J Compare the A on line 9
6 Reskan = Feskan Compare the F in Sex field
8 Clair = Olin
9 Darham = Dunham
10 14y = 19y
19 Ayers = Ayres
20 Armina = Armena
31 Reland = Riland
42 A* = Ameret

Corrections: [178]
1 Horvie = Howie Change all family surnames. This is a common error—misinterpret the "w" as "rv" or sometimes "no"
6 A M = A The "M" is part of the Mc in McDonald
10 Bay = Ray Compare the R in Rebecca on line 14
11 Clifton = Clefton Change all family surnames Don't let all the artifacts on the film fool you
21 = New Jersey
34 = Dow
35 N N = W W Compare the W in Wis on line 37
42 = Hugh What looks like an "e" is a flourish on the H
Teaser = Fraser

You had no problems with rules which is great. So many don't read the instructions and end up with weird stuff on their records.
These were rather difficult records. I hope that you will be able to see what I am suggesting and that it will help you in the future. I worry a lot about accuracy. Every scribe is a new challenge. I'm afraid that all indexers need feedback and headquarters has been slow to address this. Let me know your feelings about this exercise.
Gosh, I have a lot of errors in those two batches, but it was hard to read. It just goes to show how important it is to have two eyes looking at the records and a third to review it when there are disputes. I take my hat off to all the arbitrators out there. They have a difficult but important job out there. Now I have to go fix my errors and submit my batches.

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

Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Genealogy Guide for Finland Research

SALT LAKE CITY-FamilySearch announced today the release of a free new research tool that will help those with Finnish roots to find their ancestors. The research guide, Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Finland, features easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, colorful graphics, and tear-out worksheets. A free copy can be viewed or printed online at

The Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Finland helps take the guesswork out of Finnish genealogical research by simplifying the process and giving users a specific, proven strategy to use. In an inviting workbook style, the guide will show users which records to search, what to look for, and what tools to use. It colorfully outlines the steps and tools needed to navigate Finnish records to find ancestors. Users will learn where to start, how to find and use Finnish records, and what unique elements to look for in the records. The booklet provides expert advice every step of the way in a highly illustrative, user-friendly manner.

Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Finland, Before 1900 is the latest addition to the popular series of free online publications. It also completes the set of guides for the Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden were published previously). The 37 page guide simplifies the research process and is a must-have reference tool for researchers of Finnish genealogy. It is designed for those who have already gathered some family history information about their Finland ancestors and are ready to search public and private records. Users will find simple instructions, examples, and removable pedigree and family group worksheets to help them capture what they already know about their families.

The guide explains different types of records in Finland and instructs the user when and how to use specific records. A real-life case study allows readers to see for themselves how the research process works. Expert search tips, including tips on how to use the Family History Library Catalog, are included. Also included are maps, key dates in Finnish history, and guides for reading Finnish genealogical records.

Additional guides in the Finding Records of Your Ancestors series published previously include African American, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Jewish, Mexico, Norway, and Sweden.

Finding Records of Your Ancestors, Finland can be viewed and printed for free online at

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

South Davis Regional Family History Fair

Do you want to attend a Family History Fair that is reasonably priced and has many of the great speakers from the more expensive genealogy conferences? Well, the South Davis Regional Family History Fair is just the ticket - and it only costs $12.00.

The South Davis Regional Family History Fair is one of Utah's largest genealogy fairs. It will be held again this year at the Bountiful High School on Saturday, March 8, 2008. This year there are five session and a choice of 84 classes to attend. That's an overwhelming 17 different classes to pick from at each session.

Here's a taste of the great instructors lined up: Alan Mann, Karen Clifford, Jimmy B. Parker, Barry Ewell, DearMRYTLE, Mary E.V. Hill, Holly Hansen, Kory Meyerink, Leland Meitzler - I could just go on! I am grateful they have a syllabus with registration. You just have to register in advance because they don't guarantee you one if you register at the door.

The brief schedule is:

* 7:00 AM - Registration Opens
* 7:00 AM - Vendor Areas Open
* 8:00 AM - Keynote Speaker
* 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM - Fair Classes
* 4:30 PM - Vendor Areas Close

To register or to see the long (84) listing of available classes see the URL below:

Hope to see you there!

Monday, February 18, 2008 Free Access During February

Sorry this is late but the offer is still good.

Lindon, UT – February 6, 2008 – today announced free access to select databases during February in celebration of Black History Month. These databases include original historical records from the Amistad case, the program for the 1963 March on Washington and the Southern Claims Commission records from the Civil War.

“The Southern Claims Commission records document the experiences of former slaves during the Civil War and in the days immediately after,” says Toni Carrier, Founding Director of the USF Africana Heritage Project.“ They often contain information that cannot be found anywhere else. Family historians should plan to spend some quality time with this collection.” The majority of the records on come from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Since partnering with NARA a year ago, has been working aggressively to digitize and make these original source documents available online. To date, has digitized over 26 million images. Each month, approximately 2 million new records are uploaded to the site.

"Our partnership with Footnote has brought millions of our documents to far more researchers than ever before possible,” says James Hastings, Director of Access Programs at NARA. “Now researchers can come to any or our research rooms across the country and use the online indexes and records free of charge. And for a small fee they can have access to this rich historical collection in their own homes. We look forward to many years of working together to help Americans understand their history."

In addition to the records uploads to its site every month, members of the site are also making contributions by adding records from their files at home and creating their own web pages dedicated to topics that interest them. Member pages pertaining to African American history include topics such as slavery, African American war heroes and Civil Rights

“We love to see people get involved and take an active interest in history,” said Russ Wilding, CEO of “There are so many historical treasures contained in shoeboxes that have been tucked away and forgotten in closets and attics. We encourage everyone to upload their shoeboxes of letters, documents and photos to to preserve and share their own histories.” is the place where history comes alive. The site has something for everyone from avid researchers to those with a casual interest in the stories of our past. Visit today and see the future of history.

About Footnote, Inc. is a subscription website that features searchable original documents providing users with an unaltered view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At all are invited to come share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit

Digital Photography

On 12 Jan 2008 the Utah Valley PAF Users Group had an excellent presentation on Digital Photography for Genealogy by Barry Ewell. For those of you interested I just posted the transcription of the presentation on the UVPAFUG blog at:

This presentation is available on DVDs #132 for UVPAFUG members to borrow or purchase.

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

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 30

I almost didn't do my FamilySearch Indexing today. My internet was down. Yesterday I needed to fill my printer ink and in doing so I happened to crash stuff into my phone jack. Normally I wouldn't think anything of it. Then I tried to use my phone and the line was dead. I tried a phone in a different the part of the house and it was working. I started that lovely process of trying a different phone in that jack - still nothing just silence. I went to bed thinking: "Oh great, now I need to call a repair man." I use DSL and the connection for it is with that jack.

I awoke Sunday morning to try and string a phone line from my computer room to the phone jack in in my son's room. I get everything done and then I try it - the line was dead. I went back to my son's room his phone was dead too. I was thinking at that point maybe it was more than just my jack out maybe it was that side of the house. I was getting ready to string a longer phone line to a different part of the house. Then this little light came on inside my head and said why don't you see if his phone worked before I tried to switch it to the doctored up line I just ran to it. Sure enough his phone worked great when I didn't use my strung line to it.

After some more trouble shooting I discovered that there was nothing wrong with my jack in my computer room at all it was the DSL filter that had gone bad. Thank goodness I had an extra one and just replaced it and was back in business. It was to late to start indexing before church at this point so I vowed to do it when I got home. After a good nap, time with family and the reading of my emails I finally got the process of FamilySearch Indexing under way.

First I was disappointed that New York's 1850 Federal Census was not on the list to index. It's possible the project might be completed or they just ran out of images for now. I should be happy at the prospects of it being completed but I wanted to work on my New York. I finally decided that New Jersey was close enough so I did two batches of the 1850 Federal Census.

With the completion of 2 batches, and being on week 30 of indexing, I have now indexed 3018 names. A hundred names a week is my average, so I am working at my normal pace. I had set the goal of indexing 400 names this month and I have only 64 names to do to meet that goal. I feel good about my slow but steady pace.

I was talking to a friend of mine that started indexing about the same time as I did. She made great strides and was massively indexing. I stopped asking her how many she had done because my figures where so pitiful next to hers. I saw her this week and inquired on her numbers. I was surprised to see that she had burned out over a month ago and hadn't done anything lately. It made me think of the tortoise and the hare and how slow and steady wins the course. Granted it will take me several years to catch up to where she ended and I sure hope she comes out of burn out before then, but I am still pressing happily along.

I wasn't able to attend the St. George Family History Expo on Feb 9th but Shanna Jones posted over on FHCNET a nice report on the FamilySearch Indexing stats.
"The digitizing is going really well, it takes 20 minutes to digitize one microfilm. 125,000 are indexing, 74.1 % are LDS, 30,000 are community members. They are indexing 1.25 million names per day on average. The 1880 census took 17 years to index and Ellis Island took 7 years. The 1900 census is bigger than both of those combined and it was indexed in 12 months and that was at the beginning. With the number of indexers working now, it could have been completed in 6 months. More indexers are needed and especially experienced ones can arbitrate. The indexes are superior at 98+% accuracy. They are working with several genealogy societies to increase the amount of records. Records will begin being released at a faster and faster pace."
It's great to see how well we are doing. The average would be 10 names indexed a day or 70 a week. It's always great to reinforce the idea that you are an average person working at an average rate but you know I'm anything but the average bear. That sounds so random but it's time for this bear to go hibernate for the night. (It's really 11pm and past my bed time.)

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

Monday, February 11, 2008

New Book on The Master Genealogist

Getting Started with The Master Genealogist is Now Easier than Ever - New Book by Terry Reigel is Available

Boone, North Carolina - 8 February 2008 - ReigelRidge Press is proud to announce availability of a new book by Terry Reigel, "A Primer for The Master Genealogist." As the title implies, the book is intended to help new users quickly become comfortable with what is called the most comprehensive family history software available. The book provides the reader a foundation for working with The Master Genealogist (TMG), and is designed to help users understand just how they can best make use of its capabilities. Some more advanced features are introduced because many users move to TMG to take advantage of these features.

"As I have exchanged notes with new users of TMG in online forums, and talked with them in person at genealogy conferences, I have observed that many new users would appreciate some assistance in becoming comfortable with a program that is more capable, but also more complex, than their previous genealogy programs," said the author. "This guide is intended to fill that meet that need."

The book introduces the reader to TMG with the following topics:
  • TMG's basic concepts
  • Getting your initial data into TMG
  • Finding your way around TMG
  • Establishing personal standards for data entry
  • Adding or editing people, events, and sources
  • Creating Reports and Charts
For readers ready to explore more advanced features it continues with more advanced topics:
  • Customizing the program's Screens
  • Customizing Events and Sources
  • Using Witnesses and Roles
  • Understanding Projects and Data Sets
"This is a great introduction for new users!" says John Cardinal, author of Second Site, TMG Utility, and other companion programs for TMG. "Terry explains complicated topics in terms a beginner can understand, and he explains the concepts as well as the specific steps to make fast, effective use of TMG. Even experienced users will learn from this book, particularly in the chapters about more advanced topics. Terry's TMG Tips web site is a great resource for TMG users, and now Terry has expanded that with 'A Primer for The Master Genealogist'."

" 'A Primer for The Master Genealogist' is a 'must have' for the new user. With its easy to read format and multiple illustrations even those seemingly complex features and tasks are easy to understand," said Mark A. Cunningham, a TMG user for two months. "I wish I had had a copy of this book when I first started using The Master Genealogist."

The book is currently available from Wholly Genes Software in Columbia, Maryland, at, and from Gould Genealogy in Modbury, Australia, at The suggested retail price is $19.95 in the U.S. and AU$29.95, including GS Tax, in Australia. More information is available at or by email at

About the Author: The author is well known as an expert user of TMG and a frequent contributor to the on-line TMG user support forums. He is the author of Terry's TMG Tips, a website with over 75 articles, many also available in German. He has written several articles about TMG for newsletters published by user groups and two chapters in the sell-out book "Getting the Most Out of The Master Genealogist." He is not affiliated with Wholly Genes Software.

The Master Genealogist and TMG are trademarks of Wholly Genes Software.

Mark Your Calendars! - UGA

The Utah Valley Chapter of the Utah Genealogical Association will meet Friday, February 15th, at 7 pm. The location is the Utah South Area Family History Training Center at 85 North 600 East, Provo, Utah.

The speaker will be Gordon Remington, well known for his genealogical research in many areas. Mr. Remington is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and has served several times as an officer of that organization. He has also served with the UGA in many ways. He is an accomplished author. He has lectured at international, national, and regional state and local genealogical conferences and seminars.

He will be focusing this Utah Valley UGA chapter presentation on United States Military Records.

For additional information contact:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 29

It's been a busy week and it was nice to finally relax and do some FamilySearch Indexing. I was happy to see that the New York 1850 U.S. Federal Census was still available for me to index. I was able to do 3 batches. I couldn't believe how varied the handwriting was between the batches.

I kinda wish they would let you pick a number of batches and get all the same handwriting. Then I realized that if you downloaded multiple groups with bad handwriting people new to indexing would think they were all that way. It would be very frustrating and make some people quit indexing. So I guess headquarters knows what they are doing by mixing things up a bit.

I am doing really good on "My Personal Goal" I set for this month. My goal was to index 400 names by the last Sunday in February. Right now I have 252 names submitted and 148 names to index in order to reach my goal. That would be a target rate of 11 names per day, 4 more batches would more than reach my goal. I have two more Sundays left so I am right on target. So far to date I have indexed 2,934 individuals. Next week I should hit the 3,000 mark - WAHOO!

There were no new messages from headquarters this week. There wasn't much activity on the message boards either regarding FamilySearch Indexing. I sure hope everyone is still indexing. I know they are hoping to get about a million indexers working on the projects. They figure in 6 more years everything will be digitized out of the granite mountain vaults but the big push will still be to get them all indexed.

Well I am going to close kinda short this week. I just received the go ahead to log into new FamilySearch - since I attended that class Thursday night. I can't wait to go to work combining people. Maybe I need to write a sister article on "My Adventures in New FamilySearch." It would need a better title, I guess I will give it some thought.

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

Friday, February 08, 2008

Delightful News for Family History Consultants

Late January I wrote an article "FHL Classes with NFS Bonus." Last night the first class was taught and I was fortunate enough to attend. The room was packed and we learned that the demand for the class was great so they have extended into April. D. Merrill White was our knowledgeable instructor that entertained us with his great sense of humor.

I don't intend on writing a long article that goes in depth on all the things covered. I really think you need to attend the class. Oh, you say you can't? You don't live in the Salt Lake area or plan to visit in the near future? Don't worry, you will be happy to know that the powers to be understand that frustration and they have something up their sleeve for you. They are planning on making the classes webinars. Any registered Family History Consultant in the world would be able to take this webinar online and then get access to NFS - regardless of NFS' status in your area. You can expect to receive details on this near the end of February. They also plan on having some Q&A classes for us.

Now I will just point out some of the key bits of information we learned.
  • Only registered Family History Consultants can take the class and afterwards get access to NFS. It takes 4-5 days after the class before you can register at:
  • If your temple district is not live with NFS you can take your "Family Ordinance Request" papers to the FHL in Salt Lake and they will print out the cards for you.
  • Once on NFS registered Family History Consultants will find their training materials on LDS Net Dimension hooked into the site. I am so glad I won't have to remember the net dimensions website address anymore. I think I will be much more apt to take the lessons through the NFS website. We were asked to do the E-learning lesson within the next four weeks. They estimate that it would take a consultant, who is new to family history, about 5 or 6 hours do all the lessons.
  • The booklet "A Members Guide to Temple and Family History Work" has been revised and you will find it on the NFS site. Later in the year, hardcopies will be available through Church Distribution. They are also working on the Sunday School class materials.
  • When they make changes to the overview or guides or have updates to the site you can learn about them if you click on the link "News & Updates" from the opening page.
  • Don't upload your GEDCOMs to NFS - it causes more duplication. If you upload a GEDCOM it needs to be very small, only an individual or a family at a time - and that is after you have made sure, after combining all duplicates and doing thorough searching, that those individuals are not already in NFS.
  • The order to start combining is parents, spouses and then children - it will make things easier if you do it that way.
  • If you upload a GEDCOM that has anything written in the temple date fields it will automatically mark the ordinances as COMPLETED. Even if you had DO NOT SEAL written in that field. I need to go through my database and clean those and other things out of that field. I don't plan on uploading a GEDCOM but I am not sure if the 3rd party programs that will sync with NFS will also cause this issue or not.
  • The notes field have a limit of 300 characters if you enter it. If you import them it will take them all. They are asking that we hold off on importing them until we can interface with NFS.
  • Version .92 is close to release. In this version we will be able to choose what view we want to see as primary information on an individual.
  • They have decided to create a neat add-on to PAF that will allow it to interface with NFS. Yes, I did report that they said PAF was dead last year, and many upset people complained to them about it's demise. The decision was made to resurrect it. They might make other changes to PAF later but the priority is NFS right now.
The only problem I have now is waiting 4-5 days before I get access to NFS. I am so impatient sometimes! All my family members scattered around the US have now received access to NFS and not one of them have called me to ask about our genealogy. Once I get access I plan on calling each of them and giving them an assignment to work on combining a section of our family line.

It's been so easy for my family to just call me for some names to take to the temple. I am sure they think good Ole' Aunt Renee will just fix this all up for us. No, it's not that easy - it is going to take hours upon hours of thoughtful work to combine the multitude of records on duplicate individuals. There is much instructing that needs to be done with my family members. Hopefully, good family history consultants will be there on their end to give support and guidance. There is much work for all of us to do.

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

NFS Roll-out Advances Around the World

I've been busy updated my listing of the temple districts that are live or announced to go live with new FamilySearch. The International temple districts have also been divided into areas. The list is large and I have counted 125 temples, with 54 of them either live or going live. That means 43% of the temple districts have been announced. I have been hearing rumors that 50% have been announced, if that is so I am short some. It is very difficult for me to confirm the international temple districts statuses. I appreciate those that have written to advise me when they have received word.

New Temple Districts added:

Stockholm, Sweden
Bern, Switzerland
Frankfurt, Germany
Freiberg, Germany
Helsinki, Finland
London, England
Preston, England
Washington D.C
Chicago, IL

You can view my complete listing of temples live with NFS or announced at: New FamilySearch Roll-out. If you have any announcements to add please email me at:

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

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

2008 FamilySearch Developers Conference

Note:The previous press release contained errors - this is the corrected version.

Inaugural Event Launches the Future of Genealogy Technology

SALT LAKE CITY—FamilySearch announced today its first annual conference for software and Web application developers. The 2008 FamilySearch Developers Conference will be held on Wednesday, March 12, 2008, in conjunction with the Brigham Young University Computerized Family History and Genealogy Conference in Provo, Utah. FamilySearch engineers and community developers will discuss new FamilySearch Web Services (API) and share best practices from its application to a variety of popular software environments. Attendees can register online at

FamilySearch now has a full platform for software developers—genealogy content, interfaces, tools, code, support, and training. This platform enables developers to launch a new business or boost their target markets by adding features that are programmatically linked to FamilySearch’s expanding online resources. “Developers can produce solutions that integrate private, shared, and public data about living and deceased individuals, including rich stories, photos, audio, and video. FamilySearch is putting developers into the driver’s seat to do what they do best—effectively create and deliver innovative products wherever there is a need and profit," said Gordon Clarke, FamilySearch Web Services Product Manager.

The developers conference is a milestone for FamilySearch, which historically has not shared technical information underlying its genealogy-related products and services. The needs of the genealogy and archives markets worldwide are diverse, numerous, and growing. “Industry needs are greater than any one entity can fulfill. In order to meet the tremendous needs in the marketplace, industry professionals and companies will need to work closely and collaborate on tools, standards, authorities, initiatives, and interfaces that reduce duplication and maximize returns while satisfying the customer,” said Ransom Love, director of Strategic Relations for FamilySearch and the keynote speaker at the inaugural conference.

The 2008 FamilySearch Developers Conference provides a unique forum and opportunity for developers of genealogy-related desktop and Web applications to meet with other professionals who use similar development technologies to confront common technical challenges and share effective solutions. Conference attendees will learn about the new FamilySearch Web Services (API) from FamilySearch engineers and best practices from current community developers. The new FamilySearch Web Services provides developers access at the programmer’s level so developers can ensure the data and functionality of their products and applications will interface transparently and effectively with FamilySearch and other industry applications as they are introduced or evolve.

The newly released FamilySearch Family Tree API and soon-to-be-released Record Search API will be main topics of discussion. Other popular topics will be how to read, write, combine, separate, and synchronize with new FamilySearch online resources, developer keys, tree cleaning, GEDCOM, and PAF.

Professional software and Web application developers interested in attending can register online at or call 1-801-422-8925.

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Thomas S. Monson Named 16th Church President

SALT LAKE CITY 4 February 2008 - Thomas S. Monson is the new president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it was announced today at a news conference in the Church Office Building. President Monson, 80, succeeds President Gordon B. Hinckley, who died 27 January 2008.

The new world leader of the Church has called to serve with him in the First Presidency, the top governing body of the 13-million-member faith, President Henry B. Eyring, 74, first counselor, and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 67, second counselor.

At the press conference, President Monson spoke of President Hinckley’s dedication and love for the people, and signaled “no abrupt changes” for the course of the Church.

The new Church leader also paid tribute to the many hallmarks of President Hinckley’s administration, including the building of temples and the creation of the Perpetual Education Fund, a program for providing loans to young Church members so they can pay for their education. President Monson called the Perpetual Education Fund “a miracle.”

When asked by a reporter about his own desire to reach out to the poor and the needy, President Monson said he learned it from his mother. He grew up watching her help young men, with meals and encouragement, coming to the West of the United States looking for employment during the Depression.

One way that this attribute became part of his life was in the way he served the 84 widows in his congregation while he was a young bishop and for decades afterward. He said that they all asked him to speak at their funerals, assignments he was happy to accept notwithstanding heavy travel and other commitments.

Responding to a reporter’s question about the Church’s openness in working with other churches and groups, President Monson said: “We should not be sequestered in a little cage. We should eliminate the weakness of the one standing alone and substitute it with the strength of working together to make this a better world.”

“I believe in that spirit,” he said.

Both counselors acknowledged their new leader’s commitment to people.

“I’ve come to know of his goodness,” said President Eyring.

President Uchtdorf said, “I know of his heart, his soul, his commitment, his wonderful love for the people.”

It was also announced that President Boyd K. Packer, 83, is the new president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 28

This has been a very interesting week. I had so many emotions with the passing of President Hinckley. The funeral has come and gone. My daughter Marie and I attended the viewing on Thursday. We went at 2pm so there wasn't a long line or anything to wait in. There were lots of people but you just kept moving along in the line. You kinda of wove your way through the Conference Center until you came to the place where he lay. It felt just like being in the temple. They had lovely choir music playing in the background, his casket was surrounded by flowers and the room had busts of previous Presidents of the Church. Very, very beautiful, I was so happy that I came. I was wiped out after all the walking but it was so worth it.

My son Philip, that is on a service mission at the LDS Motion Picture Studio, went with other missionaries there. He also came away with that same feeling of having been in the temple. You could just feel the angels surrounding him or maybe it was the Savior - it was just special.

As I looked upon President Hinckley he appeared peaceful with a smile on his face. He also looked so small and frail. All the power and authority and dynamic presence was missing from the shell he left behind. His spirit was not in that body anymore but you knew it still lived and stood nearby. I will cherish these memories of this past week along with my memory of President Hinckley.

Philip was given two tickets to attend the funeral due to being a missionary. It was nice they included parking passes for them too. So he then had the dilemma of who to take with him. My husband and I suggested that he take his sister Marie so he did. She was just so happy to go. They reported back that the spirit was very strong during the whole services. It will be a cherished memory for them. Once again the same feeling as if you where in the temple was there.

I watched the broadcast of the funeral on TV with my husband. At one point I got up and waved my cane in tribute to him - I just had to do that. It's so nice that the funeral is being re-broadcasted so many times out here. I have already watched it 2 1/2 times.

But, now it is back to the business of furthering this work. I decided that since church doesn't start until 11am for me now that I would do my FamilySearch Indexing before I went. I think this will be the standard for this year.

One of the things I haven't taken advantage of was using the Goal setting tool in FamilySearch Indexing. Today I set my personal goal to do 400 names by the end of the month. It said I needed to index 19 names per day, but since I have only indexed on Sundays it will be 100 names per week. I did three batches of the New York 1850 U.S. Federal Census - I was so excited that NY was available. I looked at my status and it said: 126 names submitted, 274 names to do. My new Target Rate is 13 names per day, that's kinda cool. My grand total for names indexed is 2808. I feel good that I can obtain my goals this month.

There were two messages from Headquarters for us this week. The first:
From: Headquarters
Subject: Important information for Indexing 1850 U.S. Census - General
Date: 31 Jan 2008


Here are a few things to keep in mind while working onthe 1850 U.S. Census
  • Some batches have two pages side-by-side with 42 records each. Please index all 84 records with the line numbers as they are recorded on the image. Arbitrators: Please check to see if there are two pages included in your arbitration batch and, if so, confirm that both pages were indexed by Key A and Key B.
  • Index given names and surnames as they are written on the document. Do not expand abbreviation Do stands for ditto. If a field contains this or similar signs of repetition, type the actual information from the field above.
  • If a Canadian province or territory is listed in the Place of Birth column, type this information in the State or Territory field.
  • If an unusual fraction was written in the Age column, such as 1/48 or 1/84, mark the field as unreadable. If weeks or days are noted, index the number as days. For example, 2 weeks would be indexed as 14d.
  • Some batches may have two family numbers and dwelling numbers for each household; one set of numbers written next to the head of household, and another set of numbers written on the next line, even though the individuals have the same surname. Please index the numbers that are on the same line as the head of household, if they are not crossed out, and do not index the second set of numbers. If the first set of numbers is crossed out, please follow the project-specific instructions. Overall, the goal is to have the same family number and dwelling number for the entire family.
Thank you for all you do to create these important indexes!

Here is the second message from Headquarters this week.
From: Headquarters
Subject: 1850 U.S. Federal Census - Mortality Schedules
Date: 01 Feb 2008

Here are a few tips to remember while working on Mortality Schedules in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census:
  • If your batch contains a document that is not specifically labeled Mortality Schedule, all of the fields may not match exactly to the fields on the indexing portion of your screen. In this case, please type all information that can be gleaned from the document into the appropriate fields. Press Ctrl+B to mark any required fields that are not included on the document as blank. Press Tab to skip fields that are not required, and are not included on the document.
  • Some batches in this project cover additional years, besides 1850. Please index as much information as possible into the appropriate fields.
  • When slaves were included on the schedules, their information was recorded a few different ways. First, the owner's name may have been recorded instead of the slave's anme. In this situation, index the owner's name in the Given Name and Surname fields. Second, the slave's given name may have been recorded, but the surname was not. Index the name in the Given Name field and mark the Surname field as blank. Third, the owner's name and slave's name were both included on the same line. Please index both names by following these steps:
  • Type the name of the slave in the Given Name and Surname fields, marking the Surname field as blank if it was not provided.
  • Index the rest of the information from the record, except the owner's name.
  • Go to the next entry line.
  • On the toolbar, click Edit.
  • Click Insert Record Before.
  • Type the name of the owner in the Given Name and Surname fields on the new line.
  • Index the rest of the information from the record, except the slave's name.
Thank you again for all you do!
I'm really glad that I have been typing in these messages for you each week. It really helps me to remember the instructions. I didn't know that in the 1850 U.S Federal Census that you type the Canadian province or territory in the state field. It made me wonder if I have ever had that situation before and if I had done it correctly. Well, it's new information for me. I did have some individuals from Canada but none of them had the province or territory with them. Well that's all for my adventure this week.

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

Friday, February 01, 2008 Launches World Genealogy Collection

A billion names from 33 countries coming online

PROVO, UT, February 4, 2008 -- (a service of released today its flagship product, the World Collection, an online genealogy database containing more than 1.5 billion names from 35 countries.'s World Collection launch includes significant collections from countries such as: England, Canada, Australia, France, Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, and Portugal.

"All over the world there are wonderful people who are digitizing and preserving historic records," said Paul Allen, CEO,, Inc. "During the past year we have traveled and met with these content providers from more than a dozen countries. We are pleased today to announce that many of them have chosen to let us distribute their genealogical databases on the Internet."

More than 20 companies have partnered with to make this new collection possible. They include Find My Past, Genealogical Publishing Company, Archive CD Books Australia, British Origins, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, Archive CD Books Canada, Eneclann, Quintin Publications, Gould Genealogy, Familias Argentinas, Godfrey Memorial Library, and Moravian Heritage Society.

"This is a very exciting announcement for our members. As we enter our second year, we have accomplished much including having more than 24,000 paid subscribers, 2 million users on our We're Related application on Facebook, and have announced 2 billion names in our two major content collections, the US and World Collection. The number two seems to be common theme in this announcement as we enter our second stage," said David Lifferth, President,, Inc.

The World Collection includes birth, marriage and death records, census records, passenger lists, immigration lists, emigration records, foreign newspapers, cemetery records, reference materials, land records, family histories, historical records, city directories, business directories, township histories, civil service records, telephone directories, government records, war records, and maps, atlases, and gazetteers.

Census records from the UK comprise's largest database in the World Collection. These records include the 1851, 1861, 1881, and 1891, 1901 censuses. These records are the official civil registration records for England and Wales from 1837 to the present. All of these censuses will be periodically posted county by county throughout the year. These censuses include images, and also a key-word searchable index.

"Alongside birth, marriage, and death records, census records are the most important building block for family historians," said Elaine Collins, Commercial Director, Find My Past. "We feel is set for success, and we are excited to make our census records more accessible to an American audience who wouldn't normally think of Find My Past as the first place to look for census records."

The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild (ISTG) lists is another large database containing almost 9,000 passenger lists and millions of names. The ISTG records include information such as surname, captain's name, port of arrival/departure, and name of the ship. These records are the result of the work of more than 500 volunteers over a ten-year period.

"I am very excited about this partnership. I remember when ISTG was one-year old, and everyone was supporting us. In return, I'm happy to partner with because they provide a service that is affordable and easily accessible on the Internet," said Patty MacFarlane McCormack, Founder, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild.

The World Collection also includes newspapers from Australia, the Bahamas, Canada (over 80 newspaper representing all provinces), Chile, Ecuador, England, Ireland, and Mexico (more than 150 newspapers from 15 states).

Genealogical Publishing Company also adds more than 600 large databases to the World Collection including colonial and Irish genealogy, royal ancestry, and family history.

"We have been publishing at for 55 years, and we look forward to expanding our work into new territories, such as," said Barry Chodak, President, Genealogical Publishing Company.

Individuals can access more than 5,000 genealogical databases, more than 2 billion names (these names are being added throughout the year), and the World Collection at Adds Ten New Counties to the 1871 Census


Ten more counties have now been added to the 1871 census of England and Wales on - these are Cambridgeshire,Cheshire, Derbyshire, Durham, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Oxfordshire. There are now 34 complete counties online at, equating to 90% of the population surveyed in this census. It is expected that the remaining 25 counties will be added later this month as part of's mission to offer a full set of England and Wales censuses online by the end of 2008.

Some historical background to the 1871 census

The census was taken on the night of 2 April 1871 and gave the total population of England and Wales as 22,723,000. The year was eventful: as well as the formation of the German Empire and crowning of Kaiser Wilhelm I, the Paris Commune was formed then crushed and Trade Unions were legalized in the UK.

Culturally, 1871 saw the opening of the magnificent Royal Albert Hall in London, the publication of Through the Looking Glass and Middlemarch and the premiere of Verdi's opera Aida.

How to search the 1871 census

Like all the censuses on, the new counties can be searched by name of person or you can choose to search by address, and also by a number of different fields, such as occupation or age. All the new records can be searched using our normal search tools.


Leading UK family history website (formerly was the first company to make the complete birth, marriage and death indexes for England & Wales available online in April 2003.

Following the transcription, scanning and indexing of over two million images, the company launched the first website to allow the public easy and fast access to the complete indexes, which until then had only been available on microfiche film in specialist archives and libraries. The launch was instrumental in creating the widespread and growing interest in genealogy seen in the UK today.

Findmypast has subsequently digitized many more family history records and now offers access to over 500 million records dating as far back as 1538. This allows family historians and novice genealogists to search for their ancestors among comprehensive collections of military records, census, migration, occupation directories, and current electoral roll data, as well as the original comprehensive birth, marriage and death records.

In November 2006 findmypast launched the microsite in association with The National Archives to publish outbound passenger lists for long-distance voyages departing all British ports between 1890 and 1960.

As well as providing access to historical records, findmypast is also developing a range of online tools to help people discover and share their family history more easily, beginning with the launch of Family Tree Explorer in July 2007.

Over 1.7 million people in the UK have researched their family trees and has over 800,000 active registered users, revealing the mass appeal of genealogy and's position as the leading family history website based in the UK.

In April 2007 findmypast's then parent company Title Research Group received the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2007 in recognition of their achievement. was acquired in December 2007 by Scotland Online, the company which won The National Archives' tender to publish online the 1911 census.

FamilySearch Collaboration E-mail List to End

I received the following email from FamilySearch Support:

Dear FamilySearch Patron,

Effective 13 February 2008, the Collaboration E-mail List feature on the web site will be discontinued. You are receiving this notice because your e-mail address is listed in at least one of the collaboration groups. Please ignore this notice if you are no longer actively participating in these groups.

If you are actively collaborating and would like to remain in contact with other members of your group(s), please do the following before 13 February:

1. Send an e-mail through your collaboration group(s) to other members requesting their personal e-mail addresses.

2. Save their responses in your personal e-mail system for future correspondence.

Thank you for your continued patronage.

FamilySearch Support Team