Monday, March 31, 2008

Free/Open-source Genealogy Software

I've been doing a lot of reading and exploring on the internet tonight. I stumbled upon a great article on Tech Source From Bohol - "Free/Open-source Genealogy Software".

They review the following programs:
They all look great and I will have to take them for a spin. The only one I am familiar with and can highly recommend it PhpGedView. Creator John Finlay gave a presentation to the Utah Valley PAF Users Group this past October on it. (He is working on having it sync with New FamilySearch.) I would really like to use this PHP-based web application. After John's presentation we decided to have him teach a series of classes during our break-out session on how to get it up and running. I have yet to watch the DVDs of the class but it is on my to-do list!

If you are interested in purchasing copies of the DVDs the UVPAFUG sells them to members only for $3.00 a piece, plus shipping. You can become a member of our non-profit organization for as little as $10.00 a year with an electronic membership. For further information visit our website at:

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy!

FamilySearch Training Wiki?

I found this interesting post on Dan Lawyer's Blog "Taking Genealogy to the Common Person"
FamilySearch Training Wiki?

As the new FamilySearch system continues to be rolled out around the world, the demand for training materials is growing. I've seen several great presentations created by people in the community that were tasked with training a group of people on the new system. A colleague (Tim Cross) and I were talking about this and he mused that it would be wonderful if there were a FamilySearch Training Wiki or some site where the community could come together and pool there knowledge, tools, slideshows, etc. that they use for training. A site like this would be a tremendous resource. This is not an 'official' effort by FamilySearch, just an interesting idea two guys talked through around the water cooler (OK so it was really in IM...). Anyone feel like giving this a go?
I think this is a fantastic idea. There are so many great resources created out there by the average individual and it's only by luck that you stumble upon it. A repository to access all the materials would be a great asset to the community.

One idea submitted was to post related articles to the already created FamilySearch Wiki. Maybe this could be enlarged. I thought it would be wonderful for those interested in the subject to make comments on Dan's blog. Dan Lawyer is a Product Manager for the Family History Department for the LDS Church. I'm sure your feedback will be appreciated.

Link to the article here.

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

Records Search unavailable the first week of April

The following announcement was posted on the FamilySearch Labs Blog.

31 Mar 2008 by Tim Crabb

As Record Search continues to grow there is need to take the site down the first week of April to perform some maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience but Record Search will be back up better than ever soon! While we are working please explore the other projects and tools on and as always you can continue to leverage Wins Four Telly Awards in Its First Year

Provo, UT, March 28, 2008 --(, an online channel dedicated to all aspects of genealogy and family history, has been recognized in the 29th Annual Telly Awards for four of its original productions. Selected from more than 14,000 shows were "DNA Stories: A Tale of Two Fathers" (documentary), "Heir Jordan: Extreme Genealogy" (entertainment), "Roots Books: Psychic Roots" (talk show), and "Flat Stanley’s Family Tree" (children’s audience).

"We’re delighted," said co-founder, Marcy Brown. "To receive this kind of recognition during our first year of existence is remarkable, and winning in four different categories is even more astonishing. We take this as an indication that our decision to pioneer online programming for the substantial but neglected niche of millions of genealogists was a risk worth taking."

The four winning shows include an episode of "DNA Stories," a series that focuses on the exploding hobby of genetic genealogy and shows how avid roots-seekers are using DNA testing to solve family history riddles. The award-winning "Tale of Two Fathers" episode features Bob Zins and his efforts to determine whether the man who raised him was really his father. "Heir Jordan: Extreme Genealogy" showcases the unexpected twin talents of Jordan Auslander, who’s both a professional genealogist and stand-up comic. "Roots Books," a talk show hosted by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, received its award for the especially popular "Psychic Roots" episode that centers on a discussion of the role of serendipity in genealogy between Sharon and popular speaker and author, Hank Jones. And "Flat Stanley’s Family Tree" follows the beloved children’s character as he explores his colonial roots in Williamsburg, Virginia and his gold rush roots in California.

Founded in 1978, The Telly is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional and cable TV programs, as well as the finest video and film productions. The Telly Awards, a highly respected international competition, annually showcases the best work of the most respected production companies in the world.

About was co-founded by producer, Marcy Brown, and professional genealogist, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (yes, her real name). Marcy and Megan, who frequently refer to themselves as "two chicks and a channel," launched online in late 2006 and already provide more than 1,000 videos - free, on-demand and 24/7 - for family history enthusiasts around the globe. For more information, please visit

2008 Artistry of Genealogy Awards

Press Release Source:

2008 Artistry of Genealogy Awards Announced by the Photo Preservation Center
Sponsored by
Friday March 28, 1:21 pm ET

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Preserving family history through genealogy is an art with millions of stories to share. The 2008 Artistry of Genealogy Awards (AGA) were announced today by The Photo Preservation Center (PPC) to showcase outstanding genealogy websites and recognize excellence in preserving family history through genealogy. The categories and winners were selected by families across the nation who had their photo memories digitally preserved by as part of the process of recording and studying the ancestry of family trees.

An overview of the AGAs is available at Comprehensive information on each category and award recipient is detailed at “Tales from the World of Photo Scanning” (

"The 2008 Artistry of Genealogy Awards coincides with April’s ‘The Great American Photo Scanning Month’ to encourage having the 3.5 trillion analog photo snapshots digitally preserved," said Mitch Goldstone, Chairman of The Photo Preservation Center and president & CEO of, AGA’s sponsor.

“As generations of family photos begin to fade away, 'The Great American Photo Scanning Month' promises to inspire people to have their photos digitally scanned," said Goldstone. Throughout April, is providing 1000 free photo scans to members of four leading social networking sites. Along with all members of each website recognized by the AGAs, Flickr, MySpace, Blogger and Facebook members can have up to 1,000 4x6" photos scanned to DVD without charge when they mail their pictures to and pay $19.95 for return S&H and include the downloadable order form.

2008 Artistry of Genealogy Award Winners:
Photo Preservation Center (PPC) was established by as the principal resource for information on scanning digital images and preserving generations of analog photo memories. Its mission is to promote and foster the dissemination of information and host a resource center for discussing issues pertaining to the preservation of family pictures. PPC is designed to enhance awareness for converting analog pictures into digital images and promote new products available for consumers to view, save and share their photo memories. is a division of 30 Minute Photos Etc., founded in 1990 as a retail and nationwide digital imaging Ecommerce business. has digitally scanned more than 6-million photographic images.


Mitch Goldstone
President & CEO,,
Chairman, Photo Preservation Center,
email: info (at)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 36

Wow, I can't believe that I didn't blog all week long. I'm been so busy that I really thought I had. Well, I haven't been busy all week I was sick most of it and then busy trying to catch up when I felt well. But life goes on and so does another Sunday of FamilySearch Indexing.

The first thing I do when I start to index is to look for messages from Headquarters, and yup there was a new one for us:
From: Headquarters
Subject: Update to FamilySearch Indexing & Instruction for Mac Users
Date: 28 Mar 2008

All Users

On Monday, March 31, 2008, a new release of the indexing program will become available. The program on your computer will automatically update to the newest version of the indexing program the next time you sign in.

The indexing server will be down from about 10:00AM to 2:00PM MDT to complete this upate. Please do not try to download or submit batches during this time.

Mac Users

Those who use a Macintosh computer will need to start the program from the Web site to get the new version and avoid a start-up issue. You will only need to do this once. Follow these easy steps after 2:00PM on Monday:

1. Delete the FamilySearch indexing icon from your desktop.
2. Go to the FamilySearch indexing home page ( in your internet browser.
3. Click the Start Indexing button. A new copy of the indexing program will download to your computer.
4. Sign in normally once the download is complete.

We greatly appreciate all you do. Thank you for your patience as we complete these upgrades to the program.
I wonder what the changes will be? I guess I won't find out until next week. It is possible that we won't even notice any changes - just internal stuff being worked on.

I was curious if the New York Censuses had come out but I didn't see any. The 1870 U.S. Federal Census is the next project to begin. I was kinda hoping they would have us index the New York Status Census records. That is just the project I need for my genealogy. I would just be so happy if they would do the State Censuses. Ok, if any of the powers to be over FamilySearch Indexing projects reads this blog just pencil in the New York State Censuses for me and I won't tell anyone that you did that. (hehe)

I was kind of surprised that The New England Historic Genealogical Society has the 1945 Florida Census project coming up. I am assuming that is the Florida State Census because of the year. I guess the State Censuses have a different privacy rule than the Federal Census have. But then again the Irish Birth Records project indexes up to 1958. You could never index those records in the United States. To each their own. I sure would make sure I had a fraud alert on my credit bureau report if I was them. Actually that's not a bad idea anyways to have the fraud alert on your credit bureau report - it gives you a lot of peace of mind and it cost nothing to have it done. I used to work for a credit card company in their fraud department and I saw the value of that first hand.

Ok, now on to what I actually accomplished in FamilySearch Indexing this week. Since there was no New York projects I decided to work on bloating my indexing figures as high as I can get them. That is I worked on the Irish Marriage Indexes 1922-1958. I did one batch and got credit for indexing 375 "records", but there was actually only 204 individuals on it. So I had 171 brownie points given to me.

I tried to do another batch of the Irish Marriage Indexes but they were all gone when I went to download them. That made me notice that the list to download batches is working a little differently. You use to click on the project and then find out there are no more images to download. Now when the images are gone for a project they remove the project name from the possible list. I hope that makes sense! Anyways no Marriage records to index soooooooo, I picked the Irish Death Indexes 1945-1958 to index next. I guess I'm really into doing two batches on Sunday now.

The Irish Death Indexes had only one more column to index than the marriage records and that was the age at death. I guess for that extra work they only have you index 250 records instead of the marriage records 375. I actually had only 168 individuals on the page so I had 82 brownie points given me this time. Not to bad but I get much more credit doing the marriage indexes. Overall though I like the Death indexes better. You feel like you are really indexing vital information - sorry I guess you are at that haha. Just that one extra column of the age at death makes you start to connect with a person. The marriage records are kinda bland. I guess I will have to try the birth records next to get a good feel for those records.

It surprised me when I looked at my monthly total today. I have credit for indexing 2574 records. Normally I index about 400-600 records a month - depending on how many Sundays there are. There was an extra Sunday this month. Before I began indexing this month I had indexed a total of 3,100 individuals. I almost indexed this month the same total I did in the previous 31 weeks. Right now my overall grand total is 5,676 records.

With all this bloating of the figures it makes you wonder if we really do index 1.7 million NAMES a day. So is that individuals indexed or are we counting records accounted for? Do they count the same record twice because it's done twice or is it accounted for only once as just the individual? Just wondering - if anyone know the answer let me know. Either way it is still impressive the amount of indexing we are getting done. Not every project has the bloated numbers the Irish records have. Now watch me index the Irish records next week and I get two full 3 column pages starting in the O's.

Before I leave you I wanted to let you know that there was an error is copying information from an email I received and placed had on my blog last week. The word "blank" didn't carry over because it was placed between the greater and last than signs and was read as HTML code. If it didn't make any sense last week on how to mark multiple rows blank I have fixed the error now. Here is a link to last week's article.

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

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 35

This has been a nice quiet lovely Eastern day. I sat and watched the Sound of Music while I did my FamilySearch Indexing this evening. Since there was no New York projects to work on I determined to get more credit for indexing than I actually do. That is I worked on this Irish Marriage Index 1922-1958.

My first batch had only one page and three columns in it. I indexed 230 names and got credit for 375. Which reminds me of the following email I received this week.
Read your #134 Indexing Blog today. I have a tip that you need badly. When you need to put in multiple lines of "Blank" do this:
1. Highlight the first field in the first line of those that need to be marked with "Blank"
2. Then hold down shift and use the down arrow to highlight all of the first field to the end.
3. Then click on the second B, the one with the three boxes over it and immediately every field is filled with "Blank". You could also do Control + Shift + B and get the same result, but the other is easier.
If you had known about that you would have felt even guiltier about getting credit for 750 records!
I have made use of this lovely shortcut to mark blank records blank. And you know what? I didn't feel guilty at all getting credit this week. I guess one of the reasons I didn't feel this way was because I had so much work to do on my second batch.

At first I thought, oh what a piece of cake - I received a batch that someone else had worked on and I needed to finish it. I had never had that experience before. It had 197 names indexed and I knew there wouldn't be much more to add to it because it only had one page with three columns on it. I read that I needed to proof what the other person had indexed. That is where the work came in. Boy what a job it was.

Whomever had the batch before me messed up on the rows and must of discovered the error and decided it was better to return the whole batch. Maybe they didn't realize you could add a row in the middle of the batch. When all was said and done I had added 23 records throughout the batch. And of course there were multiple errors along the way. I'm not sure how many Michaels were in the batch but everyone of them were mis-spelt as Micheal. It would of been almost easier to have indexed from the beginning all by myself.

Well my two batches for the day are done and I have credit now for indexing 5,051 records to date. I used to say I had indexed the total number as names but now I realize that isn't necessarily true anymore but they are all records I have had to account for. So I leave you now this evening, tired and ready to go to bed. I hope you have a lovely Easter Day.

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

Friday, March 21, 2008

Life Is Worth Recording

I have been using Personal Historian for my personal journal and that has been working out great for me. I just found a new service that gives me thought to possibly change the way I do things. Personal Historian works great for developing your life story to put in book format. The new service I speak of is an online journaling service called "LDSJournal". The beauty of it is it's 100% online so I can access it from any internet-connected browser and record my thoughts at anytime. I'm thinking I could use LDSJournal to record my daily thoughts and then transfer it over to Personal Historian to then write my personal history.

Since LDSJournal is in Beta right now I thought I would share with you some of its current features.

The most important features to me is Privacy Protection, Safety, and Security. A journal is private and I don't want everyone reading it - like you do a public blog. I was pleased to see that LDSJournal uses high grade encryption to deliver a safe and secure journaling environment. This ensures that your journal entries are private and only accessible to you, plus they are stored on secure servers.

Price is important to me and I was happy to see that the service is free right now. They do plan on adding Gold Member services later. I heard the price was going to be about $19.95 a year. If that's true then it's cheaper than buying a nice bound journal. But for now you don't have to pay to add entries, photos, video or scripture references. The free service only gives you 100MB of storage space. If you approach your storage limit, the storage quota indicator will change from white to red.

If you exceed your limit, LDSJournal will interrupt your ability to create a new entry until you clear out some space. That works for me because then I will move the entries over to Personal Historian. It is possible to update your free account from 100MB to 2GB. The text-based entries created inside LDSJournal can be compressed and stored to maximize the space associated with each member account and deliver greater value with each free account.

If you haven't been good about recording in a journal then the 'All About Me' Questions will help you record your legacy! You can relive the moments in your life that you want to share with your posterity. The 'All About Me' questions help you get back on track with journaling. They have questions in the following categories: Personal, Growing Up, Family, Marriage, Spiritual, Education, The World Around Me, Challenges, Accomplishments, Parenthood. They are really thought provoking questions and really worth answering. A wonderful asset for anyone using this service. I want everyone in my family to use just this feature, if nothing else, so I can get a better glimpse on who they are. You kinda have their life story right in front of you.

Reminder Notifications help make journaling a habit! Every day is worth recording in your journal, but sometimes we get busy and forget to record the day's events. With LDSJournal you can set up customized Reminder Notifications to help you stay on task with your journal writing. Friendly notifications are sent to the email address designated by you and/or your mobile phone. Pretty cool, huh? If you don't log into your account for six months it can become dormant so you need to log in to keep your account active. If you do not log in to LDSJournal within three months of it being labeled dormant or nine consecutive months - LDSJournal reserves the right to delete the account. I sure hope you write in your journal more often then every 9 months.

When you create an entry you have all the features available in a word processing program, bold, italics, spell check, bullets, etc. There is a subject header so you can see at a glance your overall thought or theme for that days events. When creating an entry you can apply a mood to best represents how you are feeling that day. The moods can be accessed via a drop-down menu when creating or editing an entry - and boy are there plenty to pick from to.

Auto-Saved Entries - safe from interruptions! LDSJournal will periodically auto-save your journal entries as you write to protect you from constant interruptions, power outages, or computer failure.

LDSJournal has a search feature built in and also uses 'Tags' to help file your entries. Tags are words or names that you would like associated with a specific journal entry. You can 'Add Tags' at the bottom of any journal entry. This feature comes in handy when you want to search for the entries relating to a specific topic. For example, if you write entries about your children, you could include the name of the child you wrote about. When searching, the 'Tags' will increase the relevancy of the search results and help ensure the search results display the entries you want.

Footnotes - you can include photos, scripture links and audio/video to help illustrate and augment your daily journal entries. You can also add reference links that can be hyperlinks to any site on the web.

Afterthoughts - add comments about past entries while preserving your journal integrity! Looking back, life is always 20/20. Sometimes there are lessons to be learned just for living. With LDSJournal, you can go back in time and comment about past events or include additional insights that were previously not recorded, while maintaining the integrity of your journal entries. You can't change the past, but you can grow from it.

In the future, LDSJournal will allow members to print their journal to bound book or archive to DVD. It looks like they are adding a PDF feature too. Recording your journal online is fun and easy, but you will want something tangible to hold onto at the end of each year. All members will have the option to create a personal archive of their LDSJournal to use offline while still maintaining all entries online.

Mobile Entries - You can synchronize your LDSJournal account with your mobile phone and begin sending text and photos directly to LDSJournal. There is no excuse to not capture the moment when it happens in a flash.

These are cool features but the website is so well layed out and inviting that it's a pleasure to work in it. It is a very well-designed site. It is still in beta so you might find some glitches here and there. They have some really nice tutorials to help you understand the program and how it works. It's to bad the Getting Started video isn't available to see before you join because that would really sell you on the service.

Now I am assuming any genealogist would understand how important a journal would be to their posterity someday. Wouldn't we give our eye teeth to have an ancestors journal or their life history? Maybe someone you know doesn't understand how precious that would be. Here are a couple of quotes from the site, that I remember from LDS Conferences, that might motive you or someone else.
"Begin today and write in it your goings and your comings, your deeper thoughts, your achievements, any your failures, your associations and your triumphs, your impressions and your testimonies. We hope you will do this, our brothers and sisters, for this is what the Lord has commanded, and those who keep a personal journal are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives." (Spencer W. Kimball, 12th President of the Church)
"I heard in my mind - not in my own voice - these words: "I'm not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down." I went inside. I didn't go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family...I knew that was true. And so I wrote it down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it. I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day." (Henry B. Eyring)
Now you don't really need to get fancy just to write a journal. You could use a notebook and have the paper copies for your descendants - it's worked for generations. The reason I tell you of these commercial products is for the ease of use. I can type way faster than I can write. I seem to think better when I am typing verses handwriting. I can imagine some of you have seen journals or letters that you wish the author would of typed instead of writing too. My Dad is a great example for that! I am just all for any technology that will increase my ability to accomplish the important things in my life and for my family. If you haven't started a journal yet then you have no more excuse because there are plenty of tools to help you accomplish that goal. Go forth and write.

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

FamilySearch Developers Conference Presentations Online

I was excited to just discover that FamilySearch has put up links to all the presentations given at the FamilySearch Developers Conference held 12 March 2008. If you go here and scroll down to the schedule you will find links to the presentations. The presentations are available in Powerpoint, PDF or Adobe Connect. Adobe Connect gives you the screen capture with the audio portion of the presentation. The next best thing to being there.

I just had to add this quote from one of the presentations.

"When the servants of the Lord determine to do as He commands, we move ahead. As we proceed, we are joined at the crossroads by those who have been prepared to help us. They come with skills and abilities precisely suited to our needs. And, we find provisions; information, inventions, help of various kinds, set along the way waiting for us to take them up. It is though someone knew we would be traveling that way. We see the invisible hand of the Almighty providing for us. For instance, inventions in the fields of travel and communication have come along just as we were ready for them...The airplane did not come as an accidental discovery...Revelation was involved. It came precisely when we could use it to move across the world to restore the Gospel...When we are ready, there will be revealed whatever we need - we will find it waiting at the crossroads."

(Elder Boyd K. Packer - Regional Representatives Seminar - April 1, 1977)

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

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Forever Family Embroidery

I was happy to discover this video of Forever Family Embroidery on Roots Television. I saw them for the first time at the South Davis Regional Family History fair and then again at the BYU Computerized Genealogy Conference this past week. They can embroider your family history on pillows, wall hangings or quilt blocks. I don't quilt but me made me want to. They had an embroidered jacket with a family tree on the back of it. It was just a "I wanta have" item for me. Don't you think that would be a great idea for my tax refund, just my way of stimulating the economy ;)

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers (BETA)

I was just watching TV and playing around on the internet and stumbled upon a gold mine - FREE historic newspapers. The project is called Chronicling America and located at:

This site allows you to search and view newspaper pages from 1897-1910 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress as part of the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

Right now you can only view newspaper pages from 1897 to 1910 from the following states: California, District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, and Virginia. I was so excited to see MY New York to be included in this project. They do plan on adding to the collection. The following is a write-up of their intentions.

The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) is a partnership between the NEH and the Library of Congress to provide enhanced access to United States newspapers. . Ultimately, over a period of approximately 20 years, NDNP will create a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers from all the states and U.S. territories published between 1836 and 1922. This searchable database will be permanently maintained at the Library of Congress (LC) and be freely accessible via the Internet. An accompanying national newspaper directory of bibliographic and holdings information on the website will direct users to newspaper titles available in all types of formats. LC will also digitize and contribute to the NDNP database a significant number of newspaper pages drawn from its own collections during the course of this partnership between NEH and the Library. The two agency partners launched a prototype of this digital resource, "Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers," in March 2007.

NDNP will be implemented in several phases. In May 2005, the NDNP began its development phase by making awards to six state projects that are selecting newspapers published in California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, and Virginia during the decade of 1900 to 1910. These projects are currently digitizing 100,000 pages, according to the technical guidelines outlined by the Library of Congress. Awardees will also be expected to contribute to the evaluation by NEH and LC of the program's future selection criteria, the technical specifications and requirements of the program, and the effectiveness of NDNP's initial interface for browsing and searching newspaper pages.

The Endowment intends to support additional projects in all states and U.S. territories provided that sufficient funds allocated for this purpose are available. One organization within each U.S. state or territory will receive an award to collaborate with relevant state partners in this effort. Previously funded projects will be eligible for continued support to digitize pages from new decades, as the program increases its chronological span.

NDNP builds on the foundation established by an earlier NEH initiative: the United States Newspaper Program (USNP). Since 1982, the Endowment has supported a cooperative, national effort to locate, catalog, and preserve on microfilm American newspapers published from the 18th century to the present. NEH has funded newspaper projects in all the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. When completed in 2007, USNP will have provided bibliographic control to widely scattered newspapers and have preserved on microfilm (to consistent national standards) selected titles from this vulnerable corpus. LC has provided technical assistance for USNP since its inception.

MacFamilyTree 5.1 Out of Beta

Synium Software updates MacFamilyTree to 5.1 final: many new features

55129 Mainz, DE Mar 18, 2008 in Software

[] Mainz, Germany - After less than a month and more than one release a week, MacFamilyTree 5.1 today makes it "out of beta"! Download the newest update to our popular genealogy application and enjoy the many new features and enhancements added to the user interface as well as to overall functionality.

* Media Browser
- interactive 'gallery' and another entry point to browse and access all pictures available in your family tree.

* Media Pane "Redux"
- the Media panes are now available all over MacFamilyTree, they offer quick navigation and have been updated with a slide show to make working with your family tree a real joy.

* Address Book import
- quickly and comfortably add your family members via direct import from Address Book.

* Database Maintenance
- quickly harmonize all date entries in your database to match your preferred date format. This tool also allows you to easily filter your database for unused (empty) items which then can be quickly removed.

* Fan Charts
- with 5.1 we introduce the view "Fan Chart" which displays your ancestors in a well-structured way, is fully configurable and easy to edit. Fan Charts can be visualized in multicolour and line-art - just as you wish.

* Enhanced GUI
- substantial GUI enhancements in MacFamilyTree 5.1 make better use of media in Person, Family, Source and Event Edit Modes. Inline help texts and documentation have been improved. We also placed more direct-access buttons, e.g. for Kekule number management right on the frontmost interface level, and added age as a separate, sortable column in Person list view.

* Improved Performance
- many minor and not-so-minor performance enhancements and fixes all over MacFamilyTree.

* More Localizations
- added Danish, Spanish and Swedish localizations; MacFamilyTree 5 also ships with English, Finnish, French, German and Italian. More languages will be supported in the near future via free updates over the internet.

* Limited Crossgrade Promotion
- until May 31, 2008, we offer a discounted "Crossgrade" for users of other genealogy applications: send us your proof of purchase, and you will receive your personal coupon code for a 25% discount on the online (download) version of MacFamilyTree 5.

* Now available: PayPal
- use PayPal secure payment options from within all our online stores, on eSellerate as well as on

Supported Languages:
US English, French, German, Italian as well as Danish, Finnish, Spanish and Swedish.

System Requirements:
MacFamilyTree 5 requires Mac OS X 10.4.9 »Tiger« or higher, a PPC Macintosh with 512 MByte RAM (1024 recommended), ATI Radeon 7500 or NVidia GeForce 4 MX graphics chipset or better and a minimum of 16 MByte video memory. All Macintosh computers with Intel processors and Intel's GMA 950 graphics chipset or better are supported. MacFamilyTree 5 is fully compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

Pricing and Availability:
MacFamilyTree 5 can be purchased for $49.00 USD. $25 USD upgrade. Demo is also available for download. Update from all previous versions of MacFamilyTree requires valid registration key from previous versions. For customers who purchased MacFamilyTree 4 on, or after August 14th, 2007 the upgrade to MacFamilyTree 5 is free. Registration codes will automatically work with MacFamilyTree 5. Please also see our special limited Crossgrade Promotion above!
Synium Software GmbH
MacFamilyTree 5.1
MacFamilyTree 5.1 Download

Synium Software GmbH is a software development and consulting company, based in Mainz (Mayence), Germany. Apart from being a successful publisher within the Mac software market, we offer a popular web-based news service at for the German-speaking audience. All Material and Software (C) 2005-2007 Synium Software GmbH / All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, are registered trademarks of Apple Computer in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Nils Heeren
Marcom Manager

Monday, March 17, 2008

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 34

This was the first week that I missed doing my FamilySearch Indexing on a Sunday. Our family celebrated my husband's birthday Sunday, since he works Monday evening when we normally would of held it. Then my friend Teresa needed some computer help so my planned hour visit turned into many hours. Thankfully the hours paid off and we avoided the dreaded nuking of the computer hard drive.

I was finally able to do my FamilySearch Indexing today, and what was more fitting to work on, on St. Patrick's Day, than the Irish Marriage Indexes 1922-1958. Happily the index batches I did were beautiful and in pristine condition. It was a breeze to index what records were on them. I felt like I was cheating because my first batch only had 159 names on it even though I get credit for indexing 375 records. I was so paranoid I was missing something but there was no second page to index. My batch only had two columns on the page so that made it even smaller than normal.

I was listening to DearMyrtle's Family History Hour Podcast and I finished before the hour was up. I decided that my weekly indexing session was to short so I did another batch. That batch turned out to have only 113 names. Once again it was in pristine condition so it was effortless to index the information. It kinda made me wonder why these typewritten pages weren't OCR'd, they were that good.

I really feel guilty claiming I indexed 750 names today because I feel like it was actually only 272. I guess I did "index" the 478 blank lines by hitting Ctrl-Shift-B. It was more tiresome to mark those lines blank than it was to actual type information into the lines! Oh well, I get credit for doing about a month's average in one day. I have 4,301 total names indexed to date now. If someone is really into getting the high numbers from having indexed names the Irish records would be a great place to get them for little effort.

There were no messages from Headquarters this week, but I did receive a couple of emails I will share with you and report on news from the BYU Computerized Genealogy Conference.

My first email has a great reminder that we are control quality on the images we are indexing. I'm sure I am guilty of doing my best with some records when the quality was poor enough they should of been returned to be digitized again.
I, like so many others appreciate and enjoy your blog ... thanks for keeping so many us updated.

I have been doing Indexing and Arbitrating for a year ... I recently have been working on the 1850 census. What I have found out is we are the ones to do the quality control of the digitized images ... they records are being digitized at a high speed ... and it sounds like no one looks at the quality, until a batch has been returned THREE times. There is a possibility someone will look at the batch IF a list is send to the support group ... hopefully.

This concerns me ... I don't think the people working so hard on indexing realize they are part of quality control. I have seen people mark an entire page "unreadable" ... and still submit it for arbitration. As I subscribe to I have check the quality of their 1850 census against the batches I have worked on ... you can read theirs ...

I have also looked at some of the 1850 census posted in the FamilySearch Labs ... ... alot of the copies are good, but look at Alabama, Coffee County, the first 24 pages ... then compare them to copies make by other companies.

The short of a long "fussing" ... is people doing indexing and arbitrating ... need to be reminded they are quality control ... and they should send a message to support when they return something. I have told this to people and they often tell me they wish they had know that before ... they just tried to do the best the could and submitted the batch ... they didn't think they should return it ...

Thanks for "listening" ... Phoebe, Albuquerque, NM
This next email is from the FSIndexing mailing list on Yahoo. Billie gives us a little background on his question regarding ditto marks and then the reply and document that FamilySearch Indexing Support sends back to him.
I sent in a question to support concerning the Wisconsin 1905 State Census. Instead of ditto marks, the enumerator uses lines in the blanks instead of names, ages, etc. when they are repeated in the line before. Thought others might also benefit from the reply I received tonight from them.

Billie - Alabama

Subj: Reference: Wisconsin - 1905 State Census (CaseID:625281)

Dear Billie,
Thank you for contacting FamilySearch Support. Attached is a document that answers your question. Click anywhere on the blue underlined title of the document(s) to see it in full.

If these directions do not resolve your problem, could you please reply to this email with a phone number and a time when we could call and help you? If you wish, you may call us Monday through Friday 8-5 or Saturday 8-noon (Mountain Time) at 1-866-406-1830. After asking for indexing, select the option for using the FamilySearch Indexing program. Please include your phone number in all your email correspondence. Thank you for your service.

FamilySearch Support

Document Links:
FamilySearch indexing: Sometimes it's difficult to tell what is a sign of repetition (ditto mark) _

This next email is from the UGA and it tells us how to access the records that have been indexed. This will help more than one of my readers that have asked how to access the records that have been indexed.
UGA Indexing

The first UGA indexing project with FamilySearch Indexing is now on the Internet!

UGA indexed the Salt Lake County death certificates from 1908 to 1949 (county, not state). The indexing was completed last year. Then the data went through various FamilySearch Indexing processes, and the index can now be used on the Internet at

Labs is a free site, but you do need to register to use it. On the Home Page, click ‘Record Search’. On the next page, click ‘Register to Use Record Search’. Fill out the short form. You may need to wait a day or so, but then a notice will be sent to your email, and you can use Record Search. After that, you just type your email address to sign in.

To find our index, scroll down the left hand column to Vital Records, “Utah, Salt Lake County Death Records, 1908-1949.” Click to search our index. The county has not given permission for the images of the death certificates to go online, but with the information in the index, they will send copies of death certificates.

FamilySearch Indexing would like us to use the index and let them know if there are any problems. There is a Feedback button in the upper right section of the screen.

You can use the other record indexes in Record Search as well. These include the 1850 and 1900 US Census, Freedman Bank Records 1865-1874, several Cheshire, England records, and state death records from Georgia, Ontario, Ohio, Utah and Texas.

On the right hand side, are collections of records that have not been indexed but can be “browsed.” These include Vermont Land Records Early to 1900, Belgium Death Registration 1796-1908, and some church records from Germany, Illinois, France, Czech Republic and England.

Thanks again to all who helped index!
News from the BYU Computerized Family History and Genealogy Conference on both FamilySearch Indexing and Records Search.
  • There are 125,000 users of FamilySearch Indexing.
  • We are averaging 1.7 million names indexed a day.
  • There are some FamilySearch Indexing users that are indexing for several hours a day.
  • We indexed 67 million individuals in 2007.
  • Records Search was launched June 2007 with 100+ million records
  • Records Search has 45,000 registered users.
  • They are working on the Family History Library Catalog showing digitized films before Way Pointing or Indexing.
  • Records Search is working on moving over the old DOS FamilySearch CD Collections
It was a great conference and I will share more with you on what I learned in the coming week.

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

USGenWeb - Where Are They Moving?

Kimberly Powell on has an interesting article on Kimberly's Genealogy Blog: USGenWeb - Where Are They Moving? I was surprised to see how many USGenWeb site are moving off the free RootsWeb servers after The Next Generations announced them being "transplanted" to the domain. (See my March 13th article: RootsWeb Announcement for more details.)

I understand there is a lot of feelings out there. Myself I am not to sure what to make of it. They say there are no ramifications to me but I have a free website hosted by RootsWeb (Ancestry) and any new web pages I create there will have a different URL so I have to conform to the changes.

One of the reasons I have my website on RootsWeb's freepages is because I want my website to be preserved if I happen to die. I don't want to have my pages disappear from the internet just because my kids didn't want to pay for web hosting forever. I appreciate Ancestry's commitment to keeping RootsWeb pages free.

Maybe with the changes Ancestry will be personally glad that some are moving their website off the freepages because then they don't have to pay to host them. For all I know this could just be a wise business decision on Ancestry's part to preserve what data is on the RootsWeb servers.

What if the RootsWeb servers are several generations out of date? What if those servers were never updated and crashed and we lost all our data stored there? I bet a lot of people would be telling Ancestry they should of done what they are doing right now. We always see things differently in hindsight.

Another plus is if newer hardware is used search time could go down and newer search algorithms could allow for better results than in the old system. Then again with RootsWeb part of Ancestry you could more easily incorporate RootsWeb data into Ancestry searches. More people will find my site with family history on it. I'm all for more traffic especially if I'm not paying for the bandwidth. I used to have my website hosted on Geocities and when I put up some pictures my family knocked me off because I exceeded the bandwidth. I haven't had that issue on RootsWeb.

I'm sure all that free hosting for people is mighty expensive for Ancestry. Yes, they will make money off their clicks increase meaning more cost to advertisers on their site but free isn't really free for someone down the line. This move should help reduce the bottom line for supporting RootsWeb since the servers will now most likely be in the same room with Ancestry's so the same processes and people can maintain both systems.

My hands are up in the air on this one. I can see benefits and issues on both sides. Right now all I can say is couldn't you of fixed this problem somehow without changing the URLs? I'll go sit in my little corner now and be quiet.

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

Mark Your Calendars! - UGA

The Utah Valley Chapter of the Utah Genealogical Association will have as the speaker at the March 21st meeting, Dr. Shauna Anderson whose topic will be "Scandinavian Emigration: From the Old Country to the Salt Lake Valley". Dr. Anderson has been doing research on the Scandinavian Saints, and has co-authored several volumes containing information on their trip to the United States.

The meeting of open to everyone and is held from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Utah South Area Family History Training Building at 85 North 600 East in Provo, Utah.

Mormon Church says Emotions Surface as Northwest African American Museum Opens

I just read a wonderful blog article on 123 Idaho: Mormon Church says Emotions Surface as Northwest African American Museum Opens.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated computers, a digital imaging system and other equipment and software to the Genealogy Research Center located in the Museum. Local Latter-day Saint family history experts provided training to center personnel.

Some estimates put attendance at the museum opening on Saturday at over 1,000 with over half of those spending time in the genealogy center. Stowell said the seats were occupied and the computers were in use all day.

I encourage you to stop by and read the full article with pictures at:

Update: I just found the original source of this article comes from the LDS Newsroom:

New Genealogy Guide for Finland Research

Free guide simplifies research process

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—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 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.

Jews from Ireland Added to Knowles Collection

Free genealogy database contains thousands of names from the British Isles

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, FamilySearch has added over 1,000 names of Jews from Ireland to its growing Knowles Collection genealogy database. The Knowles Collection contains information for over 15,000 of Jews from the British Isles. Building on the work of the late Isobel Mordy, the collection links individuals into family groups with more names added continuously. The collection is freely available as a file that can be viewed and edited through most genealogy software programs. Genealogy software is also available as a free download.

Those wishing to donate information to the Knowles Collection may contact Todd Knowles at

The collection and other helpful resources are available for free online on the Jewish Family History Resources page 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, March 13, 2008

FamilySearch Developers Conference Reports

This is for all my developers friends that would like to know more about what was discussed at the FamilySearch Developers Conference held at BYU this past Wednesday. I have found two blogs associated with the Center for Open and Sustainable Learning (COSL) at USU.

Justin Ball, blog author of Nobody Listens Anyway has five articles taken from his notes from the conference. Justin says in his bio he likes to build stuff, cools stuff in the hopes that someone, somewhere will learn something.
  • "FamilySearch Conference" - gives highlights from the keynote address "Brave New Platform: Changing the World of Genealogy" given by Ransom Love on Social Networking.
  • "FamilySearch API"- it goes a little more technical than most of us need to understand, but it is interesting to see a developers reaction to getting access to the information.
  • "Family Tree Read" - gives some information from his notes on what the Family Tree outputs. Once again a little more technical but some developers will like this.
  • "FamilySearch Write" - I wish he gave more information on what he discussed with the CTO & founder of Geni, Alan Braverman at lunch. Who knew there were so many aspects to an API just so I could share my information from my genealogy software program to NFS.
  • "Ruby FS-API" - Ruby is an open-source programming language - great for the developer to work with.
Tom, blog author of Tom's 2¢ has 2 articles from the conference. Tom is from Logan, UT and currently working on his PhD in Instructional Technology at Utah State University.
It appears bright minds were in attendance. I look forward to the wonderful creative things they can come up with to make the FamilySearch API and the future products that use it shine.

Worldwide Attention Given to way Church History is Collected and Preserved

Richard E. Turley Jr. Named Assistant Church Historian and Recorder

SALT LAKE CITY 12 March 2008

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today named Richard E. Turley Jr. as the new assistant Church historian and recorder, signaling another step forward in its commitment to collect, preserve and publish Church historical records.

Turley said today he was looking forward to focusing his attention on the "rich and fascinating history of the Church” as he relinquishes his former position as managing director of the Family and Church History Department. “Our aim is to apply the Church’s historical resources, personnel and collections for the benefit of its members and others interested in Latter-day Saint history,” he said.

Turley follows in the footsteps of former notable assistant historians such as Andrew Jenson and B.H. Roberts.

“Richard Turley is uniquely suited to make a very significant contribution to the collection, preservation and publishing of Church history," Church historian Marlin K. Jensen said. "He has a base of historical and doctrinal knowledge that qualifies him to be the assistant Church historian and recorder. He also has the respect and credibility of those outside the Church who are scholars and academics working in the area of Mormon studies and Mormon history.”

That credibility is based on years of experience overseeing the vast records of the Church. As managing director of the Family and Church History Department, his responsibilities included management of the Church Archives and Records Center, the Church’s worldwide family history operations, the Church History Library and the Museum of Church History and Art.

He has also served on the Church’s Historic Sites Committee, which oversees the restoration and operation of important historic sites across the United States.

Turley, an accomplished author who currently serves as the president of the Genealogical Society of Utah, said that in his new position “attention will be given to the way Church history is collected and preserved, not only in the United States but also worldwide.”

Today’s announcement follows on the heels of the creation of The Church Historian’s Press just two weeks ago. The new imprint will publish works related to the Church’s origin and growth, such as The Joseph Smith Papers, a documentary series that will eventually comprise 25–30 volumes.

The construction of the 230,000-square-foot Church History Library in downtown Salt Lake City is further evidence of the Church’s desire to make its history available to scholars and the public. The new library, to be completed in the spring of 2009, will include a collection of 270,000 books, pamphlets and magazines, as well as 240,000 original unpublished records.

PAF is only mostly dead!

The Ancestry Insider has just posted an interesting article "PAF is only mostly dead!" You just have to read it. The lucky Ancestry Insider appears to be attending all of the BYU Conferences this week. The article I mentioned is news from the first annual FamilySearch Developers Conference, held yesterday. Today is the Family History Technology Workshop and tomorrow begins the Computerized Family History and Genealogy Conference.

I could only afford to attend once conference so I picked the Computerized Family History and Genealogy Conference that is on Friday and Saturday. My main focus is to learn how Ancestral Quest, Family Insight, Legacy and RootsMagic sync with New FamilySearch. I was lucky to get a little peak at some of the programs at the South Davis Regional Family History Fair last week. RootsMagic had the most complete demonstration on syncing with NFS, which lasted a hour - WAHOO! I feel I can write a good article on that program now, but I want to wait until I see more on the others, so I can give some type of comparison.

If you live near the Utah Valley or plan to travel here around May 10th you might just want to schedule in attending the UVPAFUG monthly meeting. We will have a special meeting that month with four main presentations, and no class breakout session. The reason is Gaylon Finlay of Ancestral Quest, John Vilburn of Family Insight, Geoff Rasmussen of Legacy, and Bruce Buzbee of RootsMagic will be demonstrating back to back how their programs will sync with NFS. I believe they will have around 45 minutes to give their presentations. I am so looking forward to this meeting.

The UVPAFUG meeting will be open to all at no charge. We will be videotaping the presentations and later selling a DVD of it to members of the group. Maybe you will consider joining our group, to help support us, then you will have the benefit of buying the DVD for about $3.00 - I'm just not sure if it will be a two DVD set or not. OK, that's enough of the sales pitch - now I'm off to prepare for the conference tomorrow.

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

RootsWeb Announcement

From the RootsWeb Newsroom
March 13th, 2008 by Tim

As you know, The Generations Network has hosted and funded the RootsWeb online community since June 2000, thereby maintaining RootsWeb as the world’s oldest and largest free genealogy website. TGN remains committed to this mission and believes that RootsWeb is an absolutely invaluable and complementary resource to, our flagship commercial family history site. We believe in both services and want to see both communities prosper and grow.

As part of this goal, we have decided to “transplant” RootsWeb onto the domain beginning next week. This move will not change the RootsWeb experience or alter the ease of navigation to or within RootsWeb. RootsWeb will remain a free online experience. What will be different is that the Web address for all RootsWeb pages will change from to Again, the RootsWeb experience is not changing.

The decision to host RootsWeb on is being made for one primary reason: we believe that the users of each of our two main websites can be better served if they have access to the best services available on both. Simply stated, we want to introduce more users to RootsWeb and vice versa.

Today, despite the fact that and are the two most frequently visited family history sites on the Web, only 25 percent of visitors to visited RootsWeb in January 2008, while only 20 percent of visitors to RootsWeb visited (according to Comscore Media Metrix). We think we will serve our users best by doing a better job of letting them know what is available on both and RootsWeb. Hosting RootsWeb on is the first step towards making this happen, but we will absolutely look for more and better ways down the road to advance this goal.

Hosting RootsWeb on will also make it easier for us to make changes and improvements to the RootsWeb experience in the future.

All old RootsWeb URLs will continue to work, whether they are bookmarks or favorites, links to or from a hosted page or URLs manually typed in your Internet browser. We will have a redirect in place so that all old URLs will automatically end up on the appropriate new RootsWeb URL. You will never need to update your old favorites or links unless you want to. We have worked to make the transition as seamless as possible for our users, and this change should have a minimal impact on your experience with the site.

RootsWeb will remain a free online experience dedicated to providing you with a place where our community can find their roots together. If you have questions regarding this change please email them to


Tim Sullivan
The Generations Network, Inc.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Logan Family History EXPO

Just what you’ve been waiting for!

A one-day EXPO designed to supercharge your ancestral quest.

WHAT: The Logan Family History EXPO

WHERE: Eccles Conference Center ~ 5005 Old Main Hill ~ Logan, Utah (on the campus of Utah State University)

WHEN: 8 am to 6 pm ~ March 22, 2008 Saturday

THEME: Families by the Dozen

10 jam-packed hours of genealogy!

This year’s keynote speaker is Timothy G. Cross, the Product Manager for New FamilySearch. The theme “Families by the Dozen” is all about finding the tie that binds families together forever. Come learn about New FamilySearch and how to find entire families, not just one ancestor.

CLASSES has gathered the Cream of the Crop when it comes to knowledgeable and creative family history instructors. With this amazing group of teachers lined up you will have more than 36 fantastic classes to choose from including the latest about New FamilySearch, Welsh research, DNA, Hispanic research, Scottish research, immigrant and US ancestry, and what to do about digital copies of documents in your library and on the net at FamilySearch,,, Generation Maps, RootsMagic and more. Find out how to write personal histories, document your sources, get organized, surf the web, and use the latest genealogy software programs. Learn about the records centers in our region that are chock full of information to help genealogists climb their family trees.


Jam-packed with over 20 displays and vendors

  • Test drive software programs
  • Browse books
  • Bargain hunt among preservation treasures
  • Demo the latest internet technologies
  • Have Pedigree Wall Charts printed onsite (Bring your digital file)


Thousands of dollars in fabulous prizes will be given out both days to registered attendees!

Some of the prizes that will be given out are:

And the list goes on and on including software, books, family history supplies and more.

Be prepared for a select group of instructors who will be on hand to answer your personal research questions. The value of a one-on-one consultation with a professional genealogist far exceeds the cost of admittance to this event. Professional answers will open your mind to new research strategies.

DearMYRTLE is so excited to help attendees discover missing ancestors and honorable pioneers on their pedigree charts and says, “I’m bringing my clipboard so that I can focus on writing out actual genealogy prescriptions for what to do next!”


No need to put it off any longer! Spring is almost here, so focus on your genealogy and family history with help from Professionals who are teaching at this super great genealogy conference.


Register online at or call 801.829.3295

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 33

Last week after I posted my weekly article on FamilySearch Indexing I received the following message:

I know that your time is limited, but you might try indexing the Irish BMD indexes. They are extremely easy and are all typed and a cinch to read. There are fewer columns and you do a lot of tabbing across. The only drawback for you might be that there are 375 names in a batch.

Pat in FL
I had thought about this all week, wondering if I could possible do 375 names in a batch on a Sunday afternoon. That's more than I have every indexed in a day. Pat did say it was extremely easy and I was up to anything that easy. I decided to take up the suggestion and actually worked on the Irish Marriage Indexes 1922-1958.

They were easy to do but no necessarily EXTREMELY easy. That is because I was stupid at first. I was moving the scroll bar over to see the volume and page number. I was about 20 people into this method until I realized I could just reduce the zoom level to 75% and see the whole line to index on my screen. That was a duh moment. I sorta giggled at myself for being so stupid.

The information to be indexed was all from type written pages. That does make is simple do transcribe - but, that is if you can read the type. From previous experience working with type written images sometimes the letters get filled in and it makes it difficult to tell if it's an a, e or an s, m's and n's can get hard too. On this page it was also challenging to determine if it was an 3 or a 5. Still overall not a bad project to work on - thanks for the heads up Pat.

My batch had 2 pages with only 2 columns on each page. It started with "I" and ended in the "K's". There were big gaps of space where nothing was written when a new letter of the alphabet was started. You are suppose to have 375 lines to transcribe and when I was almost done I had 279 lines indexed. There were some floaters on the page handwritten so I added them and now I was up to 285. Which meant I had 110 lines to mark blank. I felt like I had cheated after getting credit for having indexed 375 names. It did make my humble efforts in indexing look better with 3,551 names indexed overall.

Since that project wasn't bad I will give it a shot again - UNLESS they put out the NY State Census or the NY 1870 Federal Censuses or something. On the other hand now that the secret is out on how quick the Irish BMD indexes are to do they will probably all get indexed before I start again next week. (hehe)

We did get several messages from Headquarters this week. The first one gives us our figures so far for the year. WAHOO!

From: Headquarters
Subject: General Indexing Tips
Date: 06 Mar 2008

Thank you for all of the time that you devote to indexing. This year, you have already indexed over 25 million names!

Here are a few tips to remember as you continue:
  • When opening a new batch, please scan the entire image(s) to locate all of the records. You can do this using one of the following two options:
  • Scroll all the way to the right and down.
  • Zoom out by clicking the icon that looks like a magnifying glass with a - sign on the toolbar until the number to its right changes to 10%.
  • Some images may appear blank at first glance, but actually have records on a second page to the right. If the first page on the left does not contain a form or it contains a form with no line numbers, ignore the first page and start indexing the second page on line 1. Mark any remaining entry lines at the end of the batch as blank. If the first page includes a blank form with line numbers, mark all of the lines as blank and then index the information for the second page.
  • When indexing the line number, type the number just as it is printed on the line. Do not add a zero in front of single digits.
Thank you again for all that you do. The other message you received today from Headquarters includes some project-specific indexing reminders. Please be sure to read those as well.
From: Headquarters
Subject: Project-specific Reminders
Date: 06 Mar 2008

Project-specific Reminders
  • In the 1850 U.S. Census project, yet-to-be released 1870 U.S. Census project, and the South Dakota State Census projects, do not type United States in the Country field unless it was written in the Place of Birth column.
  • In the 1855, 1875, 1885, and 1895 Wisconsin State Census projects, pay special attention to the Field Help for the Town or Locality field. Within this field, and after the name of the locality, index any recorded designation, such as Town, Village or City.
  • In the Irish Indexes projects, if the given name was listed as (male) or (female), type this word in the Given Name field without the parentheses.
Thank you again for your continuing dedication in creating these quality indexes.
Before I end my article for this week I thought I would let you know that Aaron has started an article on FamilySearch Indexing in Wikipedia. He posted this on the LDS Tech website this week.
Hi all.

I have added a Wikipedia entry for FamilySearch Indexing at if anyone wants to help.

It could use some work, so feel free to pitch in. It is also currently an orphan, so I could use some help with getting it linked from other articles.


The beauty of a wiki is that the community at large can edit it. I really should stop by and try to contribute, just not sure when I will have the time. I'm going to BYU's Computerized Genealogy Conference this week. WAHOO - two conferences in two weeks time. I just love it.

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

Family Tree Mapper Beta

If you have access to NFS you might consider helping out these BYU students.
Posted on the LDS Tech website
Subject: Family Tree Mapper Beta

Maybe people here will be interested in this. Family Tree Mapper is a tool, now in Beta, which plots your family tree with data from the New Family Search. You can then interact with your family tree to find out more about the places your ancestors lived.

This is a senior capstone project for myself and 6 other students in BYU's Information Technology major. It's not done yet, but it's at the point where we wanted to let people who were interested to take a look at it and give us feedback.

After clicking on a place, you can then display different types of information about the place or person you have clicked. For example, we currently have a 'Family History Centeres' plugin which will (usually!) plot the 25 family history centers closes to the last place you clicked on the map. Other information could include the nearest churches, nearby courthouses, cemetaries, etc.

We've developed an API which lets plugins be created easily in JavaScript, and can make calls to PHP or Perl files on the server for heavier processing.

Our site is completely free to use, but presently you do need a New Family Search account in order to plot your family. Eventually, we're told, there will be anonymous access, when that happens, we'll allow lookups without logging in.

We never do any writes to the family search data, so it's completely safe to use.

When you try it, please leave feedback by clicking on teh "Leave Feedback" link on the left side of the page, or by emailing

Try it :
Development (API and updates) :

Michael Moore

New FamilySearch Version .92 Released

I enjoyed this write up and the screen shots Gary Turner has posted on his website regarding NFS newly release version .92. He has done an excellent job so I will leave things in his own words.
Posted on the LDS Tech Website
Subject: new FamilySearch Version.92 out 3 March 2008

The new version of nFS V.92 is now out. When you go to the Pedigree with Details view you will now see a new Tab called "Summary". In this summary area you can select the correct names, dates, and places to be the default information that will show in all the pedigree and family views. Once selected by one person this default will then display for everyone. In V.91 the default information was based on a sort of all the different versions in the folder. This is a great improvement and will prevent a lot of errors in combining. The old summary view was located in the Details section but did not have the option to select the correct data. In the old version you could enter another opinion and it would elevate a name in the sort for you but not for everyone else.

There are also now more possible matches shown in the "Possible Matches" area, but be careful many of those shown now are not good matches, they are now rated with stars as to how close of a match they are.

You can now navigate the combined records pages more easily. You no longer need to go through the combined records one page at a time, there are more options to go to different pages.

Now when you choose a different set of parents, they stay in your pedigree from session to session, before this update they would revert back to the top parents in a sort when you logged off.

There is now a limit of 1000 names for a GEDCOM file submission and you must certify that you have checked in nFS to make sure you are only submitting new names and not duplicates.

If you are interested in seeing some screen shots in a slide show of the new functions go to: newFamilyHistory Consultant Page


Renee's Note: I am excited about these very needed changes. FamilySearch is making wonderful strides. On the New FamilySearch website you will find a link to What's New in the New FamilySearch? It's dated 15 Feb 2008 but it is speaking about what just came out in version .92. Make sure you bookmark Gary's website - it's a great resource.

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

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Legacy 7's Secret is Out

I just got back from the South Davis Regional Family History Fair. I have new material to share with you and several articles to write. I thought I would share with you the exciting news about the latest feature revealed that is coming out in Legacy 7. (Which should be released next month by the way.)

Geoff Rasmussen was our excellent presenter and showed us many of the features I wrote about back in late July and early August 2007 Sneak Peak of Legacy 7, and Sneak Peak of Legacy 7 - Part Two. At that time there was no hint of this latest development going prime in version 7. Geoff had hinted recently on the Legacy Mailing List about a surprise coming out and everyone was just dying to know what it was. I guess he accidentally let the cat out of the bag at the St. George Conference and some people that attended told me about it. They were told not to tell anyone so I had to keep painfully mum. When I saw Geoff at the conference today it was the first thing I asked him about and I got my first peak, which he later demonstrated in his presentation to us.

What is it? MAPS. They are incorporating Microsoft Virtual Earth into the program. This is a trend of Legacy to take great add-on programs and develop the concepts into their full program. Which is nice for those of us that hate to buy add-on programs on top of the cost of the program itself. When you buy version 7 and in some earlier versions you now have utilities similar to GenSmarts, PAFInsight, Passage Express, Legacy Charting Companion, and now features like Map My Family Tree, and Family Atlas. These features are great to have but it makes Legacy such a resource hog on your computer that I can't run it on my older laptop. (Is it possible to have too much of a good thing?) Geoff told me that all the new features in Legacy 7 use the same amount of resources that version 6 does, which is happy news to many Legacy users.

So how does the Maps feature work? Well, if you are connected to the internet and you go into the Master location list you will see the changes. First on the upper left hand side is the list of localities in your database but the table is shorter it goes about 1/2 the page. On the upper right hand side will be a list of people that use that locality you have highlighted on the left. One nice plus to the list is that you can click on a name and edit from there. Below both of these tables you will have Microsoft Virtual earth appear showing a little push pin on the map for where that locality is found. You can view the maps in multiple formats: 2D, 3D, Road, Aerial, Hybrid and Birdseye, plus zoom in and out to your heart's content.

You can also look at the maps and have it show all the localities used for an individual. If you hover over the push pins with your mouse it will list the events that happened in an individual's life in that locality, i.e. mission, marriage, child's birth, etc. This is a fantastic visual resource to help you determine where to locate important records for an individual.

Apparently there are still many more features to be built into the Maps at a later time. They are working on making it animated. Where you could take a virtual tour and have little animated icons appear that relate to the events in a person's time frame. Examples given were showing migration with little covered wagons in the 1850's or an airplane in 1990's. Icons to show a hospital at birth and church for a wedding location and a tombstone pop-up for his death.

The maps use the current place names for localities and doesn't recognize historical names. There is a little "?" mark in the locality list that will show the localities not presently located. You can then click on the "?" marks and resolve them by pointing the historical places into the current locations on the map.

It's been quit a while waiting for Legacy 7 to finally come out but with the new additions of SourceWriter, Legacy Charting, the ability to sync with "new FamilySearch" and now Maps this release is worth the wait.

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

Friday, March 07, 2008

Legacy Charting Pre-Release Edition Now Available For Free Download

New family tree charting software now available for download. Create ancestor charts, descendant charts, mother's trees, father's trees, fan charts, hourglass charts, bow tie charts, and DNA charts

Download at:

Surprise, AZ - March 4, 2008 - All genealogists are invited to take a free test drive of the newest wall chart software. Compatible with Family Tree Maker, Personal Ancestral File (PAF), Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic, and GEDCOM files, Legacy Charting takes publishing your family tree to a new level.

Developed by the makers of the popular software, Legacy Family Tree, Legacy Charting adds new ways of seeing and printing your family relationships. Legacy Charting will be one of the new features with the soon-to-be-released Legacy Family Tree version 7, but until June 15, 2008, this special pre-release edition of Legacy Charting is freely available to everyone.

"Visualizing and printing large-scale family tree charts is something that all genealogists can appreciate," says Millennia Corporation President, David Berdan. "These charts even get the non-genealogists of the family interested in learning about their heritage. Legacy Charting creates amazing charts, is incredibly flexible, and so easy to use. I believe it is the first genealogy software to create large-scale DNA charts to help DNA researchers. We invite everyone to take the pre-release for a test drive."

Sample Charts
To see what the charts looks like, visit

Key Features:
  • Creates 18 different types of family charts

  • All charts are easily customizable

  • Choose the number of generations to be displayed

  • Select the contents of each box

  • Pick from a variety of color themes, including the popular 4-color coding system

  • Select from a variety of beautiful backgrounds and page borders

  • Insert your own pictures and clipart

  • Easily email any chart to family members

  • Export to .pdf, .bmp, .jpg, .png, .tiff, .psd

  • Order a wall chart and have it delivered to your front door

  • Includes a thorough help reference system for easy reference

System Requirements:

Windows 98 or higher (including Vista); 20 mb free hard disk space; 256mb RAM


FREE for the pre-release edition

Download now:

Millennia Corporation, based in Surprise, Arizona, is the producer of Legacy Family Tree and other software products.