Monday, December 31, 2007

New FamilySearch Classes to be Taught

For those Family History leaders, consultants, and FHC staff who live in the Utah valley area, the following announcement may be of interest:

Beginning in January of 2008, the Utah South Area Family History Training Center in Provo, will offer several opportunities for new Family Search instruction. These classes will include approximately eight hours of instruction with hands-on laboratory work in most phases of the new program. Interested persons can choose from the following:
  • Inclusion in the "Five Day Class" program
  • Four consecutive Sunday nights on a monthly basis
  • Day long classes on selected Saturdays
  • Day long classes on selected week-days
The web site at has both a schedule of available classes and an online registration from. Just click on "New Family Search Classes" on the home page to access this information. One class of interest to those coming to the BYU Family History Conference in March, will be the day long class on Thursday, March 13, the day prior to the two day campus event.

Jay W. Grant
Utah South Area Family History Training Center
85 North 600 East, Provo, Utah 84606
Phone (801)356-9114 or (801)356-9113
Our Website is at:

Applause for Lori

Talk about ending 2007 just right. Lori Thornton today just reached the 10,000 mark on FamilySearch Indexing, AND she only started indexing a couple of months before me! I figure at my rate I will match her milestone in about 4 years. Great job Lori we are so proud of you. Why don't you stop by her blog "Smoky Mountain Family Historian" and give her a pat on the back for a job well done.

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

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 23

Well it is official my oldest son, Philip is now a missionary. He is on a service mission for the Church so things came about a little differently. His call didn't come in the mail but over the telephone with the Bishop confirming it's arrival to the Stake President and then to him. Today we actually got to read it. He is called to serve part-time for a period of 24 months as a Church -service missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Audiovisual Department in the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City - effective January 02, 2008.

After reading the letter the Bishop set him apart and you could just see the joy all over my son's face. Phil is 24 years old and has had the most incredible year coming back to church and getting prepared for a mission. We were actually all preparing for a proselyting mission when at the very last minute he had a hold up with needing to get his wisdom teeth removed. His insurance wouldn't cover it and we didn't have the money to take them out. He needed to wait until January for his insurance to cover the expense.

In the mean time the Bishop and Stake President got together and said Phil we think you really need to go on a service mission instead. They also thought at his age it might lead into a nice career afterwards. My son was so excited about the prospects. He had heard about service missions for the Church at the LDS Motion Picture Studio in Provo but never asked for it because he was willing to serve where ever he was needed. He has been studying every aspect of the film industry for years so he actually does have something to offer and excitedly much more to learn. It's so neat that his dream mission has now come true for him and later this week he finally starts that mission.

What does this have to do with FamilySearch Indexing - you guessed it nothing other than a life event that tries to put a hold on your indexing goals. The whole family came over for Phil and we just enjoyed our time together. Thankfully things did quite down before 10pm and I could steal some time onto the computer.

When I first open up the program I always look for new messages from Headquarters and I was not disappointed today.
From: Headquarters
Subject: 1871 French Canadian Census
Received: 28 Dec 2007

Thank you for all of your hard work on the 1871 Canadian Census. We are very close to completing this project, but we need your help to index and arbitrate the remaining batches as soon as possible.

At the same time, the 1871 French Canadian Census project (Recensement Canadien de 1871) is just beginning. The census records from Quebec have been separated into this project based on language. Please remember to add an "a", instead of a "y", to indicate annees (French for years) in the age field. Also, remember to index a "v", instead of a "w", in the marital status field to indicate veuve or veuf (French for "widow" or "widower").

Thank you again for all your efforts in this important work.
I wasn't really interested in tackling a new language right now but maybe I will make it a goal to work on some foreign project in 2008. I was kinda surprised that the picking where kinda slim for projects right now. The following is what's available to index.

Project Name
1871 Canadian Census (English - 1871)
Chiapas - 1930 Mexico Census (Spanish - 1930)
Chihuahua - 1930 Mexico Census (Spanish - 1930)
Illinois - 1850 US Federal Census (English - 1850)
Irish Marriage Indexes 1868-1892 (English - 1868-1892)
Kentucky - 1850 US Federal Census (English - 1850)
Nicaragua, Managua Civil Records (Spanish - 1879 - present)
Recensement Canadien de 1871 (French - 1871)
West Virginia Vital Records (English - 1850 - 1970)

I tried to work on the 1871 Canadian Census but nothing was available. I wondered given the memo if it was finally completed today or if we just finished up all the images downloaded to us. I guess next week again will give a little better picture on that project. I didn't feel up to Spanish or French records so I picked the Kentucky 1850 US Federal Census like I did last week. Things went pretty smoothly and quickly for me - in no time at all I completed 2 batches.

Since I was already looking back to all the changes that have happened in a year's time I could honestly say this time last year I would of never thought I would be into FamilySearch Indexing. Why I had so much "real" genealogy to work on why would I want to add more work? I'm so glad I have felt the call to work on this great indexing project and now I can see the results of my efforts.

I have participated in the following projects this year:
  1. 1900 U.S. Federal Census for the states of Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin
  2. 1850 U.S. Federal Census for the states of Connecticut, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Vermont
  3. Salt Lake County Births 1908-1915
  4. 1871 Canadian Census
After working on two batches today I have now indexed 2,220 individuals in the year 2007. I hope that this year I was able to pay-it-forward a little, because so many others helped me by indexing my family names in the Warren and Washington Counties of New York. I will be forever grateful for your help. Maybe some day I will know if I did the same for someone else. It's been a wonderful and rewarding adventure and thanks so much for sharing it with me.

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

The Master Genealogist v7.0 Released

The Master Genealogist v7.0 has been released.

Wholly Genes, Inc., of Columbia, Maryland, is proud to announce the release of The Master Genealogist v7.0, the most comprehensive family history software on the market. For more than 14 years, The Master Genealogist ("TMG") has been the choice of professional genealogists and casual researchers alike because of its innovative features, extreme flexibility, attention to real-life research issues (like "witnesses" and their secondary roles in events), and support for the highest scholarly standards.

Despite the program's long-standing reputation as "the one that does it all," the new Version 7 incorporates more than 50 exciting new features. The program continues to innovate with features like a new "Associates Window" which lists in one place all of the people connected to the focus person (e.g., as witnesses to the same events), customizable pop-up reminders which encourage consistent data entry, and the ability to make color "highlights" or annotations on scanned images. The image highlighting actually happens on a transparent layer above the image so the original image isn't modified -- an important characteristic to family researchers.

A variety of powerful new features to control sentence output supplement those which, in previous versions, have helped researchers win awards for their published narratives. Among other enhancements, it is now easier to generate sentences which span more than one event (e.g., "He died in Tazewell, Virginia and was buried three days later in the town cemetery") with mid-sentence source citations. A real-time sentence preview now also makes it easier to see the effect of customizing those sentences.

"We're sure that researchers will appreciate the powerful new features in this release because they helped to design them," said Bob Velke, President of Wholly Genes Software. "Many of TMG's best features started with suggestions from users," said Velke, "and Version 7 is no exception." As examples of popular features that are already in that category, he cited the program's GenBridge direct-import technology, integrated historical timelines, customizable screen layouts, and the display of names in different colors to represent user-defined characteristics (e.g., red for people who were born in Tennessee and green for those who were born in Virginia).

Other new features in Version 7 include multi-level sorts, relationship calculation through spouses (e.g., wife of his third cousin), the ability to share your source list and output templates
with other researchers through import/export, and the ability to check for duplicates while adding new people. A number of new filtering and reporting options are expected to be very popular and a long list of interface changes make the program easier to use, especially for novice researchers.

The Master Genealogist v7.0 is native to Windows Vista but is also designed for Windows 2000 or XP. More information is available from

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

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 22

Happy birthday Joseph Smith - I just had to say that because it's the anniversary of my parents and older siblings being baptized into the Church on his birthday. I have always loved the 23rd and think it's my lucky number.

I found it quit interesting that on this day of FamilySearch Indexing I got to index a whole batch of Smiths in the 1871 Canadian Census. Two full pages of Smiths in fact. I tried to download a second batch but the project said no more where available. Could be the projects done or they just finished indexing all the images loaded up for us to index. I guess by next week I will see if the projects gone and finished by then.

I still wanted to do some indexing so I did a batch of the 1850 U.S. Federal Census for the state of Kentucky. No Smiths there but the project went by quick enough. I could of done more but time wise 2 batches for the day where enough. To date I have indexed 2,136 individuals.

I spent the remainder of my time snooping around on the FamilySearch Labs site. This past Friday the site was down while they finished some maintenance and added some new features to the site. If you haven't visited them it is worth the try at

On the FamilySearch Labs site you can see some of the results of our FamilySearch Indexing. It is located in the Records Search portion of the website. It has been totally redesigned and there are more records available for searching. I like the new way they have listed the records. You can see clearly which records are indexed and which are just digitized images.

In the past it was hard for me to find the New York 1900 Census, you had to look under so many links. Now I could just go right to them. I had some trouble moving around the site because I kept hitting the back arrow in the browser to go to the previous page and it would bump me right out to the FamilySearch Labs page. I need to spend more time with the site and give them some of my feedbacks. Right now it appears to need help with the back button and the ability to modify your search and not wipe out everything you put in before.

There is a FamilySearch Labs Blog and here is what they said about the new release.

Record Search Update - Now Available
21 Dec 2007 by Tim Crabb

FamilySearch is continuing to enhance and update Record Search. This latest release continues to provide quick and easy access to find information on your ancestors. Below are the highlights and changes to this release.
  • Search with Events: In previous releases you were able to search on “All Events”. To better scope results that patrons are looking for, you can now search on specific events (birth, marriage, and death). The results when searching on these specific events significantly improve the ranking of results – you are now able to more quickly select correct ancestors. “All Events” has now been changed to “Any Event” and provides the same functionality.
  • Search Results Layout: Results are more detailed with specific information relating to the individual featured more prominently – birth, death, and relationships are more evident. Scanning and comparing for selecting the correct ancestor is quicker and easier.
  • Filtering: Several new filters are now available allowing you to quickly narrow the results set to select your ancestor. These include Role, Birth Date and Place, Death Date and Place, Marriage Date and Place, Record Type (formerly Collection Type), and Image.
  • Individual Collections: These collections allow you to browse down to specific research. Key features that have been added to enhance that experience include:
    • Separate Search and Browse Views: Rather than providing a single list of individual collections with icons denoting the features of each collection there are now two lists – search and browse. Search provides the ability to scope a search to an individual collection where browse provides the ability to view images of historical records.
    • Browse interface: When you browse collections, you can now navigate different levels of documents. The interface provides levels of hierarchy with guides and information as you navigate through the collection.
    • Collection Status: Collections show their last update. For collections that are being added, an “Early Access” status is displayed. This provides a gauge of how complete the collection is and a status as to when it was last updated.
    • New or Updated Status: On the Home Page any collection that is new or was updated in the last 30 days, is denoted by a red asterisk. You can use this to easily determine what is new or has been updated since your last visit to Record Search.
  • Registration and Activation: Users new to Record Search can quickly request access by completing the registration form. This form requires and validates the users email address. The user is then sent a response within 24 hours with their activation key. This key is good for 7 days and once used provides access to Record Search using the validated email address.
  • Search tips on the Home Page: To help improve your search experience we have included several tips next to the search fields.
  • Updated Look and Feel: We have refreshed and updated the entire site. Let us know what you think through FEEDBACK.
It was really nice to take the time to look around on Records Search. It's amazing to see all the progress we have made in Indexing in such a short amount of time. Just think what this new year will bring with so many of us working hard at indexing those records. Exciting things to come in the year ahead and I can hardly wait.

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

GenCirles and MyHeritage

Dear GenCircles User,

Pearl Street Software, maker of GenCircles and Family Tree Legends, has merged with MyHeritage ( ), recently named one of the best genealogy Websites of the year 2007 by Family Tree Magazine. In the first positive development from this merger, Family Tree Legends and GenCircles have been made 100% free!

Now, to celebrate the holidays - the perfect time for spending quality time with family - we have a new announcement to share with you. The combined teams of Pearl Street Software and MyHeritage have been hard at work, developing next generation technology to connect family trees. We now bring you Smart Matching 2.0 - free for GenCircles and MyHeritage users!

What is Smart Matching(tm)?
Smart Matching is a specialized genealogy technology developed by Pearl Street Software and further advanced by MyHeritage, to connect family trees. It works by comparing millions of names, facts and tree connections - intelligently. When two family trees are connected, both their owners are informed, and benefit from the opportunity to collaborate and learn from each other. Imagine the discoveries made possible when hundreds of thousands of family trees become connected...

What's new in Smart Matching 2.0?
In version 2.0, Smart Matching has just gotten smarter. Behind the scenes, new algorithms were added to cover spelling and phonetic variations, understand nicknames and name synonyms and deal better with ethnic variations. In the front, a brand new AJAX interface has been added for viewing any two matching trees side-by-side, to help tree owners quickly spot what they may learn from the other tree. Using Smart Matching 2.0, MyHeritage is well on its way to build a connected family tree of the world, with 200 million names, and many more added every day. To see examples of the new side-by-side display, visit our blog at and scroll down.

What's available on
In addition to and Family Tree Legends, MyHeritage offers a system of more than one million private family sites, created and maintained by its users. Each family site features a family tree which can be edited securely online, or managed offline and published to the Web. Family sites are a great place to keep in touch with family online with photo sharing, event calendars, family news, recipes, polls and more features. Access to family sites is restricted to family members only, but sites can be made partially accessible to guests, while maintaining privacy.

How can I get my Smart Matches?
GenCircles users who have a family tree on GenCircles can now enjoy it on their own MyHeritage family site too, for free. The new family trees and family sites are password-protected and secure, for your eyes only. Access information will be emailed to you in a separate email.

In a few days we will be emailing all users for whom positive Smart Matches were found, with links to view their Smart Matches securely. Prepare for some exciting new discoveries in your family tree! If you haven't got a family tree on MyHeritage yet, start one today at, and get your Smart Matches!

Can we trust MyHeritage as a good steward for our data?
One of the reasons Pearl Street Software chose to merge with MyHeritage was our absolute respect for users' data. Family trees on MyHeritage are owned by the users and we immediately carry out any privacy related request. MyHeritage has built its reputation by respecting users and their data, and this trust has made MyHeritage one of the world's fastest growing genealogy Websites.

The combined teams of MyHeritage and Pearl Street Software are committed more than ever to providing the best genealogy products and services, and keeping them free.

Happy holidays,
MyHeritage team

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas

Dear Readers;

I wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It has been great getting to know so many of you during this past year.

My very creative daughter has helped me make a Christmas Card for you this year. I really appreciate her help since I have been so busy with a new schedule right now. She designed it with much younger eyes than I have so a 1280 x 1024 setting works best.

The genealogy scene this year has been very active and exciting. I look forward to the coming year and all the advancements we will see in technology. I have every intention in keeping up to date on the releases and announcements to come and bringing word to you.

Have the best Holiday season every!

Best wishes,
Renee Zamora

New Temple Districts Announced for NFS

Just days before Christmas and two more temple districts receive word that they will go live with New FamilySearch. The only difference this time is they have an approximate time table of 4 months to prepare for NFS going live.

The new temple districts are:
Manhattan, NY
Raleigh, NC

You can view my complete listing of temples live with NFS or announced at: New FamilySearch Roll-out and yes, I have fixed my geographical error of Guatemala City, Guatemala temple being part of Mexico!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mark Your Calendars! - Family History Expo 2008

4th Annual Family History Expo 2008, St. George, Utah and the “Pirates of the Pedigree”

Now is the time to mark your calendar for a great genealogy conference to be held in Southern Utah, the first week of February. Hundreds of genealogists, perhaps more than three thousand, will assemble in the "snowbird" town of St. George, Utah, for the 4th Annual Family History Expo (formerly known as the Genealogy and Family Heritage Jamboree).

The theme for this year's event is “Pirates of the Pedigree” and will be held at the Dixie Convention Center on February 8 and 9 (Friday and Saturday). The main show sponsors are My Ancestors Found and FamilySearch.

With FamilySearch as one of the major sponsors this event will be beneficial to Latter-day Saints as well as those seeking to begin their family history research. FamilySearch is sending a few key employees to teach about the new products that will be released in 2008 to wards and stakes throughout the world. This information will be a sneak-peek for attendees. These new tools will help all researchers increase their ability to connect with other researchers, access online documents, help index the growing number of online documents and so much more.

This two-day event will draw speakers and vendors from all over the U.S. It will feature 101 classes plus more than 60 vendors and exhibitors displaying all the latest genealogy products, services, and technology. The intent is to teach individuals to find their family treasures without letting the pirates rob them of knowing the real stories and facts of their personal pedigree.

When looking at the list of speakers, you may notice many names mentioned frequently in family history circles: Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, Arlene H Eakle, Stephen Valentine, Kip Sperry, DearMYRTLE, Kimberly Savage, Janene S. Morgan, Geoff Rassmussen, Bruce Buzbee, Leland K Meitzler, Gaylon Findlay, Paul Nauta, Dennis Meldrum and many others. You can read a complete list of all the speakers and their 101 topics at

Beau Sharbrough will be the keynote speaker. Beau is the vice president of content at the history website,, digitizers of records of the National Archives. Beau will expose those dirty pirates who try to rob us of the true gems that unfold a fabulous family tree.

Even if you are not a genealogist you will enjoy “Come Away with Me” a musical look at events that shaped America and the newly arrived immigrants to this country, during the Friday evening banquet. Entertainment provided by Jean Wilcox Hibben. Jean has been playing guitar for more than 40 years and is a big part of the Riverside (CA) Folk Song Society.

The list of exhibitors at this conference also reads like a "Who's Who in Genealogy." The companies represented include My Ancestors Found, FamilySearch, World Vital Records, Family Tree Magazine, Generation Maps, BYU Center for Family History & Genealogy, Genealogy Today, Legacy Family Tree (Millennia Corporation), The Genealogical Institute, Passage Express, Everton Publishing, The Godfrey Memorial Library, Goldbug, RootsMagic, Sorenson Molecular Foundation, DearMYRTLE, Incline Software, GenealogyBank,, and many more. A complete list of all the vendors is available at

Unlike most of the larger genealogy conferences held in other cities, admission fees at the Family History Expo are rather modest. However, if you register before December 31st, you can obtain the Early Bird Special discount for a greater bargain.

A monthly newsletter is available for those planning to attend or to anyone with an interest in the conference. Subscribe online at

St. George is an excellent place to hold a mid-winter conference. It is in the southwest corner of Utah, only six miles from the Arizona state line and not too far from Nevada. Its year-round population of about 50,000 swells considerably in the winter months as many "snowbirds" move to St. George to escape the cold weather. The winter daytime high temperatures in St. George range from the mid-fifties to mid-sixties. It is perfect weather in which to hold a genealogy conference.

While St. George is in the state of Utah, anyone flying to the conference is advised to travel to Las Vegas, not to Salt Lake City. St. George is about a two-hour drive from Las Vegas but a six-hour drive from Salt Lake City.

Last year’s event in St. George attracted thousands of attendees, and this year's event has already had more publicity than last year's event. We suspect this February conference in the small town in southwestern Utah will be one of the three largest genealogy conferences of the year in North America.

Will we see you there?
For more information about the Family History Expo in St. George, Utah, look at

FamilySearch & Agreement


FamilySearch and The Generations Network Agreement Give Patrons Access to More than 24,000 Databases and Titles

SALT LAKE CITY—FamilySearch and The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of, today announced an agreement that provides free access of to patrons of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and the 13 largest regional family history centers effective today.

With this new agreement full access will be provided to more than 24,000 databases and titles and 5 billion names in family history records. In addition to the Family History Library, the following 13 regional family history centers have been licensed to receive access to
  • Mesa, Arizona
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Oakland, California
  • Orange, California
  • Sacramento, California
  • San Diego, California
  • Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Pocatello, Idaho
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Logan, Utah
  • Ogden, Utah
  • St. George, Utah
  • Hyde Park, London, England
“We’re excited for our patrons to receive online access to an expanded collection of family history records on,” said Don Anderson, director of FamilySearch Support. “’s indexes and digital images of census, immigration, vital, military and other records, combined with the excellent resources of FamilySearch, will increase the likelihood of success for patrons researching their family history.” The Generations Network and FamilySearch hope to expand access to other family history centers in the future.

FamilySearch patrons at the designated facilities will have access to’s completely indexed U.S. Federal Census Collection, 1790-1930, and more than 100 million names in passenger lists from 1820-1960, among other U.S. and international record collections. Throughout the past year, has added indexes to Scotland censuses from 1841-1901, created the largest online collection of military and African American records, and reached more than 4 million user-submitted family trees.

Free access is also available at Brigham Young University Provo, Idaho, and Hawaii campuses, and LDS Business College patrons through a separate agreement with The Generations Network.

“FamilySearch’s Family History Library in Salt Lake City is one of the most important physical centers for family history research in the world, and we are happy that patrons to the Library and these major regional centers will have access to,” said Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of “We’ve enjoyed a ten-year working relationship with FamilySearch, and we look forward to continued collaboration on a number of family history projects.”

About (visit

With 24,000 searchable databases and titles and more than 2.5 million active users, is the No. 1 online source for family history information. Since its launch in 1997, has been the premier resource for family history, simplifying genealogical research for millions of people by providing them with many easy-to-use tools and resources to build their own unique family trees. The site is home to the only complete online U.S. Federal Census collection, 1790-1930, as well as the world’s largest online collection of U.S. ship passenger list records featuring more than 100 million names, 1820-1960. is part of The Generations Network, Inc., a leading network of family-focused interactive properties, including,, and Family Tree Maker. In total, The Generations Network properties receive 8.7 million unique visitors worldwide and more than 416 million page views a month (© comScore Media Metrix, October 2007).

About FamilySearch
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, December 17, 2007

The 12 Days of Christmas - Genealogy Style

On the 12 Days of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Twelve census searches
Eleven family bibles
Ten e-mail contacts
Nine headstone rubbings
Eight wills and admons
Seven miners mining
Six second cousins
Five coats of arms
Four GEDCOM files
Three old wills
And a branch in my family tree.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 21

Well, well, well I made it through training alive and now I am working from home. The only problem is I am totally wiped out now. Six weeks of training full time is a major accomplishment for me health wise. Then I spent all day yesterday Christmas shopping - which is not a wonderful thing to do on a weekend so close to Christmas. When I finally got home from shopping my daughter called and wanted me to go with her shopping. So I visited some stores twice in one day. Let me tell you the second go around wasn't any easier than the first visits. With all the complaining done now I can happily say my shopping is completed. All I have to do is wait for a few items to come in the mail and then I am in business.

I bet by now you are wondering what any of this has to do with FamilySearch Indexing? Well - absolutely nothing other than I can relate to how crazy it is this time of the year for everyone. I really wondered if I would reach my commitment to do FamilySearch Indexing this Sunday evening. I wanted to just sit back and do my standard 1850 U.S. Federal Census, which was getting very easy for me to do. Then I read this message on FamilySearch Indexing.
From: Headquarters
Subject: Turn-around Time for 1871 Canadian Census
Date: 14 Dec 2007

Attention all Indexers and Arbitrators

Because of the need to quickly complete the 1871 Canadian Census project, we have shortened the turn-around time. Instead of one week, you will have just four days to finish and submit your batch. Please work as quickly as possible. We really need your help to finish this project.

Based on language, we have separated Quebec from the other provinces. Hopefully, this will also help speed up production.

We truly appreciate all you are doing. You are essential to the success of this vital and important work.
Honestly, even after reading this pressing need to get the 1871 Canadian Census completed I still wanted to do my 1850 U.S. Federal Census. It was safe and easy and I didn't have to fuss and learn anything new. Ok, I was lazy but after I found out that my New England States Censuses were completed I thought oh what the bother - I will give it a go.

Happily I can report that it was pretty simple and straight forward. I was glad that I only down loaded one batch because it did contain two pages making 40 names to index and for today that was plenty for me to do. I have now indexed 2,054 individuals to date. I can also report that the project has a rather nice feature of auto filling in the church names for you even if you have not previously used them elsewhere in the batch. I really liked that feature. I wish all the projects did that. You also get to use the ruler tool on this project something that I never used before now. I love new tools because they make me feel like I have new toys to play with!

After complaining and moaning it has been rather a nice way to end this busy and tiring day. You never do feel bad after you index a batch of names. It just has a way of making you feel a sense of accomplishment in a very short amount of time. Well it's off to bed and onto a new week and a new schedule.

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

Monday, December 10, 2007

FamilySearch Wiki Getting an Overhaul

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter - December 04, 2007

The Family History Department at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been working on major changes to their online genealogy services at One part of the effort has been the creation of a research wiki. Everything is under development and changes are frequent.

Jim Greene posted a recent update on the FamilySearch Labs blog. He wrote:

"Thanks to you we have had great success on the Research Wiki. Many people have joined our community. In an effort to keep you up to date, we thought we’d post some of our wiki plans to the blog.

"Today (Dec 3, 2007) we posted on our site our plans for the next steps. The FamilySearch Research Wiki is intended to become a general resource available to everyone who comes to In order to scale to that size we need to switch to a different underlying system for the wiki. We are making the switch this week. We will leave the current site and its content live, but no one will be able to edit it or add content. At the same time, we will bring the new software up in a test mode, inviting an increasingly larger group of people until we are sure it will serve everyone. At that point we will close down the current Research Wiki site and switch to the new one which will be open to everyone. Keep watching the FamilySearch Labs blog to keep up to date on our progress."

You can read much more about this project at

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Family Records Work Appreciated

Tuscaloosa News - December 5, 2007

Thanks to the work of volunteers, tens of thousands of unbound Tuscaloosa County records, some dating back as far as 1880, have been preserved for future generations on microfilm.

The documents, most of them documenting marriages and divorces, will be a trove to family history researchers. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - the Mormons -funded the project.

For the past three years, volunteers have dug out the records, some of which have become brittle. They spent some 2,700 hours preparing an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 unbound records for microfilming.

An index will be placed in the Alabama Department of Archives and History Web site. Copies of the film will be available at the Tuscaloosa County Public Library and at the courthouse.

Another copy will be kept at the Salt Lake City headquarters of the Genealogical Society of Utah, the arm of the church that is collecting records nationwide.

It's a fascinating project, though controversial at times. Mormons believe the dead can be baptized into their religion after their passing. Members of the church trace their family trees to learn the names of ancestors who died without learning about the restored Mormon Gospel so that these deceased relatives may be baptized by proxy.

According to a PBS report, some 2.4 million rolls of microfilm containing 2 billion names have been traced so far. Records are locked behind a 14-ton door in a mountain vault designed to survive a nuclear attack.

In the mid-1990s, there was controversy when it was learned that names of some 380,000 Jewish Holocaust victims had been submitted for posthumous baptism. In 1995, the church agreed to remove the names from its archives.

The local project is unlikely to generate much controversy. Instead, most local history and family researchers are likely to feel they owe the Mormons and the volunteers a debt of gratitude for work that will remain valuable far into the future.

New Opportunity Allows More Members to Serve

December 5, 2007 - News from the Church

Sister Thelma Taylor was happy with her calling at her local family history center in Mesa, Arizona, USA. For 17 years she assisted, guided, and supported men and women in their quests to find their ancestors. A move to Coolidge, Arizona, in 2005, however, put 40 miles (64 km) between her and the family history center whose patrons she had faithfully served.

Nearly blind and unable to drive, the 83-year-old woman feared her inability to travel to Mesa would mean the end of her family history service. Then a thoughtful leader offered a solution to this problem in the form of a Church-service mission Sister Taylor could perform from home. Since 2006 she has served as a FamilySearch Support missionary for the Church, using her home computer to help people do their family history work.

“It has blessed me beyond my ability to count all the blessings,” she says of her experience. “I’ve grown so much in that area in family history and in my ability to serve.”

A New Resource Brings New Needs

As the Church begins testing changes to the Web site, there is a significant need for Church-service missionaries like Sister Taylor to help patrons use family history tools to find their ancestors.

FamilySearch, the Church’s online genealogical resource, is being rebuilt with new features that will allow temple ordinance cards for ancestors to be printed at home and will help prevent ordinance work duplication. The need for Church-service missionaries from around the world will continue to grow as the new FamilySearch is made available worldwide.

“They have the opportunity to propel the Lord’s work forward with each interaction with a patron,” said Art Johnson, area manager for the FamilySearch Support.

Using New Technologies to Serve

Using a Web-based telephone program, the missionaries, who can be located anywhere in the world as long as they have broadband Internet access, respond to as many as 10,000 inquiries per month. Patrons’ questions span many topics, including family history research, indexing, and submitting names to the temple.

Though her eyesight is poor, Sister Taylor—now a supervisor over six fellow missionaries—can increase the font size on her computer enough to read patrons’ e-mails and respond to their questions.

Service missionaries are given extensive online training they can complete at home. They also have access to a team of individuals to help them with their questions and provide individual training and help. Once they’ve finished the training, they have access to a database that includes some 4,000 articles they can refer to for answers to patrons’ questions.

Sister Taylor didn’t learn how to operate a computer until she was 66 years old, but she says it is a beneficial, useful skill. “Your age doesn’t matter,” she said. “You’re not too old to learn how to use [a computer].”

Who Can Serve and How

A Church-service mission with FamilySearch Support is not meant to be a substitute for full-time missionary service, but it provides an option to serve for those who are not able to serve a full-time mission.

“This is an ideal situation for me because I can continue to learn and serve,” Sister Taylor said. She said her Church-service mission has helped her to feel useful at an age when her options are limited.

Church-service missionaries are set apart and wear nametags, just as full-time missionaries do. They receive intensive training on the workings of the Web site and learn techniques on how best to answer patrons’ questions. FamilySearch Support missionaries serve some 15 to 30 hours a week for 6 to 30 months and can serve the full mission from their homes.

There are currently some 700 service missionaries assisting in this capacity, and that number may need to double over the next year as the new FamilySearch is made available to more areas. Men and women interested in becoming Church-service missionaries should contact their bishop or branch president. Those interested in more information on FamilySearch Support opportunities can call 866-406-1830 or e-mail

A Blessing to Missionaries and Patrons

The lives of many members, elderly and young, have been blessed by the opportunity to be service missionaries, their leaders point out, and many souls will feel the effects of their labor.

“The spirit of consecration [that Church-service missionaries] bring to their calls has enabled us to really see miracles in the growth and expansion of the work,” Brother Johnson said.

The work is fulfilling and contagious. “The spirit of this work gets into you and doesn’t turn you loose,” Sister Taylor said. “No matter your age, you can be of real service as a FamilySearch Support missionary.”

Brother Johnson said the support provided by service missionaries is crucial to the success of the new FamilySearch. An answer provided to a patron may help someone find an ancestor and complete his or her temple work, and that is a very important, sacred undertaking.

“Through our efforts, we can enable our brothers and sisters on the other side of the veil to receive the same blessings and ordinances of the gospel we enjoy,” Brother Johnson said.

Guatemala Temple Goes Live with NFS

I just received word from a reader that the Guatemala, Mexico temple will go LIVE 11 December 2007 with New FamilySearch. They verified this information with both the Temple Recorder and Assistant Temple Recorder. I have updated my "New FamilySearch Roll-out" list with this information.

Since I am unable to personally confirm international announcements I appreciate the readers that have kept me informed of these announcements in their areas. When I receive updates I will let you know.

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

Don't bring me new dishes;
I don't need a new kind of game.
Genealogists have peculiar wishes;
For Christmas I just want a surname.
A new washing machine would be great,
But it isn't the desire of my life.
I've just found an ancestor's birth date;
Now I just need the name of his wife.
My heart doesn't yearn for a ring;
That would put a real diamond to shame.
What I want is a much cheaper thing;
Please give me Martha's last name.
To see my heart singing with joy;
Don't bring me a red leather suitcase.
Bring me a genealogist' s toy;
A surname, with dates and a place.

- Author Unknown

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 20

Can I just tell ya I love it when things match up. I was just tickled when I realized that this was week 20 in my Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing and I was able to hit the 2,000 mark in names indexed. Actually the number is 2,014 but that is close enough. I indexed 168 names today so I could finally reach that milestone event. Looking back it was week 15 that I reached 1,510 names indexed but it was week 11 that I hit 1,024 names. Overall I am still averaging about 100 names a week. That is a nice comfortable pace for me.

I am also so excited this week because I am coming to a close in my full-time training for my job. After this week I get to work 25 hours a week FROM HOME. I just can't believe that I actually have made it this far. I just hoped and prayed that I would have the strength to make it this far. The goal now seem very obtainable. My health has been good and I have been getting plenty of sleep. One very important thing has been my taking vitamins daily. I found this liquid vitamin called "Alive" at the health food store and it has been just fantastic. It's been like a miracle drug for me - nothing else has ever made me up and around consistently for 5 weeks. In the past I was lucky to do anything full-time for even a week. The stuff is smelly and looks like the black junk in the bottom of my vegetable bin when I forget to clean it out, and tastes as bad as it looks but it's worth every icky drop to me.

So I've managed to index and work but I haven't managed to blog very well. I long to be able to get back to that on a regular basis. I really appreciate all my readers having patience with me during this time frame. I have several story idea but haven't had the time to weave the pictures together. I really enjoy that creative process and have dearly missed it.

Before I started to index today I took the time to go through some personal genealogy inquires. It was so much fun to get back into data entering into my genealogy database. I think out of everything I have missed that the most. There is such satisfaction in connecting people and bits of their lives stories together. I just love filling in the blank spaces in their lives. I have just so much to do for all the people in my database. In a way it's kinda sad that I just start to get healthier and then I turn around and go back to work. Just imagine all of the neat genealogy things I could be doing with this new found health. Sad but the timing and the way things have happened are meant to be. My son Phil starts his mission on January 2, 2008 and I need the strength to be able to support him. Two years will be a long time for both of us.

Here's wishing you a happy holiday season and the time to get some indexing done in-between.

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

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Oprah Receives Genealogy Gift

From LDS Living Magazine 29 Nov 2007 and

Oprah Winfrey received a framed, four-generation family tree from Donny and Marie Osmond, courtesy of the Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on the Oprah Winfrey Show in Chicago on 9 November 2007. More than 100 Osmonds were reunited on Oprah's stage to celebrate 50 years of the Osmonds' musical legacy.

"Just a little reminder of where we come from, because it's so important to know our origins and the people who sacrificed so much for us to be where we are here today," Donny says.

NFS with an International Flair

Looks like the season for announcements of international temples receiving New FamilySearch has begun. I have updated my list so you can keep track of the announcements.

All Australian Temples - Melbourne Australia will be first with a target date of late February. The other Australian temples: Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney will follow about a week later if there are no major glitches.

The other two announced are in South America - Asuncion, Paraguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

International Temple Districts Announced
Villahemosa, Mexico
Melbourne, Australia
Adelaide, Australia
Brisbane, Australia
Perth, Australia
Sydney, Australia
Asuncion, Paraguay
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Since I am unable to personally confirm international announcements I appreciate the readers that have kept me informed of these announcements in their areas.

Adventures in FamilySearch Indexing - Week 19

It's Sunday again and time for FamilySearch Indexing. I almost thought I wasn't going to be able to index today. When I opened the program I kept getting the message "Server is unavailable". I left it alone for a while and when I came back it let me in HURRAY!!

Before I begin indexing I look for any messages and I wasn't disappointed.
From: Headquarters
Subject: Release of FamilySearch Indexing 2.5
Date: 28 Nov 2007

We are pleased to announce the release of a new version of FamilySearch Indexing.

Some of the new or updated features include:
  • The projects listed in the Download From...dialog will be those projects that have batches available.
  • When starting an arbitration batch, the work page will always set the Recording Matching tab as the active tab to direct the user to verify that the A and B keys have the information on the same lines.
  • Brightness, Contrast, and Sharpen options available to enhance images.
  • Projects can include both the previous and next images.
  • The nudge feature was removed.
  • A page has been added to the Projects tab on the FamilySearch Indexing Web site to display a list of completed projects.
  • The Contact Us page has been updated and reformatted and now includes a phone number to contact Indexing Support.
  • The order of menus is now the same between the Start page and the Work page.
  • The goal period may be now set for longer than 42 days (no limit set) and the progress displayed on the Start Page will remain accurate.
  • The Lookup dialog will now accept the key combinations required to enter international characters and you can select characters from the International Characters dialog.
More details about the release will be available in the Family Record Extraction Memorandum - November/December 2007. Please contact your stake extraction director if you would like a copy of the memorandum. A copy will also be available in the Publications section of the FamilySearch Indexing Web site under the Help tab.
I looked at the version of my FamilySearch Indexing program and it was 1.1194 dated 28 Nov 2007. Since I always want the latest and newest version of anything I tried downloading the program again at to see if that was the new release. I still got the same version number 1.1194. Not sure what is up with that deal, it does say 28 Nov 2007 build but not the 2.5 version. I guess I will have to do some investigating on that!

My indexing was uneventful and went by rather quickly. Which in a way was a good thing. I seem to be trying to cram a weeks worth of living into the weekends. This is leading to some major genealogy withdrawal symptoms. I really need to get through all my emails and just respond to the genealogy inquires sent to me. Plus of course I have my blog articles to write. If it wasn't for the set time to do FamilySearch Indexing I would feel like a non-contributing person in the genealogy scheme of things, and that will never do.

Only two more weeks of full time training and then I can work from home part-time. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will have a real life again. All I can say is I'm really impressed with those that work full-time and still find time to do FamilySearch Indexing. Oh, I guess that has been me, hehe. It has only been through the grace of God that I have had the energy to do that. The only help I can give people that are attempting to do FamilySearch Indexing while working is to dedicate a set time to do it - otherwise it might never get done. Sunday sure has been the best day for me. Maybe the "server is unavailable" message was letting me know everyone else thinks it's the best time too!

I indexed 84 names today from the 1850 U.S. Federal Census for the state of Vermont. That makes a grand total of 1,846 names indexed to date. I can see 2,000 names appearing in the distance.

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