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July 31, 2005

Promises for Temple & Family History Work

This morning there was a lesson on Genealogy at church. The teacher handed out a great list of quotes from general authorities about the blessings and promises for going to the temple and doing our genealogy research. I thought I would share them here.

Blessings of Temple Attendance

"You shall receive increased personal revelation to bless your life as you bless those who have died." President Ezra Taft Benson, Apr 1987 General Conference

"1. You will be blessed beyond measure. 2. Your families will draw closer to the Lord. 3. Unseen angels will watch over your loved ones when Satanic forces tempt them. 4. The veil will be thin and great spiritual experiences will distill upon this people." Vaughan J. Featherstone, June 1985 Mt. Vernon, Washington Stake Conference

"1. Pure intelligence will be poured into our mind, a pouring in of intelligence and learning. 2. Cleansing and clarifying. 3. 'See' things we were not able to see before and find a way through our troubles that we had not previously known." Elder Boyd K. Packer's book: The Holy Temple

"...we will be a better people, we will be better fathers and husbands, we will be better wives and mothers. I make you a promise that if you will go to the house of the Lord, you will be blessed, life will be better for you." President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign July 1997

"When you attend the temple and perform the ordinances that pertain to the house of the Lord, certain blessings will come to you: You will receive the spirit of Elijah, which will turn your hearts to your spouse, to your children, and to your forebears. You will love your family with a deeper love than you have loved before. You will be endowed with power from on high as the Lord has promised." President Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson p. 254

Blessings of Family History work

"Temple attendance has a calming, settling, consoling influence that distills peace and contentment...The accompanying family history work to identify ancestors to receive those ordinances yields similar blessings." Elder Richard G. Scott, BYU Education Week 19 Aug 1997

"No work is more of a protection to this church than temple work and the genealogical research which supports it. No work is more spiritually refining. No work we do gives us more power. No work requires a higher standard of righteousness. Our labors in the temple cover us with a shield and a protection, both individually and as a people." Elder Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple

"I promise you the Lord will bless you in your efforts, for this is His work, and He will guide your prayerful efforts to bring the ordinances and covenants to your ancestors....you can make a powerful contribution. Begin now. I promise you that the Lord will help you find a way. And it will make you feel wonderful." Elder Richard G. Scott, Oct 1990 General Conference

July 29, 2005


I've probably linked to this website at least half a dozen times in past articles, so I thought it was time to do a write-up specifically on the FamilySearch Website.

There are many resources at this website including:

1. Printable Pedigree Charts and Family Group Records (Not really necessary if you store all your names in a computer file, but some people still like to have a hard copy of their information)

2. Free genealogy software that is easy to download called Personal Ancestral File (The PAF program I'm constantly referring to and the program you need to use if you are LDS and want to do temple work)

3. Search for Ancestors (When you type in a name and search for it on this site, FamilySearch will search in the Ancestral File, the Pedigree Resource File, the US Social Security Index, the International Genealogical Index, and the 1880 US Census as well as the 1881 Canada Census.

4. Email groups who are researching the same names (I just realized they had this feature, so I haven't tried it out yet -- I have signed up though and hope to find some contacts with new information)

5. Surname Search (This is especially useful for finding written family histories)

6. Family History Center locations

7. Links to other Family History Websites

Family Search was ranked the 2nd most popular website used by Professional Genealogists, probably because there is more free data here than anywhere else in genealogy. There are about a billion names in their database, so you're bound to find some new information.

July 27, 2005

PAF Insight

PAF Insight was a new product released in 2004 to help you with your genealogy research. This program is mainly used by members of the LDS church, but I think it's a valuable tool for anyone doing genealogy. PAF Insight's main purpose is to search the International Genealogical Index (IGI). This contains temple ordinance dates for the LDS church. But this is not the only information PAF Insight will find for you. You can find parents, spouses, exact dates, and places of birth and death that you may not have known previously.

For example, many times I find a male from my line in a U.S. Census married with children. I only find out his wife's first name though, since her maiden name is not listed in the Census. I also find out the approximate year she was born and where. By putting this information into my PAF 5.2 file. I can then use PAF Insight to search for her throughout the whole IGI and many times I have found her last name. By having enough other information about her, her husband's name and where and when she was born, you can conclude whether it's the same lady or not using those clues.

Here is an example of a lady named Elizabeth married to an Andrew Jackson Bickel in my file. I found them in several censuses together and estimated they married around 1857 since their first child was born in 1858. This is what I found using PAF Insight.


The information in my PAF file is on the left, and the information found in the IGI is on the right. I found not only the correct month and place of marriage, but I also found Elizabeth's last name! As a genealogist, you know how good it feels to find new information. (The sealing date is for LDS ordinances).

The findings aren't over yet, under the next tab "Parents & Siblings," you discover this...


Her parents! You not only have found more accurate information for Elizabeth...but you have also found 2 new people to add to your file. And PAF Insight enters it automatically into your file when you click a check mark into the box, instead of you wasting time writing it down on paper and then later entering it into your file yourself.

Now, another wonderful thing that PAF Insight does is to find any unconnected people, separate pedigrees, in your file. You may think, like I did, that your file is perfect and that there are no mistakes. But if you take the PAF Insight challenge, you may find out otherwise. This is what I found.


Here are 33 people who are not linked into my main pedigree. This was very surprising to me and I now need to visit each person and try to merge them into my file or find out if they really are related to me at all.

I know some of you may not use the program PAF 5.2, but I highly recommend downloading it for free, just to use PAF Insight. You can download PAF Insight for just $20, or go to a local Family History Center near you to try it out and use it for free.

Also, one last very positive thing about PAF Insight. You can click on all the names in your file and have PAF Insight search through them all night long or all day while you are away from your computer (Just beware of 9 month old babies crawling around and turning off your machine in the morning before you've had a chance to go through everything PAF Insight has found).

July 25, 2005

Utah Seminar Examines Genetic Genealogy

The Utah Medical Association and Heritage Genealogical College are planning a genetics and professional genealogy seminar in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake has gained international prominence for genetic research at the University of Utah and the Huntsman Cancer Center, as well as for genealogy research at the Family History Library. For more information on this seminar go to "Utah seminars will examine uses of genetic genealogy," located in The Advocate Newspaper, written by Damon Veach.

Because the Federation of Professional Genealogical Societies (FGS) is holding their annual genealogy conference in Salt Lake Sept 7-10, this genetics seminar will be held the day before the conference starts on the 6th. The cost is $90, and $50 for students. This price includes a lunch and 2 snack periods. If you're planning on going to the FGS Conference already, this sounds like a great addition to that information.

And if you registered with the Fun Stuff for Genealogists company for a free pass to this conference, they have announced their winner. Her name is Helen Bortz from Haysville, Kansas. So those of you who didn't win, like me, you need to register by tomorrow in order to get the early bird discount.

July 23, 2005

1911 Canadian Census Available

The 1911 Census was made available on Thursday July 21st. You can locate it at The Library and Archives of Canada.

Note: You can only search the census by geographic locations. It is not searchable by family names. This makes it more difficult to find people; but the hunt is half the fun, right? There are links to help you find the Census Districts and Sub-districts you're looking for.

July 22, 2005

Our Timelines

Our Timelines is a free website that generates a timeline of historical events that happened during a person's life. For example, I typed in a few of my great-great grandfathers, Francis Edward Abbott and George W. Sherlock, with their birth years and death years and this is what appeared for their timelines.

Francis Edward Abbott (black & white timeline - printable)

George W. Sherlock (color timeline)

Our Timelines is a great resource for genealogists..."For Genealogists, these capabilities are a veritable gold mine - you can actually see how a family member fits into history, and that not only helps users of your genealogical efforts to know these people a lot better, it helps you to better direct your research."

You can also add 10 personal events into your timeline as well: marriage, graduation, children, etc. Plus, any event that is underlined links to more information on that event. I think this a great learning tool, as well as a great genealogical tool.

July 20, 2005

HeritageQuest Online

I have lived in Salt Lake County for over 2 years now, and am just now starting to take advantage of the free access to the HeritageQuest Online database. Through the use of my Salt Lake County library card number, I can search HeritageQuest Online from my home computer...for free.

You don't have to live in Salt Lake County though to get free access. I believe that most libraries around the country offer access to this resource. According to their site, "HeritageQuest Online is designed specifically for patrons in public libraries who are either just beginning their family research or who after years of work are still uncovering their past."

Records on this site include:

* The complete U.S. Federal Census 1790-1930 (they advertise a complete Census Record, but they don't actually have 1830, 1840, 1850, or 1880...and have only part of 1930 - you can find the 1880 Census for free though on familysearch.org)

* ProQuest's Genealogy & Local History Collection of 25,000+ family and local history books - every word searchable

* The Periodical Source Index (PERSI) - a comprehensive subject index covering more than 6,500 genealogy and local history periodicals written in English and French since 1800

* Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files with records of 80,000+ individuals who served in the Revolutionary War

This is the 6th most popular website used by professional genealogists, so I recommend trying it out. And if you are trying to sign on with your library card number, you first need to go to your library website and click on HeritageQuest from there to sign on. (I went straight to HeritageQuest Online and it asked me for a username and password; there was nowhere to put my library card number)

July 19, 2005

Learning Centers on Ancestry.com

In the Ancestry Daily News today there is an article titled "Viva Learning Centers," by Anastasia Sutherland Tyler. In it she talks all about a new feature at Ancestry.com - The Learning Center.

The Learning Center is a free area on Ancestry.com where you can learn about different resources to use in researching family history. There are currently ten learning center topics, but Ancestry.com will continue to come up with new ones as new content is added to their site and new articles are written on different topics. The current 10 include:

* Census Records
* Birth, Marriage, and Death Records
* Trees and Community
* Immigration Records
* Military Records
* Directories and Member Lists
* Family and Local Histories
* Newspapers and Periodicals
* Court, Land, and Probate Records
* Reference and Finding Aids

Like Anastasia, I don't know much about researching military records, so I can get an overview on how to do it through this Learning Center. I also haven't used newspaper articles very often in my research, but can easily read about it here. It looks like this is a valuable "how-to research" guide.

When you go to the Learning Center page, the ten different topics are located on the right side, under the heading "Learn More About." Topics for future centers include specific holidays and other hobbies related to family history.

July 18, 2005

Stephen P. Morse's One-Step Database Part II

On June 28, 2005 I wrote a review of the Stephen P. Morse One-Step Database. As you can see by the article, I was clearly confused as to how this site works.

After receiving a comment from Joel Weintraub, a member of the One-Step team, and then receiving an email from Steve Morse himself, I started to understand the site a little bit better.

I had assumed that the words "one-step" meant that when I entered a name at the top of the page that the database would search each folder all at once in "one-step." I was wrong. There is a very thorough explanation of what the site does listed under the Miscellaneous section in the One-Step Portal folder. The explanation is long, but Mr. Morse has actually made it quite entertaining, so it is worth the time spent to understand his website. I apologize to Mr. Morse and Mr. Weintraub for the confusion, and definitely plan on taking advantage of all that this site has to offer in the future.

Genealogy Thriller by Elizabeth Lowell

There is a new mystery/romance novel written by Elizabeth Lowell titled "Always Time to Die." Its basis is a professional genealogist, Carly May, who is hired to look into the history of a prominent Southwest family. But someone doesn't want her to find out their secrets and is willing to kill if needs be. It sounds very interesting, so I already have it on hold at my library.

Here is a review by Dan Hays for the Statesman Journal.

July 15, 2005

Genealogy Today Marketplace

I have mentioned a few different websites to buy genealogy-related gifts before, but I think I found an even better one. The website is called Genealogy Today and all their products can be found at their Genealogy Marketplace. This website has offered products online for almost 3 years and now has over 700 gift items.

I'll just link to a few items that look interesting to me:

Baby Family Tree X-Stitch Pattern/Kit
6x4 Pewter Grandmother Frame
DK Millennium Family Tree Record Book
Family Tree Jigsaw Puzzle
Family Trees Are Always In Season Mug
Country Living Handmade Scrapbooks
Families are Forever 12x12 Paper
First Steps in Genealogy
7 Generation Family Tree Poster
Dig Up Your Roots and Find Your Branches
Genealogy Bracelet Charm (9mm size)
Linkum Card Game

July 14, 2005

Any Day in History

I recently found this website called Scope Systems that will look up any day of the year and tell you exactly what has happened on that day throughout history. It lists births, deaths, holidays, world events, religious events, etc. It's worth a minute just to see all the information on your birthday. I found lots of interesting information for my birthday.

There were many famous people born on my day, but only 3 who stood out to me: Steven Spielberg, Brad Pitt, and Christina Aguilera. I also found out that Chris Farley died on my birthday. One other interesting fact I learned was that whenever my birthday falls on a Friday, it's a holiday called Underdog Day. I looked up this holiday and it is actually a day to honor all the underdogs and unsung heroes out there, as opposed to a day to honor the Underdog TV Show.

Another search you can do on the Scopes website is to search for a month and year, instead of just a single day. I think this would be an interesting tool to use for family history research. It could give you an idea of what was happening when your ancestors were born or living and perhaps lead you to a new focus for researching.

There is a list of other websites just like Scope Systems on a blog I like to read everyday called Amidst a Tangled Web.

July 13, 2005

BYU Genealogy and Family History Conference

The 37th annual BYU Genealogy and Family History Conference will be held in just a few weeks starting Tuesday July 26th and going until Friday July 29th, 2005. It will be held in the BYU Conference Center located at 770 East University Parkway in Provo, Utah. Each day the conference starts at 8:30 a.m. and goes until 6:15 p.m., except on Friday when it ends at 4 p.m.

The cost for a normal registration is $175 (So if you're deciding between this Conference or the one in Salt Lake, the Salt Lake early bird registration would be cheaper). If you want to get college credit for the conference it will cost $322. You can also just buy the syllabus too, $45 for a paper one and $25 for a CD in PDF format.

The theme for this conference is "Building a Lasting Legacy." The seven focus groups will include: Beginning Family History, Family History Center Support, Computers, Europe/Nordic Research, British Research, U.S. Research, Methodology and Publishing Family Histories.

For more information please visit the BYU website.

July 12, 2005

Getting the most out of Google searches

Google was ranked as the 8th most popular website used by professional genealogists and I wholeheartedly agree with this ranking. Google is the only search engine that I ever use and I've always been able to find what I'm looking for with it. I never really thought of it as a genealogy tool until reading this article, but ever since then I have used it occasionally and found some websites with information on my ancestors.

I wondered if there was a better way to do searches though, and I found this article written by Mark Howells titled, "Google for Genealogy." It was written for Ancestry Magazine and I located it at Ancestry.com. In it Howells gives a little tutorial on how to use Google for your genealogy search.

I highly recommend genealogists to read this article and find out how to use Google more effectively. Howells says at the end:

"Google is an extremely powerful search engine, and you’ll need to educate yourself in its various features to use it most effectively in your family research. Just as you had to learn how to use the microfilm readers when you first visited your local library or Family History Center, you must familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of Google’s capabilities. By just typing in a name and hoping for the best, you are not letting Google do the heavy lifting for you."

July 11, 2005

FGS Conference in Salt Lake City

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) are holding a conference in Salt Lake City. The conference is titled, "Reminders of the Past-Visions for the Future," and will be held from Wednesday September 7th to Saturday September 10th, 2005. For more details please link to the FGS website.

The cost of registration for all 4 days is $159 if you register before July 26th. The normal price after July 26th is $189, so you save $30 by registering early. You can also register for just one day for $81 if you do it early, and $95 after July 26th.

The Fun Stuff for Genealogists Company is giving away one free admission. The instructions to enter can be found at their site. The site does says that the deadline for entries is August 14th, which means you would be too late to order the registration with the early bird discount if you don't win. Someone brought this to Bev's attention though on Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and Bev responded by saying she would change the deadline to July 25th, so those who find out they didn't win the free registration can still buy the discounted registration from the FGS site.

The FGS President says that "[This conference] will be this year’s premier genealogical event, west of the Mississippi River."

July 8, 2005

Ellis Island Records

Did you know that 40% of Americans can trace their ancestry to one of the passengers who arrived in Ellis Island? I had no idea this was such an important port. The Ellis Island site contains the largest collection of passenger lists on the Web.

They have records for over 22 million passengers and ships' crew who entered America through Ellis Island and the Port of New York between 1892 and 1924. Each person's information was written down in ships' passenger lists, otherwise known as "manifests."

The Passenger Record Archive includes passenger records, original manifests, and ship information. These records will have the passenger name, date of arrival, ship of travel, and age of arrival. Sometimes there will also be a picture of the ship they sailed on.

I have not found any of my own ancestors as passengers yet, but I urge others to give it a try and let me know how it goes. Ellis Island is the only website that has post-1890 U.S. passenger lists.

July 7, 2005

Canada Censuses

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has access to the 1881 Canadian Census and it is definitely the easiest way to search this census. In the Prince Edward Island site I've been using to search the 1841, 1891, and 1901 Censuses, all the members of a family living on the same lot of land are listed together and it's hard to separate each individual family. I've seen 25 MacAuslands all living on Lot 13 and I'm not sure which children belong to which adults. There is no order to the names. On the other hand, the 1881 Census on FamilySearch separates these people into their respective families and makes it easier for researching genealogists.

If you're like me, you've had a hard time finding places to search the Canada Censuses, so here are a few sites that list websites to use.

The Online International Census Indexes and Records
Cyndi's List - Census Related Sites Worldwide
Generations - Census Online

July 6, 2005

1911 Canadian Census Access Granted

Many Canadian genealogists have been fighting to get access to censuses after 1901. The Canadian S-18 bill passed in the House of Commons on June 28, 2005 and received Royal Assent on June 29th. This bill allows access to census records, beginning 92 years after the census was taken, opening the 1911 census to the public for the first time. (The United States allows access to records 72 years after the census was taken, thus already allowing 1910, 1920, and 1930 Census access).

There is a great writeup about the passing of this bill at Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter. Mr. Eastman includes a letter from Gordon A. Watts, Co-chair of the Canada Census Committee, who gives most of the credit to the Honorable Senator Lorna Milne.

The Library and Archives of Canada Website
says that they hope to have online access to the 1911 Census in early August. Great news for genealogists with Canadian relatives.

July 5, 2005

Making Connections through the Internet

Recently I found a distant relative's email address and we started to trade information. She lives in Florida and I live in Utah. Our ancestors come from Prince Edward Island and New England. It's amazing that we even found each other living so far apart, but that is the beauty of the Internet. You can find information about almost anyone on the Internet.

This nice lady, Carol, then gave me the email address for a relative of ours still living in Canada, and I am now conversing with him too. I've received pictures and information I might not have ever found otherwise.

John Barlow Family Picture.jpg
John Barlow Family Picture (great-great-great grandfather right in the middle)

So to encourage the use of Internet connections, I thought I would post the 8 great-grandparents of my husband and the 8 great-grandparents of myself and see if anyone related to us will find it and make a connection.

Leander Emil Lund (Oct 20, 1892 to Jun 14, 1925)
Ruby Lavern Fredrickson (Sep 15, 1896 to Jun 10, 1925)
Frank Ephraim Chapman (Apr 23, 1892 to Nov 21, 1918)
Birdie Sophia Blomquist (Oct 28, 1888 to Oct 9, 1954)
Lewis Mayham Sherrill (May 3, 1881 to Apr 27, 1952)
Lillian Rose Sherlock (Jan 28, 1883 to Dec 16, 1979)
Edd Reed (Aug 15, 1894 to Jun 12, 1966)
Inez Mullins (Aug 27, 1895 to Nov 15, 1919)

George Alexander Hersam (Oct 16, 1878 to Dec 9, 1960)
Mabel Worthen Horne (Dec 16, 1880 to Sep 17, 1917)
Arthur Swan Clark (Aug 9, 1880 to Mar 18, 1952)
Edith Chandler Abbott (Nov 23, 1879 to Jan 25, 1978)
Charles Bickel (Sep 12, 1870 to Feb 8, 1943)
Anna Louisa Murphy (Feb 7, 1879 to Apr 8, 1954)
Eliot Howe French (Oct 7, 1859 to Mar 17, 1929)
Elizabeth McCausland/MacAusland (Dec 15, 1871 to Mar 20, 1957)

July 2, 2005

Keeping a Journal

In the past few years I haven't been as diligent in keeping a journal as I used to be as a teenager. As you get older, start working, get married and have kids, it seems like you barely have time to think, let alone write down your thoughts. But as Family Historians we need to remember to record our own history as well. My grandmother wrote her life story before she died and it was very interesting for me to read and find out what she used to do for fun and what the world was like when she grew up.

I found an article on Ancestry.com written by Juliana Smith titled Ten Steps to Recording Your Personal History. There are some great ideas to help you get started on your own journal.

July 1, 2005

National Archives and Records Administration

For the past few days I have been trying to figure out what information I could find from the 11th most popular website used by professional genealogists. Supposedly it was ranked 6th last year, and seems to have dropped in popularity this year. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent Federal agency that oversees the management of all Federal records.

I've been confused as to how to use their site and what information they might have on my ancestors. So I used the 8th most popular website, Google, and found an article written by Genealogy.com that is titled, Finding Your Way Through the National Archives.

This article uses an excerpt from the revised edition of the Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives, published by the National Archives Trust Fund Board. The excerpt then describes what you can and can't expect from the National Archives records collection, and what resources can guide you to the records you're looking for.

Based on some of the limitations outlined in this article, the NARA Trust Fund Board suggested that a researcher should never ask an archivist for information about an ancestor about whom only the name is known. They recommend knowing information about when and how and where an ancestor came into contact with the federal government.

All I have in my file right now are names and dates, so I don't think I'm quite ready for the in depth research this site would require. Sometimes the exact date and place of contact are necessary to find records of your ancestor from the NARA. Hopefully once I find some more information on my ancestors, this site will come in handy.

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