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September 30, 2005

Where Generations Meet

As some people may have figured out, I use the last day of each month to post some LDS quotes or a talk about Family History. For today I found a devotional given by Elder W. Rolfe Kerr, of the Seventy, last year at the Family History Conference at BYU. The theme of the conference was, "Where Generations Meet," and in the talk he explores seven different places where generations may meet, past and present. They are:

1. The Council in Heaven
2. Family Experiences
3. Family Records and Research
4. The Computer Screen
5. The Temples
6. Those Special Meetings from across or beyond the Veil
7. The Second Coming of Christ

Here is a link to the whole article.

September 27, 2005

Six Generations Card Game

There is a new card game out called Six Generations. It is perfect for those interested in family trees and genealogy. Dick Eastman posted an announcement from Six Generations Publishing about this game on his blog.

Since I love to play cards, I think this new game sounds fun. It really doesn't cost that much and would make for a great Christmas gift or stocking stuffer.

For more information on this card game, and other games like it, visit Six Generations.

September 26, 2005

FGS Conference Keynote Address - Jay Verkler

At the 2005 FGS Conference Jay L. Verkler, the keynote speaker, addressed us about The Impact of Technological & Economical Factors on the Future of Genealogy. His lecture focused on different websites and technology currently available for genealogy research, as well as the different economic and volunteer efforts available. Ancestry is economically driven and FamilySearch is volunteer driven. He hopes that both economic and volunteer efforts will continue to grow. We need both for our genealogy capabilities to improve. He then said that, "As individuals and organizations, the impact of the choices we make in the next few years will have effects for decades to come." I thought his lecture was very interesting and a link to his presentation is found at FamilySearch.

The part of his presentation that isn't on his slide show at FamilySearch is a preview of what the Church is working towards for their website. The focus seems to be on Collaboration. As many of us know, there are loads of duplicate individuals and overlapping work on FamilySearch and Ancestry. There are "x" amount of names, but only "y" amount of individuals.

He then showed a preview of what I hope will soon be released to FamilySearch. He looked up a person's name and found 2 different entries and was able to edit the information by adding an "opinion" with sources and then the program deletes wrong information based on a lack of sources or a more definitive source. How many times have we seen the same person entered in 20 times with different birth dates? I've seen it many times and it's hard to know which date to believe. This collaboration effort will really help to eliminate that. We will also be able to merge duplicate individuals.

Mr. Verkler ended by saying this is what the future looks like for FamilySearch and hopes that other organizations, like Ancestry.com, will follow in the same direction. I hope they will too, because it sounds like a great improvement.

I talked to an employer of the Church trying to find out when this new version would be released allowing us to collaborate and merge, and his answer was sometime next year. I guess there is no definite release date yet, but I will be looking forward to it.

Mr. Verkler is currently responsible for the family history functions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He studied electrical engineering, computer science, and chemistry at MIT and Japanese and Asian studies at Harvard.

September 21, 2005

Daughters of the American Revolution

Last night on my favorite TV show, Gilmore Girls, Rory Gilmore gets offered a job working for the DAR. Rory is now living with her grandmother, Emily, since she got in a fight with her mother, Lorelai. Emily had a DAR meeting at her house and invited Rory to come and chat with the women and they offered her a secretarial type job at their office. The only catch is that Rory has to join the organization in order to work for them. She looked a bit hesitant about this, for what 20 year old girl is interested in a genealogical/service organization?


But according to a recent article in the Sun Sentinel South Florida News, DAR members are getting younger. This article, written by Jennifer Shapiro, talks about how a lot of school teachers are joining the DAR. This is allowing younger members into the organization who are as dedicated to education as the DAR is. "The DAR, founded in 1890, is a volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children." (description from the DAR website)

The Daughters of the American Revolution are also dedicated to genealogy research. In a recent article in the Provo Daily Herald, LaRae Free Kerr writes about A Few of Genealogists' Favorite Things. Kerr lists 11 favorite websites used by professional genealogists, very similar to a list I posted on June 21, 2005. Then at the end of her article she writes about a new database released by the DAR. The database is the "National Index to the Genealogical Records Committee Reports." These records include tombstone, cemetery, marriage, church, military, county, probate, passenger lists, and tax records. I searched the Genealogical Records Committee free index today and have already found some information for my ancestors. It does cost money (a small fee according to them - but it seems a bit expensive to charge $10 for 10 copies) to order copies from the DAR library, and it's more expensive for those of us who aren't members ($15 for 10 copies). I guess this is to help motivate us get to work on our genealogy and find a relative who took part in the American Revolution so we can become members.

To see the requirements to become a member of the DAR click here.

September 20, 2005

Google Blog Search Engine

You can now find genealogy blogs much easier than before. Google has just released a blog search engine, which allows you to just search for key words or phrases located in a blog. I found out about this the other day by reading Dick Eastman's genealogy blog, also known as Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.

I then decided to search for other genealogy blogs myself. Here are a few good ones that I found.

Genealogy Help


Random Genealogy

And my favorite one to find is called The Genealogue. This blogger, Chris, has written some rather humorous genealogy posts. Here are a few to tickle your fancy.

Top Ten Signs the Census-Taker was Insane

Top Ten Mistakes Made by Newbie Genealogists

Genealogue Exclusive: Reality TV Series to Pick New NEHGS Head

September 19, 2005

WikiTree - The Family Tree of Humankind

I just found out about WikiTree by reading this post at GeneaBlogie. Here is a description of WikiTree from their website:

The primary goal of the WikiTree Project is to provide a central place on the Internet for kin information about all people we know ever lived. WikiTree automatically constructs bloodline trees, and will result in the gradual emergence of global family forest of humanity. It might seem a huge undertaking, but in fact it is not. There is very little information that needs to be entered about any person - just their name, names of his/her children, plus birth and death data; other relations can be inferred! WikiTree uses open-source software MediaWiki - the same that is used by Wikipedia and other WikiMedia Foundation projects.

WikiTree was started on April 26, 2005 and already has almost 33,500 pages as of today. You can go to their site to search for surnames in your file, or you can decide to add people to their site yourself. I registered and was able to add about 6 names all in 10 minutes, so it's very easy to use. I'm curious to see how this "Family Tree of Humankind" will look in a few years once genealogists around the world start adding their names.

September 16, 2005

Questions & Ancestors

For those of you who have access to BYU Broadcasting, there is a new show starting this fall called Questions & Ancestors. It will be a weekly series that focuses on genealogy questions submitted by the audience. The co-hosts will be Darius Gray (journalist and co-director of Freedman's Records Project) and Emily Wilbur (professional genealogical researcher).

For a more thorough biography on each co-host visit BYU Broadcasting. You can also submit any genealogy questions you may have at this site as well. The site does not say when the show will start yet, or what time it will air; so I will keep you updated once I find out.

September 15, 2005

Who Am I?

My mom emailed me this poem about genealogy and I think it is pretty cute. I'm sure we've all felt this way about our research before.

Who am I?

I started out calmly, tracing my tree
To see if I could find the makings of me
And all that I had was Great Grandfather's name
Not knowing his wife or from whence he came

I chased him across a long line of states
And came up with pages and pages of dates
When all put together, it made me forlorn
Poor old Great-Grandpa had never been born

One day I was sure the truth I had found
Determined to turn this whole thing upside down
I looked up the record of one Uncle John
But then found the old man to be younger than his son

Then when my hopes were fast growing dim
I came across records that must have been him
The facts I collected made me quite sad
Dear old Great-Grandfather was never a Dad

It seems that someone is pulling my leg
I'm not at all sure I wasn't hatched from an egg
After hundreds of dollars I've spent on my tree
I can't help but wonder if I'm really me

Author Unknown

September 14, 2005

Family Histories on BYU website

On Monday I wrote about the Project planned to make microfilm in LDS vaults available on the Internet. FamilySearch has also recently started to digitize published family histories normally only found at the Family History Library. I was told this by one of the FamilySearch workers in the Exhibit Hall at the Genealogy Conference on Thursday. I have since looked up some of the family histories and was delighted to find many that could be very helpful to me. I've heard some people complain that it is not enjoyable to read books online, but for someone who can't get to the Family History Library that often, I think it is great to be able to read them online and to cut and paste information into my file without worrying about making copies and then typing notes into my PAF later.

You can search the Family History Library Catalog to find published family histories containing the surname you are looking for, but the digitized family histories are actually found at the BYU Website. So I've just been searching on the Family History Archive section of the BYU site and have found 4 or 5 family histories so far that I think will be of much use to me.

I've only been doing genealogy for 1 1/2 years, but I'm told that the availability for resources has come a long way in just the last 5 years or so. I'm thankful for all the great technology we have and that the LDS church is so willing to make so many resources freely available.

September 13, 2005

Genealogy Citations for Internet Sources

One important thing I learned at the Genealogy Conference last week was that "genealogy without sources equals junk." This little phrase was in the syllabus for a lecture titled, How Do I Start? What I Wish I had Known Thirty Years Ago. The lecture was taught by Frederick E. Moss, adviser to the FGS Board of Directors, and member of the Genealogical Standards Committee of NGS. His six points for the importance of citing sources were the following:

1. Each source from which information is obtained should be listed
2. Sources may provide a lead for you to check for additional information
3. Allows others to check for more information
4. Gives authenticity to your work
5. ID Source/blame for errors
6. Genealogy without sources = JUNK

I haven't always been very diligent in citing my sources, but after it was mentioned by a lot of other teachers as well, I decided it really did make more sense and would give my work more credibility. Unfortunately, when I came home and decided to start marking down some of my sources, I wasn't really sure how the citations should look.

Luckily I found this helpful website, ProGenealogists, that contains a full list of common citations needed for Internet and Electronic Sources. It includes copyable citations for Census Images found online, FamilySearch information, Ancestry World Tree, Ellis Island Passenger Records, the Social Security Death Index, and things found with the Google Search Engine. They also have a guide to other Internet Citations not found on the common citations list.

And if you want a more in-depth approach to citations, some of the lecturers at the conference recommended the book, Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian, written by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

September 12, 2005

Project planned to make microfilm in LDS vaults available on the Internet

The LDS Church has 2 million-plus rolls of microfilm with genealogical data in secured vaults positioned high inside the granite walls of Little Cottonwood Canyon. In the past, if you have wanted to look at some of those records, you have had to request them and wait a few days for them to show up at the Family History Library.

The Church has recently begun a huge effort to compile searchable indexes to that data and will eventually make it available for free through the Internet. This is similar to what the LDS Church has already done with the 1880 U.S. Census available at FamilySearch. According to a recent article in the Deseret News by Carrie A. Moore, just indexing the 1880 Census was a 12-year project with tens of thousands of volunteers. Luckily with some new software available, the Church will be able to create indexes much quicker, but will still need many volunteers to help.

"How much time will it take to digitize all the films in the vault?
'Let's put it this way, it will depend on how much volunteer help we get,' Nauta said. 'I think we can digitize the films to be indexed to stay up with demand, but much will depend on how many volunteers we can generate worldwide to index their records of interest. If, in a couple of years, we could get a million indexers worldwide, we could put a big dent' in the massive undertaking."

To read the full article click here.

September 10, 2005

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

I have just finished a four-day genealogy conference in Salt Lake City. It was wonderful! But I have quickly realized that doing genealogy for a little over a year now qualifies me to know about 1% of what professional genealogists know or those who have had the hobby for 30 years. Hopefully this will not discredit me to my readers, for I do plan to share all the knowledge I've learned this past week with you.

One quick tip of information that I wish I'd heard about sooner is the website for Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. I met a nice lady at the conference, Jackie, who told me about this website because she volunteers for it. Basically the idea is to have volunteers from all over the United States, as well as other countries, sign up and help other researchers who need information from their city or county.

For example, maybe there is a document or microfilm that I need for my research in a library in Colorado Springs. I live in Utah and can not easily get access to that document here. I can then request a volunteer from Colorado Springs, such as Jackie, to go to that library and copy the information and send it to me.

What a great idea this is! The website is completely free to use; the volunteers will just charge you for copy fees, shipping fees, driving costs, etc. The website does ask that once you've received help from somebody else you sign up as a volunteer yourself to return the favor. This reminds me of the movie Pay It Forward, which is about a little boy who has the idea to help three people in trouble and then have each of them do the same for three others in order to keep paying it forward. I like these types of ideas.

September 8, 2005

BYU Personal Enrichment Courses

I found out about some free Family History courses today at one of the exhibits at the FGS/UGA Genealogy Conference. I graduated from BYU, so you'd think I would have already known this, but BYU offers some free Personal Enrichment Independent Study courses specifically on Family History.

Here is a link to the BYU website and a list of their Personal Enrichment classes. I'll just list the Family History classes here.

FHGEN 68 - Finding Your Ancestors
FHGEN 69 - Providing Temple Ordinances for Your Ancestors
FHGEN 70 - Introduction to Family History Research
FHGEN 75 - Writing Family History (this one actually costs $24)
FHGEN 80 - Helping Children Love Your Family History
FHREC 71 - Family Records
FHREC 73 - Vital Records
FHREC 76 - Military Records
FHFRA 71 - France: Immigrant Origins
FHFRA 72 - France: Vital Records
FHFRA 73 - France: Reading French Handwriting
FHFRA 74 - France: Genealogical Organizations and Periodicals
FHFRA 75 - France: The Internet and French Genealogy
FHFRA 76 - French Research: Paris
FHFRA 77 - French Research: Alsace-Lorraine
FHGER 71 - Germany: Immigrant Origins
FHGER 72 - Germany: U.S. Sources and Surname Changes
FHGER 73 - Germany: Jurisdictions, Gazetteers, and Maps
FHGER 74 - Germany: Reading German Handwriting
FHGER 75 - Germany: Calendars and Feast Days
FHGER 76 - Germany: Vital Records
FHHUG 71 - Huguenot Research
FHSCA 73 - Scandinavia: Jurisdictions, Gazetteers, and Maps
FHSCA 74 - Scandinavia: Reading Gothic Script
FHSCA 75 - Scandinavia: Church Records and Feast Days
FHSCA 76 - Scandinavia: Census Records
FHSCA 77 - Scandinavia: Probate and Other Records

You don't receive any college credit for these classes...since they are free...but it might be helpful to quiz yourself and at least browse through some of the lessons.

September 7, 2005

Ancestry's New Community

For those of you who use Ancestry.com, which any serious genealogist does, you've probably seen notices on their website about "changes" coming soon. I just found an article about one of the updates called,
"Expanding Community Connectivity Top Priority for Ancestry.com." And based on this article it sounds like Ancestry.com is putting together an Instant Message type system that will allow us to talk to other users and genealogists through their website. We will also be able to correct some of those mistakes on OneWorldTree.

Here are a few quotes from the article:

"The ability to collaborate with others searching on similar interests is vital to members of Ancestry, as it not only furthers their family history research but often connects them with living family members who were previously unknown," said Michael Sherrod, Ancestry's vice president of community and publishing. "These integrated community tools will help you discover and connect with those researching the same people, places and events as you, while also enabling you to build lasting bonds with both family and existing and new friends."

"Connection services will allow our members to associate with others on Ancestry in a secure environment by using screen names -- without having to give out personal information," Sherrod said. "In addition, members may easily note comments and corrections to Ancestry's records, as well as connect with others for online discussions and to gather additional information."

September 5, 2005

Free Access to 1901 UK Census Index through September

I was just reading Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and found out that Ancestry.com has opened the 1901 UK Census Index to all users for the month of September. Ancestry.co.uk advertises this 1901 Census:

* Find information about your ancestors at no cost.

* Explore over 32 million names using Ancestry.co.uk's powerful search engines.

* Open the window to your family's history from the comfort of your own home.

* Discover if you are related to royalty or someone famous. The 1901 Census contains names including Queen Victoria, Charlie Chaplin, J.R.R Tolkein and many more.

Please note that you can only view the index, not the census record. You can view the census record if you sign up for a year or a 14 day free trial.

September 2, 2005

What if.....

I just found a genealogy news article at Genealogy Today that I found interesting. I don't think it's necessarily linked to genealogy, but nonetheless here it is. What If... Reunions Connecting People From Your Past.

The article talks about a new TV reality show being formed at CBS called "What If..." This show is being put together by Allison Grodner Productions, who is also known for producing Big Brother for the past 4 years. Here is what the application has to say:



I think it would interesting to see children who were given up for adoption reunited with their birth parents, but probably not enough for me to watch yet another reality TV show.

If you'd like to apply for the show, here is the application.

September 1, 2005

Genealogy Credentials

Have you ever wondered what those capital letters mean after somebody's name? I think most people know the basic ones like MD, MBA, BS, BA, and PhD. But I have no idea what genealogical credentials mean or stand for. This is why I was pleased to see a great article about this in the Ancestry Daily News for August 25, 2005 titled, "Genealogy’s ‘Alphabet Soup’: A Consumer’s Guide to Credentials" written by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG.

According to Elizabeth's article, her credentials stand for Certified Genealogist (CG), Certified Genealogical Lecturer (CGL), and I'm not quite sure what FASG stands for, but it means she is a member of the American Society of Genealogists whose credential has been "tested" in the sense that she publishes extensively in peer-reviewed journals and her published works have withstood further testing by the profession.

Here are a few key points from her article:

The acronyms we typically see in genealogy come in five types:

* Earned genealogical credentials
* Honorifics from genealogical societies
* Educational degrees (rarely in genealogy)
* Credentials earned in other fields
* Abbreviations of everything under the sun, added to a name that imply that one has genealogical credentials.

Research categories:

* CG (Certified Genealogist)
* CGRS (Certified Genealogical Records Specialist)
* CLS (Certified Lineage Specialist)

Teaching categories:

* CGL (Certified Genealogical Lecturer)
* CGI (Certified Genealogical Instructor)

After reading this article I thought of the Anne of Green Gables series of books, because once Anne Shirley gets her degree, almost every person she talks to mentions her B.A. Perhaps I should start signing B.S. after my name, though those initials have another meaning we won't mention.

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