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October 31, 2005

Turning the hearts of the Children to their Fathers

I found a great article written by a professional genealogist for this month's LDS post. The article is titled, Turning the Heart of This Child to The Fathers - A Personal Witness, written by James W. Petty for a column in the Meridian Magazine. Petty has 30 years experience as a professional genealogist, and a genealogy degree from Brigham Young University. In addition to his column on Meridian he writes a genealogy column for People Finders, and World Search.

In his article Petty shares many neat experiences he's had while doing genealogy research. Here is just an excerpt from the end of his article, written exactly 4 years ago today.

For me, genealogy research has been a source of constant testimony and revelation. That does not mean I am better than others, or that I do not experience tremendous trials. What I know is that genealogy research, and communicating with the spirit world go hand-in-hand. If anyone wants to find out what it means to experience a spiritual lift and connection, genealogy and temple work are the way to do it. The promised blessings of genealogy research and temple work come from the sincere effort of reaching out to others who have passed on, combined with careful study, thoughtful pondering, and constant prayer. Of that I bear my personal witness. My experience with genealogy has given me insight in the gospel of our Savior, and strengthened my belief in Him. I believe it will do the same for anyone who will open their heart and mind to this great work.

October 14, 2005

"Always Time to Die" by Elizabeth Lowell

On July 18th I wrote about a genealogy thriller novel that was released by Elizabeth Lowell. I finally checked it out from my library last week and finished it yesterday and it is a great book! I really enjoyed it.

The book didn't grab me right away, since it was a little confusing to follow all the characters and to know who is who. But yesterday I wasn't feeling well, so I just wanted to rest and ended up reading the whole book by the end of the day. It really grabs you and gets you involved in the lives of the 2 main characters, Dan Duran and Carly May. It is both a mystery and a romance.

Carly May is a professional genealogist and she knows her stuff. She was hired by Winifred Castillo to write the Castillo family history and lots of secrets are revealed that no one knows about except Winifred. There are twists and turns that you don't expect throughout the novel and it keeps you guessing right up until the end. There was also a lot of DNA testing, genetealogy, throughout the novel that helped me to learn a little bit more about how that works...since I have not tried anything like that yet with my own genealogy research.

Always Time to Die, by Elizabeth Lowell, would probably be rated PG-13 if it was a movie. There are some swear words and an intimate love scene, so take that into consideration when deciding whether or not to read it.

October 11, 2005

BYU 2006 Computerized Genealogy Conference

I just found the following announcement from BYU.

March 10–11, 2006, are the dates of this year’s Computerized Genealogy Conference. This conference is designed to be a how-to guide for everyone, including beginning, intermediate, and advanced researchers. Join us to learn how advancements in computer programs have revolutionized genealogical and family history work.

The featured presenter for this conference will be Cyndi Howells, owner and webmaster of Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet ( http://www.cyndislist.com), a categorized index to more than 240,000 online genealogy sites and other resources. Cyndi’s List has been voted the best genealogy site on the Web and receives more than 3.2 million visits each month. She is also the author of three best-selling genealogical research books on the Internet.

At the Computerized Genealogy Conference last year, more than 600 participants learned about new programs that can simplify and enhance genealogical research. Topics included running genealogy software, working with databases, e-mailing to do genealogy, and finding useful tools on the Internet. Some of our participants summed up their experience at the conference by saying, “I learned everything I hoped to learn,” and “I’m full of new ideas, enthusiasm, and new skills, ready to get to work when I get home!” Vendors were available throughout the conference to showcase their products. Mark your calendars now for our March 10–11, 2006, Computerized Genealogy Conference, which promises to introduce to you the newest ideas in genealogical research.

The 2006 Computerized Genealogy Conference site will be online early in 2006, so please check back. In the meantime, check out the 2005 Computerized Genealogy site in PDF format .

BYU Religious Education, BYU Center for Family History and Genealogy, BYU Computer Science Department, LDS Family History Library, and BYU Division of Continuing Education

We invite you to join us for this great experience, a unique opportunity to meet with fellow genealogists and computer enthusiasts and to learn from leaders in the genealogy computer world (both faculty and vendors).

For further program or registration information, contact:

BYU Conferences and Workshops
136 Harman Continuing Education Building
Provo, UT 84602-1516
(801) 422-4853

The price for the conference will be $120 for regular admission and $168 for college credit admission.

October 7, 2005

The Genealogy of Jesus Christ

Peter Hogan, a Dean at Llandovery College in Wales, discovered a manuscript belonging to the public school that appears to contain the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Though no expert has been found yet to fully understand the document, it is causing a stir in comparison to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code. Mary Magdalene is at the heart of the Da Vinci Code, and her name is also listed and crossed out on the manuscript of Christ's genealogy. All the facts that we know about this manuscript can be found at this link.

To see the full article from Wales, written by Sam Burson, click here.

And for anyone who hasn't read the Da Vinci Code yet, I highly recommend it. I read it all in a day; I just couldn't put it down. And currently Ron Howard is directing the movie version of this book starring Tom Hanks, due out probably next year.

October 4, 2005


MacPAF is the answer for those members of the LDS church who prefer to use a Macintosh computer. I just found out about this MacPAF project from Dick Eastman's Genealogy Newsletter . I had no idea the Church was making an updated version of PAF for Macintosh users...but that's because the Church isn't updating it. A senior in Computer Science at BYU, Logan Allred, has been working on an updated version for almost 2 years now.

The last update for the Macintosh version of PAF was in 1996. The Church then discontinued the program. Right now Logan is still trying to work out all the kinks in his program, but you can download what he has so far and test it out.

Information about MacPAF can be found at this website, and Logan also has a blog that gives status updates on this project.

I applaud Logan Allred for his effort. My husband is currently a senior in the Computer Science program at BYU too, and he definitely doesn't have time to undertake a project this big. And based on Logan's websites, I believe he also has 3 children to keep him busy. Thank you for your effort, Logan.

October 3, 2005


For Father's Day this past June, my Father-in-Law asked each of his children to write some of their childhood memories and share them with him as his gift. My husband and his siblings each enjoyed sharing different stories and listening to the ones others remembered. I thought it was a great idea for a present. We had not thought of something quite as clever for my Dad's gift, so I decided perhaps that was a good idea for his birthday in September.

I then happened upon Neal's Blog, an employee for FamilyLearn. He wrote about a site that could put together a very nice memory book to give to someone or to make for yourself. It is called iMemoryBook. I looked it over and liked what I saw and then suggested the idea to my siblings of making a memory book for my Dad's 60th birthday.

We all decided to do it and then after emailing and inviting all of my dad's siblings, and my mom's siblings, and old friends to share a memory of my dad...we soon had about 105 pages of pictures and memories.

Here is my review of iMemoryBook's product and service.

When we first started adding memories and pictures online, there were a few problems with the database. I think the company is fairly new, so I'm sure all the kinks had not been worked out yet. I emailed info@familylearn.com with lots of questions and they always emailed me back promptly with ways to fix my problem or to help me. They were very willing to please me, and had truly good customer service (unlike some companies these days) to make up for any problems with the database. We needed our book in the middle of September, but FamilyLearn did tell me they were going to fix a lot of bugs and different issues for a new version with an October 1st release date, so I'm sure it is working much better now.

Once we had uploaded all of the contributions we wanted in my Dad's book, it took about a week for FamilyLearn to organize it all together and get it ready for printing. They then sent me a preview of the book in PDF format and I was able to look through all 105 pages to check it out. We didn't really have a good order for all the entries, but FamilyLearn made a nice Table of Contents grouping together the entries from Parents, Siblings, Kids, Grandkids, and then Sweetheart. My mother had written quite a few different entries, so I thought it was a nice idea to group those all together under the heading "Sweetheart."

There were a few problems when I got the first preview...some pictures had not made it in, and some picture captions were wrong, so I emailed them back and they fixed it and sent me a new preview. Unfortunately I had missed some of the other errors, like the wrong spelling of Sweetheart as Sweatheart and also 2 other picture captions that were wrong. I did not realize these errors until we had already ordered 7 books, one for my dad and 1 for each of us kids. I take the blame since I didn't catch them in the preview, but I'm sure that my Dad still loved the gift and appreciated the time and thought we put into it.

So if you're interested in using iMemoryBook's services, I would recommend them. I think they are a small company, and perhaps don't have the most polished products yet, but as long as you explain how you want your book to look and proofread it carefully, you will have a nice book for many generations to cherish.

We got my dad a hardbound color book about the size of a yearbook. But you can order smaller books with just black and white pictures and a softbound cover to make it cheaper if you prefer. The cost also drops if you order multiple books or if you just get the free cover. We got a "Silver Cover," which just means that they took one of our pictures of my dad and added a nice background with a motorcycle (since he loves his Harley). Here is what it looks like.

nick silver cover.jpg

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