November 13, 2007

New Family Search is coming to Sacramento!

It appears that the New Family Search that we've all been beta-testing for a few years now is live in 7 different temples:

Orlando, FL
St. Louis, MO
Billings, MT
Reno, NV
Albuquerque, NM
Cardston, Alberta, Canada
Villahermosa, Mexico

And 19 other temples have recently been announced to operate with the new program within 90 days:

Boston, MA
Detroit, MI
Columbus, OH
Winter Quarters, NE
Bismark, ND
Snowflake, AZ
Mesa, AZ
Las Vegas, NV
Dallas, TX
Baton Rouge, LA
San Antonio, TX
Sacramento, CA
Fresno, CA
Redlands, CA
San Diego, CA
Oakland, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Laie, HI
Kona, HI

I'm very excited to see my temple, Sacramento, CA, announced for the next 90 days. I will run some temple names as soon as they start using the new Family Search and let you know how it goes!

Renee Zamora has a spreadsheet of all the temple districts here.

There are currently 124 operating LDS temples and 12 announced or under construction. To see a complete list, click here.

May 22, 2007

I only have an hour! What can I accomplish?

I went to a Family History lesson a few weeks ago at church. The teacher passed out this list titled, "I only have an hour! What can I accomplish?" I unfortunately don't know who put it together, it certainly wasn't the teacher since he said he knew nothing about Family History! I assume this is a list that floats around the LDS wards and stakes. If you know who put it together please let me know.

* Start a list of events or "learnings" or descriptions you would like to include in a personal family history

* Sort family or ancestral photos by person or couple or family and get them into acid free manila envelopes

* Sort photos that need to be identified into envelopes and mark the name of the person you think could help you identify them so that they will be ready to grab when you have an opportunity to visit with that person

* Write a letter to one extended family member asking for one or two specific items of information. Include a SASE for assurance of their reply.

* Go to and look up the ordinance dates of 5 ancestors and get them entered into your database

* Re-type a biographical sketch you have in your possession onto the computer and save it to a disk, CD or flash drive for preservation

* Pray for direction

* Use a digital camera or scanner and make copies of ancestral photos to save to a CD and preserve

* Write one chapter in your personal history on any subject of your choosing

* Make an appointment with your Family History Consultant to go to the library or Family History Center or to talk over "what's next" needs

* Create a time-line of a person or couple you know you want to do more research on

* Plan a trip to the Salt Lake or Provo family history libraries; go to the Family History Library Catalog Section of and make copies of records you will want to check when you get there

* Make a list of cemeteries you want to visit and take pictures of headstones; check on-line to see if there are records that allow you to look up headstone locations before you get there

* Type one obituary into the "notes" section of your software program

* Enter as much data as you have on any person in your ancestral line

* Go with your Family History Consultant and "update your records" or prepare names for submission using TempleReady

A few others I might add:

* Do Family Search Indexing

* Run your file through PAF Insight (mainly for LDS researchers)

* Call your oldest living relative and ask him/her some questions

* Try a free trial of one of the popular genealogy sites

* Get a library card at your local library to gain access to HeritageQuestOnline

May 21, 2007 and Family Search team together

I received the following press release from I am excited to hear about their free 7 day trial and plan to test it out this week. Hopefully it will be a great asset to Family History Centers.


-Revolutionary War Pension Files Will Be Available For Free at All Family History Centers Worldwide-

Lindon, Utah – May 15, 2007 –Today, announced an agreement with FamilySearch, historically known as the Genealogical Society of Utah, a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch is the world’s largest repository of genealogical information.

This new partnership brings together two organizations that will utilize their combined resources to digitize and make available many large historical collections. The first project will be the three million U.S. Revolutionary War Pension files which will be published for the first time online in their entirety.

“The Revolutionary War Pensions will provide an intimate look into the historical events and individuals that shaped our country’s history,” said Russell Wilding, CEO of “We are excited about this relationship which enables us to put many more historical collections online.”

The Revolutionary War Pension Files feature original records that include muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns and other miscellaneous personnel pay and supply records of American Army Units from 1775-1783. They provide a wealth of new information for historians and genealogists which they can share with other colleagues and family members.

“We are excited to partner with to provide historians and genealogists alike a tremendous source of data that will assist greatly in putting puzzle pieces together to create a rich family history,” said Paul Nauta, manager of Public Affairs for FamilySearch. “This affiliation allows us to better meet one of our goals to provide as much data online as fast as possible for those working on their genealogy.”

Also, as a part of this agreement, will be accessible for free in all FamilySearch operated centers worldwide. FamilySearch has more than 4,500 Family History Centers in 70 countries.

Since partnering with the National Archives in January 2007, has digitized over eight million historical records. Each month an additional two million documents are digitized and added to the site. estimates that by the end of 2007 it will have made over 25 million digitized documents available on its web site.

To see free examples of the Revolutionary War Pension Files, go to has now begun offering free seven-day trial memberships. To start a free trial, visit

About Footnote, Inc.

Founded in 1997 as iArchives, Inc., Footnote is a subscription-based website that features searchable original documents that provide users with an unaltered view of the events , places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At all are invited to come to share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit

About Family Search

FamilySearch (historically known Genealogical Society of Utah) is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

May 17, 2007

Virtual Surname Wall

I found the following announcement on Dick Eastman's site today. Here is the breaking news from the Southern California Genealogical Society:


Write Your Family Names on Our Virtual Surname Wall

You are invited to add your family surnames to the Southern California Genealogical Society's Virtual Surname Wall. This feature will be unveiled at the 38th Annual Southern California Genealogy Jamboree, June 8-10 in Burbank, CA.

There is no charge for this service, and the offer is open to the public. We encourage you to forward this invitation to your cousins, genealogy-related email lists, society members, your genealogy acquaintances, or other family historians. Entries submitted by May 22 will be included in the 2007 Virtual Surname Wall at Jamboree; however, we will continue to accept information after that date. later submissions will be included in a free-access online database that will be launched this summer.

Although this project is being sponsored by the Southern California Genealogical Society, we welcome family information from any geographic area, not just California. You may submit up to 10 surnames. We plan to allow for more surnames to be added and will let you know when we are able to accept more names.

Participants will be asked for the following information. You may wish to have your family group sheets, pedigree charts, or genealogy database available for reference.

1. Your family surnames (including spelling variations).
2. The geographic area in which they lived, or the migration path.
3. The associated period of time.

Your participation in the Virtual Surname Wall project is completely voluntary. Surname Wall information will be maintained by SCGS and may be included in printed or a searchable free online database that would be accessible on the SCGS website at Your participation in the project is your authorization to include your surname information in any printed or searchable online databases that may be developed.

Of course, we have instituted steps to protect your privacy. Your contact information will not be displayed, either in print or online. You will have the option of asking SCGS to serve as intermediary, or authorizing SCGS to release your contact information should we receive an inquiry regarding a possible family connection.

If you have questions at any time about the Virtual Surname Wall, please contact us at If you are attending Jamboree, be sure to stop by the Tech Zone to check out this new resource.

Click here for more information on Southern California's Genealogy Jamboree.

Click here to add your names to our Virtural Surname Wall.

Download the flyer here.

I love having my information online for relatives to find me so I just added 10 surnames to the Virtual Surname Wall. It was hard to pick just 10, but the winners were:


March 30, 2007

Nova Scotia Vital Records Released

Here is a recent announcement from the LDS Church:

One Million Historical Names from Canada Go Online Nova Scotia Releases Early Birth, Marriage, and Death Records

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH - Early vital records of Nova Scotia, Canada, are viewable over the Internet for the first time and for free, thanks to a joint project by the Genealogical Society of Utah, FamilySearch, and the Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management (NSARM). The records include one million names found in birth records from 1864 to 1877, marriages from 1864 to 1930, and death records from 1864 to 1877 and 1908 to 1955. Users can search the database at

Nova Scotia is the first province in Canada to digitize all of its historical vital statistics and make them available online. "This project provides key information to researchers on their ancestors," said Genealogical Society of Utah regional manager Alain Allard. "It involves the vital records-births, marriages, and deaths-which are a key record set to find, identify, and link ancestors into family units."

The Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU) first microfilmed most of Nova Scotia's vital records back in the 1980s. In 2005, GSU used FamilySearch Scanning to convert those microfilms to digital images, while at the same time capturing additional vital records with a specially designed digital camera. Volunteers for the Nova Scotia Archives then used the images to create the searchable electronic index, which was completed in 2006.

Anyone can now search names in the index and view a high quality digital copy of the original image online for free at NSARM's Web site, In the near future, the index and images will also be available on Researchers who want to obtain an official copy of a record can do so online through the Nova Scotia Archives. The cost will be CAN$9.95 for an electronic file and CAN$19.95, plus shipping and taxes, for paper copies.

Nova Scotia Provincial Archivist, W. Brian Speirs, said the cooperation of GSU was crucial to this important project. "Without the Genealogical Society of Utah offering in the early days of the project to provide complimentary digitization of all the records as their contribution to the initiative, the proposed undertaking would have been dead in the water and gone nowhere," Speirs said.

FamilySearch is the public channel of the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

March 22, 2007

Ancestry Continues to Offer a Low Price

Well I'm sure everyone in the Genealogy community has heard about the access to being dropped from LDS Family History Centers. As of April 1st the information available will be much more minimal at FHCs. I think Ancestry is offering a special price for the next few days because of this recent announcement. I got in on this special deal a few months ago and I think it is a very fair price for all the information they offer.


* We tripled what was already the world’s largest online collection of immigration records.
* We completed the U.S. Federal Census collection (1790-1930). This 6.6 million hour project allows you to trace your family back decade by decade.
* We added completely new personal trees that offer you hints and let you more easily organize and share your research — even upload photos.
* We also launched a new online store that features more than 10,000 family history products.

Get ready for our best year ever.

In 2007 we’ll be adding millions of new records to, including U.S. state census records, U.S. military records and others from outside the United States. We'll also be helping you collaborate with loved ones to build your own family history website featuring family photos and stories all at no extra charge. In addition, you’ll be able to use your research to create beautiful scrapbooks and other gifts. Join now and you’ll get it all for the low price mentioned above.

Click here for an Annual US Deluxe Membership.
Click here for an Annual World Deluxe Membership.

February 14, 2007

Rumors of a new PAF

Anyone who uses PAF software might be interested in a few recent posts by Dan Hanks and Ben Crowder. The church is supposedly working on a new record manager that could take the place of PAF.

Also, Dan Hanks said that a presenter for the church had great confidence the new FamilySearch would be released this year. They've got 10 months left, and counting! Still no news back from the survey I took to see if I would qualify for beta testing 2.

January 4, 2007

GenClass: Online Genealogy Classes Start Today!

GenClass was first announced about a month ago. Here is a link to Dick Eastman's announcement. Genealogy classes are now being offered online by instructors who previously taught classes for

There are 6 classes offered for January:

Family Tree Maker 16 - The Basics - Learn The Basics of FTM with an Expert.

Jump Start your Genealogy!
- Just where do you start if you are interested in your family tree? - detailed instructions.

Native American Genealogy
- Learn how to start your research for your Native American Ancestors.

Northeastern United States Genealogy
- Research in the NE states is fundamental to the trees of many Americans.

Adoption Investigative Class - Detailed search advice and assistance for successfully locating and reuniting adoptees and birth families.

Lost Friends and Family Investigative Class
- Detailed search advice and assistance on the methods to use for successfully tracing "lost" relatives and friends.

I signed up for the Northeastern US class and hope that it goes well. It is a 4 week course with 2 lessons each week. I already read the 1st lesson and it was pretty good. There are also 2 chat sessions each week in order to ask questions and talk about the lessons.

My only complaint is not knowing when the chat sessions would be when I signed up. Neither of the times are very convenient for someone living in the Pacific time zone. The class cost $30 and will be worth the cost if I feel like I gained valuable knowledge in the end.

December 14, 2006

Family Cookbook

For a few years now my mom has mentioned the idea of creating a family cookbook. At one point she asked for recipes from people in the family, but not many people responded. So it is still on the "to do" list. Kimberly Powell wrote a nice blog entry about creating a family cookbook, and here are her tips for encouraging a reply:

* Ask those that can to send their recipes and stories by email. You're not only more likely to receive more submissions, but you'll also be able to cut and paste the recipes right into your final document.

* Since emailing good quality pictures can be so painful for many, consider joining a photo share site to make it easier for participants to upload their photos.

* Set a deadline that allows family members at least a few weeks to gather together their recipes, but not so far out in the future that they forget about the project all together. You may also want to send a short reminder postcard or email a week or two before the final submission deadline.

* For participants you know don't have email, try sending a SASE with your letter to boost the chance of a response.

* If you're planning to sell the cookbook to help recoop your costs, it is still nice to offer free copies to everyone who contributes recipes, stories or photos.

I also found a genealogy blog called Family Matters that has written a few entries about how they made a family cookbook for this Christmas. It looks like they put a lot of work into it with pictures and different styles. They used The Living Cookbook software and Lulu for printing.

Hopefully with these helpful blog entries on the topic, my mother and I can get one made for next year!

December 12, 2006

Paul Allen's BYU Students have some explaining to do

World Vital Records is getting some bad publicity about comment spam. According to a BYU Student, it's not World Vital Records fault.

Check out the full article at Family History.

December 11, 2006

Journal Ideas

Scrapbooking has never been something I wanted/liked to do. My mom's idea of a scrapbook for me was putting all my pictures from childhood into an album. That's it, no fancy stickers or paper...just the pictures. I tend to have the same theory. But after finding a blog about scrapbooking I've realized that part of scrapbooking is writing down memories next to the pictures, which is somewhat like keeping a journal, which I think is very important. Tasra Dawson has a good post about writing down memories. It's called Moments Worth Saving and she shares some pictures of her 2 children and the importance of writing down what was happening when the picture was taken.

I have 2 kids myself and really liked her idea of keeping a journal for each of them and writing down cute/funny stories when they happen. Ever since I had kids I haven't been very good about keeping a journal, so here are Tasra's 3 easy solutions:

1. Buy a small calendar: make sure it has a bit of room on each date for you to take some notes. Even if it's just bullet points or short sentences, it will help jog your memory years later when you can expand on it.
2. Get a voice recorder (tape or digital): you may already have one. If not, they are relatively inexpensive these days. Get one, set it by your nightstand and pick it up and talk for a few minutes every evening as you review your day. When you finish a tape, label it and store it somewhere safe. If you have some free time, transcribe it.
3. Use a journal: a plain Jane, ordinary journal will do just fine. Chances are you already have one sitting on a shelf somewhere. If not, pick one up and limit yourself to one page a day. This will make it doable and something you look forward to, rather than fear.

She also has some good ideas of how to make a cheap notebook look like a fun, cute journal. And for those who do like scrapbooking, Tasra has just released a new book called Real Women Scrap.

December 5, 2006

Nintendo Family Tree

It seems like genealogy pops up everywhere. Two weeks ago I wrote about Barbie's family, now there's a family tree shirt available for Nintendo lovers. I remember the first NES very well, but I haven't played any of the newer ones.


December 4, 2006

Detective Megan Smolenyak

This is a very generous offer from well-known genealogist, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak.

I'd like to invite you to submit your unsolved mysteries for possible resolution. I can't do 'em all, of course, but it only takes a minute or two to submit and you just might get that stubborn brick wall knocked down! Here's where to submit:

Orphan Heirlooms

Lost Loved Ones

Brick Wall/Mystery

DNA Stories

I have an adopted (or perhaps taken w/o adoption?) great-grandpa who has caused trouble for my mother and I. I think I will gather my information and try and stump Megan, or gratefully use her expertise :)

November 23, 2006

3rd National Family History Day

In 2004 U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona declared Thanksgiving to be the first annual National Family History Day. His goal for this Family History Day was for relatives to get together to talk about and write down their health problems and medical histories. Tracing the illnesses suffered by your parents, grandparents, and siblings can help your doctor predict the disorders you may be at risk of and help you prevent them from happening to yourself.

So take some time today filling out My Family Health Portrait.


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

November 20, 2006

Barbie's Genealogy - We've got some work to do

I found an article on Barbie's history of family and friends. I grew up playing with Barbie in the 80's and find it interesting that my nieces are still playing with Barbie Dolls 20 years later.

(Lois Lane doll)

Here is what we know about Barbie's family tree from the article:

Barbie was born in 1959
Skipper was Barbie's first sister born in 1964
Twin siblings were born in 1966 - Tutti and Todd
Stacie, an unexpected surprise sister, was born in 1992
And another sister, Kelly, was born in 1995

Barbie has 2 known cousins:

Francie born in 1966
Jazzie born in 1989

What do we think genealogists, enough clues here to find out who Barbie's parents are? What about grandparents? We've got some work to do. :)

November 8, 2006

Can You Remember?

The following video seems like an advertisement for, but I'm not posting it for that reason. I found this video on their website and it made me cry. It made me miss my grandparents, it made me wish I'd known my maternal grandparents, it made me want to videotape my children every day, and it made me wish we lived closer to family.

The video is called, Can You Remember?, and it portrays what genealogy is all about....remembering family.

Spend some time remembering this holiday season.

November 6, 2006

Family History Minute

Myrtle posted about a relatively new genealogy podcast available by Brian Mickelson called Family History Minute. He started the podcasts in October and has done 4 so far. I've listened to 3 of them and he has some good ideas. He's a married LDS guy with 4 children who is interested in genealogy.

I found I could listen to it while doing other things on my computer, so it didn't really take any extra time. I look forward to hearing some more tips from him; though they aren't just a minute, like the name may imply. Each of the sessions are probably about 10 minutes or less, which I think is a good length...not too long.

October 30, 2006

What does your name mean?

Kimberly Powell recently posted an article called, The Hidden Meaning in Your Name. She listed a few different websites that tell you the meaning of your name. This one will give you a paragraph explanation of your name - like this:

Your natural charisma and charm makes you an influential figure able to inspire confidence in others. Material abundance and emotional contentment are seemingly drawn to you and satisfy your dreams of success. However being humanitarian you find that applying your talents and creative prowess to a worthwhile purpose is far more satisfying than material gain. Your courage, adaptability and determination overcome any obstacles.

In looking at these you have to realize that the same paragraph can pop up more than once. I tried various names, like my maiden name vs. married name, my full first name (Katherine) vs. my nickname (Katie) and it changed the description each time. But then I put in my dad's name and his description was the same as one of mine. And as Kimberly Powell said, the entries are all positive...which isn't very realistic for some people :)

I also enjoyed the site that uses numerology to find the meaning of your name. According to my numerology, my destiny here on earth is this:

Here to learn leadership, independence and decision making skills, you strive to do your best possible when involved in any project that requires your original thinking. You are a pioneer reaching out to create or invent new ways of doing things. The status quo is just not good enough, and you are always looking for a better method to accomplish a given task. Strong willed and able to stand on your own two feet, life gives you many challenges and tests. You forge forward, eager to learn, experience, and meet your goals. You can become so involved in a project, others may see you as compulsive. From your perspective, you are absorbed in what you are doing, enjoying every minute of it, and prefer to work on the project rather than break from it. You are motivated. You are self-reliant, think for yourself, and determined to be self-made. You are a leader, a promoter, and meet obstacles with courage. Be careful to not be too overpowering of others dreams and wishes. When in a negative frame of mind, you can be domineering and too aggressive. Learn to inject new and original ideas, not force them on others.

October 18, 2006

18th and 19th Century American Nicknames

I found an interesting link on the Roots Web email this week. They linked to a page of the Connecticut State Library website. The page is titled, A Listing of Some 18th and 19th Century American Nicknames.

I thought this might be helpful to some others as well when searching census records. Some of the nicknames are obvious, like Abe for Abraham or Zack for Zachariah. But other ones are surprising, like Fanny for Nathaniel (isn't Fanny a girl's name) or Kersty for Christina. It's fun just to peruse the old names that aren't used anymore; like Relief, Mehitable, Experience, Theophilus, Virgil, and Obediah.

October 12, 2006

First X-Chromosome DNA Test Announced

Breakthroughs in Genetic Research for Genealogy

Thursday October 12, 9:30 am ET Family Tree DNA's New Houston-Based Lab to Offer Latest in DNA Testing for Genealogy Purposes, Including First X-Chromosome DNA Tests

HOUSTON, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Family Tree DNA, whose growing array of DNA tests for genealogical purposes has established them as the world leader in genetic genealogy, will introduce ground-breaking new X chromosome tests (X-STR) in early October. The X-STR tests are the first ever available for genealogy applications by focusing on linked "haplotype blocks" which are inherited intact over several generations. This test will be processed locally at the company's recently established Genomic Research Center. Headed by Thomas Krahn, whose German-based DNA-Fingerprint company was recently merged into Family Tree DNA, the state of the art Genomic Research Center is located at Family Tree DNA's Houston, Texas headquarters.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

October 5, 2006

Grave Stones and Hackers

There have been 2 interesting posts at Amidst A Tangled Web over the past week. One is a funny story about a name on a grave stone - a good reminder to check for a death date when out searching cemeteries.

And today's post is about the idea of Genealogists becoming hackers. This is definitely something to think about. Many times I've connected with someone through email who is a distant relative and we shared personal information about our lines. One of these people could easily use my mother's maiden name to try and gain access to a bank account or something. Perhaps we need to have a genealogist test to give to people to see if they're truly an avid researcher looking for relatives, or just a "hacker" trying to find our personal information.

October 2, 2006

October is Family History Month

In 2001 Senator Orrin G. Hatch of Utah introduced Family History Month before the U.S. Congress. Here are a few links with information on this bill.

The Family History Society of Arizona

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Kimberly Powell has listed 10 Ways to Celebrate Family History Month at I really like her idea of making a family cookbook.

There are also some fun activities for kids at (registration required).

And for those who live near Oakland, the California Genealogical Society is hosting free classes for 3 days every weekend this month. They are during lunchtime every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in October. Here is a link to the schedule.

Happy Family History Month Everyone!

September 28, 2006

Family History Consultants

My parents are Directors of the Family History Center in Alpine, Utah. They sometimes notify me of genealogy events or church related things. They recently told me that all the Family History Consultants for wards/branches are supposed to sign up to a Mailing List for information and lessons on the new FamilySearch.

There is a good explanation of this and how to do it at Renee's Genealogy Blog. Renee's blog is a good one to follow if you are interested in updates with the "new FamilySearch" or LDS related topics. I think she should be in charge of the new website once it's finally up. :)

September 13, 2006

Family History Certificate from BYU

If you're looking for a way to increase your knowledge of genealogy, there is a certificate program offered through BYU's Independent Study. You are required to take 18 hours of course work in order to receive their Family History Certificate.

The courses include:

Required Courses
HIST 400 - The Family and the Law in American History (3 hours)
HIST 421 - English Language Handwriting and Documents (3 hours) Section 1 (American Emphasis), or Section 2 (British Emphasis)
HIST 482 - Professional Paths and Credentials in Family History

And then 2 source courses below (6 hours) and 1 elective course (3 hours) in either the American or British option.

North American Option
Source Courses
HIST 403 U.S.--Midwest Family History Research
HIST 404 U.S.--Southern States Family History Research
HIST 411 Latin American Family History Research

Elective Courses
HIST 378 American Family History
HIST 432 Oral History Interviewing and Processing (currently not available)
HIST 433 Writing Family Histories
HIST 481R Section 1 (3 credits), or HIST 481R Section 2 (1 credits) Directed Research in Family History

British Option

Source Courses
HIST 409R (1) Germanic/Slavic Family History
HIST 413 England/Wales Since 1700 Family History Research
HIST 414 Scottish Family History Research
HIST 415 Irish Family History Research

Elective Courses
GERM 490R(3) German for Family Historians and Genealogists
HIST 319 The Family in Europe
HIST 322 England to 1689
HIST 323 England Since 1689
HIST 390R (1) Special Topics in History
HIST 432 Oral History Interviewing and Processing (currently not available)
HIST 433 Writing Family Histories
HIST 481R Section 1 (3 credits), or HIST 481R Section 2 (1 credits) Directed Research in Family History

In order to apply to the program you need to send a letter to:

Roy Schmidt
Family History Certificate Program Coordinator
Independent Study
239 Harman Continuing Education Building
P.O. Box 21514
Provo, UT 84602-1514

Include the following:

* Name
* Address
* Date of Birth
* Social Security Number
* Telephone Number
* A paragraph describing your experience, if any, in family history/genealogy
* A paragraph explaining why you want to earn a certificate through BYU Independent Study

NOTE: I recently applied for this program and got a call from Roy Schmidt telling me that the Certificate Program is currently under review so they are not accepting any new applicants. I'll let you know when this changes.

September 11, 2006

Free Issue of Internet Genealogy Magazine

A new magazine was released back in February called Internet Genealogy. It seems to have become a big hit with over 10,000 subscribers. They are now offering a free issue to everyone. You can go to their website and download a 64-page issue for free. I'm excited to read it and see if I want to subscribe.


They are also offering a special subscription rate of $22 for one year (the regular rate is $28). The $22 rate is only valid until October 31, 2006.

September 8, 2006 Sweepstakes - Win a Trip!

The following is a post from's blog, 24/7 Family History Circle.

Ancestral Vacation Sweepstakes: Win a Trip or One of Three Other Prizes

Upload photos of your favorite ancestors, and you could win an unforgettable trip to their homeland. Visit anytime between September 1 and September 30, upload up to five photos a day of earlier generations* of your family, and you could win an all-expense paid† trip to visit any of your ancestors’ place of origin. Register, start your tree and upload photos absolutely free. You’ll be able to learn first-hand details about their lives and their homeland that may give you a better picture of who they were, and maybe a little about yourself as well – information you can’t get from traditional research.

In addition to the grand prize trip, each week we’ll also choose ten winners for additional prizes. Two first place winners will win a portable scanner, perfect for digitizing family photos for your album. Four second place winners will receive a free year subscription to And four third place winners will receive a personalized and unique copy of Our Name in History, a book detailing the history of their family name!

For more information, click here.

*Limit of 5 photo uploads per day. Please see Official Rules for photo eligibility requirements
†See Official Rules for details

August 29, 2006

Style Sheet for Genealogy

Recently Julie Miller, a genealogy columnist for Broomfield Enterprise, wrote an article titled, "Using Style to Enhance your Genealogy." She says that every genealogist needs a style sheet to help define their writing style. Some items deal with genealogical standards and others are based on preferences. One of these preferences might include how you like your surnames written. My mother likes hers all in CAPS. I like mine in lowercase letters.

Here is Miller's list of examples.



Unknown name — a question mark inside square brackets in place of unknown name. Example: [-?-]


Day, month, year; month is written out; numbers are not used for the month; four digits are used for the year. Example: 29 July 1956.


First word in a sentence is written out. Example: One hundred dollars

Page numbers - write the full form of the numbers. Example: 145-146.


County abbreviated as Co. Example: Broomfield Co.

State spelled out. Example: Colorado

Order is city, county, state, country. Example: Lyons, Boulder Co., Colorado


Jr. and Sr. without commas. Example: "Harry Warren Jr. has four brothers."


Birth registration (state level)

Joseph L. Brown, birth certificate no. 1889 (1915), South Dakota Department of Health, Pierre, South Dakota

So the idea is to make a style sheet for yourself in order to display your research consistently. A good idea.

August 28, 2006

Irish Ancestors

The other night I was at a genealogy meeting and a woman asked me if I was Irish. I told her that I was and she said that I had a distinct Irish look about me. Unfortunately I don't know very much about my Irish ancestors. I have not been able to continue my Irish line. I know that my great-great-great grandfather, John Printy (or Prunty), was born in Ireland in June 1817. And his wife, Margaret, was born there as well around 1822. So perhaps I need's Product Pick of the week.

Product Pick of the Week

Finding Your Irish Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide
by David Ouimette

"If you're lucky enough to be Irish, you're lucky enough." So says the Irish proverb. And with more people of Irish descent living outside of Ireland than on the island itself, you just might be that lucky. Ancestry is pleased to announce the publication of Finding Your Irish Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide, by David Ouimette It is the ultimate resource to help you trace your Irish roots back to the Emerald Isle.

Divided into four sections, the first helps you get started with basic principles, a timeline of Irish history, information on surnames and given names, place names and land divisions, and the Irish overseas. (An excerpt from the section on Irish surnames is available in the Library).

The second section deals with major record groups like vital, church, census and land records. The third section takes a look at records like gravestone inscriptions, newspapers, commercial and social directories, wills and administrations, national school registers and occupational records.

The final section provides information on where to research, with sections on Internet sites, the Family History Library, Irish Heritage Centres, archives and libraries and on visiting Ireland.

The book includes an appendix with registration districts, a glossary, and a bibliography of recommended reading.

Normally Finding Your Irish Ancestors retails for $14.95, but today you can buy it in the Store for $11.95.

August 23, 2006

Pick-up Lines for Genealogists

There's a new pick-up line being advertised on t-shirts from JMK Genealogy. They have switched the phrase "Hey baby, what's your sign?" to "Hey Baby, what's your haplogroup?" This has to do with the growing use of DNA testing in genealogy research.

Haplogroup (definition from
Branches on the tree of early human migrations and genetic evolution. Haplogroups are defined by genetic mutations or "markers" found in Y chromosome and mtDNA testing. These markers link the members of a haplogroup back to the marker's first appearance in the group's most recent common ancestor. Haplogroups often have a geographic relation.

This made me wonder if there were any other good genealogy pick-up lines and of course Chris Dunham has posted a Top Ten List at The Genealogue. Numbers 8 and 9 are my favorite.

August 15, 2006

How to Become a Professional Genealogist

Lately I've been trying to find out how to become a more qualified researcher. I'm not ready to become certified or accredited yet, but I would like to improve my genealogy skills.

Here is a list of 10 ways to become a professional genealogist from Kathleen W. Hinckley, CGRS.

1. Join the Association of Professional Genealogists

The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) is an international membership organization for all genealogists supporting high standards in the field of genealogy. Their current membership of over 1,100 includes not only professional researchers, but also librarians, archivists, writers, editors, columnists, booksellers, geneticists, computer specialists, and publishers. They publish a quarterly journal with articles ranging from communicating with clients, and preparing lineage society applications, to home office tax concerns. APG welcomes anyone contemplating the career of professional genealogist. Visit their Web page for more information, and send a SASE to APG, PO Box 40393, Denver, CO 80204-0393 for their pamphlet titled, "Are You Ready to Become a Professional?"

2. Prepare and Apply for Certification and/or Accreditation

The best way to measure yourself against standards established by the profession is to apply for certification and/or accreditation. The Board for Certification (BCG) grants certification to qualified applicants in six categories — Certified Genealogists (CG), Certified Genealogical Record Specialist (CGRS), Certified American Lineage Specialist (CALS), Certified American Indian Lineage Specialist (CAILS), Certified Genealogical Lecturer (CGL), and Certified Genealogical Instructor (CGI). For more information, go to their Web page.

The Family History Library offers accreditation (AG) in specific geographical areas to those who meet their criteria. For more information on accreditation, contact the Family History Library, 35 North West Temple St., Salt Lake City, UT 84150.

Certification and accreditation both require a demonstration of in-depth knowledge of a variety of sources, and the ability to communicate effectively through written reports.

3. Attend Educational Seminars & Workshops

Genealogical education is continuous, whether it involves learning that a new source has been discovered in a courthouse attic, or developing research methodology to solve a particularly difficult problem. Attend local workshops sponsored by genealogical societies, and as many state, regional or national conferences as your budget will allow.

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) each sponsor a national conference each year.

4. Subscribe to Genealogical Journals/Magazines and Read Every Page

We learn by researching, but we can also learn from someone else's research. Case studies are continually being published in the leading journals. Carefully read and study the articles, even if the research problem is in a different geographical area than you normally research. Believe will learn something.

5. Explore the Local Courthouses, Libraries, and Archives

We all know that no one knows where everything is located, whether it be the courthouse or the library. And we all know that treasures can be found in the most unusual places! The only way to find those treasures is to spend time exploring card catalogs, archival inventories, and bookshelves. As a professional, your discoveries, and consequent knowledge of local records, will make you a hero with some clients and colleagues. Your explorations are another form of continual education.

6. Network with Fellow Genealogists, Librarians, and Archivists

A professional genealogist cannot work in a vacuum. Share your ideas, research problems, and discoveries with other professionals within the field. We all benefit.

7. Volunteer with the Local Genealogical Society

Involvement with the local genealogical society reaps rewards that can never be measured. Even if you are stuffing envelopes with a couple of other members, the conversation may turn to research problems that will give you new ideas for your own research. The genealogical society is another network that is critical to professional growth.

The local genealogical society is your training ground for writing articles and lecturing. The base of your career will always be with the local society. Nurture it.

8. Develop a "Pet" Abstracting or Indexing Project

Abstracting or indexing a group of records is another form of education. Your skills in interpreting handwriting will improve, as well as a deeper understanding of the records. Publishing the results of your project will enhance your professional credentials.

9. Develop Business Skills

Regardless of how skilled you may be in genealogical research methodology, you cannot be successful as a business person unless you give equal attention to advertising, accounting, taxes, publicity, time management, and correspondence. Learn the difference between billable and non-billable time and the true meaning of overhead.

10. Continue Researching Your Own Family History

We've come full circle. The desire to become a professional genealogist began when we enjoyed researching our own family history. Don't stop! We will spend more time on a problem within our own family history than we will for a client for whom we must budget the time, thereby learning about new sources or research techniques. But most of all, our own family history is priceless and can should never be shelved.

All of the steps involved in becoming a professional genealogist have a common theme — education. Perhaps that is why the profession is so attractive. There is always something to learn, something to find, and something to share.

August 4, 2006

Affiliate Programs

If you have a website related to genealogy, you could earn a little extra money by joining's affiliate program. Here is their description of the program: Affiliate Program

Earn extra $$$ by promoting family history research!
Join our Ancestry affiliate team and begin earning commissions by helping other Internet users find!

We pay more than $300,000 per month in commissions
We have several successful affiliates who earn more than $10,000 per month and dozens more who earn more than $5,000 per quarter.

The leading genealogy site in the world, signs up tens of thousands of new subscribers each month. Now with more than 700,000 current subscriptions, Ancestry ranks behind the Wall Street Journal and Consumer Reports as the most successful subscription service on the web.

Join our program and we'll teach you how to:

* create useful genealogy pages on your website
* get new traffic from search engines and elsewhere
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Then we do the rest! We keep track of all your visitors. Check out our complete commission plan.

Here is a link to a list of other genealogy-related affiliate programs.

July 27, 2006

Free Photo Editing Software

Last month Dick Eastman wrote an article titled, Free Image and Photo Editing Software for Windows. In it he talks about one of the free software items available at The software is called PhotoPlus 6.0.

Eastman previously used photo editing software called The Gimp. This is the software I use as well, since my husband told me it was free. The review by Mr. Eastman says that PhotoPlus 6.0 is much easier to use than The Gimp, so I look forward to giving it a try. I have also thought that GIMP wasn't very user-friendly. I can never seem to rotate a picture without messing it up.

PhotoPlus is only available for Windows users though, while GIMP is available for Unix, Windows, or MacOSX.

July 19, 2006

$1000 Reward for finding Annie Moore

Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, a well-known genealogist, is offering a $1000 reward for help in finding any information on the first immigrant who landed on Ellis Island, Annie Moore. To find out more about this, please check out Megan's site.

June 5, 2006

Name Popularity

If you want to see how popular your first or last name was in the 1990 Census, there is a free website by the U.S. Census Bureau that does just that. will allow you to search your first and last name to find out how popular it ranked in 1990.

For example, Katie ranked 193 in the 1990 Census. It is a fairly common first name. And my maiden name, Lund, ranked 1354 for surnames. My married name wasn't even in the census though. Since my first name is so common, it's kind of fun to have an uncommon last name.

April 21, 2006

Genealogy Education

For those readers who teach classes on genealogy or plan genealogy events, there is a relatively new blog to help you with your genealogy education. The blog was started in December 2005 by Kenneth G. Aitken, Local and Family History Lecturer, Instructor and Researcher. He resides in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Here is a short excerpt from his biography on the site.

Ken holds a BA in Linguistics, and a Master of Library Science degree from the University of British Columbia. He has also undertaken course work in local and family history with Brigham Young University and with the University of British Columbia.

Mr. Aitken is Vice-President of the Genealogical Speakers Guild and a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Ken has been a professional genealogist for over 25 years, a genealogy librarian for over 20 years and an adult educator for more than 40 years. He is currently focusing on genealogical education.

Active in genealogical organizations for many years Ken was charter president of the Hambrook Family History Society and served for 15 years as editor of the journal of that society. With the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society he served as a branch chairman, a director and as second vice-president of the Society. In the Association of Professional Genealogists, Ken is a member of the publications committee.

I suggest checking out his site for tips on educating others or just educating yourself on genealogy. His blog is called Genealogy Education.

April 20, 2006

New Census Question Could Hurt Future Genealogy Research

A recent article in the Nanaimo News Bulletin of British Columbia shares a new question being asked by Statistics Canada. The census takers are now asking whether people want their census information released after a 92-year period. If people answer no to this, their information will be kept confidential forever. Considering censuses are a vital part of genealogy research, this could hinder many researchers in the future from learning about their ancestors.

Click here to read the full article.

March 20, 2006

Free Access to the New England Historical & Genealogical Register

I just found the following announcement at

FREE Access to the New England Historical & Genealogical Register
The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is offering free access to one of their thousands of databases on, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Normally available only to NEHGS members, the online Register database will be accessible to everyone from Monday, March 20 through Wednesday, March 22, 2006. User registration is required, but no credit card or fee.

Published quarterly since 1847, the Register is the flagship journal of American genealogy and the oldest journal in the field. The database includes issues from 1847 to 1994. To learn more and register for the free access offer, visit

March 15, 2006

Caps Lock vs. Shift Key

Dick Eastman wrote an article that I found rather amusing yesterday, Genealogy Data Entry Techniques. In it he discusses genealogists who like to just use their caps lock all the time instead of using their shift key in order to enter their information in upper and lower case letters. I wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Eastman. I often find new information on ancestors when using PAF Insight, and if I update any information involving their name, I usually have to go back into my file and change the CAPITAL NAMES to lower case names.

A few commenter's then talked about not liking all surnames in CAPITAL letters as well. I agree with this too, but I believe it it just a personal preference. I know my mother prefers her surnames in CAPS, and perhaps this is the correct form...but I prefer all my names to be written normally as taught in elementary school.

March 11, 2006

Family History Revolution

My husband is currently a senior at BYU studying Computer Science. He is taking a class titled, Ethics and Computers in Society (CS404), in which he often has to write a blog entry about various topics. His blog entry for this past week was on Family History Work. He has told me many times before that my genealogy research should not be so tedious and that computers could make it a whole lot easier and more time efficient. Here is his recent post.

The day after he wrote this, Ransom Love (Director, Strategic Relationships, Family & Church History Dept. for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), visited his CS404 class and talked about exactly what my husband has been telling me. The LDS church is currently working on having an open community for everyone to contribute to one big family tree and for computers to search through records themselves and upload the names into the tree. Love estimates about 12 months until the launch of this new program.

March 8, 2006

DNA Testing Offered by Dentists

Recently in my local newspaper, the March 2006 edition of the Sandy Journal, I found an article titled, "DNA testing now being offered by Sandy dentist." I thought the article was interesting and that I should post it.

With the popularity of such TV shows as CSI, most of us are very aware how important accurate DNA testing is. But most of us think of it being done in crime labs, not in our local neighborhood. Now a Sandy dentist is offering that service to anyone who would like it.

Dr. Richard Hughes at Alta View Dental is now offering DNA preservation and testing to the community as a public service by way of a dental DNA kit provided by Sorenson Genomics. Working in conjunction with DNASecure, the service offers peace of mind that is more accurate than fingerprinting.

"We heard that this lab was approaching dentists with this idea and we thought it would be a great idea," said Tami Rouska, Hughes' receptionist.

For $10, which is the cost of the kit, a family can get started in the DNA identification process. "We give them the kit and they decide how extensive they want to go with it," said Rouska.

The DNA is collected by doing a painless cheek swab. "We collect the DNA and put it in a packet," and Maria Nelson certified dental hygienist for Hughes. Once the swab is done, it is up to the individual to decide what to do next. They can simply store it themselves or send it in to SG for further processing. SG if fully accredited and certified by ISO 17025 and the American Association of Blood Banks.

If they opt to simply hold on to the sample, it will last for up to seven years if stored properly (instructions are included).

If they want it processed, they have a couple of options. For a fee, the laboratory will extract the DNA and store it on a DNASecure card, which is specially designed to preserve the actual DNA obtained from the cheek.

To go a step further, a profile can also be done (this option costs more and includes the DNASecure cards). "The laboratory will analyze the DNA with a 12-16 assay and report a genetic profile that is unique to the individual," said Wolfe.

"With preserved DNA, a family can explore personal ancestry, confirm family relations and provide proof-positive identity (in the case of disaster or missing person), " said Doug Fogg, SG chief operating officer.

"The genetic profile cannot be used to identify physical or health characteristics (predisposition to a genetic disease) but can be used to identify a person," said Cindy Wolfe, registered dental hygienist for Sorenson Genomics.

by Theresa A. Husarik

March 6, 2006

Internet Genealogy

In January I wrote about a new magazine coming out from the publishers of Family Chronicle and History Magazine titled, Internet Genealogy. This magazine hit the newsstands at the end of February and for a limited time you can download a free 24-page preview issue at their website. Just click here. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to download the PDF, so you may need to download the latest version of Acrobat Reader for free at the Adobe website.

February 27, 2006

Genealogy Guys Podcast

Once a week there is a 30 minute audio broadcast from the Genealogy Guys. The Genealogy guys are:

George G. Morgan, internationally-recognized genealogy expert, author, and lecturer. His "Along Those Lines ..." online column at is read by up to 2 million people each Friday. His most recent book, How to Do Everything with Your Genealogy (McGraw-Hill/Osborne) is one of the biggest-selling references in the last 20 years and is being used on several U.S. college campuses as a textbook. His hundreds of magazine, journal, and online articles have appeared all over the world, from the U.S. and Canada to Europe and Singapore. He is a member of more than 20 genealogical societies in the U.S. and the U.K.

Drew Smith, MLS, instructor at the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He, too, is a nationally-recognized genealogical author and lecturer. He is the "Cybrarian" columnist for's quarterly magazine Genealogical Computing, is a regular contributor to the NGS NewsMagazine, and was the technical editor for George's book How to Do Everything with Your Genealogy. He is a member of the boards of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the Florida Genealogical Society (Tampa).

These two have been publishing a genealogy discussion every week for about six months now. You can listen to them on your computer or on an IPOD or other MP3 player. They usually broadcast on Sunday, but occasionally use a different day of the week. You can download and listen to any past sessions via their website. I finally got around to listening to one the other day and it was very interesting.

February 22, 2006

Tips for working with Volunteers

A while ago I wrote an entry about Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. This is a great group, and there are several other places to find volunteers. One genealogy volunteer submitted some helpful tips when working with volunteers in the February 17th Ancestry Daily News. Here they are:

1. Be specific in your request. Asking for ". . . anything you can find on John Smith" is asking too much. If you need to know the date of death, place of burial, or want an obituary, then be specific and only ask for what you think the volunteer can find.

2. Don't abuse the generosity of the volunteer. Make sure to search the Web, or call libraries etc. before turning to a volunteer. Volunteers are just that--"volunteers"--and don't have the time or energy to do all your research for you.

3. Don't misuse the volunteer system. If you find more than one volunteer for an area you are searching for information in, choose one, not all of the volunteers. The last thing a volunteer wants is to run into another volunteer searching for the exact same information, in the exact same place, for the exact same person.

4. Don't forget about expenses. Not all records can be found for free, and most volunteers don't live at the library or courthouse. Understand that some may require you to pay their gas, copies, postage, etc. They are not making any money volunteering, but it shouldn't cost them money to help you.

5. Don't expect instant success. Keep in mind that not all volunteers are online all the time. Some check their e-mail at the library on certain days, or with all the disasters in the U.S. (floods, fires, etc.) may not have the ability to check e-mail at all for a week or so. Volunteers have "real lives" outside of volunteering. Normally, you should give at least a week or two to hear back from them. They also may only make trips to the place you need your research done once a week or even once a month, so please be patient.

6. Give the volunteer the information they need to fill your request. You don't have to write a book, but at least make sure to give any names, dates, or places the volunteer would need to complete your request.

7. Check the rules of the website the volunteer is associated with. Not all organizations that give you access to volunteers allow them to look up living people. There are many that do and have links or volunteers to help with that. Be sure of the rules, read the FAQ carefully so as not to waste your time or theirs asking for something they can't help you with.

8. Thank your volunteer. This is the most important tip. Whether you send a thank you e-mail, handwritten card, or sign a guestbook, let the volunteer know you received the information and say THANK YOU. That is all most volunteers want.

Bobbi Dunn
Volunteer for RAOGK, OBITL, OKGenWeb, USGenWeb and more!
Depew, OK

February 21, 2006

Relationship Finder v2

Yesterday I posted websites shared by Dick Eastman on researching the genealogy of U.S. Presidents. Someone named Nate posted a comment to Eastman's entry about a project through BYU called Relationship Finder v2.

If you or a close relative appear in Ancestral File, the Relationship Finder v2 project at BYU will tell you instantly if you are related to US Presidents and a number of other famous people:

I decided to try this website since I have many ancestors in the Ancestral File. I found my great-grandfather, Leander Emil Lund, on FamilySearch and located his Ancestral File Number(AFN). Then I entered that into the Relationship Finder and it asked me which groups I wanted to search. The options are:

* Current Apostles
* Declaration Signers
* Early Apostles
* Early LDS
* Eight Witnesses
* European Royalty
* Famous Americans
* Famous English
* Famous Europeans
* Famous Writers
* Martin Handcart Co
* Mayflower
* Military Explorers
* Past Seventies
* Prophets
* Prophets Wives
* Science Technology
* Seventy
* Three Witnesses
* U.S. Presidents

I searched about half of the groups, so it took a few minutes. It then told me that I'm related to Russell M. Nelson, a current apostle in the LDS church. It said Elder Nelson and my great-grandfather are 3rd cousins once removed and that their common ancestor is Peder Larsen born in 1752 in Norway. I called my father immediately and told him the news and he had no idea we tied into Elder Nelson's line either, so it was pretty exciting to find out.

February 20, 2006

President's Day

Yesterday Dick Eastman posted an entry about President's Day suggesting we take this day and research some of the U.S. President's ancestry to see if we're related. He listed different links to websites with lots of information about the Presidents. Here are the links he shared:

Presidential Ancestral Charts at

Genealogy of the U.S. presidents:

Ancestry of George W. Bush:

Presidential Genealogy and Family History:

Ancestry of George Washington:

Ancestry of Abraham Lincoln:

Ancestry of John F. Kennedy:

Gerald R. Ford Genealogical Information:

Ancestry of Rutherford B. Hayes:

January 12, 2006

Internet Genealogy Magazine

There is a new magazine coming soon from the publishers of Family Chronicle and History Magazine. The magazine is called Internet Genealogy and it will hit the newsstands near the end of February. The cover price will be $5.95(US) and $6.95(CAN), with a subscription cost of $28(US) or $32(CAN). There is also a limited introductory subscription rate of $20(US) or $23(CAN). The subscription will offer you 6 issues a year and some valuable information on all the genealogical resources available on the Internet.


To find out more about this new magazine, visit their website at

January 9, 2006

10 Common Genealogy Questions

Kimberly Powell, the guide for genealogy at, recently listed a set of common genealogy questions. Here is the list of questions:

1. How do I begin to trace my family tree?

2. What does my last name mean?

3. Where can I find the book on my family?

4. What is the best genealogy software?

5. How do I make a family tree?

6. What is a first cousin, twice removed?

7. Am I related to someone famous?

8. Where can I find birth, death, and marriage records?

9. What is my family coat of arms?

10. Where did my ancestors come from?

To find her answers and links to helpful websites click here.

November 16, 2005

Ten Commandments of Genealogy

Dick Eastman recently posted 10 Commandments to help you produce high-quality genealogy reports that will be credible to others. They are:

1. Never accept someone else's opinion as "fact." Be suspicious. Always check for yourself!

2. Always verify primary sources; never accept a secondary source as factual until you have personally verified the information.

3. Cite your sources! Every time you refer to a person's name, date and/or place of an event, always tell where you found the information. If you are not certain how to do this, get yourself a copy of "Evidence! Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian" by Elizabeth Shown Mills. This excellent book shows both the correct form of source citation and the sound analysis of evidence.

4. If you use the works of others, always give credit. Never claim someone else's research as your own.

5. Assumptions and "educated guesses" are acceptable in genealogy as long as they are clearly labeled as such. Never offer your theories as facts.

6. Be open to corrections. The greatest genealogy experts of all time made occasional errors. So will you. Accept this as fact. When someone points out a possible error in your work, always thank that person for his or her assistance and then seek to re-verify your original statement(s). Again, check primary sources.

7. Respect the privacy of living individuals. Never reveal personal details about living individuals without their permission. Do not reveal their names or any dates or locations.

8. Keep "family secrets." Not everyone wants the information about a court record or a birth out of wedlock to be posted on the Internet or written in books. The family historian records "family secrets" as facts but does not publish them publicly.

9. Protect original documents. Handle all documents with care, and always return them to their rightful storage locations.

10. Be prepared to reimburse others for reasonable expenses incurred on your behalf. If someone travels to a records repository and makes photocopies for you, always offer to reimburse the expenses.

November 15, 2005

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation offers Coupon for Participation

The following article was found at Business Wire:

November 14, 2005 08:00 AM US Eastern Timezone

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation and Relative Genetics Team Up to Reward Participants in Non-Profit DNA-Ancestry Database

SALT LAKE CITY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 14, 2005--Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), a non-profit research organization dedicated to fostering global family history research and family connections by building the world's largest database of correlated genetic and genealogical information, and Relative Genetics, a leading global provider of genetic testing solutions for private companies, individuals, family organizations and genealogists, have joined forces to reward family history hobbyists who submit DNA samples and ancestry records for inclusion in the Foundation's rapidly expanding database.

Beginning today, those who submit their DNA sample (obtained with a swish of mouthwash) along with a four-generation pedigree chart to SMGF for inclusion in its database will qualify for a coupon for a steeply discounted price on a sophisticated analysis of their DNA by Relative Genetics laboratory. Those who have already donated their DNA profile and family history to the SMGF database will be eligible for the discount as well. By redeeming the coupon, SMGF participants will be able to obtain a 26 Marker Y-chromosome Paternal Line Analysis on their DNA or a mtDNA Maternal Line Analysis for the price of $95, a savings of approximately 40 percent.

All DNA-pedigree donors also have the satisfaction of participating in a visionary project that is forever changing the way ancestry research is done. The relatively new science of molecular genealogy links individuals to their ancestors using genetic profiles, eliminating guesswork and dead-ends caused by surname changes and missing historical records. Today, a visitor to the SMGF Web site ( can enter the numerical values from their own Y-chromosome DNA profile into the database's drop-down menus and query a subset of 13,489 individual genetic profiles or genotypes. These Y-chromosome genetic profiles are linked to more than 550,000 individual ancestors representing over 9,400 paternal-line surnames. In total SMGF has collected 60,000 DNA samples from around the world with genealogies linked to over 2.5 million ancestral records. This additional data will be made available in future releases.

The research project is a multi-cultural, multi-racial and ecumenical endeavor that collaborates internationally with diverse universities on a database that includes genetic-genealogy information from around the globe. The goal of genetically mapping humanity's entire family tree in a free online database has an idealistic and visionary purpose. "I believe that if people know how closely related we all are, then we will treat each other better," said James LeVoy Sorenson, a renowned medical device entrepreneur who came up with the idea for the Foundation.

New participants may take advantage of this one-time coupon offer by requesting a kit from New participants must submit a four-generation pedigree chart along with a mouthwash/saliva sample to qualify for the coupon. Past SMGF participants may take advantage of this offer by filling out and submitting the online form found at

About Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF) is a non-profit research organization that collects and analyzes DNA samples in order to create the world's most comprehensive correlated genetic and genealogical database. SMGF's database uses sophisticated DNA analysis to link individuals together, allowing public access to the database while maintaining strict confidentiality of participants' information. Information is available at the Foundation's Web site,

About Relative Genetics

Relative Genetics ( provides genetic testing solutions to help genealogists build the branches of their family trees. The company's comprehensive testing services allow private companies, individuals, family organizations and genealogists around the world to establish relationships and identity through DNA testing, genetic interpretation and genealogical analysis. Relative Genetics offers the most complete specialized genetic testing capabilities available under one roof for extended family and ancestral origin testing.

November 8, 2005

National Family History Day

Last year U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona declared Thanksgiving 2004 to be the first annual National Family History Day. His goal for this Family History Day was for relatives to get together to talk about and write down their health problems and medical histories. Tracing the illnesses suffered by your parents, grandparents, and siblings can help your doctor predict the disorders you may be at risk of and help you prevent them from happening to yourself.

U.S. Surgeon General Carmona decided on Thanksgiving because he figured it is the start of the holiday season for most Americans. So this Thanksgiving, the second annual National Family History Day, decide to fill out My Family Health Portrait. You can either print out a copy of this easy fill-in-the-blank sheet to record your family's health history, or you can download it and use it on your computer.

November 3, 2005

Kid finds Sperm Donor Dad through DNA testing

I just found a very interesting article at A 15-year-old boy decided to send a cheek swab to an online genealogy DNA-testing service, After 9 months he was contacted by 2 men who had very similar Y chromosomes and using this information with the information his mother had of his sperm donor father, he soon found his genetic dad.

Here is the full article.

November 1, 2005

Questions and Ancestors

In September I posted about a new series coming to the BYU channel sometime in the fall and they finally announced the starting dates and times. Here is the latest information from BYU Broadcasting.


BYU Television: Tuesdays @ 5:00 PM and Thursdays @ 9:30 PM starting November 8th
BYU Radio: Saturdays @ 11:00 AM starting November 12th

What is Questions and Ancestors?

A weekly series that focuses on genealogy questions submitted by the broadcast audience.

Co-hosts Emily Wilbur (professional genealogical researcher) and Darius Gray (journalist and co-director of Freedman's Records Project), along with other family history experts field your e-mail questions.

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.

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, 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 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 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 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 5, 2005

Free Access to 1901 UK Census Index through September

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

* Find information about your ancestors at no cost.

* Explore over 32 million names using'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.

August 15, 2005

Top 5 Genealogy Questions

Kimberly Powell, genealogy writer at, came up with the top 5 questions she hears about genealogy and wrote the answers to them in a recent article. The questions are mainly for people just beginning genealogy research, but I thought I would list them here:

1. How do I begin to trace my family?

2. What does my last name mean?

3. Where can I find the book on my family?

4. What is the best genealogy software?
(I wrote an article about this - Lots of Genealogy Software to Choose From)
5. How do I make a Family Tree?

Powell has answers and websites to help with each of these questions, so check out her article.

August 9, 2005

Intro Genealogy Class Quiz offers a plethora of information on genealogy. They offer a Genealogy Tip of the Day, a free weekly newsletter on genealogy, as well as a free Introduction to Genealogy Class all via email.

I just got my email with lesson one of the Introduction to Genealogy, and instead of reading through it, I decided to just test my current knowledge by taking the quiz at the end of the lesson. There were actually some difficult questions that I wasn't sure about. My final score was 14 out of 20, so perhaps I should read through that lesson :)

If you want to test your knowledge too, try this quiz. Just type in your name and click on "Take the Quiz."

August 8, 2005

Youth Genealogy Camp

I just read an interesting article titled, "Students trace roots, sometimes with surprising results," written by Mary Foster for Dateline Alabama. It's about a genealogy camp for 7 - 15 year old children and it seems like the children interviewed for the article learned quite a bit about their ancestors.

The Camp was put together by Antoinette Harrell-Miller, the founder of the African-American Genealogy Connection. This year the camp was put together for African-American youth, but next summer they plan on allowing any race to come. Harrell-Miller said that it is much easier for those of European descent to find their ancestors, since their records have been better preserved. A lot of records for slaves have been lost; a fact that I had never thought about before.

Supposedly there are no other youth genealogy camps around the nation like this one, so it might be something to look into.

August 4, 2005

120 Questions to Ask Your Relatives

I posted some Genealogy Interview Questions a little while ago, but I found another list with some different questions. (These same questions could be used as an outline for your personal history as well)

Vital Statistics
Where were you born? When? Why was the family living there? Where else did they live? Why?

Where have you lived? When? Why were you living there? Why did you move?

When were you baptized (christened)?

When were you married (divorced)?


Who are your parents? Your grandparents? What do you know about them?

What are your childhood memories of your grandparents?

What are your childhood memories of your parents?

When did your grandparents die? Your parents? How did you feel?

Who are your children and grandchildren? Where do they live? What do they do?

What do you enjoy about your children and grandchildren?

Growing Up

What did you enjoy doing as a child? What was your best experience? Why? Who else was with you?

What did you dislike most as a child? Why?

Who were your friends as a child? What do you remember about them?

Where did you go to school? Elementary, secondary, college?

Who were your favorite teachers? Why?

What adults had a particular influence for good or bad on you?

What activities (sports, music, dance, etc.) did you participate in while you were growing up? What were some of your experiences with this activity?

What were you good at? What were you poor at?

What summer jobs did you have growing up? What did you like (dislike) about them?

What jobs have you had during your life? Where? When?

What did you do in these jobs?

What did you find rewarding about the job?

What did you find most demeaning about the job? Why?

Who were your supervisors? Who did you like? Who did you dislike? Why?

Who were your coworkers? Who did you like? Who did you dislike? Why?

If you had it to do over would you choose the same career? Why? What career would you choose? Why?

Who are the people alive right now that you respect and admire the most? Why? What are some of the experiences you had with them?

Who are the people now gone that you respect and admire the most? Why? What are some of the experiences you had with them?

What are the things you value most? Why?

What things make you happy? Why?

What things make you angry? Why?

What things make you unhappy? Why?

What things frighten you most? Why?

What things give you peace of mind and contentment? Why?

What lessons has life taught you that you would want your children or grandchildren to understand and learn from? How did you learn these lessons?

What accomplishments in your life are you most proud of? Why?

What regrets do you have about your life? Why?

What would you do differently if you could? Why?

How would you like to be remembered? How do you think you will be remembered?


What are your interests and hobbies outside of your work?

Why do you enjoy them?

Which are you best at?


What church(es) do you (have you) belong(ed) to? What are (were) they like?

Why did you become involved in the church(es)?

How did participation in them make you feel? Why?

What is your understanding of God? How did you arrive at that understanding?

What do you feel your relationship is to God? Do you (how do you) communicate with God?

What are the experiences in your life that have brought you closer to God? Why?

What are the experiences in your life that have moved you away from God? Why?

What happens to us when we die?

What is the purpose of life?

August 3, 2005

Advanced Genealogists

I found an interesting post titled "Are you an advanced genealogist?" at Genealogy Blog. In this post Donna Phillips lists 41 concepts that you should strive to have a working understanding of in order to be an "advanced" genealogist. These concepts were given by Marsha Hoffman Rising; who is a professional genealogist, educator, and writer. They are as follows:

1. home inventory
2. charts and organization
3. family interviews
4. family records
5. correspondence
6. queries
7. census records
8. federal court records
9. immigration records
10. land records
11. genealogical definitions
12. archival records
13. county court records
14. church records
15. cemetery records
16. published genealogies
17. published local histories
18. newspaper research
19. library resources
21. fraternal organizations
22. school records
23. manuscripts
24. vital records
25. funeral home records
26. business records
27. maps
28. migration patterns
29. handwriting
30. surname variations
31. calendar changes
32. oral tradition
33. historical outlines
34. journals
35. primary vs. secondary sources
36. genealogical societies
37. documentation
38. mortality schedules
40. professionalism
41. Internet genealogy

Due to this list, I think I have a few (if not many) things to work on in order to become more advanced.

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 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 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 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.

June 5, 2005

How reliable are the facts you find?

Some genealogical facts you find can be unreliable. According to, the top 5 unreliable sources are:

1. Place Names
2. Occupations
3. Surnames
4. First Names
5. Dates

(In order from most reliable to least reliable) gives the reasoning behind this list, and all the reasons make sense. This is why it's important to reference all your sources and be as thorough as possible.

June 3, 2005

Why do Genealogy?

For those of you who have not caught the spirit of genealogy work, let me give you a few reasons why you might want to try this as a new hobby.

1. Learning about your roots can help you understand yourself better.
2. To join some societies you need to know your lineage.
3. LDS belief of providing ordinance work for the dead.
4. The thrill of discovering an ancestor.

Genealogy is a very addicting hobby; it's like doing a puzzle and finding the piece/person who fits in each spot. Sometimes it's nice to stop searching for names though, and just read different stories about each person. A few years ago I typed up my paternal grandma's handwritten life story and I learned so many interesting things about her life and also about my father as a little boy. This record helped me catch a glimpse of where I come from.

Some societies focus on the descendants of ancestors who participated in an historical event. Daughters of the American Revolution, The Society of Mayflower Descendants, and United Daughters of the Confederacy are a few examples of these societies. Other societies focus on a geographical location instead, such as New England Historic Genealogical Society. In order to join one of these societies or others, you have to know where your ancestors came from and who they were.

Many Latter-Day Saints do genealogy research because they want to provide baptism and other ordinances to those who were not given the chance while they were alive. Mormons believe that the living may assist their deceased relatives to progress in the next life, if they accept work done for them in LDS temples. Elder Henry B. Eyring, an apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, said this in a recent conference address, "The ordinances you so cherish are offered only in this world. Someone in this world must go to a holy temple and accept the covenants on behalf of the person in the spirit world. That is why we are under obligation to find the names of our ancestors and ensure that they are offered by use what they cannot receive there without our help." LDS members are under obligation to find their ancestors.

The last reason for doing genealogy work can't really be understood until you've actually found an ancestor's name. When you find a relative's name on your own for the first time, and even each subsequent time thereafter, it feels amazing. All the time and work that goes into the search all become worthwhile when you can add a name or many names to your pedigree chart.

Genealogy has been claimed by some to be one of the most popular hobbies in America, second only to stamp or coin collecting. Don't you think it's time you gave it a try too?

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