Monday, April 11, 2016

Untangling Difficulties in FamilySearch Family Tree

I recommend this online webinar to everyone who is interested in doing their family history.

Untangling Difficulties in FamilySearch Family Tree.

James Tanner is a very competent genealogist who is now a volunteer at BYU Family History Library. This webinar is a BYU Family History Library webinar that was presented on March 18, 2016.

Almost everyone who has accessed FamilySearch Family Tree has had difficulties or found gross errors in their family tree. This is particularly true for multi-generational members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And those who are descendants of pioneer polygamist families will encounter the phenomenon of IOUS (Individuals of Unusual Size).

James Tanner explains how FamilySearch Family Tree was created and which records were used to create it. He also enumerates some of the common mistakes that will be found such as many duplicate entries, wrong individuals in families, and dates and places that don't work with the people involved.

This webinar was a reality check for me. Recently I heard a speaker who extolled the virtues of FamilySearch Family Tree. He said that the average church member could find 200 individuals who need temple work done just by doing a search at Family Tree. I tried that and found only 2 possibilties in my pedigree. So any hopes of finding "low hanging fruit" in my research were dashed. I will not be able to do my family history work by just looking for "green arrows" or whatever icon is now used in FamilySearch to indicate that one can reserve temple work for that person.

There is going to be no substitute for good old-fashioned research. I need to find good sources and write citations for them and document everything! I need to do the detective work. Unfortunately there is no easy way to "untangle" the difficulties in FamilySearch Family Tree. No Free Lunch!

James Tanner recommends that you start with "the first person in the line with verifiable names, dates and places." All information beyond this point is conjectural and unsupported. I have heard this before. Every real genealogist will say, "Go from the known to the unknown." Be ready to revise the traditionally accepted genealogies. Resist the temptation to jump back in time before the records are substantiated.

Therefore, I have concluded that I need to start my research from the very beginning and create an accurate genealogy in my Legacy Family Tree program. This will be a lot of work. But maybe by the time I establish a good foundation FamilySearch will have eliminated the New Family Search program. Then FamilySearch Family Tree will be more correct and easier to work with.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Three Rules of Genealogy from James Tanner

Today I am writing a very simple post with three important rules of genealogy that should be obvious.

First rule of Genealogy: When the baby was born, the mother was there.

Second rule of Genealogy: You can't find what's not there.

Third Rule of Genealogy: Everyone dies. 

For more elaboration on these rules please consult  Genealogy Star, an excellent genealogy blog written by James Tanner.  Genealogy Star

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Mocavo and FindMyPast

From James Tanner's excellent blog post of Wednesday March 23, 2016 on I learned that the merging of and FindMyPast will soon be completed.

FindMyPast has really grown and expanded. It started in the United Kingdom as a company focused on British genealogy and was part of Bright Solid which merged with D. C. Thompson & Co., Ltd. Now it has added numerous databases and I believethat now it actually has more United States records than British records. FindMyPast was a major partner in the Community Project of the indexing of the 1940 U.S. Census. Because of collaboration between FamilySearch  and FindMyPast, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can have free subscriptions to FindMyPast.

There are employees working in Utah. One of them is my grandnephew Jeremy. Preparing Mocavo for the merge is Jeremy's project. Kudos to Jeremy!

The Find My Past area in the Expo Hall at RootsTech 2016 focused on its large collection of marriage records. We were given formal invitations and small organza bags of Jordan almonds as a promotion.

We are very very blessed to have so many convenient online resources for genealogy research.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Adventures with BYU Relative Finder

I have heard of Relative Finder before. But I decided to visit the web site because on March 19, 2016 I was at the Saturday Seminar at the Riverton FamilySearch Library and attended a class by Van Celaya. Van Celaya is an instructor for BYU Family History Library. His presentation was very positive and upbeat and his enthusiasm for family history is contagious.

So I decided to check out BYU Relative Finder and login in with my Family Search account and see who I am related to.

Here are some of the results:

The closest relatives of the "celebrities" on their list are:
Henry B. Eyring -- 3rd cousin
Mitt Romney -- 3rd cousin
Jeffrey Holland -- 4th cousin

Other apostles that I am related to are:
Elder Cook
Elder Oaks
Elder Stevenson
Elder Ballard
Elder Hales
Elder Bednar
Elder Anderson

I am related to a multitude of U.S. Presidents including Barack Obama!

I am related to about 20 Mayflower passengers, but the one I have thought was my relative, John Billington, was not on the list.

Movies stars that I am related to are:
Lucille Ball
Humphrey Bogart
James Stewart
Oliver Norwell Hardy
Henry Fonda

My husband is related to
Elder Haight
Elder Christofferson
Elder Perry

It is interesting that most of these relationships come through the lines of my 2nd great grandmother Laurinda Atwood. The program said it would find your closest relationship and that you might be related in other ways as well.

Of course, because of errors in FamilySearch some of these relationships may not be true.

The whole experience made me realize that virtually everyone is our relative and we need to be more kind and understanding of all of our Heavenly Father's children. We are all brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hurray Free Memberships!!! Full Steam Ahead!!!

Today I received an email from FamilySearch that I am entitled to free memberships at I knew this was coming. It was announced at RootsTech 2014 that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be eligible for free memberships because of collaboration and sharing of the resources of the church with these organizations.

I did not expect it would happen so soon. I surmised that maybe by the end of the summer I would be able to get my free memberships. I already had current memberships with Ancestry and My Heritage and I have had a membership with Find My Past before. It was very easy to make the transition to an LDS membership at all three sites. All three are now linked to my FamilySearch account.

I also paid my tuition for my next Genealogy course, Introduction to Genealogical Research, at Salt Lake Community College today.

Yesterday I started an online course at The National Institute of Genealogical Studies which is entitled Google for the Wise Genealogist.

Tomorrow I am going to start a 4-week class on Roots Magic software at the Riverton FamilySearch Library taught by Ron Ray.

It is full steam ahead for genealogy and family history in my life.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

RootsTech 2014 Information Overload: Managing Online Searches and Their Results

D. Joshua Taylor taught the class on Information Overload: Managing Online Searches and Their Results GS1375. He is the lead genealogist for He is also the current president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), I have seen him on the NBC TV show "Who Do You Think You Are?" And I have heard him lecture at other conferences. He is very organized and his presentations are always wonderful. He has very helpful syllabuses also.

I attended only part of this session. I was really overloaded with information by Saturday February 8, 2014 at 1:00 PM. I was doing something in the RootsTech Exhibit Hall and got to class late and it was packed.  It is usual for D. Joshua Taylor's classes to be packed.  But later I watched the entire session online at the rootstech 2014 web site. I gained many good insights to researching online.

I had never heard of before. But I think I will enjoy the expand and cluster approach to searching once I learn how to do it. It should be a helpful search engine to use.

Here are the five main points of the presentation:
1. Keep a family history "golden rule." This means that for every one hour spent researching you will spend approximately two hours planning the research and two hours following through. That seems like a long time, but it is probably worth it in order to save time in the long run.
2. Keep an updated research plan for websites. Mr. Taylor recommends electronic lists so they are always handy for whenever you have some time to research.
3. Organize your digital life. I really need to do this. I have a messy desktop on my computer and though I have started organizing my genealogy files, I have a lot more I can do.
4. Develop an "after research" system. This reminds me of David Dilts and his "Nine before You Recline" list, except Dilts wrote his system for paper research. Taylor recommends that you develop your own system to name, store and organize your files. It is critical to do the organizing right after each research session.
5. Prioritize your research. Taylor uses As, Bs, Cs, Ds. I think he must have read Alan Lakein's book on time management. He also suggested only working on researching two or three families at a time. Since everything you discover in research typically leads to two or three more places to search, it is important to limit the number of families you are working on or things can really get out of hand.

This was a very informative class. I would like to go back and view it again after about a year of genealogical research. I am sure that as I do more research the suggestions will make more sense and be even more valuable. I am glad that it is available online.