Sunday, March 30, 2014

Is this what has been happening in my Family Tree at FamilySearch?

It seems like when I check my "watch list" at FamilySearch's Family Tree every week that there are a lot of changes being made by FamilySearch. I was horrified to read in the blog The Ancestor Files that "information" is being migrated from New Family Search to Family Tree and that the source information is being corrupted.
I agree with Amy Tanner Thiriot that unless this stops, FamilySearch Family Tree will not be a place for serious genealogists. This will be very sad, since so many of us have trusted FamilySearch as a place for us to preserve our hard work and our family history forever. My resolve to keep my own records in ever more detail and to back it up in multiple locations is strengthened even more.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Family Stories and Oral Histories

I greatly enjoyed this segment from the BYU show Ancestors about how one person learned so much about her family. Fabiana Chiu told her story about visiting Peru with her Chinese parents and showed many photographs and heirlooms.
Bill Zimmerman author of How to Tape Instant Oral Biographies: Recording Your Family's Life Story Using Sound and Sight was also interviewed and shared information of how to conduct oral interviews. Living family members are our greatest genealogical resource.
The episodes of the KBYU TV  PBS show Ancestors are available at

Friday, March 7, 2014

Does Genealogy Research Need to Change to Make it "Fun" for Youth?

Today I read James Tanner's post in his excellent Genealogy Star blog titled
I highly recommend this blog post and all of James Tanner's posts. I agree with his sentiments in this post. I like this statement found in his last paragraph:
 "What we do need is a realization by those who would fix the genealogical community that they cannot throw away the old product. Doing historical research is mostly a very solitary, demanding, intellectually stimulating, intensive, engrossing, overwhelmingly difficult and very academic discipline. It cannot be sugar-coated for broad public consumption." 
The more I learn about research the more I realize how demanding it can be. I am trying hard to focus on what I need to learn and to do my research systematically, step by step.
I do hope that some of my children and grandchildren will eventually show an interest in continuing my efforts. I do not expect that they all will. What I do hope for all my children and grandchildren is that they will feel connected to our family and that being part of our family will be important to them. And I hope that they will have critical thinking skills and a desire to seek for the truth in everything in life. I don't think that they need to be "a genealogist" for this to happen.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Online Family Trees Versus Personal Software Family Trees -- Lesson # 8 Assignment Genealogy 1000 Salt Lake Community College

Discuss the benefits and the drawbacks of Online Family Trees like Family Tree and Ancestry Tree and Personal Family Tree Software like Roots Magic, Ancestral Quest or Legacy. Can we use just one or the other? Why or why not?
Re: Online Family Trees. I have quite a bit of experience with FamilySearch Family Tree and its predecessor New Family Search. I have IOUS’s in my ancestry, individuals of unusual size, and this has been very frustrating. There have been some “pedigree wars” with one branch of my family, where someone would change Henry Rollins to John Porter Rollins and then someone else would change it back and then the other person or persons would reverse the change and back and forth. It has been actually kind of funny, like the good fairies in Sleeping Beauty changing Aurora’s dress from pink to blue and back again. Even with all the frustration I have experienced with these FamilySearch products I am thankful that we have them available. They are constantly getting better and are great for collaborating with others.
 I also have limited experience with family trees on and I think I would like to discuss for this assignment.
A year ago I attended RootsTech and we were offered a free six-month membership My Heritage in exchange for submitting a GEDCOM file. So I submitted my father’s large GEDCOM file and got my free membership. I renewed the subscription after the six-months, so I have had it about a year. The motto of My Heritage is “Do your genealogy while you sleep” because the program is constantly comparing your tree to other trees and advising you when there are record matches or new information. I get frequent emails advising of new matches. My father had over 400 first cousins (because of polygamy) and this generation has mostly died off. Many of the matches are advising me of obituaries or Find a Grave or Billion Grave records matching the names in my father’s GEDCOM. So My Heritage has essentially updated the GEDCOM file. I still need to enter the information, the sources and citations into my own record, however.
I think that online trees are wonderful for preliminary research. They are a good first place to look. The family trees are particularly valuable if they have sources. Just last Sunday my daughter-in-law asked me how to research one of her ancestors.  All she knew was the name. So we looked online. Searches on both FamilySearch Family Tree and in Family Tree led us to several census records, a civil war record and a photograph. So now she knows a lot more about this individual and she has leads to research and to verify in Iowa, Ohio, Illinois and Virginia
Re: Personal Family Tree Software. I have had the most experience with Legacy because I won the software a few years ago on a radio show. I recently purchased the updated version Legacy 8.0. It has many nice features. When I was doing the assignment about using census records as sources I went to Legacy to print out blank census forms and used them to complete the assignment. It was very handy. However, Legacy is probably more complicated to use than some of the others. I have had some experience with Ancestral Quest and probably it is the best for those people who are transitioning from using PAF (Personal Ancestral File). And I have been learning RootsMagic in this class, of course.

I definitely believe that we need to use both online family trees and personal software. I cringed when I heard about someone who threw away all their personal family records because “now it is all on New Family Search!”  Things do not stay the same at the FamilySearch family trees. Others can and do make changes and sometimes things are lost. Never put any information or photos or stories or documents on FamilySearch without keeping your own files. The other online trees are not subject to being changed as much by others, but these other web sites might not be permanent and data could also be lost. Another drawback to online trees might be the loss of privacy. And someone could copy your information and publish it as their own work. Do not put anything on the Internet if you do not want to give away the rights to it. You will have to weigh the benefits of sharing against the possibility of plagiarism. And in the interest of accuracy you might not want to “publish” information on the Internet until you are sure it is reasonably correct information. It is very valuable to keep your records in personal software on your computer, so you can work with it and use it to help you as you make discoveries and develop conclusions.