Sunday, November 25, 2012


I was just thinking how important 2 things are:
  1. Starting from the ground up 
  2. Sourcing your found records to the people 
I cite both of these for the same reason: The information listed on already present trees (physical and online) should be considered NO BETTER THAN FAIRY TALES in displaying reality. Because who knows how already generated trees were put together - and who's to say they aren't totally wrong. 

When people log into Family Search or they connect to a larger tree and see they have some of their line filled out. They poke around their new line and see how far back it goes... In doing so they waste time by looking at something which may or may not be true and don't produce a thing in doing so. In order to actually connect to our heritage you have to see the sources which give evidence for the people listed. 

To the beginner with no information present it is the path they HAVE to tread in order to go back in the past at all. I don't think it wasted effort to find every record even mentioning a particular ancestor and attaching to that person in the ways described in previous posts.


There are some updates: Family Search is encouraging more and more people to switch to Family Tree from new.familysearch. 

Observe the section in the upper right, and that button there. Clearly they are having the general user interact more with Family Tree. Also the invite link below is no longer required. Simply going to will take you to the Family Tree feature and apparently activate it for future use.

Also notice these new images on the left for the login page and the surrounding text. I especially like the emphasis on FREE Service. And how under records it mentions saving those records in the source box. Anyway just thought I'd point that out!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

-- Attaching a source --

Putting stuff in your own FamilySearch source box is good and all but until you have attached your sources to the people on Family Tree your work is not done. See like I explained these sources will work wonders to both make sure that two people aren't being assigned to the same source and that two conflicting records aren't applied to the same people (either would show that clearly those involved are talking about different people).

Anyway it's pretty easy I'll show you how to do it right now!

First you find the person you want to attach the source to using Family Tree. Click on the individuals name and then click "View Person".

Then it's a little further down on the individuals page but there is a section for the source box

If your source you want to attach is in the source box click "Source Box" or if you have a physical or online source to create you can do it from here also!

And here's the source box view so you just "Attach" any of the sources which apply to that person and then forever that source will be linked to that person. And the word attach will be replaced by a paper clip symbol - which is a device used to hold paper together. How fitting right?

For those of you who still haven't registered to try out this new feature of Family Tree Click Here and do so! This will be the feature through which Family Search will be moving too so you might as well (Note: For some areas/types of accounts I believe this feature is restricted while they work out the final kinks and bugs)

Friday, September 7, 2012

-- Source Box! --

This is one of the most important features to be introduced to Familysearch. The reason I site it's importance is for the clarity it will give once the Family Tree feature is released to the public. But ANYONE can begin now to start accumulating sources and proving their family history. All you have to do is set up an account.

One of the deepest ideas behind Family Tree is to create a place where everyone is working on the same family tree. Not a million different ones but the same big one - disconnected maybe but it is one. And then if we use it right in avoiding duplication we grab a hold of the purpose of the internet - to save us time and to share ideas and facts.

Disagreements about those facts concerning our ancestors was one of the most annoying things about the older tree feature provided by Familysearch. The Source Box and sources are the only answer to that problem. For this post I'll assume you have created an account already and that you are logged in.

Here is an example:

So you find the death record to one of your ancestors! Now you simply click "Add to My Source Box" and it has been saved in your account's source box. Like So:

Now the record above appears in the greater Source Box below. (You can access your source box from hovering over your name and clicking on Source Box). You have the ability to open and close them for more details and to see the record again. Notice on the left there is a file folder structure you can create. Each record can go in one folder so you can decide for yourself the best way to organize!

You do have the ability to create a source yourself! If you look and the item second from the bottom on my source box there's a world symbol. I made it because I found an online biography of one of my ancestors which I never wanted to have to look for again!

It's as easy as that. And as a user of Family Tree I can tell you linking your ancestor to the record is just as easy. Happy hunting!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

-- The Past State of Things --

I just talked with a man who interned with family search and who described, in a way I could understand, what's going on with Familysearch behind the scenes. Right now it's a bit like a baby in the womb. So that's the analogy I'll use.

The baby being the new feature "Family Tree" and the mother being "New Familysearch". If that means nothing to you I understand, has been present only in the backend and has only been available to premier members (kindof in a prolonged beta -- thus the "new" at the beginning). Family Tree on the other hand is a feature which at this moment is active and running and will eventually be available to the public.

 (I think most would agree that new familysearch has kindof had a backend feel to it from the start)

Anyways! To push the analogy further these two features and sites are linked with syncing Java code. This means that at this moment if you change something in New - it will get changed in Tree and vice versa. The reasoning behind this is so that everyone can get a feel for how both work and make the transition seamlessly. But there will come a day when the umbilical cord will be cut and the code for Family Tree will have to stand on it's own. New Familysearch will become a thing of the past and this new feature will replace it. That is to come.

For the moment they are running synchronously. Tutorials on new.familysearch and Family Tree will be coming!

Check the post on Free Resources to find the links to get access to Family Tree. (or click here and follow the activation link for those with accounts)

-- Searching for female records --

Whether you are looking forward from a females birth or trying to go backward to find their maiden name you have to realize one vital thing.

At marriage many change their last name to the last name of the husband. Pretty straightforward right?


I've found every variation on the theme with my own family. You may find in a census record that she wrote her maiden name only. Or on her death record that the record taker used her married name only. All I'm saying is that with females especially later in life you have to double check every variation if you're having trouble finding a record.

In order to find a mysterious maiden name I have only one thought. Attempt to trace the descendancy of the union. Because in the case of all her children their birth, marriage, AND death record have a chance at listing the maiden name of their mother. (the same applies for a mysterious place of birth)

Peace out!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

-- Free resources --

Resources available to you: 

*Note: In finding out your background the end goal is usually trying to reach as far back as you can to connect with your heritage. But don't get so caught up that you jump to conclusions. Try and link at least 3 facts to make sure the individual/record is the correct one. (100 %  free and many images are available. Searching for something specific like choosing a collection from this page usually is a good idea - many countries are available)
  • I would suggest going here to set up an account with them because it will open up features to you not available otherwise. Such as:
    • Seeing more pictures of documents than those without accounts
    • The ability to save every record of importance you find to your accounts Source Box (which has features for you to organize them in folders, and create your own sources to help you sort through what is proven and what is not)
    • The ability to index records as a volunteer (900 points indexing gives you a premier account with familysearch). FamilySearch Indexing is transcribing documents so they can be searched online.
    • access to an upcoming public family pedigree online feature named Family Tree (already available to some presumably premier accounts try it out here note you must click the activation link). Notice that this is different from the already released tree feature.
    • And all of these things
  • By The Way! You can get access to's records for free by going to your nearest Family History Library find the closest one by clicking here (Note: If you live near a BYU campus their wireless acts like a family history library - so try it out)
    • Ancestry really does have a ton of records and images to match so this is a useful site.
  • I can't stress this enough. There are many services out there trying to provide information to you. searching wisely with a search service like google can lead you to records or info you would not have found otherwise. (Here's a tutorial on how to use google to help with family history If you know basic google searching skip to the 2nd lesson)
Some kind of tutorial/video here are many free online

Some kind of DNA service (These are usually NOT free. A great idea especially if you have a close dead end within 5-10 generations. It is the best use of money for actual results which will yield for sure ONLY facts if you choose one with a built in family tree/family finder application so much the better)

If you are looking for software or a web service to help you keep track of your family tree Any of These should do nicely.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

-- Beginners Guide --

I consider myself an amateur genealogist and it is my hope that the information shared over these means can help you to be excited about your own Family History. Ancestry is something that is totally real to me - I really enjoy it and I feel like it's universally loved. 

Fill something like this out to begin your family history with you as No. 1

To help you do that I will refer you to another site: please check this tutorial to help you learn skills which will garner the greatest results for you

To begin from the ground up is a necessityThis is most easily done by talking to the living to pick up as many little details you can. Details such as where your ancestor was and when can be vital to tracking them down. 

To begin your genealogy I would suggest filling out a family tree (Again here it is! Be sure to save it to your computer). Also if you're already GOT a bunch of information try to prove that everything is absolutely correct yourself through records YOU find. If you think you know information about your parentage you should be able to prove it through documents or records. 

One other fact is that many new pieces of information can be found through descendancy, or picking an ancestor and figuring out what happened to each of their children.

Again my hope is that you will trace your lineage for your benefit and enrichment. Especially early on you can get a great sense of who your ancestors are. Even finding out their profession gives you an insight into who you are and where your origins lie. 

There is something to say about the emotional and even sometimes spiritual benefits of family history click here to see some stories from people about that. Or if you are wondering more about the doctrine behind why mormons do genealogy I recommend this link. baptism for the dead; LDS; Latter Day Saints; all this information can be found from that link
Be sure to follow my blog for future posts!

The next post details some Free resources I would suggest!