Thursday, March 21, 2013

FamilySearch to get a Facelift

Hey all I would suggest you subscribe to Ancestry Insider. It is an extremely up to date and helpful blog with insightful and interesting posts.

One such post was given just yesterday and centers around some "chroming" and "collating" FamilySearch features (

I say chrome because as you'll see from the images posted on Insider it looks rather "JQuery". Meaning it looks nice simple and accessible.

I say collating because the features on the site have headings labeled as follows: Fan Chart, Photos, Family Tree, Family Records, Indexing, Live Help. I thought I'd just go through each and talk about my impressions on what it seems to be "about".

Fan Chart - There is a site currently named which does family tree making features. Createfan does not create interactive charts - simply a PDF version with many more generations listed than the ones shown in these teaser images. Nevertheless I can see some benefits of a built in function and with clickable sections (which might lead to their respective Family Tree entries?) it might actually be helpful in getting people excited about Family History. Aparently there will also be a decendancy view.

Photos - This is in beta now under Incidentally I saw hints of this whole idea on that beta page with their inline link to Family Tree

Family Tree - probably a link forward to the current Family Tree function

Family Records - probably a link forward to the search records of our current system

Indexing - This will actually be an interesting section to watch. I say this because an online indexing feature has long been whispered of. This would be much like billiongraves indexing of headstones -- they don't have you download a indexing program in order to do index their headstones - its all online. Such an online system could be helpful in this modern age of browser leveling which is going on (to most it doesn't matter if your on a mac or a PC because on both you spend your time on the browser). As it is I expect this to be a link forward to a page containing much of what is on there now -- An introduction to Indexing and an invitation to download the program (when it does go to an online mode I can see some people flocking to it which otherwise wouldn't - I tried to help a person index but he absolutely refused to download something because he was afraid of the small security concerns which pop up at every download)

Live Help - Huh! Well I guess some from of missionary will be on the other side of that chat or phone line waiting for people to contact them. I've been contacted a couple of days later after emails forward to familysearch both by phone and email.

Anyway that's my review and thoughts on this subjects. It was reported to the Insider that these changes will be implemented within a couple months.

Good Luck!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

--Easy way to combine Duplicates--

If your tree is anything like mine you'll find the further you go back the more duplicates for the individuals are. This is because in the course of everyone uploading their GEDCOM's of their research many duplicates were inserted to this one universal Family Tree.

People wishing to get rid of this issue have combined these individuals on the previous iterations of Family Tree however there was a limit of how many you could combine. I would be surprised if the people in your family tree 7-8 generations back don't have hundreds or records "combined" into the individual you see there  and on top of that probably some clear duplicates which can't be combined because the threshold has been reached.

Fear not! This issue is being dealt with -- via this iteration of Family Tree. As I said at THIS point it is still being synced with the older iteration and ergo the threshold remains of how many you can combine. But one of the main tenets of what's to come is to scrap that idea and go to a one record per individual model. meaning what's combine will literally be made one individual. When that happens let me know because there are a couple of annoying duplicates which are in my tree. When two people can't be combined because of a record number issue it will pop up with this:

This annoying little message may be familiar to some of you. Again I'll be happy when this restriction is removed.

Now here's how you do it:

Under a standard merge screen you will see this exact URL<Person1-ID>&otherPerson=<Person2-ID>

This means that Person 2 up there will be merged into Person 1 after your review.

Seems simple enough you just replace the red in the URL with your needed person ID's  (copy and paste in). You can find these ID's under the name of the individual in many places it would looks something like UI5IO-K5J5.

However, that still seemed a tad tedious to me when I'm looking at 8 mothers who are the exact same person. So here's what I discovered. The standard URL for details of an individual are as follows<Person1-ID>&spouse=<spouse of person>

So you can see the SAME identifiers in the URL and near the same structure. For our purposes delete the spousal information in the URL (ie "&spouse=<spouse of person>")

What remains is this (when looking at the details of the individual):

The below you'll recognize from the merging code with the "dummy" code put in there. You'll have to replace your code for the person you want.


So all you have to do is open up those 8 individuals in new tabs so each of their unique id's will show up then using the merging URL follow the pattern to quickly get them all loaded for merging (so there will be 8 URL-As)

Now generate your own URL-B then copy it up until that equal sign before Person2's code. 

Then on your 8 tabs one by one delete everything up until the Person code itself and paste in URL-A. Press Enter

If that doesn't make sense just try it out -- at the end of it you should

Good Luck!

Friday, March 8, 2013

--DNA Results and FamilySearch--

I thought I'd dedicate this post to explaining how I made the most of my DNA results from's test. It is an Autosomal DNA test meaning it sequences a lot of your DNA and compares sections of it to many people. In this way it is different from both other major tests the Y DNA test looks at what your father gave you and the Mitochondrial DNA test looks at what your mother gave you. But the Autosomal DNA test's all the rest. This is both a blessing and a curse. It's great that it can look into more than you paternal line and your maternal line. However it makes it that much more difficult when looking at your DNA to determine exactly where you are related.

Of course they give you the general "where you are from" map. Naturally it can't break apart countries at the lines because our ancestors didn't act like that and so the DNA can't tell you "you're from Switzerland  because that in itself is a complicated mix. However Ancestry tries their best and claims to be the most specific of any DNA test out there. (I choose Ancestry because I felt their database would be the biggest). One common complaint against Ancestry's test in this case is that they give no specifics about which sections of your DNA match up with someone who is supposedly close to you... You can imagine how this would be helpful to the intense or casual researcher.

Comparing matches: There are many people who have already taken the test so that's great however not all have attached their results to a tree. I would highly suggest you do this and I'll explain how. This is beneficial because where Ancestry doesn't tell you where you match it does give you ancestral hints which compares your tree and lets you know that you have people who appear to be the same people in both your trees.

However it would take a long time to insert a tree to match your FamilySearch Tree for most. I intend to show you it's not that difficult to insert your FamilySearch tree onto Ancestry. 

First download a program which can extract your tree I would suggest Ancestral Quest Basics because it worked for me. 

Second within Ancestral Quest -- Log into your FamilySearch account (FamilySearch --> Log in) and download at least 15 generations (do more if you want but it takes a lot of time) for BOTH lines. This will take SOME TIME seriously it took quite a while so go and make dinner and eat it while it's happening.

Third save this as a GEDCOM file (File --> Export --> Other I think or it doesn't matter) once it is exported open your account of and under the trees there is a Upload GEDCOM option. If you do this it will upload your gedcom as a new Tree 

Fourth go to your DNA test results and attach yourself using the new tree. 

I guarantee you'll see some ancestral hints (it took a day to register for me). 

This is a very interesting section of Family History which I can't wait to see unfold. I also hope that Ancestry makes it possible to see the base information for my own DNA that would be interesting and also then where my DNA compares with someone else exactly where we compare. 

I also guarantee you'll find some sections of your tree have no hints with others. Barring the obvious "no one from that line took the test" or "they just haven't filled out their tree that far" It would then suggest that the physical DNA doesn't match up to your Record line. Ergo a child was adopted in there or the person listed isn't really the father. Again I haven't had success pinning anything NEW down with this test but I just find it interesting 

--More on FamilySearch Photos--

Hey there seems to be a couple updates to this section of FamilySearch I thought I'd inform you of:

Above you can see in the Familysearch Family Tree view that a photos section has been added. So the photos we tagged before are now appearing right next to the "details" section. You'll notice that the first image I tagged of James is now his profile picture rather than that stock blue or pink silhouette in the upper left section.

Also I noticed their "My Photos" section appears to have been changed to a more collage format. I was uploading 46 new photos and saw that it was "pushing" all the ones I had already completed to the bottom and one by one uploading and then marking them green with "completed" a refresh brought those images to view with a red exclamation mark informing me that no one in them had been tagged yet.