Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Plan Now to Attend a National Genealogical Conference

FGS 2016 Annual ConferenceRegistration for this year’s (2016) annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies is open and the early-bird pricing ends today! The FGS conference will be 31 August 2016 to 3 September in Springfield, Illinois. “FGS 2016 brings you sessions with a wide array of offerings from many of the nation's leading family history experts, along with top international speakers from Scotland and Australia,” said a conference email.

I’ve heard someone complain (perhaps it was at RootsTech) that there were too many session choices. Well, step up and complain some more because FGS offers 160 sessions. There are sessions for all skill levels. Many Tracks (which are loose collections of related sessions) are offered, although you don’t have to attend all the sessions of a track. Tracks include DNA, British Isles and Commonwealth, continental European, military, religion, occupation, Midwest resources, migration patterns, and more.

Keynote speakers are Mary Tedesco, J. Mark Lowe, and CeCe Moore.

While the conference audience is all genealogists, special sessions are targeted at genealogical society officers. Visit for more information.


Registrations for conference hotels for next year’s (2017) annual conference of the National Genealogical Society opened on the 15th and the main hotel sold out in a couple of hours. If you wish to attend in Raleigh, North Carolina on 10-13 May 2017, don’t delay. Discounted rooms are still available at the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel or the Holiday Inn Raleigh Downtown Capital. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

AncestryDNA Database Reaches Two Million

AncestryDNA Reaches Two Million announced last week that their DNA database has reached two million test results. “We are excited to announce that AncestryDNA has just reached the 2-million-tested milestone,” said Anna Swayne, AncestryDNA product manager. “It was just a little over 11 months ago that we reached the 1 million mark, so the AncestryDNA database has doubled in just short of one year.”

Through their DNA product Ancestry has found 7.4 million probable cousins of 3rd degree or closer. They have estimated 7.7 new “Ancestor” Discoveries. (More correctly, those are “Relative” Discoveries. See my article, “AncestryDNA New Ancestor Discoveries.” The have established 5.1 million DNA circles.

AncestryDNA is now available in 37 countries. has 70 million trees and 17 billion records.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Monday Mailbox: RootsMagic to Sync with This December

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxDear Readers,

Last week’s mailbox drew good responses. I invite you to read them at “Monday Mailbox: Replacing Family Tree Maker.” Two of particular note reveal information that may not be available elsewhere. You will recall that is allowing RootsMagic tree synchronization in addition to Family Tree Maker. See my article, “Family Tree Maker to Live On.”

Dear Ancestry Insider,

Christa Cowan from spoke in Las Vegas yesterday, June 19th, and she said Roots Magic would be fully functional to sync with Ancestry in December, but I don't remember if she gave the exact day.

Linda Coble

Dear Ancestry Insider,

Thank you--I did find that Rootsmagic is not quite ready with this and they did not give a time frame on the site I found BUT it did say that if you upload the current version, 7 if I recall, that the upgrade will be free once it is ready.


Dear commenters,

Thank you all.

---The Ancestry Insider

Friday, June 24, 2016

Serendipity in Genealogy: Luckiest Researcher in the World

Obituary of Mrs. M. J. AlexanderIn 1997 David Rencher attended the Federation of Genealogical Society’s conference in Dallas, Texas. While there he was doing research in some surrounding counties. One place he wanted to go to was a small, little community called Mount Calm in Hill County.

“Mount Calm does have a stop sign, but It has no stoplight,” David jokes. “It does have a small public library.” Small town public libraries are good places to find local genealogical information.

Conference badges identify the attendees’ names and home towns.  A colleague, Dean Hunter, happened to see one with a home town of “Mount Calm.” He told David that he needed to find her, but with eighteen hundred people at the conference, that was not going to happen. Instead, they went to dinner.

At the restaurant, the person in line in front of them turned around and David clearly saw her name badge: “Nancy Franklin, Mount Calm, Texas.” They started talking.

“Not only was she from Mount Calm,” David says, “she was the librarian in Mount Calm. Not only was she the librarian in Mount Calm, she was the genealogist in Mount Calm. She knew a lot about the families that I was looking for.”

David went to the library and shared what information he knew and what information he hoped to find. After returning home he received a package with information and a note.

“You must be the luckiest researcher in the world,” Nancy wrote. “The only loose obituary in the library and it belongs to the woman you are seeking.”

We call that Serendipity in Genealogy.

Adapted from “Faith in Finding,” David E. Rencher (fireside presentation, The Center for Family History and Genealogy, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 12 November 2004); online transcript ( : accessed 5 March 2016). Thank you, David, for permission to share your story.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

FamilySearch Announces Shutdown, Upgrade

imageUsers of FamilySearch started seeing a banner last week indicating the website would shutdown Monday, 27 June 2016 at midnight MDT (2:00am EDT). The banner warned that the shutdown could be as long as 24 hours. The banner stated that the reason was a “technical upgrade.” I assume that means the basic functionality will be unaffected.

This is big, folks. Nobody shuts their website down for up to 24 hours. Something really important must be in the works.

This announcement comes on the heels of a beta test of the system to break the link between New FamilySearch (NFS) and FamilySearch Family Tree (announced publicly by FamilySearch’s Joe Martel, “Preparing to Stop Synchronizing Between nFS and FamilyTree, on Beta” on the FamilySearch feedback system.) The test was held Friday, 17 June.

NFS is the legacy system that has been hobbling Family Tree from its inception. At RootsTech earlier this year, Ron Tanner explained that even though you can’t directly interact with it, NFS continues to inhibit system functionality. (See “#RootsTech: Ron Tanner – Family Tree in 2016 and Beyond” on my blog.) When the link between NFS and FamilySearch can be broken, a bunch of issues go away.

  • Because of the current interdiction of NFS, you cannot merge persons that, in NFS, are Individuals of Unusual Size (IOUS). In a list of possible duplicates, you sometimes see the message “Can’t Be Merged At This Time.” (Ron showed an example.) Once NFS is eliminated, you will be able to merge IOUS duplicates.
  • NFS was built so that gender could never be changed. Once NFS is eliminated you will be able to.
  • Today there are times when you delete a relationship and it “magically” reappears, with the change attributed to FamilySearch. This occurs when the NFS architecture prevents the deletion from NFS. When synchronization occurs between Family Tree and NFS, the deleted relationship comes back.
  • There is a tight relationship between NFS and “LDS Church Membership” which is causing issues. (See “'Barrage of Records' Causing Problems” on my blog.) When the link between NFS and Family Tree is broken, those issues go away. (See Ron Tanner’s response to “FamilySearch Managers are Treating Patrons with Disdain” on the FamilySearch feedback system.)
  • According to Ron Tanner, if a person is linked to an LDS Church Membership record, that person can not be merged into another person, although the reverse (merging a person into the person linked to the membership record) is possible.

It turns out that after the link between NFS and Family Tree is broken, there will still be fairly common times when two persons in Family Tree cannot be merged. (See “Preparing to Stop Synchronizing Between nFS and FamilyTree, on Beta” on the FamilySearch feedback system.)

  • The number of notes between the two persons exceeds 20.
  • One of the persons is read-only. For an example, see Sarah Royce (KND8-1SY). Or one of the persons is a child, parent, or spouse of a read-only person.

It will be great if next week we finally rid ourselves of NFS.