Tuesday, July 22, 2014

FamilySearch Releases Two Mobile Apps

FamilySearch has released two mobile apps: “FamilySearch – Tree” and “FamilySearch – Memories.”

FamilySearch – Tree is a mobile tree viewer for FamilySearch Family Tree. It is available for both Apple iOS 7+ and Android 2.3+ devices. You can view the tree no matter where you’re at. You can download several generations of your pedigree for offline viewing. (I want to say six generations, but I don’t remember for certain.) You can add photos, stories, and audio recordings. The app does not allow changing information in the tree, but FamilySearch says that ability is in the works.

Pedigree view of the FamilySearch - Tree app  Person view of the FamilySearch - Tree app

FamilySearch – Memories is available only for Apple iOS 7+. You can add photos, stories, and audio recordings. Sounds a lot like the FamilySearch – Tree app, doesn’t it? It appears that the Memories app works like the Memories section of FamilySearch.org and the Tree app works like the Family Tree section. (Go figure.) The Memories app allows tagging people in photos, just like that section of the website.

My Photos view of the FamilySearch - Memories app  Photo view of the FamilySearch - Memories app

You can contribute a photo by taking one with the phone camera or from photos already on the camera. Photos are supposed to be “appropriate… relevant… heart-turning (a scriptural reference)…[and] noncommercial. Every photo is screened before it is published. When you contribute a photo (or photo of a document), anyone can view it. Photos can be .jpg, .tif, .gif, and .png up to 15 MB in size. Tiff support is new. I knew they were working on it, but I hadn’t heard they had released it.

You can record audio up to 15 minutes in length. I’m not certain where they are stored. I don’t see them on the web version of Family Tree. Am I missing it, somewhere? It must not be available yet.

Both apps are free and require a free FamilySearch account.

Monday, July 21, 2014

FamilySearch Indexing Event is in-progress

The FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing Event started last evening and runs until this evening, 21 July 2014, at 5:59 pm Mountain Daylight Time (7:59 EDT, 6:59 CDT, 4:59 PDT).

Participate at https://familysearch.org/indexing/ .

FamilySearch 2014 Worldwide Indexing Event

Read more in the FamilySearch blog article, “Join the Worldwide Indexing Event.”

Sunday, July 20, 2014

FamilySearch World Wide Indexing Event

imageFamilySearch has announced that they are sponsoring an indexing challenge beginning this evening (Sunday, 20 July 2014) and running for 24 hours. The challenge is to exceed 50,000 indexers in a single day. The previous record was 49,025, set during the 1940 census. It is indeed a stretch goal to exceed that number. Whether you’ve indexed before or not, your help is needed.

If you don’t like old handwriting, try indexing an obituary. (Be sure to carefully read the instructions before doing obituaries.)

To contribute toward the goal, you only need to index one batch.

Hours for the event run from 6:00 pm mountain daylight time (8 pm EDT, 7 pm CDT, 5 pm PDT) Sunday evening to 24 hours later on Monday. This evening may be your best bet if you wish to participate.

Visit https://familysearch.org/indexing/ to get started.

Read more in the FamilySearch blog article, “Join the Worldwide Indexing Event.”

Friday, July 18, 2014

Serendipity in a Log Cabin Bed and Breakfast

Photo of a log cabin porch
Image credit: kai4107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
It is as though our ancestors want to be found. Uncanny coincidences. Olympian luck. Phenomenal fate. Tremendous intuition. Remarkable miracles. We call It, “Serendipity in Genealogy.”

In July 1993 Carol Willoughby visited Picton, Ontario to research her great-great-grandfather, Wilson Bentley. She stayed at the Log Cabin Bed and Breakfast. She went all over town, doing the usual genealogy stuff: visiting the library, the local archive, and every cemetery she could find. The trip proved successful. After some searching, she found Wilson’s grave in the Cherry Valley Cemetery. And at the local archive, workers found the records of three previously unknown children of Wilson Bentley and his wife, Miriam Jackson.

Flash forward more than a year. Richard Bentley visited Picton, Ontario to research his great-great-grandfather, Wilson Bentley. Don’t get ahead of me. Can you guess where he stayed? The Log Cabin Bed and Breakfast. There the owner remembered that some lady had come to town more than a year before, also looking for Bentleys. I confess I’ve passed up many an invitation to sign those bed and breakfast guest books. Never again. The owner looked through the book and recognized Carol’s name. She had signed her address and phone number.

Richard called Carol. They learned that he was a descendent of Wilson’s son, Samuel, and Carol was a descendent of Wilson’s son, Henry. Because of this chance coincidence, the two were able to exchange information and share a photograph dating to 1854!

That is serendipity in genealogy.


     Carol Bentley Willoughby, “Family history moments: 'Not a coincidence,' ” Church News: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/29269/Family-history-moments--Not-a-coincidence.html : accessed 13 July 2014).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

FamilySearch and Utah Pioneers

Just in time for Utah’s Pioneer Day (24 July 2014), FamilySearch has created a special page for descendants of Utah Pioneers: https://familysearch.org/campaign/pioneers#/.

FamilySearch has connected the page to the “Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel” database of the Church History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Click on “Your Pioneer Ancestors” to see a list of your ancestors that FamilySearch found in the database. (It found 22 of mine.)

The FamilySearch.org page of Mormon Pioneers and companies

Click on an Ancestor’s name to jump to him or her in FamilySearch Family Tree. Click on the name of a company to see information about that company, links to journal accounts, and a link to a list of everyone in that company. Click on “Trail Experiences (Stories)” to jump to a page on the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel website that contains a list of sources and links to journal transcriptions and biographies telling the story of your ancestor and his pioneer company.

The database contains all identified Mormon immigrants who travelled to the Utah territory between 1847 and 1868 (the last year before the railroad made it all the way to Utah). Most travelled the Mormon Trail, which paralleled or coincided with the Oregon-California Trail until Fort Bridger. As I recall, the Oregon-California Trail ran along the South side of the North Platte River and the Mormon Trail ran along the North.

For lists of travellers on the Oregon-California Trail, see the website, Paper Trail: A Guide to Overland Pioneer Names and Documents. (A subscription is required.)