Wednesday, October 1, 2014

RootsTech Expects to Fill Up Quickly

The RootsTech ConferenceI received an email from RootsTech last week. They say they “expect this years’ event to fill up quickly, so please make sure to register early.” Pricing is currently $159 for a 3-day pass, a savings of $80 off the regular price of $239. A discount is available to registered family history consultants of FamilySearch sponsor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In your regular training email, “My Family History Calling,” is the discount code for a pricing of $99.

If the conference doesn’t fill quickly, the hotels certainly will. The conference is colocated with the 2015 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). The conference hotels are the Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek, the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, the Hilton Salt Lake City Center, and the Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown. Discount pricing is the same for attendees of RootsTech or FGS. Alternatives to the conference hotels are within the Utah Transit Authority’s free fair zone. Pick hotels near the Trax light rail stops for added convenience. The Little America is just outside the free fair zone, but within walking distance of the free fare Courthouse Station.

More information about RootsTech is available on the RootsTech website, and more information about the FGS conference is available on the FGS conference website.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Mailbox: Browsing Images on

Dear Ancestry Insider,

I have been enjoying, but I do have one question.  If you suspect the record you need is in a particular record collection which contains images, but it does not come up on any search, is there a way to go directly to the images and manually search them?  For example, the christening of a child is shown in

Dorset, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906

but using search there are no further records found for that child.  When viewing an image of a page, I can view some nearby pages by clicking to the left or right of the image number at the bottom of the image. But if it is not found there, is there a way to go into the whole record collection to search through all the images?  I have used your method very successfully to do this in FamilySearch.

Doris Bateman

Dear Doris,

Yes, there is. On the collection page look in the right-hand column for a box labeled “Browse this collection.” See the circled box in the screen shot, below? Click on the word “Choose…” in the dropdown control. Just as successive choices in a collection yield another level of choices, will display additional options beneath the first. Choose until you reach the group of images. In addition to the left and right arrows, you can jump straight to an image by entering the image number in place of the current image number.

---The Ancestry Insider

To browse a database on, use the Browse box to the right of the search form

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 News Ketchup

Ancestry Insider KetchupI have no time. I’m behind. Time to ketchup…

Find A Grave Celebrates 100 Million Photos

Jim  Tipton founded’s Find A Grave in 1995. I remember coming across it. It was a website featuring gravesites of the rich and famous. It was cool, but I never would have guessed it would become the powerful genealogical tool that it is today. Well, Find A Grave recently received its 100 millionth photograph.

For more information, see the blog article, “Find A Grave Celebrates 100 Million Photos On Site!

Expanded Yearbook Collection

Earlier this month substantially added to their yearbook collection. They previously had about 56,000 yearbooks. They’ve added about 43,000, bringing the total to 99,000. Check out the expanded collection at “U.S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012.”

Some photos from the U.S. School Yearbooks collection

Vitals from NEHGS Register

According to the 10 September 2014 issue of the Weekly Genealogist, the New England Historic Genealogical Society and are working together to produce a database of births, marriages, and deaths that have appeared in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register. “This collection currently includes records from volumes 82 through 165 and holds more than 180,000 records.”

Published quarterly since 1847, the New England Historical and Genealogical Register is the flagship journal of American genealogy and the oldest journal in the field. The Register has featured articles on a wide variety of topics since its inception, including vital records, church records, tax records, land and probate records, cemetery transcriptions, obituaries, and historical essays. Authoritative compiled genealogies have been the centerpiece of the Register for more than 150 years. Thousands of New England families have been treated in the pages of the journal and many more are referenced in incidental ways throughout. These articles may range from short pieces correcting errors in print or solving unusual problems to larger treatments that reveal family origins or present multiple generations of a family.1

I assume that will also publish the database at some time, but I’ve found no indication of if or when. Adds Mexican Website

The “Visit our other sites” dropdown list at the bottom of indicates they now have a Mexican website. I haven’t seen any public announcement. But then again, I’m not in the target audience and don’t read any Spanish media! The URL of the new site is "other sites" dropdown indicates a Mexico site. 


     1.  Sam Sturgis and Christopher Carter, “NEHGS Database News,” Weekly Genealogist, online copy of email newsletter ( : accessed 21 September 2014).

FamilySearch Invites You to #MeetMyGrandma

FamilySearch invites you to share a story of your grandmotherFamilySearch began a campaign last weekend encouraging people to share memories of grandmas (and by extension, other family members). Their goal is to have 10,000 stories uploaded in 10 days. They have a special page ( and a YouTube video ( for the campaign. The page links to their FamilySearch Memories iPhone app (

“Let family, friends, and future generations meet YOUR grandma. Preserve her priceless memories on FamilySearch.”

Not everyone is comfortable with the privacy—and sometimes lack thereof—afforded the photos and stories uploaded to FamilySearch. Once you upload a memory (photo or story), you can share it on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or other social network. This often means anyone can see it, whether the memory includes living people or not. For example,the tweet apparently includes living children.

Even if you delete the social post, anyone with the memory’s URL can still see it. For the tweet example, the story URL,, and the photo URL,, will work until the photo and story are deleted.

An article in the FamilySearch help center, titled “Adding Photos, Documents, or Stories of a living person to Family Tree,” states that “you can add items for a living person to Family Tree. You should be aware of local privacy laws. Obtain permission from living persons before you post the item.” However, most people post without permission. The article goes on to say that “If you find a Memory of yourself on Family Tree and you do not want it to be posted there, you may request that it be removed.”

The problem extends beyond URLs shared on social networks. Google is sometimes allowed to index memories on FamilySearch containing living persons. FamilySearch does not clearly explain the conditions under which this occurs. On the FamilySearch feedback system, Cathy Andreregg shared an example Google search that shows photographs she uploaded to FamilySearch containing living people. In response, another user explained that her photos were visible because Google is allowed to index all albums (photo collections). A Google search for albums returns over 36,000, so this may well be true. In addition to the memories that Google indexes from social networks, FamilySearch allows Google to index memories that are attached to deceased persons—and only deceased persons—in Family Tree.

Memories with a mixture of living and deceased persons are problematic. If you attach the memory to a deceased person but not a living person, then Google will index it. If you also attach it to a living person, the help center article warns of another problem. “If you have an item linked to two or more people, one who is deceased, and you tag all of the people in the item, then others who navigate the tree and see the deceased person's item will also see the living person in the deceased person's Memories tab.” That gives them potential access to multiple memories about that living person.

So what does this all mean? Assume that anything you post online is or will become public. Get people’s permissions before posting their images or stories. And by all means, introduce me to your grandma.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Mailbox: Numbers Instead of Place Names

The Ancestry Insider's Monday Mailbox

Hello Ancestry Insider:

I subscribe to your blog postings and enjoy what you write and the way you write it.

I’m wondering if you could point me to where I can “decode” numerical references to place names, which I sometimes see on others’ Ancestry trees.  For example, I’ve just found one now where the place of death is shown as Caernarvonshire, 1651440, Wales.  “1651440” is definitely not the post code (= zip code).  I’m aware of Family Search’s Standard Placename Finder (, which as well as a Geo-code, also gives a 7-digit numerical identification number.  So I’m pretty certain that these 7-digit numbers I see on some trees are these ID numbers.  However, I’ve not found a way to “decode” them to give either the place name or the Geo-code.  Can you help?  After not being able to find out a way on extensive Google searches, I posted a message on FamilySearch 2-3 years ago (can’t find it now), but no-one responded.

I think it would make a great blog posting if you could explain about these numbers and how to decode them back to something that is meaningful.

Many thanks, Sue Griffith.

Dear Sue,

I searched Ancestry Member Trees and found examples of what you’ve mentioned, For example,

Ancestry Member Tree with number instead of place name


Ancestry Member Tree with number instead of place name

It may be that these trees contained these numbers before they were uploaded to I’ll ask if this can be fixed.

---The Ancestry Insider

Thursday, September 18, 2014 Updates Mobile App – Receives Technology Patent

The Ancestry App can show a list of all the hints from your treeThe BYU and FGS 2014 conferences and their aftermath have kept me busy. Things are settling a bit and I’m starting to empty my in box. At the top of the box is news that has updated their mobile phone app. Here are some of the noteworthy features of version 6.0:

The Ancestry App can show a list of all the hints from your tree. Sort the list so that the best hints are shown at the top, or so that the most recent ones are at the top. Filter hints by surname and type (photo, story, or record).

The Ancestry App can show a list of the most recent comments made about your contributions. Click on one to see it in the context of your tree. From there, respond with a comment of your own.

The Ancestry App can show a list of the most recent comments.Click on one to see it in the context of your tree. From there, respond with a comment of your own.

Version 6.0 includes badges and notifications. It allows you to view a list of ancestors, filtered by name and other characteristics: direct ancestors, end of line, living relatives, people with hints, and people with recent hints. is advancing the technology of genealogy mobile apps and was recently granted a patent for technology used in older versions of the app. applied for the patent back in 2011 and the government granted it on 1 July 2014. (If you’re familiar with patents, have a technical bent, and want to see something humorous, take a look at the abstract of the patent.)

For more information about version 6.0 of the Ancestry Mobile App, see “Ancestry Mobile iOS 6.0 Release Now Available.” For more information about the patent, see “ Awarded Patent for Displaying Pedigree Charts on a Touch Device.”