Monday, July 25, 2016

BYU Conference Center Handicap Parking Changes #BYUgen #BYUFHGC

BYU Conference on Family History and GenealogyAttendees of this year’s BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy should be aware of the impact of construction at the conference center. The conference center address is

730 E University Parkway
Provo, Utah 84604

The normal parking lot—adjacent to the center on the west side—is still available, but the normal entrances to the building are closed. The remaining entrance for that parking lot is near the southwest corner of the building and “does not meet ADA requirements.” If memory serves correctly, you have to go up a staircase to get to the door.

Handicap parking has been provided near the main entrance on the south side of the building. That entrance does not involve any stairs and opens onto the main floor of the building where all the classes are held. The parking is southeast of the building, on 1550 North. This handicap parking is in lot 23A, which is normally closed to the general public. If all the handicap spaces are full, BYU says you can use any space in that lot.

Map of BYU Conference Center handicap parking during construction

Also, parts of University Parkway will be under construction at times during the conference. Give yourselves a little extra travel time.

BTW, if you haven’t yet registered (and the travel and parking problems haven’t driven you away), just show up and you can register onsite. The first keynote starts tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 8:30am. I can’t find what time that registration begins, but I imagine it will be 45 to 60 minutes beforehand.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy #BYUgen #BYUFHGC

BYU Conference on Family History and GenealogyThe BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy starts Tuesday, 26 July 2016. If you are thinking about your pioneer ancestors this weekend, then you should come. BYU’s Elizabeth Richards tells me you can register clear through the last day of the conference on Friday, 29 July 2016.

Registration is $185, including a syllabus on USB. There is a $50 discount for Family History Consultants for the full conference. Or Family History Consultants can attend the Consultant track on Friday for free. You may purchase a printed syllabus at the conference or anytime after the conference until the end of the year.
Paul CardallTuesday’s keynote speaker is Paul Cardall, a pianist known for his hymn instrumentals. His current album, 40 Days for Forty Hymns, d├ębuted on Billboard’s New Age Album chart at #1 in May of last year and was still in the top 10 earlier this month. Paul is an avid genealogist with Eastern European roots. He is a heart transplant survivor, having suffered from congenital heart defects his entire life.
Steve RockwoodWednesday’s keynote speaker is FamilySearch president and CEO, Stephen Rockwood. He is the managing director of the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Prior to taking the helm he was the director of the International Division. He has continued a world-wide emphasis as president. Steve is a graduate of BYU with an MBA from the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Paul MilnerThursday’s keynote is Paul Milner. Paul is a native of northern England and while he now lives in the United States, he continues to focus on British Isles genealogy, resources, and methodology. He is actively engaged in the genealogical community and is a past board member of APG, FGS, and GSG. He is a professional genealogist, instructor, and lecturer.
The conference program includes many noted national and regional experts. Last year’s keynote speaker, Lisa Louise Cooke, is back, teaching five sessions (if I counted right). Paul Milner is teaching five sessions in addition to his keynote. Rick and Pam Sayre are teaching three and two sessions, respectively. And there are many more. FamilySearch and both have tracks. To see a complete list of presenters and topics, visit

Friday, July 22, 2016

Darnedest Political Obituary

We depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about the past. Yet sometimes records have anomalies. Some are amusing or humorous. Some are interesting or weird. Some are peculiar or suspicious. Some are infuriating, or downright laughable. Records say the darnedest things!

Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton...

“NOLAND, Mary Anne Alfriend. Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016.”

Yes, records say the darnedest things!

Source: “Noland, Mary Anne,” obituary, Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch, online ( : accessed 28 May 2016).

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

DNA Versus Extremism

Momodo DNA promotion videoI hear all the time about people testing ethnicity from different companies and getting different results. I’ve heard from a person or two with well documented trees that see some pretty obvious problems in DNA ethnicity results. The fact is, finding “pure” reference individuals upon which to base ethnicity calculations is a challenge. Consequently, ethnicity results are somewhat questionable.

Despite that, I recommend you watch a tear jerking video from Momondo’s latest marketing campaign. In light of recent world events, I found it particularly powerful.

“There would be no such thing as extremism if people knew their heritage.”

To view the video, click here:

(If the video won’t play, try this link.)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Monday Mailbox: City Directories and Newspaper Gaps

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxDear Insider,

I am frequently frustrated by egregious gaps in's online  standard reference materials. The most recent case was the 1949 city directory for New Orleans, Louisiana. The online directory ends in the "P" section. The filmstrip has a final page: See Next Filmstrip for Part Two.

So why doesn't ancestry have Part Two? Or, for that matter, the New Orleans City Directories for 1950, 1951, and 1952? These books are easily obtainable, but the reason I subscribe to Ancestry is to have access to these resources at my desk.  I also find it maddening that Ancestry does not acknowledge these gaps, or have a simple way to report a problem. I have just spent 30 minutes searching for a way to email about the New Orleans city directory gap and asking that they fill it.

And further: These unheralded, unexplained gaps are also a problem with online newspaper databanks. I often find huge lapses of 10 to 30 years. I have contacted but receive no explanation other than a wan, "We regret that you were inconvenienced," kind of non-answer.

Thanks v. much for your answer & the light you regularly shed on the genealogy world,

Harriet Swift

Dear Harriet,

Thank you for your kind comment.

Ancestry and work at scales with city directories and newspapers that don’t allow for attention to individual or small runs of issues. The cheapest way for a company like Ancestry to enter the City Directory or Newspaper market is to buy large, existing collections of microfilm or digital images. For example, Ancestry notes its copies of The Atlanta Constitution were scanned from microfilm. Peter Drinkwater, product manager, says that all the historic newspapers being added to are from microfilm.

I don’t know if Ancestry or has ever disclosed its sources, but ProQuest's microfilm newspaper collection, NewsBank’s microfilm newspaper collection, and Gale’s city directory microfilm collection are all potential sources. There are also large collections of digital images from some of these companies and others like

These companies, in turn, have to work at large scales. They usually microfilm or digitize at institutions having large physical collections. When such institutions lack particular issues, those become gaps in their collections. It’s too expensive to track down missing issues, move equipment all over the country, and separate needed issues from duplicate issues. The holes in these collections, in turn, become the holes in Ancestry’s and’s collections.

Ancestry is still adding to their city directory collection, so there is a chance they can fill in the gaps you need. It won’t do much good if you own the missing directory. “We don’t typically accept customer donations unless it is a substantial number of directories,” says Matthew Deighton, Ancestry spokesperson. Harriet, you mention that you know where to find the missing directories. If the owning institution has a large collection, perhaps they could be persuaded to lend their collection to Ancestry. I think Ancestry prefers an all-out gift, because they prefer to cut the spines off the directories. They can then be fed through high-speed, sheet-fed scanners. This is cheaper, faster, and provides better images. But don’t worry about rare directories. Matthew assures me, “We [Ancestry] only cut the spine on books where other copies exist.”

My guess is that Ancestry and don’t go out of their way to solicit information about missing issues because they can’t usually do much about it. However, Ancestry spokesperson, Matthew Deighton says, “Send in a suggestion identifying the missing content and we will see what we can do to fill it.” You can send messages to Ancestry at You can call them using the numbers on their phone support page. The previous option,, returns an automated message directing you to the support page. For, select “Contact” at the bottom of their website.

---The Ancestry Insider