Tuesday, July 31, 2007

News from BYU Family History Conference

New FamilySearch (nFS) recently went live in Reno according to product manager, Jim Greene, speaking at the BYU Family History and Genealogy Conference in Provo, Utah earlier today. St. Louis is the only other temple district currently using the new program.

Greene called the current release a "foundational release" and indicated that regular updates will occur; two are scheduled prior to rolling out nFS in Utah, which will be in "a year or so." Greene said the updates would contain "features that we already know about and have planned to include" and "new features based on usage and feedback."

After the Church wide roll-out, then they would move on to releasing the product to the rest of the world. For more information about the rollout, see New FamilySearch Rollout Accidentally Announced and Temple Districts Using New FamilySearch.

Participants at the conference are being given temporary accounts to the new FamilySearch. The Insider expects one or more kind souls will share some screen shots so you can see how the system looks.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New FamilySearch Rollout Accidentally Announced

"I couldn't believe what I had just seen," breathed the Ancestry Insider. The official from FamilySearch had stumbled inadvertently into some slides with maps. In an instant the images were gone. "I looked around and no one else seemed to recognize what had just happened."

"We had just seen the New FamilySearch Version 0.9 rollout plan."

The Insider quickly scribbled some notes on the nearest piece of paper before his photographic memory got exposed to the cold light of day. When he arrived back at the office, his notes had vanished like Harry Potter underneath an invisibility cloak.

Fast forward one year. The Insider received his monthly Baskin Robbin's birthday club postcard, addressed in his own handwriting, for a free scoop of ice cream. (We keep thinking they'll figure out he doesn't have a birthday every month, and its been a long, long time since he was under twelve years of age.) Scribbled across the face of the card were the missing notes.

The Insider mumbled something about mailing it to himself on purpose to prove something to the government. As he slipped away from our incredulous stares, he tossed the card back with orders to reconstruct maps and prepare them for publication. "And don't lose my ice cream coupon!"

As you read through the plans, remember how old they are. There have been changes.

1st set of districtsThe first phase showed six temple districts on the map: Nauvoo, Reno, Orlando and three others (which we've removed from our map). Notice there has already been one change to the plan: St. Louis was substituted for Nauvoo. Nauvoo may not have been a good choice because it attracts so many attendees from outside the district.

Where are the remaining three districts? The Insider says to watch for two districts outside of Utah that are easily and inexpensively accessible from Salt Lake City, and one district in Mexico.

The Insider says the first set of districts is to identify coding and design problems not encountered in beta testing and get them fixed before starting any large scale rollout. The inclusion of a non-English district detects problems both with language handling and dealing with international issues.

2nd set of districtsThe objective of the 2nd phase is to identify any problems with the system's ability to scale up to larger usage and a wide geographic area. The area runs along the Pacific seaboard from Alaska to Mexico, with the notable exception of the populated areas of Utah. Releasing in Utah before scaling issues were identified and fixed would be disastrous.

3rd set of districtsOnce all the kinks have been worked out of the scaling and deployment process, the next milestone is the completion of much of North and South America, and the other continents besides Europe.

During completion of this milestone ongoing refinements of infrastructure are likely. Plus, the release in each new country brings unique challenges in legal, cultural, technical, and training areas. These take time to resolve.

Last set of districtsThe last milestone completes South America, deploys to Europe, and rolls out to the populated areas of Utah.

At least that is the plan. We wonder if the ever eager, infinitely impatient genealogists in Utah will wait so long. Their extended families reach far beyond the state's borders and password sharing may be a great temptation.

At one time the Insider heard discussions inside FamilySearch suggesting allowing the state's genealogists to immediately begin cleaning up the many duplications in the family trees that have been pre-loaded into the new FamilySearch. This could provide a better experience to the average Church member. The Insider advises, "don't hold your breath."

The new FamilySearch Version 0.9 is being released to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A later release will allow the general public to use the system.

While the Insider has already finagled a fully functional account, and could hardly care when the rest of the world gets to use this exciting, new tool, he is maintaining a rollout status list so you can see how the deployment is progressing.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Premium Websites in FHCs Delayed

In May of this year, FamilySearch announced a number of partnerships allowing Family History Center (FHC) patrons access to premium genealogy websites, adding to the previously available and recently emasculated edition of Ancestry.com.

Initially, availability was expected within a few short weeks. Now, two months later, FHC staff and patrons are still waiting.

"There are technical problems with the access to the services," explains Don Anderson, head of FamilySearch Worldwide Support. "As soon as the technical problems are resolved a communication will be sent."

Signs of progress, however, are appearing. According to one source, a special website for FHCs presents a menu similar to the photograph to the left. Each of the premium websites is listed: Heritage Quest Online [sic], World Vital Records, FamilyLink, Godfrey Memorial Library, Kindred Konnections, and Footnote.com.

Patrons will merely click on the name of the site to link directly to that website. The patron is automatically logged in as described in a previous column. This interface makes it easy to add offerings and centrally manage availability.

"There are about 10 centers who have access to HeritageQuest now," says Anderson, "and a few are being added each day to ensure that there are no problems." While the rollout started slow, it is likely to accelerate as progress is made.

Godfrey Memorial Library has prepared welcome and marketing pages for FHC patrons, although login does not yet work. The welcome page is shown to the left. The marketing page is currently available at this URL.

No progress is expected today, however. July 24th is a company holiday for employees of FamilySearch, who celebrate the arrival of their ancestors to the Utah Territory in 1847. Interestingly, July 24th is also a holiday for arch-nemesis Ancestry.com.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ancestry.nl For Real?

Dear Ancestry Insider,

I came along a Dutch blog post about Ancestry.nl. Is this for real?


Dear G.v.H.L.,

During the Great War I spent a few years in the Dutch resistance, so I could make out most of the post. Here's a basic translation:

The Dutch Ancestry logo and tagline you saw were created by the message author, Bob Coret.

Coret was excited about the introduction of Ancestry's non-English sites in France and Italy so he sent a message to Ancestry's Josh Hanna, Vice President for Ancestry Europe, asking when Ancestry might offer a Dutch site. According to Coret, Hanna was non-committal, but expressed interest.

While Ancestry.nl would stand in direct competition to Coret's own website, he would still welcome Ancestry into the market. It would open up new records, increase the spending for digitizing records and increase sponsorship of genealogical events.

Coret closes by mentioning a small technical problem awaiting Ancestry's entry into the market: Someone is cybersquatting on the domain name "ancestry.nl".

This would not be the first time. Ancestry had to work for some time to acquire the Ancestry.it domain from Roberto Fabbri, maker of the Italian fantasy game, "Ancestry."

The Insider

P.S. While the Insider won't admit it, translation credit goes to Babel Fish.
—The Insider Staff

Friday, July 20, 2007

"I'm Going to Disney World!"

"Sorry... promised Jo personally... you understand and all...," quipped the Insider as he disappeared into his office with his autographed advance copy of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." We're guessing we won't get any genealogy news from Mr. Insider today...

...unless you count what we saw through his windows before he noticed us and slammed the blinds shut. The Insider opened up "the Hallows," logged in with his advance account to new FamilySearch, and entered death dates for...

OK. We couldn't read the names from where we were standing. But we're quite certain he also entered several marriages. He may have even entered some children? (Can you say, "sequel opportunities?")

Orlando Florida Temple. Copyright 2005, Michael Provard
Orlando Florida Temple
Image credit: ldschurchtemples.com
© 2005, Michael Provard.

We're not certain how the FamilySearch people feel about fictional characters in their database. That's just one issue of their openly shared global family tree. The Insider wants to see how the new scientific studies of Emergence and Swarm Theory might be applied to make the new FamilySearch successful. For more information, catch this week's broadcast of Nova Science Now and read this month's National Geographic. And watch this space for the Insider's take.

Speaking of new FamilySearch, a member of FHCNET shared the news Wednesday that the Orlando area is getting the new FamilySearch. See the Insider's updated table of the roll out of new FamilySearch.

"New FamilySearch! You just launched in the St. Louis area! Where are you going to go now!?!"

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Remember Ancestry.com's 1st DNA Project?

The Generations Network (TGN), parent company of Ancestry.com, announced last month a partnership with Sorenson Genomics, parent company of Relative Genetics. Ancestry will take over Relative Genetics' business while Sorenson continues to perform the necessary lab work.

Columnist Diane Haddad recalled that this is not the first attempt by Ancestry to enter the DNA business. "Also a partnership with Relative Genetics, the [Ancestry] GenetiKit Y-DNA test kit debuted in [January] 2002 for $219." Rumor has it that Relative Genetics was not able to keep up with the volume produced by the Ancestry marketing juggernaut. By August Ancestry had suspended sells (see complete text), and ended the initiative by March of the next year.

Ever fearful that a broken link might dissuade a potential subscriber, Ancestry often leaves published URLs in place for years. In fact, web pages from Ancestry's last foray into DNA testing are still present on the Ancestry.com website (as of the publication date of this article). Ancestry's MyGenetic Genealogy logo on the old pages attests to the close relationship between Relative Genetics, Ancestry, and Sorenson Genomics. Is the source for this close relationship found in the ownership statement of TGN? James Lee Sorenson, CEO of Sorenson Media, is the son of James LeVoy Sorenson, CEO of Sorenson Genomics. Both are officers of Sorenson Companies. The elusive senior Sorenson was the subject of an extensive newspaper article the year following the partnership's collapse.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pedigree Resource File Q and A

Pedigree Resource File (PRF) is a collection of family trees published by FamilySearch. PRF is produced for FamilySearch by Progeny Software Inc. Peggy LeBlanc, the PRF Product Specialist at Progeny recently answered a series of questions posted on the FHCNET ("fish-net") newsgroup on Yahoo. Here is a slightly edited copy.

Q. Our FHC just ordered the whole set of PRF CDs/DVDs. Why would they not stop selling PRF if they are getting ready to put them on the net on New FamilySearch?

A. Accessing PRF data via other programs or FamilySearch.org is limited to the vital statistics on a person. The notes and sources can sometimes be crucial. I have seen many occasions where the notes are very detailed and sources can be the same.

Q. I have not been able to download a GEDCOM from the PRF files on the Internet, as the choice has been removed. I would love to hear if others are having the same experience or if there is a work around.

A. Pedigree Resource File CDs/DVDs can create GEDCOM files of an entire submission, or ancestors or descendants of the subject. Notes and sources are included.

Q. Will there be more PRF's?

A. Yes.

Q. My PRF submission [is] still showing only 'received' six months later.

A. We are continuing to process data for Pedigree Resource File. Data is processed as quickly as possible and sometimes there are unavoidable technical delays. Also, since DVD 126 released, there are now 5 million persons per disk. Therefore it is naturally going to take longer to fill one. (There used to be one million names per CD ROM disk.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

1st Look: Family Tree Maker 2008

FTM 2008 Logo.The Generations Network (TGN) made beta copies of its upcoming Family Tree Maker 2008 (FTM) available to selected industry luminaries yesterday. The Ancestry Insider eagerly ripped open his copy and found the new version has been rewritten from the ground up.

"I had heard from former programmers that the code for the old version had grown so old that it was brittle to the touch," said the Insider. "Still, I hadn't expected the rewrite would look so..., well, modern."

The boss quickly dove in, leaving us, his staff, to watch the furious clicks, and wonder at the ambiguous grunts.

"Look at this new Family View," the Insider excitedly offered. Glowing on the Insider's 25" LCD monitor, we found a dazzling interface that made efficient use of every last pixel. The page contained a dizzying collage of pedigree pane, family group pane, person pane, index pane, and a plethora of icons, tabs, menus, and buttons.

FTM 2008 Family ViewFamily View. Click any image to enlarge.

As we salivated, the Insider next showed us a Person Timeline.

FTM 2008 Timeline ViewPerson Timeline

After a click or two we were soon looking in the Places section of FTM at a map from Microsoft's Virtual Earth, a push-pin, and a list of all the people associated with that place.

FTM 2008 Map ViewMap View

Next the Insider showed us the Media section and its photo album tools. FTM 2008 Photo Album Tools

Photo Album Tools
Soon after we were in the Publish section looking at sample forms. FTM 2008 Pedigree Chart
Printed Pedigree Chart
FTM 2008 Family Group Chart
Printed Family Group Chart

We would have liked to ask the Insider's opinion of the program, but he quickly submerged again, surfacing just long enough to tell us that select customers have been invited to pre-purchase at a special price and should expect delivery in mid-August.

Always the critic, the last mumble we heard was, "I'll believe it when I see it."

As we left his office, the Insider was humming, one moment downloading something from Ancestry.com using the built-in integration, the next moment clipping stuff from FamilySearch's new Record Search Pilot with FTM's new web clipper.

We might not hear from him again for a long, long time...

Monday, July 16, 2007

1st Look: FamilySearch Record Search

June 19th, FamilySearch Labs quietly announced Record Search, the product that will make it possible to access microfilm from the organization's Granite Mountain Vault, and to search the indexes produced by FamilySearch Indexing.

Sample's of how the product might look were posted as well, allowing us to give you a look at this momentous new product. Keep in mind, however, that this is a "pilot" program--not even ready for beta testing. Anything is subject to change.

The first image, below, shows a current incarnation of the Home Page. (Click each image to see a larger view.) Some collections can be searched, some can be browsed, and some allow both.Record Search Home Page

Record Search Home Page
The second image shows the results of a search for William Jones, 1900 - 1990 in Colorado. From this page, you can narrow your search by place, date, collection, gender, name, record type, or rank. You can click on a name to see more information about that result. Record Search List of Search Results
Record Search List of Search Results
If you were to click on the first result in the list, you would see this page, below. Record Search Search Result
Record Search Search Result
More information about Record Search is available in a post on DearMYRTLE.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Do Now? Disneyland AND Ancestry.com?!?

Peyton Manning 2007 ESPY AwardPeyton Manning! You just won the 2007 "Best Championship Performance" ESPY! What are you going to do now?!
"I'm going to Disneyland...
"Hey! Look! I'm also going to Ancestry.com!"
That's right. A careful perusal of the official ESPY gift bag given to participants in the ESPN Sunday night ceremonies earlier this week reveals an eclectic array of items, including a Disneyland Resort pass and an annual world deluxe subscription to Ancestry.com! Notice the Ancestry logo on the folder near the bottom left of the photograph below. 2007 ESPY Gift Bag Contains Ancestry.com, among other things There was no immediate word from Manning on which he would use first.

Friday, July 13, 2007

RootsWeb's Unlucky Day

I'm not the superstitious type. But today, Friday the 13th, something has happened that has changed my mind.

Today marked the final day for Jamie Morningstar as senior product manager at RootsWeb.com. Jamie's contributions at RootsWeb will be felt for years to come. She has led improvements to the WorldConnect administration interface, the My Account area, the Newsroom, storage infrastructure improvements, and more. She has increased site page views 20% to 120 million per month. She has increased family tree contributions by over 10%.

I spoke with Jamie earlier this week. She leaves her post with great sadness. "Working with the RootsWeb staff and community has truly been a privilege and I have thoroughly enjoyed supporting an extraordinary group of people who care passionately about their research and about furthering and supporting others' research. RootsWeb is a really special community."

Those of you who aren't active in the RootsWeb community may not understand the RootsWeb Spirit. "RootsWeb is a great site," comments Sean, a member of the RootsWeb staff. "RootsWeb has always had dedicated, loyal people who volunteer their time and love RootsWeb." Freely giving and freely receiving. That's the RootsWeb Spirit.

Where else can you find volunteers running 30,000 free mailing lists? Where else can you find volunteers managing 161,000 free message boards? Where else can you find volunteer webmasters publishing 41,000 freely accessible websites of rich, genealogical information? Where else can you find contributors of 408,000 freely accessible family trees containing 495 million names and 1.2 million helpful comments shared by other researchers? Where else can you find contributors of 8.6 million freely accessible database records?

Sean remembers that Jamie recognized the RootsWeb Spirit from "day one" and quickly became one of its most dedicated and loyal leaders. "Jamie's infectious energy fueled the RootsWeb team to become the most focused and motivated it has been."

"Jamie is a rare individual," commented D., a RootsWeb staff member. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in computer science and received an MBA with top honors and a 3.9 GPA. "Not only is she a talented programmer but also an inspirational leader. She could laugh or cry along side us and yet keep us moving forward." Many others echoed these sentiments. Coworker Brad Z. said, "Jamie has been a strong voice for RootsWeb and has helped improve it continually."

Jamie, we'll all miss you. Sean captured my feelings when he said, "Jamie will be missed. She was truly someone who 'got' RootsWeb."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

New FamilySearch and IGI are not talking

Last week, Don Anderson (whom I assume to be the Don Anderson, Director of FamilySearch Worldwide Support Services) announced on FHCNET that any ordinance submitted via TempleReady and completed since 1-January-2007 are not showing up in the New FamilySearch. A backlog has built up and it will take some time to get this information from the IGI into the New FamilySearch.

One user reported none of more than 70 ordinances submitted this year have shown up in the New FamilySearch. Until the problem is corrected, users of the New FamilySearch (currently, just the St. Louis temple district) are advised to search the IGI before submitting names via New FamilySearch.

Anderson further revealed that ordinances submitted via the New FamilySearch will not show up in the IGI when completed. No word was given as to whether this is a temporary or permanent limitation. And no method was provided for TempleReady users to avoid duplication of work done in temples using New FamilySearch.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Temple Districts Using New FamilySearch

Tables Updated: 23-Nov-2009
Map Updated: 23-Nov-2009

Except for the Orient, all members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in all stake and temple districts have access to New FamilySearch (NFS). All temples (again, except for the Orient) can process NFS Family Ordinance Requests, and most will no longer accept TempleReady submissions.

This map shows the NFS roll out within Utah and Idaho—the red zone. There are no more red dotes, indicating temple districts where no stakes have access. There are no more yellow dots, districts where roll outs are occurring. Green dots across the board indicate all districts and all stakes have access. City names are shown, not temple names.

New FamilySearch Rollout Map for 23 Nov 2009

Temple Districts With New FamilySearch

This table shows temple districts in Idaho and Utah using NFS and the order in which they were released. In this and subsequent tables, asterisks (*) marked new or recently updated information.

# Temple Stakes Consultants on NFS Temple on NFS Members on NFS
109 Twin Falls Idaho ? 27-Mar-2009 14-Apr-2009 14-Apr-2009
110 Monticello Utah ? 3-Mar-2009 12-Apr-2009 12-Apr-2009
111 Rexburg Idaho ? Before 10-Apr-2009 5-May-2009 5-May-2009
112 Manti Utah 26 3-Apr-2009 12-May-2009 12-May-2009
113 Vernal Utah 12 11-Mar-2009 23-Mar-2009 12-May-2009
114 Logan Utah 43 8-May-2009 2-Jun-2009 2-Jun-2009 (5)
8-Jun-2009 (10)
15-Jun-2009 (7)
22-Jun-2009 (7)
29-Jun-2009 (14)
115 Boise Idaho 29 19-May-2009 23-Jun-2009 20-Jul-2009 (29)
116 St. George Utah 44 8-May-2009 23-Jun-2009 31-Aug-2009 (29)
7-Sep-2009 (15)
117 Idaho Falls 45 18-Jun-2009 28-Jul-2009 7-Sep-2009 (15)
14-Sep-2009 (30)
118 Provo 74 25-Jun-2009 28-Jul-2009 14-Sep-2009 (10)
21-Sep-2009 (39)
28-Sep-2009 (25)
119 Ogden 75 11-Jun-2009 30-Jun-2009 28-Sep-2009 (16)
5-Oct-2009 (28)
12-Oct-2009 (31)
120 Mt. Timpanogos 62 6-Sep-2007 (1)
26-May-2009 (61)
8-Jun-2009 6-Sep-2007 (1)
5-Oct-2009 (15)
12-Oct-2009 (15)
19-Oct-2009 (31)
121 Bountiful 32 4-Jun-2009 16-Jun-2009 19-Oct-2009 (11)
26-Oct-2009 (21)
122 Draper 25 18-Jun-2009 14-Jul-2009 26-Oct-2009 (20)
2-Nov-2009 (5)
123 Jordan River 65 25-Jun-2009 21-Jul-2009 2-Nov-2009 (35)
9-Nov-2009 (30)
124 Oquirrh Mt. 26 25-Jun-2009 25-Aug-2009 9-Nov-2009 (15)
16-Nov-2009 (11)
125 Salt Lake 71 4-Jun-2009 15-Jun-2009 16-Nov-2009 (30)
23-Nov-2009 (41)

Numbers in parentheses refer to the number of stakes.
† Highland Utah Stake

Temple Districts Not Using New FamilySearch

Not much information is known about the release of New FamilySearch to temples in the Orient.

# Temple Stakes Consultants on NFS Temple on NFS Members on NFS

Fukuoka Japan

Hong Kong China

Seoul Korea

Taipei Taiwan

Tokyo Japan

Numbers in parentheses refer to the number of stakes.
* Recently updated

Other NFS Related web pages

  • See "A History of the NFS Rollout B.R.Z. [Before the Red Zone]" for a table documenting the rollout of NFS before Idaho and Utah.
  • To be notified of the NFS rollout in your stake, family history consults and priesthood leaders should register today at https://consultant.familysearch.org/ .
  • To see what it looks like, read the "You're Going Live" Message, the final notification received before a temple begins using NFS.
  • See the temple list on the Church's website
  • See the official list of temple districts using NFS. If logged into NFS, search for knowledge-base document 102463.
  • See the official Idaho/Utah rollout website and news page.
  • A premature announcement was sent to leaders in the Idaho Falls Temple District. The Family History Department subsequently notified leaders that the announcement was inadvertent.

Need a tiny link to this article? Use http://tinyurl.com/22nzyx

Let me know when New FamilySearch is announced in your temple district. Write me at AncestryInsider@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ancestry.com TV Ad

As part of a $10 million ad campaign, Ancestry.com produced a fun 45 second TV ad. Click below to watch.

Adweek lists the ad's credits.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Ancestry Publishes Indian Censuses

While it was several days ago that Ancestry.com announced the publication of the U.S. Indian Censuses, most publications didn't carry the images, so we'll repeat the announcement here and include the neat photographs that accompanied it.


Discover More than 7.5 Million Names in the U.S. Indian Censuses;
The Best Resource for Tracing American Indian Family History
Available at a Click of Your Mouse

June 25, 2007, Provo, Utah – Ancestry.com, the world’s leading online family history resource, today launched more than 7.5 million names in U.S. Indian Censuses, the largest online collection of Native American family history records. Taken by the Bureau of Indian affairs, the censuses document some 150 years of Native American family history. These censuses create an intimate portrait of individuals living on all registered Indian reservations between 1885 and the 1940s.

The U.S. Indian Censuses are among the most important documents for tracing Native American family history – as well as the place to for anyone with Native American ancestry to begin searching for their heritage. Representing more than 250 tribes from some 275 reservations, schools and hospitals across the United States, the censuses typically recorded names, including Indian names, ages, birthdates, tribe, reservation and most importantly the allotment/Annuity/ID number, otherwise known as the Census number. Some earlier rolls even listed the member clans, a very important relationship identifier.

Details of children born in the 1940s combined with information about individuals born in the early 1800s enable researchers to find parents and grandparents as children in 20th century censuses and trace their family to earlier generations. Clues in the census show where ancestors lived and how families changed over the years.

“The stories contained in these censuses will help Native Americans preserve their tradition-rich personal and cultural identity,” says Megan Smolenyak, chief family historian for Ancestry.com. “Crossing tribal and reservation boundaries, these censuses tell personal stories of Native Americans living on reservations across the United States. In them we find influential Native Americans who led their people along side those whose stories are still waiting to be told.”

Among the well-known names in the Native American censuses include:

- Celebrated Iwo Jima flag raiser Ira Hayes was counted on Arizona’s Gila River reservation in censuses from 1930 to 1936.

- Legendary Jim Thorpe appears 15 times in the censuses – first as a three-year-old named Jimmie living in Indian Territory, finally as a 50 year old in 1937.

The census also tells countless personal stories, such as:

-Jesse Cornplanter of New York’s Cattaraugus reservation appears in 16 censuses – first as a child with his parents, then as a father with a wife and child

-Gabe Gobin, a logger on the Tulalip Reservation in Washington, who appears in 33 years of censuses.

- Seminole Mary Parker appears as a young teenage in three censuses taken in the 1930s.

Photograph: Supai Charlie (or Waluthem) by his Havasu Canyon, Arizona, ha-wa, about 1903. Supai Charlie is listed with his six children in the 1896 census. (Photos and censuses found on Ancestry.com)

Modoc woman Toby Riddle (or Winema) appears in 28 Native American censuses. The 1894 census shown here lists her with her son and grandchildren on the Klamath reservation in Oregon. Born about 1842, Toby Riddle is pictured with her son in about 1873. Her husband, a white man, was not included in the census counts.

Cayuse chief Umapine and his wife, Hot, appear in 17 censuses, beginning with this census from 1910. taken on the Umatilla reservation in Oregon. Umapine was born about 1850. The image here was taken about 1913.

Because the Native American censuses were taken so often, they are among the best censuses worldwide for tracing family history. The U.S. federal census is taken only once every ten years. In addition, because Native Americans were not granted full U.S. citizenship until 1924, the U.S. federal censuses before 1930 are sporadic at best for counting Native Americans. The yearly counts and updates reflected in the Indian censuses offer Native American family historians a more complete and accurate picture of their ancestors than the federal census.

About Ancestry.com
With 24,000 searchable databases and titles, Ancestry.com is the No. 1 online source for family history information. Since its launch in 1997, Ancestry.com has been the premier resource for family history, simplifying genealogical research for millions of people by providing them with many easy-to-use tools and resources to build their own unique family trees. The site is home to the only complete online U.S. Federal Census collection, 1790-1930, as well as the world’s largest online collection of U.S. ship passenger list records featuring more than 100 million names, 1820-1960. Ancestry.com is part of The Generations Network, Inc., a leading network of family-focused interactive properties, including MyFamily.com, Rootsweb.com, Genealogy.com and Family Tree Maker. In total, The Generations Network properties receive 10.4 million unique visitors worldwide and over 450 million page views a month (© comScore Media Metrix, March 2007).

Media Contacts

Anastasia Tyler
PR Manager
Ancestry.com, part of The Generations Network
(801) 473-4345

Suzanne Bonner
PR Manager
Ancestry.com, part of The Generations Network
(801) 705-7873

Friday, July 6, 2007

Mormon angry at Ancestry.com?

Dear Lillian,

Your blog entry mentions your anger and frustration with Ancestry.com. While we share some of your frustrations, there are a number of inaccuracies in your statement that should be corrected. Some of your statements frustrate us.

"[Ancestry's] owners sold their business"

This is not true. Ownership has not changed by more than a few percentage points. See our article about Ancestry's ownership.

"[Ancestry] failed to work out an arrangement with the LDS Church"

We share your frustration, but how did you reach the conclusion that the failure was due to Ancestry? We've heard rumors suggesting otherwise. Further, there are arrangements--contracts--between the two parties that continue to provide value to both. Ancestry's CEO has been quoted as saying that relations between the two have never been better. (See related comments in another article.)

"[Ancestry] cut off all church family history centers from the service."

This is not true. Ancestry did not cut off access to all its records. It still provides all family history centers (FHCs) free access to a large number of critical census, vital records, military records and immigration records. (See "Titles Available at Family History Centers.") Even more titles are available at the Salt Lake Family History Library. Ancestry is providing complete Ancestry Library Edition access to FHCs on all BYU campuses. (See the announcement.)

"[After canceling my subscription I can only] browse my already-entered family tree"

This is not true. We understand you should still be able to add, share and modify your tree. We do share your frustration that you can't access the records you attached to your tree while you were a subscriber. We understand Ancestry is working on this problem.

"3-day [free] subscription if I'll agree to pay them..."

This is not true. We understand you can cancel after the 3 days with no further obligation. And if you were a new subscriber, you could get the 3-day subscription without entering a credit card number. Unfortunately, word has it that Ancestry has moved back to the 7-day trial requiring a credit card. If you don't cancel at the end of the trial, your credit card is charged.

"...[after canceling my subscription] it won't let me download the GEDCOM file..."

This is not true. No wonder you're so angry! We hope Ancestry will never make this mistake. We think you may have fallen victim to a mistake they have made. We think Ancestry has done a poor job of designing tree management. Consequently, tasks are scattered about and often move or change. At the time of this posting, this is how you download a GEDCOM file: Click on the Home tab. Click on Home Near the bottom right of the page, click on Manage my tree. Click Manage my tree What did Ancestry do with the "Download GEDCOM" option?!? Near the middle of the page, click on (export tree). Click (export tree) After the GEDCOM is prepared, you will see this message and the (export tree) link will change to (download GEDCOM). Click it or the link in the green box. Click (download GEDCOM)

"do my research ... the totally free way"

Unfortunately, someone must pay. In the case of the free services of FamilySearch.org, LDS Church members donate the millions of dollars that the Church spends to provide those services. (The rest of us thank you!) If you are a member of the LDS Church, you should expect to be asked to pay hundreds of hours during the remainder of your lifetime doing FamilySearch Indexing, paying the price so people you aren't related to can do their genealogy. (Again, we thank you!) Many, many people outside the LDS Church spend millions and millions of hours and dollars doing genealogical research and freely sharing their results with the rest of us.

As a community of genealogists, we are all in this together.

When someone posts unprofessional, inaccurate rantings about Ancestry, the community as a whole suffers. People form a lower opinion of Ancestry, which ends up with less money to pay for indexing, so fewer people find and publish new family trees. (Accurate rantings are still OK! At this website, they are even encouraged!)

When someone aligns with the LDS Church and then posts unprofessional, inaccurate rantings, then people form lower opinions of the poster and the LDS Church. Less money and less volunteer hours are given. Again, the genealogical community suffers.

Lillian, we're glad you're part of our community. We wish you all the best. After all, your successes are ours.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Ancestry Library Edition

Earlier today I posted the announcement of the availability of Ancestry® Library Edition at Brigham Young University. The Ancestry® Library Edition (ALE) is a product of Ancestry.com that is distributed by ProQuest. The name ProQuest was first used in 1995 as a product name and became a company name in 2001 when Bell & Howell Information and Learning adopted it as their name, according to the company's website. Temporarily "ProQuest CSA" after a February 2007 merger of ProQuest Information and Learning and CSA, the new company has recently chosen to continue doing business as ProQuest and has introduced a new logo: New ProQuest Logo ProQuest markets Ancestry Library Edition as "one of the most important genealogical collections available today. It has unparalleled coverage of the United States and the United Kingdom, including census, vital, church, court, and immigration records, as well as record collections from Canada and other areas. This collection, with thousands of databases and billions of names, is essential to having a broad genealogy collection." ProQuest positions ALE as "a strong complement" to its own HeritageQuest Online™, which it obtained in 2001. To protect its own library products, ProQuest excludes from ALE some databases normally present to Ancestry.com subscribers:
  • Newspapers
  • Obituary Collections
  • Family and Local History Books obtained from ProQuest (20,000 titles)
  • Passenger and Immigration List Index (PILI)
  • Biography & Genealogy Master Index (BGMI)
  • PERiodical Source Index (PERSI)

Ancestry excludes most of its tree-based offerings because they are geared to individual subscribers:

  • Public and private member trees
  • Member tree photos and stories
  • OneWorldTree

Otherwise, the Ancestry Library Edition is an extremely complete offering of the databases available in Ancestry's World Deluxe subscription.

Ancestry.com free at BYU

Ancestry.com's parent company, the Generations Network (TGN), announced today that they are giving Brigham Young University (BYU) Libraries access to Ancestry's Library Edition. This is good news for Family History Center (FHC) users in Utah Valley. Many databases taken away from FHCs will remain available at BYU. The Ancestry Library Edition is normally available as a product of ProQuest, so I'm interested to see how the product is packaged for BYU. Will TGN deliver the product directly to BYU as it did in the past, or will they go through their normal distribution channel? The previous method bypassed ProQuest and gave access directly to the firewall IP address at each BYU campus (Provo, Idaho, Hawaii, and the LDS Business College in Salt Lake City). As a result, all students and faculty anywhere on campus had near-full Ancestry.com access. I'll explore the Ancestry Library Edition in more detail in a later post. For now, here is the full text of the announcement:



Free Access Honors Only School in Nation with Family History Undergraduate Degree; Recognizes Leadership in Transforming Genealogy Landscape

PROVO, UTAH – July 3, 2007 – The Generations Network, parent company of Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online resource for family history, today announced it is providing Brigham Young University, BYU Idaho, BYU Hawaii and LDS Business College with free access to Ancestry Library Edition.

“In an effort to recognize the tremendous influence the BYU Library and its unmatched faculty has had in transforming the genealogy landscape through technology-based education, we are pleased to offer the students and faculty free on-campus access to Ancestry.com,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network. “BYU is a unique academic institution that is continuing to make significant advancements in genealogical studies, and we are grateful for the many graduates who are now employed at our company. As next-door neighbors, we will continue to tap the knowledge and experience of professors and students, all at the cutting edge of this booming category, to improve our offerings.”

“As the only university in the United States to offer an undergraduate degree in the field of family history, BYU is dedicated to providing our faculty and students with premier resources,” said Robert Murdoch, BYU Assistant University Librarian for Collection Development and Technical Services. “Ancestry.com plays a leading role in family history research. At BYU, Ancestry.com helps more than 600 students each semester with their coursework. This technology is enabling us to go farther, faster than we could have imagined just a few years ago in the ever expanding quest to understand our past. We appreciate the generosity of The Generations Network, recognizing the major multi-million dollar investment they’ve made in transforming family history category for everyone. We look forward to continuing our long-term collaboration and breakthroughs in this great endeavor.”

About Ancestry.com

With 24,000 searchable databases and titles, Ancestry.com is the No. 1 online source for family history information. Since its launch in 1997, Ancestry.com has been the premier resource for family history, simplifying genealogical research for millions of people by providing them with many easy-to-use tools and resources to build their own unique family trees. The site is home to the only complete online U.S. Federal Census collection, 1790-1930, as well as the world’s largest online collection of U.S. ship passenger list records featuring more than 100 million names, 1820-1960. Ancestry.com is part of The Generations Network, Inc., a leading network of family-focused interactive properties, including MyFamily.com, Rootsweb.com, Genealogy.com and Family Tree Maker. In total, The Generations Network properties receive 10.4 million unique visitors worldwide and over 450 million page views a month (© comScore Media Metrix, March 2007).

About Brigham Young University Library

The Harold B. Lee Library is located in the center of the BYU campus in Provo, Utah. The library's collection includes more than 8 million items. The collection includes monographs, periodicals, manuscripts, diaries, photographs, family histories, scholarly publications and art images. Many items have been digitized and are available to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. Visit them at www.lib.byu.edu. The David O. McKay Library at BYU Idaho, The Joseph F. Smith Library at BYU Hawaii, and the LDS Business College Library in Salt Lake City are benefactors of this agreement.

Media Contacts

Julia Burgon

Coltrin & Associates (for Ancestry.com)

212-221-1616 ext. 124


Tola St. Matthew-Daniel

Coltrin & Associates (for Ancestry.com)

212-221-1616 ext. 101


Roger Layton

Communications Manager for The Harold B. Lee Library