Friday, October 30, 2009

Kory Meyerink to speak Saturday

Note: This article is off topic and will be of interest primarily to Christians living in the Provo, Utah area.

Kory L. Meyerink, noted genealogist and adjunct professor of history and religion at Brigham Young University (BYU), is slated to speak at the Thirty-Eighth Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium tomorrow, 31 October 2009. Meyerink will address the topic, “Malachi and the Centrality of Families in the Gospel of Jesus Christ” at 9:00am in room 456 of the Martin Classroom Building (MARB) on the Provo, Utah campus of BYU.

The 2009 symposium theme is “the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament” and the keynote will be delivered by Elder F. Melvin Hammond, an emeritus leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Friday the 30th at 6:30pm in the Joseph Smith Building Auditorium of BYU. The Sperry Symposium is free and open to the public and runs Friday after the keynote until 9:30pm, and Saturday, the 31st, from 9:00am until 1:00pm. A schedule of classes is available here. Five different tracks run simultaneously in classrooms in the JSB Auditorium and the MARB.

Monday, October 26, 2009

FamilySearch Community Trees

FamilySearch Community Trees Last week a new project appeared on FamilySearch Labs.

Historical Family Trees

Ever wish you could reconstruct the families that lived in your ancestral village in the 1750s? FamilySearch works with individuals and groups with the expertise to piece together the families that lived together historically in a community. We’re experimenting with ways to make these richly-sourced lineage-linked trees more available and expand the number of people helping with this effort. Check it out and tell us what you think.

Updated 21 Oct 2009.

The website currently hosts 19 collections (“Trees”) with 484,048 families containing 1,189,105 individuals. For individuals with surnames, there are 77,130 unique surnames across all the trees. The 3901 sources are linked to 106 repositories.

While titled historical on the labs website and bearing the URL, the website itself is titled “Community Trees.” The website seems to be a combination of community trees documenting a specific community and historical trees, documenting nobility back to medieval times. Community trees were produced by the FamilySearch Family Reconstitution team headed by Raymond W. Madsen in combination with local partners. Workers canvassed particular record sets to reconstitute all the families of the locality. Historical trees were produced by the Medieval Families Unit, now identified as the Historical Families Unit.

Some trees can be downloaded in GEDCOM format. One has oral genealogies attached. Some partners may have additional information on their own websites. Partners can make corrections and additions to the information shown. Some of the trees are works in progress.

According to the website, the current collections are:

  • British Isles: Peerage, Gentry and Colonial American Connections: This database was compiled from 15 reputable publications. These lines are very important because they connect to many immigrants to America.
  • Canada: New Brunswick: Southampton: Millville Communities Family Tree: The Millville Community Family Tree is a joint project with the community of Millville, New Brunswick and FamilySearch International to preserve the heritage of the communities of Southampton parish and other communities including some in Bright and Queensbury parish, through genealogy.
  • Canada: Nova Scotia: Kings County: Community Family Tree: Kings County Community Family Tree is a joint project with the Kings Historical Society and FamilySearch International to preserve the county heritage through genealogy.
  • Canada: Toronto: Youngs in Toronto: Extracted and linked records of Young families in Toronto, Ontario from provincial civil registration: births (1869-1909), marriages (1869-1924), and deaths (1869-1934). Also includes allied families.
  • England: London: Residence of London: The London Project consists of individuals living in London extracted from Boyd's Citizen's of London; controlled extraction records from the International Genealogical Index (IGI); and other records dealing with London.
  • England: Norfolk Visitations, 1563: The Visitation of Norfolk conducted by William Harvey, Clarenceux King of Arms. This database contains lineage linked families.
  • England: Todd Knowles Jewish Collection: Jewish database from the British Isles
  • Europe: Royal and Noble Houses (predominately England and France):This database contains ancestors and descendants of Charlemagne; Louis IX of France; Edward I of England; Charles I of England; Scandinavian and Spanish Royal families; plus many other royal, noble and gentry lineages.
  • Europe: Royal and Noble Houses (predominately German): This database was first compiled by the previous Medieval Families Unit and has been updated and corrected using on-line databases, Schwennicke, and other nobility sources.
  • Iceland: Iceland Historical Family Trees: Linked Genealogies of Iceland from 100 A.D to the 1800s extracted from sagas, parish registers, census records and compiled family histories.
  • Norway: Oppland County: Sør-Aurdal Clerical District: Norway project by FamilySearch International Family Reconstitution team to build community family trees for the several clerical districts of Norway.
  • Pacific Islands: Cole Jensen Collection: This important collection is one of the best sources for family records, pedigrees, and historical information that is available for the Pacific Island People.
  • Pacific Islands: French Polynesia: Atuona Island: Atuona, located on the southern side of Hiva Oa island, is the centrer of the of Hiva-Oa. Atuona was the capital of all the Marquesas Islands but it has been replaced by Taiohae (on Nuku Hiva). Atuona comprises the valleys of Atuona, Taaoa, Tahauku and Hanamate.
  • Pacific Islands: New Zealand: Maori: Meha Genealogy: Information entered from Maori pedigree charts, 13 B.C. 1790 A.D.
  • Pacific Islands: Tonga: Oral Genealogies and Community Trees: Tonga Oral History, Siosifa Tu'Iketei Pule of Kolofo'ou, Nuku'alofa. Tape 2 Interviewer: Tevita 'Uatahausi Mapa Dates 4th July and 25 August 1973.
  • Peru: Community Family Tree: Extracted from compiled family and historical records. Many of the notes are in Spanish.
  • Scotland: Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae: Lineage linked families for ministers of the Church of Scotland from the Reformation.
  • United States: Washington: Lewis County: Community Family Trees: This database contains the records of families listed in the 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1900 US Census for Lewis County, Washington. We have merged families that appear in multiple census records together to provide a better view of the family over the years. The data that came from each census can be seen in the source citation for that record. This is a preliminary version of the merging and will be updated with an improved version containing additional records from the History of Lewis County, Washington (by Nix) in October 2009.
  • Wales: Medieval Records Primarily of Nobility and Gentry: This Welsh database, when complete, will include lineage linked data for approximately 350,000 individuals, living from about 100 A.D. to 1700 A.D. The base data was extracted from Peter Bartrum's Welsh Genealogies.

The website suggests,

If you have a database you have created from original source material that you think would be a good addition to the FamilySearch Community Trees or would like to participate somehow, contact Raymond W. Madsen at

Interestingly, the website icon is “TNG” and examining the source code shows the message, “The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding, v.7.0.3 (14 January 2009), Written by Darrin Lythgoe, 2001-2009.”

The “labs” nature of the website was observed in several deficiencies. I found some operations extremely slow. I found no way to browse. Some links showed no useful purpose. The single photograph would not display. A PDF family group report displayed the wrong site URL.

The Historical Trees Unit and the Family Reconstitution Unit are producing conclusion trees that are GML (Genealogical Maturity Level) 3 and GML 4. By contrast, New FamilySearch (NFS), the tree, has been pre-populated by lots and lots of data at GML 1 and 2 and is subject to edit by genealogists of any level, making it an unsuitable environment for publication of more mature genealogical data. Community Trees is a wonderful forward move allowing FamilySearch to publish their high maturity lineage linked trees.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2010

Dear Ancestry Insider,

Would you consider including information from the attached document on your blog? Please let me know if you are interested in additional details.

-Thomas McGill
SLIG Director 2010

Dear Tom,

For you, I would be happy to. Did you know that since that C+ from Lynn, you’ve been my favorite coworker?

-- The Ancestry Insider

2010 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy

Announcing the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, to be held January 11-15, 2010 at the Radisson Hotel [located at 215 West South Temple] in downtown Salt Lake City. This is a week-long educational experience taught by expert genealogists.

BECOME more effective with:
   Computers and Technology
Accreditation and Certification Preparation
Personal Project Problem Solving

EXPLORE the many possibilities of the records of:
Central and Eastern Europe
Mid-Atlantic States (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland)

   American Records and Research
Immigrant Origins
Producing a Quality Family Narrative
American Land and Court Records
U.S. Military Records

Classes finish in the afternoon each day allowing research time at the world-renowned FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY, located just two blocks away.

In addition, there are 15 optional evening classes on dynamic topics ranging from maximizing Internet searching to organizing what you find to solving research problems. Evening classes are only $10 each, payable at the door or online.

No matter which course you attend, you will have improved skills by January 15th. The early bird special ends November 16, 2009. For more information or to enroll online, visit

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Guide to Mormon Family History Sources

A Guide to Mormon Family History SourcesThis is one in a series of reviews. Important legal notices regarding reviews can be found at .

A Guide to Mormon Family History Sources, is written by the incomparable Kip Sperry. (See “Kip Sperry,” my recent article about the author.) This book covers many original records of genealogical value created about Mormons, or as they are more formally known, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I’m not keeping up with the commitments I’ve made to publishers for reviews. (Sorry!) I accepted this book over a year ago and still haven’t reviewed it. So while preparing the article, “Jay Burrup: the Church History Library,” I thought it would be a good test of Sperry’s Guide to see if he covered all the sources at the Church History Library covered by Burrup.

But before I tell you how well Guide did, let me tell you a little about the book. Book pages, at 8.5 x 10.9 inches, are nearly the size of a regular sheet of paper. Unfortunately, this means that if you buy cheap book cases like I do, only the bottom shelf, and sometimes the next one up, is tall enough to stow this book on. But the 231 pages and paperback covers amount to just 0.6 inches of thickness, so it doesn’t take up too much space.

This book covers many original records created about Mormons by the Church and by others. The majority of these are held by three repositories: the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University, the Church History Library and Church Archives, and the Family History Library. But Guide goes beyond these basic three, particularly for sources available on the Internet.

Chapter 1 summarizes Church historical events from 1800 to 2006. It includes about 12 pages of very helpful chronology. Wondering what probable dates to check for the immigration of your pioneer ancestor from Germany? Wondering if your 1866 convert travelled by steamship? By handcart? By train? Did your ancestor come during the years of the Perpetual Emigration Fund? Did your great-grandparents live during a Church Census? Did they live long enough to participate in the three- or four-generation submission program?

Chapter 2 is a 6 page introduction to family history research. A printed list of websites in the chapter exposes the rapidly changing landscape of the Internet. has dropped Ancestry World Tree from new search results, but Sperry lists an address for the database ( that still works. Interestingly, he excludes the address where this database can be searched for free, RootsWeb’s World Connect. Probably aware of coming changes to, Sperry doesn’t give specific addresses for its International Genealogical Index or Pedigree Resource File (PRF). As an alternative address for the PRF, Sperry gives, an address of the private partner that produces PRF, Progeny Genealogy. (See “Pedigree Resource File Q and A.”) Elsewhere Sperry suggests using Google to locate pages that have moved since the book went to press.

I found Chapter 2’s “Preliminary Survey” to be very helpful. It is a list of basic sources to consult when beginning the research for each Mormon ancestor.

I have misgivings about chapter 2 targeting new genealogists. I believe the book will appeal mostly to intermediate and advanced genealogists, making chapter 2 of limited value. It would have been more valuable to explain how to use these sources, understand and classify the information therein, weigh evidence therefrom, and from thence make reliable conclusions. But this is a minor point, and some of this information is included elsewhere, such as the beginning of chapter 5.

Subsequent chapters are

  • 3 – Indexes, Finding Aids, and Guides (14 pp.)
  • 4 – Compiled and Printed Records (12 pp.)
  • 5 – Original Records (14 pp.)
  • 6 – Migration, Emigration, and Immigration Records (8 pp.)
  • 7 – Computer Resources and Databases (24 pp.)
  • 8 – Internet Sites (20 pp.)
  • 9 – Periodicals, Newsletters, and Newspapers (12 pp.)
  • Appendix A: Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Terms (12 pp.)
  • Appendix B: Addresses (14 pp.)
  • End notes (14 pp.)
  • Bibliography (52 pp.)
  • Index (8 pp.)

I was hoping for more information about 19th century polygamy. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practiced polygamy until 1890, but no longer tolerates the practice. See “FamilySearch Not Affiliated With Texas Polygamists.”) Chapter 1 lacked all the anti-polygamy legislation dates and the periods of active Federal prosecution that are necessary to interpret some anomalies in Federal census records. I could find nothing in the contents or index for information about the Federal court records of the prosecution of polygamists that might contain genealogical information. What records exist? What Federal repositories hold the records? What are the record titles? Are there indexes?

I was disappointed that Guide did not include call numbers and film numbers, but I understand that like web addresses these too change. There’s no doubt A Guide to Mormon Family History Sources is valuable enough to outlast the numbering systems for many of the sources therein.

So how did Guide do against Burrup’s lecture? Exceptional. Sperry covered every single collection of genealogical value from Burrup’s lecture. The information was exceptional, often calling to mind details mentioned by Burrup, but not present in the class handout. And Guide usually went into greater detail. Using these sources as a statistical sample, I think it safe to assume that A Guide to Mormon Family History Sources is an amazingly complete catalog of Mormon family history sources.

Highly recommended for serious, active researchers of Mormon family history.

A Guide to Mormon Family History Sources
8.5" x 10.9", 231 pp., paperback. 2009.
ISBN 978-1-59331-301-2
Ancestry Publishing
$16.95 (list)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kip Sperry

Kip SperryThis is another in a series of encyclopedia-like articles.

The biography from Kip Sperry’s latest book begins:

Kip Sperry is a professor of family history in the Department of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University [BYU], Provo, Utah, where he teaches American and LDS genealogical research methods and sources. He is an Accredited Genealogist® [AG]; Certified GenealogistSM [CG]; Certified Genealogical LecturerSM [CGL]; Fellow, American Society of Genealogists [FASG]; Fellow, National Genealogical Society [FNGS]; and Fellow, Utah Genealogical Association [FUGA].1

That’s enough post-nominals for several cans of alphabet soup! Continuing Sperry’s biography from a BYU web site:

He is author of Abbreviations and Acronyms: A Guide for Family Historians; Genealogical Research in Ohio; A Guide to Mormon Family History Sources; Kirtland Ohio: A Guide to Family History and Historical Sources; Reading Early American Handwriting; other books, chapters, journal articles, and faculty advisor for two Internet tutorials: Personal Ancestral File ( and United States Census (

He has lectured at national, regional, and state family history and genealogy conferences and seminars, including BYU Annual Computerized Genealogy Conferences, BYU Annual Genealogy and Family History Conferences, BYU Campus Education Weeks, BYU-Hawaii, BYU-Idaho, Federation of Genealogical Societies, Mormon History Association, National Genealogical Society, and Sidney B. Sperry Symposiums.

He received graduate and undergraduate degrees from BYU and was presented the 2003 Richard Lloyd Anderson Research Award from BYU Religious Education. Biographical sketches appear in Contemporary Authors, Directory of American Scholars, Who’s Who in Genealogy and Heraldry, Who's Who in the West, and other biographical sources. Born in Ohio, he and his wife, Anne, are the parents of one son, Daniel, a medical school student in Syracuse, New York.2

For more information about Sperry, visit .

1. Kip Sperry, A Guide to Mormon Family History Sources (Provo, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2007), 231; internet links added.

2. “Kip Sperry,” Religious Education Faculty ( : Brigham Young University, accessed 17 October 2009); internet links added.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Spanish Is Not Dead

Last week I wrote about finding more FamilySearch content republished on (See “ Posts FamilySearch Microfilm.”) From among these, I wrote about using the indexes for Albacete Province, Spain vital records and finding the images on FamilySearch Record Search (pilot). (See “Don’t Stop at the Index.”) I finished that article late one evening, and fearing a lengthy translation from Latin, announced, “It’s late and I’m too tired to try and read some dead language tonight.”

When I returned to the record, I fortunately asked some Spanish-speaking friends to assist. (Thanks!) That was fortunate because the records were not in Latin, but Spanish! I feel a teensy bit chagrined, but you can’t say I didn’t warn you about my lack of overseas research skills.

It’s taken nearly a week. But here’s the document with much of translated. This is a very literal translation, so don’t expect it to read well. I thought this would be more useful for those of you trying to read these records.

Click for a larger view. Did I get it right? Do you have corrections for me?

Example christening record from Albacete, Spain

In case you find it useful, here are some words you can expect to find in these Spanish Catholic Christening records:

  • En la Iglesia del ________ – In the Church of the ________
  • Santisimo (Stmo) Cristo – Most holy Christ
  • Adjutoir? – Branch?
  • de la Parroquia de ________ - of the parish of _________
  • S. or San - St. or Saint
  • Provincia en _______ - Province of _______
  • Obispado en _______ – Diocese of _______
  • en ___ días – on (day of month) day
  • del mes de ______ - of the month of ______
  • de mil ochocientos setenta – of one thousand eight-hundred seventy
  • Yo – I
  • D. or Don _________ – Mr. _________
  • Obio y Coadjutor – Bishop-Coadjutor
  • bautizo solemnemente – solemnly baptized
  • crisma _________ – christened _________
  • que nacio (nacido) - that was born
  • dia _____ - day ____
  • de dho (dicho) mes y año – of said month and year

Once again it’s late and I’ve run out of steam. Want to provide the corresponding Spanish for the following? Click on Comments, below.

  • at the ____ of the morning
  • son legitimate
  • of legitimate marriage of (father)
  • natural parents of (father) and (mother)
  • of (residence):
  • grandparents paternal
  • (grandfather) and (grandmother) of (residence)
  • maternal
  • (grandfather) and (grandmother) of (residence?).
  • The Godmother was (godmother)
  • to whom [I gave] notice the obligation and spiritual kinship.
  • Witnesses:
  • and to affirm I sign

Websites I found helpful preparing this transcription:

  • – Because you can’t always read the entire Spanish word, start typing and a dropdown list will show matching words. Or Use a leading * wildcard, click Translate, and get a list of words that match the ending characters.
  • – Sure you can search for Spanish words. Type part of a phrase to see examples of adjoining words. It was Google that helped me find
  • A Paleographic Guide to Spanish Abbreviations 1500-1700 by A. Roberta Carlin. Page 37 contains graphical examples showing handwritten dicho abbreviations. The one that caused me hours of pain was dho with a horizontal line across the upper stems of d and h, so that it looks like otho. This abbreviation is also documented in a host of public domain books on Google Books.
  • Spain, Albacete, Catholic Church Parish Records,” FamilySearch Research Wiki ( : accessed 14 October 2009).
  • Spanish Genealogical Word List,” FamilySearch Research Wiki.
  • Script Tutorials, Resources for Old Handwriting and Documents by the Center for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University ( : accessed 17 October 2009).

Someone should also consider adding this example and this information to the FamilySearch Wiki. I hereby give my permission for any of the text and/or graphics from this article to be shared on the FamilySearch Wiki. There. You have my… uh… bendición.

The language wasn’t dead, but I’m now brain dead. Good night…

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NFS Rollout News for Columbus Day 2009

Columbus discovered America and Bountiful discovered that they are next up for New FamilySearch (NFS). And it’s time for another map update.

New FamilySearch Rollout Map for 12 Oct 2009

Here’s the changes since the last map update:

  • Last week Thomas S. Monson announced a new temple will be constructed in Brigham City, Utah. It is shown on the map in purple.
  • Ogden finished rolling live yesterday, so it’s now green. It is the 119th temple in the NFS rollout.
  • As expected, Mount Timpanogos will finish rolling out next Monday, becoming the 120th.
  • Timpanogos’ sister temple, Bountiful, will start its rollout next Monday. Twenty-one stakes will make the switch to NFS.

This leaves just the four temples within the Salt Lake Valley. Who will be next? Who will be last? Rumors over the past year have specified the last temple to be:

  • Salt Lake (Ray Friess, March 2009)
  • Busiest will be last and Jordan River is busiest (Doris Bateman, March 2009)
  • Both Bountiful and Jordan River (David Samuelsen, June 2009)

Will next Monday’s announcement include one of the final four? Stay tuned!

When your stake gets a go live date, let me know at . And stay tuned to the Ancestry Insider at “Temple Districts Using New FamilySearch” for the latest news!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Don’t Stop at the Index

Last time, I pointed out a couple of databases on from the FamilySearch Western Europe Vital Records Index:

Database Language Size Published Updated
Spain, Albacete Province, Births and Christenings, 1504-1905 Spanish 721,311 11 Dec 2008 11 Dec 2008
Spain, Albacete Province, Marriages, 1564-1899 Spanish 226,404 11 Dec 2008 11 Dec 2008


Interestingly, while has an index for the Albacete, Spain records but doesn’t have images, FamilySearch Record Search Pilot has images but no index. Can one use the index on and then get the images from FamilySearch? Yes!

For example, I found this record on

Albacete, Spain record on

To find the image of this record on FamilySearch, we will need the citation. Notice that the citation elements are divided into two parts, labeled “Source Citation” and “Source Information.” (These are mislabeled, but that’s a subject for another article.) Unfortunately, doesn’t identify the meaning of the elements in the first group. Poking around the Internet and the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC), it looks like the meaning is:

To find the image of this record at FamilySearch,

  1. Start at .
  2. On, click on Search Records menu, then on the Record Search  pilot menu item.
  3. On the Record Search page, click on Browse our record collections. You can find this link above News & Updates.
  4. On the world map, click on Europe or select Europe from the drop-down list and click Browse Collections.
  5. In the list of collections under Spain, click on “Spain, Albacete Diocese, Catholic Parish Records 1550-1930.”
  6. In the list titled Nombre de ciudad o pueblo (Name of city or village), select “Sahaúco,” which seems to be the choice closest to Sahúco, the village we are interested in.

    I think this is a typographical error in Record Search. I’m no expert on overseas records. (I’ve made it a point to descend entirely from New England ancestors. It makes my research so much easier!) But I’m pretty darn good with Google, and web pages like this one lead me to believe that Sahúco is correct.
  7. In the list titled Nombre de parroquia (Name of parish), select “Santísimo Cristo.” The presence of the desired parish confirms our choice of city/village.
  8. In the list titled Tipo de registro y años (Register type and years), select one of the Bautismos registers covering 1870. In this particular example, I’ve already searched and found “Bautismos 1870-1889” is the one.
  9. As I’ve mentioned before, I think it is a mistake that at this point we aren’t viewing the first image. Instead we see another link titled “View 205 Images.” Click it.
  10. You are now viewing a small strip of 205 images from a microfilm. Like microfilm, you must crank through it to find the desired image. We know that the 205 images cover records from 1870 to 1889. Since Andres Gonzalez was christened 2 December 1870, he should be at or near the beginning of the 205 images.
  11. Click through each image, scanning the entries in the margin for
    Andres, hijo de [son of]
    Higinio Gonzales y [and]
    Tomasa Sanchez.

Fortunately, we don’t have far to look; it is image 2. (Click for a larger view.)

Click to see a large image

We found it!

I think…

It’s late and I’m too tired to try and read some dead language tonight. That will have to wait. Stay tuned.

It happens so often, I don’t know why it still surprises me. It’s amazing how often I get ready to work an article idea only to see another writer cover the same topic. While I was preparing this series of articles DearMYRTLE (tagline: So famous that on Second Life even my pseudonym has a pseudonym) published “Getting from an index to the original document.” The article features a most excellent handout showing an example of looking up an original record after finding it in an index. Highly recommended.

Thursday, October 8, 2009 Posts FamilySearch Microfilm

I continue to see evidence of improved relations between and FamilySearch. Last week, an intriguing title caught my eye in the list of new databases:

Curious as to what an antique thesaurus of historic Italy might be, I clicked on the link and began to leaf through the pages. I was amazed to see this title board from a FamilySearch microfilm:


(By the way, I recently saw a couple of pages from this book on sale at a rare map website. The area around Cremona is mapped on page 1673 (and a foldout). It’s not the original 300 year old paper and it’s not in a 25" by 22" antique frame. But it is pretty darn serviceable. And it didn’t cost hundreds of dollars. Well, not for me, anyways. has been kind enough to extend my free employee’s subscription, even though I’m no longer an employee. But I digress…)

Other than the title board, it didn’t look like had acknowledged FamilySearch in any way. I’m not standing on politeness; provenance is a key requirement in genealogy. Genealogy records aren’t just pretty bobbles to frame and hang on a wall; genealogical records are used as evidence. And while I’m not a CSI technician, I watch one on TV so I’m pretty familiar with the chain-of-evidence concept. All joking aside, digital record archives like,,, etc. need to provide provenance for all the records they post as a matter of course. Even published sources such as this one can have hand-written margin notes unique to that one copy. Just make it standard operating procedure. Enough said.

FamilySearch microfilms are in addition to the vital record collections I discovered on back in May from the FamilySearch Western Europe Vital Records Index:

Database Language Size Published Updated
Denmark Births and Christenings, 1631-1900s  Danish 3,221,727 30 Dec 2008 30 Dec 2008
Denmark Marriages, 1631-1900s Danish 1,790,760 30 Dec 2008 30 Dec 2008
Norway Births and Christenings, 1600s-1800s  Norwegian 2,866,980 23 Apr 2009 23 Apr 2009
Norway Marriages, 1600s-1800s Norwegian 1,391,388 23 Apr 2009 23 Apr 2009
Netherlands Births and Christenings, 1608-1882 Dutch 771,039 30 Dec 2008 30 Dec 2008
Netherlands Marriages, 1637-1892 Dutch 402,402 30 Dec 2008 30 Dec 2008

Since then, I’ve found a couple more databases from the Western Europe Vital Records Index:

Database Language Size Published Updated
Spain, Albacete Province, Births and Christenings, 1504-1905 Spanish 721,311 11 Dec 2008 11 Dec 2008
Spain, Albacete Province, Marriages, 1564-1899 (in Spanish) Spanish 226,404 11 Dec 2008 11 Dec 2008


Next time, we’ll take a deeper look into these indexes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vote for Your Fav 40

Click to go to the Fav 40 ballot Fresh from their successful 101 Best Web Sites awards, Family Tree Magazine is now sponsoring a contest to honor your favorite 40 genealogy blogs. Here’s how it will work: The magazine staff has sifted through the blogs you nominated (see item 7 in my “Labor Day News Ketchup”) and divided them into several categories. You get to vote for several favorite blogs in each category. Look for the Ancestry Insider in category #8, “News and Resources.”

Click here to vote now!

Voting will continue until election day-ish. OK, actually until November 5th. But election day is easier to remember.

The staff of Family Tree Magazine will take the top 80 vote-getters from which they will select 40 blogs. They will announce the winners in the May 2010 issue of Family Tree Magazine and in the Genealogy Insider. (We’re cousins, in case you were wondering. The Insiders are tight. But I still need your votes.)

Interestingly, you can vote as many times as you like! Stuff that ballot box! Come on; you know you want to. Click here to go vote again.

Don’t believe me? For more information, see “Family Tree 40 Blog Voting is Open,” over on the Genealogy Insider.

The candidate blogs are all pretty wonderful. Yah, yah, I’m going to say it. It’s an honor just to be nominated. Trite but true. If you’ve not yet satiated your blog budget, best check these out. They are listed in random order on each ballot, so don’t get lost when you go to vote.

The Categories and the Candidates

1. When you go vote, you get to choose THREE Blogs from the ALL-AROUND category:

2. You get to choose TWO blogs from the CEMETERIES category:

3. ONE blog in the GENEALOGY COMPANIES category:

4. ONE blog in the GENETIC GENEALOGY category.

5. FOUR Blogs from the HERITAGE category.

6. THREE Blogs from the HOW-TO category.

7. THREE blogs from the LOCAL/REGIONAL category.

8. Choose the Ancestry Insider and THREE OTHER Blogs from the NEWS/RESOURCES category.

9. TWO blogs from the PHOTOS/HEIRLOOMS category.

10. TWELVE Blogs from the PERSONAL/FAMILY category.

Please don’t write and tell me I cheated by re-wording the instructions to #8! Fine! I admit it. You’ll just have to read the actual wording on the real ballot when you click here to go vote again.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

NFS Rollout News for Motion Picture Day

The 6th of October plays an important role in the evolution of motion pictures. In 1889 Thomas Edison showed his first motion picture and 38 years later the first big talking movie, The Jazz Singer opened.

Rumors that the New FamilySearch (NFS) will also take 38 years have proven unfounded. Yesterday’s announcement of 46 stakes proves the rollout is in full motion. Yesterday 28 stakes rolled live in Ogden and the remaining 31 stakes will go live next Monday, which will make Ogden the 119th temple on NFS.

And what seems to be a carrot for preparedness, the 15 most prepared stakes in the Mt. Timpanogos district went live yesterday. Another 15 stakes will go live next week. This has produced an interesting horse race of preparedness among the ten communities in the district. I’ve prepared the graph below showing how each community is doing.

Rollout by City

The green bars show the percentage of the stakes in each community that went live yesterday. The purple bars show the additional percentage rolling next Monday. The disparity among the communities is not as great as at first may appear because many communities have just a handful of stakes. For example, each Saratoga Springs stake accounts for 33% of their total, so only one stake would take them from last place to 2nd place.

Outlook for the Future

Will FamilySearch continue to whittle away temple districts alternating between northernmost and southernmost? Will they continue rolling out 25 to 30 stakes per week towards the primary temple district? Will they continue using 15 stakes per week as a preparedness carrot?

If I modify my last predictions with this pattern, it looks like this:

  Mt. Timpanogos ? 19 Oct 2009 (31) ? Finishes same day as previous prediction
  Bountiful ? 19 Oct 2009 (15) ?
26 Oct 2009 (17) ?
Starts earlier than previous prediction
Finishes same day
  Draper ? 26 Oct 2009 (25) ? Starts same, finishes earlier
  Salt Lake ? 2 Nov 2009 (30) ?
9 Nov 2009 (30) ?
16 Nov 2009 (11) ?
Starts same

Finishes same
  Oquirrh ? 2 Nov 2009 (15) ?
9 Nov 2009 (11) ?
Starts earlier
Finishes earlier
  Jordan River ? 16 Nov 2009 (34) ?
23 Nov 2009 (45) ?
30 Nov 2009 (32) ?
Starts same

Ends earlier


I DON’T KNOW IF THIS IS CORRECT!!! My guesses for Ogden were pretty close. And my new predictions are pretty close to my old predictions. If I were a stake in Bountiful, I’d get prepared ASAP.

Stay tuned!

When your stake gets a go live date, let me know at . And stay tuned to “Temple Districts Using New FamilySearch” for the latest news!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Why Mormons Build Temples

Salt Lake Temple by the Ancestry Insider FamilySearch sponsor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held its semi-annual world-wide conference this past weekend. While the Church has prepared a glossy video message to explain to non-Mormons why the Church builds temples, some may wish to compare the internal messaging given by Church president and prophet, Thomas S. Monson, to members during the conference. Said Monson,

We continue to build temples. We desire that as many members as possible have an opportunity to attend the temple without traveling inordinate distances. Worldwide, 83% of our members live within 200 miles of a temple. That percentage will continue to increase as we construct new temples around the world.

Currently, there are 130 temples in operation with 16 announced or under construction.

This morning I’m pleased to announce five additional temples for which sites are being acquired and which in coming months and years will be built in the following locations:

  • Brigham City, Utah,
  • Concepción, Chile,
  • Fortaleza, Brazil,
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and
  • Sapporo, Japan.

Millions of ordinances are performed in the temples each year on behalf of our deceased loved ones. May we continue to be faithful in performing such ordinances for those who are unable to do so for themselves. I love the words of President Joseph F. Smith as he spoke of temple service and of the spirit world beyond mortality.1

Said he,

“Through our efforts in their behalf their chains of bondage will fall from them, and the darkness surrounding them will clear away, that light may shine upon them and they shall hear in the spirit world of the work that has been done for them by their [people] here, and will rejoice with you in your performance of these duties.”2

For more information about the five new temples, see the official news release of the Church.



     1. Thomas S. Monson, 179th Semiannual General Conference, 3 October 2009, morning session; archived online at,5239,23-1-1117,00.html.

     2. Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939), 469-70.