Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hidden Gems: Fast Places to Eat Near the FHL

Postcard from Paradise

Dear readers,

Having more fun than… well… more fun than is usually legal in the state of Utah. Thank you, National Genealogical Society for coming to town! Wishing you were here. Thanks, dear friends, who have said hello at the conference.

I’ll be back to my regular schedule of blogging once NGS is over. I’ve got so much to share!

-- The Insider

Hidden Gems: Fast Places to Eat Near the FHL

Gone are the two nearby malls and their two eateries. Next time you come to the family history library (FHL) or if you’re in town for the NGS conference, here’s some ideas of places to get a fast lunch without going too far from the library.

New Food Court

The food court taking the place of the two former food courts is on the opposite side of the two blocks. You can find it on State Street, two Salt Lake blocks East of the Library or Salt Palace. (See map, below.) Six to eight places are open thus far.

Map picture

Joseph Smith Memorial Building

I’ve mentioned before the places to eat in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building (JSMB). Don’t forget to pick up your 10% discount coupon from the FamilySearch Center, also in the JSMB. You can see the JSMB on the map above near the intersection of South Temple Street and Main Street. For a quick lunch, the Nauvoo Cafe, off the building’s beautiful lobby, is the place to go.

LDS Church Office Building

Experienced FHL attendees know that the cafeteria in the LDS Church Office building is available to FHL visitors. Passes to eat at the cafeteria are available at the exit desk in the FHL. But I’ve been informed that during NGS, attendees can eat there without a pass. From the FHL, cross the street and walk through Temple Square. The flowers there this time of year are another hidden gem of Salt Lake City. Walk past the temple and exit the square through the east gate. Walk towards the Church Office building, the tall white office tower. Enjoy the water features and additional flowers. Enter the Church Office building lobby through the east revolving doors and ask a hostess (or anyone else you see) how to get to the cafeteria.

Since the recession started, breakfast has been eliminated. The cafeteria opens for lunch at 11:00am and closes at 1:30pm. The entrée menu for the remainder of this week is:

Thursday Chicken Parmesan over noodles * $5.10
  BBQ Rib Sandwich * $4.50
  Sliced to Order Roast Prime Rib * $7.00
  Hawaiian Haystack Bar $0.30 / oz
Friday Gourmet Burger * $4.85
  Mediterranean Chicken * $5.50
  Pasta Bar $0.25 / oz

* All entrees served with one side - Additional sides are $ 0.75 each.

Available everyday are the salad bar, sandwich bar, grill, soups, desserts, and beverages.


I suppose JBs is not hidden and some won’t consider it a gem. But if you like breakfast like I do, you’ll want to try their all-you-can eat breakfast buffet. For lunch, I wouldn’t consider them fast. But the ham and egg on sourdough is wonderful. I like it without the tomato and mayo, but that’s just me. It has been a while since I checked, but coffee was $1.93; orange juice, $1.99; and a large orange juice, $2.99.

This is Julia Ancestor Inner-Child saying, bon appétit.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hidden Gems: Participate in David Rencher session

Sorry I’ve been silent these many weeks. First I was slurping up all the documents scanned for me at the St. George conference. Then I’ve been preparing like a madman for the NGS conference. I can’t see any light yet at the end of the tunnel, but I’m dying to share some hidden gems with you. Most will be applicable anytime you’re in Salt Lake City. Today’s gem may be of interest to everyone.

Participation invited in NGS Conference session grand experiment

This message on the APG mailing list piqued my curiosity:

David Rencher (FamilySearch CGO) and team are conducting a grand experiment during the NGS Conference this week and you are invited to participate.

The session is titled "Doing Research in Real Time--An Exhilarating Collaboration Experience!" The premise is that a group of geographically spaced, cooperating individuals with access to different resources could conduct daylong research projects, concentrating on a particular research goal, and accomplish more in less time and with better results.

This demonstration will be tricky because we are attempting to compress a weekend-long project into a single conference session. Consequently, field volunteers must research, gather, digitize, and upload sources prior to the session and then be available during the session. The session (F308) is at 8:00AM MDT (10am EDT, 7am PDT) on Friday, 30 April 2010.

The research project is to gather digital images of original source documents for the family and descendents of Peyton C Clements (1805-1870) and Angeline Rencher (1818-1870). The scenario will begin with a document from Peyton's probate file which lists his heirs. (See or on )

* An NGS attendee with laptop and wireless modem is needed to attend the session and manage Tweet communications with the field volunteers

Field volunteers are needed to visit locations mentioned in the probate file and gather documents about the heirs mentioned:

* Eutaw, Greene, Alabama

* Forkland, Greene, Alabama

* Methodist Cemetery, Forkland

* Fort Deposit, Lowndes, Alabama

* Myrtlewood Cemetery, Fort Deposit

* Greenwood, Mississippi

* Hale County, Alabama

During the session participants will communicate using Twitter and contribute their results via Prior to the session, ascertain if the user license is acceptable to you, register on, upload your images to your gallery, and add proper source citations.

If you plan on participating, contact me for further instructions.


Robert Raymond
Information Division
FamilySearch, a service of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Office:  JSMB 6W

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

That sounds interesting. I wonder if anyone can “listen in” on the tweets? I’ll see what I can find out and let you know.

Follow NGS on Twitter

If you can’t attend, watch for my tweets during the show and my articles afterwards. It looks like most people are using #NGS. While #NGS has also been used recently for “Next Generation Sequencing” and a Russian transportation company, it looks like NGS Conference tweets may dominate. #NGS10 is also being used. I think I will use the later only if things get ugly on #NGS.

If none of that paragraph made sense to you, then keep an eye out for my articles following the conference.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Vault Vednesday: Single Day Registration

2010 NGS Family History Conference

The NGS Family History Conference begins next Wednesday, 28 April 2010. There are just 7 days left!

Did you know you can register for a single day of the NGS Conference? I’m looking through the the class schedule for this final edition of Vault Vednesday. And I’m thinking if I could attend just one day of the conference, Saturday might be it. Fifty classes, 10 tracks. CD-ROM containing syllabi for classes from the entire week.

Let me tempt you with just a few of the many classes I wish I could attend on Saturday:

  • BCG Skillbuilding track. You know how I feel about genealogical maturity.
    • “Beating the Bushes: Finding Jacob Bush's Father,” by Elissa Scalise Powell looks like a great case study using the Genealogical Proof Standard.
    • “The Time of Cholera: A Case Study about Historical Context,” by Alison Hare should be a great case study about using historical context.
    • “Two Dan Dyes: Correcting Past Errors with Solid Evidence,” by Debra Mieszala sounds exactly like a problem in my ancestor I’m trying to get fixed.
  • The West track:
    • “Faces of the River and the Records They Left Behind,” Patricia Walls Stamm.
    • “Utah Territorial Records,” Russell S. Lynch.
    • “Mapping the West,” Richard G. (Rick) Sayre. I confess; I am a cartophile.
  • Writing/Photography track:
    • Anything by Maureen A. Taylor, “the Photo Detective.”
    • Anything about writing; you all would welcome a step-up in my writing skills.
  • Records and More Records tracks. Records are essential to genealogical maturity.
    • All ten classes!
  • Research Essentials track. “Essentials.” That says it all.
    • All five classes.
  • ICAPGen track. Just like the BCG skillbuilding track, most classes apply to hobbyists and professionals, alike.
    • Anything about Google by Daniel Lynch—he wrote the book, after all.
    • “Advanced Methodology: The Paradigm of Family History Research,” John M. Kitzmiller. Again, methodology and genealogical maturity go hand in hand.
  • GenTech tracks. Like Friday, there are ten classes filling two complete tracks.
    • “FamilySearch and its Unique Role in the Genealogical Community,” David E. Rencher, FamilySearch Chief Genealogical Officer.
    • “Social Networking for Genealogists,” Drew Smith. Again, the definitive book author. If you haven’t got the message yet, when you attend a national conference, you expose yourself to the experts who write the books.
    • Who can resist classes on new technologies like DNA, voice recognition, and global positioning system (GPS) devices in addition to old standbys: laptops, web sites, and a desktop family tree program.

Even if you can’t make the whole week, plan on coming for Saturday (1 May 2010).

Come on… You know you want to…

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Conference Week on a Budget

Conference on a budget As far as the NGS Conference, by now you all know I recommend attending the whole shebang. But I also realize that $245 plus four days of expenses may be beyond some. There are ways to participate in conference week for less.

Here is a range of lower-cost alternatives to the $245 NGS conference fee:

  • $210: NGS members can attend NGS for $210, that’s a $35 savings. That’s more than half the membership dues. You ought to be a member to increase your genealogical maturity in any case. So depending on how you wish to think about it, you’re either saving $35 on the conference or on dues. Click here for more information.
  • $120: Attend the BYU Conference on Computerized Family History and Genealogy on Monday and Tuesday of conference week. Your $120 gets you two days of conference sessions, keynote by David Rencher, and 12 classes chosen from among 120 choices. Like NGS, this conference is at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
  • $100: Register for a single day of the NGS Conference for $100. For more information about this option, watch for my Vault Vednesday article tomorrow. Click here for more information.
  • $60: Stay home, join NGS for $60, and enjoy an entire year of member benefits. Click here to join.
  • $40: You don’t have to be a conference attendee to attend either NGS workshop, Genealogy 101 or Genealogy 201, on Saturday. $40 each includes a sack lunch. Click here for more information.
  • $25: If you’re a student, attend the BYU Conference (see above) for just $25.
  • $15: If a family member is already a member of NGS, you can join for just $15. Click here to join.

Free is Good

If all the alternatives, above, are still beyond your price range, perhaps I can entice you with one last price point: FREE! Find yourself in Salt Lake City during conference week and there are a number of opportunities available to you at no charge:

  • The NGS Conference Exhibit Hall may be the largest assemblage of genealogy vendors ever assembled. Look for these extras:
    • Show specials on many of your favorite genealogy programs and products.
    • Sit-down demonstrations, not unlike conference sessions, are offered by several vendors of genealogy programs.
    • typically has several computers available for free access to their website. Consultants are on hand to give personalized research help.
    • I don’t know if Legacy will be holding their usual drawing for a free Netbook computer, but if they aren’t, you are likely to run into other prize drawings. When the FGS conference was last held in Salt Lake I won a hotel stay for 2 at a property close to the Family History Library.
    • At that same conference, I picked up a nice collection of free publications at the National Archives booth. I have high hopes they’ll do the same thing this year.
    • SWAG. That’s the official, programmers’ term for free promotional items given out at trade shows: pens, high lighters, post-it notes, stickers, rulers, pocket flashlights, and miniature magnifying glasses—all labeled with someone’s logo—are SWAG I’ve seen at recent genealogy shows. (Back in my professional SWAGger days, I once bagged 21 t-shirts at a computer trade show! Those were the days. But I digress…)
    • Chocolate. Or breath mints. They’re available at every other booth. The chocolate is worth mentioning, the mints not so much.
  • The GenTech Technology Hall in or adjacent to the Exhibit Hall offers views into technologies useful to genealogists. The hall will include a mixture of vendors and technology demonstrations. Also,
    • Tour the FamilySearch Digital Pipeline in the FamilySearch GenTech booth. They may have other technology demonstrations as well.
    • Attend 20 minute mini-sessions demonstrating products and technologies.
    • Use a computer lab connected to the Family History Library desktop and its amazing collection of premium websites and resources.
  • is offering free document scanning. Signups for each day are held first thing in the morning. Inquire at the booth to learn where to sign up.
  • is sponsoring a free Who Do You Think Your Are viewing party Friday night. Watch the final episode and enjoy free snacks.
  • A Celebration of Family History – I hesitate to mention this event because officially it is sold out. Although there is no charge, tickets are required for this event.
    • David McCullough, nationally renowned, Pulitzer Prize winning author, is coming to Salt Lake City to speak on the connections that tie families together through the generations. Hosted by President Henry B. Eyring of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this celebration will feature special audiovisual presentations and music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.
    • The event is Thursday, 29 April 2010 at 7:00pm in the Conference Center. Those with tickets should be in their seats 30 minutes before the event start time. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The program will last approximately 90 minutes.
    • Best dress is requested. Cameras, recording devices, backpacks, food, and beverages are not allowed in the Conference Center.
    • Why tell you about this event if you can’t get a ticket? Because standby seating is available. It is on a first-come, first-serve basis. The standby line starts at the North Gate on Temple Square. Depending on the number of people that show up, if you are in the standby line by 5:00pm, I think you have an excellent chance of getting into the event.
  • Yesterday I mentioned a full day of no-cost events available to family history consultants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Monday, April 19, 2010

CLARIFICATION: Consultant Activities are Tuesday

In my previous article, I unfortunately mentioned two different days for next week’s family history consultant meetings. The correct date is Tuesday, 27 April 2010. I’ve corrected the online copy of the article to consistently refer to Tuesday.

Family History Consultant Tuesday Events

This article will be of interest to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

UPDATE: Tuesday is the correct day. My apologies for making that unclear.

Elder Allan PackerIn conjunction with family history conference week in Salt Lake City, 26 April to 1 May 2010, family history consultants of the Church will want to attend several events, available to consultants without charge.

Fireside with Elder Allan Packer

On Tuesday (27 April 2010) evening at 7:00pm, Elder Allan Packer will direct remarks to family history consultants and workers of the Church. The fireside will be in the Tabernacle on Temple Square with overflow seating in the Assembly Hall. Please be in your seats at least 20 minutes before 7:00pm. Spouses are welcome as are any adults so long as seats are available. Parking will be particularly hard to find and attendees are encouraged to carpool and to use public transportation.

Elder Packer is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and is an associate executive director of the family history department. The fireside will be enlightening, informative, and uplifting. Consultants are urged to please attend.

Consultant Training

Copyright IRI Also on Tuesday, the Church will present three training classes for consultants. The set of three classes will be presented twice to accommodate individual schedules. The morning session goes from 9:00am to 12:00 noon. The classes will be repeated in the afternoon from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Both sessions will be presented in the Little Theater of the Conference Center. Enter through the western most set of Conference Center doors. Seating is first-come, first seated; overflow seating will be provided for the afternoon session.

Church History Library Open House

The Church History Library (CHL) will host an open house especially for consultants on Tuesday from 4:00 to 6:00pm. Whereas CHL tours available to NGS Conference attendees on Wednesday will offer non-denominational demonstrations of state-of-the-art conservation techniques, the Tuesday event for consultants will also offer LDS pioneer ancestry research assistance.


Here’s a summary of the Tuesday schedule. Remember to carpool.

9:00am – 12:00 Consultant Training, Morning Session
1:00pm – 4:00pm Consultant Training, Afternoon Session (repeat)
4:00pm – 6:00pm Church History Library Open House
6:40pm Be seated before this time for Fireside
7:00pm Consultant Fireside with Elder Allan Packer

Later this week (perhaps tomorrow) I’ll talk about free opportunities available to all that may be of interest to consultants also.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vault Vednesday: Last Day to Pre-register

2010 NGS Family History ConferenceThis special edition of Vault Vednesday is coming to you on Monday, 12 April 2010, to remind you that TODAY is THE LAST DAY to pre-register for the NGS Family History Conference. Next week Vault Vednesday will return to its normal day.

Friday Class Picks

With just two Wednesdays before the start of the conference (I’m so excited!), I have just enough time to give you my class picks for Friday and Saturday. Remember, these reflect my interests. Check the schedule for classes you might enjoy better.

  • I’m looking at the “BCG Skillbuilding” track, not because I am going professional, but for classes that will increase my genealogical maturity.
    • “Maximizing Your Use of Evidence,” Thomas W. Jones.
    • “Interpreting and Evaluating Name Lists,” David E. Rencher.
  • Of course, the “Research” track has my interest for the same reason.
    • “Latter-day Saint Family History Research,” Kip Sperry.
    • “Migration Out of New England,” David Curtis Dearborn.
    • “The Library of Congress: Pursuing Your Family History in the National Library,” James P. Sweany.
    • “The Science of Keeping Records,” Christopher McAfee.
    • “Tips for Field Research for Family Historians,” Kip Sperry.
  • Genealogical maturity requires proper interpretation of records. Two tracks covering records are “Records” and “Working with Records.”
    • “Tho’ They Were Poor, They May Have Been Rich in Records,” Paula Stuart-Warren.
    • “Beyond Federal Population Schedules,” Julie Miller.
    • “Survey First, Settle Later: A Discussion of the Public Lands Survey System From Its Origins in New England,” Roberta Bobbi King.
    • “Hell on the Home Front: Damages & the Claims They Generated,” Elizabeth Shown Mills.
    • “Neighborhood Reconstruction: Key to a Richer Family History,” George R. Ryskamp.
    • “Estate Records—More Than Just Wills,” Linda Woodward Geiger.
    • “Kodak Moments and Technicolor Dreams: Twentieth-century Photos in the Family Archive,” Maureen A. Taylor.
    • “Using and Evaluating County Histories and Published Genealogies,” Jan Alpert.
    • “Identifying Women: The Ultimate Brick Wall,” Barbara Vines Little.
  • As a genealogical technologists, I am also interested in the two (count them, two!) GenTech tracks.
    • “Doing Research in Real Time– An Exhilarating Collaboration Experience!” David E. Rencher and Robert Raymond.
    • “FamilySearch Research Tools for Genealogists,” Diane Loosle.
    • “Digital Photography for Genealogists,” Barry Ewell.
  • And some from the “NARA” track:
    • “Genealogical Resources at NARA's Rocky Mountain Region,” Rick Martinez.
    • “The American West – Publications of the National Archives,” Richard G. Sayre.
    • “Using Records in the National Archives: A Researcher's View,” Marie Varrelman Melchiori.


The conference begins 28 April 2010. There are just 16 days, 1 hours, 37 minutes, and 13 seconds left.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vault Vednesday: Iron Versus Granite

2010 NGS Family History ConferenceIn today’s edition of Vault Vednesday I’ll talk about your last chance to pre-register for the NGS Family History Conference and I’ll talk about the Iron Mountain record vault.

Pre-registration Deadline

With pre-registration ending Monday, this is the last Wednesday you have to pre-register. Best be doing it today so you don’t forget. Although if you enjoy procrastination and standing in line, you can always register at the show.

Let’s review what you have going for you when you come to NGS 2010 in Salt Lake City:

Date Reasons to Come to NGS Conference
2010-01-06 GMRV virtual tour and Jay Verkler Keynote
2010-01-13 Exhibit halls (Including New GenTech Hall)
2010-01-20 Breadth of Classes Offered
2010-01-27 An Evening Celebration of Family History
2010-02-03 LDS Church History Library Open House
2010-02-10 FamilySearch Open House
2010-02-17 Ask an Expert
2010-02-24 Wednesday Class picks
2010-03-10 Thursday Class Picks
2010-03-24 Multiple Conferences, Workshops
2010-03-31 Luncheons/Dinners


Pre-registration must be postmarked by 12 April 2010. There are just 5 days left.
The conference begins 28 April 2010. There are just 21 days left.

Iron Mountain versus Granite Mountain

Corbis archive in Iron Mountain Utahns and perhaps some genealogists may be surprised to learn that the Granite Mountain Record Vault (GMRV) is not the only record vault in the world and probably not the most famous, either. I’ve already mentioned the GMRV’s little-known neighbor, Perpetual Storage. Insider reader, John Gasson, mentioned a record vault in England: The DeepStore vault in the Winsford Rock Salt Mine. (Private message to John: I’m honored. No apology necessary!)

One candidate for most famous is for a “record” of a different type: an archive of the world’s plant life. It is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

I was surprised to learn that the fictional rooms inside Mount Rushmore are not just fiction. The Hall of Records contains near permanent copies of the texts of the foundational documents of the United States of America, sealed with a granite capstone.

My guess for the most famous record vault, at least in the United States, would be the Iron Mountain storage facility used by various branches of the US government, security agencies, and leading companies, including Bill Gates’ Corbis photo archive.

Genealogists might readily defend the reputation of the Granite Mountain Record Vault by pointing out that the Iron Mountain vault is not excavated from a mountain of iron, but of limestone. And it is not in a mountain, at least by Western standards. And “Iron Mountain” is not even the name of the vault; it is the name of the corporation that owns the vault.

Nevertheless, this archival storage facility, located 220 feet underground, is a veritable underground city. It is two miles by three miles in size, and has its own water treatment plant and fire station. It contains over 100 individual storage vaults. Nearly 3,000 people work full-time in this 145-acre complex.

The vault, near Boyers in Butler County, Pennsylvania, was previously owned by National Underground Storage. Before that it was US Steel’s Annandale limestone mine. To learn more about the Iron Mountain storage facility, try these links:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Insider Ketchup for 2 April 2010

Ancestry Insider KetchupTime to ketchup on FamilySearch and news stories. Several recent announcements signal tremors deep inside the world.

Bullet Ancestry.comThe irony is unmistakable. is a company dedicated to helping people connect with their roots.’s own roots lead back over 25 years ago to Ancestry, Inc., a genealogical publishing company. Last week,, Inc. announced it is divesting its own roots, Ancestry Publishing.

Whether Ancestry Publishing is profitable or just less profitable than the website, the result of the divestiture is the same: profitability of the remaining business goes up. And since stock typically trades at a multiple of earnings, the stock price goes up. has announced the addition of a bunch of new cemeteries. The latest batch are in Uintah County, Utah. They have a nice website. I like the cemetery maps. They even allow corrections to most data. Unfortunately, they don't allow name corrections. That's unfortunate, since they misspelled my relative's name.

Bullet Ancestry.comProfits may also be the motivation behind another recent announcement from they are discontinuing--again--free groups (formerly known as family websites).

Back when, Inc. (the company that had the website) changed their name to, Inc. (the company that had the website),, Inc. (the company) offered free (the website) family websites., Inc. (the company with the website) later dropped the free (the website) family websites. When, Inc. (the company) started adding (the website) 2.0 family websites,, Inc. (the company) offered free (the website) 2.0 websites.

Now that, Inc. (the company with the website) has changed its name back to, Inc. (the company with the website), it has dropped the free (the website) 2.0 websites.

One has to wonder if the problem was the price or if people were just too dang confused. Either way, the liquidation of Ancestry Publishing makes one wonder if will be far behind.

FamilySearch BulletFamilySearch sponsor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently issued a letter to be read in all U.S. congregations, encouraging members to participate in the 2010 United States Census.

Bullet, Inc. has announced the promotion of Eric Shoup to senior vice president of product. He now reports directly to Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer. Previously he reported to Andrew Wait, senior vice president and general manager of family history. I wish I knew how much this change redistributes power inside the (the company) world.

BulletTreeSome family history center (FHC) patrons were up in arms when a change at made it necessary to register for a free account before printing documents. The plan was to add a tab that explained why registration was a good thing, allowing users to save documents to a personal gallery for free access at anytime. When I tested at my FHC last Wednesday, I was able to print without registration.

Bullet Ancestry.comI don’t quite know what to make of this one. According to an anonymous posting from a party claiming to be an affiliate, was two months behind in paying a 4-figure monthly commission. He couldn’t get a reply to his phone calls but when he went public, quickly responded that an “invoicing technicality” had occurred and the check was in the mail.

FamilySearch BulletFamilySearch recently presented Michelle Obama a copy of her genealogy. Seeing the news coverage was disappointing. A publicity photo provided by Senator Harry Reid's office shows Reid rather than Obama. Why? Even if it were a private meetings, cameras are usually present. The ABC TV affiliate in Salt Lake City cropped David Rencher, FamilySearch Chief Genealogical Officer, out of the picture. That wasn't the worst of it. They also misspelled genealogy.

ABC4 misspells genealogyCan't you just see the harried editor?
“Stupid spell checker. That looks right.'”
If he clicked Add to Dictionary, then in the future…

Bullet has released improvements to its member directory. The improvements allow members greater control when searching member profiles. With the improvements you can "find an advanced researcher who lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is focused on the Schultz surname of Western European descent, and speaks German," assuming that such a member exists.

FamilySearch BulletFamilySearch volunteers have been indexing records for 30 years. Until the release of FamilySearch Indexing, the tool shouldering this work has been UDE (Universal Data Entry). A recent memo from FamilySearch parent, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announced the retirement of this grand old father of indexing. Starting last month no new UDE batches were to be distributed. All current work is to be completed and submitted by the end of August.

Most of the volunteers using UDE were retirees. Some took months of personal time to learn to use computers in general and UDE specifically. The memo warns that "Extraction Directors may need additional assistance from [Church] leaders during this challenging time in order to transition extraction workers."

Bullet Ancestry.comThe Monthly Newsletter can now come to your online messages inbox, according to the blog. Am I ever glad. I can't seem to get that thing through any firewalls. Even when working at, there were some months the corporate firewall would eat it. has also added the ability to receive Member Connect Activity notifications in an RSS news reader. For more information, see “RSS Feed for Your Member Connect Activity.” For more information about RSS, don’t use the link provided by the blog. Instead, look at Dick Eastman’s “RSS Feeds Explained.” By the way, the Ancestry Insider is available via RSS, should you decide to try out RSS news readers.

FamilySearch BulletI received an e-mail from FamilySearch early last month giving some interesting FamilySearch Indexing (FSI) statistics. Over 297,869 volunteers have indexed more than 383,944,092 names. The e-mail indicated more volunteers and more efforts are needed. FamilySearch is particularly interested in volunteers with non-English language skills, English handwriting recognition, and simple to advanced indexing expertise.


Gosh darn it; I’ve run out of hamburger again before I’ve run out of ketchup. Here are some quick items:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Scam Targets Genealogists

Ancestor Skimming device is easily attached to computer monitorsSecurity experts are warning consumers of a new scam targeting genealogists.

“At first it was just one or two,” said Hayp Ralphs of Salt Lake City. “It wasn’t until I lost a thousand ancestors in a single day that I noticed what was happening.” Ralphs is one of a growing number of genealogists falling victim to Ancestor Skimming.

Security experts warn that scammers are attaching devices to computer monitors, making it possible to skim users’ ancestry.

One such user, Yule Stay of St. George, Utah, reported losing her entire life’s work. “They’re gone. Just gone. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m too old to start over.”

Security expert, Sully Timothy, had harsh words for Ancestor Skimmers. “I was shocked to learn that people would actually stoop this low. Genealogy is such a great comfort to the elderly. To steal from this segment of the population is, well, despicable.”

Richfield skimming arrests. Courtesy KSL-TV.

The recent arrest of two men in Richfield, Utah for skimming credit cards at gas pumps gave officials their first look at the skimming technology. Officials are now warning genealogists who use public computers.

“These devices are so easy to install,” said police detective Vern Jaykler. “Why break into private homes when it takes less than five minutes to hit a dozen computers in a city library.” Jaykler went on to warn public computer users to check their ancestors frequently.

The nature of the crime makes it hard to prosecute, according to an official in the Florida attorney general’s office who asked not to be identified. “Because no money is involved, proving damages is difficult. With limited staff, this isn’t a crime we are going to prosecute.”

Paul Nauta of FamilySearch said that the organization’s new FamilySearch Tree has thus far proven immune to the attacks, but more effective monitoring will be introduced before the tree is released to the public.

Law enforcement officials contacted six weeks ago, according to spokesperson, Mike Ward, who reported that has already implemented a fix. He declined to disclose the nature of the fix or how many ancestors might have already been lost.

When approached for comment about FamilySearch Certified affiliate products, Gordon Clarke of FamilySearch said the certification process checked for a variety of security threats and certified products were safe. PAF users are subject to a small risk, but the threat can be minimized by taking some simple steps:

  1. When opening a PAF file in public, select Properties from the File menu and make a note of the count of individuals.
  2. While working in PAF, track the number of ancestors added or deleted.
  3. When ready to exit, check the count of individuals again, reconciling the additions and deletions.
  4. If the balance is less than expected, check the date. If it is April Fools Day, then someone is pulling your leg, not your ancestors.