Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Insider Ketchup: 1 February 2011

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

FamilySearch Bullet

FamilySearch January Blogger Seminar

FamilySearch recently hosted a bloginar. It was like an online “Bloggers Day” event like used to have. The tidbits I came away with are:

  • You know I’ve long ridiculed the name “new FamilySearch.” Right away I started calling it New FamilySearch (capital N) or simply NFS to differentiate it from the various new FamilySearch websites. Later I switched to “the new FamilySearch (NFS) Tree.” In the bloginar we learned that the silly name has finally been replaced with something sensible: FamilySearch Family Tree.
  • FamilySearch is not closing down family history centers. That rumor is untrue (although there are plenty of rumors that local ecclesiastical leaders are closing centers under the false notion that centers are no longer needed). There are microfilms that FamilySearch does not have permission to digitize. There are microfilms that FamilySearch can digitize but can’t make available to the public at large. For these and other reasons, family history centers are still necessary. In fact…
  • Some time later this year you will be able to order microfilm online to be delivered to your local family history center. The system has been in use in Europe for some time, but kinks are still being worked out in the states. The international site is .
  • You won’t be able to order every microfilm, however. As microfilms are digitized and published on in Historical Record Collections, the film will be withdrawn from circulation. I bet that causes wailing and gnashing of teeth. And I bet some at FamilySearch are clueless why this would be so.
  • FamilySearch, operating as the Genealogical Society of Utah, has replaced most of its microfilm cameras with digital cameras. FamilySearch is poised to begin publishing digital camera images at a much faster pace than it could process microfilm for use in family history centers.

Who Do You Think You Are, Fridays on NBCBullet  They’re Baa-ack!

Who Do You Think You Are? is back for a second season, starting this Friday night on NBC. Vanessa Williams kicks off this season. Watch this show to make it a success so we can interest more people in genealogy.

I’m going to start a rumor, here and now. Ladies and gentlemen, you heard it here first. is a major sponsor of WDYTYA. I wonder if it was cheaper for to buy ProGenealogists rather than pay for WDYTYA research. That, in turn, seems to have killed Expert Connect.

FamilySearch BulletThe Generations Project” was also renewed for a second season. FamilySearch is a sibling of sorts to Generations producer, Brigham Young University. While you don’t have much chance of getting on WDYTYA, the Generations Project spotlights regular people. Visit their website to apply.

The new iPhone/iPad appBullet iPhone/iPad App

You all probably make me as an iPhone kind-of guy. To be honest, I don’t have an iPhone or an iPad. This new app, however, is too much. I gotta get me one of these! Learn more on the website.

FamilySearch Bullet

Super Bowl Indexing Sunday

A Canadian man is organizing a grassroots campaign to use Super Bowl Sunday to break the single day FamilySearch indexing record. Ken Sisler wants everyone to index as they watch the game, or don’t watch the game, as the case may be. He has created a Facebook Event to help promote the effort.

Prior to 2011, the record—1,867,808 names indexed in a single day—had stood since February 2008. But last month a new record, 1,884,616, was set on Sunday, January 9th only to be broken the following Sunday when 1,955,890 names were indexed. The momentum carried through into Martin Luther King Day when the record was broken yet again. Super Indexing Sunday must surpass 1,982,999 to set a new record. Go team, go!


Consume at your own risk

The rest of this ketchup has been sitting around since before October 2010. Be careful. Consume at your own risk. It may be rancid.


Bullet seems to be doing a good job of competitive analysis. There new tree views are similar to the new FamilySearch tree’s. See “Member Trees: A New Way to View Your Member Tree.”

Bullet has given in on another point which made long-time subscribers reject their 2008 New Search. See “Ancestry Search: Searching using Birth, Death and other Life Events.”


  Funeral home industry promoters have a website called Hoping to draw visitors, they've informed various bloggers about an online graphic containing interesting facts. What they don't realize, is that their nation-wide directory of funeral homes is, of itself, a draw for genealogists. For more information, read “Grave curiosities.”

Bullet New Photo Upload Tool The old photo upload utility was buggy, difficult to use, security sensitive—and lightning fast. I was sad to see it go.

Bullet released a cool new feature called Suggested Records. When you view the index page for some records, will suggest other records that might refer to the same person. This new feature is good both for haters and subscribers, alike. takes the efforts of paying subscribers—saving records into their personal trees—and leverages it to make money by providing suggestions to other subscribers. I call this the Amazon Model. (I notice back in October 2007 I said to stay tuned, meaning I would explain later what I meant. Well, stay tuned…)

FamilySearch BulletFamilySearch has released a DVD of Jay Verkler’s NGS conference keynote, “Coming of Age,” including the video tour of the Granite Mountain Record Vault. If you didn’t happen to pick up a copy at the FGS conference, you can order one online at for $4.50. The “Celebration of Family History” from NGS is also available for the same price.

But if you just want to watch the video clips, you can find them on FamilySearch’s YouTube channel.

Bullet took a page from the FamilySearch playbook and establishing Labs. The mission of Labs sounds much like FamilySearch Labs.

Ancestry Labs is a place where we post experimental projects to gather user input. This is a part of the site that will allow us to test new ideas and concepts, give you a preview of what we’re thinking for the future, and allow us to hear feedback directly from you.

The projects we place in this area are likely to be early prototypes, and although some of them may make their way into the main Ancestry site, some may not. Please explore our current projects and share your feedback.

The first project on Ancestry Labs was PersonView. Check it out at Read more in the announcement from Tony Macklin.

FamilySearch BulletBullet Ancestry.comThe FamilySearch/ census partnership bore additional fruit on the website. announced the release of the improved 1910 census images provided by FamilySearch. is releasing the new combined index in pieces. The first set of states was released simultaneously with the improved images.

Following the announcement of the partnership, FamilySearch issued a statement clarifying access to indexes and images. See “Indexed Records to Remain Free on” The statement announced that free access to the images would be available to “FamilySearch members” in 2009. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Now we’re into 2011 and it still hasn’t happened.

Do you think is shaking in their boots worrying about FamilySearch putting them out of business?

FamilySearch BulletFamilySearch took a page from the playbook and held its first Blogger Day. (OK. That ketchup was rather old and rancid. But I wrote it four months ago, and still needed it to balance the item earlier about taking a page from FamilySearch’s playbook.)

Bullet Ancestry.comI panned’s Find Famous Relatives feature. (See “Relative Finder, Style.”) has added a more useful feature. The “View Relationship to Me” feature calculates the relationship of anyone in your own tree to yourself. Since the quality of the data in your own tree is within your own control, the feature doesn’t suffer from the garbage in the One World Tree. Now if they would add a relationship calculator for any two individuals in your tree, they will have caught up to where PAF was many, many years ago. For more information, see the announcement on the blog.

FamilySearch BulletI’ve been asked what a system origin of “EASy” means when it appears in some historic records on the FamilySearch beta. For an example, see the record for Anna Pereira, baptized 19 Mar 1783 in São Luiz Rei, Mostardas, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in the “Brazil Baptisms, 1688-1935” collection. According to the FamilySearch website, EASy stands for Extraction Administration System. This is the system used prior to FamilySearch Indexing.

Old and crusty mustard:

Once again, I barely made a dent in my backlog. It seems like I do this every time. Come to think of it, am I reliving this same day, over and over again?

1 comment:

  1. AI, you said/complained, regarding's releationship-calculator in the tree individual Overview pages, "Now if they would add a relationship calculator for any two individuals in your tree, they will have caught up to where PAF was many, many years ago."

    It is not obvious, but you can do this. From a relative's Overview page, click on the View Relationship to Me link. The software will calculate relationship with root person in tree or with the last person with whom the tree owner calculated a relationship. At the bottom of the relationship screen, next to the root person's name is a teensy link "not you?" Click on it and you get a box to find a different person in the tree with whom to calculate a relationship.

    True, this is not freestanding, you have to begin with one of the persons of relationship-interest. But give them credit. The designers of this widget posted a query on the topic Message Boards, asking what users would like to see. The initial design did not include the tree-wide selection option, but they put it in due to user requests for this flexibility.


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