Wednesday, April 30, 2014 Adds Page Control for Swedish Church Records

The Swedish Church Records image and page number controlsOne of the things that makes browsing images difficult on or is that the image numbers don’t match the page numbers. This has been especially problematic for’s Swedish Church Records collection, since some pages have hand-written cross-references to other pages. has addressed this problem by adding an additional control. One can now jump to any image number or any page number in that collection.

This is a great feature, especially for collections like this one that don’t include a name index. It’s one that I’d like to see implemented for all such “browse-only” collections at both and Save to Person in Your Tree featureIn other news, has made it easier to attach a record to someone in your tree after browsing to the record among the images in a collection. Click the Save button, and then Save to Person in Your Tree. A popup appears wherein you select the name from the names indexed on that page, select the tree (if you have more than one), and specify the person. Previously, you had to open the Index pane, find and select the name and then click the Save button.

Another recent addition is a fix to the new Search Sliders interface. When first released, it didn’t show all the stuff you specified for the search. As I recall, it didn’t show anything that wasn’t a name, date, or place. Things like gender, race, and relationship to head were not shown. I’m thinking they also didn’t show all the people and all the places. One had to click Edit Search to show the complete search form to see all that had been entered.

Now there is a link underneath the sliders which expands the area there and displays the additional values.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

FamilySearch Donates $1.5 Million to MoAR

Dennis Brimhall addresses MoAR press conference
Photo courtesy Lisa J. Godfrey

Dennis Brimhall, president and CEO of FamilySearch International, last week presented a check of $1.5 million dollars to the Museum of the American Revolution (MoAR). He did so on behalf of FamilySearch sponsor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The museum is being built in the historic heart of Philadelphia and is set to open in 2016. The gift boosted funds raised on the $150 million project to over $100 million.

“The story of America’s founding is one of faith, family, and religious freedom,” said Brimhall. “The Church is pleased to be a partner in the ongoing efforts to engage people in their heritage in inspiring, immersive, and interactive ways.”

The museum will tell the story of the American Revolution using its collection of objects, artifacts, artwork, and manuscripts. The museum will have permanent and special exhibition galleries, theaters, and large-scale tableaux and will engage people in the history and continuing relevance of the American Revolution.

The museum will include one of the new FamilySearch “Discovery Centers” announced at last year’s FGS conference. (See “Über Cool Family History Center of the Future Shown at #FGS2013.”) According to FamilySearch’s Merrill White, “the Family Discovery Center offers individuals and families simple yet powerful in-person experiences to discover their heritage and have their hearts turned to their ancestors.”

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fold3 Commemorates Civil War Commencement with Free Access

Fold3 Commemorates Civil War CommencementI received this from (the company, not the website):

To remember the commencement of the Civil War in April 1861, Fold3 invites you to explore all records in its Civil War Collection for free April 14–30.

Explore Civil War documents featuring everything from military records to personal accounts and historic writings. Soldier records include service records, pension index cards, “Widows’ Pension” files, Navy survivors certificates, Army registers, and much more. Other record types include photographs, original war maps, court investigations, slave records, and beyond. Items such as the Lincoln Assassination Papers, Sultana Disaster documents, letters to the Adjutant General and Commission Branch, and the 1860 census are also contained in the Civil War Collection.

Confederate-specific records include Confederate service records, amnesty papers, casualty reports, and citizens files, as well as Confederate Navy subject files and Southern Claims Commission documents.

Join Fold3 in its commemoration of the Civil War. Discover information on famous participants as well as your own Civil War ancestors through documents, photos, and images that capture the experiences and vital information of those involved in America’s deadliest conflict. Then commemorate your ancestors by creating or expanding memorial pages for them on Fold3’s Honor Wall []. Get started searching the Civil War Collection here [].

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

#NGS2014GEN Conference Pre-Registration Deadline

The Ancestry Insider is a member of the Official Social Media Press for NGS 2014If you’re planning on going to the 2014 National Genealogical Society’s 2014 annual conference, today is the last day to pre-register, but it is also the last day to buy meal tickets, social events, and workshops.

Here’s a press release I received from the NGS.

Registration for the NGS Conference
and All Ticketed Events
Closes 22 April 2014

Arlington, Va, 16 APRIL 2014: Have you registered for the NGS Family History Conference in Richmond? The deadline for pre-conference registration is 22 April 2014. Registration will be available on-site beginning at 12:00 noon, 6 May 2014, in the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Registration for all meals, social events, and workshops closes on 22 April 2014. No ticket purchases will be available on-site at the conference for meals, social events, or workshops. Likewise, registration for Librarians’ Day also closes on 22 April 2014. For conference information and to register, go to

Breakfast, Luncheons, and the NGS Banquet

Participating organizations sponsor several luncheons during the conference. Seats are still available for several of the luncheons, the NGS First-Timers Breakfast, and the NGS Banquet. Make your reservations now at The NGS First-Timers Breakfast is $24, luncheons are $32, and the banquet is $51. Menus are in the registration brochure at

Live Streaming

If you are unable to attend the NGS 2014 Family History Conference, ten lectures featuring some of the most popular topics and nationally known speakers will be available to you via live streaming.  Details about viewing the live streaming program and the costs can be found at Registration for the live streaming program closes on 30 April 2014.

Society Night

On Wednesday evening 7 May 2014, many Virginia genealogical and historical societies will be available in the Richmond Marriott from 5:15 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. to answer questions about local repositories and resources, discuss their group’s activities, and sell their publications.

Richmond Area Tours

There are a few seats left on the historical tours prior to the NGS 2014 Family History Conference through Richmond Discoveries’ Tours on Tuesday, 6 May 2014. To register go to  The password is NGS2014 and is case sensitive.

Add Items to an Existing Registration

To add meals to your current registration, log on at, click on My Account, select My Events, and then click to Add Sessions. To add pre-conference events, click on My Account and then select Upcoming Events.

You really don’t want to miss this year’s exciting conference program from 7–10 May at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and Richmond Marriott.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records.  The Arlington, Virginia, based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists.  Please visit the NGS Pressroom for further information.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Mailbox: Hiding Dead Individuals Online

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxDear Ancestry Insider,

We living genealogists place dead ancestors on various websites such as FamilySearch,, and RootsWeb World Connect.  We collect every shred of information we can on our living relatives and place it in our PAF or FTM or whatever genealogy program.  However, because of privacy concerns, we truncate and do not post that information on-line.  If we don't truncate that information, the FamilySearch or, or Rootsweb World Connect website does it for us. 

Question: Will these companies eventually put all the information we have collected on these now living persons on line at some future time, say 75 years, like the census?  I'd hate to have collected it all, then have it lost to posterity.  How can we handle these situations to assure eventual access to the next generations?

Charles R. Heath II

Dear Charles,

That’s an interesting question. It made me think. If or FamilySearch automatically hides persons in our trees which they consider living, will those persons automatically reappear at some future day?

I asked and FamilySearch what rules they use to automatically hide people in trees. I asked if there was a certain age past which they are no longer considered dead.

FamilySearch did not respond. spokesperson, Matthew Deighton, wrote that “hides anyone who does not have a death date and who is less than 100 years old.” He also pointed me to an blog article, “Living people in your family tree,” which goes into the issue in more detail. Basically, you can explicitly specify that a person is living. Or will assume they are living using the rule Deighton mentioned.

Unfortunately, neither Deighton nor the article addressed the issue of the passage of time. 

Once flagged as living, is a person in the tree forever hidden, even when they are older than 100 years? My guess is that a person explicitly flagged as living will continue to be considered living forever if you never enter a death date. Your desire to have this information eventually public will be thwarted.

I further guess that if implicitly treated as living because the age is less than 100, that such an individual will be considered dead when they reach the age of 100. If that’s the case, be careful what you say about your living relatives. What you write may one day be visible to the general public. To keep a comment private forever, use the “Add a Note” feature. Notes can be seen only by yourself and others that you give Editor permission to.

Charles, your desire to have your living people revealed after your death—after they are too old to still be living, of course—touches on another issue facing the online public. After you die, what happens to your online information? You don’t need to be an subscriber to have a tree on Your tree there will persist until you remove it. If you leave it up and you and your heirs never come back, presumably will leave it there forever.

Thanks for your thought provoking question.

The Ancestry Insider

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Short Easter Greeting

My goal is to make this blog inoffensive to readers of all religions and denominations. On this Easter morning, permit me a short aside. Mormons—members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—do genealogy “because of Him.” If you want more information, visit


Thursday, April 17, 2014

FamilySearch Obituary Search

imageA couple of people have pointed me to This is a useful little page for searching for obituaries on, but I wonder if it suffers from limitations of which you should be aware.

The page searches the Memories feature of FamilySearch Family Tree, perhaps for stories containing the word “obituary.” It doesn’t seem to search the obituaries being indexed by FamilySearch Indexing. One example collection is “United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899-2012.”

Both have their place. Perhaps FamilySearch will one day have a search system that searches both.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

FamilySearch Breaks, Fixes Image URLs

Several weeks ago users of the website reported that bookmarked URLs to images on stopped working. Users received this error:


A year ago Robert Kehrer, FamilySearch product manager explained that “[links to] FamilySearch person records and their associated images are built on a technology called Persistent Archival Links [PALs]. That is what the pal portion of the record URL means (ex. This is a technology that makes it so that the links should not change.”

In reporting the error above, “GeneJ” complained about “PALs that aren't PALs for long.” Users were angry and fearful.

Randy Wilson, rock star and FamilySearch Information Architect, responded to the report. He said, “This looks like a bug. I will get some engineers working on it.” A couple days later the bug was fixed and old URLs worked as expected.

Wilson explained why the URLs stopped working. FamilySearch had just switched the system it uses to hold records. This caused the URLs of all its images to change. An image that used to be


and the old URL stopped working.

Trouble was, the old URLs were supposed to continue to work. The guts of the PAL (the part before the question mark) didn’t change, so an old URL was supposed to still work. It didn’t. FamilySearch fixed it. Everyone’s (mostly) happy now.

Wilson also revealed that this change won’t be the last. In the coming months FamilySearch will switch from PALs to industry standard ARKs: Archival Resource Keys. He said old PALs will continue to work.

Citation Goobledeegook

This makes me think about some citation principles and why you should always copy and paste the FamilySearch suggested image citation rather than just the URL.
  • Persistent identifiers are not persistent.
  • Redundant information in citations is sometimes a good thing.

I have a family group sheet that lists one source: a Family History Library film number. The problem is, the FHL changed its numbering scheme since that sheet was authored. I have a PAF file that lists a single source: a Pedigree Resource File (PRF) submission identification number. The problem is, FamilySearch changed its numbering scheme when it republished the PRF on the current website. There are citations consisting of nothing more than Dewey call numbers for libraries now using LOC call numbers. Today’s ISBN numbers will be replaced by tomorrow’s ID du jour. Using a lone identification number (or URL) in lieu of a full citation is short sighted.

Redundancy in citations is generally avoided to avoid overly long citations. But in its suggested image citations, FamilySearch is redundant. Consider this citation:

"Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986", images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 12 Apr 2014), Essex > Deeds 1728-1731 vol 56-58 > image 554 of 792.

It has both the PAL URL and the bread crumb trail. If the image is moved from "Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986" to another collection, the PAL will get you to the image no matter what collection it is in. If the PAL breaks, the bread crumb trail will still get you to the image. If the bread crumb trail is changed, the PAL will still work. If several of these change, there is enough raw metadata that with some effort you will be able to relocate the image.

FamilySearch has made copying the image citation convenient. Click Show Citation and Copy Citation. You can then paste the citation where ever it is needed. One day you will be glad you did.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Win Subscription, DNA Test, and Research Package

imageThis month you can win a free sub-scription and other prizes worth more than $3,000. In’s Branch Out Contest six lucky Grand Prize winners will receive:

  • One (1) World Membership,
  • One (1) DNA kit
  • One (1) 8x8 Premium Leather Photo Book from, and
  • Twenty (20) hours of ProGenealogists research.

The research time can be used in a variety of ways, such as to start your tree, or teach you how to use to build your tree, or help you break through a brick wall.

To enter, go to the Branch Out Sweepstakes page. To enter you must provide your:

  • Name,
  • Address,
  • Email Address,
  • Phone Number, and
  • Provide a brief story (500 words or less) about your family history. says the story will not be judged or graded. You must consent to have it displayed in connection with the sweepstakes, so you have to own the story or have the story owner’s permission. may wish to display photographs of the people in the story, so you’ll need to be prepared to obtain permissions to display those as well.

With the tax deadline today, its time to think about getting some money back. The sweepstakes deadline is the end of the month.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Mailbox: More RootsTech Sessions Than I Thought

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxDear Readers,

Two weeks ago I told Claire that all the recorded RootsTech sessions were available on the RootsTech website. Several readers wrote in to set me straight.

Dear Ancestry Insider,

I am chairing a Family History Fair in Naperville, IL on April 26, 2014. As a Roots Tech satellite, we have many more programs available to present than those view able online. Of the 10 presentations being shown at our family history fair, only 2 of them are available online.

Christine Bell

Dear Ancestry Insider,

I counted the number available on the RootsTech Website, there were 19 (of course, I'm pretty mathmatically challenged, so it is possible I counted wrong, but I'm going with 19) I counted the number of videos available under the Fair Organizer's resources (videos that I counted were not specifically aimed at [members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]) and came up with 32. There were two additional videos that I considered of interest to both [members and non-members] but which had been included specifically in the LDS portion, so if you add those in there were 34 that were not available for viewing on the RootsTech website.


Looks like you should use the “Find a Fair” page to check out what locations in your area might be available. There’s a page titled “List of Recorded Classes” that gave a list of classes RootsTech planned to record, subject to change. As you can tell from the comments, local organizers choose which sessions to rebroadcast.

The Ancestry Insider

Friday, April 11, 2014

Darned Family Disagreements

Records say the darnedest things

We depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about our pasts.

Yet sometimes records have anomalies.
Some are amusing or humorous.
Some are interesting or weird.
Some are peculiar or suspicious.
Some are infuriating, even downright laughable.

Yes, “Records Say the Darnedest Things.”

Darned Family Disagreements

Not long ago names were often spelled phonetically. As spelling solidified, siblings sometimes adopted different spellings. Clytee Kleager Gold experienced this within her own family. Members of the family, all buried within two rows of each other, spelled their names three different ways. Clytee provided these pictures:

Grave marker of Henry Klaeger, 1884-1932 Grave marker of the wife of Aug. Klager, died 1919.

Grave marker of August Kleager, died 1925.Clytee’s favorite is August Kleager’s, pictured to the right. Apparently, not all his survivors were willing to help pay for the grave marker. Notice the inscription at the bottom: “Bought by Henry only.”

“What a lasting epitaph,” wrote Clytee. “Way to go Henry, we are proud that you would pony up for a tombstone!”

“Yup, that's my family!”

Darned family disagreements!

Thanks you, Clytee, for sharing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 Publishes 900 Million International Records spokesperson, Crista CowanIn her February 2014 “What’s New at,” Crista Cowan, spokesperson, introduced viewers to 900 million new international records published by in January. The records are from around the world and include 27 countries new to A special International page introduces the new collections. Searching from this landing page searches all the new collections, but Cowan recommends using the Card Catalog to locate particular countries and collections of interest.

The 27 new countries are:

  • NORTH and CENTRAL AMERICA: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama
  • CARIBBEAN: Bahamas, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica
  • SOUTH AMERICA: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay
  • ASIA/PACIFIC: India, Philippines, Samoa
  • EUROPE: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Ukraine
  • Coming soon are 17 more: Armenia, Estonia, Ghana, Haiti, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Korea, Micronesia, Moldova, Nicaragua, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.

    An announcement on the blog provided further clarification.

    “We are pleased to announce an extension of our collaborative efforts with FamilySearch International that will make more than one billion additional records from 67 countries available on,” said the announcement. “These additional records will start being added in January and fully published over the next few months.”

    FamilySearch is also making the records available to and (See “FamilySearch Gives Further Details on Partnerships.”) Tim Sullivan, CEO, has said that is not very concerned with FindMyPast and MyHeritage also getting copies of the data. Because of the amount of data holds exclusively, FindMyPast and MyHeritage are not affecting’s growth, according to Sullivan. (See “RootsTech Blogger Breakfast.”)

    Some of the new collections are apparently from historical record collections that FamilySearch extracted from the International Genealogical Index (IGI). These collections are problematic from a coverage point of view. The IGI extraction program was not comprehensive across geography or time. As I’ve mentioned before, even individual parish registers or record volumes were not comprehensively extracted; some extracted names were simply thrown away. (See “Why Was the IGI?”) releases new international collections has released new collections spanning the globe.

    The “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975” collection on corresponds to the “England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975” collection on I like that includes the word select in the title. It immediately communicates the Swiss cheese nature of the records. However, the description makes no warnings to users. It states, in totality, “This collection includes birth and christening records from England. You can learn more about this collection at the FamilySearch website.” The hotlink takes users to a FamilySearch wiki article where users are warned:

    This index is an electronic index for the years 1538 to 1975. It is not necessarily intended to index any specific set of records. This index is not complete for any particular place or region. This collection may include information previously published in the International Genealogical Index or Vital Records Index collections.

    The wiki article fails to repeat some of the warnings from the FamilySearch collection description:

    Index to selected England births and christenings. Only a few localities are included and the time period varies by locality. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.

    FamilySearch used to publish a list of the parishes included in this collection. The incomprehensive nature of the collection makes it incomprehensible without one. Unfortunately, FamilySearch has failed to republish it.

    Bottom line: nothing can be assumed about a negative search in one of these collections.

    Monday, April 7, 2014

    Monday Mailbox: AncestryDNA Abroad

    The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxDear Ancestry Insider,

    Will the Ancestry DNA test be available in Canada soon? Can you explain the delay, please?


    Dear Sue,

    I contacted This was their reply:

    There are many factors when offering a DNA test at large scale internationally. These include issues relating to international logistics and regulations, which we are reviewing. It is our hope to offer AncestryDNA internationally and we will let our members know as soon as an AncestryDNA test is available in their market.

    --The Ancestry Insider

    Friday, April 4, 2014

    Darned Double Death Certificate

    We depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about our pasts.

    Yet sometimes records have anomalies.
    Some are amusing or humorous.
    Some are interesting or weird.
    Some are peculiar or suspicious.
    Some are infuriating, even downright laughable.

    Yes, “Records Say the Darnedest Things.”

    I found Jennette E. Britt’s death certificate on both and I was sore amazing when they didn’t look the same. copy, death certificate for Jennette E Britt
    Source: "North Carolina, Davidson County Vital Records, 1867-1984," images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 Mar 2014), Death records > 1918, Vol 005 > image 356 of 392; citing Register of Deeds, Lexington. copy, death certificate for Jennette E Britt
    Source: North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1975 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.
    Original data: North Carolina State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics. North Carolina Death Certificates. Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

    What gives? Are these certificates for two different people? Why are they so different?

    If they are for the same person, why are there two different certificates?

    Would you give more evidentiary value to one than the other? Why or why not?

    What role, if any, do source citations play in evaluating this conundrum?

    Does one of these corroborate the other? Why or why not?

    Post your thoughts. I’d like to hear what you have to say. Don’t click Reply; instead, click the Comments link just after the article.

    Darned Double Death Certificate. Yes, “Records Say the Darnedest Things.”

    Thursday, April 3, 2014 Offers New Charts, Features

    I’ve mentioned before a free website for FamilySearch Family Tree users called As you can tell from the name, it is a website that creates fan charts. A coworker pointed out that they now do much more. supports six different chart types which can be downloaded as PDF files that you can print or take to a print shop for enlargement. Or you can buy prints from also produces name clouds. And it has a cool new feature called “Source Tracker.” You no longer have to be a FamilySearch Family Tree user to create charts; supports GEDCOM upload. generates nine-generation fan charts in black and white or color. I find the coloring more useful and aesthetic than the FamilySearch seven-generation chart, which can create, giving you a one-stop shop for fan charts. fan charts

    I didn’t care much aesthetically for the four-generation photo pedigree and the standard pedigree charts, but do you remember those old, 12-generation fold-out charts? The nine-generation chart has that same look-and-feel and looks pretty good (shown below, left). It is designed to be printed at 34 x 33 inches, which Adobe Reader can do on a standard printer using Poster mode. Don’t be surprised if seeing that number of generations all at once doesn’t reveal numerous errors in Family Tree. There is also a run-on problem, where long locations overlap the following generation (see below, right). 9-generation chart run-on problem on 9-gen charts

    A fun feature is the given-name cloud. If you have English ancestry, yours may look a lot like mine: given-name cloud

    The most exciting new feature to me is Source Tracker. In census mode it lists each ancestor and indicates for each U.S. census if a source from that census has been attached. Where a source for a census is not attached, it gives a link that launches a search for that census. Source Tracker feature shows missing census sources

    In Vital Events mode it indicates for each ancestor if sources have been attached and tagged for basic vital facts. Again, links are provided to initiate searches for missing sources. Source Tracker feature shows missing vital fact sources

    This is yet another great tool added by a third party to the FamilySearch Family Tree ecosystem.

  is a product of Misbach Enterprises,

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    FamilySearch Migrates New FamilySearch Sources

    Migration from New FamilySearch to Family TreeOn 11 February 2014, Bryce Roper of FamilySearch made this announcement:

    We started another round of migrating some of the user contributed sources from NFS to Family Tree.  This migration will take about 6 weeks to complete. Sources that are migrated will be attached to the proper ancestor in the tree and will also be added to the original contributors Source Box with the title Legacy Source....

    We made the decision to load these sources into the contributors source box so they would know what sources had been migrated.  If you don't want them in your source box you can check the box to the left of the source title and then click the Move tab and select Remove from Source Box.  Remember removing a source from your source box does not delete it from the persons it is attached too, it only removes it from your source box.

    In New FamilySearch sources had many fields. Here is an example source documenting a death (“4 February 1884; Erie, Pennsylvania, United States”) and a burial (“Wheelock Cemetery, Erie, Pennsylvania, United States”).

    • Source type: Published information
    • Source detail: Cemetery record or headstone
    • Media type: Website
    • Title:
    • Author: Ted Keniston? and Bimmy Urso
    • Publication information: Record added 15 October 2005
    • Repository name: Find A Grave
    • Repository address:,
    • Page number:
    • Actual text: Birth: 1820 Oneida County New York, USA Death: Feb. 4, 1884 Erie County Pennsylvania, USA son of Lewis Napoleon Raymond and Martha Howard; husband of Lucy M Barker Family links: Parents: Lewis Napoleon Raymond (1788 - 1852) Martha Howard Raymond (1793 - 1854) Children: William Howard Raymond (1846 - 1887)* Marcellus Alonzo Raymond (1850 - 1878)* Viva Adelaide Raymond Brown (1857 - 1888)* Spouse: Lucy M Barker Raymond (1822 - 1898)* *Point here for explanation Burial: Wheelock Cemetery Erie County Pennsylvania, USA Maintained by: Bimmy Originally Created by: Ted Record added: Oct 15, 2005 Find A Grave Memorial# 12065390,

    When FamilySearch transferred sources to Family Tree, it had to decide how to take the information from the ten fields supported by New FamilySearch and save them into three fields in Family Tree. This is a difficult task, even under the best of situations. Here’s how this example was transferred:

    • Title: Legacy NFS Source: Alonzo G. Raymond - Published information: Cemetery record or headstone: burial: ; Wheelock Cemetery, Erie, Pennsylvania, United States
    • Citation: Website,, Ted Keniston? and Bimmy Urso, Record added 15 October 2005, Find A Grave,, Page number:
    • Notes: Published information: Cemetery record or headstone: burial: ; Wheelock Cemetery, Erie, Pennsylvania, United States

      Birth: 1820 Oneida County New York, USA Death: Feb. 4, 1884 Erie County Pennsylvania, USA son of Lewis Napoleon Raymond and Martha Howard; husband of Lucy M Barker Family links: Parents: Lewis Napoleon Raymond (1788 - 1852) Martha Howard Raymond (1793 - 1854) Children: William Howard Raymond (1846 - 1887)* Marcellus Alonzo Raymond (1850 - 1878)* Viva Adelaide Raymond Brown (1857 - 1888)* Spouse: Lucy M Barker Raymond (1822 - 1898)* *Point here for explanation Burial: Wheelock Cemetery Erie County Pennsylvania, USA Maintained by: Bimmy Originally Created by: Ted Record added: Oct 15, 2005 Find A Grave Memorial# 12065390
      Published information: Cemetery record or headstone: death: 4 February 1884; Erie, Pennsylvania, United States

      Birth: 1820 Oneida County New York, USA Death: Feb. 4, 1884 Erie County Pennsylvania, USA son of Lewis Napoleon Raymond and Martha Howard; husband of Lucy M Barker Family links: Parents: Lewis Napoleon Raymond (1788 - 1852) Martha Howard Raymond (1793 - 1854) Children: William Howard Raymond (1846 - 1887)* Marcellus Alonzo Raymond (1850 - 1878)* Viva Adelaide Raymond Brown (1857 - 1888)* Spouse: Lucy M Barker Raymond (1822 - 1898)* *Point here for explanation Burial: Wheelock Cemetery Erie County Pennsylvania, USA Maintained by: Bimmy Originally Created by: Ted Record added: Oct 15, 2005 Find A Grave Memorial# 12065390
    • Reason This Source Is Attached: Migrated from user-supplied source citation: urn:familysearch:source:3121801825

    The resulting source is confusing on a number of fronts.

    It doesn’t look like FamilySearch followed English language punctuation rules. Problems like the adjacent colon and semicolon in the title make it confusing. Quotation marks, colons, commas, and semicolons, properly used, might have produced a more understandable result.

    FamilySearch put some technical stuff (urn:familysearch:source:3121801825) into the reason statement. This confuses users. If it provides some value to FamilySearch, they should have found a way to hide it from them.

    A design change results in further confusion. In New FamilySearch (NFS) one could say, “Here is a source and here are the facts that came from it.” That is no longer possible. Now one says, “Here are a bunch of sources and here is the conclusion I draw from them.” In migrating sources, FamilySearch had to deal with this design change. It had to stick the facts somewhere. It stuck them in the title and in the notes.

    It is confusing in the example above that the title mentions a burial fact when back in NFS the source applied to both death and burial. And it is confusing that the information in the notes is repeated twice, once for death and once for burial.

    The confusion is great enough that at first glance a user felt the useful information had been stripped from migrated sources, leaving nonsense.

    FamilySearch carefully preserved and migrated everything specified by the user in the example above. I think that’s a great thing. Is that true in all cases? Let me know. (URLs and PIDs required!)

    We need to stop settling for sources like “FamilySearch,” “unknown4470317,” or “Jerry Brown [no contact information specified].” But no source at all is even worse. Have you ever tried to disprove a value for which there is no source? There’s always the real possibility that there’s a source for that value and you haven’t found it yet. There is real power in knowing where a value came from.

    FamilySearch has made extra effort to migrate sources from New FamilySearch. Given FamilySearch’s historical propensity to throw sources away (see “FamilySearch Values Sources?”), I’m ecstatic. You should be too.

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014

    Scientists Discover Oldest Citation Ever

    In the Abri de la Madeleine archeological site of southwest France, scientists think they have discovered the oldest citation ever found.

    “We were actually evaluating a possible connection between the Magdalenian culture and the earlier Aurignacian,” said paleontologist Jean-Marie Hillaire. “As we compared and contrasted artifacts at La Madeleine with those at Chauvet [Cave in France], we were excited to find what we thought might be the same written thought in both locations. However, because the information documented an event of the solar calendar, there was the real possibility that the correspondence was coincidental. But the more we studied the two, the more convinced we became that the two were connected. The breakthrough came when we were able to deduce that some symbols at La Madeleine are a quote. Once we knew we were working with a quote, it was relatively easy to spot the name of the author in both locations.”

    They, literally, had discovered the first source citation.

    “This discovery proves, once again, the need to cite one’s sources,” said Kate L. Turabian, creator of the Turabian citation guide. “Until a people learn to civilly build upon the ideas of those who have come before them, they will never develop the discipline necessary for modern thought.”

    Coincidentally enough, the quoted information—the information about an event in the solar calendar—is best translated into English as “Happy April Fool’s Day.”