Saturday, August 30, 2014

#FGS2014 Focus On Societies: Strong Business Strategy

The Ancestry Insider is an ambassador for the FGS 2014 annual conferenceWednesday was society day at the 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) this week. Breaking a bit from the traditional format of opening keynote followed by breakout classes, this year the morning of Society Day followed a seminar format often used in business training. The seminar was titled “Strong Business Strategy = Sound Society Strategy” and was presented tag team by David Rencher and Ed Donakey. Rencher represented genealogy knowhow and Donakey represented business acumen. Rencher is chief genealogical officer at FamilySearch and is FGS secretary. Donakey is a former company CEO, works for Rencher at FamilySearch, and is this year’s FGS national conference chair. Each participant was given a seminar booklet with handouts, work samples, and workbook pages.

Attendees were first asked to think about the question: “Where do you want your society to be five years from now? Ten years? Twenty?” A mission statement and business plan can help you get where you want to be.

A business plan should have two dimensions. One is the written document. The other is in the heart, the way you feel. It is the commitment to the mission of the society. Your plan should include a mission statement. Make certain the mission statement is focused. It shouldn’t include a clause that would allow your society board to do pretty much anything they want. Have measurements from which you can judge the ongoing success of the society.

Write out your financial plan. Manage your sunk costs. A sunk cost is one that has already been incurred and can’t be recovered. Some of these may be office equipment, inventories of publications that are not on sale, maintenance fees for Dropbox, employees, and any regularly scheduled payments. Are they worth continuing?

Formalize how proposals are made to the society board and what information should be included in the proposal.

Utilize social media. Identify your goals. Pick which ones to use. Appoint personnel to administer each one. Establish a policy governing who posts and what they address. Advertise the sites in your publications.

In a later session, Donakey alerted attendees to discounts available to societies and genealogists in general.

  • FindMyPast (www.findmypast.com/articles/work-with-us/partnering-with-societies) – With the FindMyPast
    society membership program, society members can buy a 12-month world subscription on FindMyPast.com with a discount equal to the cost of society membership. FindMyPast also has a Society Data Initiative in which societies and FindMyPast partner to “preserve, digitize, and provide access to society publications.”
  • Dell (www.dell.com/mpp/fgs) – This website has opportunity to buy cameras, monitors, and computers. Any genealogist can buy from this website and get the discounts offered there. If certain amounts purchased, there is a possibility of a return in a small percentage coming back to FGS.
  • Lexmark (http://shop.lexmark.com/familysearch) – At this website anyone can buy a printer/scanner that is capable of logging into FamilySearch.org and scanning directly from the printer/scanner. This is the same technology available in the commercial sized printers in FamilySearch family history centers.

A member of the class pointed out that TechSoup.org is another great resource offering special deals for non-profit organizations.

So if you are an officer of a genealogical society, ask yourself,”Where do I want my society to be twenty years from now?”

Friday, August 29, 2014

#FGS2014 Conference: Riders on the Orphan Train

Riders on the Orphan TrainOver a quarter million orphans and unwanted children from the streets of New York were loaded up on trains and sent out all over the country to be given away. That’s right; you heard what I said. Stop after stop, perspective adopters inspected their teeth and squeezed their muscles to see how well they could work the fields.

This chapter in American history is largely untold and largely unknown.

The “Riders on the Orphan Train” FGS Conference keynote was created and presented by Phil Lancaster and Alison Moore to tell their stories. Lancaster is a singer-songwriter and Moore is an author and humanities scholar. To tell the stories, the two sang and played guitars while we viewed historical photographs and interviews of two survivors. Alison painted a word picture allowing us to see into the minds of the fearful children.

Phil Lancaster and Alison MoorePhil and Alison are the official outreach coordinators for the National Orphan Train Complex Museum and Research Center in Concordia, Kansas.You can read more about the presentation on their website.

Prior to the keynote address, Josh Taylor, FGS president, announced locations for upcoming conferences:

  • 2015 annual conference: I think most everyone knows this will be co-located with RootsTech, 11-14 February 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Josh Taylor says it will be the perfect Valentine’s Day date. Bring your significant other to run the copy machine.)
  • 2015 Alaskan cruise: If you can’t stand the thought of an August without an FGS conference, consider the 28 August 2015 FGS cruise. Speakers are Elizabeth Shown Mills, David Rencher, Judy Russell, and Josh Taylor. More information is available at https://www.fgsconference.org/cruise.
  • 2015 regional conference: In conjunction with the New York State Family History Conference, 17-19 September 2015, FGS is providing topics and events for genealogical society leaders.
  • 2016 annual conference: FGS is returning to Springfield, Illinois.
  • 2017 annual conference: the location of this conference is still to be announced.
  • 2018 annual conference: FGS is returning to Fort Wayne, Indiana.

And it’s not too late for you to join us for the weekend.

See you in San Antonio!

#FGS2014 Conference: Finding Female Ancestors

Anne Gillespie MitchellAt the 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, Anne Gillespie Mitchell presented the session “How to Use Ancestry.com Records to Reveal Your Female Ancestors’ Stories.” Mitchell is a senior product manager at Ancestry.com.

Mostly records were left by men about men, but there are places where you can find women. The key to understanding the lives of women is cluster research. Elizabeth Shown Mills calls it FAN research: Family, Associates, and Neighbors. It’s important to formulate a good research question and a research plan that will answer that question.

Start with basic information. Understand and map your female ancestor out in terms of time and place. Gather enough information about them to differentiate them from other people.

Mitchell walked us through a couple of case studies. In the first case she identified the parents of Georgia Eva Baxter Payne. She started with census and vital records. She created a time line. She consulted Google maps. Using known information, she estimated where and when particular events might have occurred and what records might exist. She relied upon a wide array of record types, including estate inventories, guardianship records, city directories, and obituaries. She found records for male siblings. She utilized ancillary information such as witnesses and informants. Using this information she was able to answer her research question. (For more information about this case study, see Mitchell’s web post, “…The Hunt for…Georgia Eva Baxter’s Parents,” at http://finding-forgotten-stories.com, posted 30 January 2014.)

Mitchell walked through the process of fleshing out the life of Sarah “Sudie” Hamrick. She looked at the records of Sarah’s husband and other family members. (For more information about this case study, on Mitchell’s blog, see “I Think My Great Grandmother was a Muse…Sarah Sudie Hamrick,” posted 29 January 2014.)

In closing, I have to say, this was one of the best Ancestry.com presentations I have ever attended. Her case-study format was extremely effective. We learned how to “…reveal [our] female ancestors’ stories.” We weren’t told Ancestry.com was extremely valuable in doing so, we saw it was so. I also appreciated that she mentioned searching microfilms. She demonstrated the genealogy proof standard without actually mentioning it. She presented a well crafted proof argument without calling it such. Thank you, Anne.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

#FGS2014 Conference For Free

If you’re within striking distance of San Antonio, Texas, now’s the time to think about taking advantage of the free offerings at the 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

The Ancestry Insider is an ambassador for the FGS 2014 annual conference

The exhibit hall is the place to go for free offerings and is open to the general public. The conference is hosting many free presentations. I’ve published a list in a separate article. Vendors and expert genealogists host presentations in their own booths. I’ve published schedules for one or more of those. Look for them in separate articles.

Discounts are often offered by vendors at the conference. At the FamilySearch booth you can get a free subscription to FamilySearch.org. (Wink, wink.) FindMyPast is offering a free, one month subscription worth $19.95. Stop by their booth to get that offer. JSTOR is offering a free trial. You can get $10 off society memberships for several societies. You can buy AncestryDNA kits for a 10% discount.

Of course, if you can spend a little money, that opens up your possibilities even more. See “FGS Conference for $49 Saturday – #FGS2014.”

See you in San Antonio!

#FGS2014 #Genealogy Conference Free Presentations on Main Stage

The Texas State Genealogical Society, a co-host of this year’s Federation of Genealogical Societies conference, is hosting several free presentations at the conference. These are open to the general public in an exhibit hall of the San Antonio Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. If you’re in the area, come on down.

Here is the schedule for the main presentations given on a stage at the rear of the exhibit hall:

EXHIBIT HALL STAGE, THURSDAY, AUGUST 28

  • 10:45-11:15, Michael J. Leclerc - Using Mocavo to Propel your Research
  • 11:30 – 12 PM, Lisa Louise Cooke - Evernote Extravaganza for Genealogists: Laying the Foundation
  • 1:15 – 1:45, Jen Baldwin - Top 10 things you need to know about “crossing the pond”
  • 2:00 – 2:30, Julia George, PhD - Top Ten Reasons to Join Your Local Genealogical Society
  • 2:45 – 3:15, Maureen A. Taylor - Eight Things to Know about the Civil War and Your Family Pictures
  • 3:30 – 4:00, Craig Roberts Scott, MA, CG - Pension Research: The Short Course
  • 4:15 – 4:45, Randy Whited - A Quick Guide to Going Paperless


EXHIBIT HALL STAGE, FRIDAY, AUGUST 29

  • 9:30 – 10:00, Mic Barnette - Free People of Color in Texas before the Civil War
  • 10:15 – 10:45,  Jen Baldwin - Exploring PERSI with Findmypast
  • 11:00 – 11:30, Order of Granaderos y Damas de Gálvez: San Antonio Chapter - Living History Presentation
  • 1:15 – 1:45, Michael J. Leclerc - Using Mocavo to Propel your Research
  • 2:00 – 2:30, Barbara Brixey Wylie - Habits that Breakdown Brick Walls
  • 2:45 – 3:15,  Thomas MacEntee - Google Books for Genealogists
  • 3:30 – 4:00,  Caroline Pointer - German-Texan Research Tips
  • 4:15 – 4:45, Los Bexareños Genealogical and Historical Society - Roadblocks and Wrong Turns in Researching Hispanic Families (English)


EXHIBIT HALL STAGE, SATURDAY, AUGUST 30

  • 9:30 – 10:00, Tony Hanson - No Scanner? Use Your Camera!
  • 10:15 – 10:45, Michael J. Leclerc - Using Mocavo to Propel your Research
  • 11:00 – 11:45, Los Bexareños Genealogical and Historical Society - Roadblocks and Wrong Turns in Researching Hispanic Families (Spanish)
  • 1:15 – 1:45, Jen Baldwin - Connecting to Ireland
  • 2:00 – 2:30, Sara Gredler, MS - Beginner Genealogy Strategies


For descriptions of these presentations, see “Exhibit Hall Presentations” on the FGS Conference Website.

Many vendors offer presentations as well, right in their booths. I’ve published the schedules for one or more of these in separate articles today.

See you in San Antonio!

The Ancestry Insider is an ambassador for the FGS 2014 annual conference

#FGS2014 #Ancestry.com Free Presentations

Ancestry.comI’ve seen people pay a couple dozen bucks to attend an “Ancestry Day” of sessions about Ancestry.com. If you’re in the San Antonio, Texas area this week, you may wish to come down to the convention center and attend their presentations for free. Ancestry.com is offering classes in its booth in the exhibit hall of the 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

Here’s the Ancestry.com booth presentation schedule:

Thursday, August 28th

10:00am

Search Tips & Tricks

Anna Fechter

12:00pm

5 Ways to Jumpstart Your Research

Juliana Smith

12:30pm

Intro to AncestryDNA

Anna Swayne

1:00pm

Making the Most of Your AncestryDNA Matches

Anna Swayne

2:00-2:45pm

FGS Conference Demo: Getting the Most from Your Discoveries on Ancestry.com

Juliana Smith

2:30pm

Family Tree Maker

Kendall Lovett

4:00pm

Using the Ancestry Mobile App

Kendall Jefferson

Friday, August 29th

9:30am

Using Ancestry Trees

Anna Fechter

11:00-11:45am

FGS Conference Demo: AncestryDNA

Anna Swayne

11:30am

Using Family Tree Maker

Kendall Jefferson

12:00pm

Fixing Data Errors in Family Tree Maker

Kendall Jefferson

12:30pm

Discover Everything about the Soldiers in your Tree with Fold3 and Ancestry.com

Anne Mitchell

1:00pm

Putting Your Ancestors in Historical Perspective with Ancestry.com and Newspapers.com

Anne Mitchell

2:30pm

Overlooked Secrets in Census Records

Juliana Smith

4:00pm

Using AncestryDNA in your Research

Anna Swayne

Saturday, August 30th

9:30am

Charts and Reports in Family Tree Maker

Kendall Lovett

11:30am

Finding Your Ancestor’s Arrival on Ancestry.com

Juliana Smith

12:00pm

Search Tips & Tricks

Anna Fechter

12:00-12:45pm

FGS Conference Demo: Family Tree Maker

Kendall Jefferson

12:30pm

Getting the Most from AncestryDNA

Anna Swayne

1:00pm

How You Can Get Involved with Indexing and the World Archives Project

Anna Fechter

2:30pm

Using the Ancestry Mobile App

Kendall Jefferson

The Ancestry Insider is an ambassador for the FGS 2014 annual conference

See you in San Antonio!

#FGS2014 Free Outside the Box #Genealogy Presentations

If you’re near San Antonio this week, heads up. Four respected experts have teamed up to do some free presentations at the 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. You’ll find them in the exhibit hall in booth #218. That’s a pretty small space, so come early to get a seat:

OUTSIDE THE BOX, THURSDAY, AUGUST 28

  • 12:00 – 12:30, Maureen Taylor – 5 Things You Need to Know About Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes & Tintypes
  • 12:35 – 1:05, Janet Hovorka – 10 Simple Ways to Zap the Grandma Gap and Engage Your Family
  • 2:25 – 2:55, Lisa Louise Cooke – Ultimate Google Search Strategies
  • 4:30 – 5:30, Lisa Louise Cooke - Become an iPad Power User (60 minute class)




OUTSIDE THE BOX, FRIDAY, AUGUST 29

  • 9:40 – 10:10, Maureen Taylor – Your Perfect P.O.P—Photo Organizing Practices
  • 11:30 – 12:00, Maureen Taylor – Preserve Your Family Photos on a Budget
  • 12:15 – 12:45, Lisa Louise Cooke – Evernote Tips and Tricks for Genealogists
  • 12:50 – 1:10, Janet Hovorka – Beautiful Charts to Show off Your Family History
  • 2:25 – 2:55, Janet Hovorka – Earn Prizes—Genealogy Game Show and Pedigree Challenge




OUTSIDE THE BOX, SATURDAY, AUGUST 30

  • 9:40 – 10:10, Diahan Southard – Understanding my DNA Results in 15 Minutes or Less
  • 11:30 – 12:00, Lisa Louise Cooke – Google Earth Time travel for Genealogists
  • 12:05 – 1:10, Maureen Taylor - Google Images and Beyond (60 minute class)
  • 1:15 – 2:15, Lisa Louise Cooke – Tech Tools for Newspapers (60 minute class)
  • 2:25 – 2:55, Diahan Southard – Three Critical Techniques for Understanding Your Autosomal Test Results

Other vendors also give scheduled or ad hoc presentations about their products. Come by and see what you can learn at the free exhibit hall.

The Ancestry Insider is an ambassador for the FGS 2014 annual conference

#FGS2014 #FamilySearch Free Presentations

FamilySearchThere are presentations at the 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies that you don’t have to pay to see. If you are in San Antonio, visit the FamilySearch booth in the exhibit hall to see these:

THURSDAY, 28 AUGUST

 

Presenter

Topic

9:30

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

10:00

Bryce Roper

Family Tree and Mobile Sources

11:00

Mark Gowans

Family Tree Hinting

12:00

Lynn Turner

Historical Records

1:00

Mike Provard

Uploading, Tagging, and Attaching Photos

2:00

Bryce Roper

Family Tree and Mobile Sources

3:00

Mark Gowans

Family Tree Hinting

4:00

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

FRIDAY, 29 AUGUST

 

Presenter

Topic

9:00

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

10:00

Bryce Roper

Family Tree and Mobile Sources

11:00

Mark Gowans

Family Tree Hinting

12:00

Lynn Turner

Historical Records

1:00

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

2:00

Bryce Roper

Family Tree and Mobile Sources

3:00

Mark Gowans

Family Tree Hinting

4:00

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

SATURDAY, 30 AUGUST

 

Presenter

Topic

9:00

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

10:00

Bryce Roper

Family Tree and Mobile Sources

11:00

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

12:00

Danielle Batson

Wiki, Help

1:00

Mark Gowans

Family Tree Hinting

2:00

Robert Kehrer

FamilySearch Record Search

In my experience, don’t be surprised if these presentations start a little late.

Other vendors also give scheduled or ad hoc presentations about their products. Come by and see what you can learn at the free exhibit hall.

The Ancestry Insider is an ambassador for the FGS 2014 annual conference

See you in San Antonio!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#FGS2014 Conference FamilySearch Media Dinner

David Rencher addresses bloggers at FamilySearch Media Dinner
David Rencher addressed bloggers at the
FamilySearch Media Dinner at FGS 2014.
(Thank you, Marian, for taking the picture for me. I
neglected to ask you if you wanted to be credited.)
 
Dan "Shrek" Call introduced RootsTech 2015
Dan Call gave us very little of his Shrek imitation.
Mostly he just talked about RootsTech 2015.
The 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies kicked off, for me at least, with the usual FamilySearch media dinner. FamilySearch hosted 30 to 40 bloggers at the Rio Rio restaurant off the river walk in San Antonio, Texas. We ate Mexican food and talked FamilySearch. If I had to pick a theme, I’d say it was that FamilySearch Family Tree is growing and improving. We learned about mobile apps that bring The Tree to your pocket. We learned about tree views and three icons. And we learned about attaching hints (suggested records) to The Tree.

Bloggers wear multiple hats and many of those assembled are also society officers, speakers, and other community influencers. David Rencher, FamilySearch chief genealogical officer, thanked those assembled for all they do. “My hats off to you.” He told us that he monitors the quality of the information in the tree and it is increasing. One indicator he looks at is counting the number of people in the tree with too many parents. While it’s common and correct to have several sets of parents, once you get a dozen or more, you’ve got too many. That indicates a problem with the quality of the information in the tree. Rencher was happy to point out that he is seeing improvement.

Dan Call, fresh from a stint of playing Shrek onstage, next gave us a short plug for RootsTech 2015. (We thought they were teasing about him playing Shrek, but the Internet verifies he did. And the Internet doesn’t lie!) RootsTech (“I thought it was a bionic plant”) 2015 is coming on 12-14 February 2015. The theme is “Celebrating Families Across Generations.”

RootsTech will target eight audiences:

RootsTech 2015 will target eight audiences
(Sorry about the distortion of Call’s slide. I was sitting too close to the bottom right corner of the screen.)

RootsTech 2015 will be even larger than last year. Here’s a comparison of RootsTech 2014 and their goals for RootsTech 2015:

  2014 2015
Paid attendance 5,250 5,500
Family Discovery Day attendance 4,000 5,000
Youth (and families for 2015) attendance 4,000 5,000
Exhibitors 140 170
Viewers of streaming broadcasts 14,000+ 20,000+
Remote family history fairs 850+ 1,000+
Approximate fair attendees 150,000 200,000

Call also casually mentioned that some other conference—which one is it?—was going to be held side-by-side with RootsTech 2015. Wait. Wait. Oh, yes. FGS. Hello, Dan!

Parts of the two conferences will be distinct and parts will be combined. Classes will be separate. The expo hall will be combined. Luncheons will be separate. (You’ll have to use two different registration systems if you want to register for some RootsTech luncheons and some FGS luncheons.) General sessions and evening events will be combined. RootsTech will have computer labs (I know someone who is teaching one). FGS will have Librarians Day. The RootsTech website lists $39 as the price of an FGS add-on pass.

Registration opens 29 August for RootsTech 2015 and a $139 early-bird special price will be available for two weeks. The new RootsTech.org website is now live. Check it out!

(I’m running out of time to write, so I’m going to have to wrap up the last three presenters rather quickly.)

Bryce Roper, a FamilySearch Family Tree product manager, told us about the two FamilySearch mobile apps: Family Tree and Memories. “We’ve been behind the wave and we’re trying to get on top of that wave as quick as we can,” he said. The apps and the FamilySearch.org website are tied together. The information viewed or contributed on one is available on the other. The exception today is that audio recordings captured by the apps is not available online. “Hopefully, before the end of FGS we’ll have it released for the web as well,” Roper said. “It is really, really close.” The web feature will additionally be able to add existing audio files.

The Family Tree app is available for Apple and Android and allows you to

  • Connect with ancestors
  • Discover life details
  • Share family stories
  • Explore relationships
  • Add memories in context (in other words, to the associated persons)

The Memories app is available for Apple and allows you to

  • Capture and preserve user specific content
  • Specify who a memory is about
  • Share family stories
  • Add memories (photos, audio, and stories) in bulk
  • Attach memories in any order

The roadmap for Family Tree includes the ability to add persons to The Tree, and edit or change facts about them.

Mark Gowans, FamilySearch Family Tree designer

Mark Gowans mentioned that the three tree icons that we see in the descendancy view will soon be in the traditional pedigree and portrait pedigree views:

Additional icons will soon show up on the traditional pedigree view of Family Tree

The three icons are:

Gowans mentioned three Family Tree icons: record hints, research suggestions, and data problems

High contrast versions of the tree views will be available for those with visual challenges:

The pedigree view will have a high-contrast version

(It’s time to put both this article and this author to bed, so let me wrap up quickly.)

Gowan and the final presenter, FamilySearch product manager for Search, Robert Kehrer, both addressed hints. Hints are suggestions that FamilySearch gives concerning historical records that might apply to people in Family Tree. FamilySearch considers all the facts about a person in the tree and all of his “one hop” relatives: spouse, parents, and children. (I don’t recall if siblings were included.) It compares all these facts to persons in records to decide if there is a match. Kehrer believes that their hinting system is more than 98% accurate. He thinks that further improvement is possible; he believes they can increase the number of hints made without decreasing the accuracy. (That is to say, he can decrease the number of false negatives without increasing the number of false positives.)

Kehrer demonstrated how to take a hint and attach all the people mentioned in a record to all the corresponding people in the tree. The demonstration was followed by an awesome set of questions from attendees about user behavior and whether or not the idea of a single, shared tree will work. In the end, the group decided…

Gosh, look at the time… I’ve got to go to bed!

Stay tuned for more FGS reports from sunny San Antonio!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Retirement of MyCanvas is Cancelled

Alexander's is acquiring MyCanvasAncestry.com’s MyCanvas website was scheduled to go away on 30 September 2014. Events have changed and that will no longer happen. The company that did the actual printing of MyCanvas books and charts is acquiring the service and website.

Back on 4 June 2014 Ancestry.com announced that several of its websites and services were being retired on 5 September 2014 so they could focus on their central offerings. (See “Ancestry.com Announces Retirement of Several Websites.”) The retirement date was extended to 30 September 2014 after a denial of service attack prevented users from accessing those sites for several days. (See “Ancestry.com Attacked by Zombies,” “Ancestry.com Attacked by Zombies, Part 2,” and “Ancestry.com Delays Retirement.”)

Let me take an aside and address a common point of misunderstanding with that announcement. Ancestry.com is retiring its Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA tests. It is not retiring its current, popular offering: autosomal DNA testing. As an aside to my aside, that test is on sale for $79 until 27 August. For that price, I bought three! For more information, visit http://dna.ancestry.com. But I digress…

Eric Shoup, executive vice-president of products at Ancestry.com announced last week that Alexander’s, a printing and marketing company, would be the new owner of MyCanvas. I remember when Alexander’s was nothing more than a local photocopy shop. It’s headquartered not far from Ancestry.com. It has been quite successful and grown into a modest sized custom print house of 60 employees. This acquisition will give them a ready-made website extending their offering to individuals worldwide.

“It’s our hope that this agreement will not change the experience for MyCanvas customers. In fact, Alexander’s plans to make some exciting improvements we think you’ll love,” said Shoup. “The transition of MyCanvas will take about six months. But in the meantime, all MyCanvas projects will remain accessible on Ancestry.com until it moves over to Alexander’s next year. We will continue to communicate details as the transition moves forward.”

See the complete text of Shoup’s statement on the Ancestry.com blog.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Plan Your Schedule for the #FGS2014 Conference

The Ancestry Insider is an ambassador for the FGS 2014 annual conferenceIt’s official! I’m now an ambassador for this week’s 2014 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. You can find me on a list of the ambassadors along with rather awesome fellow bloggers.

If you’ve pre-registered for the conference, now’s the time to download the syllabus from the conference website. This will enhance both your preparation and attendance at the conference.

Now’s the time to put together your initial plan of sessions to attend and the syllabus can be instrumental. There are several ways to create your schedule.

One approach is to use the scheduling features of the FGS Conference website. This approach works only if you pre-registered. Login and select “Plan Your Sessions.” (The button is underneath your registration.) Go through each day and each class period, selecting the desired class for each period. When ready, print your itinerary and, from the syllabus, print the handouts for each class.

Another approach is to use the FGS Smartphone App. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the “My Schedule” feature to work, but maybe it will work for you. Even still, the app gives a convenient place to see which sessions are available each class period. The app also includes maps, exhibitor directory, and speaker bios. It’s a lot like the conference guide you’ll receive at check-in, but it doesn’t weigh anything. It is available for both iOS phones and for Android phones.

A third approach is to go old school. This works for anyone, whether or not you pre-registered. View the schedule online at https://www.fgsconference.org/program/schedule/. Add the classes you wish to attend to whatever calendar application you normally use.

When you are unsure among class alternatives, the syllabus comes in very handy. Compare the handouts among the classes. As I’ve said before, (see “#NGS2014GEN Planning Your Time at a Conference”):

Handouts show different levels of preparation, organization, educational skills, presentation skills, and presenter qualifications. I can usually decide among sessions based on the handouts.

  • Sometimes a handout communicates a topic so well, I opt for another session!
  • Sometimes a handout makes it clear what the skill level of the presentation will be and I can tell if I will be learning new material.
  • Sometimes a handout contains a small outline filling less than the allotted four pages. I assume the presenter didn’t have the discipline to prepare his handout until just before the deadline. I usually skip these sessions.
  • Sometimes a handout consists of a four-page bibliography. It reflects the presenter’s extensive library of the best texts collected over an entire career. I can understand how this is valuable for some people. I personally don’t derive a great amount of value from it. I’ll never buy or read that amount of material for a single subject. Give me a list of the sources used for the session, but highlight a handful of the most valuable. A strictly bibliographic handout makes it difficult to judge the value of a session. The presenter is probably an expert, but it is impossible to judge their skills as an educator.
  • Sometimes a session lacks a handout, demonstrating the presenter’s lack of respect for attendees. I avoid these sessions when I can. Unfortunately, since the Ancestry Insider’s editorial focus is Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, I should attend their sessions. Ancestry.com presenters and FamilySearch product managers are among the worst offenders, for which I’m sorely ashamed. Their marketing departments pay big bucks to sponsor conferences, which gives them maybe a single page in the syllabus. Yet they regularly pass up the opportunity to get a four-page handout in the hands of self-selected interested users? Unbelievable.

To download the syllabus, visit https://www.fgsconference.org/account/login/, click on Registration, and sign in with your Username and Password. Click on “Download your syllabus” in the red rectangle at the top of your screen.

See you in San Antonio!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Don Anderson and FamilySearch Partners #BYUFHGC

Don Anderson is a senior vice president at FamilySearch for patron and partner services. He gave two presentations at the recent BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy. It’s pretty cool to have someone of his standing presenting one regular session, let alone two. Both were about partners. “Partners are a key part of our strategy at FamilySearch,” he said.

Anderson showed parts from the partnering infographic released by FamilySearch back in February.

Collaboration is needed to acquire all the records that need to be preserved.
FamilySearch has preserved 5.3 billion records and need to preserve 60 billion more.

Collaboration is needed to index all the records that have been acquired.
Without collaboration it will take 200 to 300 years to index the 5.3 billion FamilySearch records

Jay Verkler, former FamilySearch president once told a story about meeting an elderly lady who reached up, grabbed his lapels, pulled him closer and said, “You’ve got to go faster. At the rate you’re going, I’m going to meet my ancestors before I find them.”

FamilySearch will publish about 1 billion records this year. About 800 million of those are being done with our partners, Anderson said. That number is likely to increase. Our relationships with our partners are getting deeper and more robust, he said.

Partnering is bringing progress in emerging markets like Brazil and Mexico. In Italy we are working with partners to help people discover their families, Anderson said. The more partners that get involved, the easier it is for us all to find our ancestors. We lower the cost of the commercial firms to enter new markets, he said. Take Italy as an example. FamilySearch has a very large filming project in Italy right now. At the current pace, it will take 100 years to index all the acquired records. Partner relationship may bring that down to five or six years. The situation is similar with Mexico and Brazil.

“We at FamilySearch don’t care where you find your ancestor,” Anderson said. “The important thing is that you find them.” He said that as much as he likes the FamilySearch collaborative tree, he knows not everyone likes it. The goal is that you put your information wherever you want and then find what you need.

Only 1 billion of the 28 billion who have lived since 1500 A.D.  are in FamilySearch Family TreeOnly 1 billion of the 28 billion who have lived since 1500 A.D.  are in FamilySearch Family Tree

Anderson showed his tree on Ancestry.com. He said it was a serious testimonial for Ancestry.com’s hinting capabilities. There was a shaky leaf on just about everyone on his pedigree. Through FamilySearch’s partnerships with Ancestry.com, MyHeritage, and FIndMyPast, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have easy access to all their different tree systems. “I suspect that most of you will find one of the trees on one of the sites and use it, while also utilizing in some way all the sites,” he said.

FamilySearch has made partnerships in markets adjacent to family history. Two examples are StoryPress and Reel Genie. FamilySearch is a bit of a hub and information can flow in or flow out.

FamilySearch has made partnerships with developers. To see a list of certified apps available through these development partners, visit http://familysearch.org/products.

FamilySearch has partnered with record managers like “RootsMagic, Legacy, and I shouldn’t have mentioned any names, as I will forget some,” he said. About 30% of the contributions added to FamilySearch Family Tree come through these programs.

I’ll report on Anderson’s Friday presentation soon. With the annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) quickly approaching, further coverage of the BYU conference may get pushed off several weeks.

Speaking of the FGS conference, it’s not too late to decide to attend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ron Tanner Announces Private Spaces at #BYUFHGC

Ron Tanner, FamilySearch product manager, presented the session “Family Tree Primer for Consultants” at the BYU Family History and Genealogy Conference. He addressed common issues faced by family history consultants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Dealing with living individuals in a member’s pedigree has been an issue for consultants. Incorrect information could not be corrected except by having the member’s ward clerk fix the membership record and then waiting for the membership record to synchronize to New FamilySearch and then to Family Tree. Tanner announced that that day, 1 August 2014, FamilySearch was instituting new handling of living persons in FamilySearch Family Tree. He told us we were the first to know. Living individuals in New FamilySearch were being copied to Family Tree where they could be changed directly. The process of copying living persons will take the entire month to complete.

While Tanner was short on details of the ramifications, I was able to locate more information elsewhere. In the FamilySearch Help Center an article explains that “All living people and their relationships are stored in a private space.”

FamilySearch Family Tree private space person banner
Each user of Family Tree has a private space. Private spaces help manage data privacy and confidentiality for each user. … Each owner of a copy [of a living Family Tree person] can modify it independently from others. Deceased persons should each be represented only one time in Family Tree and have a common PID. But a living person can be represented in multiple private spaces as a different Family Tree person, and that person will have a different Person Identifier number (PID) in each private space. Searching Family Tree using a living person's name will not find him or her. Searching by the PID will not find him or her in any other [private space] besides [your own]. Living people cannot be sourced.
Family Tree does not [automatically change living people to deceased], even after they are older than 110 years. Users will need to mark their copy of the individuals as deceased and then search for any possible duplicates.

Tanner provided even more information in a reply in FamilySearch’s feedback system:

With the advent of private spaces the rules change such that [the Church’s] membership [department] does not have control of the living member in the tree. You no longer have to go to the ward clerk in order to change your living. Of course, changing member living in Family Tree will not update membership records. One must still go to the clerk to update membership records.

When a ward clerk records that a person is deceased, then a "membership" copy of the person will be placed in the public portions of the tree.…When a person makes their local living copy dead, this record as well becomes public and should show possible duplicate with the membership version. The person who made their local living copy dead should merge these two records together.

Here are a few other topics Tanner covered:

You can find resources for training others about Family Tree at http://familysearch.org/treetraining.

Tanner said that about 60,000 to 80,000 people still use New FamilySearch each week.

Some users of Family Tree are new. They make mistakes, just like we did when we were new. We need to help them and encourage them.

Discussions among users is not happening soon enough. This may be because notification of changes only occurs once a week. By then, the best moment for discussion is gone. “I’m trying to change that,” he said. “I think you need to be informed sooner, maybe immediately.” Another impediment to discussions is the inability to email others making changes who haven’t made their email public. When consultants help people register, he said they should help the user set their email public. Click Settings > Contact > email > Public. Tanner said he recently got permission to implement a private message system that would allow the exchange of messages with other users even without an email address. [I picture it being similar to the capability that Ancestry.com has had for close to a decade.]

Helping users recover passwords and usernames is straightforward. Go to Sign In and after “Forgot your…” click on “user name” or “password.” For a member of the general public, recovery is via email. For those with an LDS account, recovery uses the lds.org account recovery system. Recovery can be via mobile phone, email, or membership record number (MRN). If recovering via email, some people may not be aware that most email systems can be accessed via the Internet. Just google the domain name (the part of the email after the @ at-sign). Once you have recovered your password, write it down and put it in your wallet.

Members of the Church who can’t see temple ordinance information need to enter their membership record number. Have them login and click on their username. Select Settings from the dropdown menu. Scroll down and select Yes for the “Are you a member…?” question. Enter the membership record number. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.

To fix wrong relationships, it helps to understand how Family Tree works with relationships. All relationships in Family Tree are of two types: spousal and parent-child. A spousal relationship consists of two people and relationship events such as marriage date and place. A parent-child relationship consists of a child, at least one parent, and relationship types for each parent, such as biological, adopted, etc. Family Tree does not require a spousal relationship between the parents of a child. To correct a relationship, you must leave the person page and go to the relationship page. Go to the Family Members section of the person page and click on either Edit Couple or Edit Parents. The relationship page allows for sources and notes about the relationship.

Tanner explained how to fix your pedigree when half of it suddenly disappears. The reason this occurs is because a glitch occurred when membership records were copied to New FamilySearch and then to Family Tree. To fix the problem, follow these steps (which I’ve copied pretty closely from the syllabus). Go to the relationships on the detail view of the child missing the parent or parents. Review the relationship section to see if the child is showing no parents, a single-parent (mother or father) or two sets of parents (one with both parents and the other with just one of the parents).

If there are no parents listed then,

  1. Add the correct father by clicking Add Father and select the correct father (search or
    PID).
  2. Click on Edit Parents next to the living child under the newly added father.
  3. In the parent-child relationship click to add a Mother and select the correct mother.

If there is only a single parent in the relationship then,

  1. Click on Edit Parents next to the living child under this relationship
  2. In the parent-child relationship click to add the missing parent and select the correct
    parent.

If there are two sets of parents, one with both parents and one with only one of the parents
then,

  1. Verify the child is listed under each parent set. If not then call support.
  2. Look at the single parent relationship and open the children tab to see the living child.
  3. Click on Edit Parents next to the living child under the single parent to go to the
    parent-child relationship.
  4. Delete the relationship.

Changing gender is not allowed at this time because New FamilySearch doesn’t allow it and Family Tree is being synchronized with New FamilySearch. Once that connection has been broken, then it will be possible.

The Helper feature is being misused. Its purpose is not to help someone. The purpose is to help those without a computer. Don’t use it to help someone who has forgotten their username or password. It is better to get their account working. To help another person, you need to know their helper number. It defaults to the last five digits of their membership record number. When information is added via the helper feature, Family Tree tracks the name of both the submitter (the helper) and the contributor (the one being helped). Only the contributor name is displayed in the change log.

Here my notes drizzle out. Do you get the feeling I have attention problems? Hopefully he didn’t save anything really important for the very end.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

FGS Conference for $49 Saturday - #FGS2014

The FGS 2014 annual conferenceThe Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) has announced special pricing for those who wish to attend their annual conference on Saturday, 30 August 2014. The Saturday-only registration rate is $49. This is a tremendous opportunity for those within easy driving distance of San Antonio. Since you don’t need to pay for airfare or a hotel, attendance is very affordable. See “Directions and Parking in San Antonio” for parking costs and driving directions.

Your Saturday registration gives you access to more than 35 lectures plus optional workshops and luncheons. Visit the Exhibit Hall to see product demonstrations and presentations on two stages or meet with vendors and exhibitors in their booths. To learn more about the Saturday programs, download the conference brochure or visit the website at www.fgsconference.org/program.

Today is the final day to register online. Register at http://www.fgsconference.org/registration. Or you can just show up at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center Saturday morning. Registration starts at 7:30am on Saturday. The first lecture begins at 8:30am.

See you in San Antonio!

Monday, August 18, 2014

FGS Conference Online Registration Deadline #FGS2014

The FGS 2014 annual conferenceI applied to be an ambassador for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference but I’ve given up being accepted. Bummer. That won’t stop me from telling you about this great conference coming next week. I’m a big fan of the three national conferences. They draw from nation-wide and local experts. The conference will be held in San Antonio, Texas (remember the Alamo?) on 27-30 August 2014.

If you wish to register online, you need to do so today (18 August 2014) or tomorrow (19 August 2014). Register at http://www.fgsconference.org/registration. Pre-registrants will have online access to the syllabus before the conference. Pre-registrants also have a better shot at registering for extras before they sell out:

  • 13 luncheons over the 4 conference days
  • 10 workshops over 3 days
  • Wednesday Night at the Institute of Texan Cultures on 27 August, hosted by the the San Antonio Genealogical and Historical Society and the Texas State Genealogical Society.

I know Friday evening’s “Night in Old San Antonio” at La Villita is already sold out. I don’t know about the others. If the Wednesday night activity doesn’t sell out beforehand, onsite registrants may still be able to purchase tickets.

I hope to see you there!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Ancestry.com New Terms and Conditions

Clipart of contract by AlastairOn the first of August, Ancestry.com released new terms and conditions. Keep in mind that I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV. My opinions about the Ts & Cs should not be considered legal counsel. If you have questions, be sure to consult a licensed attorney. One schooled in Utah contract law might be advisable because my understanding is that merely using Ancestry.com establishes a contract between Ancestry.com and yourself. That contract is the Ts & Cs, so it is good to read through them once in awhile. Here are some changes I thought interesting:

The new terms and conditions apply to Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, and Newspapers.com. I don’t know how much the Ts & Cs of these three differed before, but it is certainly easier for users to have just one to understand. However, Rootsweb.com, genealogy.com, and mundia.com were removed from the list of “the Ancestry Community.”

Ancestry.com has added a section explaining that the contents of the websites are provided AS IS. While they attempt to make it accurate, they make no claim that it is “complete, accurate, reliable or error-free.”

I often hear people ask if they can download stuff from Ancestry.com and put it up on FamilySearch Family Tree. Ancestry.com has added language clarifying what can and can’t be done:

You may access the Websites and use the Content only for personal or professional family history research, and download Content only as search results relevant to that research. For example, the download of the whole or material parts of any work or database is prohibited. Resale of a work or database or portion thereof is prohibited. Online or other republication of Content is prohibited except as unique data elements that are part of a unique family history or genealogy.

Interpretation of the word unique there seems pretty important. Tempting as it is, I’ll resist giving any.

Ancestry.com has added a section addressing the issue of the public domain documents it has digitized (mostly from NARA).

Ancestry does not claim an exclusive right to images already in the public domain that it has converted into a digital format. However, the Websites contain images or documents…that, even if in the public domain, are subject to restrictions on reuse. By [accessing the Websites], you agree to not reuse these images or documents except that you may reuse public domain images so long as you only use small portions of the images or documents for personal use. If you republish public domain images, you agree to credit the relevant Ancestry Website as the source of the digital image, unless additional specific restrictions apply. If you wish to republish more than a small portion of the images or documents from any of the Websites, you agree to obtain prior written permission from us.

I skipped some language of that section to emphasize your contract regarding public domain images. Let me do the reverse now for non-public domain images.

The Websites contain images or documents that are protected by copyrights or that…are subject to restrictions on reuse. By [accessing the Websites], you agree to not reuse these images or documents….

When you contribute content to Ancestry.com websites, you grant them a license to use it. That only makes sense. They have strengthened the wording of that license by specifying the license is “perpetual, royalty-free, [and] world-wide” and licenses them to “otherwise use your submission to the extent…we deem appropriate…. This license continues even if you stop using the Websites or the Services.” As before, you still retain ownership of your content. You just can’t demand that Ancestry.com give it back to you.

Ancestry.com’s hasn’t yet closed the loophole that I’ve seen used to allow multiple people to justify sharing a single subscription. In both the old and new Ts & Cs, Ancestry.com specifies that “distribution of your password to others for access to Ancestry is expressly prohibited.” To this they have clarified that “you must keep your account password secure.” I’ve seen people login to a subscription in a public place and leave it logged in with the express purpose of allowing a group to use that one subscription. Should someone accidentally logout, the account holder must show up and reenter the password, so as to not violate the Ts & Cs.

You should not depend on what I’ve said here. You should read the Ts & Cs for yourself at http://www.ancestry.com/cs/legal/termsandconditions. The old Ts & Cs are available at http://www.ancestry.com/cs/legal/TermsAndConditions_2012_04_26_US.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ancestry.com United States Obituary Collection of Limited Value

NewspaperI recently tried using the Ancestry.com United States Obituary Collection after not using it for, say, five years. Something has happened since I last used it. When this database was first published it was a compilation of obituaries cached from other websites. The short database description seen when hovering over the title in the catalog still describes it as a compilation. But Ancestry.com seems to have scrapped the scrapes in favor of providing links to the original websites. I asked Ancestry.com when this took place, but didn’t receive an answer. Does anybody know when this change occurred?

Caching other companies’ webpages and serving them up in static format never sounded legal to me. But it was sure good for Ancestry.com users. Obituaries in particular seem to be quite transitory. I mentioned to an Ancestry.com spokesperson that many links in the collection go to non-existent pages, or are redirected to pages that don't contain the cited obituary. He said that Ancestry.com’s engineers suggested I send him bad URLs for evaluation. Let me do that right now.

Dear Ancestry.com Engineers,

Enclosed please find obituary links that need to be evaluated. According to the card catalog, there are 29 million of them. To print the list, go to http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7545, fill your surname into the “Last Name” box, and click Search.

For example, try “Deighton.” I tested the first five entries:

View Record

Name of Deceased

Age at Death

Birth Date

Death Date

Newspaper Location

Other Name Mentioned

Status

View Record

Charles Eugene Deighton

94

   

Fresno, CA, US

James Graham Monroe

Obit is Gone

View Record

Charles Eugene Deighton

94

   

Clovis, CA, US

James Graham Monroe

Obit is Gone

View Record

Christy Deighton

     

Great Bend, KS, US

David

Obit is Gone

View Record

Deighton

89

23 Nov 2015

5 Aug 2004

Callicoon, NY, US

Daisy Rumsey Moffat

Obit is Gone

View Record

Frederick E. Deighton

 

14 Dec 2015

 

Ann Arbor, MI, US

Frederick Dexter E.

Obit is Archived. $2.95 to view.

I was tempted to keep going until I found one that worked, but don’t have time to check 29 million URLs.

Signed,
---The Ancestry Insider

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ancestry.com Declines Revealing Databases Not in LDS Subscription

After last week’s article about FindMyPast, I thought I’d get a list of databases from Ancestry.com that are not supported in the LDS subscription. It turns out that is not so easy. I asked Ancestry.com for a list and was told “all of the messaging actually comes from FamilySearch.” The spokesperson referred me to a marketing manager at FamilySearch who told me that Ancestry.con has not provided a list.

Both individuals quoted to me the official corporate-speak:

FamilySearch’s agreement with Ancestry.com gives LDS church members access to all of Ancestry.com’s content collections around the world, with a few limited exceptions where contractual limitations prevent free access. For these few collections, an option to view these records on a pay-per-view basis is available. Ancestry.com has over 32,000 collections available to search and explore. Currently over 99% of these collections are available for free via an LDS member subscription. The Ancestry.com LDS member subscription excludes Fold3 and newspapers.com which may be added in the future. 

If LDS members have any issues with their subscriptions or access to content collections, please contact Ancestry.com directly at 1-800-ANCESTRY (1-800-262-3787).

From the BYU conference I learned that supposedly there are 21 databases that are not included. Someone working in the computer lab told me that the United States Obituary Collection was among them. Saturday night, 2 August, I verified the limitation and captured this image from my browser:

Message: This collection is not available with your free LDS-Ancestry membership.

I also heard that there are Manchester databases, so I poked around and found these databases are not included:

I randomly came across another database that was—bizarrely—not included:

As I wrote this article last Saturday, I tried this book again and it was then included! I tried the U.S. obituary collection again and it too is now included. (More on U.S. Obits tomorrow…) Maybe that is why there is no list. Maybe Ancestry.com is still reviewing contracts to determine which databases can be offered up in this fashion.

What about you? Have you come across databases not included in the LDS Subscription? Let me know.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Samantha Sulser–Photos & Stories on FamilySearch.org #BYUFHGC

Samantha Sulser taught a class about the FamilySearch.org photo and story features. Sulser is a manager at FamilySearch. She started with a video called “Preserve Your Photos And Family Memories.”

FamilySearch video: Preserve Your Photos and Family Memories

To demonstrate photos and stories, Sulser first had us login. To upload photos and stories you must have an account, but it is free. After logging in we clicked on Memories and then Stories.

Select Memories, then People

By default you’ll see the photos you’ve uploaded. Use the dropdown underneath the “People” label to display photos added by your relatives.

The People page shows the memories added to the people in your "scope of interest"

The yellow ribbon indicates someone else added the photo. I checked Friday and had 262. Of course, you won’t see any additional photographs unless you’ve added enough of your tree that you connect with other relatives. I’m of Mormon pioneer stock and church membership records automatically connected me with a zillion relatives. Photos show up of people who I’ve never heard of. Fortunately, you can click the yellow ribbon to see a chart of your relationship. Here’s what the relationship chart looks like:

I had no luck seeing a photo relationship chart in FamilySearch
(Oops. Friday, as I write this, it is not working. Guess you won’t be seeing an example after all. Have I complained lately about how often I get errors using FamilySearch.org?)

You can also click on the photo and see all the memories that have been contributed for that person. “You may get photos, stories, or documents—anything that has been attached to that ancestor,” said Sulser in her syllabus.

Next Sulser had us click on Family Tree. The tree display has four options: descendency, fan chart, portrait, and traditional pedigree. Click Portrait to see a pedigree chart with photographs.

This image shows a portrait pedigree with the dropdown allowing switch to descendancy, fan chart, or traditional pedigree view

If you haven’t seen it yet, click on Descendancy to see the new descendancy view of your tree. Play with the generations and show options at the top. To climb further up your tree, click on “Expand” at the upper-left.

You can change the portrait that is displayed for an ancestor (assuming more than one is available). Go to the person’s person page. (Click their name and in the popup card click Person.) On the person page, click the portrait shown to the left of the person’s name.

From the person page, click on Memories to see the photos, documents, and stories attached to that person.

The memories feature of FamilySearch.org supports stories up to 10,000 characters, according to a class member. (The help center says it is 5,000,000. It is Life Sketch that is limited to 10,000.) Sulser warned that if you type the story directly into FamilySearch.org, you should save often. After about 10 minutes of typing, it will lose everything you’ve typed, without warning.

The memories feature allows you to upload up to 5,000 photographs, stories, and documents per user. To upload photographs, click on Memories, then Photos, and then Upload as shown in this screen shot:

The FamilySearch.org photo upload page failed
(Oops. Saturday as I write this, it is not working. Guess I won’t be showing that to you after all. FamilySearch.org is acting up again. Try to click on the image and see if the page will open correctly in your browser.)

Here’s what it looks like if you refresh the page:

image
(Oops. It’s still not working.)

Click the big green plus sign (not) shown in the screen shot, above. A second plus sign appears. Click it also and select a photo from your computer. You can alternately drag and drop photos on top of it. I tried that, but had disastrous results. Instead of uploading the photos, it uploaded an entire folder of photos from my computer, many of which had living people that I hadn’t yet asked for permission. It took me several days to sift through them, tagging living people to prevent Google from indexing the photo, or deleting the photos altogether. Each time I tagged a person, FamilySearch.org threw me back to the first page of photos. At that time I would have to click Next several times to get back to where I had been working. It looks like they’ve since added the capability to jump directly to a page number, or displaying all the photos on one page. Hopefully, they’ve fixed the drag-and-drop feature also.

“The first time you add a photo or story, a message appears about the FamilySearch submission agreement. Please read and indicate that you will comply,” said Sulser.

I don’t recall if it was Sulser who suggested “Tree Connect” from RecordSeek.com. If there is a photo or story on another website, you can create a source and link to it using Tree Connect.

At this point my notes get pretty skimpy. To learn more about photos and stories, visit https://familysearch.org/ask/#/memories/.

Monday, August 11, 2014

FHLC Retiring 2 September 2014

FamilySearch revealed this (Monday) morning that it is retiring the old Family History Library catalog on the 2nd of September. On that date, users will automatically be redirected to the new FamilySearch catalog. To give feedback before that date, visit the old catalog at https://familysearch.org/eng/Library/FHLC/frameset_fhlc.asp and click Give Feedback. To use the new FamilySearch catalog, hover over Search on the menu bar and click Catalog. Or go directly to https://familysearch.org/catalog-search.