Showing posts with label trees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trees. Show all posts

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

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 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 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
  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

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

  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.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 Trees - #BYUFHGC

Michelle ErcanbrackAt the recent BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy, Michelle Ercanbrack addressed the topic, “Getting the Most From” Ercanbrack presented three major areas of the website: trees, search, and DNA.

Ercanbrack showed how to customize the home page. Look for the rather large button on the right hand side of the page. (See the image, below.) Click on it to enter the customization mode. You can choose which of 13 widgets or tools you wish to appear on your home page. Some are designed to appear in the main column and some in the smaller, right column. You can move widgets up and down in their respective columns. In the image below, I have the family tree widget positioned at the top of the main column. My trees are the hub of all my activity on and I like to be able to get to them quickly. In the right-hand column, my first widget is the Records Collection widget. It gives me quick access to U.S. census records and other commonly accessed collections. Beneath my family tree widget is the search widget, which I never use. The home page search widget is too limited for my needs. I would delete it, but somehow an home page without a search form just doesn’t feel right. My other main column widgets are “What’s Happening at” followed by “My Shoebox.” In the right-hand column, I also have the “Recent Activity” widget. It provides quick links to the last three databases and the last three searches. It also has links to my soon to be gone MyCanvas Projects. Finally, I have the “My Quick Links” widget where I save bookmarks to the commonly accessed, but hard to get to pages on (or other websites), like the new databases list or a fellow researches member tree. Other available widgets are: Getting Started, Recent Member Connect Activity, My To-Do List, Jewish Name Variants, Jewish Community Locator, Blog, and Message Board Favorites.

The main navigation menu bar exists on every page. The Customize homepage button is on the home page only. 

The menu bar (circled in red at the top-left in the image, above) is the main navigation tool of and is present on every page (almost). Click on an item, or hover to see a drop-down menu of additional page links.

Ancestry Trees are cool, said Ercanbrack. They are a great place to organize your information. They are an easy way to access records you’ve already found on They make it easy to share your data with family and to connect with other users. They allow you to access your tree from anywhere you have internet access. You can upload digitized family photos and documents from personal collections, or, using the Shoe Box app, from your cell phone camera. They also have Story View, an amazing timeline feature that integrates pictures and documents. It produces bite size visual pieces that are involving to youth. is a “my tree” environment. You can have your own, private tree which you can share at your own discretion with select friends and family members. You can keep your tree totally hidden or allow the general public to see it.

Ercanbrack told us two ways to start a tree on start from scratch or upload a GEDCOM. For LDS subscription users, there is a third: import your tree from FamilySearch Family Tree. Hover over Family Trees on the menu and select Start a New Tree, Upload a GEDCOM, or Import From FamilySearch. You do not have to be an subscriber to build a tree. Only a free registration is required.

You can view your tree in pedigree view (below-left) or family view (below-right). member tree pedigree view member tree family view

To control who can see your tree, click on “Tree Pages” just to the right of the tree title, then click Tree Settings, and finally, Privacy Settings. Set the tree to “Public Tree” to allow everyone to see your tree—except for living individuals. Only the gender of living individuals can be seen by others. Persons are considered living if their birth date is within the last 100 years and the death date field is left blank. Select “Private Tree” to make your tree semi-private. Limited information about deceased individuals in your tree (name, birth year, and birthplace) will appear in search results, but others will not be able to see relationships or anything else in your tree. To make your tree completely private, in addition to selecting “Private Tree,” mark the little box to exclude your tree from search results.

To share your tree, click on “Tree Pages” just to the right of the tree title, and then Share Your Tree. Specify an email address and a role. Then send the invitation. The three roles are guest, contributor, and editor. A guest can see your tree, even if it’s a private tree, and can optionally see living persons. A contributor can also add stories and photos. An editor can also add and edit people. You can share your tree with anyone, even someone without an subscription.’s trees are famous for their “shaky leaves,” which indicate that has found a record that might match a person in your tree. Ercanbrack demonstrated evaluating and attaching a potentially matching record. I’ve run out of time, so I won’t be showing that. It’s worth quickly presenting a helpful hint she gave us. When evaluating a potential match, open the record or image in one browser tab and the comparison page in another. Then you can easily switch back and forth. To open a link in a different tab, right click on it and select Open in New Tab. I use a keyboard shortcut: hold the control key down while clicking the link. The current page stays open in one tab and the new page opens in another. This works quite well on, but I’m always running into links on for which it just won’t work. (But don’t get me started…)

For records like censuses, where an entire family is known, you can attach the record to the entire family at once. Ercanbrack said that her soap box statement for the day was, “Research entire families.” We’re building trees, not poles.

One last thing before closing. I know some people at think that I try to catch their presenters saying something untoward. Not to disappoint them, here’s a quote from Ercanbrack: When questioned about her choice of tree managers, she said she doesn’t use I had to laugh when she said, “Truthfully, FamilySearch gives me hives.”

Next time: searching.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Mailbox: Our Tree and Your Tree on FamilySearch

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxDear Sir (or Ma'am?  I've never been able to figure out if you're male or female),

I had heard that we shouldn't upload our trees to because anyone can go in and change the info we've entered. Do you know if this is true or not? If it's true, this new feature isn't very applicable to those of us who are just keeping our trees on and our own software because we don't want others messing with our information. But if it's not true, this would be an excellent reason to upload our trees to FamilySearch, and I would start promoting it to my students.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

Katherine Willson (Ann Arbor, MI)

Dear Katherine,

Gosh, where to start. First, yes I am male or female.

Next, the rumor you’ve heard that you shouldn’t upload your tree to is pretty much false. I’m hedging a little bit. Let me go through the steps and you’ll see why.

Save a copy of your tree in GEDCOM format. You’ll upload this copy to FamilySearch, Go to You’ll need to register (it’s free) before uploading your tree. Click on “Join For Free” near the top-right corner of the page and complete the registration. Click or hover over Search on the menu bar, then select Genealogies. On this page you can upload your GEDCOM tree or search the GEDCOM trees of others. This collection of trees is called the Pedigree Resource File. Your GEDCOM tree is your tree and no one can change it but you (by uploading a new GEDCOM over the top of it). Scroll down to the bottom and click on the button “Submit Tree.” Click on Add GEDCOM. Select your GEDCOM file, give it a title, and enter a description that might be helpful to others.

After it has finished uploading it will show up in your tree list at

Pedigree Resource File list of your uploaded GEDCOM files

From the list you can Compare your tree to FamilySearch Family Tree, you can download a copy of your GEDCOM file, or you can delete it. As opposed to your tree, where you just uploaded, FamilySearch Family Tree is our tree. It is all of us building the family tree of all mankind. If you wish to be a part of this ambitious project, you can start by comparing your tree to Family Tree. Your tree remains unchanged in this process. To start, click Compare. tells you they will do the compare and send you an email.

You will get an email when the PRF compare is finished

When FamilySearch completes the comparison, the Compare button changes to View.

Pedigree Resource File list of your uploaded GEDCOM files, with View button

Click on View and shows the results of the comparison.

Pedigree Resource File results of GEDCOM comparison to FamilySearch Family Tree

The people in your tree fall into four categories. “Potential Matches” might already be in Family Tree, but FamilySearch computers defer to you, a human being, to decide. “Add to Family Tree” are not in Family Tree, at least as far as the FamilySearch computers can tell. “Already in Family Tree” are in Family Tree already (duh). and “Invalid and Living” can not be added to Family Tree for whatever reason, including the potential of being alive. Click Review Results.

You may add those not already in Family Tree and view those considered invalid or living. For potential matches, you may specify if the person from your tree (on the left) is the same person as the potential match from Family Tree (on the right).

PRF GEDCOM potential matches to FamilySearch Family Tree

For those already in Family Tree, you have the option of copying facts from your tree (on the left) to Family Tree (on the right).

PRF GEDCOM person already in FamilySearch Family Tree

This can get rather tedious, as new people must be added to Family Tree one at a time and new facts about old people must be added one at a time. FamilySearch says this is by design. In the early days of New FamilySearch it was slammed with boatloads of duplicate people that gummed up the gears something fierce.

I won’t go into it here, but another, perhaps easier, way to contribute to Family Tree is to use a tree manager that supports direct synchronization with your tree on your home computer.

Let sum up. You should upload your tree to FamilySearch Pedigree Resource File. No one can change Pedigree Resource File trees but the contributor. You can also contribute to Family Tree. Anyone can change anything in Family Tree. Discussing the pros and cons of that model is beyond the scope of this article (which has already grown too long).

Thanks for your letter,
---The Ancestry Insider

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Mailbox: Tree Size

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxDear Ancestry Insider,

I am loving with the shaking leaves! I have created one ENORMOUS family tree. Will the big size become some disadvantage??? Should I have created four trees, one for each of my grandparents???

Kath Baker

Dear Kath,

That’s an excellent question. I see pros and cons.

I personally share an Ancestry member tree with my siblings. It contains 8,500 ancestors and their descendants. It is convenient to have it all in one place. But if we ever have to split it, we will pay the piper plentifully.

We also have 1,300 photos and document images in the tree and that is a big problem.’s photo management is in the honey bucket. Dealing with that number of photos is near impossible. I’ve uploaded a bunch over the years that I meant to go back and attach to a person. Now it’s impossible to find them. You have to manually scan through 53 pages of thumbnails. I’d like to sort them at times by title, upload date, event date, event location, person attached to, or geolocation. I’d like to search and filter them by any field or by specific fields. All I want are the basic management operations we’re used to from iTunes, Windows folders, Outlook, or photo management programs. I’ll gladly jump ship to FamilySearch or stay with Ancestry Member Trees if one would add some decent photo management. But I digress… The photo management problem would have been one-fourth the size had I used the four tree approach.

When I bought Family Tree Maker (actually, provided me a review copy), I found it took a considerable amount of time to do the first synchronize between my desktop and online trees. Breaking that chore into four may have helped more. But that only needs to be done once. Having the result all in one file is nice if you have to search for something. For example, when I went to a conference in Springfield, I found nearby research opportunities by searching for family that died in Illinois. And may I say that I’m crazy happy that I keep a backup of my Ancestry Member Tree on my laptop. You never know when will find it can make more money renting out puppies and shuts down next September. But I digress…

While I’m collaborating mostly with siblings, I’ve shared the tree at times with more distant relatives. That’s been a bit awkward. Having four trees would make it more natural to grant access to first and second cousins. I also have almost a dozen project trees. These are small, private trees where I’m working on research not ready for prime time. Separate trees make it possible to share select information with select people.

All that said, I’m not feeling particularly well qualified to make a recommendation one way or the other.

Dear Readers,

Can you help Kath out? What is your experience? One tree? Four trees? More?

The Ancestry Insider

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 Adds Linking Tool to FamilySearch Collection

The new feature doesn't work on all trees.Amy Johnson Crow, spokesperson recently wrote about a new feature on the ability to link a record from an image-only collection to someone in your tree. They fly a bit under the radar, but both and have collections that haven’t been indexed. I’m on a bit of a crusade this year to get people utilizing these collections better. If you find a record of an ancestor in one of these collections, it used to be impossible to attach the record to someone in your member tree.

To try this new feature, I attempted to attach a map of Marshall, Oneida, New York. Clicking the orange save button produced the message to the right.

I was disappointed that didn’t have the capability that Crow suggested. I thought maybe it was just a limitation on books—some of which handles a little differently.

I tried an image from the “Associated Press, The AP World, 1943–2001” collection. That too, could not be attached.

I decided to try the collection that Crow demonstrated, “North Carolina, Confederate Soldiers and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1953.” Interestingly, the source information for this collection stated that it is from FamilySearch. I randomly browsed one of the options, “Rainey, William - Reed, William H.” It was a FamilySearch microfilm header. I clicked the orange Save button and it worked as advertised.

The Save button has an option to save the record to a person in your tree.

I selected a tree and began typing in a name. A list of matching names dropped down and I selected one of them. I could then select from a dropdown list of event types consisting of birth or birth substitutes (baptism, christening, confirmation), death, marriage, and residence. Beneath that I could specify the basic information about an event: date, place, location, and notes.

Specify the tree, person, and event information.The example date was “Nov. 1, 1980.” I tried the genealogical standard date format and it worked fine. It showed “Country, State, County, City” in the location field, but when I started typing in a location, the dropdown listed locations in the more conventional smallest-to-largest format. These are trivialities but I bring them up because they show that software designers at and FamilySearch often don’t do genealogy themselves and sometimes don’t consult with genealogists as they implement their products.

I clicked Save and it showed a confirmation message inviting me to go to the person’s profile page or save the record to another family member. That’s nice because records usually mention more than one family member.
On the person’s profile page, the event was entered into the timeline with the information I specified and a link back to the record.

The event is placed in the person's timeline.

This is a slick feature. Too bad FamilySearch can’t do this. Maybe someday they will implement timelines too. In the meantime, use it on I don’t know what determines if the feature is enabled on a particular collection—maybe its just image-only collections from FamilySearch—but I hope they extend it to all collections.

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

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.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Obfuscated FamilySearch Family Tree Manual

One complaint I hear made about FamilySearch Family Tree is that there is no manual. It turns out, there is a manual. But the contents are secret so FamilySearch keeps it hidden. Just kidding. The part about it being secret is not true. The part about keeping it hidden, well that is more true than you might think.

The secret to finding the FamilySearch Family Tree manual is to stop looking for it among manuals. Instead, look among videos.

  1. Click Get Help in the upper-right corner of the page. (Illustration below.) home page
  2. In the drop-down menu, click Product Support. (Illustration above.)
  3. Scroll down to the blue rectangle labeled Family Tree. (Illustration below.) Product Support page
  4. Click More Training Videos. (Yes. “More Training Videos.”) (Illustration above.)
  5. Family Tree training pageLog in the, if not already. There is different training and manuals for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and non-members. FamilySearch needs you to log in to determine which set to present to you.
  6. Click the Guides and Manuals shortcut, or scroll down to that section of the page. (Illustration to the right.)
  7. View or download either the Family Tree Quick Start Guide or the Family Tree Reference Manual. (Illustration to the right.)

Pretty straight forward; not.

One last caveat. Family Tree changes so fast, the manual is always out of date.

Maybe that’s why FamilySearch hides it so intently.

Monday, February 10, 2014

#RootsTech – Find A Grave App Coming Soon, FamilySearch to Follow

“Mobile computing is the fastest-spreading consumer technology in history,” according to the MIT Technology Review. Estimates project that the amount of web traffic from mobile devices will surpass that of regular computers by 2015.

FamilySearch Mobile Apps

Thursday I attended “FamilySearch's Mobile Family Tree Apps,” presented by Todd Powell, FamilySearch senior product manager. While there has been a small bit of research on using SMS messaging (“texting”) to add to the Family Tree, FamilySearch’s emphasis is on smart phones, iOS and Android.

The website is now being designed using a principle called Responsive Web Design (RWD), a design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience regardless of the size of the viewing device. FamilySearch’s approach to mobile apps is to provide functionality that doesn’t duplicate what can be done using the website. “What can I do on a mobile device that I can’t do anywhere else?” Since mobile devices aren’t always connected to the Internet, a lot of work is going into the disconnected experience.

FamilySearch is working on two mobile apps.

FamilySearch's upcoming FamilySearch Memories appOne is Family Memories. It can be used to takes photos, write stories, and record audio. One day it may support video, but for now it is too difficult to screen them for appropriate content. You’ll be able to do all this while you are offline. Once you get to a place where you can connect, the app uploads it to your Memories page on The app allows you to tag people in photos, but not attach them to the tree. That will come later.

Family Memories is being developed on iOS, but it will be extended to Android later. Powell showed a slide with the planned release schedule, but I couldn’t make sense of it quickly enough. Did anybody else out there catch what the schedule was?

Todd Powell shows FamilySearch's upcoming Family Tree Viewer appThe other FamilySearch app is Family Tree Viewer. Family Tree Viewer allows viewing a portrait pedigree, ancestor details, parents and siblings, spouses and children, sources, and photos and stories. You can tap a source to get to the image. (I can’t remember for sure, but I think your browser is activated to view the image.) You can generate and print PDF copies of the same four chart types as Family Tree. Some number of generations—maybe the first six?—will be downloaded to the device and stored there for offline viewing.

Family Tree Viewer is close to alpha release for Android phones and will go beta at the end of March. (An alpha release typically occurs internally when a product is feature complete and development is shifting to testing and bug fixes. Beta release occurs when the product is fairly stable and needs to be tested by a larger number of people in more situations than the organization can provide internally.) The Android version is a couple of months ahead of the iOS version.

Soon you will be able to add the photo of a source to Family Tree. You’ll be able to choose a photo or take one, and then add a source title. It will be added as a source to the selected individual.

By the end of the year it is hoped that the app will support adding to the tree while disconnected, and then later synchronized. Photos are not geo-tagged, but that is a feature they would like to add.

There are no current plans to provide an app for FamilySearch indexing. Indexing will be supported through the regular browser and only when connected to the Internet. (Has the pendulum swung too far?) Mobile Apps

So there I was, sitting at a luncheon with a kind couple from Michigan. (No, they didn’t hold up their hands and point to where they live. However, the luncheon presenter did.) We were talking Sweden when the conversation veered over the border. “I have one Norwegian line,” I said. “Oh, really? What county?” I haven’t looked at that line in a decade. Hang on one moment. I pulled out my smart phone. I clicked on the Ancestry App. I downloaded my tree, and voila, I knew the county of my Norwegian line.

Friday I attended “Take Your Research Anywhere with's Mobile App,” by Jason Butterfield,, director of product management.

An appalling photograph of's upcoming Find-a-Grave is set to release a Find-A-Grave mobile app very soon. Emails to beta testers went out Thursday. To the right is a photograph of the new app. (What did you expect? I was sitting in the back of the room and I suffer from familial tremors. You get what you get.) The app will search the 112 million memorials and 90 million photographs on You can search for cemeteries. You can take photographs and create memorials. You can make and fulfill photo requests. And you can mark the GPS location of a grave. The initial version will be iOS only. (The Android app available today is not an official, app.) currently has two mobile apps, Shoebox and the Ancestry app.

The Shoebox app allows you to take photographs of documents or photographs and automatically upload them to your Ancestry Tree. For my review of the app, see “Shoebox From Ancestry.” There’s a couple of features I noticed Friday that I didn’t mention in my review. When tagging a person, start typing and the app will show you matching names from your Ancestry Tree. When entering location, start typing the location and the app will show you a list of matching locations. Select a location and the app will show it on a map.

The Ancestry App allows you to view and make changes to your Ancestry Tree. When you download the app, you can login with your Ancestry user id, but you don’t have to have a subscription to create a tree.

The Ancestry App family view and individual timeline

Butterfield said the family view is so good, people have written him to say they sit their iPad with the family view next to their computer as they work on their tree on their computer. inserts world events into your ancestors’ timelines to give context to their lives. For example in the screen shot above, the small event between 1817 and 1850 indicates that in 1837 “the French inventor, Daguerre, invented the daguerreotype. Tap on the event to see additional events of that decade.

To add a photograph to an event in the timeline, first tap on the event and then tap “Add Photo.” You can take a new photograph, or select from the existing photographs on your camera. Photos attached to an event will show on the timeline.

Any changes you make will show up on your Ancestry Tree on

The main difference in features between the app and the website is the lack of historical record search on the app. However, it is possible to launch a search for an ancestor in your tree. Switch to the person’s gallery and tap Find Sources. This will launch a browser with the search parameters set.

Most of the information from your tree is downloaded when you first select the tree, but not photos and source images. If you are going away and want particular photos or source images on your device, view each one once on the device. They will be downloaded and cached on your device.

You can connect your tree (or is it your account?) to Facebook to help you pull in living people to your tree. If you connect a tree to your Facebook account, will not post to your Facebook wall. They just look at your connections, looking for family members. They look at more than your friends. They will also look at the friends of your friends.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Medieval IOUSes in FamilySearch Family Tree

Wedding of John of Luxemburg and Elise of Premyslid in Speyer 1310I am told that some of the worst IOUSes in New FamilySearch (NFS) are European medieval royalty.

An IOUS is an Individual Of Unusual Size. IOUSes are individuals in NFS that were formed by combining many like people from multiple trees. NFS retains all the separate contributions inside the individual, so the more the matches, the larger the size of the combined individual. If an IOUS becomes too large, it can crash NFS, so FamilySearch caps their size and does not allow them to be combined with other duplicates.

That some of the worst IOUSes in New FamilySearch (NFS) are European medieval royalty makes sense, as thousands of submitters to Pedigree Resource File are descendants of them.

New FamilySearch indicates IOUSes with an icon adjacent to the name.IOUSes are identified in NFS with an icon to the right of the name. (See the graphic to the right.) In FamilySearch Family Tree, there is no such thing as an IOUS. However, because the Family Tree database is synchronized with the NFS database, the combine limitation in NFS is imposed on merging in Family Tree. Effectively, there are IOUSes in Family Tree. As far as I know, there is no indication in Family Tree that the individual is an IOUS in NFS.

One IOUS of European medieval royalty is King Hroar Half Frodasson. According to NSF, he is the combination of 383 records. He is identified as the son of Halfdon Frodasson. I’ve done no work with patronymic names, but even I can see there is something suspicious about Hroar Frodasson being the son of Halfdon Frodasson.

Fortunately, the FamilySearch Royal and Noble Houses of Europe tree comes to the rescue. His name is actually Hroar Halfdansson. The Royal and Noble… tree has been carefully researched and is fully sourced. Want to see evidence that Hroar Halfdansson is the correct name? Check the sources.

  • [S1167] #11565 The Viking Age: the Early History, Manners, and Customs of the Ancestors of the English-speaking Nations: Illustrated from the Antiquiites Discovered in Mounds, Cairns, and Bogs as Well as from the Ancient Sagas and Eddas, Du Chaillu, Paul B. (Paul Belloni), (2 volumes. London : John Murray, 1889), FHL book 948 H2d; FHL film 1440113 items 1-2., p. 68.
  • [S713] #11577 Ættartolurbækur Jóns Espólíns Sysslumanns (1980-), Espólín, Jón, (Reykjavík: Samskipti, 1980-), FHL book 949.12 D2e v. 6; FHL microfilms 73,257-73., p. 5, FHL microfilm 73257.
  • [S283] #2 Der Europäischen käyser- und königlichen Häuser historische und genealogische Erläuterung (1730-1731), Lohmeier, Georg von, und Johann Ludwig Levin Gebhardi, (3 volumes in 1. Luneburg: Sternischen Buchdruckerei, 1730-1731), FHL microfilm 1,051,694, items 4-6., pt. 1 p. 126-127.

There are 339,786 people currently in the Royal and Noble… Tree. No doubt all those individuals are also in Family Tree at least once, and some perhaps a dozen times. That’s easily a million people in Family Tree that need to be cleaned up. How long will that take? If you do the math, it would take one person working full-time for 40 years. More likely would be a thousand people spending a couple of hours a week. It would take them over 10 months.

(The math: Assuming it takes 5 minutes to clean up facts, relationships, and duplicates for each of the million people, that’s 5 million minutes, divided by 60 minutes per hour is 83,333 hours, divided by 40 hours per week is 2,083 work weeks, divided by 52 weeks per year is 40 years. 83,333 hours divided by 1,000 people would be 83 hours a piece, divided by two hours a week is 42 weeks, divided by 4 weeks a month is over 10 months.)

Remember that there are hundreds or even thousands of incorrect trees on people’s desktop computers that are regularly being synchronized with these people in Family Tree. I’m trying to keep just one person clean in Family Tree and every month or so I have to spend a half hour repairing damage and communicating back and forth with the person(s) to prevent immediate reversion.

If you do the math it will take 118 people working full time, 24x7, to keep these people clean.

(The math: 339,786 people times 30 minutes every two months divided by two months is  5,096,790 minutes a month, which divided by 60 minutes an hour is 85,000 hours a month, which divided by 24 hours is 3,500 days a month, which divided by 30 days is 118 man months per month.)

One can argue the assumptions of these calculations, but I think it is clear that it will take significant effort to clean and keep clean royal and noble medieval Europe. If you want to see clean data, consult the FamilySearch Royal and Noble Houses of Europe tree.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Mailbox: Dendrology

The Ancestry Insider's Monday Mailbox

Dear readers,

This is a follow up to “Monday Mailbox: World Family Tree.” said that World Family Tree was not available on Reader John had further insight.

Dear Ancestry Insider,

I do not believe that answer is correct. Several years ago, Ancestry had a database in their collection that was called, I believe, "Ancestry World Tree". It was supposedly composed of "stitching" together information from trees and various of their databases. I was told by Ancestry personnel that the World Family Tree information was included in that database and the source tab could actually direct you back to the original tree.

I am sorry that the World Family Tree database does not seem to be available any longer as it was a great source of clues. Some of the early WFT disks had some excellent material on them.

As a follow-up question... I have dozens of the CDs from FTM, including many WFT CDs. Current FTM does not read them; how can they be viewed? Does ancestry have a version of their viewer that runs on current versions of Windows?

John Lisle *

Dear Readers,

John may be correct, although it was OneWorldTree, not Ancestry World Tree. Ancestry World Tree was a collection of user-submitted GEDCOMs. See “ Dendrology 101: Ancestry World Tree.” OneWorldTree was a machine stitched single tree formed by merging individual GEDCOMs. See “ Dendrology 101: OneWorldTree.” I never heard definitively, but there was talk that WFT GEDCOMs might be included.

For years, both OneWorldTree and Ancestry World Tree continued to be available, even while they were increasingly deemphasized. It became harder and harder to find links to them, but if you could find them, they still worked. Sometime since the last time I checked, they have been completely removed. However, Ancestry World Tree is still available as WorldConnect on

John also asked how to view old FTM disks, including WFT disks. Debbie in Northern Nevada informed him of the Family Archive Viewer, available at Michigan Girl said that it hadn’t worked for her under Windows 7.

Has anyone else tried it under Windows 7? Are there compatibility settings that can make it work?

--The Ancestry Insider

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Darned If They Do, Darned If They Don’t

FamilySearch recently made a change to its display of pedigrees for unmarried users. FamilySearch had received complaints from some who were not married. Kristine Reynolds wrote,

Bias against single members

Default view on "Family Pedigree with Details" shows my name and then my husbands. Only I'm 42 and not married and already feel completely alienated and isolated in the church. Since there is a growing number of adult singles in the church MAYBE you should consider changing this.


Gladys Charlene Gillespie wrote,


I think I single persons should be able to view their own pedigree without being reminded they are single. It is a disservice to them and degrading to see a pedigree chart 1/2 empty. They are being penalized for being single. I also think it is unnecessary for divorced people to have to see their ex partner's pedigree still linked to their own. Sometimes people remarry and sometimes they do not. In either case it would be nice to not have to be reminded each time I log in, that I am divorced.

I believe this is a valid concern. Apparently, FamilySearch did also. They changed the display so that the single person is displayed in the child position. This creates a full pedigree.

Unfortunately, singles then felt demoted. Audrey Lu Stradling wrote

Single people in main position

I am a single sister over 18 years of age. I have never been married. I do not understand why I am not in the first person when I sign in it goes to my parents; and I DO NOT LIKE IT!!!!!!! I deserve to be in the first place as do all the single never been married people!! PLEASE CHANGE THIS BACK. Thank you for your time

(Note her follow up post as well.)

Brandon Lee Baird wrote

Change the Family Tree view for singles back to its original.

The new Family Tree view for single people is not very good. It will no longer place me in the principal position and it makes it harder to print my own four generation pedigree chart. It is also confusing when I enter Family Tree because I am accustomed to looking at the principal position instead of the children.

Gail Koch added

I agree. When I found I could not put me in the main position it made me feel like a second class person since I was not married. It was demeaning. My siblings I can put in the main position but not me. It makes me angry. There is no other genealogical program that I know of that I can't be in the main position. Change it back.

I believe this is also a valid concern.

The origin of this conundrum is a subtle change that FamilySearch has made to a standard pedigree. They have replaced each person in the pedigree with a couple: husband and wife. This must have seemed a good idea at the time, but the effect on unmarried individuals may not have been fully appreciated.

I don’t know how FamilySearch will—or even can—solve this problem. I leave it in their capable hands.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

FamilySearch Family Tree Feature Updates

“The last couple of weeks have seen some changes to [FamilySearch] Family Tree,” wrote Steve Anderson in a recent blog article.

The Report Abuse link is in the Tools box
This and subsequent images
are credit FamilySearch

FamilySearch added the ability to report abuse on the person page. The feature is not intended for reporting incorrect data. Rather, the feature is to give users the ability to report violations of the site terms and conditions, including profanity or other abusive language, sensitive information about living individuals, links to inappropriate websites, and SPAM. To correct wrong data, users should utilize the existing features: changing the data and entering good reason statements, adding sources, participating in discussions, and contacting other users.

In the Print box, options exist for Pedigree, Family, and Family with SourcesUsers can print family group records without sources. I worry a bit about this one. I can imagine it was requested by users who don’t place any value on sources. I don’t recommend using this when sharing printouts with others, but for one’s own working files, if an occasion arises where it is warranted, it is possible.
Specifying the parents or spouse to show in a pedigree is now possible. If a person has multiple parents or spouses, scroll down to the Family Members section of the person page and click the Preferred box.

The Preferred check box is located in the Family Members section of the person page

Wanton merges and deletes can be a problem, even though they can be undone (to some degree). FamilySearch has added stronger warnings to these two operations.


Another “enhancement” was made to the pedigrees of single individuals. I’ve written about that in a separate article. You’ll probably see it next week.

Stay tuned…

Tuesday, September 3, 2013 Search Improvements

Last month released improvements to the search results obtained when beginning a search from your tree.

“For the large group of users who search for an ancestor using the information in their tree, we have summarized their research to date by consolidating the records already attached to the ancestor at the top of the results,” said Matt Deighton, spokesperson. “Previously, already-attached records were interspersed amongst results, making it challenging to see what was already attached and what was a potentially new result.” The list is sorted and can be closed to hide it from view.

Consolidated list of previously attached

Another new feature associated with the consolidated list is smart filtering. Since an ancestor is expected to be found in some record collections only once, once a record has been attached to an ancestor from a record collection, filtering removes all other results from that collection.

These features are being gradually launched over two or three weeks. If you don’t see these features right away, you should see them shortly.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

#FGS2013: Community Trees: A Win-Win Project for Societies

I attended the full set of FamilySearch sponsored lectures during Society Day at the 2013 annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. This was the first:

FamilySearch Community TreesDavid S. Barss presented a session titled, “Community Trees: A Win-Win Project for Societies.” Barss is the FamilySearch project manager for the Community Trees Project.

Before beginning, Barss mentioned that FamilySearch is offering societies a resource associated with RootsTech. FamilySearch is looking for interested societies to host a local family history fair in 2014. FamilySearch will provide turnkey tools: an online registration platform, training helps, and communication materials. It will also provide recordings of classes and sessions from the 2014 RootsTech conference. Interested societies can contact FamilySearch at the RootsTech booth.

BTW, Paul Nauta mentioned Tuesday night that RootsTech registration opens this week (Thursday, I think). Visit

Barss defined a community tree as a locality-based, lineage-linked, sourced, genealogy database. It is an attempt to identify everyone in a community. A community can be any size, such as a town, a state, or a country. It can be an ethnic or religious group.

A community tree is a great resource for societies to preserve their records and make them more accessible. Merging all the records for a community, say census records or county histories, can produce extended, lineage linked trees showing how the members of the community are interrelated.

The stages of a society project are: decide what you want to do, determine the locality and scope, identify resources, recruit coordinators and volunteers, extract the data, merge it, and publish it.

Volunteers like to see results. Assign them small pieces and publish updates regularly. To facilitate merging, use standards for name, date, and place entry. Estimate dates and places when missing, noting that they are estimates. This helps the merge process a lot. Validate with primary sources (i.e. sources of primary information). Consider approaching FamilySearch for guidance, merging, and publication.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Harnessing the Power of Online Family Trees

Harnessing the Power of Online Family TreesAt the 2013 BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy, Anna Fechter gave a presentation titled “Harnessing the Power of Online Family Trees.” Fechter is the Community Operations Manager at She has worked at for nine years on a variety of products and is currently managing the World Archives Project. Anna has been involved in family history research for 25 years.

“I believe in all things shared and public,” Fechter said. “Some people have wrong stuff [in their trees]. I get that. That’s why you verify.” However, you won’t get the full benefit from trees unless you share, she said.

In Tree Settings trees can be made public or private. Public trees can be seen by subscribers and by others invited by the tree owner. Information about living people is automatically hidden. Private trees can be seen only by those invited by the tree owner. Private Trees are indexed and limited information (name, birth year, and birth place) is shown in search results. This behavior can be disabled so no information is ever disclosed.

Trees can be shared with specific, other people, even if they are not subscribers. (Trees are a free feature.) Invitations can be sent via email, username, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, or AOL Mail. Invitees can be given various levels of access: guest, contributor, or editor. A guest can view the tree and leave comments. A contributor can also add stories and photos. An editor can do anything you can do, including adding, editing, or deleting people. (I think they can even delete the tree.) You can withhold information about living individuals from guests and contributors.

Hints—so-called shaky leaves—alert you to both matching records and matches in other people’s trees. Not everyone feels there is value in knowing about tree-to-tree hinting. Tree-to-tree hinting can be turned off in Site Preferences; shaky leaves will be shown for historical record matches only.

At the top of each page is a leaf overlaid with the number of hints in all your trees that have not been reviewed. This can be turned off altogether or on a per-tree basis. You can also set contact preferences to limit how people can contact you: through e-mail address, anonymously through Ancestry’s online message service, or not at all.

In Site Preferences > Activity Preferences you can set what other members can learn about your activity. Two options are available: “Things I publicly add or post to the site,” and “Personal research activities.”

The Recent Activity page on the Member Connect tab of a person page allows you to see what other members’ are doing in their research. The Suggested Connections page shows information others have about the person, some of which you may not have known before. Once connected, you will be notified when new content is added to their tree for that person. Click the username to see how to contract them. (The “Last Log in” date is inaccurate. They’re working on that.)

All these capabilities help users harness the power of’s online family trees.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Printing FamilySearch Family Tree Charts

Users can print pedigree charts and family group sheets from FamilySearch Family Tree. The capability has been there for several weeks, but I have failed to mention it. Printed charts look just like the 8.5 x 11" printed forms formerly available from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

To print a pedigree chart, click the printer icon below the Fan Chart button:

The icon for printing the pedigree chart

The printer icon is currently available for pedigree but not fan chart. I understand a printable fan chart is in the works. (See below for a current option.) Click the icon and creates the chart in PDF format. The PDF can be edited to add chart numbers or change information on the chart.

Pedigree chart with exploded detail of upper-left

A pedigree chart or a family group sheet (that’s what we also called the family group record report) can be printed from the person page. Look for the icons on the right side of the window.

Links to print pedigree or family group records from person page

Like the pedigree chart, the family group sheet matches the format of the 8.5 x 11" form. Source information is printed on extra sheets, making the whole thing very long, but adhering to genealogical best practice.

Family group record page 1 and source page

A printable 9-generation fan chart of your own pedigree is currently available for free from Misbach Enterprises, a third party. Go to Log in using your New account. Click Create and the website reads your pedigree from and formats it into a fan chart. It can take a couple of minutes. (I assume this also works for people with a Family Tree account? Does anyone know for certain?) The resulting PDF file works for both 8.5 x 11" size charts as well as large wall charts. 9 generation fan chart points users to one of several websites providing print services to have charts printed: creates free circular 10-generation charts from FamilySearch Family Tree,, or GEDCOM upload. Charts can start with yourself, anyone else, or can be blank. Chart layout can be optimized for sizes 36x48, 24x36, 24x24, or 8.5x11". circular chart

These are the basic, free charts. Other third-parties have additional chart types which are not free. If I missed a vendor of free charts for Family Tree, please leave a comment for all to see.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

FamilySearch Family Tree Navigation Features

FamilySearch has recently released a large and a small feature to Family Tree.

FamilySearch Family Tree person dropdown history list

The small feature combines the history list with the Person button. The basic functionality is still there. Click the Person button to move from the pedigree or fan chart view to the person view. Alternately, click the little down delta (arrow) to see a list of the persons you’ve viewed recently. Click one to jump immediately to that person. Alternately, for those of you with exceptionally good memories, enter the PID (person id) and go to directly to that person.

The last addition to the menu is a useful feature, although I wouldn’t expect to see it in a navigation setting. The last menu item is “Create New Person.” Click this to enter a new person that is not connected to anyone else in the tree.

The large feature added to family tree is the ability to launch a search of historical records from the person page.

FamilySearch Family Tree link to search records

To start the search, click on “Search Records” in the Research Help box. It is located on the right hand side below the Print box and above the change history. The feature apparently fills in first name, last name, birth year, and birth place, and launches the search.

FamilySearch Family Tree can launch a search of historical records

That’s a little anemic, compared to’s Member Trees. They fill the search form in with every last detail known about the person. While that can sometimes be annoying, I find it helpful, allowing me to delete extraneous information whenever I need to hone in on a city directory or a misindexed record.

In my usage patterns on, the ability to launch a search from my tree is the single most compelling feature of the Member Tree system. I’m glad to see FamilySearch take their first, haltering steps down that avenue.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

FamilySearch Prepping to Move Source From NFS to Family Tree

An example of an NFS sourceFamilySearch recently told users that they are preparing to move some of the sources from (NFS) to FamilySearch Family Tree. In an email to source contributors, they said, “If you created sources in and do not want to have them transferred to Family Tree, please let us know by clicking on the link below and entering the information requested.”

The option to not migrate sources to Family Tree is provided for people like Heather McPhie. She wrote,

There are some patrons (myself being one of them) who spent hundreds of hours in NFS adding sources, but found that the formatting in FT is so much superior to the NFS formatting that we are working to add those sources again using the FT formatting. There have been a lot of requests to allow patrons to opt in or out of having their sources brought over from NFS. I, for one, do not want my NFS sources brought over since a lot of them are now duplicates. I know others who feel this way, too.

Last month Ron Tanner wrote,

In a few weeks we will be sending out a survey to ask people if they want their NFS sources brought over or not. Those who choose to not move them over, we will not migrate their entered sources. For everyone else we will migrate their entered sources. Essentially the form in nFS was to generate a citation. We will collapse these pieces to create a citation and titles[.] [O]ther information will be in the notes. We will create sources for you (they will appear in your source box) and attach them to the person they are on in nFS.

Terrence Mason suggested that the survey include examples showing how the transferred sources would look so he could make an informed decision. NFS sources have 18 fields (see above illustration). Family Tree has four.

Regardless, many users have voiced their desire to have their sources migrated and will be happy to see it take place.