Friday, April 16, 2010

Procrastination -- "You may delay, but time will not."

Items in the news seem to suggest this is a time of caution and precaution. Last week we talked about genealogy scams, this week it's coping with family secrets, and now a strong reminder to protect and preserve our records. An article on Mormon Times, "Fires, floods and earthquakes: Preserve your personal history," features Scott Smikins, head conservator at the Family History Library in Salt Lake city, advising, "Take the time to preserve your precious histories and treasures before it's too late." Simkins' remarks centered around the "ings" of preserving: Handling, documenting, organizing, preparing, mending, sharing and storing, then discussed the purpose of each point, the article said. The article is worth reading, offering simple and do-able tips that may help you prepare for the unexpected. As Ben Franklin said, "You may delay, but time will not."

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

NGS Conference in Salt Lake City, Apr. 28 - May 1

A recent article in USA Today, "History buffs head to Salt Lake City for genealogy events" highlights some upcoming genealogy events, including the 2010 NGS Family History Conference (NGS), to be held April 28 through May 1, 2010 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sponsored by the National Genealogical Society, the Salt Lake Conference is always a hit for its close proximity to the LDS Family History Library. For more information visit the Conference website

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

What's new at your local Family History Center? — in a word, LOTS

A recent article on, "Mormon Family History Centers get trove of new documents," reports how LDS Family History Centers (and consequently their patrons) are proving the beneficiary of the Church's new indexing program. "Among the new databases: the 1915 Rhode Island state census; Mexican Catholic Church records dating back to 1627; Delaware birth records from 1861 to 1908; and Canadian censuses from 1851, 1861 and 1871." The article goes on to say, "Although it has become increasingly easy to research ancestors from the comfort of a home computer through Web sites such as, the Mormon Family History Centers have access to microfilm and international collections that are unavailable on many of these sites, said Paul Nauta, public affairs manager of" And the real beauty of the Family History Center is there's one near you -- there are 4,500 Mormon Family History Centers around the world, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, which is visited by more than 2,000 people a day. 

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Wonders of the Family History Center

Almost anyone who has done genealogy for awhile has either heard about or utilized one of the many Family History Centers to be found around the world. In her article, "The Wonders of the Family History Center," Judy Rosella Edwards explores the role of the local Family History Center today, when so much information is available online so easily accessed in the comfort of one's own home. Considering the vast archive from which the Family History Center draws and the many services it provides, it is not likely to become outdated anytime soon. 

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Update on FHL archives digitizing project

Don Andersen, Family History Division Director at the Family History Library, gave the keynote address Monday at the 40th annual Conference on Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University, and explored the changes that are coming in the Library's ongoing effort to digitize its archive holdings, a reported on, "Online data making it easier to do family history in pajamas."

Anderson estimates it will take about 10 years to convert the LDS Church's entire genealogical records vault into digital images and about 100 years to index all those records. . . . The Family History Library has around 300,000 family history books. Now they are being indexed electronically online at BYU's Archive. More than 15,000 of those books are now searchable online. Unlike using a book, however, readers do not need to look at them one at a time. They can search across all 15,000 books at once.

FamilySearch is currently indexing more than 1.5 million names per day and flowing them into record search in logical sets. "It wouldn't surprise me if we were closer to two million names per day by the end of the year," Anderson said, encouraging people to try indexing themselves.

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

FamilyLink and FamilySearch partner to improve FHL Catalog searches

Be looking for a new way to access and use the Family History Library Catalog. In a press release yesterday,, Inc announced it has teamed with FamilySearch to improve the user experience of the Family History Library Catalog. The new features include improved searching, making the catalog searchable by major online search engines and guided searching to help users decide which sources might be most helpful based on what they want to know. Another enhancement will allow for greater interactivity. Every catalog entry will link to an online or digital resource, if available, allowing users to buy the book or search for the nearest copy.

“We are excited to work with FamilySearch and to add this extensive catalog to our database collections,” said Paul Allen, CEO,, Inc. “We have looked at doing this collaboration for quite a while. We will enhance the catalog by connecting it with new innovative tools, along with the best resources of our databases, the social networking site, and our We’re Related application in Facebook. Putting all of these resources together will dramatically change the meaning of 'search' in genealogy.”

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Jews from Ireland added to FHL collection

Just in time for St. Patrick's Day, FamilySearch has added over 1,000 names of Jews from Ireland to its growing Knowles Collection genealogy database, according to a press release Friday. The Knowles Collection contains information for over 15,000 of Jews from the British Isles. Building on the work of the late Isobel Mordy, the collection links individuals into family groups with more names added continuously. The collection is freely available as a file that can be viewed and edited through most genealogy software programs. Genealogy software is also available as a free download. Those wishing to donate information to the Knowles Collection may contact Todd Knowles at The Knowles Collection and other helpful resources are available for free online on the Jewish Family History Resources page at

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

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Family History Library offers classes on Irish research

If you happen to be in the Salt Lake Area later this month, the LDS Family History Library, just west of Temple Square, will offer an all-day series of classes on Irish research from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 29. To view the complete schedule and a series poster online, go to To register for these free classes, send an e-mail to or call 801-240-4950.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Family History Library hosts holiday event, Dec 1

As announced in the Deseret Morning News, "Family History Library is planning holiday event," a special holiday event will be held at the LDS Family History Library and the Museum of Church History and Art, located immediately to the west of Temple Square, in Salt Lake City. The event takes place on Saturday, December 1 and features activities for families, including presentations on holiday traditions in various countries. For a schedule of activities, go to and click on the link under the Family History Library heading. Parking is available for a fee at the northwest corner of West Temple and North Temple streets.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Special research day at Family History Library, Nov 17

If you are in the Salt Lake area on November 17 and are struggling with research on American Indian ancestry, you will have an opportunity to learn from experts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Family History Library, 35 N. West Temple, with free classes, according to an article in the Deseret Morning News. The topics include "Searching for Southwest Indians," "Records at the National Archives" and more. Also that day, the Family History Library is offering an all-day series of classes, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., that can help you research your military ancestry. Additionally on Nov. 17, the Family History Library will sponsor free classes on the new FamilySearch Indexing program, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on any of the classes, go to

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Monday, August 20, 2007

North America Local and County Histories to Go Online

As noted on the FamilySearch web site, three genealogical libraries have pooled their collections in a massive digitization effort. Thousands of published family histories, city and county histories, historic city directories, and related records are coming to the Internet. The Allen County Public Library (ACPL) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City announced the joint project today. When complete, it will be the most comprehensive collection of city and county histories on the Web—and access will be free at

Once digitized, the collections will have "every word" search capability, which allows users to search by name, location, date, or other field across the collection. The search results are then linked to high quality digital images of the original publication. Digitization efforts have begun. New additions will be noted and hyperlinked in the Family History Library Catalog at as they are digitized.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Family History Library offers classes on Dutch research, Aug 18

As noted in the Desert News, "Family History Library offering Dutch class," the Family History Library for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is offering classes in Dutch research for those with ancestors from Holland. The classes will include topics on gazetteers and maps, civil registration records, church records and Internet research. Classes will be Saturday, Aug. 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. To register for the free classes, send an e-mail to or call 240-4950.

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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Family History Library sets family day July 7

As announced in the Deseret News, "Family History Library sets family day July 7," The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Family History Library will offer family activities for all ages Saturday, July 7. With the theme "Discover Your Family Treasures," families are invited to enjoy activities for all ages designed to introduce them to ways to participate in family history as a family. Activities run from 1-5 p.m.

Due to limited space, participants must register in advance. E-mail names and number in your group to or call 240-4950. The library is west of Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. Paid parking is available at the northwest corner of West Temple and North Temple streets.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Jewish Gen to be held in Salt Lake City

According to a recent press release, hundred of international researchers, experts and archivists will meet July 15-20 in Salt Lake City, Utah, for the 27th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. The event, offering over 100 speakers and more than 200 programs will run for six days. Held in a different city each year, the conference is under the aegis of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies, the umbrella organization for nearly 80 societies. This year's event provides access to the Family History Library, the world's largest genealogical repository with extensive Jewish resources.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

New Records Access Program announced

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune, "Online genealogy just got easier," summarizes efforts of the LDS Church to make more records available to researchers sooner. For the first time ever, the LDS Church is joining forces with various archives, libraries and family-history web sites in an effort to open a floodgate of free records and images onto the Internet. Under the Records Access program, unveiled this week at a conference of genealogists in Richmond, Va., the collaboration will provide free services to archives and other records custodians who wish to digitize, index, publish and preserve their collections.

The new program will speed up the process of indexing and posting billions of records and reduce costs for each party involved, said Steve W. Anderson, marketing manager for Ancestry is not among the church's partners in its Records Access program. In the article CEO Tom Sullivan casts some doubt on "the church's
model" to have volunteers indexing the data, but notes also, "Anything the church does will move the industry forward." Ancestry recently terminated its agreement providing free access to at Family History Centers worldwide. For researchers, the Records Acces program and its new collaborations is exciting news, providing greater choice.

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Monday, April 9, 2007 reaches 150 million names

An article in the Tribune-Star, "Genealogy: Family Search Web site reaches 150 million names," announces the Family Search web site has reached 150 million names on its free genealogy database at This database has grown by 19 million names per year since it was launched in 1999.

One feature of the online databases is the Pedigree Resource File, or PRF. Family files in the PRF are submitted by visitors to the Web site. To submit files, a user has to download the free Personal Ancestral File genealogy software at the site, or submit the information using a GEDCOM file from another genealogy software program.

A new search feature on the advanced search screen allows users to check a “show all events” feature to view extended generational information that they were unable to view before to this addition. The advanced search screen is at

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Make it happen -- volunteer for the LDS Archive digitation poject

According to an article in the Deseret News, "Another revolution in genealogy," the LDS Archive digitation project is ahead of schedule, and by the end of the year, users will see interface changes on the web site. Derek Dobson is the family-search indexing-product manager for the LDS Church's Family History Department, said "Using the Internet, from their homes or laptops, people around the world are about to have access to more documents than they ever dreamed possible." More than 25,000 volunteers are currently at work indexing the records. It is predicted there will be 100,000 volunteers by the end of this year and many hundreds of thousands in the years to come.

Of course, the more volunteers the sooner these records will come online. It's easy to volunteer and the work can be done online, and there are built-in controls to ensuring accuracy. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering, go to This is an opportunity for young people to get involved, as well. No longer is genealogy research limited to the older set. Advances in technology, not only make it more accessible and "do-able" for anyone with an interest, but also make it more engaging. As this mulititude of new records come online, it will be like opening windows to new worlds. Compelling at any age.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Ancestry withdraws free access

An article in BYU NewNet reports,, may no longer provide free access to its full range of services for the Family History Library and family history centers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as of April 1. According to a statement by the LDS church, they were informed two months ago about Ancestry's decision to discontinue free access. Since then, the two groups have tried to reach a consensus that would benefit both parties. Thus far, efforts to work out an agreement on licensing have been unsuccessful. Howard Bybee, family history librarian at BYU, said the change represents the end of a long-standing collaboration between the LDS Church and

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Genealogical Society of Utah, its function and services

In the article, The Genealogical Society of Utah, Donnie Boursaw attempts to clarify misinformation and help readers understand the function of the Genealogical Society of Utah and its services.

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Thursday, January 4, 2007

Heralding the future -- a nuts and bolts review of the Family History Archives digitization project.

The beginning of a new year is a perfect time to herald the future. One the most exciting announcements to family history researchers came when the LDS Family History Library announced its plans to digitize its archive and make those records available free online. We have all, no doubt, wondered how this massive undertaking could be done and, most importantly, how long will it be? In this article, “The New Face of Family History,” Donnie Boursaw answers those questions in an first-hand look at the process.


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