Friday, March 30, 2012

From Family RE: Arizona Records Being Public

An Old Irish Civil War Veteran and Resident of Prescott, Arizona Territory

Arizona is one of the few states that has online free access to birth and death records. Before looking anywhere else, check Arizona Genealogy Birth and Death Certificates for births from 1855 to 1935
For birth records after 1935, Arizona is a "closed record" state which means vital records are not public records. Only immediate family and selected others may obtain certified copies of vital records.[1]

This is an old, undated photograph of a man named Farrell Tiernan. Mr. Tiernan was one of the many colorful characters who populated the Arizona Territory during the days of the Old West. Click the photo for an article about him.

To Each Of You Who Serve Others

Visiting My Grandma

Go give to the needy, sweet Charity's bread for living is giving  - the angel said.

But must I keep giving again and again - my selfish thoughtless answer ran -

Oh no, said the angel piercing me through.

Just give til the Master stops giving to you.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

How Far Will A Man Go To Court A Woman?

So what does that have to do with Genealogy?

Actually, thinking about that question might help a lot in researching your ancestors.

If you are looking for records of parents, siblings, or children of an ancestor you just might find they aren't too far away from where their spouse lived before they were married.

Long distance courtships were a lot closer in the good old days than they are now.

Birth, death, or marriage records might just be a buggy ride away. Check out vital records nearby.  In the pre 1900's if a man had a horse he might have a 5 mile radius because he had to be home at work the next day . Also, spouses families (in-laws, grandparents, aunts & uncles may have known your ancestor. Contact their researchers.

By the way, death certificates, mortuary, and sexton records may contain different details than what you have been given. Check them all. Check for licenses, certificates, and registers. Look for contracts, consents, or any documents. Check the record dates. I just found a document that proved my mothers journal wrong on a birth date of  a grandfather. It's all part of that detective thing that hooks you. Tip: Request a photo copy of the original record. It will show all the details where a transcipt may not.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Joseph Rich Porter: Part 1

Porter Photos
By Bertha Cragun: Granddaughter: deceased: From her records

Joseph Rich Porter came to the valley of Porterville as a young man of eighteen.  Within a year he became the first school teacher.  He shared this responsibility with a young woman, Anna Wood for two years, then she moved away.  He was the only teacher many of the children from the Canyon Creek district ever had.  The area encompassed from East Canyon to Richville.

He was one of those early pioneers who exerted influence on the people of Porterville and helped shape their destiny for many years. He tried to instill in his students a desire to do their best, a love of community, country, and church, and a belief in themselves.

He served the people of East Porterville as their Bishop for twenty years, and throughout life filled many church related positions.  He was active in the political arena all his adult life. He served as selectman (a Presidential appointment) in the Territory of Utah, County commissioner after Utah became a State, Probate Judge, and Superintendent of Schools. He was elected a member of the State House of Representatives for three different terms, and a chaplain of that body for two years.

He helped organize a debating society, a drama group, and was a trustee of the ZCMI in Morgan. In addition to all this, he farmed 50 acres of fertile land.

His first wife died soon after the birth of their first child, a daughter. Six years later he married Electa Elizabeth Porter. They had eight children.

He was often called J.R. Joseph Rich was born 29 March 1844 in Charleston, Lee County, Iowa. Just two months before J.R.'s birth, Joseph Smith, the spiritual leader-prophet of his family and of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints had been murdered and the entire L.D.S. community was in chaos and distress.

John President Porter and Nancy Rich Porter, his parents were now placed in the ambivalent situation of extreme sadness at the martyrdom of their prophet and the anticipated joy of the arrival of their first child.

Their prophet had been named Joseph and Nancy's father was Joseph Rich. A fitting name for their new son was Joseph Rich Porter.

For this family, as with all the Latter Day Saints, the next two years were filled with turmoil, tremendous sadness, and preparations to go westward to some unknown destination. Yet, too, there were times of infinite spiritual uplift and happiness, brotherly affection and the togetherness that only trouble and persecution will bring about.

In September 1845 the Saints were scattered and persecuted. Many homes were burned and their occupants driven out into the winter cold. 

When the Sheriff took a determined stand in favor of the Saints he was arrested and charged with the murder of a mobber. Violence against the "Mormons" was permitted to go unchecked.  Governor Ford had promised and pledged his word that the murderers of the Prophet and his brother, Patriarch, Hyrum Smith, would be brought to justice. The citizens of Warsaw, Illinois, where the murders took place, informed the Governor in no uncertain terms that they would not support him. They were to have their own kind of mock court. Similar stand in opposition to the trial of the murders, but expelling the "Mormons" from the state. Governor Ford, by his subsequent actions, acknowledged his inability to handle the situation with fairness and impartiality.

For about a year the people of Nauvoo had been crossing the river into Iowa to escape the persecutions going on in Illinois. Those who could find room took these exiles into their homes, as did some of the Porters, but most of the people camped at a place called Sugar Creek. The weather was inclement and extremely cold, people were without proper shelter, with only wagons or tents to protect them from the elements.

J.R. was three years old when he, his parents, brother Sanford, and most of this extended family began their journey westward.

To be continued

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Is It TIme To Blog For Family History Purposes?

Please not as you read this article that I invite you to have me link to your blog, or to write an article as a contributor on this blog.

The era of wasting time duplicating each others research is, thankfully, coming to and end. 

So is that interesting story being lost in your file cabinet a sad fact that can change.

Sure you can be the proud finder of information and keep it secret if you want, but I believe you will be persuaded that COLLABORATION is a winning concept.

Time and effort is a valuable resource. By collaborating we give ourselves the gift of each others time and effort. It's a win win concept.

There are going to be numerous vehicles for those of us, especially for those who have limited time to spend doing research.

One of those I wrote about a few days ago, is SharingTime
I wrote about this concept in the article inspired at the RootsTech conference: Click Here

Now I introduce another vehicle: Your Blog About Your Family.

To illustrate, three of my four grandparents were Mormon pioneer families: Cragun, Porter, and Bingham. Jointly they have thousands of descendants. You might think there are stories and facts easily found on line, provided by their loving descendants. Nope, if you do a google search for information on these 3 lines you find a dominance of commercial sites with a narrow slice of duplicate information and information of limited value.

However if you are searching for Patrick Cragun, for example, besides duplicate information you now find on page 1, near the top, this blog - my blog. I will explain at the end of the article why I have attained this type of search results so quickly. One reason is that it is a Google blog. Also, almost every result out there is a website, not a blog. Search engines like blogs better than websites. More on that later.

If you blogged, your site can be found by Google and other search engines. There are many benefits to that. One being unknown cousins can find you.

As important as being found is the content posted. You will care more about the content than a business will. You can post more depth of stories. You can post documents. These documents can link to the new FamilyTree that will be awesome and free. You can update and publish your research instantly. It is likely that your content is important and relevant. Search engines analyze this. Every time you update your blog with new content you automatically tell the search engines to come to your blog and copy (index) the information you just added.

The article, the photo clip above, which Google has already delivered to page 1 was an article I posted yesterday. No other sites on page 1 have fresh information on them. Most of them have far less information about Cragun. Because my content is fresh, and because I am posting several times a week I am getting priority in the searching process. The more I publish the stronger this blog will get.

In the spirit of collaboration, every that site I find that posts family history information relating to my ancestors will get exposure from my blog. I will at least provide a link to your blog, and perhaps an article. We can be a reference point to each other, at least from me to other sites. As more and more people do this with their names, the more positive results they will have.

Patrick Cragun was an immigrant. Every Cragun in the United States is likely a descendant of his. He had 9 children. Some live in the midwest nearer where he died than I do, making it more convenient for them to check out some local sources. If we are all posting our research live and cooperating or collaborating greater depth will happen in discovering our ancestors.

I am thinking of the depth of discovery the popular show, "Who Do You Think You Are" garners. Of course they have resources we don't have. Correction, they have the resources we don't have as individuals. But if all the Craguns, the Binghams, the Porters, or  your ancestors were collaborating, we too could accomplish amazing things as do they.

Writing a blog such as this is not difficult. It does have a small learning curve. Setting it up only takes minutes. For some of you this is all you need to know. For others I will soon write an article on how to set up and publish a Google blog.

Final point. I hate to say this, but I know most of you won't do a blog. You could, you should, but you won't.

So here is my offer to those of you who have common ancestors to me that won't do what I propose. You can post and get author credit for posting on this blog.

My blog can become our blog. That makes it easy. Contact me if that interests you and we can discuss the details. Check my tree out by clicking here. We just might have common ancestors. Lets make more progress by collaborating.

A few reasons what I propose brings you up to the top on Google and other search engines:
Google makes sure it captures all new information on its own blog network. That's why a Google blog.
  • Blogs have technology that signals the search engines to come and get the new posts.
  • Blogs are easy for the search engine to analyze as to the what the content of the blog really is about.
  • There are things you can do to an article to make search engines give it priority on the results.
  • Blogs are so simple to setup, write on, and to customize.
  • By writing multiple articles on a topic or certain topics, such as your family names you improve your results. These are done naturally and creating what is called natural search engine optimization without any gimmicks.
PS: Please let me know if this inspires you to get going. I was inspired to do this by another genealogist.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Understanding DNA and Genealogy

There was a lot of buzz about DNA and Genealogy at the recent RootsTech conference. I found myself impressed. Just think, we can determine if we have the same ancestors, as another. It will become a way we find living relatives.

I decided to refer you to a recent article I have come across. It has basic information and more. I will copy a portion and give you a link to the full article.  

Two portions of our DNA are not combined with that of the other parent. The 23rd
chromosome, in the green box above, determines the sex of the individual. Two
X chromosomes produce a female and an X and a Y chromosome produce a
male. Women do not have a Y chromosome (otherwise they would be males) so
they cannot contribute a Y chromosome to male offspring. Given this scenario,
males inherit their father’s Y chromosome unmixed with the mother’s DNA, and
an X chromosome unmixed with their father’s DNA.

This inheritance pattern is what makes it possible for us to use the Y
chromosome to compare against other men of the same surname to see if they
share a common ancestor, because if they do, their Y chromosome DNA will
match, either exactly or nearly so.

Autosomal DNA, X chromosomal DNA and, in males, Y chromosomal DNA are
all found in the nucleus of a cell. A a fourth type of DNA call mitochondrial DNA,
or mtDNA for short, resides within cells but outside the cell’s nucleus.
Mitochondrial DNA packets are the cell’s powerhouse as they provide the entire
body with energy.

For both genders, mitochondria DNA is inherited only from the mother. Men
have their mother’s mtDNA, but do not pass it on to their offspring. Women have
their mother’s mtDNA and pass it to both their female and male offspring. Given
this scenario, women inherit their mother’s mtDNA unmixed with the father’s and
pass it on generation to generation from female to female. (Males carry their
mother’s mtDNA, but don’t pass it on.) This inheritance pattern is what makes it
possible for us to compare our mtDNA with that of others to determine whether
we share a common female ancestor.

DNA Testing for Genealogy - What Can It Do For You??

Paper courtesy of Roberta Estes,

Sunday, March 25, 2012

SharingTime - For New Family Search Users - Awesome

A Porterville headstone, some Carters crossed the plains with the Porters

SharingTime makes family history research simpler. It is an add on product to New Family Search and will still be valuable when that site becomes FamilyTree.

If you don't have access to new family search, just be patient, FamilyTree is about to come forth.

There is a $15.00 per year cost to join SharingTime.

Here are a few reasons SharingTime is as I say, Awesome:

Find Sources: SharingTime easily and visibly allows you to click on a list of releveant websites to quickly search for that ancestor without leaving new family search. (or FamilyTree)

Contributor Circle: This lists members that have contributed to the selected ancestors immediate family and have placed their email address on file. You can check the boxes next to the members you would like to emai. You can send an email and their responses come to your email posted in new family search.

Ancestor Index Manager: SharingTime works by remembering your tree and  giving yoou rsults based on what it knows about your ancestor. You can control how broad a tree SharingTime remembers for you. This coordinates with their cool navigation bar in making your searching more effective.

Temple Ordinance Tools: Has a ready and almost ready feature. I love this, almost ready just needs one more item to be ready. What a great list.

Ancestor Split:  Allows you to split up incorrectly combined people.

Place Investigator:  Organize your research by place. Type a place name in the search bar to see which of  your ancestors lived in that location. How is that for awesome. This ties to a future emphasis I will be making about searching and learning about areas as an important way to research effectively.

Family Tree Dead Ends: This shows all the dead ends in your family tree so that you can quickly identify areas for new research.

Once again, FamilyTree will be open to membes or non members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Lattter Day Saints. The church is preparing servers farms to host about 2 million new users in the first two years it goes live. Just leave me a comment if you want to be notified when it is available. I am a beta tester and I cannot tell you accurately just  how excited I am about it. Every Mormon Congregation has someone that can connect with you to teach you this ever growing in popularity hobby. Actually not a hobby, a process of connecting with your ancestors.

Click here to go to the SharingTime website:

If you are interested in understanding more about FamilyTree just use the search bar on this site to find articles I have written giving details of what is is like.

Friday, March 23, 2012

LDS Family History Libraries - Use Them And Be Glad

Family History Libraryfamily history library 
I use 3 photo's in this post to illustrate some of the resources available at the LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) Family History Libraries. For example Computers, even with access to 29 paid subscription sites, someone to answer questions, volumes of books for research, and microfilm.

Family History Event
There are over 3700 local Family History Centers, which means there is probably one near you. The local ones aren't as big as this one in Salt Lake City, but they do offer a lot and access to the microfilm.

I have ancestors in the Porter line. I called Porterville's local family history center today seeking help with information that would help me with writing my grandmothers story.  I was referred to an Ann Porter. She took down information about my specific ancestors and was going to research that library for me. I am hoping she will find a journal by my grandmother, her mother, or her siblings. If so, I will make the trip to see them for myself.

There is a lot of help out there for those seeking to catch the spirit of learning about their ancestors. Use The Family History Libraries and be glad.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Baptizing Anne Franke Or Saving Her Life?

20111206-IMG_6183What goes on in a Mormon Temple is not secret, it is however sacred. The public is always invited to go through a Mormon Temple in the open house prior to it's dedication.

Were you to take such a tour you will see beautiful rooms where couples are married. Since we believe that the marriages and families can be forever it is meaningful that we seek to live lives that make us worthy to be together forever.

Also, you would have been able to see where we do baptisms by proxy for our dead ancestors. We believe that baptism is one of the earthly ordinances required of us. Since not all have a fair opportunity to accept baptism during their mortal life baptisms by proxy are the only way it can be performed.

Recently a big fuss made over someone who violated church rules by being baptized by proxy for some Jewish Holocaust victoms. This is hard to accomplish and must be done with the intent of violating church policies.

However, just as on this earth, we believe a persons choice is a prime principle. They are not members of our Church just because they are baptized by someone by proxy. In the same light, my grandmother said don't seal her in a Temple Marriage to her first husband after she died. Someone did that anyway. With God, it will be as it in all things, her choice.

I mentioned "Or Saving Her Life" in the title of this article. I am going to refer you to an article where a member of our Church, a member of The United States Senate, Wiliam H King D-Utah sought to pass legislation that would have admitted 20,000 German Jewish refugee children to the Untied States. He made a great effort and was denied.

So where should the greater furor be? Certainly not in the concept of offering someone a choice, which is what proxy works in the Mormon Temples can be.

Here is a link to that article: click here

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Helpful Hints For Searching - Getting Started - Family History Part 5

This is the 5th in a series of getting started on family history.

 Click here for part 1 - Build on What  You Know
 Click here for part 2 - One Thing Leads To Another
 Click here for part 3 - Use a fact/date to estimate another

Click here for part 4 -  Historically, circumstances create patterns

Taken from Diana Toland class at Riverton, Utah Family History Center
  • Notice the neighbors - they be future in-laws
  • If a child died young, the name may be given to a future sibling
  • Remember names were popular and cousins may have identical names
  • People may have use their first name, middle, or nickname on censuses
  • Use the least common given name in the family when searching
  • Registration/Christening dates may occur years after the event
  • Transcripts have inaccuracies - always look at the original image
  • If you can't locate a place - check the date the County was formed, or Google the place name
  • When entering search information begin with the basics and add the details to narrow the results
  • When a search returns "No Results" it may be to sie difficulties, try a 2nd time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Family History Is A Journey Of Discovery

When you get involved in your family history you may discover that things are different than you thought. That is one thing that makes it fun.

Take this photo for example.

As you look at it, do you think it would work well in your office?

Some have reacted with yes, it would be just fine.

In researching my grandmother, my mothers mother I have discovered many important things about her life that were different than I believed. It truly has been a journey of discovery about her, a good one.

Now look closer at this photo. It wouldn't work well in your office. At least it would only be a nice decoration. Note the size of the computer keyboard next to it, and the monitor behind it. Its smaller than you might think at first.

My sister gave made it for me and my wife stole it from me. :) An interesing discovery and a great gift.

Monday, March 19, 2012

An Avalanche Of Genealogy Data:

The title of this post is my best efforts to catch your attention as to what happens daily in Family Search.

First of all,what is family search? The answer - it's primary function is a place to search all of the records the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints publishes for the public to access at no cost.

This is no small initiative. For example, at the current rate, there are 1.2 million records being published every day. So if you didn't find your ancestor yesterday - try again today. That would qualify as an avalanche, right? Soon that number should jump to 1.6 million published per day.

Over the years the church has microfilmed billions of records and stored them in the Granite mountain vault. These records are part of what is being published.

But that isn't all. For example, over the last 10 years or so the Church has made great strides with the Italian Government leading to a contract to digitize and publish all of the Italian records for the last 650 years. At current rates this is a 6 year project with much of it already published on Family Search.

Some other current online facts:
  There are 550 million images online.
  There are 1.75 billion searchable records.
  There are 1.29 billion searchable names.
  There are 1907 record collections.

Due to the systems in place it only takes 2 to 4 days from click of the camera to published online.

There are 210 camera crews working around the world. 

When we contract with a government such as Italy, a copy of the work is provided that government.  

As you might surmise this is a serious commitment by the LDS Church and volunteers. 
  •   There 129,000 indexing volunteers, 20% of them not members of the church. With the push for        indexing the 1940 census we are targeting this number to move to 180,000 indexing volunteers.
  •   There are 890 Church Service missionaries serving part time, just in this part of the mission. 
  •   There are 140 full time missionaries on this project.
  •   There are 80 Contractors.
  •   There are 225 full time employees, 16 of them engineers working on the records pipeline.
In summary, our grandparents are coming out of obscurity and into the light.

Also, If you want to help you are most needed to either serve a mission or volunteer. Indexing volunteers are most needed. Members of the LDS Church may even apply to serve a mission at home. More on that by clicking here:

Each week that Kathleen and I serve here we become more amazed at the marvelous works we discover.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Billion Graves - A Different Graves Website

Earlier I wrote about Find A Grave and how important information can be found on their site. That is if your relative has had someone create a memorial for that ancestor. Click here for that article

I want to introduce you to a different approach, and one that could be meaningful. It is a relative new site called Billion Graves:

The differences are this: Find A Grave will often have a biography in the memorial.

Not so with Billion Graves: Just a photo of the headstone and sometimes the maiden name of the wife.

I like Billion Graves for a couple of reasons. It is a smart phone experience. What you do is go from headstone to headstone taking photographs of each. Your smart phone technology will set the location automatically. This means if the headstone is on their site, your smart phone can take you right to it. (within about 10 feet) Since kids like things like using their smart phone you can get them involved in genealogy this way. Pretty slick. You can photograph a lot of headstones in a short period of time. Don't worry if you are related, that's not the point - it's the service you are providing others.

I also like the fact they are able to upload these photos by having you just upload the camera to their website. It is easy to do. Billion Graves seems to have caught on which along with the fact it's not limited to a particular ancestor makes me believe that they will eventually have a lot more headstones in their collection than will find a grave. 

Their website uses Google mapping for both seeing where to go for a headstone you want but also to visualize what cemeteries or what portion of cemeteries are photographed.

They won't say how many gravestones are on line yet, only less than a million - could be a lot less. However, they seem to be gaining some buzz and do have a lot online. Researching what cemeteries already have work done will show that they are gaining legs in other countries. It doesn't take long to check out an ancestor, so I plan on making it a part of my research.

Once a photo is uploaded, you can do the indexing part or someone else will. You can even do it as a service project. Some who don't have the ability or time to take the photos are transcribing (indexing) what is on the photographs. Apparently photos that are uploaded are indexed within 48 hours most of the time.

Friday, March 16, 2012

There Are Some Valuable Webinars Coming Up

A Great Way To Learn


Some Interesting Topics assembles and publishes a very complete directory of upcoming genealogy webinars. Here are those on the calendar for the rest of March.

 Intro to Indexing -
Tuesday, March 20
 Intro to Indexing -
Wednesday, March 21
 DNA Research for Genealogists: Beyond the Basics by Ugo Perego
 Top 20 Lessons Genealogists Need to Know with Barry J. Ewell Sponsored by Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree Extension Series
Tuesday, March 27
 Intro to Indexing -
 Juggling Complex Projects While Staying on Track by J. Mark Lowe, CG - APG (free)

When An Old Man Dies, A Library Burns

My father, who has passed on, used to love to tell stories. He loved to talk about a lot of subjects. He was a library of information.

But I wasn't interested. Didn't have the time. Too busy with other more important things.

Like I said, he has passed on. He's gone. And now, I wish I had those stories to learn from. I especially wish he could help me on my family history.

Yes my father has died, and the library he was burned.

How about you? Too busy? Uninterested? Bored? Any Libraries about to burn? Hummm, is it time to review those priorities of yours?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

An Irish Research Tip

Researching your Irish ancestors really needs you to know what county they were born, lived, or died in.

A lot of our Irish ancestors moved back and forth between Scotland and Ireland.

The tip: the 1851 Scottish Census shows in which county in Ireland people were born.

It may not solve all your problems, but a cool thing to know anyway. Right?

What about Evidence In Genealogy Research?

evidence of organized light
One of the most significant new genealogy offerings of 2012 will be FamilyTree by Family Search.

Family Tree will be free and will be open to everyone. To members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints it will replace New Family Search.

The data in New Family Search will be the data in FamilyTree. New Family Search has been a great tool for members with one big problem, much of the data is wrong.
For more detail, a previous article on how FamilyTree will change and improve things, click here.

My topic for today is about evidence. This is critical in serious genealogy research. FamilyTree is serious. But for all applications evidence is critical. In FamilyTree there is only one tree. In other words, all my cousins have the same grandfather and we all tie into the same part of the tree. So if I input a fact, it shows up on all my cousins trees too.

Therefore - we not only need to collaborate we all need to provide evidence and documentation. So here are some principles regarding proper evidence:

Evidence has many facets. Its purpose is to furnish proof. It sometimes contradicts what we have believed to be factual. Yesterday, here in world wide support, we had a lady extremely irate when we changed a files information based on proof another ancestor provided. First point, irate isn't a good place to be. I can tell you that I know it will be a paradigm shift for many to have to have other relatives having a say in what is on the FamilyTree. I can also attest this is so exciting and it will be a huge blessing to us all.

Consider the benefit of uniting generations. Everyone is stuck on certain ancestors. Me for example on Patrick Cragun. If we provide all of our ancestors facts and evidence on all between Patrick and us we can focus on him. Our cousins and our children won't have to waste time repeating our efforts.

As there are many different ways to prove something. Sometimes we will have to analyze, discuss, correlate, carefully evaluate, even make a reasoned judgement as we decide. So the better the evidence the better it is for all of us.

As you look at evidence be asking yourself what does it say to you. How relevant is it to your research? Does it provide direct answers to the questions you are researching? Does it provide indirect answers, it helps but cannot stand alone. Does it provide a negative conclusion or no answer at all? Does it provide new insights, a different conclusion, the same answer, or new clues? You do like being a detective don't you?

All genealogy isn't online now. Sites such as Family Search are adding millions of records of data each month and is become a great place way to search, but let's face the fact that it is only a small percentage of what is. The good news; many of the best types of records for your beginning efforts are on line. In the future I will write about advanced ways of searching on Google - an amazing discovery I have learned. Oh, and all data you find on line is not necessarily correct.

What is ideal is what is called Primary Evidence. That is simply original information by someone having first hand knowledge of the information.  It can be written in a document, or recorded by an impartial individual as a deposition, or recorded somewhere else as a fact. Not all genealogical conclusions are arrived at by using primary evidence because in many cases primary evidence was never recorded or it was lost. For example, not every birth was recorded with a birth certificate, a hospital affidavit, or a Bible entry.

If no vital record can be found, circumstantial evidence can be used. Circumstantial evidence implies the existence of a fact as that fact is also supported by other sources. Evidence has further facets. Direct
evidence, for example, is information that relates directly to a precise issue and therefore tends to show the existence of a fact, such as the previously mentioned birth certificate.

Collateral evidence, on the other hand, is an integral part of the source record, but has nothing to do with the reason that the record exists. One example is the death date of a land owner included on a land transfer from the land owner’s heirs to someone else. The purpose of the record was to prove transfer of the land, but it also provided collateral evidence of a man’s death.

Two types of evidence are suspect and therefore not as dependable at those stated previously. Secondary
evidence covers a broad spectrum from the very trustworthy to the highly questionable. It comes from
transcribed or copied materials and most often refers to the document itself. Hearsay evidence, however, refers to the provider of the information. Was the evidence outside the personal knowledge of the source that reports it—written or spoken?

The two facets of evidence that refer to comparative statements are: conflicting evidence or information
on a particular genealogical issue that doesn’t agree with information from another source; and clear and
convincing evidence which is information that fits perfectly with other evidence enough to consider it to be valid.

While the Internet can provide some primary, direct, and indirect sources, it has an equally great value in
providing the historical background to an ancestor that will help you find places to look for the primary,
secondary, or circumstantial evidence. Unfortunately it contains a huge amount of hearsay and secondary
evidence. It can lead you to individuals who have part of the information you seek, or lead you completely off track.

In short, do the best you can, get the best you can, acknowledge you may have a ways to go and get sold on the wonderful opportunity coming to collaborate with your relatives via FamilyTree in the initiative of documenting mankind.

And prepare to be nice, who knows, I may be your cousin, and I like nice.

PS: Leave me a comment or email at if you would like to be notified when you can sign up for FamilyTree.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The 1940 Census - Who Is In It?

Check out this short video
Catch the spirit of family history
Who do you think you are?
It's easy to find out.
The 1940 U.S. Federal Census is the largest, most comprehensive, and most recent record set available that records the names of those who were living in the United States at the time the census was taken.
132 million people were living in the 48 Continental United States in 1940.
Tens of millions of people living in the United States in 1940 are still living today, making this a record set that connects people with recent family records.
Many of these individuals are part of what has been called the greatest generation.
These are people who:
  • Survived the Great Depression
  • Fought in the Second World War
  • Innovated technology (TV, Microwave)
  • Sacrificed in the name of freedom
  • Practiced thrift and compassion
  • Understood hard work and industry
The people in the 1940 census deserve to have their records preserved and made available online.

Rich and Unique Information

The 1940 census included several standard questions, such as: name, age, gender, race, education, and place of birth. But the census also introduced some new questions. One example is that the enumerator was instructed to mark (with a circled x) who in the household responded to the census questions. Other questions included whether the person worked for the CCC, WPA, or NYA the week of March 24-30, 1940, and the income for the 12 months ending December 31, 1939.
New, interesting questions were asked:
  • Where people lived 5 years before
  • Highest educational grade achieved
  • Detailed income and occupation
Read detailed enumerator instructions
As part of the census, 5% of respondents (two names per page) were asked supplemental questions, which included the place of birth of the person's father and mother, the respondent's usual occupation (not just for the week of March 24-30), and questions related to marriage for all women who were or had been married. The enumerators asked women if they had been married more than once, the age at first marriage, and the total number of children to whom they had ever given birth.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What Anger Do You Carry? A Family History Question?

My grandmother
Nancy Athena Porter

I am writing my grandmother's, Nancy Athena Porter, life story. I hope to have it completed by the end of the month.

At times it has been an emotional experience. That might seem strange as she died at age 44, 11 years before I was born. I never knew her. My mother rarely spoke of her and little is written about her.

She was born and raised in a town founded by her grandparents and named after the family: Porterville, Utah.

I have decided to call her the Princess of Porterville for numerous reasons: her name, the fact her father was prominent including being the local Bishop for 20 years, and that she was a leader in many ways being some of them.

But my Princess fell from the grace of her community. She bore my mother out of wedlock. This resulted in scorne and rejection from the good Porterville folks. Her father had died years earlier and now her Uncle Arche (Arther Rich) was Bishop. Rather than counsel and comfort her Uncle Arche provided condemnation and rejection. I wonder if she didn't die young from the grief, and sadness her life endured as a result of her mistake.

But grandmother Nancy moved and moved on. She moved to Burley, Idaho where an Aunt was caring and kind to her. She married a kind man who was crazy about her, Thomas Salinas. Her new church surroundings led her to know she was forgiven by her Father In Heaven. She and Thomas were married in the Logan Temple. She held important church callings in Burley.

In what little is know about my grandmother it seems that she dealt with her challenges without bitterness toward anyone. There are many facets of her story where anger could have easily been embraced by her.

I feel as though I have had to write this story for her. In doing so it seems she has a message. Over and over, daily even I am driven by this theme of not holding anger.

Now I shift gears a bit. Don't we all have people to forgive? Or are we even there yet, considering such a need?

I have been reminded to think back to the time I feel I was most offended. It was a pretty serious event in my life. The offender has died now, I got over it, but I now wonder if I have forgiven him. Perhaps it's only a start that I can say at least I am not angry any more.

Writing the book on my grandmother, knowing who might read it, understanding the trauma that can come from certain family relationships, and sensing the message my grandmothers story will deliver makes me wish we could all get over it so to speak.

Grandmother Nancy refused to give up things of great value to her, despite her problems. Can we all say that? I have one relative that told me she would love to have her Mormon heritage back, but won't because of harm placed upon her by her father.

I am aware how permanently anger can sever a relationship. If it is with a relative, the schism can last for generations. I don't have to look far in my family history to see that fact.

Sometimes just one thing we spout out can have an everlasting effect. The story below taken from an LDS conference talk by Boyd K Packer is an example. I went to this talk today because the second story in it has been most influencial in my undestanding of the importance to me of letting go of anger. It has been a guide that has helped me a lot.

Please read the entire article by clicking here, your healing one relationship might bless generations.

From Boyd K Packer:

I read somewhere of a young couple who settled in the wilderness. While the man cleared the land, his wife tended things about the homestead. Occasionally, the cow would get into the garden, and the husband would complain.

One day, as he left to get supplies, he said in a sarcastic way, “Do you think you’ll be able to keep the cow in while I am gone?” She thought she could; she would try.
That night a terrible storm arose. Frightened by thunder, the cow escaped into the woods.

Several days later the husband returned to an empty cabin and an apologetic note: “A storm came up, and the cow got out. I am so sorry, but I think I can find her.”
He searched; neither had survived.

Previously I wrote an article about Simeon Cragun which is another example of families severed for generations.

Simeons only living son, Howard seems unwilling to say much about the problem except there was a lot of anger amongst his brothers and half brothers. For that story,click here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Be Nice - She's A Relative, Even Though.....

I look like a nice guy don't I? I better be, or better learn to be.

Be Nice - She's A Relative, Even Though the impulse is, " She's messing with my grandfathers file"

The trouble with my possessive instincts is that my grandfather has lots of relatives besides me. Others have the same emotion as I do.  Not only that, when he was married to my grandmother, yes he had a wife that died, they have their history with him, even may know different facts about him differently than we do.

So here comes FamilyTree. When a cousin changes their tree, like a name spelling, she changes mine. What? Yes! Trust me, its going to be fabulous. We have to work together now, and documentation will be the key. The best documentation should be used.

Anyway, I experienced the emotion described today. I quickly let the the kinder me take over. I think it was quickly.

Here is a letter I wrote to my relative: It explains a lot, including the nicer me. I hope the nicer her writes back, as we are meeting here by email for the first time;

My email to her:

Hi Judy,
I am guessing we are cousins as I see you have been working on my grandfather Simeon Cragun's new family search file. It would be nice to know our relationship and connect.
I am wondering if you are in as a beta user in family tree yet? I am on a family history mission at church headquarters. Family Tree as you may or may not know is going to replace new family search as a totally different approach. There will be one tree and a change I make affects your tree. That means we are working together in documenting our common ancestors.
For example: We have Simeon spelled the way I have used it, versus the Simion as you selected on the 5th. So the tools in family tree are that we can provide links to documents. There is also a forum where we can discuss what we believe is accurate and why. The forum is sometimes being worked on, but often works. (beta issues) So, I will go into the forum and make statements all family members can see. We can decide together through the forum and through documentation what is the correct spelling.
How is that for bringing families together?
I could change the name back, but am going to just put up documentation I have. As it is a link, (we don't upload the document), I am using my blog as a place to put the document as an article. I could have made it a photo and placed it somewhere like Flickr.
I hope this isn't grueling to follow. I will start the process, if you want more let me know. If you don't have access and want access to FamilyTree, I can get you into it.
Larry Cragun

Getting Started - Family History Strategies - Part 4

This is the 4th in a series of getting started on family history.
 Click here for part 1
 Click here for part 2
 Click here for part 3

You might ask yourself why is genealogy catching on so? Well, there is a special spirit to it. If you just get started you will find that out.

Strategy # 4: Taken from Diana Toland class at Riverton, Utah Family History Center

Historically, circumstance created patterns:

Families were less mobile, they stayed more locally and lived near relatives. Don't just find a name on a census, take a look around the neighborhood. A new product is about to be introduced that will help you focus on areas. I will be a beta tester for the product. I have seen it and am excited to bring it to you.

Immigrants settled with relatives or friends, people who spoke their language. Consider this as you do your research.

Until the early/mid 1990's, births usually happened at home. 

People attended churches near their homes. Sometimes there were only 1 or 2 churches in the area. Church records are often a great source. Marriages were likely to be in a church near their home.

Aging parents often lived with one of their children. Poor and widowed may be on the church assistance rolls. Cemetaries often contained family plots. CHildren were buried near parents or grandparents. People registered their events in the Nearest jurisdiction. Check nearby county records.

Instead of searching a name, your best results are when you place yourself in a space where you are searcing understanding the times. Mobility wasn't as it is today. Employment was different, often on farms. People resourced with their families. Thinking this way makes the hunt more interesting and more successful.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why Does Heavenly Father Love Us?

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

For my non mormon friends: Our committment to genealogy has much to do with our understanding of a real and living Father in Heaven.

 He knows us and he loves us.

“He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.

“What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us.”

President Dieter F Uchtdorf, Ssecond Counselor in the First Presidency, The Love of God, "Liahona and Ensign, Nov.  2 009, 22-23

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Search For Historic Maps

Historical map of the north and central parts of Old Boston with explanatory key

Photograph Tips From An Experienced Detective

Magnifying Glass
And that would be tips from my sister; Nancy Cragun Day

The photo is of a future genealogy detective, not Nancy.

Nancy is a valuable genealogy detective for our families family history.

Seriously, Nancy has taken upon herself  the arduous task of going through all of the family history and photographs our parents left upon their passing away.

Porter Photos from Nancy Day Flickr account
She has some suggestions that will make it better for you and for your descendants:

TIP: Make that cool photo one for history.

So many people are posting photos on Social Sites, taken with phones. These are forever lost to future generations. What a treasure trove these photos could become.

TIP: Put a photo with an obituary. Another sister, Peggy told Nancy that if she had seen how much Nancy and others had used printed obituaries in their research she would have published our fathers photo.

TIP: Always take the effort to put names, dates, places on the back of the photo. She has seen our family photos with vague or no writing on the back. Vague such as grandma (whose Grandma?) and cousins (which cousins?). Bert (which Bert?).  In her own case she has a photo with one of her sons. She thought she would always recognize her sons. Guess what? They looked the same as kids. She has a photo of herself, she thought, at a local radio station party. She had to research the local newspaper to figure out how old she was. You took the photo, identify it. It's important.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Are We Cousins? Just Asking!

Here is my family tree for 3 generations. It's a small world, we just might be related. (You can double click the chart to expand it.) Let me know if you want to go farther back. We could compare common names to look for a same ancestor. I can do that for you.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Funny Customer Support Story

natalie laughing
Kathleen and I are serving in the world wide patron support zone of the Family History Church Headquarters Mission.

The Church is committed to serving all those who have questions on genealogy/family history.

It is inspiring to see the depth of resources that are allocated to this endeavor.

So know for sure as you read this story - we love answering all questions, it's just that some of us thought this story to be understandably funny.

The fact is, there are differing opinions as to whether or not it is a true story: read it anyway if you want to laugh.

Dialogue of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee with a caller:
Customer Support: "Ridge Hall computer assistant; may I help you?"
Caller: "Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."
CS: "What sort of trouble?"
C: "Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away."
CS: "Went away?"
C: "They disappeared."
CS: "Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?"
C: "Nothing."
CS: "Nothing?"
C: "It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type."
CS: "Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"
C: "How do I tell?"
CS: "Can you see the C: prompt on the screen?"
C: "What's a sea-prompt?"
CS: "Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?"
C: "There isn't any cursor, I told you, it won't accept anything I type."
CS: "Does your monitor have a power indicator?"
C: "What's a monitor?"
CS: "It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?"
C: "I don't know."
CS: "Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?"
C: "Yes, I think so."
CS: "Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall."
C: ".......Yes, it is."
CS: "When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"
C: "No."
CS: "Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable."
C: ".......Okay, here it is."
CS: "Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."
"I can't reach."
CS: "Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"
C: "No."
CS: "Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"
C: "Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle - it's because it's dark."
CS: "Dark?"
C: "Yes - the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window."
CS: "Well, turn on the office light then."
C: "I can't."
CS: "No? Why not?"
C: "Because there's a power outage."
CS: "A power... A power outage? Ah, Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?"
C: "Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."
CS: "Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."
C: "Really? Is it that bad?"
CS: "Yes, I'm afraid it is."
C: "Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"
CS: "Tell them you're too stupid to own a computer."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Good Example of A Google Earth Tour

These are not hard to do. Think of how you could use this in your family history.

Create A Tour on Google Earth

Yesterday we attended another genealogy conference. This one was as informative as RootsTech. It took over almost the entire Bountiful High School and was a super success. Each hour there were about 30 different classes one could attend. One of them was about how to use and the benefits of using Google Earth to build a story. I plan on making this a series, but for those of you who want to just jump in, here is an excellent video on how to do it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Save Your Documents - Your Grandchildren Might Cherish Them

Our grandfather Thomas Salinas, like our grandmother Nancy Athena Porter, seemed to leave little in the way of history for us to digest. What I know about my grandmother I am about to publish in a book. Like many who have been caught up in family history of recent I wish there were more. I want to know them. I need to know them. (Thomas is we the Cragun grandchildren's step grandfather). In the Church we are sealed to our families in the Temple in the hope and belief that we will be united together as families). In essence Thomas is the grandfather my grandmother, my mother, and myself would be sealed to. 

So, I am going through old files and along comes a document that provides some new information, with interesting insights, and even more interesting questions. That document (below) was among things I received from my fathers death. Thank you to whomever saw that this document was passed down.

I point out some of the interesting Mormon parts of the document:
  1- This is a certification of Thomas being ordained a Seventy. It is an office in the Priesthood of the church. He was probably made a Seventy to do missionary work. It might confirm the fact that we are told that Thomas and Nancy went on a genealogy mission to Mexico 
  2-  Thomas was ordained by an Apostle and the certificate was signed by one of the most famous general authorities of the church B H Roberts. B H Roberts is a colorful figure in church history and was the Church Historian. Thomas was a member of the church about 1 3/4 years when he was ordained a Seventy. Was that assignment usually bestowed so soon? It's hard to say. You might read the New Testament how Jesus sent the Seventies on assignment. It's neat. But now I wonder about Melvin J Ballard ordaining him. Was that common in 1929, or was it a favor to Nancy, even a way to support her enduring through her trials and setbacks. In my book I will share that Nancy went so to speak from being a Princess of Porterville to being harshly treated by her Uncle, Bishop Arthur C Rich. Did these leaders have a personal  friendship with our Grandma?

Here is the certificate:
Thomas Salinas Ordination Certificate

I assume my mother saved this because it was important to her. It was probably a cherished document passed on to her by her grandmother. Her grandmother raised her and her sister Gloria until my mother married and her grandmother died.

Can you see the value of one simple certificate to a grandchild? Can you see even more how much a life's story would go in this process of the hearts of the Children turning to their fathers?

PS: The beauty of posting items like this on a blog, is that it gives us all access to it. I can even link to it in FamilyTree which will be open to all within the year. All means all, not just members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Genealogy Webinars - A Good Way To Learn

One of the sites in my blogroll on the right is a site dedicated to the calendering of genealogy webinars, most of them are free. Here is a copy of the calender, but you should go to the website to get the link to register and obtain more detail.

Thursday, March 1
 Group Admin (indexing projects) - FamilySearch
Saturday, March 3
 Irish-American Catholic Genealogy with Michael Brophy, So. Cal Jamboree Extension FREE
 Don't Neglect the Stories: Add Story-writing to Your Professional Services by Mary Penner - APG (free)
Tuesday, March 6
 Intro to Indexing -
Wednesday, March 7
 Are You Ready for the 1940 U.S. Census Images? by Thomas MacEntee
Thursday, March 8
 Group Admin (indexing projects) - FamilySearch
Monday, March 12
 IRELAND: Using U.S. Federal Records to Locate the Townland of Your Irish Ancestors with Donnah Moughty
Tuesday, March 13
 Intro to Indexing -
Tuesday, March 20
 Intro to Indexing -
Wednesday, March 21
 DNA Research for Genealogists: Beyond the Basics by Ugo Perego
 Top 20 Lessons Genealogists Need to Know with Barry J. Ewell Sponsored by Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree Extension Series
Tuesday, March 27
 Intro to Indexing -
 Juggling Complex Projects While Staying on Track by J. Mark Lowe, CG - APG (free)

Getting Started - Family History Strategies - Part 3


This is the 3rd in a series of getting started on family history.
Click here for part 1
Cick here for part 2

Understanding the typical time lines often helps you to estimate in a practical way to  discover facts about your ancestors.

Use a fact/date to approximate or estimate other events.

For example:
  • Usually the first child was born 1 year after the marriage.
  • Most women married about the age of 21
  • A man usually married about the age of 25
  • Siblings often had similar life spans
  • People sometimes gave the name of a child that died as an infant to the next child.
This type of thinking makes you the number 1 best detective. It is most helpful in defining the search years you in put in your search parameters, thus refining the options you have to pour through.