Saturday, September 29, 2012

FamilySearch Wiki Is Your Number 1 Research Tool

This great resource which is growing is not the place to find your ancestors - rather it's the place to find out where to find them.

In training a recent missionary he wanted to find out where his indian ancestors obituaries could be found. We went to the Wiki and was directed to that answer plus a great section of interviews that the Chocktaw Nation members had to go through to receive benefits from the Choctaw Nation.

The Wiki made it easy to find and the results were astounding, finding documentation on ancestors known, and names of many othe ancestors he had not yet located.

To find the Wiki, go to and click on learn.

Click the photo as you see on the left.

Note the Family Search Wiki is a free collection of family history articles provided by family history enthusiasts from around the world. The wiki makes it easy for people to share research information and useful tips. Research Wiki articles are valuable resources for anyone who wants to learn more about their family history.

The search bar appears and you are on your way.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Is For Fun: Agreed?

Grown-ups are obsolete

Did you know that if I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong? Are you aware that we never grow up, we only learn how to act in public? Isn't it true that war does not determine who is right - only who is left?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Finding Genealogy Records On Line by FamilySearch

Large bank of Computers--shutterstock_43319644

In the past very few years, online genealogy records have grown to the point that the larger databases are talking in terms of billions of records. How can you begin to comprehend that many records? Where do you start and where does your searching online end, if it ever does? What do you do when you search for an ancestor’s name and there are thousands of results? And of course, the main question is, if you already know enough about your ancestor to search for him or her in the huge database, why do you need to do the search?

Some of these questions are very difficult to answer and some of the answers depend on your own research goals. But first, when I am talking about a really big online database, what am I including in that title?

By far the largest database of genealogical information is found in the commercial website But there are a number of larger databases that would qualify for inclusion under any set of criteria. Read the entire article, click here

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Plan For RootsTech 2013

The RootsTech Conference is coming in March. Beginner or expert, you won't want to miss it. I would say that last year at RootsTech my entusiasm for doing family history research was jettisoned into a new feeling of confidence and excitement. There will be a large variety of topics and displays from vendors.

The 3rd annual RootsTech conference offers new and exciting resources for individuals of all skill levels:
  • More Exciting Classes & Workshops
  • 40% Bigger Expo Hall
  • New! Getting Started Track & Developer Day
There are a lot more exciting announcements and early bird pricing at the website, click here.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Learning Family Tree - Power Point And Videos

The Family Tree is a new approach to genealogy. It is unlike any tool you've used before. You will connect with others who share a common interest in your genealogical lines. Together, you compare findings, weight evidence, and decide what information is most correct. The history of your work and the rationale for change are preserved for others to see. You'll find great satisfaction in your family research because you are part of a team working towards the same goal - the most accurate, complete, and enduring family tree ever produced.

This version of Family Tree supports full navigation of your genealogy tree. You can: Explore trees, families, and individuals. Edit and improve data about a specific individual. Attach sources, including links to online sources. Watch and receive notifications about changes to ancestors.

To gain access to FamilySearch Family Tree: Click here

Very helpful training videos by topic are here: Click here

 Power Point Presentations By Bridget Jordan, Family History Training Zone

4.33 Minutes of El Divo That Never Grows Old, "Amazing Grace"

I know that there is a God, Creator of all things. It blesses my life immensly to understand that.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Blessed To Have 3 Pioneer Families: Cragun, Bingham, Porter

My serving here in Salt Lake City Family and Church History Headquarters mission has been a chance to feel a greater love and respect for my pioneer ancestors. The community here emphasizes it more. There is the Pioneer day parade and celebration. Our local youth did a Pioneer Trek this summer. It's talked about more and I appreciate it.

In doing my genealogy I have learned how Elisha Cragun found the church not long after his wife and 23 year old daughter died. He gave up his plantation and slaves and moved to Nauvoo where the church members were gathering. He and 4 of his childrens families went with him. One son, ended up in Minnesota while Simeon Cragun and two sisters headed west. Elisha didn't make it, he died in Winter Quarters. Great Grandfather Simeon and family were the first to settle in Pleasant View, Utah.

Sanford Porter was my first ancestor to join the church, not long after it was founded. He had an amazing, actually several amazing experiences leading up to his joining the church. Sanford Porter had two sons that are great grandfathers of mine: John President Porter and Lyman Wight Porter. Lyman Wight was named after one of the missionaries that taught Sanford. The Porters traveled in the Charles C Rich pioneer company, and it's not surprising one of the Rich girls married John President.

My Bingham ancestory has a touching situation. Erastus had 10 children and lived in England. He and one daughter joined the church and came to America and were pioneers. They seemed to have had to give up their family to come as my grandmother records they never saw or heard from her mother and siblings again.

The Porters settled in Morgan County Utah. You may be related to some of them: Joseph Rich Porter, Marlow Rich Porter, Bertha Maria Porter, Joseph Irvin Porter, Mary Viola Porter, Nathaniel Victor Porter, Nellie Electa Porter, or Eleca Elizabeth Porter. Electa is my great grandmother, the others her siblings.

My great grandfather Simeon Cragun had a son, Simeon who is my grandfather. His first wife died. His second wife Blanche Bingham is my dads mother. So my Cragun and Bingham lines come together through this marriage.

I'm proud of my pioneer heritage. I'm grateful my ancestors found the church so I could be a part of it and its blessings from my youth.

Opening The Blogging Success Class With This VIdeo

Kathleen and I will be presenting Blogging For Genealogy Success today at 11AM at the Riverton Family History Library.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Descendacy Research for Genealogy

                                                     Here is a great 40 minute video of a class I took at the Riverton Family History Library on Descendancy Research.  It's worth  your time to watch. Click this link, it will take you to FamilySearch and one of the many training videos.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Setting up a Facebook Page for Your Ancestors

Social Media is A Genealogy Godsend


The Facebook paragraph below is from the Family Search blog. One of many the church is publishing. The Family Facebook Page concept is in line with the new focus of FamilySearch Family Tree: that of collaboration. Click the link below to go to the full article.

We will be teaching our blogging for genealogy class next Saturday at the Riverton FamilySearch Library Saturday Seminar. This is a 9AM to noon event with three one hour sessions. They are great for learning family history.

Facebook has long since moved into first place as the social networking site of choice for millions upon millions of people. This is in part due to being in the right place at the right time with the right product. No matter what you think about Facebook as a social phenomena, you have to recognize the great potential the program has to connect families doing genealogical research. My own experience with the program only goes back a few years, but I have seen several very helpful connections with relatives as a result. There are several ways to enhance your chances of finding genealogy-minded relatives through Facebook Pages.

To go to the full article, click here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Month Of Great Webinar Training

Webinars are a very important part of the learning process. You can pick the class you want and watch it from your computer. does a good job of informing you of upcoming classes. Here is their calender for the next 30 days. This is a photo and the links are not live. To go to their website and register for a class click here, then click on the class you want.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Blogging Is Fun and Easy To Learn

Kathleen had created a beginners manual that you can download by clicking here:

I have created a website with all kinds of tips, videos, and instruction. I think I have covered all the bases. If not, let me know and I will add what is needed.

Here is the link to the website:

or you can just Google: blogging for genealogy success. :)

When you are there you will notice the categories on the right column. Click the category you are ready for and each article on that topic will come forward.

The Prayer - Jessica Sanchez

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What Surprises Await You If You Research Your Family

One of my fellow trainers shared a captivating story with us. He felt he had done a complete job to date in researching his first 4 generations of family history.

Still, he decided to start over and see if he had missed anything, or if anything new came to surface through his research. He started with is own family.

During his growing up years he had been told that he had two sisters that died before he was
born. No detail was given as to why. All he knew is that they had died.

This time, he looked for all of his family, including his sisters. He went into newspapers and found a reference that his sisters had died in California, not Utah where he had been raised. He searched in the California City referred to in the Utah article.

This search brought up 3 California newpaper stories that detailed the death of his sisters. It was really tragic, and obviously so tragic his parents couldn't ever tell him. One sister, 3 years old came rushing to her mother: "Mama my mouth is burning, I ate something, baby ate it too". They had gotten into poisen. No matter what they did to try and save the girls, they couldn't save them. One died that day, another the next.

The articles gave great detail, including the fact the parents were very poor. They were concerned how to get the money to get their daughters to Utah for buriel. It explained the mortuary felt so bad for this family that they made sure they were taken care of, irregardless of finances.

I can't imagine the pain those parents felt. I felt that the story shared with us meant a lot to our friend. Our families had lives that we might find great meaning in, if we only search them out. It's like they want to be found.

I wonder what more awaits me as I reach out. How about you?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Is For Fun: Hummm

//KRAZY BALDHEAD : ~ED BANGERS RECORDS~ I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of every successful man is usually another woman.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Howard Blaine Cragun, The Only Living Child of Simeon Wilbert (Wilby) Cragun

The man at the table, that's Howard Cragun, the only living son of Simeon (Wilby) Cragun
This picture was taken September 2, 2012
Sitting Next to Howard is his wife Ruth Wood Cragun
Howard was born July 15, 1923
Hey, is that a root beer float on the table? I love root beer floats.
Howard's daughter, Claudia and her boyfriend, standing behind, are
assisting their return to Gig Harbor Washington where they spent much of their life.
What good people they are.
If you too are a descendant of Simeon, you would love to know him.
Everyone should have an Uncle Howard and Aunt Ruth. It was in a recent seminar on writing family histories that a speaker suggested in every life's story we write, that we share what we learned from the story. I will try and do that here and now.
From these two people I learned much. I guess the biggest thing is about the joy of being happy irregardless of the circumstances. I don't remember ever hearing a negative thing from them. The thought is in my mind, "The Joy of Being Happy". That's what I learned from Simeon's son, Howard. I'd like to think I am a little bit like him. I know he's had his share of struggles that go along with the good times, but I never ever noticed a hint of negativity while in his presence. He is always smiling, happy, and optimistic.
It makes me wonder what my grandfather Simeon was really like. Is Howard like Simeon? Am I a little bit like them both, I know I have some of Howard's optimistic traits. Was Simeon like this? I really do not know.
Howard recently turned eighty nine. I would say he looks pretty darn good. Of course Aunt Ruth looks good too, but she is a young chick and that's to be expected. My dad lived to age 95. So I guess I'm in for another 20 years or so, genetically imagining.
Howard is a country boy and a guitar picking singer. Aunt Ruth sings also. I guess genes don't guarantee talent to be the same, if I start singing I'm usually asked to stop.
Some of my favorite life's memories are digging clams at Penrose Point and steaming them at the Craguns place, competing in the watermelon eating contest at their resort in Montana, and playing in their home as a kid in Tacoma. Each with my aunt and uncle. Howard always had us doing things. Umm, those steamed clams. 
I think they read this blog occasionally, and hope they see it when they settle in their new digs at Gig Harbor. As folks, this post is for you.
I love them deeply and appreciate their kindness to me, recently and throughout my life.
I'd guess Simeon has watched his son from the life beyond with pride and with love. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Solve Those Brick Walls With The Youth

Four of our Young Missionaries At Church Headquarters
Monday Kathleen and I joined about a dozen older missionaries to help the young missionaries do their family history research. It was a holiday and the places they usually serve were closed. This gave them as full time missionaries a time to do their own research. We were there to assist them, teach them.

Help them on their research, what a joke statement. These guys are awesome. Now I know that everyone can learn more, there is no end to learning or brick walls in genealogy, always a new task to conquer no matter who we are or what age we are.

I did in fact get to teach one of them how to function in FamilySearch Family Tree, but he learned in 20 minutes what it took me 4 hours to teach a missionary my age.

These guys learn fast, these guys remember everything. The young set remember remember remember. They remember websites, they remember process, they remember everything we old folks struggle to remember.

When someone tells you these 70 young men serving here are the heart and soul of our mission you need to know that that is a fact. They come to serve and they are important.

Now to the title of this article and how I see it. I know the youth are into games. This is for we parents and grandparents to ponder. If we wanted the spirit of family history and genealogy to roll forth we need to get the kids going. I sensed when I watched these men zipping from website to website from screen to screen that they saw this as a game and more. It had the same action as a game. Some of them had 20 screens open at one time. I've never seen that done by an older person. You could see all 20 at once and they would fly between them in speed so fast I was spinning. Genealogy for old folks, not here I say.

One of them asked if I wanted to see something cool? Sure I said. He logged me into a website to show me 16 pages of famous people I was related too. He was wowed, look at those people he said. Now that's another article if I can read my notes on how to do that.

Look at those people was an important statement. They were dead. But to him, they were alive. Genealogy is action. Let's get our children and grandchildren going. They won't need much help, just a start.

I think I know a good suggestion on how to start them. I'll give you two ideas. 1- If you can come to Salt Lake City, go to the main Family History Library and ask to play the genealogy games, have your kids do that. Sixteen of these young missionaries created a bunch of games that are so popular entire youth groups have heard about them and are making appointments to experience them.
2- Get them the experience of searching for an ancestor on FamilySearch. You will be likely to find that ancestor on a census or find a death certificate. Then have them read what you find. Their relatives will come alive to them. Then paint them the picture of the purposes Family Tree. If you don't have that vision, read the article found in the sidebar, "Family Tree Will Change Genealogy Research Forever." They will grasp the concept. Then place that document in their Source Box. Go connect the ancestor to his or her document and things will never be the same for them. It might not be the same for you and genealogy either. These steps are simple. The instructions for you or them are on this blog.

I really see the vision of how all kinds of brick walls can be broken with the youth spending game time doing genealogy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

In FamilySearch Family Tree There Will Be Multiple Ways To Attach A Source To A Person

The first and easiest way to attach a source to a person in Family Tree will be to find it on, as I have depicted below, finding my father Royal Cragun in the  1940 Census.
All sources you find go into your FamilyTree Source Box by just dropping down  MY SOURCE BOX, as depicted below and adding it to the source box, your holding place for all sources you attach. From there you go to the person, click go to the source box, and you attach the person to the document. It's real simple.
The second way to put a source into the tree, and attach it to a person is to find a source that has its own unique URL. Find A Grave is an example of that, each memorial has it's own URL. Photos in Flickr, documents published in sites such as, and articles of documents on a blog have unique web addresses, or URL's. See photo below for an example.The URL here is long, that's OK.
The 3rd way is to have a document in hand or on a computer. I haven't seen, just heard rumors about the official word on uploading these to the tree. Ron Tanner, project manager told an audience I was in to just start scanning your documents. What I think will happen is that we will be provided a way to upload a document in to FamilySearch, then one button it into the source box. In the meantime I am using slideshare to upload documents or stories, Photobucket to upload photos, and my blog, this blog and my research blogs, to post the document with comments for a URL to attach.
I already have over 100 sources attached to my families in Family Tree.
It is an exercise of love, but it can be sort of exhausting to spend hours doing it.  
Please feel free to leave a comment that is a question. We have new missionaries to train this week so it might take me a day or two to respond. I had one comment that this seems exciting. He's right, it is.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Karl Marx and Obama Photo

Karl Marx and President Barack Obama
I hope my democratic leaning sisters can enjoy a little humor.
Even though I am a Republican political Constitutional loving extremist I have not let that creep into this blog. Not so on Twitter. But I can't resist the fun of what actor Clint Eastwood started at the Republican Convention. He spoke to, had a conversation with an empty chair, to our President Barack Obama, with him sitting in the chair. It was funny.

Actually, I thought it was extremely funny.
Twitter Republicans have taken to the Internet, declaring today as empty chair day.
All over the Country loyal Republicans are posting empty chairs of sorts.

My favorite so  far is this one above: Karl Marx and Barack Obama.
You see, many of us recognize the Obama doctrine as a carbon copy of Marxism.
262 articles posted, and 1 political - you can forgive me can't you sisters?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Childhood Home of Larry Cragun, Siblings, and Parents

PhotobucketWhen I was about 11 our family moved from 2924 Hubbard to this home on 2814 Dahl Street in Pocatello, Idaho. The footprint of the home is small, but it didn't seem that way to me.

For me and some friends, the yard was a place to play catch. I broke the windows you see more than once. No problem as long as I paid for and installed the new window. On the other side was an area big enough to have a garden and a basketball backboard. The front had steps for my throwing balls, playing catch with myself. The window upstairs was my sister Nancy's room, mine was on the other side. Upstairs were two rooms and a middle play area. Dad finished off the downstairs into a play room and a bedroom. That became my area after my mission.

A few blocks away was a root bear stand owned by our scoutmaster Keith Hirschi. He had a deal, if you could drink 20 mugs of root beer in an hour, they were free and you got  your name on the wall. To win  you couldn't throw up before the end of 20. I don't think anyone made it.

My Heavenly Father Loves Me

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Billions of Family History Records Stored in A Granite Mountain Vault - Cool Videos

I previously posted that their is a vault zone in our mission. There are actually 20 zones in Family and Church History Headquarters Mission.

The mission name identifies the three branches: Family History, Church History, and Church Headquarters.

Kathleen serves in World Wide Support, training and supporting family history centers. I serve in the Training Zone, training new missionaries for the first two weeks they arrive here.

The magnitude of what is accomplished here is stunning. Missionaries serve to support the full time staff. Some do special projects, some come with particular skills that are needed: Security, Real Estate, Accounting, or technology for example.

The videos below are an insight to the work in the Vault Zone. We had a young missionary, who came to our zone and loved the vault work so much he asked to be sent back there. It turns out that after his mission is over he will return to the vault as an employee.

Understand the technologies and processes used to "unlock" the collections of genealogy records preserved in the Granite Mountain Records Vault.

This video explains how records stored in microfilm and other formats are digitized, indexed, and published online in a searchable format, where they can be accessed by researchers around the world at