Monday, January 28, 2013

War of 1812: Preserve the Pensions!

Posted on the blog January 24, 2013 By 

War of 1812
FamilySearch has made a generous donation of $250,000 to support this community effort to the War of 1812 “Preserve the Pensions” Digitization Fund.These 7.2 million images, among the most requested documents at the National Archives, are part of an industry effort led by the Federation of Genealogical Societies that will provide free online access to these important historical records. By visiting the War of 1812 Pension Applications Files,you can view, free of charge, all images that have been placed online so far. For anyone who would also like to donate to this worthy cause or get additional information, visit the Preserve The Pensions websiteFull Story

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I've Been Transferred

It looks like I will spend the rest of our mission in World Wide Support. I'll be taking phone calls, answering email, and texts regarding questions on Family Tree and It should be a great learning process as I can see some of the questions coming in are rare and interesting.

FamilySearch Adds Collection Updates to Australia, BillionGraves, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Spain, and the United States

January 15, 2013 By

World with film surrounding itFamilySearch added an additional 7 million new, free indexed records and images this week to its collection. Notable additions include the 1,747,863 indexed records and images in the Slovakia Church and Synagogue Books collection from 1592-1910, the 1,308,956 indexed records from the United States General Index to Pension Files collection from 1861-1934, the 1,115,732 images for the Luxembourg Census Records collection from 1843-1900, and the 1,023,459 added to the United States Index to Passenger Arrivals, Atlantic and Gulf Ports, from 1820-1874. New searchable records were also added this week for Colombia and six states in the US collections. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at Full Story

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Nathan And Sanford Porter Family Information

This slide show can be enlarged by clicking the 4 arrow icon in the right corner.

How Is That Research Repeat Going?

Don't you just love wasting time? It's fun knowing you are doing research already gathered by others isn't it?

Teach it to your kids too, about that? Research Repeat, the ancient way in Genealogy. It's Great!

I guess those most committed to this concept are you in who have your information as PRIVATE, like it's a secret, like you are the only grandchild of Adam and Eve.

I have a suggestion for you - change your name - pick something no one else has picked. Look for suggestions. Here is one, make your new last name something like Goooooooosen. No one has that one yet, I bet.

By the way, stats show that 80% of research concluded is "Research Repeat"

There is another way for those interested: it's called FamilySearch Family Tree. It has already saved me months of research time thanks to the generous attitude of others related to my Elisha Cragun 2nd great grandfather.

When we all work together we can accomplish amazing things. How about that thought?

If you want to try it out, let me know.

PS: The sarcasm is meant in fun.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Coming To Family Tree:

There are many who would like to find fault and not use FamilySearch family tree as it isn't in a perfect completed stage yet.

One of the complaints is that it won't print pedigree charts and family group sheets. That is soon going to be solved. I saw a screen shot of the printing features of these two reports and they are nicely done.

Family Tree has been under development for just over a year and a half. It's giant project, at times having over 600 engineers and developers building it, a huge commitment and one not to be taken lightly or treated disrespectfully.

As it is it is awesome. So what if it has a bug here or there or if there is a feature I want that isn't there yet.

IT SOLVES THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IN RESEARCH, THAT OF "RESEARCH REPEAT". We waste so much time duplicating another persons work.

That came front and center to me this month when Gaylynn Heiner Hone provided her years of research she had done on Elisha Cragun, who I had decided to focus on. I'm guessing the near 100 pages saved me and anyone else embarking on this task at least a year in research time.

A feature being developed that I am most enthused about is the family sharing feature. Here family members can share living information amongst themselves: stories, photos, documents, etc. I've wondered how do I input into the tree my photos and documents without dying. Also, if I am dead will the heavens allow me to attach something to the tree? Probably not. So the problem will be solved.

Very soon the duplicates bug will be resolved.

For those of you using please STOP. I mentioned a reason yesterday, but as added reason, when you merge a file in newfamilysearch it messes up the tree. Get used to the tree as I expect new family search to be turned off for the reasons I have mentioned.

And to you who are determined to gripe and find fault, it's over, the decision has been made: family tree is the future and you will be glad once you get it.

Monday, January 21, 2013

PAF Can Pollute Family Tree


It is not a good idea to use a desktop software and synchronize your data up and down to

Our training zone policy has been to not download data from as it has a lot of incorrect items that will be placed into your desktop file.

Last week I discovered a reason no to upload into There is a companion product to PAF called Family Insight.

One of our users uploaded through Family Insight into and it created a duplicate of every one of her ancestors in Family Tree. All the ordinance work all of the facts she had in her desktop are now showing as an  ancestor in the Family Tree. A no no, which fact by itself is a reason to abandon PAF and Family Insight as a tool to synchronize.

She or someone now has to go in and merge each ancestor as a duplicate person. I'm thinking the family tree engineers will have to block Family Insight as this could become a big issue.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Danger - You Might Lose Your Money On Some Sites


Friday is usually for fun. Not today.

Yesterday, in search of a copy of a death certificate, the new missionary I was training went out and spent a dollar for a death certificate.

They charged him the dollar plus $19.95. They didn't deliver the certificate.

For a while  he was able to chat with them. They said just wait. He waited. He went back in the afternoon to chat again. The chat feature was gone.

No chat, no certificate, no $20.95. Let that be a lesson learned.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is It Possible To Trace Your Ancestry Back To Adam And Eve?

Warning. Contains spoilers.

Have you ever heard these words uttered?

When asked if it is possible for living people to extend ancestral lines back to Adam and Eve, Robert C. Gunderson, Senior Royalty Research Specialist, of the Church Genealogical Department, stated:

The simplest answer is CLICK HERE FOR THE ANSWER

Monday, January 14, 2013

Hey Genealogist - Are You Making Rookie Mistakes?

Rookie's first win

Rookies are poor note keepers

Rookie family group records have meager source citations, and are limited to births, marriages, and deaths. Their research logs often consist of small slips of paper tucked into the pages of a spiral notebook. They have a tendency to make handwritten copies of sources. Their copies of sources are scattered and poorly organized. Finding a particular document may take 5 minutes or more.
Consequences: Poor organization and note keeping often results in redundant searches, missed documents, overlooked clues, poor correlation and analysis, incorrect conclusions, dead ends, and false connections.

Experienced researchers document AS THEY GO, keeping up-to-date, well-source-footnoted family group records, and research logs. Veterans make photocopies of sources whenever allowed by the repository. They add all events including things like each census, military service, and family moves to their family group records. They are well organized. Thanks to their research log they can have any document copy about the family in their hand in moments. They use their records, especially the family group record, as their best source of ideas about where to search next because of all the clues they have packed onto it. They use their research logs to document their research strategies as well as the sources searched. Rookies assume an ancestor’s name has only one correct spelling
Rookies may reject sources that show the ancestor’s name spelled differently than expected. They often insist the family has always spelled the name just one way. They may be uncomfortable with variant spellings because they assume different spellings are a sign their ancestors were uneducated. They overlook the possibility that it was a clerk (not family) that spelled the name differently.

Consequences: Missed sources, missed opportunities, missed clues, incomplete and stunted genealogies.

Experienced researchers would find it unusual if they found only one spelling in all of the records for a particular person. They expect and actively seek out as many variant spellings of the name as possible. Experienced researchers look for names under middle names, initials, abbreviations, and nicknames. They use the International Genealogical Index to find alternate spellings to surnames. And they use spelling substitution tables to figure out even more possible alternates spellings of the surname.

Rookies often have vague research goals

Rookies often have little focus and act scatterbrained. When questioned about the person and event they seek, a rookie may not have anyone specific in mind. They just want to find ancestors and have no one in particular. Further, they are often without a family group when they ask questions.

Consequences: Lack of focus means a rookie is unlikely to stay on task. They often cannot figure out sources to search. Therefore their general focus often results in general lack of progress.

Experienced researchers work on one specific event in one person’s life at a time. They can name the person and event, such as, “I want to document Katie Beller’s birth.” The nature of the event suggests a variety of sources that might have information about that event. Further, veterans carry with them a well-documented family group record showing that individual ancestor so the researcher can review the clues. They tend to continue to research that one event in one person’s life until they find it.

There are more: Click here to see um

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Don't Know Why FamilySearch Keeps This Part A Secret

OK, it's not a secret. But it's darn hard to find, and it's (in my humble opinion) the best part of the FamilySearch Wiki. It's this page, full of sources for finding your ancestors:(Using Washington State as an example here). If you knew you ancestors lived in Washington you could use this page to identify every possible source of information. Methodically search through each section.
More of my thoughts below the photos.

On the home page is list all countries >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
What you have on this page is a complete set of resources for finding your ancestors. If you went through each of these on a Washington ancestor you are likely to find information you are looking for.
To get here go to the Wiki via learn > click list all countries > work your way to the State you are looking to research in (Washington for example) You then find all of the resources for that state.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Important Parts of

Always sign in. If you don't have an account register for one. Even if you just want to search, sign in. There is more searchable data for those who have registered and signed in.

You can browse by location, even by parents. A parent only search sometimes brings up children you weren't aware of. should be the first place you go to search for an ancestor.

Family Tree should be available now to the entire public, once they have signed in. If that doesn't work for you (it should) email me at and I will get you the invite link.

Family Tree may need you to start building it yourself. If  you have any difficulties, the site is awesome for learning family tree.

The learn section is important. Video training for all levels of knowledge in genealogy research. Plus, the wiki is there. The Wiki is your number one place to research.

This Power Point gives you more insight -

Saturday, January 5, 2013

ANYONE Can Learn How To Do Genealgy Research on

There are over 500 video training courses on They are published for all levels of experience, especially for the beginner. It's fun, it's easy to learn, it is challenging, and most of all there is a spirit to it. It's like your ancestors are rooting you on. Wouldn't you like to know these people before you pass on? They need not be strangers. I am most anxious to meet my Grandma Nancy Porter and 2nd Great Grandfather Elisha Cragun. Why? Because I think I know them now.

Most Popular Courses

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How Fast Do You Type? Really?

OK, typing discussed on a family and genealogy blog? Yep. The better you type, the better you do at research.

Here is a link for FREE typing improvement help. It's Fun and Effective. Do it!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Priorities In Teaching Genealogy To New Missionaries: by Elder Larry Cragun

My goal: Is to provide the familyhistory/genealogy student the resources on how to gain a foundation whereby they can become a pretty good genealogist.
This is a cinch with your having an understanding of: – FamilySearch Family Tree - Basic sites to do research – basic research sources
Your first focus is on your 1st 5 generations. Good research principles would have you not bounce around from line to line, rather have you seek for inspiration as to what ancestor to focus on. We will do a little of both as a teaching exercise.
There are 5 main places to search online. These 5 gather about 80% of the online information. They are:  (This is a membership site that costs a monthly fee except at LDS family history centers and some libraries,
and searching on Google for images. Remember to check for spelling variations.
After you have searched these sites the work gets more time consuming, takes more effort. Here is where the family history library and the church history library are extremely helpful. They both have an online catalog.
It is important you become acquainted with the help the FamilySearch wiki offers. This place does not give you information about an individual, rather provides information on how to find the information you seek. You get to the wiki by going to then click learn then click research wiki.
There are two different helpful ways to use the wiki: 1- using the search box. Example: “Census records for Utah”. This way you pull a series of articles, each written by a volunteer researcher or expert, in the articles is information that may help you. 2- The second way is very helpful and often overlooked as it is not as easily found. It is a page with resources for a State or Country. (You will find a map of the United States whereby you can just click the State you are researching.) To get there follow these instructions:
Then select down to the country or State you are researching. The result is a page like this:
Note outlined are numerous links to in depth research. Systematically go through these, keeping records of your research history. The Wiki is considered by the church as your #1 research tool.
In focusing on one individual you are likely to gather enough sources to create a short life story of an ancestor. You will see the Church place more emphasis on this part of family history in the near future. Stories are important. Wouldn’t you like to know your ancestors when you meet them in the next estate? Studying them and writing about them can make that a reality.
The components that make an interesting story do not include your being a great writer. If you just start with the persons birth information and move through their life, noting what you know, what you assume, and what you don’t know works fine. Your going to the effort of learning about their community: what it was like there and then, adds significantly to the story.
About Family Tree: The Church has made a huge financial commitment to Family Tree. It currently has a few bugs, it sometime goes down for a short time as they work on it – but it is so important, now, that I encourage you to take it seriously and learn it completely. Two sites help immensely. A training video site: is awesome. Going through these videos can train you perfectly. I also write a lot about family tree on my blog: There are other basic and genealogy resources on this blog.