Thursday, March 28, 2013

County Websites: An Overlooked Resource

From a RootsTech class given by Jean Wilcox Hibben

RootsTech is awesome. Here is the website, click this link.

In sharing this information I am going to take you on an example journey with my research.

I would say that County Websites being an overlooked resource fits many of us who are getting into our genealogy. This class was full and overflowing.

I am going to research for a county website for an ancestor heavily researched and sourced to family tree, Elsha Cragun.

I begin with Google: (we were taught about 5 websites for this kind of research) Searching the Counties he spent time in: 6 counties. He, seemed to purchase and then develop land and then move on to do it again. These counties are Russel in Virginia, Franklin in both Tennessee and Indiana, Fayette in Indiana, and Rush County, Indiana. His wife and 21 year old daughter died 3 days apart in Pleasant View, Indiana in 1844 and shortly after that he sold his property and went with some of his children to Nauvoo, Illinois.

Lets search these 5 counties in Virginia, Tennessee, and Indiana. Here we go, will it help?

Note: Not all counties have sites. Not all results are genealogy websites. However, even non genealogy County websites may have history which is valuable or peoples names to contact.

The Google search is: Russell County Virginia Genealogy

Russell  County, Virginia, Genealogy: The top result delivered in the search is  [ ] which is one of the 5 sites to research . It has tons of links to sites about Russell, County, and even neighboring Counties and States. I'll be busy here for a long time.

Back to Google: The same search also led to the FamilySearch Wiki - A great source. I have been here, but I see more links now. Yay.

More off Google Search - Russell County Virginia Genealogy

The next Google Result was: Awesome.

The 4th Google result is the 2nd option the class mentioned:  There are lots of interesting possibilities here.

The next Google option was The Russel County Library with a section called: Researching Family History in Russell County, VA | interesting indeed.

There were more on Google, I am up to so many options I think I will close the article for now.

The class also referred to and htthp:// and follow directions.

This is an amazing way to dig deep beyond the famous websites. My wife Kathleen using this concept is coming up with great results and you can see you might too.

Whew, do I have work to do.  Yowsa

Coming Soon To

Enhancements are coming soon to which will make it easier to connect with generations past, share memories with loved ones in the present, and preserve your legacy for the future. Click Here for the video

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Saturday August 10, 2013

Date: SUMMER TIME with no UEA, Football or Hunting competition Time:

SHORT TIME PERIOD- Noon 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm Place:

NO COST, LARGE (expect 2500 people)

Stake Building on Hwy 89 near I-15 in Pleasant View, near to Pleasant View Cemetery(NORMA LISTON) FEE:

Date: SUMMER TIME with no UEA, Football or Hunting competition  Saturday August 10, 2013

Time: SHORT TIME PERIOD-  Noon  12:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Place: NO COST, LARGE (expect 2-500 people) Stake Building on Hwy 89 near I-15 in Pleasant View, near to Pleasant View Cemetery(NORMA LISTON)

FEE: NO FEES, but $5 for those who want their children to make mountain man crafts and have the Cragun Coloring Book(GAYLYNN HONE/JENNIFER SMITH)

Food: NO COST- Pot Luck Noon Luncheon- Bring your own food and implements (NORMA LISTON FAMILY ORGANIZATION- coordinate with stake center)

Theme: Let’s have FUN together learning about our connection to Daniel Boone and other mountain men

Marketing:  Mostly local Utah family members, but all we have emails for will be invited(RUSS MARRIOTT/STEVE HEINER/RAY JOHNSON)

Focus: Special focus on young marrieds and teenagers.

Leadership Target: Ask our older leaders to find relatives who are young marrieds to help us build the future leadership of the Cragun organization and be the mainstay of the organization’s:
1) Calling Tree telephone calls 2) Email address collecting.  (MILDRED WATTS/JO ANNE BURRELL/KAY RUFF/VERNAE HANSEN)
Leaders: We have 20 people who have offered to help. Russ has included in bold after each area of responsibility a gentle suggestion for assignments.  These are some of the 20 people Russ and Gaylynne have talked to over the past several weeks as they have tried to get feedback about how best to organize the 2013 Cragun Reunion.  We will be in touch with you soon to discuss your reaction (hopefully positive) and explain how the assignment might work within your time commitments and interest level and receive your suggestions and input.

1)     Mountain Men Show with background story of Daniel Boone as friend of Cragun relatives(RUSS MARRIOTT/STEVE FELT)

Patrick Cragun, Sheriff, stories, photos of old family homes in Tennessee(GAYLYNN HONE & MILDRED WATTS)

Genealogy and Family History Meeting for 15 minutes after at 3:00 pm
Teenagers- Help with Mt. Men program and with Clown Carnival and invite to be trained on internet to do INDEXING on their own computers. (DIXIE CRAGUN/MRS LARRY CRAGUN)Adults- Introduce the Perfect the CragunRecords project to find original source documents digitized and linked to LDS Family Tree records.  (GAYLYNN HONE/ART CRAGUN/LARRY CRAGUN/NANCY DAY/MARGARET SWANAVELT)

Toddlers in nursery room with church toys and games
Children- Mt man theme for crafts and Cragun Coloring Books
Clown Carnival theme for games and prizes and fun(JENNIFER SMITH/AMY OLSEN/DEBBIE RASUMSSEN)

Pleasant View Cemetery- Location of family plots and head stones on map(GAYLYNNE HONE/MILRED WATTS/NORMA LISTON FAMILY)

Old Cragun Homes- Map of locations for photographing(NORMA LISTON FAMILY)

Teenagers- Help with Mountain men show and clown carnival

SAVE THIS DATE EMAIL ANNOUNCEMENT Flyer out to everyone on Buckner and Heiner lists this week. (RUSS MARRIOTT/RAY JOHNSON)

Minutes of conference  Send Summary of meeting minutes tomorrow(RUSS MARRIOTT)

Telephone TreesMake calls to master lists of names, addresses, phone numbers and emails

Marketing- Ask people what they would like to see at the reunion and if they will help make it happen.  If not it dies. 

BLOG- Set up Google BlogspotASAP to advertise the reunion and store original documents for genealogy research(RUSS MARRIOTT/LARRY CRAGUN/MARSHALL MARRIOTT)

BOOKS- Put our 10 Cragun books onto LULU internet site for family to print personal copies (GAYLYNN HONE/DIXIE CRAGUN/WYNN PHILLIPS)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Photos And Stories To The Public

Photos and Stories in Family Tree are scheduled to go live to the public by early May. Some have mentioned they want in. Yes, it won't be long.

Monday, March 18, 2013

We have released Photos and Stories to all members.

We have released Photos and Stores to all members.  It is still not available to the general public.  This means when a member signs in to Family Tree and clicks on View Person  they will see photos and stores next to details. As they have never been to photos they will  want to know how to add them to their ancestors.  You will need to go to the link where you can then add and connect to Family Tree. 


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Progress On Family Tree Just Keeps Happening

NOTE: As of today they are posting who added the photo and noting comments on the photos.

For those who are in the beta of Photos on Family Tree, stories just went live.

Photos are getting a lot of buzz, but my opinion is that stories is the bigger feature.

Fifty new testers are added each morning while they work with the bandwith issues.

To get in line for that feature you go to

You Can Learn About FamilySearch Photos at RootsTech

On February 21, 2013, Tim Cross, FamilySearch Photos product manager, presented a webinar launching this exciting new feature--see the entire webinar here. He also presented a follow-up question and answer session on February 26. Watch that webinar.


An additional training video on FamilySearch Photos and Stories can be found here.

Be sure to join us at RootsTech in the FamilySearch booth to see this and other exciting enhancements we're making to Learn more about the free member training track at RootsTech.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Genealgoy Research Example Using

A friend messaged me on Facebook

Michael XXXXX - b1809 Germany d1908 Ohio, came to the US in 1841. How do I find source info on his immigration?

He added: 

I can't put this stuff down. Found more info. He and his wife and looks like child - came over in 12 aug 1841 on the Albert ship out of Bremen Germany and arrived in Baltimore. The find references a national archives series number and microfilm roll. 

Now what. How do I get this?

I am guessing he found some of his information on Can give him more detailed help. Here is how.

Fill out the basic Search info First and Last name, Country of birth, and year of birth. Good searching technique uses a range not just the exact year. I went 1 year each way.

A new very helpful feature is to select type.

Using "Type" gives better results.

One result was delivered when I clicked search. It was his ancestor. It has an image copy of his naturalization about 7 years after arrival. Pretty cool I say.

Ohio, County Naturalization Records, 1800-1977
naturalization:1848Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio, United States

The image is the naturalization form. Having this provides all of the information he needs to go and find the full file of his naturalization which will give detail about his history. He should locate the naturalization court named.

Also the entry for his ancestor was the last one on the page. By clicking to the next page we find what is likely his wife and son. His sons name is abbreviated.

There are names ahead of the wife and son, these might be friends or relatives traveling with him.

Thousands of The Public Have Joined Family Tree

I've written plenty of articles about the benefits for us all to use the Family Tree, how to access it, and how to use it properly.There is a family tree category in the left column.

I do think I need to address a few issues.

First, I notice that a lot of people panic when they login and see their name as depicted on the photo on the right. Some want to delete their name. Just don't panic about this.

Their name is there because they have signed into FamilySearch. It isn't public or viewable by anyone but them. It is the starting point should they want to build into the tree by adding their ancestor information. That's it.

 All your FamilySearch login does is allow you access to the full features of the familysearch site including ordering the films, viewing all of the images that are available, viewing the information contained in the family tree. It does not automatically add you to the tree itself. It's a visual for you to work from should you so want to.

No living people can be viewed by anyone other than the person who input the name. For example, if you add your living children or living parents you can see them in the tree, no one else can see their name, not even them. 

You would likely want to input your living parents names to build your tree, so you can get to their ancestors not yet living. Eventaully you might get to the person that causes a poplulation to expand for many generations as you connect to an ancestory someone else in the tree has input, a cousin then.

Second: Don't think of uploading a gedcome to the tree. I know I know, you have already captured thousands of names in your desktop software.

Here is a quote from a patron you should consider: "I’m working with a data base of 6000 plus ancestors from only my paternal grandmother’s line. I have plenty of individuals to add, but I frequently find that many of them have already are in the system."

Uploading GEDCOMs is still available on Instead of looking in Family Tree, click the link titled “Genealogies”. Scroll to the bottom of this page (below the search option) and there is an area to submit a GEDCOM.

Kent Myers recently made this point about Gedcoms: "To those interested in uploading Gedcoms, those uploads go into “Genealogies” on the FamilySearch web site and are not linked to Family Tree. One of the problems with new FamilySearch was that it was a composite of lots of Gedcom uploads to Ancestral File and the Pedigree Resource file, good stuff and bad. Family Tree was initially populated with that composite data from new FamilySearch as a starting point, but the intent is that we not only add names and dates, but add sources for the information we add so that what ultimately ends up in Family Tree is documented and not supposition. If they opened up Family Tree for everyone to upload Gedcoms we’d be back in the same soup with lots of duplication and no documentation. The Genealogies are there and searchable on the FamilySearch web site so people can use those as clues in their research without cluttering up Family Tree with duplicates."

I want to point out that it's not your tree, but our tree. You may be perfect in what you have accumulated. If so, you may be ready for transfiguration. I have trained many many people with files of names. Most got their files from other relatives. Some have merged several together. Few, no, none of these people are perfectly correct in what they have. What is already happening is an initiative by those using tree to purge the wrong merges that happened in

There is a chinck in the system in that the 3rd party softwares allow merges. That is so very bad. Don't do that. We don't want to mess up the tree do we? No we don't.

Third:  The ability to print pedigree charts, family group records, and other reports is not yet available in Family Tree… It is coming but it is not here yet. It will be soon, and it will also let you print fan charts.

Fourth: If children aren't placed in the proper order it is because their birthdates aren't correct. You can fix that yourself through the edit process in vital information section.

Fifth: This is a tree where you can and should add sources. So many just go willy nilly and start changing things. I have a watch on many of my ancestors. I find some have already made changes in error that I have to go correct. Please ban Willy Nilly. Be accurate. Post your sources.

Sixth: Photos, then stories are coming. Right now our Photo site is in beta, we are testing to a limited number of people. If you currently have access to the Photo site you load photos and attach to Family Tree from there. If you currently aren’t testing the Photo site for us, watch for the full launch of the photo site coming soon. To be invited, a few each day are added go to So see the site as it is:

Seventh: Your phone number or email address being public is optional. It is not out there for anyone in the world who registers w/ familysearch to see unless you want them to. You can keep it private by not checking the public checkbox. However, that prevents others from contacting you directly for collaboration purposes, which is one of the cool parts of the tree.

My final thoughts for you are that this is an amazing project. It isn't complete. The resources put into this are so major that it is unlikely any business would come along and try to duplicate it. It is going to become better and better. I suggest you do as I have been doing: adding photos and stories (you may have to wait a bit), add sources, start conversations in the discussions, reach out to your newly found cousins to collaborate, take you time to fix what you know is accurate, and pick an ancestor to focus on.

My favorite family tree training site is:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Announcing Saskatchewan Catholic Church Records on Family Search

Family Search has recently released online Saskatchewan Catholic Church Records which include baptisms, confirmations, marriages, burials, and other records between 1846-1957. Pioneer missionaries trained at the Diocese of St. Boniface located at Fort Garry, Manitoba. (Following the Red River Rebellion 1869-1870 the name Fort Garry or Upper Fort Garry was no longer in use, and the rapidly growing settlement became known as Winnipeg.) By 1840 the Roman Catholic Church began expanding westward across the prairies then known as Rupert’s Land.

Click here for the full article

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Family Tree - It's now Live To All!

When you go to you find Family Tree as an option. Anyone can join the tree.

World's Columbian Exposition: exterior view, Chicago, United States, 1893.

The FamilySearch techies are preparing for two million new users in the next two years. Hopefully the servers won't be blown out by a bigger surge of traffic than anticipated. We think it will be fine.

Family Tree is pretty intuitive, with some things you need to figure out. My opinion on the best way to learn tree is on Elder Moons site:

Note: It's one tree for all mankind. You will be seeing stories, photos, documentation uploaded by common relatives.

You can discuss. We are all building one tree. Lets be nice and work together. Yes, no more wasted effort and duplication of research, research repeat.

This article gives an insight on what will happen when a new patron logs on, and are likely to only have their name in the pedigree. Click here

How To Use The Helper Feature In Family Tree

Anyone can be helped but only members of the Church can be helpers.

To access the helper feature, click on the circle to the right of History.
Enter the Patron's Contact Name and Helper Number, then click Submit.
You know you are signed in as a helper when the brown bar shows as in the image below.
To stop using the helper function:
  • Click on the X in the brown bar shown above:
  • Click Stop when you see the image below.
To find or change the Helper Number, click on Settings in the drop down list that appears when you hover your mouse over your name:
Below shows where the helper number and contact name reside in settings.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Helper Button Is Up On Family Tree.

This is a sign the world my have access to Family Tree next Tuesday at 11AM Mountain Time. I say that as that was the hold up a couple of weeks ago. There is a new bug, a serious one that we are getting hundreds of calls on. Heavy resources were placed on it upon discovery, and I assume it won't stop the go live to the world. I Hope not.

The helper button allows anyone to help another, see what they see, and make changes in the name of the person being helped.

To find  your helper number click settings and scoll down.

Friday, March 1, 2013


Bill Dollarhide has prepared the following 45 amusing pointers for

genealogy researchers. While each aphorism is intended to produce a chuckle

or two, each contains an important element of genealogical truth as well.

Consider #17: "Finding the place where a person lived may lead to finding

that person's arrest record." The point of #17 is that researchers must keep

an open mind. No one knows what is around the next bend in one's ancestral


1. Treat the brothers and sisters of your ancestor as equals, even if some

of them were in jail.

2. Death certificates are rarely filled in by the person who died.

3. When visiting a funeral home, wear old clothes, no make-up, and look

like you have about a week to live. The funeral director will give you

anything you ask for if he thinks you may be a customer soon.

4. The cemetery where your ancestor was buried does not have perpetual

care, has no office, is accessible only by a muddy road, has snakes, tall

grass, and lots of bugs--and many of the old gravestones are in broken

pieces, stacked in a corner under a pile of dirt.

5. A Social Security form SS-5 is better than a birth certificate because

few people had anything to do with the information on their own birth


6. The application for a death certificate you want insists that you

provide the maiden name of the deceased's mother, which is exactly what you

don't know and is the reason you are trying to get the death certificate in

the first place.

7. If you call Social Security and ask where to write for a birth

certificate, tell them it is for yourself. They won't help you if you say

you want one for your great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather who

died in 1642.

8. When you contact your home state's vital statistics office and ask if

they are "online" and they respond, "on what?" you may have a problem.

9. An 1850 census record showing all 12 children in a family proves only

that your ancestors did not believe in birth control.

10. Work from the known to the unknown. In other words, just because your

name is Washington doesn't mean you are related to George.

11. With any luck, some of the people in your family could read and

write--and may have left something written about themselves.

12. It ain't history until it's written down. (See #19.)

13. A genealogist needs to be a detective. Just gimme da facts, Ma'am.

14. Always interview brothers and sisters together in the same room. Since

they can't agree on anything about the family tree, it makes for great fun

to see who throws the first punch.

15. The genealogy book you just found out about went out of print last


Click Here For the entire 45 Fun Rules