Thursday, October 31, 2013

Can You Imagine? This Is Article # 500.

For those of you who think you can't write a blog, I say bah humbug. The excuses are usually, I don't have the time. Last week I got up at 6AM and wrote 8 articles, scheduling them to go up one a day: It's now 8:18 and I had time to do a couple of other things.

I started writing this blog a few months after we arrived on our mission, two years ago. With consistency large numbers happen. And I even took the summer off.

For those of you who say you aren't a good writer, I am proof that isn't a requirement. Just be yourself.

For those who think it's too hard technically, it isn't.

I have made some very important connections through this blog. Hi there friends and cousins. The website has had close to 44,000 visits. The site is hit from all around the world. Several articles have been forwarded to others. Some help me with corrections on what I have posted. Some leave a nice comment. I have people tell me they like the site, surprising me who it is that drops by. It's fun. You might try it, and find you too like doing it. Thanks one and all, Larry.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Terrific Power Point Presentation By Ben Baker of FamilySearch Family Tree On Merging.

Click the four arrow icon in the bottom right to see it full screen. 

Leave a comment or email me at if it leaves you with any questions.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Did You Take My Advice? You Would have Discovered A Fun Contest If You Did!

Last Tuesday I suggested that you visit on a weekly basis. Today was my day and this was the latest post. I'm in, are you? After all, the professionals at the Family History Library might resolve the questions in my Whitaker line. We all want to be related to the awesome Lady Lisle. I see a lot of claims that we are, I don't see the sources. It shows that way in Family Tree, but no evidence.

Notice the announcement mentions that FamilySearch adds hundreds of millions of entries each month. And it's free.

Here is a bit of the announcement and the link to the site:

And I’m excited to tell you that sometime around the end of 2013, the 12-millionth source will be added to FamilySearch. We’ll be watching closely to see who that user will be who submits that 12-millionth milestone.

In fact, I’m excited to announce the launch of the “12-Millionth Source Challenge.” We want to acknowledge and reward one lucky family historian who will add the 12,000,000th source! What’s in it for you if you’re that person? The winning submitter will receive 10 hours of free family history research through FamilySearch’s world-renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is a big deal—the Family History Library team creates the family histories which are presented by the L.D.S. Church to V.I.Ps such as U.S. Presidents, heads of states, entertainers and other distinguished visitors. We’ll soon be adding a countdown clock to the website, we’ll be watching to verify sources (the winning source has to be legit after all), and then we’ll all celebrate together for reaching this amazing milestone.

What’s made all of this possible? It’s all happening because of a combination of hard working people like you and the addition of powerful new website features on that we’ve recently released. These include:
  • An expanded and enhanced Search feature
  • The ability to find sources directly from an ancestor page in Family Tree so we pre-populate the search field for you
  • Adding the ability to add sources to Family Tree with a simple click of the mouse
  • The addition of hundreds of millions of new records online every month
We thank you for all your hard work and for all you do. We look forward to rewarding one of you for being the one who adds the 12-millionth source to FamilySearch. So, let the challenge begin!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

States That Kept VItal Records Before 1880

You may as well know what is not available in the way of State Vital Records. There are only 14 that kept records before 1880. To me it is interesting the Hawaii is one of them.

Vermont 1770, Massachusetts 18841, Hawaii 1850, Virginia 1853, Rhode Island 1853, Delaware 1860, Florida 1865, Michigan 1867, Washington DC 1871, Wisconsin 1876, New Jersey 1878, Iowa 1880, and New York 1880.

Going to the State Level is often an effective way to find vital records. I suggest you also go to the FamilySearch Wiki. It will likely lead you to the resources in a particular State or County. You find the link to the Wiki on under the heading "get help"  For example: here is the link to the North Carolina Wiki Page:

Good researchers have a plan they follow. For many that know the State their ancestors lived in, the resources on the Wiki page for that State or County are a pretty good plan; just follow every link posted on that State or County Wiki page.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Are We Cousins? If Yes, Lets Work On This Together.

This is my fan chart as you see in it FamilySearch family tree.
It's not unlikely that we are cousins. Just in the condo we live in I have found a Porter and a Mower relative. Pretty cool, especially knowing how intelligent and noting how good looking they are.

When you print it, it shows two more generations.
Get out your magnifying glass.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Do You Want To Up Your Game And Have A Great Time Too? ROOTSTECH Then!

Save some money honey, get in on the early bird special. I just did. RootsTech is coming February 6 - 8, 2014. The early bird special won't last.

RootsTech is a unique global family history event where people of all ages learn to discover and share their family stories and connections through technology.
RootsTech has something for everyone!
  • Need help getting started? Attend beginner classes to help you start your family history.
  • Want to share a treasured family story with future generations? Discover storytelling techniques to help preserve your family’s connections.
  • Have an idea to solve a family history problem with a technology solution? Innovate with developers who can make your idea a reality.
  • Hit a brick wall in your pursuit of family names? Collaborate with enthusiasts and experts who might have a trick or two up their sleeve.
Say there, haven't we seen this guy on screen in the Tabernacle Choir? Who is that man anyway?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

One Should Make It A Habit To Visit The FamilySearch Blog Weekly

   Important updates are posted on the FamilySearch blog. For example this post below is about some of the changes you have been asking for on Family Tree. At last you might say: they moved the sources over from new.familysearch. Yes, they did that to the best they could. If the source you entered didn't transfer it was because for some reason they couldn't make the move. Over 90% of the sources made it across to Family Tree.
   I've already entered a Life Sketch on my 2nd Great Grandfather Elisha Cragun. It's a handy place to place it, above Vital Information. Only one life sketch can be entered and anyone can edit it. I suggest you contact those that entered the sketch before you make changes, just out of courtesy and the idea of working with your relatives.
   Family Tree was a bold undertaking, going live with much to complete. I admire the commitment those involved have made. I appreciate Ron Tanner for his willingness to be out in front of us. I made note of the differences in his presentation from the beginning to a year later: at first it was total enthusiasm, it changed to appear as a man who had been in the ring with a heavy weight champion - what a beating that would be, right? However, he bravely stayed in the fray and dealt with the facts.
   It has been quite enjoyable for me to watch him perform. He recently shared some stats I found encouraging: one of them that 1/3 of the work being performed on the tree is by non members of the LDS Church. That is terrific, we are all in this together, descendants of common ancestors. The tree is for all of us.
   Another interesting fact which we learned Saturday at Riverton is that there are an average of 25,000 merges a day going on in Family Tree. That is a serious amount of cleaning up the tree.
   A final thought for today by myself: I serve in the world wide support section. I see the tone of the emails. I hear the frustration in the phone calls. So many are upset when they contact us. A common heading to an email is "SOMEONE MESSED WITH MY TREE" OR MY TREE IS A MESS!" Can you hear the frustration in the capital letters? My hope is that those who feel this way can do a shift as I have done. I know the feeling, I've had it. A change in attitude can change more than our hearts. A cousin I met from this blog and I have developed not only a friendship but are now working together on our genealogy. She is a terrific researcher. I am not bad, but still learning. She is so focused on research she feels she doesn't have the time to add her sources and other research to the tree. So, I am doing that for her, I'm real good at that part. What helped me over the mess in part of our tree was her suggestion that went like this: " Larry, both the Osborne's and The Whitakers in family tree are a mess. You take the Whitakers and I'll take the Osborne's. That mission has turned out to be a great thing for me. Instead of being upset, I'm on a quest. Oh, how much fun it has been. I've connected with others in doing this, I've learned much with much more to prove, and I have had the tremendous satisfaction knowing that I have begun to clean up this mess for others that follow. 
   Below is a copy of the article in the FamilySearch blog. I normally only clip 1/3 but I copied the entire post to make sure you read it.
Updates_FamilyTreeSome changes additional have been made to Family Tree recently. We are excited to announce these latest changes and updates because we feel that they make using Family Tree a more enjoyable experience for those who use it. These latest changes include:
  • Life sketch.
  • Notes.
  • Migration of most notes from
  • More entries on the change history.
  • A wording change to the link used to view a parent-child relationship. (Currently, this change affects only the English versions of Family Tree. When we receive the translations, we’ll update the other languages.)
Life Sketch
You can enter a short biography about a person in a new “Life Sketch” section. Some important facts about the life sketch:
  • It appears near the top of a person’s details view.
  • You can post up to 10,000 characters (letters and symbols, not 10,000 words). If want to add more than the 10,000 character limit, then you should add the story using the Photos and Stories feature.
  • Any short biography that is added using the details view can be added, edited, and deleted by all users, which means the writing can be a collaborative process.
  • All changes appear in the change history and can be undone if needed.
Joseph Curtis Cowley 1

 View, Add, Edit, Delete, Notes
For a long time, our users have been asking for a notes feature in Family Tree. Notes are free-form, narrative information that simply does not fit anywhere else on a person’s record.
You can now view, add, edit, and delete notes in Family Tree. Some important things to know about this new notes feature:
  • You can add notes about an individual ancestor, a couple relationships, and a parent-child relationship.
  • You cannot enter notes about a specific piece of information about a person (such as a specific birth, marriage, or death event).
  • Each note can contain up to 10,000 characters.
  • Notes can be added, edited, and deleted by all users.
  • All changes to notes appear in the change history and can be undone if needed.
Here is where you can find the various places to enter notes:
  • For a person’s notes, the notes are between the Discussions and the Temple Ordinances sections of the person’s details.
Discussions 2

 For a couple relationship, notes appear beneath the sources.
Couple and Events Notes 3

 For a child-parent relationship, notes also appear beneath the sources.
Father Mother 4

 Migration of Notes from to Family Tree
FamilySearch has moved most of the notes that were in into Family Tree. Please notice the “most” caveat. Not all notes were moved. Exactly which notes were moved is not easy to determine.
The reason for this uncertainty is because in, you could add notes in three different places:
  • To a person.
  • To a specific piece of data about a person (such as a name or birth event).
  • To a family relationship. (In, these were called both “family notes” and “couple notes,” depending where in the system you were.)
We moved only two of these types of notes:
  • Notes about persons
  • Notes about relationships.
We did not move the notes about the specific pieces of data. There are no plans to move the notes that were attached to specific pieces of information from to Family Tree.
Change History List is Now Increased to 25 Entries
When you view a change history list, it now contains up to 25 entries per page. Previously, you could see only 10 entries per page.
Change History 5

 Wording Change
On a person’s details page, in the section where you see Family Relationships, the wording of the link used to see a parent-child relationship has changed from “View Relationship” to “Edit Parents.”
This change has been made in English and will soon be in the languages that FamilySearch is available in.
Edit Parents 6


Monday, October 21, 2013

A Terrific New Approach With FamilySearch and Other Great Companies

More announcements like this will be coming:

TEL AVIV, Israel & SALT LAKE CITY, Utah--()--MyHeritage, the popular online family history network, and announced today the signing and commencement of a strategic partnership that forges a new path for the family history industry. Under this multi-year partnership, MyHeritage will provide FamilySearch with access to its powerful technologies and FamilySearch will share billions of global historical records and family tree profiles spanning hundreds of years with MyHeritage. This will help millions of MyHeritage and FamilySearch users discover even more about their family history.

FamilySearch has entered an era where it will be partnering (sharing their databases) with other companies. I love this approach.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Don't Miss Out - Tomorrow Is The Riverton Saturday Seminar

It is over and it was great. Remember, each 3rd Saturday, at the Riverton FamilySearch center.

My Those Families Get Messed Up!

It's friday, have some fun. I bet you can't follow this the first time through, or the 10th time.

In another family vein I found an interesting article about Second Cousins and Removed Cousins, what's the difference? It too an be confusing but let this post from Irish Roots magazine clear it up. "click here my dear"

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Have You Tried Mocavo Search Engine? It's Free Now

  Yes I know, free is good. The Mocavo search engine is a genealogy focused search engine. Google is great, especially if you know a few advanced search engine tips. But don't exclude Mocavo when you search.

  Here is a direct link to setup your account or search.Mocavo is a business and has to currently host their website on 500 servers. Man, that's a lot of traffic. My wife hates me to pay for one, ha ha Kathleen. So they do have a business model, but like many companies has an enhanced version which is worth considering. Below is an email I received from the owner of Mocavo. You can get a sense for the good motives of the founder as well as his decision to make the bulk of our needs free. He also states a case that we could be kind to help by our upgrade:

The email:

Hi Larry,

When I founded Mocavo several years ago, I had been dreaming of building this company for over a decade. I wanted to bring all of the world's existing genealogy information under one roof – and then start hosting even more content online for free. We just needed a business model to support those goals and sustain the costs associated with hosting billions of records and images. We've finally figured out how to do it, and it's with unbelievable excitement that I can finally say: When Mocavo brings content online, it becomes free forever. Let me be clear – I didn't just say free for now, I said free forever. We're making a radical departure from the status quo of how content is controlled in the genealogy industry.
But wait! Mocavo is a business. How can you afford to do this? 
Our paid product, Mocavo Gold (formerly Mocavo Plus), charges for automated searching, the ability to run global searches across all the databases on Mocavo, and a number of other great features. You're paying for speed and convenience to make discoveries faster, but we're not charging you for the content. This means that you can search the Texas Death Index (or tens of thousands of other databases) to your heart's content without paying a dime. If you want to search them all at once, join our revolution and upgrade to Mocavo Gold.
How can I trust that content on Mocavo will be free forever?
We are committed to free genealogy unlike any other company – it's part of our history. When I founded GenForum in 1997, I said the site would be free forever. To this day, it's still free. Everything else I've done in the industry is now free (GenCircles, Family Tree Legends, BackupMyTree). When we announced our partnership with FreeBMD earlier this year, we also announced that we had joined the Open Genealogy Alliance (and we are still the only genealogy company to have done so). Openness is in our DNA and we'll continue to demonstrate our commitment to the cause.
We need your help to fuel the revolution!
Even though we don't charge for content, we still need to pay for our 500+ servers and the employees who improve our product everyday. By deciding to upgrade your account to Mocavo Gold, you're supporting our mission to bring the world's genealogical information online, for free.
We have some exciting things we're working on for the community that we'll announce over the next month or so:
  • Starting today and every day, we'll be releasing more than 1,000 entirely new databases into our search engine. And we'll do this every day from here on out (as long as we can find the data, we're going to keep bringing it online for free). You'll know because we'll send you updates on all the great new stuff we've added. These databases become free to the public forever. Browse some of our tens of thousands of existing databases here:
  • You'll see us begin to release more of our software as open source projects, in an effort to provide the genealogy community with the tools it needs to bring more content online for free. Tell us what you need to get this content organized and accessible – and we'll help you host it and bring it online with our commitment that it stays free forever.
  • There's a lot of work to do! If you'd like to help us in our mission, please email so we can all start bringing more of our history online – to be free forever.
I founded Mocavo with the belief that information wants to be free. With your help, free genealogy can make a serious foothold in this industry. We've got an incredible ability with Mocavo to finally do it right, and I'm asking you to join me in this mission. Over the past 10 years, I've dreamed of putting all the world's historical information online for free to benefit the community and future generations.
Join us as we build a new future for genealogy, one free database at a time. The Internet was the first revolution in genealogy – let's work together to build the next one.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Are You A Player?

I'm not writing about this kind of player. I picked this photo of a player as it was one of the coolest things I have ever watched in youth soccer. Mind you, I coached youth soccer for 8 years, and had never seen this done by anyone, let alone a 14 year old girl.

Perhaps it's a common trick now, even so I was shocked and impressed. I was watching our granddaughter Kendelle's game and instead of throwing the ball in from out of bounds holding the ball over her head, this team mate got a running start, did some sort of flip as you see, came standing up with tremendous leverage, and cast the ball to an amazing distance. Stunned was I as Yoda would say. These kids, my oh my.

Anyway this article has a genealogy message where I steal this term "player".

I picked up this term, "player"  from my daughter Chelsea when she was dating guys. "Oh he's just a player". I hated to ask but had to; "what is a player"? Her definition is that a player is a person who is into breaking hearts, not serious but out there playing the game.

So in a genealogy bent, when you change something in a common family tree, such as FamilySearch Family Tree, "are you a player"? Mind you we want everyone working in Family Tree. That's what it is all about. One tree for all mankind. Any of us can add to the tree, or make changes. We can create a discussion for all to participate in. We can add sources, photos, and stories. It's turning out to be pretty darn cool.

We can also put children in the wrong family, thereby creating havoc to the tree. Or, we can delete at will. (unless we get turned in for being abusive).

Here now I introduce Chelsea's use of the term Player. A person who is breaking hearts, not serious, but out there playing the game.

Play, please play, OK? But don't break peoples hearts, OK? Don't delete someone without being extremely confident, and by attaching proof, or you are likely to be just a player. Do you know how much effort some go to to build their portion of the family pedigree? Think about it, some spend hundreds of hours on just one ancestors pedigree. And consider the shock when it is all deleted by a player. How about this is a serious alternative: start a discussion first, or email someone who has already added to the tree, stating your opinion. Work together. Decide together. Approach the issue with the delightful attitude of working with someone you are related to.

Always, always, always provide a source for an entry. Players don't do that. Did I say always provide a source before making a change? I did. Let me say it again: always, always, always provide a source before making a change.

What is an acceptable source? Anything credible is the answer. My daddy told me, is that a source? Yes, but is it the best source? We had an experience where a man had documentation he had added to the family tree. A woman distant cousin changed the facts in the tree. They went back and forth, sort of a war went on. She finally answered his email this way, " I don't care what your sources say, I know what my mother told me"! Well, well, well; how do we handle that one? Family tree now has an abuse button. It is found in the tools section in the right column when you are in the person section of family tree:
What happens when this is implemented varies. That ancestors file might be frozen for two weeks while you loving cousins work it out. Family Search professionals might look at the documentation and freeze the file based on best evidence. They might also remove a user from the system if it is determined they are in fact abusive to the tree.

So please don't be a player. Don't break another relatives heart. Get into the tree, love it, work it. Just always be serious. Doing serious things, adding correct things to the tree is fun and engaging. We want that. Besides, by playing the game you will learn some fancy tricks and just like the girl in the photo above, shock and impress an innocent bystander.

If you haven't joined family tree this is the link:

Wasted Photos

Kathleen cleaned out the storage unit. My how organized she can be. She found some treasures. Yes, she found some boxes full of mothers genealogy gatherings. Grandma Bingham's funeral book is interesting. I plan on copying it, several pages long, and posting it on family tree. I am going to have to wait for that as you cannot upload pdf's yet. That will be the easiest way to send this book to the tree.

There were also hundreds of photographs.

Ah some are such a waste. Why I say? Because who are these people? I recognize some, especially those of me. But goodness, so many aren't familiar. what a waste. I guess I could post them online hoping someone could help. Oh, perhaps they are all have passed on, those who can help. Me oh my why oh why didn't mother put the names on the back of the photo.

I am sure you aren't making this mistake and good for you. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I'm Back

Hey there, you have seen a couple of posts this week. More is coming. Yes, I am back.
We had a wonderful summer. We visited Iowa, Nebraska, lots of family and friends, three wedding in Washington State, Zions, St George, Antelope Island, The beautiful scenic loops around Salt Lake, and kids and grandkids.

I am also back as a family history missionary. Part time in the World Wide Patron Services support zone where I ended our full time mission.

Here is where I serve:

This is what it is like inside:

And a winter days view from a few feet from my desk:

There is an amazing great spirit one gains by volunteering to serve. You might consider serving, even part time. Church members can almost pick the area they want to serve, the need is so great. In our mission in family history we are in need of about another 200 on campus and 1000 that will serve from home. Leave a comment if you want me to contact you, or email me at My assignment isn't to recruit, but I know how bad the needs are. Your need is beyond the family history mission, it's everywhere: employment, libraries, Deseret Industries, or you pick em.

Non members can volunteer for many areas, such as family history libraries and Deseret Industries. Just ask someone. I think when we meet our maker we will be glad we had a serving others history.

Monday, October 14, 2013

An Interesting Story On How DNA Testing Gave A Man A Family

   Yesterday I posted about Riverton Library Saturday Seminars. Last month the keynote session was about male DNA testing. I haven't had my DNA tested yet and previously didn't have a lot of interest in doing so. Sure I want to connect with more unknown cousins, that is one of the purposes of this blog. (BTW: it has worked wonders in that purpose, Hi Cousins)

    However, I hadn't felt motivated to spend the money, determine which companies tests to take, and to really have a goal for the experience. The keynote was great. I found my the above objections  demolished. I know which company I will use for the testing. I know which test I will take and why. How is that for a successful keynote presentation?

    I came upon a touching story about DNA I thought all of my readers would enjoy and I am sharing a portion of it and the link to the full article below. I encourage you to read the entire article.

They sat at DFW Airport, the site of comings and goings, happy hellos and sad goodbyes.
With nerves, they waited.

"The way I felt about it, this day was never gonna happen," said Patrick "PJ" Holland.
He was in the final 60 minutes of an 80-year wait. "This is what we call a 'countdown,'" he said with a laugh, after asking yet again when his guests would be arriving. "She'd let me know if they missed the plane; they did not miss the plane," said Marilyn Souders, who was with Holland on a long and winding journey.

Finally the guests were there.  Holland smiled broadly, then hugged them tightly.
He was 80 years, six months, and 22 days old, and he was meeting family for the first time ever: A cousin and that cousin's daughter.

For all his life, he never knew what a cousin was.
"Sometimes I'll go way back and wonder, 'How'd this happen to me?' Holland asked.
An unwed mother gave birth to PJ Holland outside Cincinnati during the Great Depression.  Orphanages were full, so he lived at the hospital where he was born for the first couple of years of his life.

Click here for the full story: and enjoy :)

And Here is another DNA story you might find interesting: click here

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Riverton FamilySearch Library Has A Great 3rd Saturday Seminar

      Is DNA testing really much help, how to search for ancestors that lived in England, and an interesting presentation about the value of life stores are just three of the  keynote speakers topics which I have enjoyed in presentations at the Riverton FamilySearch Library.

      Kathleen and I had a keen interest in Genealogy/Family History when we arrived in Salt Lake City, two years ago, to serve an 18 month family history mission at Church Headquarters. For many years I had blocked out time to work on my family history as a great Sunday exercise.

    As we were eager to expand our skills we have taken advantage of as many learning experiences as possible. The best of those can be found in RootsTech, The Davis County Family History Fair, the Salt Lake City Family History Library, and the Riverton FamilySearch Library.

     One of the most valuable experiences takes place on each 3rd Saturday from 9AM to 12:30 PM at the Riverton FamilySearch Center. It's like a free version, a mini version of RootsTech. (Everyone should go to RootsTech). The format at Riverton is to begin with a keynote speaker and then offer choices in classes in two blocks after the keynote. Each of these two offer about 4 different choices of classes you can take. Kathleen and I haven't missed many of these seminars in the two years we have lived here. I always find a class I want to take in both of the two sessions after the keynote. I have never attended a keynote that wasn't terrific.

This is the agenda for next Saturday: You can look for me in the keynote, US Military records, and Preserving your family history sessions.

Saturday, October 19, 2013 / 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

9:00 a.m.

Keynote Address - "Taking Your Family History Electronic - Creating Your Own Amazing Ebook"- Luana Darby

10:15 a.m.

"Recognizing and Extracting Genealogical Information From Norwegian Church Records" - Anka Haslam
United States Military Records" - Pat Jensen
"Merging People in FamilySearch's Family Tree" - Ben Baker
"Digging Up Death Records Online" - Lorraine Bourne

11:30 a.m.

"FamilySearch Family Tree Made Easy With Legacy Family Tree" - John Baker
"Presenting and Preserving Your Family History:  You Can't Take It With You, So How Do You Leave It? " - Don Snow and Linda Snow Westover
"Italian Marriage Civil Registration Records: 1809-1900" - Paola Manfredi
"Using Online Resources for Danish Research" - Linda Baker

The location for the Riverton FamilySearch Library is:
3740 West Market Center Drive
(13175 South)
Riverton, Utah 84065-8026

If your GPS is like ours, it will lead you close to the library but to a dead end on a nice street. If you end up there, look to about the 11  o clock part of the horizon, see the building depicted above, turn around, go back to the main street you were on, turn right, go to the next street and to the building. Isn't this fun? 

The middle photo in the collage above is of the library portion of the building. It will be open the entire day of the seminar. I suggest you bring some work to address, the library is staffed with help and the resources there are many.