15 February 2012

1940 Census - 47 Days Away From Release!

The time is drawing near - are your ancestors in the 1940 census? Maybe your parents, your grandparents -- or even yourself?

Join the excitement and sign up to help index the 1940 census beginning April 2, 2012! Click on the image below.

10 February 2012

New FamilySearch WILL (Eventually) Become FamilySearch Family Tree

If you follow my blog you know that I hate to reinvent the wheel and I just want to get the important info out to my readers. So I am going to refer you to a couple of other blogs where the authors have done a fantastic job of discussing and presenting the features of the new FamilySearch Family Tree

I have enjoyed a number of presentations given lately by Ron Tanner of FamilySearch; (about five, I think!) on the subject of the changes coming later this year with new.familysearch.org. New FamilySearch will become part of FamilySearch.org and become Family Tree. I'm testing this Family Tree now and, even though it still needs work, it will be a worldwide family tree. Eventually it will have sources, links to online sources, stories and pictures.

A couple of my fellow bloggers, Ancestry Insider and James Tanner from Genealogy's Star each has posted about this change and the ensuing product. So rather than me redoing the same thing, I want to send your their way.

These changes will be opened to the public, hopefully by the end of the year, for everyone to utilize, including both adding to and editing the family trees! We should all be extremely excited! So hop on over and read!

"A Monstrosity, Wonderful Thing" by Ancestry Insider

"Family Tree to Replace New FamilySearch by Year's End" by James Tanner of Genealogy's Star

08 February 2012

Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner Valentine's Day Special

The Flip-Pal mobile scanner Valentine's Day "Gift of Love" Sale
Do you know someone that has shoeboxes of old photos that are waiting to be scanned? Perhaps a few heirloom items? What better way to show your love this Valentine’s Day then by giving them a Flip-Pal mobile scanner to preserve those memories!

From February 8 through Valentine’s Day (February 14) 2012, you can make sure that their memories are safe and preserved—to share with future generations. Just use the coupon codes below when ordering on our shop page.

Save $20 when you purchase a Flip-Pal mobile scanner plus a Deluxe Flip-Pal mobile scanner Carry Case with Pocket (both items must be in your shopping cart).
Use Coupon Code: LOVE12FP

Save $30 when you purchase a Flip-Pal mobile scanner with Creative Suite Craft Edition DVD plus a Deluxe Flip-Pal mobile scanner Carry Case with Pocket (both items must be in your shopping cart). Use Coupon Code: LOVE12CS

Happy Valentine's Day!
—The Flip-Pal mobile scanner Team     
(Disclaimer: I am not employed by Flip-Pal or in any way connected except that I own one that I purchased and love it!)        

07 February 2012


NOTE: This is a critical issue for everyone!

Genealogy Community Responds To Efforts To Remove Access to Social Security Death Index and Other Records
February 7, 2012– Austin, TX: The Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC) – a joint coalition of international genealogical societies representing millions of genealogists and family historians – announces the launch of its Stop ID Theft NOW! campaign with its We The People petition posted at WhiteHouse.gov.
Call To Action For IRS To Do Its Job
Each year, fraudulent tax refund claims based upon identity theft from recently deceased infants and adults are filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The current target is the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) or Death Master File since this file, as found on numerous genealogy-oriented websites, could possibly be the source of identity thieves acquiring a deceased person’s Social Security number.
The IRS could close the door to this form of identity theft if, in fact, it were to use the Death Master File for the purpose for which it was created: to reduce fraud. If returns claiming a tax refund were screened against the Master Death File and matching cases identified for special processing, the thief should receive a rejection notice for the filing.
Tax Fraud and Identity Theft: Genealogists Are Not To Blame
The House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Social Security is proposing to completely shut down use of the SSDI by genealogists as well as other industries such as banking and insurance that rely upon its information. Such an attempt is short-sighted and runs counter to the original purpose of the SSDI: to actually combat fraud.
Loss of Access to SSDI Affects More Than Genealogists
The SSDI is accessed by many different companies, non-profits and other entities besides individuals researching their family history. Forensic specialists utilize the SSDI when reuniting remains of military veterans with their next-of-kin and descendants. Law offices, banks and insurance companies utilize the SSDI to resolve probate cases and to locate heirs.
All of these entities would be required to spend more money and more time leveraging other resources of information when the SSDI has served this purpose, uninterrupted, for over a decade.
RPAC Petitions Obama Administration
The We the People petition, now posted at http://wh.gov/khE and accepting signatures, has a simple yet effective mission:
Take immediate steps that would curtail the filing of fraudulent tax refund claims based upon identity theft from recently deceased infants and adults.
[Note: Visitors to the WhiteHouse.gov website must log in to sign the petition, or click Create an Account to register. Once registered, return tohttp://wh.gov/khE to sign the petition.]
No need for lengthy hearings in front of a Congressional committee. No need for filing statements for or against any House action. No need to waste time and effort which could be directed to more pressing national issues. In fact, the National Taxpayer Advocate in 2011 issued suggestions which do not require additional legislation but can be implemented collaboratively between the IRS and Social Security Administration (SSA) almost immediately in time to impact the current tax filing season.
About Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC)
The Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC) was formed to advise the genealogical community on ensuring proper access to historical records of genealogical value in whatever media they are recorded, on means to affect legislation, and on supporting strong records preservation policies and practices.
The genealogical community works together through The Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), which today includes The National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) as voting members. The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), the American Society of Genealogists (ASG), ProQuest and Ancestry.com serve as participating members.
To learn more visit http://www.fgs.org/rpac/.
Instructions for signing up at WhiteHouse.gov and signing the petition can be found at http://fgs.org/pdf/rpac_petition.pdf.

NOTE: Dear Myrtle has posted an excellent followup to this post about RPAC that should answer any questions you may have. 

06 February 2012

Rootstech Developer Challenge Winners

RootsTech Announces Winners of the Developer Challenge

Congratulations to the winners of the of the RootsTech Developer Challenge.

First Place: Jimmy Zimmerman, NoteFuser
NoteFuser connects your Evernote® notes to Geni.com or new.FamilySearch.org person records. It also allows you to easily create Evernote® powered research logs and other notes with one click.  Make sure you watch the NoteFuser Demo video on the homepage http://notefuser.herokuapp.com.

Second Place: Brooke Schreier Ganz, LeafSeek
LeafSeek helps you turn your genealogical or historical record collections into searchable online databases. LeafSeek includes features such as built-in geo-spatial searches, pop-up Google Maps, Beider-Morse Phonetic Matching, name synonyms, and language localization to help you turn your spreadsheets of names and dates into a full-featured genealogy search engine.  Check it out at leafseak.com.

Third Place (tie): Brigham Young University Computer Science Department, 20 Minute Genealogist
20 Minute Genealogist is a site that will visualize your family tree using your new.FamilySearch.org credentials.  You can see who in your tree needs work and instantly link to FamilySearch and Ancestry to search for the missing information.  Sign up to be a beta tester at twenty.byu.edu

Third Place (tie): Ellie Rasmus, Facetree
Facetree has been developed as a way of using genealogical data from GEDCOM files as context to improve the accuracy of face recognition.

UVTAGG Saturday Seminar - Feb. 11th - 9am to noon

The next regular, second-Saturday-of-the-month meeting of the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group - UVTAGG (Formerly the Utah Valley PAF Users Group - UVPAFUG) will be on Saturday, 11 Feb 2012, from 9 am to noon in the LDS "Red Chapel", 4050 North Timpview Drive (650 East), Provo

The main presentation for this meeting will be by Randy Bryson on FAMILYSEARCH SCANNING - THE STORY OF OPENING THE GRANITE MOUNTAIN RECORDS VAULT.  Since 1938 the Genealogical Society of Utah, which is now part of FamilySearch, has been capturing on film the records of the world and storing that film in the Granite Mountain Records Vault.  In the past decade, modern technology and dedicated engineers have developed a means to convert those images on film to images on the Internet.  This presentation will provide insight into how the images are being converted, some of the incredible challenges that have been overcome, and how today we experience one of the most prolific efforts in the world to make the records of our ancestors available to a world-wide population.  

Randy Bryson is currently an Area Family History Advisor in the Utah South Area of the LDS Church and is a past Family History Center Director, as well as formerly serving as 1st Counselor in the Lehi Utah Stake Presidency with assignment over Temple and Family History work.  Also, professionally working for the Family History Department, he has had experience in the development and use of FamilySearch.org, newFamilySearch, Scanning, Indexing, and older products such as Personal Ancestral File (PAF), the Pedigree Resource File (PRF), and other systems.  He now works to use the Church's technology to provide FamilySearch to the homes of members and nonmembers alike.  Brother Bryson lives in Lehi, Utah with his beautiful wife, Madge, also an Area Family History Adviser.  They have two married daughters and three married sons with twelve grandchildren in Utah, Idaho and Alabama. 

Following the main presentation there will be several classes about family history and technology with something for everyone at any level of expertise. The teachers and classes presently scheduled for this meeting are as follows:  
  1. Using the U.S. Census, by Marilyn Thomsen
  2. Using Ancestry's Family Trees, by Kathy Magleby
  3. Q&A on Scanning Records in the Granite Vault
  4. Video of last month's main presentation:  The Changing Face of Family History Research, by Karen Clifford
  5. Personalized Help, by Don Engstrom & Finn Hansen
  6. RootsMagic, by Bruce Buzbee
  7. Ancestral Quest, by Gaylon Findlay
  8. Legacy, by Dean Bennett.
All meetings of the Group are open to the public whether members of the Group or not. The Group has the goal of helping individuals use technology to further their family history and there are usually 100-125 attending the monthly meetings on the second Saturdays. 

Riverton FamilySearch Saturday Seminar - Feb. 18th, 9am to Noon

Introducing FamilySearch Family Tree

RIVERTON, UTAH - Genealogists and enthusiasts alike have benefited from new.familysearch.org, but FamilySearch’s new Family Tree will take things to a whole new level.  Back by popular demand is one of our favorite speakers, Ron Tanner, who will offer the keynote address at the Riverton Saturday Seminar on February 18. In his address, “The Future of FamilySearch Family Tree,” he will discuss the issues with new.familysearch,org and how the Family Tree that is being built for www.familysearch.org will solve many of the existing problems.  He will also offer a product demonstration of the Family Tree.

Ron Tanner is a product manager for the Family History Department. His primary responsibility is to lead a team doing research and design of new.familysearch.org and companion products. Ron has a master’s degree in Computer Science from BYU and has previously worked as a product manager and engineer at Novell, Citrix, and Bell Laboratories.  Ron and his wife CheRee have four children, 2 son-in-laws, and a daughter-in-law.

Following the 9:00 a.m. keynote presentation, there will be two blocks of four classes each that will cover topics of interest to both beginning and advanced family history enthusiasts.

Classes to be held from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. are:  
     ·         “Research Strategies and Websites” (2 Hours) - Diana Toland 
  •  “Your Head in the Cloud and Your Feet on the Ground” - Bret Petersen
  • Loops, Dups, and Oops! New FamilySearch and Ancestral Relationships” - Samantha Sulser
  • Danish Research-Using the Internet” - Orla and Karen Pedersen

The classes available from 11:00 a.m. to noon are:  
     ·         “Research Strategies and Websites” (Continued) - Diana Toland 
  • “Organizing Your Genealogy” - Beth Taylor
  •  Loops, Dups, and Oops! New FamilySearch and Ancestral Relationships” (Repeat) - Samantha Sulser
  • “Strategies for Searching-Using Ancestry.com” - Sue Maxwell
Registration is not required for this free seminar. The Riverton FamilySearch Library is located in the LDS Riverton Office Building at 3740 Market Center Drive. The facility is near the intersection of Bangerter Highway and 13400 South, just east of the Home Depot.

FamilySearch Indexing App for Apple and Android Released

A new day has dawned and the Genealogy world is excited! FamilySearch launched its much-anticipated mobile device for indexing. The device will expand the capability of volunteers to help make the world’s historic records searchable online.  The mobile device app works on Apple iPads, iPhones, and Droid smartphones. You can now index records from around the world while you are on the go!

 I will cover the iPad process. First, go to your app store icon on your iPad. Search for “FamilySearch indexing”, download, and wait for the installation to complete. If you have a FamilySearch login you can enter the information and enter indexing immediately. If you do not have one there is a link to register for a free account.

When you first open the indexing app you receive the typical license agreement page. The first page displayed after that is the guide to indexing records and instructions on interpreting the data. Carefully read through the instructions so that you will be comfortable with the way fields of data should be transcribed. To gain the most accuracy with the transcribed records it's important to follow the punctuation guidelines and information on Names and Title use. You can always refer back to the guide by selecting the icon located at the bottom center of the app.

Select the indexing tab (bottom left) to see image snippets from handwritten historical documents from a variety of record forms that allow you to simply transcribe what you see in the image. Because the image size is small enough to fit on the screen of the iPad or iPhone you only see a single field from the set of records which is typically a name. Transcription of these single name images may easily provide indexes for those records that are currently browsable only or to some new records.Just tap the white space for your keyboard to display and start typing the name. When you are confident you have it spelled as displayed simply click on SUBMIT at the right side of the while space.

If you are having difficulty deciphering the written names, select the icon at the top center of the screen to view the entire document, or a larger area of it, which will help you compare the handwriting on the entire page.

As you proceed through the images you can select the history tab located at the bottom of the app. This tab screen will let you view the images, as well as, your transcription of the images that have been submitted. If you determine that your translation was probably incorrect you can swipe your finger from the right side of the screen towards the center and a delete button will appear for that image. That image will be transcribed by others and compared with all transcriptions until a consensus is reached.

The stats tab will easily show you the number of images you transcribed and the level of difficulty. On the settings tab you can establish your preferred level of difficulty and save some records off line to transcribe when you are not connected to a computer or Wi-Fi. (Future enhancement)

Currently, the FamilySearch indexing app is in beta version and is free for you to help transcribe the millions of images FamilySearch is providing to the public worldwide for free. More enhancements will be forthcoming to add extra value to the app.

Use one of the apps to help you grow your indexing skills and you will be prepared when the 1940 census is released for indexing in about 55 days (April 2, 2012. Hundreds of thousands of individuals from around the world are needed to help transcribe all FamilySearch records including the 1940 U.S. Federal census records as quickly as possible. FamilySearch is collaborating with both Archives.com and brightsolid, both online providers of genealogical and historical data, to provide high quality indexed records for the 1940 census.

02 February 2012