Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Church Hymnbook and Children's Songbook Being Revised



Here is the announcement from an email notice:
Under the direction of the First Presidency, committees have been assembled to recommend revisions to the current hymnbook and children's songbook. When the revisions are complete, there will only be one hymnbook and one children's songbook, offering the same hymns and songs in all languages. The new collections will be created over the next several years to reflect the needs of members around the world. 

Visit newmusic.lds.org to learn more about this effort. You can give feedback about the current music and submit new original hymns, children's songs, and lyrics to be considered for inclusion in the revised collections.
Here is a screenshot of the website:



I remember the last revision and was surprised to see some the hymns that did not "make the cut."  So, if you have any favorites, you should probably give suggestions and if you have any original hymns, by all means, submit them for consideration.

The Family History Guide Continues to Grow

http://thefhguide.com/
When people get stuck with a researching their family history, I always try to remind them of The Family History Guide. I had a Temple and Family History Consultant ask me for assistance in helping two of the members of her Ward. She needed help with Polish research and research in Korea. Both of these places are not the easiest places to do genealogical research. I showed her the Countries research pages and she was on her way to helping the people get started.

Here is the Poland research page.

https://thefhguide.com/project-9-poland.html
And here is the one for Korea.

https://thefhguide.com/project-9-south-korea.html

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A Survival Guide for the FamilySearch Family Tree: Part Six


The FamilySearch.org Family Tree is the solution, not the problem. 

One of the most valuable recent technological innovations is the incorporation of GPS coordinates into online mapping programs. Further incorporation of the GPS into smartphones makes navigating a big city or finding your way out in the desert much easier than it was in the past. After using the GPS directions linked to a mapping program such as Google Maps for a while, you can become almost dependent on the assistance of audio instructions.

On the other hand, there are no audio directions embedded in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree. There is really nothing even comparable to a map. The best set of directions to the program is a companion website that is not even acknowledged or linked from the Family Tree at all. That website is The Family History Guide or thefhguide.com. I could just repeat what is completely organized and explained in The Family History Guide, but that is not the purpose of this post series. The idea here is to directly address as many of the issues with the program as possible. Even those who are fairly advanced in using the Family Tree have issues and problems with the program.

Time to start into the issues. Let's begin at the beginning. Here is a screenshot of one variation of the current start-up screen for FamilySearch.org.


If I scroll down, I will get an invitation to start using the Family Tree program.


This is a major step up for the website. Previously, the startup screen was harder to navigate. But if you register for the website or sign in if you are already registered, you will get a different screen. These screens are personalized and custom created for each user.


You may or may not find these features to be useful. If you click on the link in the top menu bar, you can go directly to the Family Tree. You can go directly to the Family Tree and begin entering your own name and those of your ancestors and other relatives or you can use the Family Booklet to get started, either online or on paper. The link to the Family Booklet is in the Family Tree pull-down menu item.

For many users, this may be a better option for beginning a family tree. What I have found is that many users, even those who have some experience, do not realize that there is an easy and somewhat less complicated way to begin adding information to the Family Tree. What I occasionally find is that the "standard" landscape pedigree view that is basic to genealogy is not easily understood or as obvious as it may seem to those who have grown up looking at pedigree charts. It is important to understand that there are alternatives. There are several different views and many people prefer looking at their part of the Family Tree in a fan chart format.

One of the popular complaints about the Family Tree on the support website, GetSatisfaction.com (See https://getsatisfaction.com/familysearch/products/familysearch_family_tree_beta?sort=most_me_toos&style=topics) is the format of the Family Tree. Specifically, the amount of "white space" in the landscape view or the number of details shown for each person. Here is a screenshot of what you might see today for reference.


There are dozens of other options that could be added through icons or links. But in every case, there needs to be a balance between readability and functionality. Just adding functions to a program does not necessarily make the program "better." In some cases, adding more features to a program may end up defeating the original reason for developing the program in the first place. The Family Tree has more information in this landscape view than appears in my own screenshot. The reason is that I have worked over my entries and some of the offerings from FamilySearch are not presently available for this section of my part of the Family Tree. Here is a view with more information in the form of record hints and data warnings.


I am certain that the look of the Family Tree will evolve over time, but I am also hopeful that the screens, such as this one, will not get loaded down with features. There is a balance that must be achieved between the "need" for additional features and the usability of the program. For example, one of the programs with the most features is Adobe Photoshop. The program has hundreds of features and is extremely complex with detailed screens. A person can be considered to be a Photoshop expert if the person knows about 100 of the features. We don't need FamilySearch to keep adding features to the Family Tree unless those features have a general appeal and add real functionality. Of course, Photoshop would not be Photoshop if it was simple and had fewer features. It is aimed at highly motivated and trained professionals. Let's not turn the Family Tree into a professional's program.

Here are the previous posts in this series

Part One: http://rejoiceandbeexceedingglad.blogspot.com/2018/05/a-survival-guide-to-familysearch-family.html
Part Two: http://rejoiceandbeexceedingglad.blogspot.com/2018/05/a-survival-guide-for-familysearch.html
Part Three: http://rejoiceandbeexceedingglad.blogspot.com/2018/05/a-survival-guide-for-familysearch_20.html
Part Four: http://rejoiceandbeexceedingglad.blogspot.com/2018/06/a-survival-guide-for-familysearch.html
Part Five: http://rejoiceandbeexceedingglad.blogspot.com/2018/06/a-survival-guide-for-familysearch_9.html

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A Family History Mission: The Oddities and Unusual

1 July 1776 Probate file from Charles County, Maryland
No. 66

Note: You can do a Google search for "A Family History Mission James Tanner" to see all the previous posts in this ongoing series. You can also search for "James Tanner genealogy" and find them or click back through all the posts.

Ome of the most interesting parts of digitizing records at the Maryland State Archives is finding old, unusual, or strange records. This past week, I began digitizing a Probate Record beginning the 1760s and found this record that was dated 1 July 1776. While monumental things were going on in some parts of the world, the courts in Charles County, Maryland were chugging away with their usual calendar of court cases. For me, this was interesting because the documents in the National Archives from 1776 are behind glass, but I get to see the documents close up and digitize them. But this also reminds me of the immense value of these document and so we want to be as careful as possible in handling them.

Here is an image of the two-page spread with the entry from 1776.


If you look closely, you can see the cover that is used to protect the books from some types of harm while on the shelves. The cover wraps around the book and is fastened velcro.

Here is a closeup of the earliest record I have digitized so far from 1764.


Here is the entire page.


These Probate Inventory books were very skinny but long.


I am going to do a post about the strange terms and names I find in old probate documents.


Here's an example of the lovely endpaper in some of the books. The older books have beautiful and very readable handwriting for the most part.


I have plenty more to write about, so stay tuned.

Friday, June 15, 2018

FamilySearch to Add Same-Sex Marriages to Family Tree

Headlines in the Deseret News report the following in an article dated June 13, 2018:
SALT LAKE CITY — The world's largest genealogy organization is redesigning FamilySearch.org so the LDS Church-sponsored database can store and provide records of same-sex families. 
FamilySearch first said in 2015 it would add a feature for same-sex relationships in the future. The major overhaul to the website's system should be ready by 2019, according to a statement on the website updated in April. 
The statement said FamilySearch.org's goal is to capture accurate genealogy "that represents past, present and future families of the world." 
"To support this goal," the release continued, "same-sex relationships, including same-sex parents and same-sex couples, will be provided in FamilySearch Family Tree. Several systems that surround Family Tree, such as tree and record searching, must be significantly redesigned to support same-sex relationships before Family Tree can release this capability." 
FamilySearch International is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
The leader of a group that seeks equal rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Utahns and their families hailed the changes to FamilySearch.
As pointed out in the statement, this is not really "new" news.  Some of the online family tree programs have designated all marital relationships as "marital partners" for some years now. The FamilySearch.org Family Tree program already allows entering relationships without requiring a formal marriage date.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Are you aware of the changes in the records on the FamilySearch website?


On the FamilySearch.org website, if you sign in and then click on your name in the upper-right-hand corner of the screen, you can see the "Settings" link. One of the settings lets you subscribe to a variety of blog posts and newsletters from FamilySearch. I just subscribe to everything so I can sort-of keep up with what is going on. The image above is a weekly newsletter I get telling me about the new historical records on the website. There mostly appears to be a column of numbers and another column of zeros.

What is happening with FamilySearch's online records?

Some time ago, I wrote a series of posts telling about where all the records were located on the website. I also did a popular video for the Brigham Young University Family History Library.


Where are the Digitized Records on FamilySearch.org - James Tanner

The report that comes out each week from FamilySearch lists the records in the Historical Record Collections section of the website that have been indexed. Very few new images are being added to that section.

The new images are being added to the website but are only available through a listing in the Catalog. The video explains where these are and how to find these new records. The number of records in Catalog is currently over 800 million and rising fairly consistently.

Searching for a name on the website will only search Indexed records. You have to look through the records in the Catalog for the locations where events occurred in your ancestors' lives to find the rest or the records.

This is an excellent reason to become involved in Indexing.

See The Family History Guide (thefhguide.com) indexing instructions.

https://thefhguide.com/project-5-indexing.html

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Carefully Using Record Hints

Record hints from FamilySearch on the FamilySearch.org Family Tree have become one of the beneficial features of the website. From time to time, I get emails directing me to a record hint for a suggested relative. However, we cannot just assume that these Record Hints pertain to our family or are our relatives. We need to carefully examine the links to the person and make sure the hint is to the right person in our own part of the Family Tree.

Here are the screens I get from the above link to see my relationship. I first have to sign in to the website then I get the following screen:


There are really multiple Record Hints and the one featured in my email message is the first one in the line. Here is the relationship to Carlyle Crawley:



This is a short line of links and I can readily determine that yes, I am related to this person. I have personally added the existing sources to each of these individuals. When I view this person, I can see other opportunities to clean up the Family Tree and add sources. 



There are already eight sources listed for this person so I can compare sources and make sure I have the right person. When I click on the link to show the details of the suggested changes and hints, I see the following summary page. 



I can now examine each of the hints and add them if needed. For more information about Record Hints on the Family Tree see The Family History Guide for the Family Search Family Tree. Here is the link to the part about Record Hints: