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

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Anticipating the other shoe to drop

Sport Shoe, Running Shoe, Shoe, Blue Jeans, Rubber Sole

Early next morning, June 27, 2016, will be down for a period of time, perhaps as long as 24 hours. Taking down a hugely popular website is not done lightly. I suspect that there will be some noticeable changes. In any event, one way or another, I will be monitoring the event and reporting on any perceived changes. I did receive the following notice from which only heightens my curiosity.

There have been quite a few comments, some showing that the commentators have no idea about what the Family Tree is or why there might be a need for an "upgrade." One thing I do hope is that the speed of the program improves, especially on Sunday afternoons on Utah time.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

BYU Family History Library YouTube Videos keep rolling out

Don't You Believe It! Debunking Genealogical Myths

We will probably take a break from putting up a number of videos over the rest of the summer. We are on an academic schedule at the Brigham Young University Family History Library and the University has a semester break and several holidays coming up. There are a huge number of topics planned beginning in August when everyone here in Utah starts back to school. For information about the Library and other BYU activities, you might want to refer to the Academic Calendar.

Meanwhile, you will have time to catch up with all the videos that have already been uploaded to the YouTube Channel.

While you are checking out the videos, take time to subscribe to the Channel and receive notification of any new videos when we start up production again in August.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Book of Mormon in 60 Seconds

This short video has been up online for about a month and has over 2.5 million views. It is one of dozens of such videos on the YouTube Channel. Perhaps we need to condense the whole subject of family history into a 60 second video? 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Speculation on the Shutdown of on June 27th, 2016

For the past few years, my use of the Family Tree program has been dominated by its domination by the limitations imposed by the program. I began to speculate that the end of the limitations was in sight when I observed certain tell-tale signs in the changes being made to the Family Tree. Now, we are getting a clear message that the end of these burdensome limitations may actually occur on June 27th, 2016 with the final separation of the two programs. Mind you, this is still speculation. FamilySearch, as such, has yet to make an official announcement.

I was encouraged however, by an analysis from the Ancestry Insider talking about the possible separation of the two programs. See "FamilySearch Announces Shutdown, Upgrade." He refers to a GetSatisfaction post called, "Preparing to stop synchronizing between nFS and Family Tree, on Beta."

If this is really the end of the limitations on the merging of duplicates on the Family Tree, then I will certainly have a lot of work to do when it happens. The number of duplicates of some of my own ancestors numbers in the hundreds. I plan to write a series of posts on the process and explain any issues I observe.

If the 27th of June of 2016 does not turn out to be the much anticipated date, then we will keep on working as usual and wait some more.

Suggest Topics for BYU Family History Library Webinar and Presentation Series

For the past few months, we have been steadily increasing the number and variety of webinars and presentations on the Brigham Young University Family History Library YouTube Channel. We now have 153 videos. The number of subscribers continues to increase to just under 1,500 and we have had close to 58,000 views. This may seem like small potatoes compared to the usual viral videos on YouTube, but we are growing rapidly and hope to become a major source of genealogical information in the world community.

We would appreciate any suggestions for topics that you would like us to cover in the future. Of course, as continues its metamophisis, we will have some presentations on the changes and new features. Since the BYU Family History Library is an integral part of the University organization, our schedule, particularly during semester changes and increased summer activities is not quite as busy as other times of the year. We are basically on the academic schedule. So, now is a good time to plan for our busy Fall production season. If you have any suggestions, you can leave them as comments to this post and I will be glad to pass them along as future suggestions.

While you are visiting the BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel, take a moment to click the subscribe link and receive email notifications of the webinars and presentations. Also remember, the webinars are broadcast live and the schedule is posted on the BYU Family History Library webpage. Look for the link to Free Classes and Webinars.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

DPLA and FamilySearch Partner to Expand Access to Digitized Historical Books Online

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and have partnered to expand access to the FamilySearch digitized historical books online. has been digitizing books in conjunction with several other libraries, including the Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, for many years. The collections currently stands at 282,444 books as of the date of this post. The DPLA is a free website.

The DPLA has currently 13,290,365 items in its online collections from around the United States. Quoting from its website:
The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. DPLA aims to expand this crucial realm of openly available materials, and make those riches more easily discovered and more widely usable and used, through its three main elements: 
A portal that delivers students, teachers, scholars, and the public to incredible resources, wherever they may be in America. 
Far more than a search engine, the portal provides innovative ways to search and scan through the united collection of millions of items, including by timeline, map, virtual bookshelf, format, subject, and partner.
A platform that enables new and transformative uses of our digitized cultural heritage. 
With an application programming interface (API) and maximally open data, DPLA can be used by software developers, researchers, and others to create novel environments for learning, tools for discovery, and engaging apps
An advocate for a strong public option in the twenty-first century. 
For most of American history, the ability to access materials for free through public libraries has been a central part of our culture, producing generations of avid readers and a knowledgeable, engaged citizenry. DPLA works, along with like-minded organizations and individuals, to ensure that this critical, open intellectual landscape remains vibrant and broad in the face of increasingly restrictive digital options. DPLA seeks to multiply openly accessible materials to strengthen the public option that libraries represent in their communities.
I have been following the growth of the DPLA since its inception and I am an active supporter of its goals and objectives. Here is a video about the DPLA.

Here is some additional quotes from the explanation of the agreement between and the DPLA:
In concert with the American Library Association national conference in Orlando, Florida, this week, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and FamilySearch International, the largest genealogy organization in the world, have signed an agreement that will expand access to’s growing free digital historical book collection to DPLA’s broad audience of users including genealogists, researchers, family historians, students, and more. 
Family history/genealogy continues to be a popular and growing hobby. And FamilySearch is a leader in the use of technology to digitally preserve the world’s historic records and books of genealogical relevance for easy search and access online. With this new partnership, DPLA will incorporate metadata from’s online digital book collection that will make more than 200,000 family history books discoverable through DPLA’s search portal later this year. From DPLA, users will be able to access the free, fully viewable digital books on

The digitized historical book collection at includes genealogy and family history publications from the archives of some of the most important family history libraries in the world. The collection includes family histories, county and local histories, genealogy magazines and how-to books, gazetteers, and medieval histories and pedigrees. Tens of thousands of new publications are added yearly.
I suspect that few genealogists are aware of the digital books on the website and I further suspect that even fewer of them are aware of the Digital Public Library of America.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Brian Edwards - How to move forward in your FamilySearch research

Brian Edwards - How to move forward in your FamilySearch research has implemented a series of Research Tips that appear linked on every page of the website. Brian Edwards of FamilySearch, explains how to use these tips effectively to advance your research efforts.