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

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Family History Mission: A Webinar

https://sites.lib.byu.edu/familyhistory/classes-and-webinars/online-webinars/
On Friday, August 17, 2018, I will be presenting a Webinar entitled, "A Family History Mission: Digitizing Records for FamilySearch." You can attend the webinar for free by clicking on the above link. But if you happen to miss the webinar, within a few days, you will be able to access the recording on the BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7hqNOQt-2AfeVEpDuc7sCA
If you would rather read about our mission rather than watch a video, I will be continuing to post here on my blog.





Monday, August 13, 2018

Back to the 60s: Freedom of Speech and Student Organizations


Note: This is my own opinion and I am not acting in the capacity of representing any other individuals or organizations.

Banning student organizations at universities is not a new phenomenon. As a person who was raised in the 1960s, I am well aware of the controversy and even violence that is part of our American history of student organizations. While a member of the ROTC during the Vietnam War demonstrations, I have seen first hand what happens when a university administration gets involved in policing first amendment rights. The issues being expressed in the 60s were fundamental and serious. My own involvement, however, ended abruptly when I left the country for a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Argentina.

Now, more than 50 years later, I am amazed that university administrations are still trying to police first amendment rights and deny access to those with whom they disagree. A recent new article yanked me back into this controversy of my youth. Here is the headline from a recent news article found in the Deseret News for August 10, 2018.
https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900027644/mormon-muslim-and-sikh-student-groups-kicked-off-iowa-campus-amid-legal-battles.html
The issues today are not about a war being fought in the Far East, but about a vague issue of "discrimination" which now seems to be more important to school officials than First Amendment rights. The University of Iowa deregistered 40 student groups, including the Latter-day Saint Student Association of which I used to be a member, for failing to comply with campus policy. About a fourth of the organizations were faith-based.

This action was arguably taken as a result of a lawsuit filed earlier this year in which the United State District Court for the Southern District of Iowa ruled against the University of Iowas on exactly the same issue raised by the present action. The case is Business Leaders in Christ, an unincorporated association vs. The University of Iowa, et al. My link is to the entire 31-page court decision. Essentially, back on the 23rd of January, 2018 the Court ruled that this organization could not be banned from the campus for the same reason that all of the 40 student groups were more recently banned. One key issue in the Court's ruling was selective enforcement. So the University of Iowa apparently decided to ban all of the student groups they felt did not follow their policy and try to get around the Court's ruling. This is right back into the 60s.

Here is the University's policy:
[I]n no aspect of the [the University’s] programs shall there be differences in treatment of persons because of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual, and that equal opportunity and access to facilities shall be available to all. See https://s3.amazonaws.com/becketnewsite/BlinC-District-Court-Oder-on-PI.pdf
The simple question here is upon what criteria can any organization be formed? In other words, no organization could be allowed that had any requirements based on "any other classification" that would exclude anyone. 

Additionally, anyone can apply and be accepted by the University of Iowa for admission despite low academic standing, criminal background, etc? If I take a test in a class while attending the University aren't I entitled to pass? Isn't the professor discriminating against me just because I can't answer his or her test?

What about the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble? Where does that go? Perhaps you have forgotten that we have a First Amendment. Here it is in case you have forgotten:
The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Here is an article from the Library of Congress entitled "Right to Peaceful Assembly: United States." Are the faculty and staff of universities now agents of the United States of America and empowered to interpret and enforce their own version of the laws of the United States?

This is not an issue that is going to go away. There is a way to actively discourage discrimination without, at the same time, denying people their right of free speech and assembly. Although I think it is sad that organizations such as Iowa State University think that they have to assume governmental powers and selectively enforce their version of constitutional law. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

FamilySearch Changes Almost All Wrongly Changed



As many of us are aware, if we "Watch" individuals in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree, we will receive an email notification from FamilySearch once a week showing us all the changes that have been made. This week I was notified of 14 people changed with 97 changes. Nearly all those changes had to be corrected or reversed. Here is one example that I have been following and writing about for some time.


The changes involved adding parents with this result.



Francis Cooke has 52 Memories and 57 Sources. The last sources were added in 2017. One of the first sources listed is the following:


This is from The Mayflower descendant: a quarterly magazine of Pilgrim genealogy and history, by the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants for 1899, Volume 3. The first line of this article states:
Francis Cook's ancestry and his home before he joined the Pilgrims are unknown. 
The latest statement in Wikipedia: Francis Cooke states:
His ancestry is unknown and there are no records of the time found regarding his birth.
If this person who added parents to the Family Tree had read anything at all about his "ancestor," he would know that there are no known parents. 

The vast majority of the inaccurate changes to the Family Tree come from this type of negligence and lack of involvement. Additionally, the same people with some of the same changes show up every week, week after week. For example, here is another change made from this week.


John Tanner KWJ1-K2F has 236 Memories and 93 sources in the Family Tree. If someone is a descendant of John Tanner, they usually know about their relationship. In fact, we met a couple of young people yesterday and they recognized us as missionaries and one of them said that he was a descendant of John Tanner. By the way, he barely knew the name. But here, time after time, without adding any more sources, people add a "Pardon Tanner" as a son of John Tanner and his wife Lydia Stewart Tanner. Here is the statement my daughter Amy Tanner Thiriot wrote to the person who added the child.
Reason This Relationship Was Deleted 
There is no reliable or trustworthy source documenting that John Tanner (KWJ1-K2F) and Lydia Stewart Tanner (LC3X-WJ5) had a son named Pardon. 
RonT provided a copy of the family bible in John Tanner's Memories section. The family bible lists Lydia's children as: William, Mathilda, Willard, Sidney, John Joshua, Romela, Nathan, Edward, Edwin, Maria Loisa, Martan Henery, and Albert. (All spellings from the record.) Lists of the family from the 19th and early 20th centuries do not mention a child named Pardon, and sources within the family state that John and Lydia had twelve children. 
John Tanner had a brother named Pardon Tanner (L6G9-6S3), born 1791. William Tefft Tanner (LZY8-STR) and Lydia Foster (LHRF-CWS) had a child named Pardon Tanner (MBPD-GH5), born 1820, died 1824. Elizabeth Tanner and Newman Perkins had a child Pardon Perkins (K236-P41), born 1824. 
William and Lydia Tanner's son is probably the Pardon mistakenly placed into the John and Lydia Tanner family. 
I don't know who first speculated that John and Lydia had a son named Pardon. A Pardon Tanner was sealed as a child to John Tanner and Lydia Stewart on September 2, 1975 in the Logan Utah LDS Temple. I have never seen a valid reason for anyone doing that. No one has ever provided documentation. The family temple work done in the late 1800s does not include Pardon. 
Until someone can provide an actual reliable document from the nineteenth century (burial or church record) showing his existence that proves that he is the son of John and Lydia and not of Joshua and Thankful or William and Lydia or Elizabeth and Newman, please do not add him to the family.
We will not give up correcting the entries. But I will probably not find time to look at every single entry that changes every week. I do review the changes and appreciate the help of my daughters in keeping the changes under control.

There needs to be a general change in the attitude of those with ancestors who are already well documented in the Family Tree. We need to realize that a lot of effort has gone into research many family lines since the Family Tree has been in existence. Before we add anything to an existing ancestor in the Family Tree, we need to:
READ THE SOURCES AND LOOK AT ALL THE MEMORIES
If you think you can outlast the Tanners, you are mistaken.  

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Adding Multiple Pictures to FamilySearch Memories

https://www.familysearch.org/blog/en/add-multiple-pictures-familysearch-memories/

I haven't written much about the Memories section of the FamilySearch.org website for a while. But I add new documents and photos on a regular basis. The blog post above reminded me that I have a lot of photos left to upload, title and tag. In mentioning adding multiple photos, I was wondering if FamilySearch had added some new features, the answer was that the "new" features have been incorporated for some time. Here is a screenshot of the page where you can add photos.


What you may not have noticed is that you can add photos or images of documents directly from Instagram, Facebook, and Google Photos. To add multiple files, just select the files on your computer and drag and drop them into the upload screen. There is now a "Choose Files" option that may make this process easier. The types of file formats supported has increased over the years. But the file size remains at 15 MB. That is usually enough for about any scan or photo. There are several ways to reduce the memory size of a file, but to some extent, the method depends on the file type. Do a Google search for "reduce a --- file size" and put in the file type to get several options. I use the quality slider in the Mac OS Preview program but there are perhaps dozens of other options. I also use Adobe Lightroom, but that is an expensive option.

One of my goals for the not-to-distant future is to continue uploading and tagging the photos I already have on my computer. But since I have tens of thousands of photos that is sort of a lifetime goal.

Since we have been here in Annapolis, Maryland working on digitizing records for FamilySearch at the Maryland State Archives, I have worked with a lot of people who do not have any Memories in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree Memories section. We have had a few successes in getting some people started, but most of our time is spent getting people on to the program in the first place and getting a login and password.

If you want some good instructions about adding Memories, see The Family History Guide. Here is a link to the section on adding Memories.

https://thefhguide.com/project-2-memories.html

The link goes to FamilySearch, Project 2: Memories.

Friday, August 10, 2018

New Collections Updates from FamilySearch Changing Directions


I recently pointed out that the weekly updates about additions of new records to the FamilySearch.org website have been segregated with the new images going into the Catalog and the newly indexed images going into the Historical Record Collections. It appeared that they were trying to make sure that all the records in the Historical Record Collections were indexed. However, recent notices, such as the one above for the week of August 6, 2018, send a mixed message. There is a large collection of Italian records that are images only and have apparently been added to the Historical Record Collections.

The conclusion right now is that if you want to find a record on FamilySearch.org, you need to search for records BOTH in the Historical Record Collections and in the Catalog. For a brief explanation, see the following:


Where are the Digitized Records on FamilySearch.org

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Building a Family Tree: An Example on FamilySearch.org -- Project Thirteen

England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970 for William Tarbutt
I have been working on this family for a while and I found an interesting record in the England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970 on Ancestry.com. Here is the record.

You might have to click on the image to see the detail, but essentially, the record lists the first seven children with their birth dates and shows that they were all christened on the same day. Finding this record cleared up the fact that the same christening date kept coming up for different members of the family. Once I got documents explaining that I had the right family and that the children were correct, I decided to take a look at each of the children.

I am not going to go back through all of the steps I took in researching the family, but I did find enough to start working on documenting the individual family members. One of the criteria I use to determine if further research is indicated is the lack of a death date and no information about a marriage.

For example, here is the first child listed.


There is also no record of a marriage in addition to the lack of a death date. How do we know if this person lived long enough to get married or not? We don't. So, there is a need for more research. Currently, she has only one source in the FamilySearch.org Family Tree.



An interesting thing about doing searches in the Family Tree is that there are connections for three of the other Partner programs. However, although the program will search using some of the information in the Detail section of the individual it will not automatically add additional information such as a spouse or parents. You have to add in a place also. So even though you get results from a search, you will get more accurate results by adding in additional information and yes, you have to add in the additional information every time you do a search. After adding in the christening place and the names of her parents, I got a long list of Mary/Maria Tarbut (with alternative spellings) with different marriage dates and places.

Now, it is time to do a search on the Findmypast.com website. I need to know how many Mary Tarbuts there were in Cranbrook, Kent, England. There is only one result: the same England & Wales Non-Conformist Birth and Baptisms with the 1814 christening date. By looking at some variations, I find a Mary Tarbut who dies in 1848. The problem with these records is that without the names of a spouse or parents, you cannot tell if the female person who dies has her maiden name or a married name.

For the time being, I decide to move on to Harriott Tarbut. Notice the variation in the spelling of Harriott.


I got a technical difficulties error message from FamilySearch, so I switched to Ancestry.com.  I struck out there also. Findmypast.com finds only the same christening record. I decide to move on. The reason is that I am making my initial review of the children. I am not spending time with the harder cases, I am trying to find more information about the family. The additional information could unlock the lack of records for the rest of the family members.

Next in line is John Tarbut. There are several John Tarbutts already in the Family Tree including his father, so I need to be specific about the dates and places.



FamilySearch is still on the fritz, so I rely on the other websites. Now, I am into the maze of people with the same or very similar names. I don't find anything useful in Ancestry, but I do find a marriage record in Findmypast.com that looks helpful.


A quick check on the location shows that Maidstone is about 13 miles from Cranbrook.


Here is a breakthrough. I can now do searches using John Tarbut married to Elizabeth Tilby and see if I can find a Census record that tells me this John Tarbut was born in Cranbrook. That information is in the English Census records. I can temporarily add a spouse into the Family Tree and do some searches. Hmmm. I do find the family, finally. How do I know that this is the family? Well, I did forget to write about some of the information I already know about this family. They are Basket Makers. Here is his brother William and his family with John, his brother living with them at age 61 in the 1861 England and Wales Census. The birthplaces match, the names match, the ages, and dates match. There is only one problem, I already have William Tarbutt married to Sarah Monk Smith in three different census records with no children. I find another marriage record showing that this William Tarbutt married Eliza Griffiths in 1850 and his father's name is John Tarbutt. Both of these men are Basket Makers and both were born in Cranbrook. One of them is not the William born in 1810.

So far, we haven't been able to resolve the records. So more research is necessary. What I did find is that William Tarbutt as a basketmaker is very likely a Romi (Romany).

Further note: After some consultation with one of my daughters who has been working on these families in England, we concluded that there are two William Tarbutts (Tarbut). One born in 1810 and one born in about 1815. Both are from Cranbrook and both are basketmakers. In fact, all of them are basketmakers. They are also non-conformists and that is a stronger indication that they were Romi or Gypseys. I started to find them on Romany or Romi websites.

Explanation of how this project began and why I am pursuing it (updated).

In this project, I started out by picking a somewhat random person from my ancestors or my ancestors' descendants who may have lived into the 20th Century from the FamilySearch.org Family Tree and to hopefully show, step-by-step, the research needed to extend that person's family tree back several generations. Finding a person who has no apparent ancestors in the Family Tree is relatively easy for those who lived in or into the 19th Century by much harder the further you go back in the past. As I continued to examine individuals in the Family Tree my objectives have changed. I decided to include anyone who, from the lack of information in the Family Tree, needed research.

To clarify this project, I will not be reserving any of the people I discover for my own Temple List unless I am related to those I find. For those I find to whom I am not related, I will simply leave the "green icons" on the Family Tree for that person's descendants to find and use for themselves. Please refrain from doing the temple work for people to whom you are not related.

Now, after I got going doing the research, I got a couple of requests to research some people further back in time. These turned out to be old, established "end-of-line" situations. Since my original idea was to demonstrate finding people, I started with easier challenges. But in any event,  I may or may not find new people to add to the FamilyTree. Since some of the families I choose are in an "end-of-line" sort of situation independent of the time frame, there is no guarantee that I will be any more successful than the average user of the Family Tree in finding additional family members. In any event, I hope that my efforts as recorded will help either the family members or others to find more information about their ancestral families and relatives.

Why am I doing this? For the past 15 years or so, I have been helping hundreds (thousands?) of people find their ancestors. I simply intend to document the process in detail with real examples so that you can see exactly how I find family lines. I simply want to show where those "green icons" come from. Since the FamilySearch.org Family Tree is entirely cooperative, I will simply assume that when I find a family that needs some research that I am helping that family. By the way, this is Project Eleven of the series because I intend to do this over and over with different examples.

There is another reason why I am doing this. Because I constantly offer to help people find their ancestors and I get relatively few that take advantage of that offer. I need to spend some of my excess energy.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

What does it mean when FamilySearch announces new records?


I get a monthly notice of the "new" records on FamilySearch.org but what is meant by the word "new?"

The key here is reading what FamilySearch is saying. Some of these are "new indexed" records being added to FamilySearch.org. The comments on the records indicate that they are "Added indexed records to an existing collection." Now, this is really good news because only the indexed records can be searched for names, dates, places, and etc. The more indexed records that are added the easier it will be to find your ancestors from the millions of records on the website.

Are there any other "new" records? Yes. There are new indexed record collections that have been added. These may have images but the images are of the "index" not the original records. Here is an example.

New Jersey, marriage indexes, New Jersey Bride Index letters E-Z, R-Z, Reel 33, 1930–1935
There are also new images added to the Historical Record Collections as long as they have an associated index. The idea is to convert the Historical Record Collections entirely to searchable records.

Where are the unindexed images? There are still some left in the Historical Records Collections but new unindexed records are being added, without fanfare, in the FamilySearch.org Catalog. The images for these newly digitized records have yet to be indexed so the records need to be searched individually using places, dates, and names by looking at the images. As of June 2018, there were 832.6 million records that were only available as listed in the Catalog. Over time, since digitizing the records takes less time than indexing the same records, the ratio between the number of records in the Historical Record Collections and those listed only in the Catalog will shift with more records only in the Catalog than in the Historical Record Collections unless the Indexing program increases dramatically.

New records are being added all the time to the FamilySearch.org Catalog. I know this because I am working at the Maryland State Archives digitizing thousands of new records that are being sent weekly to FamilySearch that will ultimately end up on the website. But you will need to periodically look into the catalog and see if any new records have appeared in the places where you need records.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

A Family History Mission: What we brought vs. What we needed



No. 75

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.

We are a camping family. Even now, in our "advanced age" we spend some of our vacations tent camping. As an aside, some of our friends back in Provo, Utah cannot believe that we actually sleep in tents on the ground. We have what to take camping down to a science with specific lists for specific conditions. But coming on a year-long camping trip is more of a challenge. As Senior Missionaries, the guidelines about what we can bring on our missions are a lot more liberal than those for young missionaries. Here are a few thoughts on the categories of things we needed and those we actually brought here to Annapolis, Maryland. 

The first main difference between young missionaries and Senior Missionaries is that if you live in the United States and are called to the United States and have a car, you bring that on your mission and depend on your car to drive to and from your mission and for transportation while on your mission. For us, that meant we could bring only what would fit in our Subaru Outback. As I have written previously, we did a test run and loaded empty boxes into the car to see what we could and could not take. 

For us, our first priority was our computer systems. So those boxes came first. We are glad we brought our computer systems with us including a printer. One hard drive has crashed since we came and so we had to buy a replacement. 

There are unexpected but ordinary and some extraordinary expenses on a mission. One minor one, for example, is that we do not have any way to wash our car living in an apartment except to pay for a car wash. Other expenses, although unexpected, can be major, such as doctor bills, medicine, and etc. These are not necessarily things we would not have had to pay for if we had stayed at home, but in some cases, they would have been for things we had left at home. Another example is pillows. We left ours at home because of space requirements. We had to buy new pillows when we got here. We now have quite a few pillows because the first ones we bought didn't work well at all. If you leave a paying job to come on a mission, that is a major consideration. 

One thing we did bring that turns out to be necessary is tools. I brought a selection of tools, i.e. hammer, screwdrivers, wrenches, etc. and that turned out to be very useful. Some of the missionaries brought more tools and they have used their tools to upgrade some of the things we use for digitization in the Maryland State Archives. One missionary designed a clamp that is now being used by other missionaries across the United States. 

Food is always a consideration. I would have brought less. But Ann brought the things that are not easily replaced such as spices and other similar items. Unless we want to eat out every day, we have to cook. We do not eat out much. In fact, we have eaten out at restaurants more on our mission than ever before in our lives. Most of the kitchen items were kindly supplied by our mission, but we did end up buying a few things. We did buy a chair for one of our computers, but that was incidental. 

In our mission, the apartment came completely furnished. I understand that is not always the case. We even were given some basic supplies like TP and soap. We also made a trip to the mission office and got a few more things we needed. Some of those things have needed replacement, such as a mop that broke. 

Clothes are a problem. Since we lived in Provo, we had winter clothes. Had we come from Mesa, where we used to live, we would have needed more winter clothes. Snow and ice require gloves, car window scrapers, and all sorts of things. Since we work in the Archives with old records, we wear regular clothes to work. We love our raincoats. We can live without a lot of variety, so we brought about what we needed. 

We obviously have to buy food here. It took us a while to find the stores and work out the prices. 

All in all, we brought about what we have needed and now have to figure out, at some point, how to get it all back home. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Relational Processes Associated with Regular Family Prayer

http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2018-29932-001?doi=1

An LDS Church News article entitled, "BYU Research Shows Why Your Family Should Pray Together," cites the above Journal article.

https://www.lds.org/church/news/byu-research-shows-why-your-family-should-pray-together?lang=eng
The study was based on 476 participants from 198 religious families—Christian, Jewish, and Muslim—living in 17 different states across the country. The conclusions of the study indicated that family prayer served important functions and influenced relationships in various ways. The influence of family prayer is summarized in the Church News article. The original article is only available as a paid copy.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

RootsTech 2019 and Family History


Family Discovery Day at RootsTech 2019 will likely prove just as interesting and inspiring as it was in 2018. Family Discovery Day has been scheduled for the last day of the general RootsTech 2019 Conference on March 2, 2019. In 2018, the Family Discovery Day was scheduled to begin with the classes starting at 10:00 am and general session at 1:00 pm. The schedule for 2019 has yet to be announced, but it is likely to be similar.

The RootsTech 2019 Conference begins on February 27, 2019. I suggest that you might want to sign up for the entire Conference to include attending the Family Discovery Day activities on Saturday. Either way, you need to start making plans now to attend. The attendance on Saturday is usually very crowded and in past years there have been limits on the number of tickets to the conference they had available.

I am already looking forward to attending this next year's conference. I missed RootsTech 2018 for a good reason that of serving a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Monday, July 30, 2018

BYU Family History Library Webinar Series

https://sites.lib.byu.edu/familyhistory/classes-and-webinars/online-webinars/
The Brigham Young University Family History Library has a very active video and webinar series that continues to produce a huge number of high-quality family history related videos. You might note, that I am still helping with the webinars and will have one in August about digitizing records here at the Maryland State Archives. Here is a screenshot of the BYU Family History Library YouTube Channel.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7hqNOQt-2AfeVEpDuc7sCA

As of the date of this post, we now have 378 videos posted on the Channel.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

A Family History Mission: Family History and Temples


No. 74

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.

Shortly after arriving in the Washington, D.C. North Mission, the Washington, D.C. Temple closed for two years of reconstruction. We had one opportunity to attend the Temple before it closed. The next closest Temple is the new Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Temple. However, we are serving in Annapolis, Maryland and on a good day, the Washington, D.C. Temple was about 45 minutes to an hour away depending on freeway traffic. On a bad day, the trip could take two hours one way. Philadelphia is outside of our mission boundaries but a trip to Philadelphia, again depending on traffic, takes about two and half hours one way. 

The reaction of the membership of the Spa Creek Branch (Spanish Speaking) was to set some target dates for trips to the Philadelphia Temple. First, the Relief Society sisters in the Branch organized a Saturday trip and then the Branch Presidency organized a trip for the entire branch. He asked us to help prepare the members by helping them find their own family names to take to the Temple. As I may have written before, we meet in the Annapolis Stake building and the Stake Family History Center is in our building. We help the members of the Branch find names to take to the Temple almost every Sunday during the Sunday School time period. Our Branch has a very small membership but so far this year their Family History Report shows an almost 100% increase in members submitting names for temple work. Currently, the Branch has 17.7% of the members submitting names for ordinances which is actually higher than many of the wards back in Provo for people who live less than an hour away from four operating temples. 

The members are from Mexico, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia, and even the United States. The key factors in the increase in participation are the commitment of the Branch Presidency and Elders Quorum Presidency to support the family history effort. Both the Branch President and Elders Quorum President lead the way by finding their own names to take to the temple. Imagine the increase that could be experienced in a large, active ward with the same type of involvement. 

Percentages are not what is most important. What is important is the fact that members are actively participating in providing the saving ordinances for their ancestral families and deceased relatives. This active participation helps to resolve many of the day-to-day issues with activity in the Branch. As the core of active members continues to grow, there is a greater chance that the new members, as they are baptized, will also stay active. It is a great blessing to see what concerned and dedicated leadership can do even in a small, struggling branch of the Church. 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Are You a Victim of the Family Tree?


A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about being a genealogical victim. If anything, I am seeing more people with a victim mentality than ever before. Quoting from my previous post, here is a list of some of the common reactions suffered by those who see themselves as victims:
  • Ascribing non-existent negative intentions to other people
  • Negative, with a general tendency to focus on bad rather than good aspects of a situation.
  • Self-absorbed: unable or reluctant to consider a situation from the point of view of other people or to "walk a mile in their shoes"
  • Exhibiting learned helplessness: underestimating one's ability or influence in a given situation; feeling powerless
  • Stubborn: tending to reject suggestions or constructive criticism from others who listen and care; unable or reluctant to implement the suggestions of others for one's own benefit
My perception of people with a victim mentality comes from years of representing clients as a trial attorney. Obviously, some of the people I represented really were victims and they had valid legal claims and those were the cases I accepted. For every case I accepted, I talked to many people I declined to represent. Nearly all the people who fell into this rejected category had a victim mentality. I can't help people who refuse to cooperate and help themselves.

Now as I think about the complaints I constantly hear concerning the FamilySearch.org Family Tree, nearly all of the complainers fall into one or more of the above categories. In fact, these attitudes are pretty common with those who are struggling with genealogical research in general. Interestingly, most of the people who have victim mentalities do not accept that their own attitudes are at the core of the problem they think they are facing. In addition, their reactions to the problems are almost always inappropriate and defeatist.

Again quoting from the previous post, here are two hypothetical examples of victim mentality.
Genealogist A who is 84 years old has been working on researching her family for most of her lifetime. When her family members show interest in her research, she becomes defensive and says that her work isn't done and she would rather they wait until she has everything in an acceptable condition. She is persuaded by one of her younger relatives to take a look at the FamilySearch.org Family Tree. When she is shown the Family Tree she immediately begins criticizing the content. She states that she is not interested in seeing anything more. Since this is my hypothetical, I could have it end the way I want. In the most common real life situation, when A dies, all of her work is lost because no one wants it and no one appreciates what she has done.  
In another hypothetical, Genealogist B is a meticulous researcher. He is certified by one of the major genealogical certification organizations and has exhaustive support for all his conclusions. As in the first hypothetical, he is persuaded to view the Family Tree and is immediately angry. He cannot believe that anyone would make such obvious errors and he immediately starts correcting everything he considers to be wrongly entered. The next time he goes into to view the Family Tree, he sees that someone has recopied all of the "wrong" data back into "his" Family Tree. Rather than make the corrections again or try and contact the person making the changes, he dismisses the program as "broken" and determines that he will simply ignore it. 
The issue arises in the context of those who feel threatened by changes made to the Family Tree and then get immediately discouraged and stop trying to work with the program. In addition, they immediately begin blaming others, including FamilySearch, for the problems they see.

I do not make these things up. Here is a list of links to articles, some from journals, about victim mentality.

Ask yourself this question. Why are there people, like me, who are very much involved in constantly using the FamilySearch.org Family Tree for their research and data storage? Why don't we just give up in the face of all the changes being made to the Family Tree?

When I get examples of how "they" are ruining "my" data on the Family Tree, the complaints are almost always directed at one or two individual instances. These are the "revolving door" ancestors I have been writing about for some time. Instead of focusing on the other entries that are not changing, the victim uses one or two events to justify quitting. They also personalize the changes as if the people making the changes were intentionally persecuting the complainer. Victims do not see that they can be the solution to the problems they encounter. 

We live in a pervasively victimized mentality society today. Let's try to keep that attitude out of our interaction with the FamilySearch.org Family Tree. Remember, the FamilySearch.org Family Tree is the solution, not the problem. 


Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Family History Mission: The Reasons for Digitization


No. 73

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.

Shortly after beginning our mission as Document Preservation Specialists (camera operators), we realized the tremendous need for the work we are doing. The photo above shows the condition of a book we digitized recently. The pages were so brittle that we had to turn the pages with support. The edges of the pages had almost completely disintegrated. This is not a book that had been ignored or neglected, but despite proper storage, the book itself is disintegrating. If you look closely, you can see that the book is dated 1881. 

Each time we see a book or record that looks like this, we realize over and over again the importance of making digital copies of the books. Traditional archivists will immediately point out the need to migrate electronic data as the programs and storage media go out of date and disappear. The answer to this concern is that you can migrate electronic files but without digitization, you cannot migrate paper books. Photocopying is only a stopgap and the durability of photocopies depend on the copying and storage methods used. We are certain that absent our efforts to digitize some of the records we have seen in the Maryland State Archives, the documents would be entirely lost in the future. 

Here are some comments on the deterioration of paper from the Library of Congress's article entitled, "The Deterioration and Preservation of Paper: Some Essential Facts."
Why is 500-year old paper often in better condition than paper from 50 years ago? In other words, what makes some papers deteriorate rapidly and other papers deteriorate slowly?
  • The rate and severity of deterioration result from internal and external factors: most importantly, the composition of the paper and the conditions under which the paper is stored.
  • Paper is made of cellulose -- a repeating chain of glucose molecules -- derived from plant cell walls. One measure of paper quality is how long the cellulose chains, and subsequently the paper fibers, are: long-fibered paper is stronger and more flexible and durable than short-fibered paper.
  • In the presence of moisture, acids from the environment (e.g., air pollution, poor-quality enclosures), or from within the paper (e.g., from the raw materials, manufacturing process, deterioration products), repeatedly cut the glucose chains into shorter lengths. This acid hydrolysis reaction produces more acids, feeding further, continued degradation.
  • Before the mid-19th century, western paper was made from cotton and linen clothing rags and by a process that largely preserved the long fibers of the raw material. While fibers may shorten with age, rag papers tend to remain strong and durable, especially if they have been stored properly in conditions not overly warm or humid.
  • Starting in the mid-19th century, wood replaced rags as the raw material for paper manufacture. Wood is processed into paper by mechanical or chemical pulping, which produces paper with shorter (compared with rag paper) fibers.
  • Mechanical pulping produces paper with the shortest fiber length and does not remove lignin from the wood, which promotes acid hydrolysis. Newspapers are printed on mechnically pulped paper. Chemical pulping removes lignin and does not cut up the cellulose chains as thoroughly as mechanical pulping, yielding a comparatively stronger paper, but which is still not as durable as rag paper.
  • Wood pulp paper from before the 1980s also tends to be acidic from alum-rosin sizing (added to the paper to reduce absorbency and minimize bleeding of inks), which, in the presence of moisture, generates sulfuric acid.
  • Acids also form in paper by the absorption of pollutants -- mainly sulfur and nitrogen oxides. Book leaves that are more brown and brittle along the edges than in the center clearly illustrate this absorption of pollutants from the air.
  • Research by the Library of Congress has demonstrated that cellulose itself generates acids as it ages, including formic, acetic, lactic, and oxalic acids. Measurable quantities of these acids were observed to form under ambient conditions within weeks of the paper's manufacture. Moreover, paper does not readily release these acids due to strong intermolecular bonding. This explains why pH neutral papers become increasingly acidic as they age.
  • Acids form in alkaline paper as well, but can be neutralized by the alkaline reserve.
  • Besides acid hydrolysis, paper is susceptible to photolytic (damage by light) and oxidative degradation.
  • Photodegradation appears to progress more severely and rapidly in poorer quality papers.
  • The role of oxidative degradation appears limited compared with acid hydrolysis, except in the presence of nitrogen oxide pollutants.
Generally speaking, good quality paper stored in good conditions (cooler temperatures; 30-40% relative humidity) are able to last a long time -- even hundreds of years.


Why then do we see paper that looks like this?


Most of what you see here is water damage. If you read the list above from the Library of Congress, you will see comments about the different ways that water or chemicals can increase the acids in the paper. These different factors cause the paper to deteriorate. What about this paper?


This is mold damage. If the humidity is too high like it is all summer here in Maryland, this will be the result. Remember, there was no such thing as air conditioning just a few short years ago. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and I was in my last year of High School before we had air conditioning in our home.

With these examples of the damage that has been and can occur to our valuable records, every day we are grateful for the opportunity to do our small part in the preservation effort undertaken by FamilySearch.

Genealogy and Proof


The concept of "proof" would seem to be central to making advances in genealogical research. In some areas of genealogical research creating a "proof statement" is the goal of "real" genealogical research. One genealogical certification organization, the Board for Certification of Genealogists, has constructed a detailed "Genealogical Proof Standard."

Having spent a great portion of my life involved in the legal profession and representing clients in the U.S. court system, I have been constantly focused on the concept of proof in many different levels. However, in a genealogical context, the idea of "proof" takes on a whole different dimension.

If you read the publications from the Board for Certification of Genealogists, you will see that the definition of proof used is basically a "sound conclusion." There are entire books explaining how to arrive at such a "sound conclusion." Meanwhile, even genealogical writings that are not related to board certification contain an abundance of legal terms such as proof and evidence. If you take classes about genealogical research or read any of the hundreds of books available, you are likely to find references to the "research cycle" overlaid with references to proving your conclusions with a preponderance of the evidence. You may also find references to gradations of evidence, such as primary and secondary evidence.

As I have written previously, focusing on the legal or professional levels of determining sound conclusions or proof can be frustrating and in many cases less than useful. Meanwhile, through technology, we have developed a method to determine if our conclusions are valid or not.

Before I write about technology, let me propose a hypothetical situation. Let's suppose I am preparing to go to court for a trial. In preparation for the trial, I have gathered as much evidence as I can find. This evidence consists of documents, actual physical objects, testimony from witnesses and my legal arguments in favor of admitting the accumulated evidence during the course of the trial. My actions will be governed by the Rules of Civil or Criminal Procedure in force in the court where the trial is being held. All of this preparation is based on years of study in law school and further years of legal practice. When it is time for the trial, I go to court with my client and all the evidence and present my case to the judge or jury. Hmm. However, all the time I am preparing for trial and during the trial, there is another major factor. The opposing party is represented by another attorney who is just as prepared and trying to prove me wrong. The opposing attorney will present his or her client's evidence and make his or her's own arguments. Ultimately, the judge or the jury will decide my case. I may win or I may lose.

When we are seeking historical information about our ancestors are we trying to prove our case? Who is our client? Who is the judge? Who determines whether I am right or wrong? How can I prove anything in the context of historical genealogical research? When I ask questions like these, I am trying to show the difference between an adversarial proceeding in court and conclusions derived from historical research. There are no genealogical courts or judges. The underlying reason for constructing a "proof statement" in genealogical research is to convince yourself you are right. However, in a professional genealogical context, a proof statement may be used to support publication in a professional genealogical journal or to satisfy a paying client.

In my years of experience in the courts, I have been forced to provide the judge or jury with reasonable and well-supported arguments based on my personal conclusions. If I am successful, I have proved my case. Some attorneys claim they have never lost a case. I suggest that such a statement cannot be true unless the attorney has withdrawn from every case where an unfavorable decision was possible.

Likewise, even well reasoned and supported "proof statements" made about some ancestral relationship can be questioned and may ultimately be shown to be inaccurately determined. So how does this happen? When was the last time you read a well documented, professionally prepared, genealogical journal article? Have you ever taken the time to read all the footnotes and look up all the source citations? When you did this, did you come to a conclusion that was different than the author's conclusions?

Now, let me switch over to the present state of genealogical technology. Let's suppose that I decided to enter my genealogical data into an online family tree program such as the FamilySearch.org Family Tree. Depending on whether or not I support my entries with sources, documents, and photos will determine whether or not others agree with my conclusions. Should I be surprised that others might have different information and disagree? Let's further suppose that I think I am right. Isn't this merely a conclusion I have come to based on whatever level of genealogical research I have done?

The Family Tree is a forum where we can publish our genealogical conclusions and have them challenged by anyone who might be interested. It is an open forum with an unlimited ability to provide peer review. What about the "crazies" and the "ignorant?" So what? How many crazy people and ignorant people do you think I dealt with as a trial attorney? Including some judges and some juries? The important factor about having a venue such as the Family Tree is that it isn't a narrowly focused set of conclusions wrapped up in a journal article, although the same conclusions can be used in making entries in the Family Tree. By putting your information out there in the Family Tree, you are employing the ultimate forum for discussion and conclusions.

Will you get frustrated? Of course. That is the nature of publishing your conclusions no matter what the venue. What about all those people putting wrong conclusions in the Family Tree? Again, so what? If you want genealogy to be adversarial and conclusory, then put your information in the ultimate venue for review: the FamilySearch.org Family Tree.

Hmm. One more comment. If you are trying to make a living from genealogical research, then you still need to play the game by the professional rules. But if you are interested more in finding your ancestors as accurately as possible, then the best place to do this is in the free-for-all Family Tree.

One last note. In Arizona, where I practiced law, if you represented clients before the Registrar of Contractors, you immediately found out that they did not abide by the Rules of Procedure used by the courts. They had their own rules. It was always amusing to me to see how upset the opposing attorneys, who did not know about this change in the rules, could become when I did not "play by their preconceived rules based on the Rules of Procedure." I see the same reaction to the Family Tree from those who think they can prove genealogical conclusions.The concept of "proof" would seem to be central to making advances in genealogical research. In some areas of genealogical research creating a "proof statement" is the goal of "real" genealogical research. One genealogical certification organization, the Board for Certification of Genealogists, has constructed a detailed "Genealogical Proof Standard."

Having spent a great portion of my life involved in the legal profession and representing clients in the U.S. court system, I have been constantly focused on the concept of proof in many different levels.

If you read the publications from the Board for Certification of Genealogists, you will see that the definition of proof used is basically a "sound conclusion." All of these terms when used with genealogy are extremely vague and subject to personal interpretation.


However, in a religious context, the idea of "proof" takes on a whole different dimension. Obviously, much of my interest in genealogical research is religiously motivated.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Remembering RootsTech

RootsTech.org
Compared to the photo above, the first RootsTech Conference, held in 2011, was a quiet affair. The official attendance was around 3000 people. I was invited to attend as an official "Blogger." There were about a dozen of us. I have been an official blogger or Ambassador and every RootsTech Conference since the beginning. As a side note, from the current list of "Ambassadors", it looks like there a still a few of us scheduled for the 2019 Conference.

Back in those early conferences, the emphasis was more on "tech" than the more recent conferences. During the first few conferences, I spent much of time going to classes and writing. One of the high points of all the conferences was the introduction of the FamilySearch.org Family Tree program. For me, another interesting experience was my substitute presentation as a "Keynote" speaker for MyHeritage.com. At RootsTech 2017, I spent most of my time presenting for The Family History Guide, where I serve as the Chairman of The Family History Guide Association. I missed physically attending RootsTech 2018 because of our serving as Full-time Senior Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Washington, D.C. North Mission. We are Records Preservation Specialists digitizing records at the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis, Maryland. I am looking forward to being back, in person, to the RootsTech 2019 Conference.

Except for a few minutes to eat or rest, I am usually busy every minute I am at the conferences. In the last few conferences, it seems like I lose my voice about half-way through the conference but get it back after I keep talking.

This next year's RootsTech 2019 Conference will be better than ever. It will be held from February 27th to March 2nd at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. I will probably be attending the BYU Family History Technology Workshop the day before and then traveling from Provo, Utah up to Salt Lake City for the Conference.

I hope I will be seeing some of my readers there at the Conference. I am not hard to find.

Monday, July 23, 2018

More than Handcarts


Illustration in History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century of Mormon handcart pioneers. A depiction of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints en-route to Salt Lake City.
The terrible tragedy of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies in crossing the Plains to Salt Lake City has become iconic but it is hardly representative of the pioneer experience. As I have written previously, all of my 16 great-great-grandparents and one of my great-great-great grandparents were pioneers. Not all of them crossed the Plains, some came to Utah from Australia by way of the West Coast but none of them came by handcart. My wife's ancestor, Edwin Pettit, walked the entire way with bare feet. See Madsen, Susan Arrington. 2008. I walked to Zion: true stories of young pioneers on the Mormon Trail. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co.

Presently, in the popularly available media, almost every video and most of the images of Mormon pioneers show them walking with handcarts. As a genealogist and a historian, I am somewhat disturbed by this narrow focus on only one aspect of the pioneer experience. Estimates are that there were about 70,000 people who immigrated to Utah and who are classified as pioneers. Technically, a pioneer is someone who traveled to Utah between 1847 and the completion of the Intercontinental Railroad in 1869, although some use 1868 as the cutoff date. Of those 70,000 pioneers, only 10 companies of about 3,000 people came by handcarts and only two of these companies ran into the difficulties usually associated with handcarts. By the way, according to the Church History website, "The Trek" it took an average of 75 days to cross the country by handcart and 95 days by wagon.

Tragedy on the trail was not limited to handcart companies. My Great-great-great-grandfather, John Tanner, was a pioneer to Missouri and seriously injured when hit in the head by one of the mobbers who drove them into Missouri. He later crossed the Plains and died in Cottonwood, Utah. My Great-great-grandfather, Sidney Tanner, lost his wife, Louisa, and a newly born infant son in Winter Quarters. After his loss and because he had small children, Sidney married my Great-great-great-grandmother, Julia Ann Shepherd while preparing to go west. Julia carried in her arms her newly born daughter Julia Ann Tanner all the way to Utah. On July 27, 1848, Sidney's six-year-old namesake, Sidney Tanner, Jr., was killed by being run over by a wagon while he was driving the team and fell backwards under the wagon.

Sidney's pioneering days were not over when he reached Utah. He and his family were called to settle in San Bernardino, California. After establishing a farm and a becoming settled, they were then called to return to Utah because of the Utah War. They settled in Beaver, Utah. However, my family's pioneering days were not over, my Great-grandfather, Henry Martin Tanner, was called by Brigham Young to pioneer the settlement of the Little Colorado Colony in Arizona. They settled in what is now called Joseph City, Arizona. The Tanner's pioneering activities extended over three generations and several moves.

Nearly everyone who as a pioneer heritage can tell similar stories. But being a pioneer is not limited to those who crossed the Plains before the railroad. Everyone who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is either a "pioneer" or descended from one. We all have stories about our own conversion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ or have an ancestor who was converted. Many of these more modern pioneers have stories of courage and sacrifice that matches anything suffered by the pioneers who crossed the Plains.

Handcarts are a convenient iconic representation of pioneers, but perhaps we are doing a disservice to our children and grandchildren by giving them the impression that "real" pioneers walked across the country pulling handcarts. One of my ancestors, my Great-great-great-grandfather George Jarvis, was converted in England and came to America and spent about four years in Boston, Massachusetts before he made enough money to take his family to Utah in 1860. When he arrived in Utah and got settled, he and his family were called to settle in St. George and help build the Temple. They spent years of poverty and privation in St. George before they were finally settled and able to support themselves. One tragedy that occurred was that their son, seven-year-old Thomas William Jarvis was killed by lightning while sitting on the steps of the St. George Tabernacle.

Pioneers had and still have a difficult life. But I think it is unfair to repeatedly refer to one group of pioneers as the "epitome of suffering" while neglecting to include the larger picture of those who suffered and incurred losses in different ways. It is convenient, in a way, to show handcart pioneers struggling through the snow, but perhaps those who died else on the Plains like my Great-great-great-grandfather, Jens Christensen, who died in 1866 in Nebraska while crossing the Plains or even those who lived and died in places like St. George and Joseph City should also be remembered for their own sacrifices. When I hear or sing the hymn "They, the Builders of the Nation," I am thinking about the wind in Joseph City and the heat of the desert in St. George and a hundred other places where my ancestors lived and raised families.

We should never forget the tremendous sacrifice of the Willie and Martin Companies, but likewise, we should try to expand our memories to include all those others who through the years braved rejection, persecution, and scorn for accepting the Gospel of Jesus Christ and joining His Church.

I am reminded of the words of the hymn:

They, the builders of the nation,
Blazing trails along the way;
Stepping-stones for generations
Were their deeds of ev'ry day.
Building new and firm foundations,
Pushing on the wild frontier,
Forging onward, ever onward,
Blessed, honored Pioneer!

All pioneers in the Church should be blessed and honored. 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

A Plethora of Pioneers


For me, pioneers were not something out of a history book, I lived with and knew people who had traveled by wagon to settle in Arizona. My Great-grandmother was born in 1878 and she traveled by wagon to Arizona as a child when the pioneers in Snowflake, Arizona were still living in houses dug out of the sides of hills. For us, the 24th of July was not just a day off for Utah workers, it was a week-long celebration with a rodeo, a parade, cookouts called a "Camporama," races, patriotic speeches, dances, and parties. My pioneer ancestors did not have to be discovered, they were my reality. Every year, there was a huge presentation with short plays and at the end, a diorama with everyone singing Come, Come, Ye Saints.

Today, for most people in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints outside of Utah where the day is a state holiday and some parts of Arizona, the 24th of July is just another day. As a genealogist and family historian, I can look at my pedigree chart and see that every one of my ancestral lines has pioneers. Some of my ancestors did not cross the Plains in wagons but arrived in Utah by way of boats and overland travel from Australia. But all of them, all 16 great-great-grandparents traveled by wagons to settle parts of Utah or Arizona.

The definition of a "pioneer" in the Church has now expanded to include all those who sacrificed their lives and property to join the Church whether or not they ever traveled to Utah or even came to the United States. By the way, when we talk about the Utah pioneers, we need to remember that the first pioneers to Utah beginning in 1847 were traveling to Mexico to get out of the United States.

FamilySearch has published a whole series of blog posts on ways to discover your own pioneer ancestors. It saddens me when I talk to someone who obviously has pioneer ancestors in whatever part of the world and who cannot relate the stories of how they joined the Church and the difficulties and challenges they went through. My Great-great-great-grandfather, Jens Christensen and one of his daughters, died while crossing the Plains. His name and the names of other of my relatives who died crossing the Plains are memorialized in a monument in Nauvoo, Illinois on the banks of the Mississippi River.

People ask me how I got started in genealogy. If I really think about it, I have to come to the conclusion that I was born into the whole idea and pursuit of family history and genealogy. I may have started my actual research only 36 years ago, but I was destined to become involved because the pioneers gave me no other choice.

Friday, July 20, 2018

A Family History Mission: Conferences, Webinars, Presentations, and Posts

Maryland State Archives
No. 72


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.

This past week we were asked by FamilySearch to help with a conference in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. We traveled up to Pennsylvania and stopped off to have a nice dinner with my daughter and her family who live outside of Philadelphia and the continued on to the conference. It was the 91st Conference of the Registers of Wills and Clerks of Orphans' Court Association of Pennsylvania



The purpose of our attending the conference was to help the representative of FamilySearch meet and offer to help the individual counties of Pennsylvania preserve their records and share them with FamilySearch. It was a busy conference and we met dozens of Registers of Wills and Clerks of the Orphans' Court. It was very successful in making a lot of attendees aware of what FamilySearch can offer in the way of records preservation. The FamilySearch representative made a lot of contacts. We spent two busy days and then drove back to Annapolis in time to work on digitizing records on Thursday and Friday. 

For us, a major part of our full-time mission has involved doing the same things we have been doing for years, that is, teaching, presenting and attending conferences. So far, I have done a few presentations on genealogical research and a couple of webinars. I recently did one for the Brigham Young University Family History Library and have more planned for each upcoming month. Here is one I did this last month.



Technology and Genealogy: A Perfect Match

I have also been spending every Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at the Annapolis, Maryland Family History Center helping patrons and doing a lot of genealogical research. Every Sunday, under the direction of the Branch President of the Spa Creek Branch (Spanish) we are also helping the branch members with finding their own ancestral names to take to the Temple. They recently had a successful excursion to the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Temple to do ordinance work. The Washington, D.C. Temple is closed for two years for renovation. We spend the Sunday School time in the Family History Center and assist the members in signing on to FamilySearch and as a result, they have seen an almost 100% increase in activity. That is really an accomplishment for such a small Branch. This increase has come about from the direct involvement of the Branch President and the Elders Quorum President in encouraging the members to meet with us.

In addition, we have been helping the other missionaries serving with us with their own family history and several other people we have met while here in Annapolis. I also carry on my usual round of posts on my blogs and helping people remotely using the FamilySearch.org Consultant Planner. I just finished helping the wife of one of our friends from Provo find some ancestral names.

A full-time Senior Mission can be a wonderful opportunity to serve and use your own talents to assist the members and others in your area with opportunities to learn and grow in their testimonies and activity. We will continue to have opportunities to help both members and those outside of the Church during the rest of our mission. As I mentioned, I have more webinars coming for the BYU Family History Library. See the schedule on the Library's webpage. I will also be presenting at the Washington, D.C. Family History Center in August. We joined the Anne Arundel County Genealogical Society and I will be presenting a conference on October 27th. I will also be presenting for the Family History Expos Virtual Conference in October. I will also do additional webinars for the BYU Family History Library. That is what is planned so far.

As we are able, we are still involved in helping The Family History Guide. We do plan on helping more actively when we return to Provo however.

Meanwhile, we work all day every weekday that the Maryland State Archives are open digitizing records for FamilySearch and the Archives.

Please consider taking advantage of your opportunity to serve a full-time or part-time mission as a Senior.