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
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.
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.
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
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 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:
If you think you can outlast the Tanners, you are mistaken.  

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Adding Multiple Pictures to FamilySearch Memories

I haven't written much about the Memories section of the 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 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.

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 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, 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

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Building a Family Tree: An Example on -- 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 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 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 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  I struck out there also. 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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