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

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Using MyHeritage to correct entries in the FamilySearch Family Tree

One advantage of having a family tree on and subscribing to the full data package is that the website has a Consistency Checker that will check all of your entries. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have a FamilySearch complete membership through the FamilySearch Partner Program. In addition, members can now also synchronize up to eight generations of their part of the Family Tree. Here is a short summary of the Consistency Checker from a blog post when it was introduced.
The Consistency Checker employs 36 different checks on the family tree data, ranging from the obvious (e.g., a person was born before their parent, or when the parent was too young to be a parent) to the subtle and hard to find (e.g., a person was tagged in a photo and the photo is dated before the person’s birth; or two full siblings were born 5 months apart, which is impossible). Some of the issues it finds are factual mistakes (e.g. wrong birth date entered), some are bad practices (e.g. birth year entered as 22 instead of 1922, or prefix entered as part of the first name instead of in the prefix field), some are warnings about possible data entry errors (e.g. a woman’s married surname was apparently entered as her maiden surname, or a place was entered that looks suspiciously like a date) and some are inconsistencies you may want to fix, such as references to the same place name with two different spellings. Any issue you feel is fine and should intentionally not be addressed can easily be marked to be ignored and will not be reported again.
Here are some of the issues identified in a recent check of my synchronized family tree on MyHeritage from my portion of the Family Tree. 

  • Child born after death of parent
  • Parent too young when having a child
  • Parent too old when having a child
  • Fact occurring after death
  • Fact occurring before birth
  • Siblings with close age
  • Married too young
  • Multiple marriages of same couple
  • Married name entered as maiden name
  • Suffix in last name
  • Multiple birth facts of same person
  • Tagged in photo before birth
  • Tagged in photo after death
  • Incorrect use of uppercase/lowercase
  • Disconnected from tree
  • Siblings with same first name
  • Double spaces in name
Some of these issues may seem inconsequential unless you understand that all of them help facilitate the accuracy of the automated record hints that assist in your research. All of them also assist in promoting consistency between the various family trees on the website. It is also important to note that some of these errors could cause you to be working on the wrong family line. 

Here are some examples of the kinds of errors that are found by the Consistency Checker. 

The Consistency Checker noted that this person was born when his father was 68 years old. Of course, this is possible, but when I checked the entry on the family tree, I did not find any sources to support this person at all. There are also no sources in my MyHeritage family tree. A little more review shows that this person has at least two different mothers. There are also male and female duplicates for this person in the Family Tree. I did find a church record listing him as the son of Sidney Tanner and his wife Rachel Neyman Fullmer. Cyrus Livingstone Tanner died in the same year he was born. Obviously, there is some work that needs to be done to clear up these entries and provide sources. This example illustrates the need to carefully work through all of your entries. 

Here is another example.

The date for Sidney C. Tanner's death is correct. The dates for the source are also correct. But the implication that one or the other is wrong is also wrong. The date given by the source should be examined and changed to the date of his death. He did not continue to immigrate after he died. Some quick research shows that the Willard Richards Wagon Company left Winter Quarters on 3 July 1848. So if I correct the dates for the actual immigration rather than the general dates for the entire source, there is no problem and the inconsistency goes away. 

In each case, the inconsistency would not likely have been found without the assistance of the Consistency Checker. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

An Analysis of the Weekly Change Reports for the FamilySearch Family Tree: Week Three

I watch 301 people in the Family Tree. Every week I get a report from FamilySearch itemizing all of the changes to all of the people I am watching. This week's report (June 19, 2019), has 38 changes to 19 people. This is the third week of my compilation of the reports. This week's report contained many new people and a few changes to the same people from the previous weeks. Here are the running totals that include both weeks.

The average of the number of changes made without any source citation or adding any new sources went up from 85.3% to 87.7%. The number of unsupported changes is climbing from 145 to 179. If I were to extrapolate this percentage out to the entire Family Tree, the number of unsupported changes would be astronomical. You can also see that the number of people with unsupported changes is now about 10% or so of the total number of people I am watching. I have to assume that every one of those unsupported changes is wrong.

I will be away from regular internet contact for a while, but I will pick up the numbers when I get back.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

How to Use the Ordinances Ready App

The members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are slowly becoming aware of the availability of the relatively new Ordinances Ready app. The app was first generally announced back in September 2018. See "Ordinances Ready: FamilySearch App Feature Helps Find Temple Ordinances for Your Ancestors." Because the announcement was made in the venue of a FamilySearch Blog post, those who became aware of the introduction of the App were primarily people using the website who had subscribed to the blog posts in their individual "Settings" menu. Since then, instructions for the use of the App have appeared on See the following:
Ordinances Ready is part of and the FamilySearch Tree apps on both iOS and Android. On all three, you will find it under the Temple links when you sign in with an LDS account.

The Ordinances Ready app is designed to be used by individuals who are going to the Temple within a relatively short period of time. It is not designed to add names to a Reserved list. For youth who are planning to attend the Temple, it is important that they register for and obtain their own names so that their name appears on the card or cards they take to the Temples.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

An Analysis of the Weekly Change Reports for the FamilySearch Family Tree: Week Two

I watch 301 people in the Family Tree. Every week I get a report from FamilySearch itemizing all of the changes to all of the people I am watching. This week's report (June 12, 2019), has 66 changes to 7 people. This is the second week of my compilation of the reports. This week's report contained some new people and some changes to the same people from the previous weeks. Here are the running totals that include both weeks.

As you can see from this cumulative report, the bulk of the changes are taking place with one individual, Francis Cooke of the Mayflower. With more data, the percentage of changes without a supporting source fell from 94% down to 85.3%. However, the number of unsupported changes still constitutes a significant burden on those watching these individuals should they wish to try and correct the changes.

I do not expect that this trend will change. I suggest that FamilySearch may wish to restrict any records where there are significant changes week after week. It would also help if FamilySearch added a requirement to provide a new source before any changes are allowed.

Here is a link to the first week's report

Week One:

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Research on the FamilySearch Family Tree #5 Exploring Genealogy Series #13

Research in the FamilySearch Family Tree #5 Exploring Genealogy Series #13

This is the Exploring Genealogy Series #13 and focuses on Part #4 of the Research on the FamilySearch Family Tree sub-series. I am continuing the research on Sarah Bragg after finding that the information in the Family Tree showing her father might be wrong. The entire family is so entirely messed up that I considered abandoning using the family as an example, but then I decided to plow right on through the process. I am going to have to take all of this a bite at a time so I guess this will become an ongoing sub-series.

This video, along with the others in this series are on my YouTube Channel.
If you search for the Channel, you need to search for "James Tanner Channel" and then you will see about a half a dozen "james tanner" and you can spot me from my photo. But I will continue to link the channel from these blog posts. If you subscribe to the Channel then you can find it readily from your subscription list on

FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries
Apparently, FamilySearch is out looking for additional FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries. Here is a short quote from the blog post entitled, "FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries."
Hundreds of FamilySearch affiliate libraries are helping extend FamilySearch’s services to millions of patrons worldwide. Although FamilySearch manages the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 5,000 family history centers throughout the world, it recognizes the invaluable need for library affiliates to help more patrons make personal family history connections. 
Affiliate libraries (whether public, special, or university) have access to FamilySearch’s digital genealogical collections that are otherwise accessible only through a FamilySearch family history center. FamilySearch also provides its affiliates with the latest tools and tips for genealogy reference librarians. 
There are actually four posts. The other three are linked in the one cited above.

I currently volunteer as a Church Service Missionary in the Brigham Young University Family History Library, which is an affiliate library of sorts. Interestingly, the Provo City Library, here where I live and where BYU is located, is apparently not a FamilySearch Affiliate Library although the Orem Public Library is an affiliate right next to Provo. It looks like there are only five affiliate libraries in Utah out of well over a hundred public libraries in Utah. It looks like FamilySearch could start with Utah and expand quite a bit.

There is a list of Affiliate Libraries on the Research Wiki, FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries, and it looks like it has been recently updated.

It is also interesting that Arizona only shows two affiliate libraries. Considering that FamilySearch shut down the main family history library in the state in Mesa, perhaps they need to expand the number in Arizona. By the way, Maricopa County, where Mesa and Phoenix are located has a greater population than the State of Utah. Mesa, with a population of over 496,000 people now has only three small, local, family history centers and no affiliate libraries. In all fairness, they are adding a Family History Discovery Center to the Mesa Temple Visitors Center that is currently being built, but right now and for at least another year, there are only the three Family History Centers.

The are hundreds of affiliate libraries around the world, it might also be helpful if FamilySearch mentioned once and while that in addition to Family History Centers, there are Affiliate Libraries. They are listed on the Help Center link to a map of all the Family History Centers, but maybe it would help those who are not familiar with Family History Centers to know that they can access the FamilySearch resources in a Library.

Friday, June 7, 2019

An Analysis of the Weekly Change Reports for the FamilySearch Family Tree: Week One

I watch 301 people in the Family Tree. Every week I get a report from FamilySearch itemizing all of the changes to all of the people I am watching. This week's report had 111 changes to 14 people. I decided to examine each change and categorize the changes especially looking for changes made without supporting source citations. I created a spreadsheet listing all of the 14 people and giving the total number of changes to each person and then an analysis of the type of change and whether or not the changes were supported or unsupported by sources or explanations.

I plan to continue adding names to the spreadsheet for a few weeks to see how many of the changes focus on a single individual and, overall, how many actually have some supporting sources. Here are my categories:

  • Name
  • ID #
  • Number of Consequential Changes
  • Number Supported by Sources
  • Unsupported
  • Inconsequential

I consider Inconsequential changes to be adding a source, memory, or photo. Anything else that changes the data for the person is a consequential change. If there are sources, there should be a source entered at the time of the change by the person making the change. Some of the changes involve removing a person or date or place just added, but all of these are counted as changes.

Here is the list for this week. I intend for this to be cumulative so the number of people will go up along with the number of changes.

Week One
Hmm. A little over 94% of the changes were made without adding a source and almost without exception without a reason for making the change.

As I go along with this study, I will be making more comments about the changes. But right now it looks like the preponderance of changes to the Family Tree are being made without supporting sources, perhaps it is now time to add a feature requiring a written explanation for changes with a source?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Report Changes for Temple and Family History Callings

There has a been significant amount of discussion since this announcement of the changes to the distribution and availability of the monthly Temple and Family History Reports to the Wards and Stakes. I am passing along this information without comment from the blog post above. If you are a Temple and Family History Consultant, I suggest you click on this link and read the post.

Report Changes for Temple and Family History Callings

Saturday, June 1, 2019

FamilySearch Adds Standardized Dates and Places

The following is an interesting development from FamilySearch. They are going to automatically standardize 25 million of the 172 million dates and places missing a standard on the FamilySearch Family Tree. Here is the official announcement from the FamilySearch blog article, "FamilySearch Updates Enhance your Experience."
A system-wide update will standardize many dates and locations in the FamilySearch Family Tree. In the View Details section, these changes will appear with the contributor listed as “FamilySearch” and the date change starting on May 30, 2019. This will occur for vital and couple relationship conclusions only and will not trigger users’ Watch Ancestor notifications. 
This update will help users by removing the data problem “Missing Standardized Date,” and “Missing Standardized Location”, saving the user time. It will also assist the site in providing more accurate record hints and creating more reliable data. Standardized dates will help you find ancestors more easily when you search the entire site. 
This update will be applied to 15 percent of the dates and locations that are currently missing a standardized value. We will make the update only in cases where the standardized value very closely matches the value being replaced.