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

Thursday, March 26, 2020

What to do when the Temples Close
Notwithstanding all the dystopian books and movies,  I could really never imagined a disaster so worldwide that it would close ALL of the temples at once. Plus the fact that at the end of March, it snowed two inches today. We have been practicing "social distancing" for almost two weeks and so we have gone into a work-through the piles-mode. As genealogists and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we mourn the loss of access to the temples and worry about all the "out-of-work" temple workers. But we always have a lot of projects on our list that need doing.

As the Family History Libraries and other repositories shut down, we immediately went into working in the backlog mode. The first things on the agenda were the piles of documents and other papers that had accumulated over the years. In the last two weeks, we have disposed of a huge pile of old, non-history, paper. Most of which had to be examined page-by-page. The next step was to begin sorting and digitizing those documents and records that needed to be preserved (a very small percentage of the paper we threw away). We also continued cataloging the documents and putting the appropriate ones up on the Memories section of the website.

If there is any advantage to having been cloistered in our home, it is that these jobs and finally getting some attention.

If you are an active genealogist doing research, you probably have enough to keep you busy. Rest up some and then get to work and you will soon find that you have plenty to do.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

There is Beauty All Around

During our self-imposed social distancing, one of my daughters and her family came for a surprise outside visit and spent a couple of hours putting a giant chalk-drawn family tree on our driveway. In case you can't tell, that is my wife and me at the bottom of the tree. The branches of the tree show the members of each of our children's families. The white object in the middle is the Mesa, Arizona Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a symbol of our eternal family although we actually got married in the Salt Lake City, Utah Temple. Here is what the mountains looked like when they finished the drawing.

There is truly beauty all around when there is love at home.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

FamilySearch Map of England & Wales Jurisdictions 1851
If you are doing research in England, this is one of the most valuable resources on the website. It is the England & Wales Jurisdictions 1851 map. Unfortunately, it is also hard to find since there are no apparent links to the map on the website. The only link I can find is in the Site Map at the bottom of the Home Page. Here is a screenshot of the Site Map page with the map link in the red oval.
There is also a link in the Research Wiki with a page of explanations about the map.
The Map also seems to disappear once and a while and then reappear likely due to the users demanding it.

Here is a short explanation of the Map from the Research Wiki,
England Jurisdictions, 1851 is a powerful Internet based Geographic Information System (GIS) showing parish maps of the 40 counties in England. This mapping system simplifies research by consolidating data from many finding aids into a single searchable repository that can be accessed through the mere click of a mouse in a parish boundary. The program can be accessed at: This is a research tool provided by FamilySearch using Google Maps to visually display maps and information. For tips on using the website, look beneath the two blue buttons on the left side of the home page and click the "Find out here" link.
The information provided by the links on the Map is extensive. There is a rather extensive explanation of all the features available from a link on the Map page.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Search by Images on FamilySearch

The website recently added an "Images" search selection to the Search menu (shown above). This new feature is called the Historical Images Tool. The reason for adding this tool is somewhat complicated. Here is an excerpt from the FamilySearch blog post entitled, "Explore Historical Images Tool Unlocks Data in Digital Records," introducing the feature.
Explore Historical Images marks the beginning of a new and different search experience. With this tool, images produced from FamilySearch’s 300+ digital cameras worldwide is made almost instantly available. 
Explore Historical Images helps you navigate to images of historical records that could contain information about your ancestors. Although you aren’t able to search for your ancestor by name directly, you are able to narrow your search by place, date, and other information that was captured when the image was taken.
The reality of the website is that, according to the blog post, in 2018, FamilySearch added over 432 million new record images to its online collections. From the January 2020 Facts, there are 1.73 billion digital images published only in the Catalog. This means that these images are not indexed and cannot be searched in the Historical Record Collections. In fact, there are more images listed only in the Catalog than there are in the Historical Record Collections. Of course, these numbers change constantly but the percentage of records in the catalog will continue to grow at a faster rate than the number in the Historical Record Collections.

Step-by-step instructions about the Historical Images Tool are contained in the above-linked blog post. Notwithstanding the new tool, the bottom line is that the researcher (you) will still have the task of searching through the records one-by-one unless the original records happen to contain some sort of index. The main idea of the new tool is to make users aware of the treasure trove of information that is still locked up in the online images, just one step away from the original paper records or microfilm images.

I still suggest that you may wish to use the main Catalog search that has been available for a long time. You will want to try both for the information you are researching. As an interesting side note, it appears that the probate records my wife and I scanned back in 2018 in the Maryland State Archives are now in the catalog and available for searching.

Monday, March 2, 2020

MyHeritage's New Fan View for Family Trees
If you are one of those fortunate family historians who have discovered the advantages of using the website, you will be pleased to find out that it now offers a fan chart view of your family tree. You can read all the details of this new feature in a blog post entitled, "Introducing Fan View for Family Trees." Your experience with the fan view may be limited to the mostly static charts available from other websites but you will be surprised at all the features included in this one. This fan chart is fully editable. You can add and edit the entries and even add additional generations of ancestors. Here is a selection of a fan view chart from my own family tree.

I am not usually a fan of the fan view but this implementation of the view will probably change my mind. For example here is a ten generation chart for my Grandfather.

By starting with my Grandfather, this is effectively a 12 generation chart for working with my Tanner family lines.