Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Feature Change at FamilySearch

Updated Tree Search Form
A new Trees search screen has been added to the FamilySearch search page. You can access this search screen by clicking the Trees tab.
Improvements include the following changes:
  • The fields are organized to make it easier to search by relationships.
  • You can add a life event to your search in the same way that you do on the Records search screen. You can use multiple events here as well.
  • You can choose to search Ancestral File (AF) only, Pedigree Resource File (PRF) only, or both.
  • You can search by PRF submission number. If you do, the Ancestral File checkbox will automatically grey out when a number is entered. The patron will see a message to the right of the box explaining why that happened.
  • You can search with an Ancestral File number. Because an Ancestral File number identifies a specific record, you can’t use amny other search information with this search.
  • The Tree page contains links that provide additional information about Ancestral File and the Pedigree Resource File so that a patron who is redirected from the old site will know why they were sent there.
  • Patrons can click links that will take them to wiki articles to get additional information about Ancestral File and the Pedigree Resource File.
New GEDCOM Upload
At the bottom of the Tree page is a link that allows patrons to submit a GEDCOM file. This is not a permanent link but will reside on this page for now. This feature is a beta feature. FamilySearch will continue to refine this feature. All data that is submitted by patrons using this link will be preserved as part of the Tree database.
Here are a few of the details related to this new feature:
  • You must be signed in to upload a GEDCOM file.
  • Uploaded GEDCOM files are made available for searching in Trees immediately if you use this new process. GEDCOM files submitted on the old site cannot be published immediately. That happens through a completely different process.
  • When a GEDCOM file is processed, it is filtered to limit access to information about living people and to remove foul language and broken or damaged files. Patron data is NOT changed. FamilySearch is just applying a set of standards to make searching more efficient and easier. Again—none of the patron’s original data is being changed.
  • The GEDCOM upload feature on the old site will soon be shut down. No definite date has been announced, but when it is shut it down FamilySearch will begin sending patrons to this new upload link.
  • When the old GEDCOM upload feature is shut down, all of the pending submissions that have been submitted will be available through the Tree search.
  • If you uploaded one or more GEDCOMs for inclusion in Pedigree Resource File and if those GEDCOMs were in the data that was used to build New FamilySearch, you should see those submissions in your list of submitted GEDCOM files.
Family History Books
The Books search tab has changed. It now takes you to the new FamilySearch Books search, not to the BYU search database.
  • The books search now has a lot more data compared to what was previously available (40,000+ books).
  • You can now use an advanced search including Title, Author, Surname and Full Text Searching and the ability to filter results by material type, language and source archive.
  • The results now have multiple facet types to help patrons explore the results set and allow sorting results by relevance, date, popularity, author and by title.
Different Top-Level Regions for Browsing Records
FamilySearch has created a top level region called "British Isles” that is viewable on the main page as well as in all results filters. Under this top level region a patron will find all the countries that apply to this geographic location (Ireland, Channel Islands, Isle of Mann, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom).
FamilySearch has broken the previous "USA, Canada, Mexico" region into separate countries. This enables patrons to filter results down to the county level in each of these jurisdictions. It also simplifies the user experience by removing unnecessary choices and getting the user to a country level quicker.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Family History Expo Coming to Colorado Springs

For the past few years, along with Ken and Lureen Orchard, my husband and I have attended the Family History Expo in Loveland, Colorado in late June. This summer the Expo is moving to Colorado Springs and will be held from 1:30pm Friday, June 1 until 4:30pm on Saturday, June 2. This is great news for all of us in Canon City, as it's close enough that we wouldn't have to stay in the hotel if we choose to drive each day. The Expo will be held at the Crowne Plaza, 2886 South Circle Drive. Click on the photo above to go to the web site with more details. Early bird registration is $49 per person (for the ENTIRE conference!), before April 24. From April 25-May 31, registration will be $69, or at the door it is $99. You can register for a single day at $59 per day.

I'm very excited to read this news. The Expo is very well organized and is a genealogy conference that offers classes and presentations by some of the foremost experts in genealogy in the United States. Vendors also display their products that are useful to us as we do our family history research. 

Look at this Family History Expos web site and see what all is offered at the Expo. More details will be available as the date nears. Mark your calendars, save your $49 and plan to attend. It would be terrific if we could have a good showing of Consultants from our Canon City Family History Center! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Live Web Viewing of Conference Presentations

On Feb. 2, 3, and 4 Ken and Lureen Orchard and Larry and Becky Jamison will attend RootsTech 2012 at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. As the home page of Rootstech.org explains (as seen in the photo above), "RootsTech is a leading edge conference designed to bring technologists together with genealogists, so they can learn from each other and find solutions to the challenges they face in family history research today. At RootsTech, genealogists and family historians will discover emerging technologies to improve their family history research experience. Technology developers will learn the skills to deliver innovative applications and systems. They will also have the opportunity to receive instant feedback from peers and users on their ideas and creations. Attendees will learn from hands-on workshops and interactive presentations at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced level."
Many of the classes are going to be presented as "Live Streaming", which means you can go to Rootstech.org and watch the actual class as it's being presented. I watched several presentations last year during the conference, from my home computer, and felt like I was in the live audience. 
Today a list of all the "live streaming" classes was posted on the blog of "The Armchair Genealogist". Click here to read the schedule of classes and the times they will be available for viewing. I encourage you to watch as many as you can. They're free, very instructional and interesting and you can watch from the comfort of your home. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Using Facebook to Connect

"Facebook is one of the largest social networking sites on the Internet. It currently has roughly 600 million users around the world. Users create a profile page and then connect it with the profile pages of their friends and family. They can share status updates, event invites, photos, videos, notes, and links to other websites."--from LDS Media Library

I have an account on Facebook so I noticed this article published by the LDS Media library. You can find it by clicking on the photo above. It gives a good overview of Facebook. It particularly tells how the LDS church uses the social media site. But I want to stress that the site is a valuable resource for genealogy too. 

I've found nearly 100 relatives on Facebook, all of whom I had no contact with prior to finding them there. I've been able to gather family photos, significant dates (births, anniversaries, etc) from their information, and even have conversations with members of my family with whom I'd lost contact over the years, or just never even knew. Just this past week my second cousin, whom I haven't met in person, posted a picture on Facebook of our common great grandfather. I'd never seen the photo, but was able, with her permission, to save it to my computer and add it to my collection! What a wonderful opportunity!

Since I author several blogs, I've also connected with several hundred other "Genea-Bloggers" on Facebook. We share links to resources, news from the genealogy field, and offer support and encouragement to each other in the group. I learn of conferences, podcasts, webinars, and personal appearances of experts in the genealogy field. 

I encourage you to read the article that I've referenced above at LDS Media Library and check out Facebook if you don't already use it.  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Interesting Family Search Wiki Interview

On Blog Talk Radio, professional genealogist Thomas MacEntee recently interviewed Lise Embley about the Family Search Wiki. You can listen to it at this link: http://blogtalk.vo.llnwd.net/o23/show/2/740/show_2740735.mp3  or by clicking on the photo above.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

FamilySearch Wiki Success

Wiki keys to success
Fran Jensen presented a "webinar" for us last year and has prepared this slide show to help us understand the FamilySearch Wiki.
View more presentations from Fran Jensen

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What is Cloud Computing?

You've probably heard the term" Cloud Computing". If you haven't, you surely will in the near future. James Tanner has written a good article on "TechTips" at FamilySearch that gives a good, basic explanation of Cloud Computing. Click on the photo above to go to his article. 

Help Index 1940 Census

The 1940 Census will be released April 2nd. We have an opportunity to help index the pages so they're available in a search. Go here to read about it and sign up to help. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

FamilySearch Tips

If your FamilySearch searches haven't been successful, here's a 10 minute presentation that demonstrates techniques that may help. Just click on the photo above to go to the site. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Little of This and a Little of That for 2012

I received an email from a research connection who also shared a letter she received at Christmas that pretty well wraps up important news as we came to the end of 2011. The newsletter is written by John Sonneborn and is available at this link on Google Docs. It is worth our while to check it out. It has a lot of news, recaps, useful links, etc. You can find the .pdf document here of by clicking on the photo above.