Saturday, December 21, 2013

James Tanner authors blog for Consultants

Genealogist and contributor to the FamilySearch Research Wiki James Tanner has created a new blog at this link. I encourage all our Canon City Consultants to read it.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Using a Desktop Database Program along with Family Tree

I thank Renee Zamora, blogger and RootsMagic employee, for sharing her May 15, 2013 post from "Renee's Genealogy Blog":

Do I Still Need a Desktop Genealogy Program or is Family Tree Enough?
If you're a family history consultant then you have probably came across this question. "Why do we need a desktop program?  Can't we just use the FamilySearch Family Tree instead?" At RootsTech 2013 I attended an Unconferencing session hosted by Gordon Clarke, FamilySearch API Program Manager. This same question was asked of the Tree Share Panelists: Bruce Buzbee (RootsMagic), Luc Comeau (Legacy Family Tree), Gaylon Findlay (Ancestral Quest), and Dovy Pukstys (RealTime Collaboration/AncestorSync)
I am going to try and recap their thoughts and my own as to why we still need a desktop program.
1. In theory it would be lovely to work only on the web, but Family Tree does not have the power that a desktop program can give you. The same features in a desktop program would be too costly to recreate on the web.
2. People want to keep some things private, especially if it can be embarrassing or hurtful to other family members. They don't want to share certain things until they are ready to do so. Information that is private can be vital in how you come to conclusions in your research. There is more security having your database under your total control on the desktop than the web will ever be. The Family Tree is also not intended as a place to record information on living individuals. Being able to have both the living and the dead in one family database seems to eliminate a potential hassle and security concerns.
3. Custom reporting is a big reason for maintaining your own database with a desktop program. Analytical reporting and queries on the desktop would be very expensive in a web application. The bandwidth needed would be very costly. Online applications will not have the processing power that is available on a PC. They just cannot compete with your computer resources. The reports from a desktop program look more professional than the website versions. You can also save reports made on the desktop as RTF files and massage them exactly the way you want in Word. This gives you a lot of control and a great advantage.
4. In a desktop program you can have more than one database. You can have a database with proven research and another with those that are not. In the research process you can come across individuals that may be part of a family. In the desktop program you can continue to do more research and prove your conclusions before you add them to the Family Tree. If instead you added your assumptions to Family Tree while building your case, others that have access could change your findings. It's also easier to sift, sort and compare electronically people in your database than online.
5. The web vs. the desktop has two different purposes and usually two different audiences. The web is used to attract people to genealogy, to share with others and get them interested. When people really start researching their family history you will find they start using a desktop. They have to because the web is a box and doesn't fit everyone and doesn't have all the power as the desktop computer. The desktop is where the real success and real concrete evidence is finalized for a real researcher.
6. There are a lot of people that still are not online. When you put your family history online you can only share it with family members that are online. There is a need to be able to share in other ways. You could create Shareable CDs or books with your family history to share with others. These types of options will not be available with online applications.
7. Desktop programs allow you to organize and analyze your data in a particular way. You can create special groups of people based on specific search criteria.  For example: finding everyone living during the 1940 US Federal Census. Then you can focus your research efforts on those individuals for that data set.
8. Life gets busy; people tend to work on their family history in little pockets of time. Desktop programs have To-Do Lists and Research Logs that help you manage and track your research efforts. They help you keep records on your thought process and what records you have searched. You can record which records you want to look at in the future as the impressions come to you. These are great tools in breaking down brick walls and furthering your research.  You're not spinning you wheels trying to remember where you left off each time you get back to your family history.  In the long run this makes a person much more productive with the little time they do have to devote on their genealogy.
9. With a desktop program you can get very comfortable knowing its not changing on you. With a website the company can change things really quickly and you have no control over that. Everyone that uses the website is forced to change.  With a desktop program you can stay with an older version if desired and not be forced to change. The desktop programs interface between New FamilySearch and Family Tree is likely to stay very similar to each other. If you were only using the websites you suddenly experienced a whole new learning curve.
10. One great customizing tool in the desktop program is color-coding. You can select a specific person and color his ancestors. If your 2nd cousin color-coded it would be different lines. A community environment doesn't give you that customization.
11. The desktop program have internal record numbers (RINs). People get used to memorizing people in their file by record numbers. On the web that would be very hard to wrap your head around the numbering systems.
12. From a web developer KISS is the entire world. Keep it Simple... the most successful websites are the simplest ones. Desktop can go as complex and customizable as desired. The web treats everyone as one person. It's hard to give that customization. The web mimics what the desktop has already done. People will continue to use desktop programs because the developers innovate in the way genealogist care about. Web guys innovate in ways that will bring more users, but not necessarily better research.
13. If you have your data in a desktop program and something happens to you it's still on your computer and someone can find it. If all your data is sitting up on a company's website and that website disappears you don't have your data. Your data is actually safer in your procession because you can make sure you've got backups.  You make sure that as media type's change you take your data and migrate it and use different formats. So if one of them happens to go down or disappears you still got the data in a format. To keep your data on a website or in a single cloud it's at your own risk.
14. How many people that only used New FamilySearch have now lost data, with the migration to Family Tree? Not everything has been transferred over. What do they have as a reference to make sure the records are now correct?  Do they need to manually retype all the changes in again? Each time you retype data you add the element of human error while doing so.  In a desktop program you can compare your data with what is on the Family Tree. Then send an exact copy of what is in your database if changes are needed. Are you confident that Family Tree will not be replaced in the future with something else?
15. As a genealogist I have experienced where I needed to go back several years of research to an old backup to see what it was at that period in time. You can't get that picture in a website, because it is always changing. By making backups routinely you have a historical snapshot of what the state was at that point in time.
16. If you only keep your family history on Family Tree you are missing out on finding potential researchers working on your lines. The more places you share your research on the web the greater potential you have of finding other family members. Desktop programs allow you to create GEDCOMs to share your data on other websites. You can upload your database to, WorldConnect, Geni, and MyHeritage, to name a few. You can also create your own websites with desktops programs and host them yourself. These in turn can be searchable in Google were other researchers can find you.
17. Maintaining your own database is the only way you can be sure your data or some portion of it has not been lost, corrupted mechanically or merged improperly.  Some temple ordinances have been lost or have choked in the pipeline.  If you have your own records on what has been done previously you can help FamilySearch find the missing ordinances and restore them.  If you are dependent on FamilySearch maintaining those records you have nothing to fall back on.
18. When you use a desktop program to interface with Family Tree you will stay connected as long as you don't close the program. On the Family Tree you will be periodically logged out if you are inactive for even a short period of time.  Anyone that does research will need to step away for a few minutes to consult other resources, their research logs, or just analysis their findings.  Having to continually log back into Family Tree is very time consuming and frustrating and doesn't make for a good experience.
19. In a Desktop program you can choose colors, fonts, display styles for names, dates and places. You can set up your database to show in the way that will best assist you in your tasks.  An online application does not have that ability.
20. Desktop programs provide a variety of "Dashboard" features for tracking your temple submissions and their progress. It's easier to determine who still needs their ordinances done and which have been completed. You can manage your temple cards and record which family members you have assigned them to.
21. Desktop programs can help keep you in touch with living family members that are not interested right now in family history. It can be a great tool in planning family reunions.  You can determine very easily all the living descendants of a common ancestor. Most programs include a way to record contact information. You can also generate calendars showing family members birthdays and other special events.
The Family Tree is a great tool, but it is just not there yet to replace the desktop programs.  Maybe in another 10 years the technology, bandwidth and computing power will evolve enough for it to do so.  For now, there is still a great need for the desktop programs. Family Tree and the desktop programs actually need each other.  The Family Tree helps by getting new people interested in working on their family history.  It's a starting point for them.  The desktop programs in turn receive new customers when the Family Tree users realize they need more features to help them manage their research efforts. This in turns helps them come to better conclusions in their research that then can be added back to the Family Tree.
FamilySearch is doing a wonderful job by allowing third party affiliates (genealogy software programs) to interact with the Family Tree through their API. It bridges and brings the online experience within the desktop experience. You can have the best of both worlds together.  To learn more about the third party affiliate programs certified to sync with Family Tree check out the following link:

8 Tips for Scanning Photos and Documents

8 Tips for Photo  and Document Scanning Tips
by Diane Haddad

Does a pile of papers and pictures stand between you and your dream of a digitized family archive? Digitized files are easier than their paper counterparts to share with relatives, back up, and turn into a family history book one day.

1. Not sure where to start? Start digitizing your most valuable and irreplaceable items first.

2. Set an achievable goal, such as scanning 10 items a week, or participating in Scanfest (genealogists meet online the last Sunday each month and chat as they scan). 

3. You could speed up the scanning process by scanning multiple photos at once. Some photo software (such as Adobe Photoshop Elements) automatically separates the scanned images into separate files.

4. Choose the right resolution-usually, 300 dpi for documents and at least 600 dpi for images. If you plan to print an enlargement or zoom in for detailed retouching, go up to 1,200 dpi.

5. Consider saving master copies of photos as TIFFs, and use JPG copies to share and for everyday viewing. The PDF format is a good choice for documents.

6. Before you scan, clean your scanner glass with a soft, dry cloth. If it's really dirty, spray a little glass cleaner on the cloth (never on the glass). If the photo or document is dusty, gently brush it with a soft, dry brush.

7. Organize digital files as you scan. Decide on a file structure for your scanned images and file them right away. If you use photo-organizing software, tag images with the name of the person or family associated with the item, plus a place, date, type of record, and other pertinent information.

8. Back up your scans in multiple locations, such as to the cloud, to an external hard drive, and on your sister's computer. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How Do I Edit and Manage Photos?

When my husband and I attended the Family History Expo in Colorado Springs in August, I attended a class taught by James Tanner about Family Tree, the new product for our genealogy at A light bulb came on in my head. I decided that Family Tree would be the best place for me to store (and archive) the Family History research I've performed in the last 15 years. Because of the new developments on the Family Tree, we are now able to upload a maximum of 5,000 photos to our personal account and can attach photos to the appropriate individuals in the Family Tree.   

If the photos we want to upload are not already online or in digital format, it's necessary for us to scan those photos into a digital format. I've resumed  my activity of staffing the Family History Center each Wednesday 5:00-7:00pm so I can help our Consultants and Patrons learn how to scan and edit our family photos and upload them to the Family Tree. 

I encourage our Consultants to get familiar with Family Tree and start sharing (and storing) our old family photos so we can collaborate with others. 

I regularly follow the posts that James Tanner publishes on his "Genealogy's Star" blog. I've learned so much from his teaching. Today he posted an article called "Update on Photo Management Software for Genealogists".  Since I use Picasa for my photo editing software and have been teaching it in the Family History Center, I'm sharing what James posted about it in his blog. 

At the entry level, there is Google's Picasa. This program is up to Version 3.9 and is a free download from Google. The program will automatically begin searching your computer's hard drive and any attached hard drives for images. It does not make a copy of the images and it does not share any of the images with the online world. It merely makes a thumbnail version index of each image and leaves the original image exactly where you had it on your hard drive. You then have a visual index of every image on or connected to your computer. Using Picasa you can move an image to a different file, rename images, rename file folders and find the original image on your computer. The program will also do some basic photo editing. There are many more functions of the program including tagging people in the photos and adding metadata tags to the images.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tag the Sources in Family Tree

The Logan FamilySearch Library newsletter this week offers good advice about tagging our sources on the Family Tree. 

Question: It is disheartening to spend a lot of time adding sources to your family in Family Tree only to have another person come along and change the data .  How can we make the sources more visible.  Many people don't bother to scroll down the page to see the sources. 

Answer: Try these suggestions:
  • Be sure you tag each source to the specific events it reverences.  That will put the source right up by the event when someone clicks on it to change it. (After attaching a source to a person, click on the source, click Tag and check the boxes of those events it references.)
  • A history of changes is available.  On the right hand of the person page is the box labeled "Latest Changes".  If the change was incorrect you can reverse the change.  Be sure to enter the reason  and reference the documentation.
  • There is a "Watch" star at the top of the person page  Click it to places the person on a watch list.  You will receive an e-mail when changes occur on this person.
  • If the person's information is changed again without supporting sources, send the person doing the changes an e-mail politely asking the reason for the change.  Their answer may explain things you do not know or start a discussion to arrive at the correct answer.  If their e-mail answer is not forthcoming there is a button in the "Tools Box" labeled "Report Abuse".

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Information Required for Ordinances to Be Performed

What information is required for ordinances to be performed? What is the minimum information required for temple ordinances? Can ordinances be performed without event dates and places? Can sealings be performed if the mother's name isn't known? Should I use a woman's maiden nameView blog or married name? Can sealings be performed if the father's name isn't known?

A minimum amount of information about deceased persons is required before temple ordinances can be performed on their behalf.

As soon as the new FamilySearch website has enough information to uniquely identify the individual, it clears required ordinances.

For individual ordinances, you must have the following information:
Name: Complete names are preferred. Partial names are acceptable if that is all you can find. Use the maiden name for females.
Gender: The gender must be either male or female.
Death information
The system requires a place of death (at least the country), and any known death date information. Persons born at least 110 years ago or married at least 95 years ago are assumed to be dead. Persons whose children were born at least 110 years ago are assumed to be dead. Even persons assumed to be dead need at least the country where the person died.
A country for birth, christening, marriage, death, or burial
A standardized place for birth, christening, marriage, death, or burial is required. The standardized place must contain at least the name of the country.

Enough information for the new FamilySearch website to uniquely identify the person
This may include the following information:
Dates and places of events, such as birth, christening, marriage, death, and burial.
Names and relationships of family members, such as parents, siblings, spouse, children, and grandparents.

For a sealing to parents, you also need to know:
The name of at least the father
You must provide at least his given name or surname. Also provide the mother's name if you have it.

While it is possible to perform ordinances with minimal information, careful research for accurate and complete information before ordinance work will help prevent duplications. In the end, this will help accomplish more work for ancestors.

This is a link to the web site where I got the info:

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Print Family Tree with No Ordinances

Today's issue of the Logan FamilySearch Library newsletter offered this information, which may be useful to any of us.

Question:  Is there a way to print a pedigree chart on FamilySearch Family Tree without ordinances?

Answer:  Yes.  Follow these steps:
  1. Click the print icon
  2.  In the URL, look for show_ords=true
  3. Change the word true to false and press enter to refresh the chart.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Training available for Family Tree

The easiest way to find the videos and other helps about the Family Tree is to go to

Or you can go to  and click on Get Help > Product Support > Family Tree > More Training videos

Once you get to the site, be sure to create a bookmark for it so you can find it again quickly. (In Chrome, you can do this by clicking on the lock icon in the address box and dragging it onto the bookmark bar.)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Billion Graves Connects to Family Tree

Now you can connect all those images you upload on the BillionGraves website straight to FamilySearch with just the click of a button!  Simply go to the "Tools" tab on the BillionGraves site, and click "FamilySearch" from the dropdown menu and you can start connecting your family members' records (and any other records for that matter) to their FamilySearch records. You can also attach any record by clicking on "Link to Family Search" on any records page. 
To see how it works, watch their introduction video.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Early Latter-day Saints Site

The website lets you search most of the Nauvoo databases. There are lots of things on this site, including an app called Map-N-Tour which you can put on your mobile device and download a number of different databases. The pdf version of the "Crossroads to the West Web Site and Mobile Apps User Guide" can be downloaded from here. Check it out!
Source: Logan FamilySearch Library Newsletter, June 26, 2013, Vol. 14, Issue 26

Friday, May 10, 2013

FamilySearch Enhancements

Today FamilySearch sent a newsletter that explains many of the new enhancements. If you didn't receive it, you can read it here: FamilySearch Enhancements. Notice at the bottom of the message, there is a link to a video presentation by Devin Ashby. It's quite good and is about 1/2 hour long. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

RootsTech Live Streaming available

We can watch all the Keynote addresses and classes that were taped at RootsTech last week. Access them here:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Live Streaming of Classes at RootsTech

This is a link for you to access information (schedule) for the events and classes that will be Live Streamed from RootsTech in Salt Lake City next week. This is an opportunity for you to learn for FREE from some of the best experts in the genealogy field.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Family Tree available to the Public

FamilySearch Has Launched Family Tree

FamilySearch has now launched Family Tree, the first in a series of exciting services planned for release in 2013 at to enrich patron experiences. Family Tree, is a free, online family history tree service. Family Tree brings collaborative web tools together with FamilySearch resources to create an engaging way to discover, preserve, grow, and share your family history as a family community online. Family Tree is now available at (Look for the Family Tree tab).

Users of Family Tree can:
· Organize family information into a genealogy tree
· Edit and delete incorrect data, including relationships
· Connect and collaborate with others on shared family lines
· Provide sources and link to online information that shows where you found family information

FamilySearch has created a training website to educate and help new patrons make the most out of Family Tree. The site includes quick instructional videos, a reference guide, webinars, practice exercises, and much more.

Development on Family Tree is aggressive and exciting new features will continue to be added in the next few months. Some of these new features will include:
· Additional features to reduce merging of non-duplicate records
· Ability to add photos and stories
· The migration from of individual and family notes as well as user-entered sources
· The ability to print pedigree charts, family group records, and other reports

Give Family Tree a try today.
Thanks, The Family Tree Team

Friday, March 1, 2013

RootsTech offers great learning opportunities

Here's a link to the newest edition of the Family Search Blog with an article by Elder Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch International. 
You'll learn that the sessions at RootsTech for those with Family History Callings will be streamed LIVE on the internet. It gives the link where you can watch them. RootsTech is a conference at Salt Lake City March 21-13 that offers classes and other learning opportunities in genealogy and technology. Attending from Canon City will be Ken and Lureen Orchard and Larry and Becky Jamison. We will share what we learn at future Consultant meetings in our Family History Center. It's an exciting time in Family History Research. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Policy Change for Requesting Photocopies From FHL


To read about the change in policy for patrons who are requesting copies from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, click HERE.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Colorado Springs Family History Expo 2013

It's time to make our plans to attend the Colorado Springs Family History Expo, Friday, August 2, 12:00 pm until Saturday, August 3, 4:00 pm. Registration now is $79 per person. It's held at the Crowne Plaza. Read the details and register here:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Family Tree Training Site

If you're like me and struggle to stay current on all the changes and features available at FamilySearch on the Family Tree, you'll want to check out all the helpful videos at this site:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Technology Links Talking Photos to Family Tree

In advance of the full release of the FamilySearch TreeConnect feature in early 2013, members can now search the FamilySearch Family Tree and bookmark stories to 3.4 billion ancestor records. You can read more about this exciting new development HERE.

Friday, January 4, 2013

5 Minute Genealogy Series is Updated

The FamilySearch Blog is a very good resource for learning how to use features at the FamilySearch site and for keeping up with new and interesting changes at A post by Steve Anderson on January 3 tells us that an updated lesson is available now on the 5 Minute Genealogy Series. 

You can read about the update HERE.