Take part in RootsTech 2016 even if you can’t go to Salt Lake

Rootstech 2016 is taking place in Salt Lake City from 3 to 6 February 2016.  They say this is the world’s largest Family History Conference – with over 300,000 attendees last year.  There are masses of people who actually go and attend in person – just going through the exhibition hall alone is worth the trip! – and then they allow many more people to access Rootstech remotely.

Here are some ways you can take part remotely:

  1.   “Not able to attend in person? Several sessions at RootsTech, including the general keynote sessions on Thursday and Saturday, will be streamed live on the home page of RootsTech.org. After the conference, recordings of these sessions will be posted on the website for a limited time.”  Here  is a link to the schedule http://www.rootstech.org/streaming-schedule?lang=eng   Why no sessions from Wednesday?  That is the Innovator Summit for developers and innovators .
  2. Read the handouts – they call them syllabi – that are available now on the Rootstech site   – here’s a tip to make this easier – go to the Rootstech home page and click on the link to 2016 Classes – now scroll down and read the descriptions of the sessions looking for something that interests you – there are 292 sessions and 226 speakers – note the session number a combination of letters and numbers – hint: anything starting with GS is Getting Started.  Now open a new tab in your browser and go to Rootstech again – this time go to Class Syllabus – and see if you can find a handout for the session you are interested in – I found some very nice powerpoint slides on Scotland.  Those letters before the session number tell you where to look.  Not all sessions have a syllabus available and some are very brief but there are lots of good things here.  With the class list in one tab and the syllabus in another you can easily go back and forth.
  3.  Come to the Red Deer Rootstech Family History Fair on 19 March – from 9.30 am to 4 pm – live speakers, and videos from Rootstech – registration is free, as is the lunch!  For more information go to https://rdroots.wordpress.com/ where information will be released as it becomes available.
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New Mapping Tools to Help Us With Our Research

The gifts continue into the new year! – and here are two more wonderful gifts!

When we are trying to find our ancestors it is all about Location Location Location – where do they live?  And then if those ancestors don’t up and move!  Why couldn’t they stay in the same parish?  What is feasible for distance?  How often do we see a well intending person add someone to an online tree simply because the name was the same.  What was it like where they lived?  You need to refer to a map and if possible a gazetteer to understand the place and their lives.

When we volunteered on the British Reference floor of the Family History Library in Salt Lake the 2 most often used resources – you could tell from the wear and tear on each page corner – were the large book  of ordinance survey maps and the set of Imperial Gazetteers – now that’s an impressive title – which gave a description of each place, its population, services and churches, and name of the parish – published about 1872.

Now most of this information is available to us online.  We have google maps, ordinance survey maps, and often historical maps available for many countries.  The Imperial Gazetteer is available at ancestry.ca – go to search, then Card Catalog – then search for Imperial – make sure you uncheck Display Canadian records only  – and you will get links to both the Imperial Gazetteer for England and Wales and the Imperial Gazetteer for Scotland – both were written in the Victorian era.  Excellent resources!

When we teach a class about maps we always show people maps.familysearch.org which is an excellent resource – a must use resource – for anyone doing research in England.  Maps, information on nearby parishes, jurisdictional terminology, such as registration district, poor law unions, and links to information at familysearch.org .  We always get the response “when is this going to be available for other countries?”  Your wait is over!

  1. Norway Parishes – a great new free to use web site for those with Norwegian ancestry. http://norwayparishes.com/  Learn to use the very nice Search box on the left.  Results include some historical name information.  Don’t miss the About and More Resources menus in the upper right.  And don’t forget to give them feedback and suggestions using Contact.  Now I  wish I had Norwegian ancestors!
  2. FamilySearch Place Research – a new free to use product – Use this link https://familysearch.org/int-std-ui-research/ as I haven’t been able to find this on either the familysearch site or in the familysearch labs.   

 What does it do? From their  purpose statement ““Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away. “ Marcus Aurelius .  As time progresses places are built, destroyed, renamed or conquered. As researchers track family histories across centuries, it becomes important to track the historical context of places as well.  Place Research is a FamilySearch application which provides access to standardized information about locations. This information is used by several FamilySearch applications to assist researchers in searching for exact spellings, checking whether locations exist, as well as determining alternate name spellings/variants to expand research.  The immensity of the data being collected and cross-referenced is enormous and ever-growing. If you come across information you feel is incorrect or incomplete, please use the feedback link so we can make corrections and improve this data for future work.” 

New as it is there are already great features.  You can select with the map or the satellite view – and these are provided by Google – so think of this as Google maps with a Family History overlay.  I searched first for my troublesome Dannhausen where I think my great grandmother was born in Germany.  I got 4 results which on closer examination were 2 places because of changes of jurisdiction names.  At the bottom of the Results box there is an Export button that downloads the results to your computer as a .csv file that you can open in a spreadsheet. You can search by Name, Jurisdiction, Location, and ID number – if you’ve been there before and have the number. Clicking in the i in a blue circle next to each result gives links to the history of the place name, and research links that look for information on the place at FamilySearch.  Don’t miss the About link in the lower right and make sure you scroll down and look at the Guidelines. This is a great product that will only get better as more information is added and if we give feedback and suggestions

“Many people researching their family roots want to know more about the locations their ancestors lived. Where did they grow up? What is it like there? What does the physical landscape look like? Did they live in a city, on an island, or in the mountains? Did they live near other ancestors?” (from About on http://norwayparishes.com/ )

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New Year Gift from Scotlandspeople – Free Searches of Catholic Parish Indexes

Happy New Year!

This just arrived in my email box today 3 January!

Search the Scottish Catholic Parish Register Indexes for free!

If you have Scottish ancestors please note the following free offer from Scotlandspeople!  Wow wish I had Scottish ancestors!  

Beware of giving up your credit card number . . .   and note that only the indexes are free – if you find things you want to look at I would suggest buying a small quantity of Pay as you Go credits – but well worth it if you find your ancestors.

Also note that it ends on 9 January at 11.59 pm Scotland time!

“A New Year’s Gift from ScotlandsPeople!

For seven days only the Catholic Parish Register indexes are free to search* on ScotlandsPeople!  You can explore the indexes for Catholic Births, Marriages, Deaths and Other Events for free from now until 9 January at 23:59 GMT. 

*Indexes for Catholic Parish Registers are free to search from 3 January until 9 January 2016 at 23:59 GMT, and 1 credit per page of 25 index results thereafter. Images are chargeable and can be viewed for 5 credits per record. 

Search the Catholic Parish Register Indexes for FREE

 What are the Catholic Parish Registers?

The Catholic Parish Registers are records of sacramental events recorded by the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland between 1703-1903. The registers comprise records of births and baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials, and also a small set of fascinating records of communicants, sick calls, first confessions and seat rents. 

You can read more about the Catholic Parish Registers here.

What will you discover?

The majority of the surviving Catholic Parish Registers are pre-civil registration in Scotland, and so CPR records are an essential resource for pinpointing events which are known to have taken place within the Roman Catholic Church, and therefore are not recorded in the Old Parish Registers. Like the OPR’s, record keeping differed from Parish to Parish, and so the information recorded in the events is varied. Interestingly, in many cases you will find that the record is recorded in Latin, including the Latin equivalent of the recorded given name. Find out more about what you can discover within the Catholic Parish Registers here.

We hope that you enjoy exploring the Catholic Parish Registers on ScotlandsPeople!

All the best,

The ScotlandsPeople team


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New digital collection at MyHeritage.com

We tend to think of MyHeritage.com as being  a great place to search a very large collection of family trees that people have submitted – and home to SuperSearch, which is a great tool for finding what you are looking for in the 6.4 billion historical records on the web site.

But there are some other very interesting things at MyHeritage . . .   one new addition to the site is a collection of over 150,000 digital books.  Where do you find them?  Scroll way down on the right under the heading Categories and click on Books and Publications.  Then click on Compilation of Published Sources to access “37,536,996 pages in 150,544 sources.  This collection includes a compilation of thousands of published books ranging from family, local and military histories, city and county directories, school, university and hospital reports, church and congregational minutes and much more. All records include images of the book’s pages. We are continually growing this collection“ (source MyHeritage web site).  Try searching by name.  Hope you find great things!

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Watch for new icons in the FamilySearch catalog

This is a great feature and worth looking for when you use the catalog at FamilySearch.org – it’s under the Search menu.  Usually search for a place and then click on the results which often are microfilms.

From the FamilySearch blog 6 November 2015:

Look for the icons in the Film Notes area of the catalog record title page. The icon links will let you take three specific actions from the catalog page:

  • Jump to the indexed records found on a film—click the search icon.
  • Jump to the gallery view of images from a film—click the camera icon.
  • Jump to film ordering—click the film roll icon.

If indexing is not completed for a film, the indexed (search) icon will not show in the catalog. If a film is not digitized, the camera icon will not show up. For now, both the film and camera icon will show together for many films. The plan is that at some future date, digitized and published films will be removed from the film ordering tool and the film icon will disappear.

Film notes

Why Is This Important?

This is a huge boon to family history centers. It enables you to take a major leap forward with transitioning from microfilm to digital access. This feature will greatly simplify the record-finding experience for center staff and visitors. Films can be accessed with just a click, rather than dealing with the hassles of ordering films, cost issues, and wait periods. FamilySearch has given priority to scanning the most-requested microfilms.

Restricted Records

It is important to note that the thumbnail gallery will respect all record restrictions (Peter note: think copyright agreements). Some digitized films will be available to anyone at home with a FamilySearch log in. Other films will be LDS-only or family history center-only. The camera icon shows for all users. Users will see the images or an image access message depending on their rights. Those that are logged in and authorized will be taken to the images. Those that are logged out and/or unauthorized will see a message informing them of the image restrictions and access possibilities.

FHC Film Collection

Please DO NOT begin returning your microfilm collections to Salt Lake. A complete transition to digitized film will happen over several years. You will be notified when the time is right for you to begin returning the film collection in your center. Until you hear from us, please do not send us any part of your film collections.

Bridging the Gap

FamilySearch and its predecessors drove microfilm technology throughout the twentieth century. Today FamilySearch is a leader in the storage of digital data. The microfilm industry is fading quickly. With their demise, the cost of microfilm is growing exponentially. Soon, blank microfilm for copies will not be available at all. With the thumbnail gallery, FamilySearch is helping users bridge the gap between microfilm and digitized records. This is another opportunity for you and your staff to help member and community patrons find even more success as they seek to find their ancestors.


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Is this the season of surprises?

But I didn’t expect this one from Ancestry.com!  In a blog article on Dec 8 Ancestry announces that they would be “retiring” their Family Tree Maker  (FTM) – click here for the article.

What is the timeline?  Sales will stop on 31 Dec 2015 – that’s not far away! Support will continue through 1 Jan 2017.

Why should I be concerned?  FTM is used by lots of people and while people can continue to use it – eventually it will have problems – depending on changes in operating systems and security.  What should FTM users move to?

If you wanted to download data from the Trees on Ancestry.com then FTM was the way you could do that.

My advice to FTM users?  Take your time – and make sure you move to the software that best suits how you work.  Test drive test drive – lots of products let you use their free version.

Almost immediately RootsMagic announced an offer and support to FTM users – see here

Family Historian offered 20% off  – I need to learn something about that product! – and Family Tree Builder which is the software package owned by My Heritage announced a special offer for FTM users – but this is the season of gifts and goodwill anyway – so MacFamilyTree as usual for Christmas is 50% off – only on a Mac eh?

What will be interesting to see is if or how ancestry tries to enhance the views and reports on their website to make up for the loss of FTM.

We also hear that FTM users have launched a petition to try to force Ancestry to change their minds – click Here for more information


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Using a Snipping Tool

We often want to capture not the whole screen but just a part of it.  For example when you find an ancestor’s birth or marriage or death announcement in a newspaper, you just want to cut out that small piece of the page.  Similarly you find an obituary, but only want to clip part of the page.  Also when you find a Probate entry in an index – they are great to clip. Finally you often want to clip out just part of the page in a Census.

All of the clipping programs are simple to use. You click on the top left of the section you want to capture and then drag to the lower right and let go – you get a simulated camera shutter – remember when we used to have those?

This is easy when you are set up to do it!  Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and Mac OS all have built in clipping tools.  Sometimes Windows “hides” it on us and we have to move it to where  we have easy access.  Instructions for using Snipping Tool are pretty much the same for all 3 versions of Windows – so just click on the link in the section below for Windows 7.

1.  Using Snipping Tool with Windows 7

Here is the link to the information on how to use the snipping tool – these instructions are good for all versions of Windows:

But . . .   it’s not on the Start Menu on my Win 7 computer!  Answer:  It’s hiding and you need to find it and pin it to the start menu.  Where’s it hiding?  Click on the Start Menu then select All Programs and look for the Accessories folder – it’s not near the top of the list! – open the Accessories folder, locale the Snipping Tool, right click on the icon and select Pin to Start Menu – or pick whatever option you like

2. Using Snipping Tool with Windows 8   

The Snipping tool should already be on the Start menu –  if not then use the above link and on the right of the screen next to the the words Windows 7 is a down arrow, click on it and select Windows 8 to get the Windows 8 version of the instructions – you just need to locate and move it to where you want it to be

3. Using Snipping Tool with WIndows 10

Again it might be under the Start button – but it wasn’t on my Win10 laptop – you need to find it and put it where you want it.  Click on the Start button and type Snipping in the search box.  The Snipping Tool will appear at the top of the list – don’t rush to click on it! – right click on it and Pin it   to the Taskbar – now it appears in the tray across the bottom of the screen.  Looks like the same application as in previous versions of Windows – although I hear it has some added features – so you can use the link to the how to use instructions for Windows 7 to get you started.

4.  Using a snipping tool with Mac – press the Command, and Shift keys and also the 4 – yes, all three at once! – and a small cross hair appears on the screen – use your mouse or trackpad to position the cross hair on the top left corner of what you want to clip then hold down the left button and drag to the lower right and let go.

Great tool – have fun – if you mess up then just do it again!  Practice does make a difference.

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