Saturday, June 23, 2007

FamilySearch Indexing - We Need You

FamilySearch Indexing has the promise of becoming the premier tool for family history enthusiasts. We've read the announcements about the partnerships between the Family History Society / FamilySearch and many large historical resource companies.

If you haven't read about the scope of FamilySearch Indexing, start here with
the church article about the Scanstone project.

The wonderful news is that the church is scanning every document and book in the family history vaults and creating digital images of the lot. Those that can be posted under copyrights, contract, etc. will be posted on the web for free access by anyone.


They need our help in the Indexing. I've been indexing census records for the project for a while now. It is easy and only takes a few minutes a day. You download a batch to your computer, do the indexing at your convenience and then upload the file and get another one. No pressure, no quotas. The average batch takes 1/2 hour to 1 hour.... Your time will be faster after you get used to doing a batch. There are 2.4 million rolls of microfilm that need to be indexed, so there is plenty of work for all of us (and the need for all of us to participate).

This project is an excellent way to for us to participate in the indexing and 'Pay It Forward' ... meaning our repayment for free access to all of the records held at the Family History Library and branch FHL's worldwide.

If you want to sign up, go to the page below... If you have family and friends who can help, (you don't have to belong to the LDS Church), tell them about it too.

Here's a list of the current indexing projects. As soon as one project is completed another is added.. We'll see records from all over the world on this list as time goes on... Click on the link at the top of the page to see the projects that are in the cue waiting for us (meaning you and I) to get to them...

And lastly... a few links you'll enjoy ...
  • Linkpendium - over 5 million genealogy related web pages indexed by surname
  • Linkpendium - genealogy related U.S. locations indexed by alphabet...
  • Pedigree Viewer -- Here's a sneak peak of a new product under development by the Church... Don't know if it will ever go live, but you'll enjoy scrolling in and out around and around seeing how a pedigree can be presented on the web.
  • PAF Tutorial - BYU has an excellent PAF tutorial on line. If you have questions beyond the training files on your computer or more detailed assistance, see this site
  • Census Tutorial - I've sent this link before, but after our discussion on census records last Sunday, you may want to review the BYU census tutorial again...
  • Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War - burials Find the graves of your ancestors who's father fought in the civil war.

Archaic Medical Terms

When researching our ancestors, we often encounter causes of death that have 'funny' names and are meaningless to us today. In one family, a child died of complications from 'Quincy'. Did that mean that her cousin, "Quincy" tripped her and she hit her head? No, she died from infection due to tonsillitis.

Almost all of us will find records of ancestors who died of 'Dropsy'. The term shows up so often that it must be a common ailment. But what ailment? As it turns out, it was most often used to describe congestive heart failure but the term was used in many other applications as well; renal dropsy or disease of the kidney; dropsy of the head or hydrocephalus, etc.

We also see the term 'Consumption' used frequently. Was that cancer? No, it usually meant tuberculosis although there were some other diseases that were also called 'consumption'.

How do you find the meaning of all of these old medical terms? Fortunately, a website has been created that explains them. See Rudy's List of Archaic Medical Terms and you'll probably find the meaning for those 'archaic' death causes listed on your ancestors death certificates.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

FamilySearch Indexing - Document Preview

The LDS church is letting a limited number of folks preview the new FamilySearch Indexing images .... If you decide to sign up, go to this page and click on the 'Register to use Records Search' below the login box...

Be sure to watch the video that shows how the program works and how the actual images of indexed records will be presented.

All the talk and effort is starting to bear fruit. Try it.... You'll like it... And if you haven't volunteered to index.... do that too...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Historical Newspapers

Dennis Allen frequently speaks about all of the genealogical information he finds in old newspapers housed in the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU. These wonderful resources are often overlooked by family history researchers because they aren't necessarily stored adjacent to the family history section in libraries. The next time you visit a library to do research, be sure to take a list of birth, marriage and death dates with you. See if you can find mention of your family in old newspapers in the weeks that correspond with the dates on your list. Obituaries are especially full of family data that would typically take many hours to find otherwise.

Recently, I found a photo of my great grandaunt in an old newspaper article that was written when she was a school teacher in Bingham Canyon, Utah. I have almost all of the letters that her father wrote to her during that two year period as a single school 'marm' living in Bingham, so seeing her photo was especially interesting.

I've written about the Utah Digital Newspapers site in earlier notes. Similar websites are being created for many states across the union. Here's my favorite index of digital newspapers called ... Historical Newspapers Online

The site certainly isn't all inclusive, but the links listed on it will get you started in your digital newspaper search. You'll also want to add these sites to your list.. California Newspaper Project and Ohio Digital Newspapers.

Search the web for more digital newspaper sites and share their site addresses with the rest of us.

Some of us have ancestors and family buried in Australia. I recently found a site called Australian Cemetery Geolocations that gives the latitude and longitude of most of the cemeteries in Australia along with a link to a map that shows the cemetery. The site has been especially useful to me. Hopefully, you'll benefit from the data too.

Lastly, I created a genealogy related Links page on one of my sites. There may be a link on it that is useful to you in your own research efforts.