Thursday, December 29, 2016

FamilySearch 2016 Genealogy Highlights

 Many of us have highlights of our genealogical finds and the things that we have accomplished this past year. I think we're all blown away by the amount that such organizations as FamilySearch manage to accomplish in just one year. Here is their press release of their summary for the past year:

FamilySearch 2016 Genealogy Highlights: FamilySearch has released its year-end summary of genealogy highlights looking back in 2016, all of which are focused on its mission to help connect families across generations.

 FamilySearch 2016 Genealogy Highlights​
SALT LAKE CITY (December 28, 2016)--Did you make a genealogy discovery online in 2016? Then you are most likely the beneficiary of the efforts of FamilySearch International, a leader in providing free, global family history services. FamilySearch has released a 2016 year-end summary highlighting some of its efforts to connect families across generations.
FamilySearch has completed extensive system upgrades on, making the free website more robust and much faster. Hundreds of millions of new historical records have been added. Improved search capabilities provide less duplication, better search results, and more insights at a glance across the multitude of various record types on The ability to collaborate with other family members has been simplified and improved. Tree Upgrades
FamilySearch’s Family Tree is based on collaboration. In 2016, more than 561,000 new contributors added information to Family Tree, making a total of 3.45 million contributions. Now 1.1 billion individuals are linked in the FamilySearch Family Tree
Family Tree’s new user-to-user messaging feature simplifies collaboration with others doing research on common ancestors..
In the past, the community family tree had limitations in merging duplicate records contributed by users. System upgrades now enable users to merge duplicate records of large or highly common family lines. Increased to Historical Records
Family history discoveries are fueled by a person’s ability to easily and quickly search for ancestors by name in historical records online. In 2016, FamilySearch's online indexing initiative celebrated its 10th anniversary. FamilySearch has a dedicated team of employees and overwhelming online support from volunteers around the world who use FamilySearch’s technology to digitize and index the world’s historical records. As a result of these efforts, more than 5.57 billion searchable names are available from over 1.2 billion published searchable historical documents.
In conjunction with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and other organizations, FamilySearch completed a project to index and publish online images of Freedmen’s Bureau records from the United States National Archives and Records Administration. records are pivotal for African American research because they document freed slaves and others who struggled to redefine themselves after the Civil War. Nearly 19,000 online volunteers—mostly from the United States and Canada—finished indexing the nearly two million handwritten records in June 2016—just a year and a day after the initiative started. A copy of the database was presented to the newly completed Smithsonian National Museum of African American History Culture on December 6 of this year. The digitized records are searchable on and
Receiving and Giving Help 2016, 4,807 volunteer FamilySearch missionaries helped support worldwide operation needs. These generous volunteers donated a staggering 3.8 million hours of service. Non-missionary online volunteers are also critical to indexing initiatives. Nearly 315,000 volunteers logged nearly 11 million hours during the year. Together these two groups indexed 274.8 million records in 2016, bringing the total number of indexed records freely searchable online to 2.4 billion. Over 36 million of those newly-indexed records were in languages other than English, bringing the total of non-English indexed records to 872 million.
FamilySearch’s 320 camera teams around the world digitally preserved over 60 million new images of historical records in 45 countries, providing more opportunities for online volunteer indexers to help make searchable records and countless more fun, family history discoveries waiting for users. added 125 new historical collections in 2016, bringing the total to 2,174.
In 2016, FamilySearch added a Help Others feature for volunteers who provide family history research or support assistance to others. To use the feature, a person seeking help provides his or her FamilySearch username and a unique helper number. The helper number allows a selected helper to remotely access the patron’s Family Tree online to provide research assistance.
Dozens of free video courses were added online during the year. These courses are accessible through the FamilySearch Learning Center. Over 100,000 helpful, how-to articles specific to family history are also now available through on the FamilySearch Wiki.
The dynamic records hints feature on is faster and more accurate, and it includes online collections and additional record types. Adding family photos, stories, documents, and audio files has become easier and is now mobile device friendly. Patrons can also identify their relationships to people in the Family Tree using a new relationship feature.
During the year, a new discovery center was opened in Layton, Utah, and construction on a similar facility began in St. George, Utah.
In addition to in-person visitors to the 4,960 FamilySearch family history centers worldwide in 2016, received 133 million online visits and reached 7.3 million registered users. Out to Others
Last January in Salt Lake City, Utah, FamilySearch hosted RootsTech 2016, the largest family history technology conference. The annual extravaganza included technology education and fun experiences to expand family connections. It attracted a record 375,000 attendees in person, online, and through local family discovery day events that took place across the world throughout the year. Special guests included bestselling author and New York Times columnist Bruce Feiler, producer and writer Paula Williams Madison, StoryCorps founder David Isay, and America’s historian-in-chief, Doris Kearns Goodwin.—The Crown of Family History
“Family history is about stories; it is more than dates and facts,” says Steve Rockwood, president and CEO of FamilySearch, looking back on FamilySearch’s efforts in 2016. “People of every age, locale, and heritage share a universal need to know where they come from. These connections are not just about the names, dates, and places—although that certainly helps to know where someone fits in our family trees—but the fun, inspiring, real stories of those ancestors who came before us. FamilySearch is resolute in creating the tools and services people need worldwide to discover those joyful connections and share them."
FamilySearch has incorporated innovative technology and initiatives that engage a broadening swath of consumers to experience emotional, endearing experiences with their family and family history.
FamilySearch’s free mobile apps—Family Tree and Memories—now enable users to freely attach and save photos and stories (audio and text) to individuals in the FamilySearch Family Tree, add other information, and receive notifications when others add content to the records of shared ancestors. Users can easily add photos, stories, and scanned documents and sort their uploaded memories collections.
Users can now record stories of relatives with a new mobile audio recording feature and save the audio files directly to the memories gallery on from a mobile device. The memories feature now includes contributor information so participants can message each other. The Details section is another innovative tool of the mobile FamilyTree app. With it you can see information, images, documents, and sources by simply swiping the screen, and the application creates a map of locations where events took place in the life of a person as recorded on FamilySearch Family Tree.
Explore these and other new developments at
Find and share this news release in the FamilySearch Media Room.
About FamilySearch
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,921 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Family History Library Webinars

With the new year are you looking to get more involved in learning about your genealogy? Do you want to take some courses? Do you not want to travel in the winter when you don't know when the next snow or ice storm is going to blow through? Are you groaning over Christmas bills and have no money to do so? Don't despair. There's a way around this.

Many places offer distance learning. Some charge money, but it's a lot cheaper than traveling! Some even offer webinars for free. That's right free! And you can listen to them in your own home, curled up in front of the computer in your jammies even. One such group that offers this (FamilySearch) has just done a news release of their webinars for January. They are listed in their news release below. Some of these classes are only offered for people that are at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Ignore those unless you can get there that day- in which case I'm jealous! However, look at the ones marked webinar and you can find a whole lot there. Be aware, the times listed are Mountain time, so if you're on the east coast like me, they are actually two hours later than listed or adjust them to your own time zone so that you don't miss out.

Here's Where They Are Broadcast From

The Wasatch Range in April 2010

Free Family History Library Webinars and Classes in January 2017​

Salt Lake City, Utah (December 26, 2016)--Want to increase your family history skills in the new year? The world reknowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, has announced its line up of free, live webinars and classes for January 2017. All classes are taught by staff of the Library. Classes offered online are noted as "Webinars" in the calendar below.  Webinar attendees simply need to click on the link next to the class title to attend the online class on the scheduled date and time. Those attending the Library in-person need to go to the room noted. Attend with family, friends, or colleagues and learn together. All times listed are in Mountain Standard Time (MST). No registration is required. Find or share the class schedule online in the FamilySearch Media Room.
Tue, 3 Jan, 1:00 PM Starting Family Tree: Starting with Family Tree Webinar (Beginner) 2 N Lab
Wed, 4 Jan, 11:00 AM Ask Your United States Research Question Webinar (Beginner) B2 Lab
Fri, 6 Jan, 1:00 PM British Case Study Webinar (Beginner) B2 Lab
Sat, 7 Jan, 1:00 PM Poner tus asuntos en orden: Métodos de organización Webinar (Beginner) B1 Lab
Mon, 9 Jan, 10:00 AM Using the FamilySearch Catalog Effectively (Beginner) B1 Lab
Tue, 10 Jan, 11:00 AM Starting Family Tree: Research Help and Searching Records Webinar (Beginner) 2 S Lab
Tue, 10 Jan, 1:00 PM Turning the Tables on Tracing Elusive Ancestry in England/Wales Civil Registration Records: How to Trace Ancestry Using Online BMD Indexes Webinar (Beginner) B2 Lab
Wed, 11 Jan, 10:00 AM From America to Norway Webinar (Beginner) B2 Lab
Wed, 11 Jan, 10:00 AM Portuguese Language Indexing Webinar (1½ hours) (Beginner) B1 Lab
Wed, 11 Jan, 1:00 PM The New Virtual Historical Record: Introducing England's Extensive Online Church Register Databases Webinar (Beginner) B2 Lab
Thur, 12 Jan, 11:00 AM Oklahoma Research Webinar (Beginner) B2 Lab
Thur, 12 Jan, 1:00 PM Tracing Non-Church of England Ancestry Webinar (Beginner) B2 Lab
Fri, 13 Jan, 1:00 PM Ask Your Own British Research Question Webinar (Beginner) B2 Lab
Tue, 17 Jan, 11:00 AM Overview of Webinar (Beginner) B1 Lab
Tue, 17 Jan, 2:00 PM Exploring the "Probate Records" in Norway Webinar (Beginner) B1 Lab
Wed, 18 Jan, 10:00 AM Spanish Language Indexing Webinar (1½ hours) (Beginner) B1 Lab
Wed, 18 Jan, 1:00 PM German Historical Geography Webinar (Beginner) B1 Lab
Sat, 21 Jan, 10:00 AM Boy Scout Genealogy Merit Badge (1½ hrs.) To register go to 2 S Lab
Sat, 21 Jan, 1:00 PM Por qué los mexicanos deben usar Webinar (Beginner) B1 Lab
Mon, 23 Jan, 10:00 AM Using the FamilySearch Catalog Effectively (Beginner) B1 Lab
Tue, 24 Jan, 1:00 PM Tips and Tricks for Using FamilySearch's Historical Records Webinar (Beginner) 2 S Lab
Wed, 25 Jan, 10:00 AM Italian Language Indexing Webinar (1½ hours) (Beginner) B1 Lab
Tue, 31 Jan, 11:00 AM United States: Mountain States Research Webinar (Beginner) 2 S Lab
Tue, 31 Jan, 1:00 PM Marriage Laws and Customs in Germany Webinar (Beginner) B1 Lab
About FamilySearch
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,921 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Saturday Challenge- Christmas Meme

From GeneaMusings: Come on, everybody, join in and accept the mission and execute it with precision. Here's your chance to sit on Genea-Santa's lap (virtually) and tell him your Christmas traditions.

Pauleen (Cassmob) who writes the Family history across the seas blog started a Christmas meme in 2012 - see Deck the Halls - 2012 Christmas GeneaMeme.  So we will use that for SNGF this week (since very few readers did it in past years!):

1)  Copy and paste the meme questions into your blog or word processor, and then answer the questions.  You could use short statements, long paragraphs or provide a link to one of your earlier posts.

2)  Tell us about your meme answers in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

3)  Be sure to leave a comment on Pauleen's blog post about your entry in this Christmas 2016 Geneameme.  She'll be surprised!

Here's mine (questions in green, answers in red):

1.     Do you have any special Xmas traditions in your family?  Traditionally it has been Christmas at my parents’ house. I was saying the other day that this will be only the second time in my life that I haven’t spent at least part of the day at their house and the first without either of my parents.

As a child I would get up Christmas morning and see what Santa had brought me. Was it peculiar to my house that Santa never wrapped his gifts, but rather just left them under the tree? Usually some of the family would gather there by late morning and we’d sit down sometime between 12 and 1 and have our big dinner. After the food was taken care of and the dishes done, we got to open our presents that we exchanged with each other.

As an adult it was much the same, however, I was the one arriving there and in later years, the person that got most if not all of the dinner prepared. Mom would still want to contribute and help with things, but as she got older it was more difficult for her and I would try to relieve her of that work.
2.     Is church attendance an important part of your Christmas celebrations and do you go the evening before or on Xmas Day?  As a child we didn’t go often. My Dad was not much with going to church as I remembered, however, before I was born, the family was very involved. As an adult I go to the Christmas Eve service and in recent years have been part of the Christmas “pageant.” It isn’t an actual pageant as it is a small congregation of mostly older people. We do the reading about Christmas Eve and as carols are sung between verses, people take the appropriate figurines up and place them in the manger.
3.     Did/do you or your children/grandchildren believe in Santa?  Of course! I still believe. As I got older and came to realize the myth behind Santa, he was explained to me. For little children many of our concepts are hard to understand. However, they can see such things as love and generosity in Santa’s annual trip from the North Pole. It is the concrete manifestation of these concepts that is Santa and, therefore, he is real, especially in the eyes of the little children.
4.     Do you go carolling in your neighbourhood?  I saw a comic the other day where one of the main characters sings so badly he was paid not to carol. That would be me. Unfortunately, nobody ever does come through with the money!
5.     What’s your favourite Christmas music?  I like best the children’s songs and other upbeat traditional songs about Christmas. All of the hymns are beautiful, but I most enjoy the fun ones.
6.     What’s your favourite Christmas carol?  Go Tell It On The Mountain. (I think that’s considered a carol).
7.     Do you have a special Xmas movie/book you like to watch/read?  The Grinch Who Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. Yes, I’m a child at heart. Years ago, after my Dad died, I was having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit and decorating the tree. I put the DVD of this on and went ahead decorating singing along and laughing at his antics. It is now a Christmas tradition in my house.
8.     Does your family do individual gifts, gifts for littlies only, Secret Santa (aka Kris Kringle)?  We don’t do much with gifts anymore. The family is spread out so that it is impossible to know what anyone might want or even like. I just exchange gifts with my husband now.
9.     Is your main Christmas meal indoors or outdoors, at home or away?  Indoors. Traditionally at my parents. This year just my husband and I. We’ll be getting together with one of my brothers and some of his family the day after for a meal.
10.   What do you eat as your main course for the Christmas meal?  A nice meal. What is actually consists of varies over the years. Either turkey, ham, or roast beef usually with many side dishes and of course, dessert.
11.   Do you have a special recipe you use for Xmas?  The menu varies so, that I don’t really have any special recipes. We almost always have the holiday salad that I mentioned at Thanksgiving. There are some cookies that Mom always used to make at Christmas time. I’m making some of them this year and will probably make a few more later in the winter.
12.   Does Christmas pudding feature on the Xmas menu? Is it your recipe or one you inherited?  We've never had Christmas pudding.
13.   Do you have any other special Christmas foods? What are they?  The cookies I mentioned. Cream cheese spritz, cherry slices, pecan Tassies and sugar cookies were almost always around. Right now there are cherry slices and Snickerdoodles at my house.
14.   Do you give home-made food/craft for gifts at Christmas?  I haven’t in recent years; however, my Mom was likely to have at least a couple crafted items as presents for people. Knitted items, sewn, beaded or just about anything else. Many years our tree was covered with ornaments that her and I had made.
15.   Do you return to your family for Xmas or vice versa?  In previous years it was my parents’ house. This year some of us will be gathering at my brother’s.
16.   Is your Christmas celebrated differently from your childhood ones? If yes, how does it differ?  This is definitely a year of change.

17.   How do you celebrate Xmas with your friends? Lunch? Pre-Xmas outings? Drop-ins? Sending Christmas Cards and talking with far-flung friends on Facebook mostly. When I worked in the library we would have a staff party just before the Christmas break. The best ones were when we all pitched in and brought something rather than having a catered luncheon.
18.   Do you decorate your house with lights? A little or a lot?  That is too difficult for us the way our lawn is and with a steep pitched roof. We do have a small tree on our front porch that we plug in on evenings that we remember.
19.   Is your neighbourhood a “Xmas lights” tour venue?  There are a few people that decorate with lights, but not too many. The suburbs tend to do a lot more than the city it seems.
20.   Does your family attend Carols by Candlelight singalongs/concerts? Where?  No. It’s usually too cold! I get chilled very easily, so not something that I find enjoyable.
21.   Have any of your Christmases been spent camping (unlikely for our northern-hemisphere friends)?  Yes. Christmas 1987 was spent in Ocala Forest. Between semesters at college that year, my parents and I got in our camper and headed south for Florida. We spent Christmas in a campground outside of Ocala and attended a potluck gathering there as our main meal.
22.   Is Christmas spent at your home, with family or at a holiday venue?  At home, although I thought about going to a restaurant this year instead of cooking.
23.   Do you have snow for Christmas where you live?  Upstate New York? We sometimes have blizzards.
24.   Do you have a Christmas tree every year?  Always. One year when I was too sick to put a regular one up, I bought a small, 3-foot tree. That’s the one that is on the porch now.
25.   Is your Christmas tree a live tree (potted/harvested) or an imitation?  I vaguely remember having a real tree when I was a small child. Then Mom discovered that she was allergic to a mold that grows on the cut stump. Dad went out and bought an artificial one and that’s what we’ve had ever since. Even after I lived on my own I’ve continued because when I’m near a real one I get congested awful and suspect I probably have the same allergy that Mom did.
26.   Do you have special Xmas tree decorations?  A few are special. We have one that commemorates our first Christmas after we were married. I also like to add German stars to our tree. These are folded paper decorations that I learned to make as a teenager. They are also reflective of my husband’s heritage.
27.   Which is more important to your family, Christmas or Thanksgiving?  I’ve always preferred Thanksgiving. However, I don’t think one has ever been more important than the other.