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February 2008

DearMYRTLE's Best of the Internet for Genealogists Award

DearMYRTLE, who will be the featured speaker on this year's Legacy Cruise to Europe, has just published the awards for Best of the Internet for Genealogists 27 Jan 2008. The categories include:

  • Blog
  • Instruction
  • Database site
  • Scanned image site
  • Podcast
  • Video
  • Commentary
  • Innovation
  • Most interesting thread

A recent Legacy News article won this week's award in the Innovation category. Thanks Myrt!

View the awards here.


New ways of finding elusive ancestors

It seems like fellow genealogist, Tom Kemp, is always coming up with creative ways of finding ancestors. In his blog, he explains how he used GenealogyBank to find historical documents about the Platter family.

He also alerted me to GenealogyBank's new pricing - just $9.95 for the first month. For the amount of data available at this site, it really is a good deal.

  • Over 106 million historical newspaper articles (1690-1977)
  • More than 26 million obituaries (1977-current)
  • Over 141,000 books and documents (1789-1980)
  • Over 80 million Social Security Death Index records (1937-current). Only site updated weekly.

Start your 30-day trial today by clicking here.


Evidence Explained - 20% off - sale ends January 31

Evidence2Elizabeth Shown Mills' new book, Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace is the definitive guide to the citation and analysis of historical sources. Its 885 pages:

  • Covers all contemporary and electronic sources not discussed in traditional style manuals, including digital, audio, and video sources
  • Explains citation principals and includes more than 1,000 citation models for virtually every source type
  • Shows readers where to go to find their sources and how to describe them and evaluate them
  • Teaches readers to separate facts from assertions and theory from proof in the evaluation of evidence

Most importantly Evidence Explained discusses source citations for every known class of records, including microfilm and microfiche, and records created by the new digital media:

  • Websites
  • Digital books and journals
  • DVDs
  • CDs
  • Audio files
  • Podcasts
  • E-zines

Save 20% until January 31, 2008.
Your private coupon code is located within the Legacy News section of the Legacy Home tab inside your Legacy software:

  1. Open Legacy 6.
  2. Click on the Legacy Home tab.
  3. Look in the Legacy News section for your private coupon code.
  • Deluxe Edition users of Legacy Family Tree receive 20% off.
  • Standard Edition users receive 10% off. To upgrade to Legacy Deluxe, click here.


Get More Done With Two Monitors

I remember the days when I only had one monitor connected to my computer. How did anyone get anything done in the those B.T.M. (Before Two Monitors) days? New research shows that working with dual monitors increases your productivity by at least 40%. Just imagine how much more genealogy research you could get done with two monitors.

As an example, on the left monitor, you could have your genealogy database open. On the right monitor, you could have the Internet open and view census images. If you find information in the right monitor, just copy and paste it into your application on the left.

If you have digital images on your computer, you could use the right monitor to view your digital image collection, while on the left you could preview one of the images at full screen.

As I write this article, I have my blog editor open on the left monitor. On my right monitor I have my email software and an Internet browser visible. I can easily go back and forth - it's like having one big screen.

How does it work?
Adding a second monitor is quite simple. Tony Northrup explains it simply in his article, Two monitors are better than one. Or watch Marshall Brain's two minute video demonstrating the step-by-step instructions. If you use a laptop as your primary computer, chances are it is already set up for dual monitors.

Caution
Once you use dual monitors you will never want to go back. You will honestly wonder how you ever used a computer with just one.


Building a case when no record "proves" a point

The problem is common. We search for months or years for certain badly needed information-proof of parentage, perhaps. No record explicitly states what we need. Yet everything convinces us that such-and-such has to be. Is that good enough?

It depends.

In genealogy, the ideal record often does not exist. To solve that problem, we have two options:

  • we find a reliable alternative that does state the needed data.
  • we build a case from bits and pieces of other evidence.

Whether or not that case is solid depends upon two things:

  • the quality of our research and analysis (our construction methods).
  • the quality of our evidence (our construction materials).

Continue reading the entire article by Elizabeth Shown Mills by clicking here. Elizabeth is the author of the new Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace.


How good are the FamilySearch Indexing indexes?

FamilySearch Indexing continues to grow. Today Headquarters announced that over 115,000 volunteers have signed up to help index records.

The fruits of the efforts are starting to help people more easily identify their ancestors. The completed projects, with the linked images, are freely available for searching at http://labs.familysearch.org. For example, one of the first indexing projects was the 1900 U.S. federal census. The entire census (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) is now searchable at the labs website.

How good is the index?
I thought I would see if the FamilySearch search engine would find my ancestor, Joshua Marsden BROWN (born 1833 in Pennsylvania). He went by Marsden throughout his life, so I searched for Marsden Brown. Unbelievably, FamilySearch found him! I say unbelievably because the other three indexes I have previously consulted did NOT find him. I used the same criteria in each index: Marsden BROWN for his name. 1833 for the year of birth. And Pennsylvania for the place of birth. Here were the results:

Ancestry.com. No matches.

Heritage Quest. No matches.

Soundex Index (on microfilm). This was the first index I consulted years ago. He was listed under Marden Brown (no 's' in his name). I accidentally found this because it obviously was not alphabetized where I would have thought. I got lucky with this index.

FamilySearch. 1 close match. Marden Brown, born Sep 1833 in Pennsylvania. Even though I typed Marsden (with the 's') Brown in the search field, FamilySearch was the only search engine that returned the right person as a possible match.

Why is the index so good?
Without having any inside information, and not having conducted any comprehensive studies comparing the different services, I suspect that overall the FamilySearch indexes will be more accurate.

Firstly, for the most part, the indexes are created by persons whose native language matches the language of the records being indexed. I understand that many of the indexes produced by the commercial organizations are indexed by persons whose native language is not the language of the records they are indexing.

Secondly, each document (image) is indexed by two separate indexers. If there are any differences in the transcriptions that each creates, a third person, known as an arbitrator, compares the two and makes the final decision.

Thirdly, FamilySearch's Standard Finder is utilized in indexing and searching. This means that if a person searches for Mary, results will not only include index entries for the name Mary, but it will also include entries for common nicknames and spellings of Mary. You are more likely to find who you are looking for if you search for these name variants. FamilySearch does it for you.

What records are being indexed?
FamilySearch Indexing maintains a list of current, upcoming, and completed projects. As of today, these are the current projects:

  • Canada - 1871 census
  • Germany - Mecklenburg 1819 census
  • Ireland - birth indexes 1864-1903
  • Ireland - death indexes 1864-1884
  • Ireland - marriage indexes 1868-1921
  • Mexico - 1930 census
  • Nicaragua - Managua civil records
  • United States - 1850 census
  • United States - Arkansas marriages
  • United States - Freedmen Letters
  • United States - Indiana marriages, 1790-1905
  • United States - Boston state census 1855
  • United States - Boston state census 1865
  • United States - Ohio tax records
  • United States - Salt Lake County births 1908-1915
  • United States - veterans buried in Utah
  • United States - West Virginia vital records

Click here for a list of upcoming projects.

Click here for a list of completed projects.

How to volunteer.
To volunteer, follow these three steps:

  1. At www.FamilySearchIndexing.org, click on the Volunteer button to register.
  2. Install the software.
  3. Start indexing.

Family History Library now offers personal consultation sessions

The world's best library for genealogical research just got better! The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, recently added personal consultation sessions as one of their services. Sessions last from 30-45 minutes, depending on the nature of the problem.

Consultation sessions are not limited to genealogical research problems. They also include document reading, newsletters, organization, pictures/videos, PowerPoint, scanning techniques, and using flash drives.

I've always been a big fan of learning from the experts. They have often spent decades learning research strategies. The experts at the Family History Library now offer in-depth consultations, meaning, they will review what you know about your research problem and help you develop a solid research strategy.

Consultation sessions are scheduled at the reference desk on the appropriate floor, or call 801-240-2584 and ask to be connected to the library.

Other ways to get help

Professional Consultation Services. If you are not in the Family History Library area, you can certainly request a consultation service from professional researchers. They will request that you send them everything you know and have already researched on the particular project. They will then review, analyze, and create a research plan for you. Two credentialing organizations that provide contact information for credentialed professionals include:

GenSmarts. One of Legacy Family Tree's companion programs, GenSmarts is an excellent tool to help you with your research. GenSmarts finds holes in your data and can do automatic lookups for you on free internet search sites. GenSmarts works its magic by analyzing the genealogy information you've previously recorded in Legacy Family Tree. For more information, click here.

Legacy's Research Guidance. Legacy Family Tree's Research Guidance feature will analyze what you have previously recorded in Legacy, and automatically create a To Do List for you. It also provides a checklist of all the major lineage-linked websites to ensure you don't miss anything. To learn more, watch this free video.


Upcoming Legacy classes in Utah, Texas, California, Arizona, and Washington

If you would like us to speak at your genealogy society, please let us know.

January 2008

USA | Utah | Salt Lake City - January 9/10, 2008. Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Millennia’s Geoff Rasmussen will teach the following classes as part of the Multimedia Publishing course:

  • Basic Elements of Image Editing
  • Basic Video Creations: Stills and Sound

Registration is required. For more information, please visit https://www.infouga.org/members/choose_event.php.

USA | Utah | Provo - January 12, 2008. Utah Valley PAF User's Group. After Barry Ewell’s main presentation of “Digital Photography for Genealogists”, Millennia’s Geoff Rasmussen will teach the following workshop: “The New Legacy 7.0”. Attendance is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit http://www.uvpafug.org.

USA | Utah | Provo - January 13, 2008. BYU Family History Library. Millennia’s Geoff Rasmussen will teach the following classes which are free and open to the public:

  • Research Guidance: FamilySearch, GenSmarts, and Legacy Family Tree
  • Overview of Legacy Family Tree

For times and more information, please visit http://www.lib.byu.edu/fslab/classes1stQuarter.html.

USA | Texas | Dallas - January 26, 2008. Dallas Genealogical Society Technology Day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Dallas Public Library. Jim Terry of Millennia Corp. will be doing two presentations:

  • Introduction to the New Legacy Family Tree 7.0
  • Documentation! Genealogy without It Is Mythology.

Please contact Jeri Steele at President@dallasgenealogy.org for details.

USA | California | San Luis Obispo - February 2, 2008. Tracing Your Family Tree: Digital, DNA and Traditional Sources sponsored by the San Luis Obispo County Genealogical Society. Speakers include Dick Eastman, Cafi Cohen, Robert Albert, Max Blankfeld, Julia George, Cheryl Storton, and Legacy Family Tree’s Geoff Rasmussen. Pick up the latest Legacy software and other products. Held at Veteran’s Hall, 801 Grand Avenue in San Luis Obispo. For more information, please visit http://kcbx.net/~slogen/seminar_sched.html.

USA | Arizona | Youngtown - February 5, 12, 19, 26. Genealogy Technology Course. Sponsored by the West Valley Genealogical Society, Millennia’s Geoff Rasmussen will teach the following series of classes:

  • Keeping Up with Genealogy Technology: Blogs and Podcasts
  • Mapping Your Ancestors Using Software and the Internet
  • Scanning, Organizing, and Preserving Digital Pictures
  • Fixing, Cleaning, Touching Up, and Restoring Old and New Photos
  • Making a Family DVD/CD of your Genealogy, Pictures, and Documents That Your Family Will Actually Enjoy
  • Where and How to Publish on the Internet
  • Genealogy’s Future: The New FamilySearch and FamilySearch Indexing

Registration is required and seats are limited. Visit http://www.azwvgs.org/Classes.htm for registration and additional information, or call the WVGS Library at 623-933-4945.

USA | Washington | Bellevue - February 6, 2008. The Eastside Genealogical Society has a new Legacy Family Tree special interest group. This will be the first meeting. Held from 12:30 to 2:30 at the Crossroads Mall Community Room, corner of 156th Ave NE and NE 8th St in Bellevue.

USA | Utah | St. George - February 8/9, 2008. Family History Expo 2008 sponsored by FamilySearch and MyAncestorsFound. Choose to attend from 100 different classes. Visit our booth to see the latest Legacy software and products. Held at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George. For more information, please visit http://www.myancestorsfound.com/events/upcoming.php?event_id=1

USA | Washington | Bellevue - February 14, 2008. Eastside Genealogical Society will present "Legacy 7" by Millennia's Sherry Holthe. Contact for more info on the EGS meeting: Judy Meredith at 425-702-9321 or send an e-mail to ja.meredith@verizon.net  The EGS website is at http://www.rootsweb.com/~wakcegs/.

USA | Arizona | Sun City - February 23, 2008. West Valley Genealogical Society Annual Seminar. Meldon J. Wolfgang III, writer of the genealogy column for the New York State Archives Partnership Trust’s Magazine, and owner of Jonathan Sheppard Books, will speak on Exploring Uncommon Genealogical Research Resources, Techniques and Strategies. Registration is required. Legacy Family Tree will be available in the vendor area, showing off the latest in Legacy products. Visit http://www.azwvgs.org/Seminar.htm for more information.

USA | Arizona | Tucson - February 27, 2008. Sun City Vistoso Genealogical Society. Millennia's Geoff Rasmussen will teach the following classes:

  • Digital Imaging for Genealogists
  • The New Legacy 7.0

Held in the Apache Room in The Vistoso Center at 1565 Rancho Vistoso Blvd. in Oro Valley, north of Tucson. For questions, please contact Barbara Krecklow at rubrb@earthlink.net.

Legacy User Groups

Legacy User Groups hold meetings all over the world. To see if there is a group in your area, click here.


How to speed up Vista on your laptop

If your laptop uses the Vista operating system, you will want to read the latest edition of The Old Shoebox Newsletter by Marlo E. Schuldt. In his article, "Speed Up Vista On Your Laptop", Marlo explains how changing one setting on your laptop can give you a tremendous difference in speed. He even stated that "it's like having a new processor or computer!"

Marlo is one of the developers of the Legacy add-on, Heritage Collector, software that helps organize your digital pictures.

To read the article, click here.