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October 2011
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December 2011

Legacy Tip - how to turn on/off the RINs PLUS 2 little known tricks

I'm so glad Donna asked this question. Knowing the answer will give you a lot more room in Legacy's Family View. She asked,

"What does the bracket [ ] with a number in the middle after each person's name mean? Possible to delete these brackets?"

I believe Donna is referring to the numbers that appear after each person's name in the Family View. Click on the image below to see these numbers.

Rins

These numbers represent each person's RIN.

RIN = Record Identification Number

These numbers are automatically added by Legacy. Some people like 'em, some don't. Viewing these RINs in the Index View may make it easier to differentiate two people with the same name. You can also use a little-known Legacy shortcut to quickly navigate to a person in the Family View by pressing the G button, then entering their number (little known trick #1).

To simplify what you see in the Family View, you can turn off the display of these RINs by going to:

Options > Customize > View tab > Display Numbers on Names section

and make sure there is not a checkmark next to "On Family View and Pedigree View." The Family View will now look like:

Rins2

Do you miss the extra numbers? I don't. But if you want to quickly see the numbers, all you have to do is look in the far lower right of the screen:

Rins3

H = Husband's RIN

M = Marriage RIN

W = Wife's RIN

These numbers are always available here.

Hidden tip: click on the tiny + sign next to one of the numbers and Legacy will display the person with the next highest RIN. Now right-click on the same + sign and Legacy will go in reverse. (I discovered this right-click tip as I was writing this paragraph...always something new that we can learn...little known trick #2.)

Maybe all Donna was looking for was a simple Yes or No answer, but I just couldn't help myself.


1940 U.S. census to be available free at Archives.com

The 1940 U.S. census won't be available until April 2, 2012 (just 136 more days!) but information released today explains that its 3.8 million images containing about 131 million names will be available at no charge at Archives.com. Initially the census will not be indexed. Researchers will be able to browse the images by enumeration district or address.

Read their exciting press release below.

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Nov. 17, 2011 -- Archives.com, the website that makes discovering your family history simple and affordable, has joined in partnership with the National Archives of the United States to provide the public with free digital access to the 1940 Federal Population Census beginning on April 2, 2012. In close collaboration with the National Archives, Archives.com will build a website for researchers to browse, view, and download images from the 1940 Census, the most important collection of newly released U.S. genealogy records in a decade.

Archives.com is pleased to contribute to this momentous project, allowing researchers to digitally access the latest release of the U.S. Federal Population Census, the ultimate resource for family historians, at no cost. Census day occurred April 1, 1940 and due to the 72-year privacy restriction these records will be available to the public for the first time in 2012.

CEO Matthew Monahan said, "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in this historic moment and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the advancement of online genealogy research. Access to 1940 Census records will allow researchers to discover new family members and previously unknown connections to the past. We're happy to have the opportunity to facilitate the discovery of these records, which document over 130 million U.S. residents, more than any previous U.S. Census."

The 1940 Census will be available to the public April 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM (Eastern Daylight Time) on a new website created in collaboration between Archives.com and the National Archives. The collection will consist of 3.8 million images that the National Archives scanned from over four thousand rolls of microfilm. Public access to the images will not require payment or registration, and will be available to any person with internet access. The name and web address of the website will be announced at a later date.

Chief Digital Access Strategist for the National Archives Pamela Wright notes, "The importance of the 1940 Census cannot be underestimated. At the National Archives, we have been preparing for the launch of these records for years. We are working closely with Inflection to ensure researchers will be able to search the 1940 Census when it opens next year." At launch, researchers will be able to search the 1940 Census by address, Enumeration District (ED), and geographic location. Researchers will be able to browse images by ED number directly, or use address or geographic information to locate the appropriate census schedule. 

To learn more about Archives.com and the National Archives bringing the 1940 Census online, please visit www.archives.com/1940census. The National Archives also has published a number of helpful resources available to researchers on their website, which can help you to prepare to most effectively search the 1940 Census on April 2nd. As the project progresses, updates and additional information will be posted at www.archives.com/blog. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #1940Census.

About Archives.com

Archives.com is the website that makes family history simple and affordable. Archives.com is owned and operated by Inflection a data commerce company headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley. It has proven its leadership in the family history industry through its commitment to building powerful, easy to use tools, and helping researchers discover new family connections with its growing database of over 1.5 billion records. Archives.com parent company Inflection was chosen by the National Archives to host the 1940 Census. Learn more about the project at www.archives.com/1940census.

About the National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that preserves and shares with the public records that trace the story of our nation, government, and the American people. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives is a public trust upon which our democracy depends, ensuring access to essential evidence that protects the rights of American citizens, documents the actions of the government, and reveals the evolving national experience. Visit www.archives.gov.


Heritage Collector v7 (a Legacy add-on program) to be officially released during Friday's webinar

HeritagecollectorBreaking news...

Heritage Collector Suite has long been one of our favorite add-ons for Legacy Family Tree. Its software helps you manage your digital photo collection, create calendars, publish photo books, and much more.

During tomorrow's live webinar, Heritage Collector founder, Marlo Schult, will announce the availability of their newest release - version 7. He will give a brief demo of the new features, after which Kathleen Bitter will show how to make:

  • personalized Christmas cards
  • letters
  • slideshows
  • 12 month family calendar
  • storybook pages
  • and more

Register for the webinar (free) at www.LegacyFamilyTree.com/webinars.asp. Heritage Collector Suite is also available in our online store.


Free webinar now online - Creating a Shareable CD with Legacy and Passage Express Software

Jeff-100"Nobody has to know how easy it is" is how today's presenter, Jefferson Shupe, described the process of creating a shareable CD. Using the Create CD tool in Legacy Family Tree (which launches the free, standard edition of Passage Express which is included with Legacy), anyone can easily create a CD with pictures, slideshows, and an easy navigational menu to share with friends and family. Jefferson gave a terrific and thorough demonstration of his Passage Express software.

View the recording

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 30 minute recording of Creating a Shareable CD with Legacy and Passage Express software is now available to view in our webinar archives. Visit www.LegacyFamilyTree.com/webinars.asp to watch.

Special discount coupon

The special discount coupon of share that was announced during the webinar is valid for 10% off anything in our online store through Monday, November 21, 2011.

Purchase Passage Express

The free, standard edition of Passage Express is available inside Legacy by clicking on the Create CD button in the main toolbar. The deluxe edition adds even more functionality, which Jefferson described well in the webinar.

Click here to purchase Passage Express Deluxe.

Click here to purchase Passage Express Deluxe (download-only edition).

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • Celebrate the Holidays and Share Family History with Heritage Collector software with Kathleen Bitter, November 18.
  • A Closer Look at Google+ with Dan Lynch, November 30.
  • Tracing Immigrant Ancestors with Lisa Alzo, December 7.
  • "Is My Pet Frog Part of My Family?" Children and Genealogy in the Classroom with Maureen Taylor, December 14.
  • Digital Books and Sites for Genealogists with James Tanner, January 4.
  • Pilgrims and Patriots: Discovering Your Massachusetts Ancestors with Marian Pierre-Louis, January 18.

Click here to register.

See you online!


Two webinars this week: Create a Shareable CD and Heritage Collector Software (a Legacy add-on)

This week's webinars will get you ready for the holidays by learning how to best share your family history.

Jeff-100Creating a Shareable CD with Legacy and Passage Express Software presented by Jefferson Shupe on Wednesday, November 16, 2011.

Want to share your work with the relatives? Watch how easy it is for Legacy users to create professional multimedia CDs to pass around at your next family function. The Passage Express software (standard edition included with Legacy) includes slideshows, royalty-free music, an impressive menu designer, and lots more. It's always a good idea to back up your work. Why not get your family excited about their ancestry at the same time? Who knows, you may get offers to help with your genealogy work! Join Passage Express developer, Jefferson Shupe, for this 90 minute webinar. We'll also have great door prizes to give away!

Click here to register (free!).

Bitter-100Share Family History with Heritage Collector Software presented by Kathleen Bitter on Friday, November 18, 2011.

Join Heritage Collector's Kathleen Bitter as she shares great holiday ideas and teaches how to make: Personalized Christmas cards, Christmas letters and slideshows, 12 month Family Calendar - a perfect family present for kids and grandchildren, Storybook pages for the holidays, Ideas to help you with your Christmas craft gifts. All of this and more can be achieved using the Legacy add-on software, Heritage Collector.

Click here to register (free!).

The webinars are free but space is limited to the first 1,000 people to join that day.

Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Wednesday and Friday at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain/Arizona
  • 11am Pacific
  • 7pm GMT

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at www.LegacyFamilyTree.com/webinars.asp today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email during the week prior to the webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  6. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone.

We look forward to seeing you all there!


Brick Walls: The Nathan Brown Case Continued

Marian Pierre-Louis' recent webinar, Brick Walls: Cracking the Case of Nathan Brown's Parents, continues to inspire researchers. Just this morning I received an email from a viewer in Australia who wrote,

Hope springs eternal. Nathan Brown Brick Wall Webinar rated "Invaluable."

She wrote about how Marian's ideas helped her finally solve the brick wall of her great-great-grandparents. Congrats to our viewer!

Marian has written five follow-up articles on her blog, Marian's Roots and Rambles:

The Nathan Brown Case Continued

Nathan Brown: How Much Time and Effort Did It Take?

Nathan Brown: How Exactly Did I Find Nathan's Parents?

Nathan Brown: Do it Yourself or Hire a Professional?

Nathan Brown: Using Secondary Sources

If you're reading this article today, November 14, you still have time to view the webinar for free before it moves to our archives tomorrow. The webinar, and Marian's 4 pages of excellent handouts, are now available on CD. Add it to your webinar-on-CD library for just $9.95.

Marian's webinar was received so well that we are planning a series of webinars on brick wall topics. Stay tuned to our webinars page.


6 Million New Records (free) at FamilySearch from 20 countries

A broad range of records were added to FamilySearch this week from 20 countries, notably Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, England, Dominican Republic, Germany, Italy, Philippines, and the U.S. The U.S. additions include a variety of records from California, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin (See the full listing of new updates below). Begin your search now at FamilySearch.org.

Collection Records Images Comments
Australia, Tasmania, Miscellaneous Records, 1829–1961 0 9,723 Added browsable images to existing collection.
Austria, Carinthia, Military Personnel Records, 1846–1897 0 238,473 New browsable image collection.
Austria, Seigniorial Records, 1537–1888 0 29,522 Added browsable images to existing collection.
Canada, Saskatchewan Provincial Records, 1879–1987 0 57,903 Added browsable images to existing collection.
Chile, Santiago, Cementerio General, 1821–2006 0 65,853 New browsable image collection.
Colombia, Catholic Church Records, 1600–2008 0 9,710 Added browsable images to existing collection.
Dominican Republic, Catholic Church Records, 1590–1955 0 165,106 New browsable image collection.
El Salvador, Catholic Church Records, 1655–1977 0 589,990 New browsable image collection.
England, Cornwall Parish Registers, 1538–2010 0 11,979 Added browsable images to existing collection.
England, Lancashire, Oldham Cemetery Registers, 1797–2004 0 45,387 New browsable image collection.
England, Warwickshire Parish Registers, 1538–1900 399,299 0 Added new records to existing collection.
Germany, Württemberg, Schwäbisch Hall, Probate Records, 1833–1905 0 21,584 New browsable image collection.
Honduras, Catholic Church Records, 1633–1978 0 37,672 Added browsable images to existing collection.
Hungary Catholic Church Records, 1636–1895 261,188 0 Added new records to existing collection.
Isle of Man, Parish Registers, 1598–1950 410,460 42,054 New index collection.
Italy, Napoli, Castellammare di Stabia, Civil Registration (Comune), 1809–1936 6,134 0 Added new records to existing collection.
Italy, Potenza, Lagonegro, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1866–1910 0 154,261 Added browsable images to existing collection.
New Zealand, Probate Records, 1878–1960 0 89,600 Added browsable images to existing collection.
Paraguay, Catholic Church Records, 1754–1981 0 303,041 New browsable image collection.
Peru, Catholic Church Records, 1687–1992 0 76,341 Added browsable images to existing collection.
Philippines, Civil Registration (National), 1945–1980 0 265,673 Added browsable images to existing collection.
Slovakia, Church and Synagogue Books, 1592–1910 0 594,660 Added browsable images to existing collection.
Spain, Consular Records of Emigrants, 1808–1960 0 20,978 Added browsable images to existing collection.
U.S. Social Security Death Index 113,448 0 Added new records to existing collection. Records now current as of 31 Oct 2011.
U.S., California, San Mateo County Records, 1856–1967 0 114,986 Added browsable images to existing collection.
U.S., California, State Census, 1852 188,578 0 New index collection.
U.S., Illinois, Macon County, Decatur Public Library Collections, 1879–2007 0 64,268 New browsable image collection.
 U.S., Indiana, Marriages, 1811–1959 87,711 0 Added new records to existing collection.
U.S., North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663–1917 7,112 130,600 Added new records to existing collection.
U.S., Ohio, Stark County Coroner's Records, 1890–2002 0 39,054 Added browsable images to existing collection.
U.S., Oregon, Columbia County Records, 1854–1958 0 29,284 Added browsable images to existing collection.
U.S., Texas Birth Certificates, 1903–1934 422,956 423,803 Added new records to existing collection.
U.S., Texas Deaths, 1977–1986 0 59,536 Added browsable images to existing collection.
U.S., Texas, Bexar County, San Antonio Cemetery Records, 1893–2007 0 38,892 New browsable image collection.
U.S., Texas, Matagorda County, School Census Records, 1923–1946 0 52,548 Added browsable images to existing collection.
U.S., Washington State County Naturalization Records, 1850–1982 0 169,740 Added browsable images to existing collection.
U.S., Wisconsin, Probate Estate Files, 1848–1935 0 179,977 Added browsable images to existing collection.
United States, National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866–1938 165,432 0 Added new records to existing collection.
Venezuela, Civil Registration 0 13,194 Added browsable images to existing collection. 
 

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 has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.


BillionGraves.com - big competition for Find A Grave

Just hours after publishing my article, Find a Grave - the Internet's Most Valuable Resource? I learned about BillionGraves.com. I am blown away with their technology....

As I wrote earlier today, Dave and I were going to begin photographing our local cemetery to begin our volunteer efforts with Find A Grave. We've just returned home having completing one section. Dave took 84 pictures with his camera. I took the same 84 pictures using the free Billion Graves app on my smartphone. We did this to compare the process and results of the two services.

We both arrived home at approximately the same time. All 84 of my pictures have been uploaded (they were actually automatically uploaded before I even returned home) to BillionGraves.com, linked to the correct cemetery, and geocoded. And the best part is that even before I returned home, nearly 1/2 of all of the images had already been transcribed by other volunteers and added to its searchable database. I am amazed.

In the image below (click to enlarge) notice that there are 84 pictures for the Eternal Valley Memorial Park, 37 have now been transcribed, and there is a little balloon next to each grave which corresponds to the GPS data (it's not terribly accurate, but that's likely a factor of my phone's GPS settings). Look at the Transcribe tab at the top. As soon as images are taken by volunteers, they are automatically added to the Transcribe pool which is open for anyone to begin transcribing.

Billiongraves1

Meanwhile, Dave is still trying to find the right cable to connect his camera to his computer. I'll describe the two processes below:

Find A Grave

  • Take a picture of the tombstone
  • Upload the pictures from your camera to your computer
  • Login to Find A Grave and click Add Burial Records
  • Click on the Family and Friends link
  • Add the transcription information
  • Resize the digital image so it is no wider than 1200 pixels
  • Modify the file size (adjust the jpg compression) so that it is no larger than 750kb
  • Manually upload the image to the newly-created or existing memorial page

Billion Graves

  • Take a picture of the tombstone with your GPS-enabled smartphone
  • When you are done, click on the upload button
  • Login to BillionGraves.com and add the transcription. Either you or other online volunteers can do this

Pros/Cons

From my initial experience, I really want to use Billion Graves because the process is so much faster. Light-years faster. But Find A Grave has been around for 16 years, has over 71 million records, and over 800,000 volunteers have participated. In fact, searching for the surname Brown on Find A Grave returned 172,650 records. The same search at Billion Graves returned just 2,695. I should also mention here that another new smartphone app called RestingSpot is trying to do the same thing. A search for Brown there returned just 12 results. Another negative for Billion Graves is that you cannot upload photos from your computer. They have to be taken with their smartphone app.

Where do we go from here?

Because of its longevity and database size I will probably stick with Find A Grave's manual process for now. But competition breeds technological advances and we, the end-user are the ones who benefit. I'd love for the two organizations to work together and build on each other's strengths. I'd also love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


Find a Grave - the Internet's most valuable resource?

Imagine a world-wide index to every marker/stone/etc. for every cemetery on earth - fully transcribed - with pictures - and free. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Find A Grave appears to have this potential.

From the founder's perspective, Find A Grave's:

  • primary purpose is a graves registration website
  • secondary purpose is a memorialization/remembrance site
  • tertiary purpose is a genealogical resource

They state that "Find A Grave is a resource for finding the final resting place of family, friends, and 'famous' individuals."

I don't know if they know it, but I believe Find A Grave has the potential of being the most valuable website for genealogists. Let me explain. I've been searching for Dorothy Alice GEKELER (my 1st cousin 3 times removed):

  • born June 27, 1904
  • died January 9, 1919

I first searched for Dorothy Gekeler with a birth year of 1904 and did not find anything. Since Gekeler isn't that common of a surname, I then did a search for all Gekelers born in 1904.

Findagrave1

It found one possible match:

Findagrave2

Here is her memorial page:

Findagrave3

Thanks to volunteers Cathy Osburn and Charlie Horn, I now know the final resting place for Dorothy AND I have a picture of her stone.

Before finding Dorothy, I searched for 15 other ancestors where all I knew was their birth date. Find A Grave returned no matches. After their childhood years, I lost them. Sound familiar? Too many of my ancestors were "movers" - they were born and then just couldn't stay put. My ancestor Asa Brown was born in Connecticut, moved to Massachusetts, then to Pennsylvania, and died in Minnesota. His children and grandchildren have been difficult to trace for the same reason. If Find A Grave were more complete, I should be able to search for nearly any ancestor and learn where they ended up.

Thank you to all the volunteers

Don't get me wrong - Find A Grave is off to a great start. In its 16 years of existence, volunteers (over 800,000 of them) have published over 71 million memorials and I'm certain it has helped thousands of researchers break down their brick walls.

How complete is Find A Grave?

But it begs the question - what percentage of Earth's cemeteries are included, and how complete is it? If it were complete, we could find any ancestor throughout the entire world whose marker exists in a cemetery. Think of how much easier research could be!

My vision of Find A Grave's future

I'm pretty new to working with Find A Grave and so I do not claim to know everything about it. But here is where I think Find A Grave could be improved to match my vision:

  1. Let it be the one central repository for information about any cemetery - anywhere - a master cemetery registry. As this gets developed, provide a progress meter of how complete the cemetery registry is for any location. For example, in my home state of Arizona, does Find A Grave have a separate listing for every cemetery, or 50%, 75%, or 100% of all cemeteries?
    1. Upgrade the ability for other countries to browse by smaller jurisdictions just like we can for the United States. Trying to browse the Canadian cemeteries returns a message that there are too many records - I'd like to browse by Province and even smaller jurisdictions.
  2. When the registry is complete, volunteers (genealogy societies, individuals, etc.) work with each cemetery to identify the total number of known burials in the cemetery and visually compare this with the total number of entries in the Find A Grave database for that cemetery. Display an active progress meter.
  3. For any cemetery not already at 100% complete, volunteers work to photograph, transcribe, and publish the missing memorials.

When these steps are complete (which will take many more years) Find A Grave then becomes the single most valuable resource online. Maybe the developers already have this in mind and I've missed it somewhere. Maybe this is outside the realm of their vision for their site. If not, I'd love to figure out how to help make it happen.

Get started today

My recent serendipitous experiences in the Maine cemeteries have enthused me about supporting and volunteering to help contribute to Find A Grave. I've noticed that thousands of volunteers have dedicated their lives to doing the same thing. I've now taken my first "volunteer photograph," have uploaded 10 others, and manage 4 memorials. And later today, Dave Berdan (my boss and Legacy Family Tree's president) and I will begin photographing our very first cemetery. I think we're catching a new bug - the cemetery bug.

What do you think?

So what do you think? What ideas do you have? Am I wrong, or could this really provide us with a world-wide index to cemeteries and their existing tombstones/markers/etc.? Should we pursue this together? I'd especially love to hear from current Find A Grave volunteers. I'd also love to schedule a webinar on the topic - has anyone heard anyone speak about Find A Grave that we could invite?

The next time you're at the cemetery, just be sure that you are the one taking the picture...


Free webinar now online - Finding Ancestors Amid the Rubble of Disaster and Misfortune by Thomas MacEntee

ThomasMacentee-small"I learned research techniques today that I'd never thought of before," is how one viewer described today's webinar by Thomas MacEntee. In It Is Well With My Soul: Finding Ancestors Amid the Rubble of Disaster and Misfortune Thomas taught how different events affected our ancestors' lives and consequently how the genealogical records were also affected. In addition to teaching about the available records, he pointed viewers to the best websites, including his favorite disaster website - GenDisasters.

View the recording

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 14 minute recording of Finding Ancestors Amid the Rubble of Disaster and Misfortune is now available to view in our webinar archives. Visit www.LegacyFamilyTree.com/webinars.asp to watch. It is available for free until November 21, 2011.

2011-11-09-webcdPre-order the webinar-on-CD

Own your own copy of Finding Ancestors Amid the Rubble of Disaster and Misfortune by purchasing the webinar-on-CD for just $9.95. It includes the 1 hour 14 minute recording of the class, the complete Q/A session, and 5 pages of handouts. Click here for more information or to purchase.

Special discount coupon

The special discount coupon of thomas that was announced during the webinar is valid for 10% off anything in our online store through Monday, November 14, 2011.

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • Creating a Shareable CD with Legacy and Passage Express software with Jefferson Shupe, November 16.
  • Celebrate the Holidays and Share Family History with Heritage Collector software with Kathleen Bitter, November 18.
  • A Closer Look at Google+ with Dan Lynch, November 30.
  • Tracing Immigrant Ancestors with Lisa Alzo, December 7.
  • "Is My Pet Frog Part of My Family?" Children and Genealogy in the Classroom with Maureen Taylor, December 14.
  • Digital Books and Sites for Genealogists with James Tanner, January 4.
  • Pilgrims and Patriots: Discovering Your Massachusetts Ancestors with Marian Pierre-Louis, January 18.

Click here to register.

See you online!