Sunday, November 20, 2016

Font to Font

Two sister missionaries and an investigator came to the FHC during my shift. "This is Amy, she is being baptized on Saturday and wants to prepare some family names to take to the temple." I was thrilled beyond words!

I explained that until she is baptized and has a Membership Record Number, Amy will not be able to see  anything related to ordinances, but that I would be glad to help her add family members' information to Family Tree now. That way, once he is baptized and has an MRN, she will be ready to reserve ordinances and print cards for deceased family members.

She was happy with this, and she proceeded to copy family information from printed pages she had received from a cousin, She was a fast learner, and it warmed my heart to be able to help. I knew that the probability of Amy remaining strong in the Church was greatly increased by her involvement in family history. The spirit of Elijah is powerful! Family history also strengthens our ties to our extended family, both the living and the dead. Over the years, it has brought me precious experiences that I will always cherish. I hope that Amy will enjoy similar experiences, as she progresses from the baptismal font to the temple font and beyond!


[Note that I have used the name "Amy" in place of her real name.]

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Family History Activities for Young Children

In my "Mini Family Discovery Day" I included activities that should be of interest to children of middle school age and up. But there are many things that can be enjoyed by younger children.

I have seen examples of having young children use LEGO bricks to build sailing ships (or steam ships), covered wagons, tents, homesteader shanties, etc.

And what young child doesn't enjoy a well-told story from an ancestor's life? That was the first thing that hooked me on family history! (... a family fleeing famine-ravaged Ireland in 1847 on a ship that nearly sinks in a storm, surviving a plague and then establishing themselves in a total wilderness ... Who could resist wanting to know more?)

Drawing and coloring pictures based on a family story is something that can be enjoyed by very young children.

One interesting idea I saw was to have a child color outline maps of countries, states, or provinces that their ancestors came from. RootMapper or Grandma's Pie would make it easy to identify those areas.

One superior blog on this topic is http://www.growinglittleleaves.com That is where I found the map-coloring activity. I quote from the Contact page:

"Welcome! My name is Emily Kowalski Schroeder and I am the creator and author of the Growing Little Leaves blog. After working as a scientist, I made the decision to suspend my career and stay at home with my children on a full-time basis. I soon became an avid genealogical researcher, and began looking for age-appropriate ways in which to engage my young children in learning their family's history. Somewhat dismayed by the lack of family history education options for younger children (toddlers through elementary age), I decided to develop my own genealogy education activities for my children and share them with others via my blog, Growing Little Leaves.

"In July 2014, I entered into a partnership with the Indiana Historical Society. Our goal is to provide quality genealogy educational programming for both young children and their caretakers."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you want young children to enjoy family history, I suggest you visit Emily's blog.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Bill's Mini Family Discovery Center

Mini Family Discovery Center
Mini Family Discovery Center

Note that the first four sites are not LDS websites and may include some irrevent content.
After each activity below, return to this tab to continue with the next activity.

1. What does my first name mean? 
(Most given names have a meaning, often from an earlier form of the name. Some given names are unique.)

2. 
What was happening the year I was born?

3. What is the origin of my family name?

4. Where is my family name most commonly found? For occurrences in the UK and Canada, scroll down to the map
.

5. Where did my own ancestors come from? Rootsmapper.com To choose the number of generations, click Start.

6. Am I related to some famous historical people? RelativeFinder.org (The further back your lines have been traced in Family Tree, the more relationships you will see to famous people. If you are just getting started there may be none shown, but give it a try!)

7. Can I see a fan chart of my ancestors? Click this link and sign in. You can navigate this fan chart by clicking the name you want to put in the center.

8. Can I find an ancestor to take to the temple? FindARecord.com Uncheck all but Ordinances. (6 generations would be your great-great-great-grandparents and their descendants.) You can use the links to view the ancestor's Person page, click the Ordinances tab, and reserve temple ordinances. (Your goal is to take one ancestor to the temple soon, not to reserve large numbers ordinances, thereby preventing other family members from taking them to the temple.)

9. Can I print an ordinance card to take my ancestor to the temple? When signed in your LDS account at FamilySearch,org, click the Temple tab. Find the ancestor you have reserved, put a check mark in the box beside their name, click Print and follow the prompts. Pick up the printed ordinance card from the printer and trim it to size. (If you have no printer, carefully copy the 16-digit number to a piece of paper and take it to the temple office so they can print the card.)

10. Historical photo of me and my family using a camera, phone, or tablet. Get help from FHC staff to upload the photo.

11. Scan an old family photo to
FamilySearch Memories by using the scanner. Get help.

12. Record an interview and upload it to FamilySearch Memories, by using the Memories app. Get help.


Note that the temple-related points, 8 and 9 are for Latter-day Saints only. The other points should work equally well with the general public.


Inspired by a recent visit to the Family Discovery Center in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.
Bill Buchanan, Edmonton Riverbend FHC
This posting may be useful if your Family History Center plans a Family Discovery Day sometime soon, or as an on-going feature. Please feel free to borrow and adapt these ideas. I would welcome feedback in the Comments.

Bill's Mini Family Discovery Center

Mini Family Discovery Center
Mini Family Discovery Center

Note that the first four sites are not LDS websites and may include some irrelevent content.
After each activity below, return to this tab to continue with the next activity.

1. What does my first name mean?  Or simpler
(Most given names have a meaning, often from an earlier form of the name. Some given names are unique.)

2. 
What was happening the year I was born?

3. What is the origin of my family name?

4. Where is my family name most commonly found? For occurrences in the UK and Canada, scroll down to the map
.

5. Where did my own ancestors come from? Rootsmapper.com To choose the number of generations, click Start.

6. Am I related to some famous historical people? RelativeFinder.org (The further back your lines have been traced in Family Tree, the more relationships you will see to famous people. If you are just getting started there may be none shown, but give it a try!)

7. Can I see a fan chart of my ancestors? Click this link and sign in. You can navigate this fan chart by clicking the name you want to put in the center.

8. Can I find an ancestor to take to the temple? FindARecord.com Un-check all but Ordinances. (6 generations would be your great-great-great-grandparents and their descendants.) You can use the links to view the ancestor's Person page, click the Ordinances tab, and reserve temple ordinances.

9. Can I print an ordinance card to take my ancestor to the temple? When signed in your LDS account at FamilySearch,org, click the Temple tab. Find the ancestor you have reserved, put a check mark in the box beside their name, click Print and follow the prompts. Pick up the printed ordinance card from the printer and trim it to size. (If you have no printer, carefully copy the 16-digit number to a piece of paper and take it to the temple office so they can print the card.)

10. Historical photo of me and my family using a camera, phone, or tablet. Get help from FHC staff to upload the photo.

11. Scan an old family photo to
FamilySearch Memories by using the scanner. Get help.

12. Record an interview and upload it to FamilySearch Memories, by using the Memories app. Get help.


Note that the temple-related points, 8 and 9 are for Latter-day Saints only. The other points should work equally well with the general public.


Inspired by a recent visit to the Family Discovery Center in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.
Bill Buchanan, Edmonton Riverbend FHC
This posting may be useful if your Family History Center plans a Family Discovery Day sometime soon, or as an on-going feature. Please feel free to borrow and adapt these ideas. I would welcome feedback in the Comments.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Creating Books as PDFs

Why PDF?
I love to use multi-page PDF files to publish family history books. (They avoid the common problem of JPEGs and PNGs, where each page is a separate file that need to be found and then read sequentially.) In a multi-page PDF, you can have a fully formatted document or book, complete with photos, charts, etc. in a single file. And unless it has an unusual number of photos, it should weigh in at less than the maximum size of 15 MB allowed by FamilySearch. In my experience, this should accommodate 200 pages or more. And every computer or device can read them, unlike some file formats. (I have probably already told the tale of the CD of family history I received from a cousin in Australia, in a MS Publisher format that it took me 6 months to decode. Lesson learned: publish in a universal file format!)

How to Do It?
In most cases a word processor is the easiest place to create a multi-page PDF file, because it is the most familiar. And they make it easy to include photos, maps, charts and other things of interest. Once you have the book created in Word/OpenOffice/LibreOffice or whatever, use the software's ability to export/print the file as PDF.
What if your wordprocessor doesn't have this feature? If you are using Windows 10, choose Microsoft Print to PDF as the "printer".
If your wordprocessor and your operating system both lack this ability, download and install the free PDF Creator (or similar), and use this as the "printer" to generate PDF versions of word processor files.
I keep the master copy of each book as a word processor file, so it is easily changed.

Note that the multi-function printer/scanner/copier in my small Family History Center also has the ability to scan multiple pages into a single PDF file. It may take a little experimenting to become comfortable with it, but it has the advantage that any printed page can become part of a PDF file. (I believe that each page is handled as a large photo, so the resulting file will be larger than one generated from a word processor.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I discovered a third cousin who is interested in family history. In fact her husband is a software engineer for FamilySearch.org  How cool is that?

As I wanted to share with her some family books I had created, it led me to reexamine them. I discovered that one of them had never been uploaded to FamilySearch Memories, and another had a page that listed the birth and marriage details of my living siblings. Oops! That should not have happened!

So I deleted the existing copy from Memories, and created a new version of the book by deleting that page in my master copy and exporting a new PDF copy. Then I uploaded the new version to Memories and tagged it to the main people in the book. Mission accomplished!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

An Easier Way to Find Duplicates?

You may be aware that in May, Membership Department reconnected to the Family Tree, after being disconnected since August 2014. As a result 3 different types of records from membership were brought into FT.

1. Records of members, that were previously hidden because no death was recorded. Yea!!!! We have been waiting for this to happen!

2. Records of non-member family members who are deceased. As I understand it, these are chiefly created to allow non-member family members to be shown in ward and stake directories. Okay, but confusing! These incomplete records need to be the surviving records in the case of a merge.

3. Ancestral File records, of which Membership Department had a copy. This happened by accident. Ouch!!! These records can mess up family lines for generations.


The Find-A-Record app can be a better way of finding the duplicates so they can be merged. (This is much more difficult to do in the Family Tree.) This app can be found at https://familysearch.org/apps/



Merge or Wait?
Do you really want to merge these duplicate records at this time?
Instinctively the answer tends to be "Yes, let's clean it up right now!"
But, until the Family Tree is moved off new.familysearch.org as part of the underlying platform for the database, the surviving record in any merge must be the record created by membership department! In other words, the record to which you have attached 15 sources, 20 memories, etc. needs to be deleted, along with its history and contributors. The surviving record will be a new record that shows as being created by LDS Membership, and you will need to remember to move all relationships etc. to that record.

However, if you are willing to wait until FT is moved to the new "tree foundation" and nFS is permanently shut down, you will be able to merge the records in either direction. Then the records can be merged in the logical order, and the new incomplete record from membership can be the one deleted by the merge.

Also by waiting, we will be able to merge two membership or IOUS records, which is currently impossible.

How long do we need to wait? At RootsTech2016, Ron Tanner said that the change will happen in 2016.
Quietly, FT recently stopped using nFS to manage ordinances. As I understand it, this is a big step towards shutting down nFS, but we aren't there yet. The managers and engineers need our prayers.

A new posting by Ron Tanner, the manager of FamilySearch Family Tree on 15 June 2016:
"... We are looking to see if we can remove them without adverse issues. I would wait until June 27th to see if they are gone, if not, then merge."

https://getsatisfaction.com/familysearch/topics/officially-how-should-i-tell-my-stake-to-handle-the-new-family-tree-duplicates

SSD and No Disk Space?

One of the Dell computers at our FHC is slightly different than the others. Instead of having a conventional hard disk, it has a solid state disk, with 128 GB capacity. For several weeks we were getting a message that the disk was full. The similar Dell machines have a 500 GB hard drive, but in my previous experience the hard disks in our FHC remain mostly empty. A full drive made no sense to me.

What could I do to solve the issue with the SSD? I ran a disk cleanup. No improvement! I removed the DOS virtual  machine with the Old Scottish Parish Records (never used in our center). The disk was still full! I removed a couple of other seldom-used programs, but the disk was still essentially full. I didn't dare remove any more programs, as we needed them. Our stake tech did not have a solution either.

Researching the question, I found the suggestion to install a free utility program to see what was using all of the disk space. Voila! The Windows Temp folder was using about 60 GB of space! I checked to see if I could safely delete the temp files.

I deleted them, and for the past several months the SSD has remained half empty. I reinstalled the things I had previously removed, and the last time I checked there was still 54 GB of free space. So we are good!