Friday, October 6, 2017

How do I upload a word processor document to FamilySearch Memories?

Your patrons may have noticed that common "document" types such as .DOC, .DOCX, .ODT and .RTF files cannot be uploaded to FamilySearch Memories as "documents".

But .PDF documents can! We are guessing that since some file formats are proprietary, there was less risk of legal headaches by using PDF, since Adobe.com released the file specifications into the public domain a few years ago. Also PDF has become an internet standard file format.

So the question becomes, how can our patrons convert word processor (or other) documents to PDF so they can be uploaded to Memories?

A word processor (or other) document can usually be "saved" or "printed" or "exported" as a PDF document. This is a built-in feature of recent computer operating systems, such as Windows 10.
(When printing, select Microsoft Print to PDF as the printer, to create a PDF version of the document.)  Easy-peasy.

What about patrons with older computers and older software?

In this situation, they can choose to download one of the free PDF writers from the internet such as CutePDF or PrimoPDF. There are probably a dozen to choose from. We assume no responsibility for their use, of course. Once installed, it appears as a new printer that can be chosen. Anything "printed" to the PDF writer creates a perfect PDF copy of itself.

For further details on uploading PDF files see: Knowledge Article "393331  Uploading PDF files to FamilySearch Memories" in the FamilySearch Help Center in the Get Help menu.

The PDF document can be uploaded so long as it is less than 15 MB in size.

A 15 MB PDF document can be 100 pages or more in length. The fewer photos involved, the more pages will fit within the 15 MB limit.

We are glad to help …

“So you are using Office97 in WindowsXP? No problem. But for uploading, you will want to use the most recent version of Firefox or Chrome that runs on your system.”

“We are glad to help you prepare your document to upload it to FamilySearch memories.”


* There are also file conversion websites that can be used to convert word processor documents to PDF. But that is a different process.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Building the Family Tree

This involves “data migration” - Moving family history data from one platform (memory, paper, website, app, database, operating system) to another.

OPERATING SYSTEMS vs. BROWSERS
Where different operating systems are concerned, note that the same personal database software may be available for both Windows and MacOS. To transfer data between these OS, just install the appropriate version of the software. e.g. Ancestral Quest for Mac will use data from Ancestral Quest for Windows. Or use GEDCOM to export the data from one program and import into the other. [This paragraph has good general information but may be slightly off topic.]

Web-based products have the advantage of working with almost any operating system, whether you have heard of it before or not. The browser is crucial, the OS, not so much!
You want to use Firefox in Linux Mint or Ubuntu? No problem!
Or you prefer Chrome in Android or iOS? Great!
But you want to use some unknown browser on Windows 10? Hmmm… maybe try Chrome, Firefox, or Edge instead!

We will look at some options available to our patrons … 

1. Data Entry
This is not the first option we like to suggest to our patrons but it is a viable option, especially if a small number of records is involved. If you are adding data from a book it is the only option. 
This will take between 2 and 10 minutes per name, depending on the user’s keyboard skills and the amount of information on each person, and any duplicates found. 
2 minutes assumes a high level of familiarity with the site, and entering just a name, birth and death, with no possible duplicates. 4 minutes per name is probably a fair average, if the patron is also adding christening, marriage and burial information, and resolving duplicates. 
At 4 minutes per name, this works out to 6 or 7 hours for 100 names. 
[Note that the times given are based on my own experience and your times may vary considerably.]
56435   Adding a parent, spouse, sibling, or child to Family Tree

Unstandardized Place Names - An Obstacle to temple work?
Ordinances require a major life event with a standardized date (e.g. “About 1655”) and a standardized place name. Patrons want to add the most exact place whether it is in our Standard list or not. And they can usually do that. 
For example, if the actual place name is Olavskilden, Akershus, Norway. This place name is not accepted as standard, but the larger jurisdiction of Akershus, Norway is accepted. By inputting the full place name and clicking the gray area of the form, the system accepts the top standard place from the list. By saving at this point, the unstandardized complete place name is saved, and so is the standardized version (each in its own special storage).
71996   Entering standardized dates and places

2. Import a GEDCOM - GEnealogical Data COMmunication (GEDCOM)
GEDCOM is a file format for transferring data between different software and websites that support its use. But some “GEDCOM” files include extended features that do not conform to our GEDCOM standard. 
When exporting a GEDCOM for use with FamilySearch, it is best to specify that the GEDCOM file is “for use with PAF (Personal Ancestral File)” so that incompatible features are automatically filtered out. 
For example, a patron phoned to say that after 2 days her GEDCOM file from Family Tree Maker had still not finished uploading to FamilySearch. Using Teamviewer, the patron was helped to create a new GEDCOM file “for PAF” which uploaded in 5 minutes.

Import a GEDCOM file into Pedigree Resource File, and match with Family Tree, one record at a time.  In my personal experiment (your time may vary): 
Creating GEDCOM of 115 names: 4 minutes; 
Uploading GEDCOM : 4 minutes; 
Categorizing GEDCOM : 5 minutes; 
Manually Compare: about 3 minutes per record, so a little faster than data entry. 
Maybe 5 hours for 100 names.
NOTE: This option cannot add living people.
61144   Uploading GEDCOM files and copying the information to Family Tree

3. Synchronize with Family Tree
Use any one of the software packages that can synchronize with Family Tree. (Legacy Family Tree, Ancestral Quest, RootsMagic). If the data is already in the software’s own database format, there is no need to use a GEDCOM, just synchronize with Family Tree.   
Note that each software company supports its own products. FS does not provide support for them. 
418381   Importing or uploading information into Family Tree 

This option can also export data from FT.
53455   Exporting or downloading information from Family Tree 

In my example, I selected 381 records, and it took 5 minutes for the software to categorize the records:
114 Positive Matches (almost certain, but check if you wish); 
25 Possible matches (requiring maybe 2 minutes each allowing for possible duplicates); 
96 Not Matched – Deceased (they can be added as a group); 
72 Not Matched – Living (they can be added if there is a reason to do so); 
74 Already Linked (already linked to records in FT).
100 records might take 1-2 hours of time, depending whether you choose to accept all of the Positive Matches and Not Matched without reviewing them. 

4. Using RootsMagic 7 to Link Ancestry.com and FamilySearch Family Tree
A recent option for RootsMagic users is to synchronize their tree at ancestry.com and FamilySearch Family Tree with their local RootsMagic database. No GEDCOM is involved. 
This is not a FamilySearch product and or process, but is an option available to users of this particular product.
It may be of special interest to Public users, who are not currently able to link their ancestry.com tree with FamilySearch. 
Any requests for information should be referred to RootsMagic.com
56291 Support for third party products

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I apologize that some of the knowledge articles cited are vague. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Resources for Teaching a Family History Class?

We often get questions on this topic. Currently, the Church has no official family history course that I am aware of, since the DVD course was discontinued 2 or 3 years ago. If you have access to the old DVD, you can use it, but the focus of the program has changed to become more centered on Find, Take, Teach, which may be why the old course was discontinued.

FIND - Find a relative needing temple ordinances, check for duplicates and try to verify which ordinances are needed, and obtain permission if it is required.

TAKE - Print a temple card and take it to the temple to do needed ordinances.

TEACH - Teach someone else to do the same.


Temple and Family History Consultant
What is currently available seems focused on training for those with family history callings, rather than the general membership.Take the time to familiarize yourself with this training on family history callings: https://www.lds.org/callings/temple-and-family-history


The Family History Guide 
Other than that, the first teaching resource I tend to think of is The Family History Guide by The Family History Guide, LLC   http://www.TheFHGuide.com This is a huge resource! You can use it to create many different family history classes.


FS Family Tree User Group
One place where you can find prepared curricula for courses is this website.
http://fsfamilytreeusergroup.com/home.html
A look at their Training by Audience page alone is very impressive.
http://fsfamilytreeusergroup.com/training_by_audience.php


It is very possible that none of these is exactly what you need for teaching your class, but I encourage you to take the time to look at them again, if you have not looked at them recently.


You may have your own favorite resources. I would like to hear of them.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Why Create an Account for Someone with no Internet Access?

We often ask elderly Church members with no computer or internet access to register for an account. 

Why?  That is not necessary. Any member can sign in as a helper for any member (whether or not the person they are helping has registered).

Using the Help Others Feature as a Helper (53466) says in part, "For a Church member without an LDS Account: first name, last name, birth date, and the last 5 digits of the membership record number."

Temple and Family History Consultants are encouraged to use the Consultant Planner in Get Help, rather than use Help Others, but the same principle applies. 

All members of the Church, regardless whether they have registered for an LDS account, do have one unofficially. Without registering, the patron cannot access the account, but their helper can!

So as a TFHC, you can use Add in the Consultant Planner to add that patron as one of the people you are helping. Then you can sign in as their helper to add information, edit information, reserve ordinances, print temple cards, or share names with the temple. 

Advantages of the Consultant Planner, include the fan chart that gives a quick overview of the other person's ancestors (including the gaps), and the ability to work with the same patron over a period of time without needing to sign in multiple times as their helper. 

Please let other know about this, as it seems to be an unknown feature.

I frequently see cases where a Consultant is running into a series of roadblocks trying to create an account for their patron or trying to recover the username and password for an account created for the same person by a previous consultant. If your patron has internet access at home or somewhere else they frequent, it is preferable that they register, of course. This back door approach is for those who do not have a computer or internet access, typically the very elderly or severely handicapped. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Data Migration

Data Migration

FamilySearch Support frequently receives questions about moving family history data from one platform (website, app, database, operating system) to another. Where different operating systems are concerned, note that Ancestral Quest and RootsMagic are available for both Windows and MacOS. Web based products have the advantage of working with any operating system. Gedcom is also a universal system.

The most common questions tend to be moving data into or out of Family Tree.
There are multiple options for moving data in:

1. Re-enter the data. This will take between 2 and 7 minutes per name, depending on the user’s keyboard skills and the amount of information on each person, and any duplicates found. 2 minutes assumes a high level of familiarity and entering just a name, birth and death. 4 minutes per name is probably a fair average, if the patron is also adding christening, marriage and burial information. At 4 minutes per name, this works out to 6 or 7 hours for 100 names

2. Import a gedcom file into Pedigree Resource File, and match with Family Tree, one record at a time. Gedcoms seem to work best work best in "for PAF" format. (Click the images to enlarge them.) 

In my personal experiment (your mileage may vary), the time involved was:
Creating gedcom of 115 names: 4 minutes; 
Uploading gedcom: 4 minutes; 
Categorizing gedcom: 5 minutes; 
Compare: about 3 minutes per record, so a little faster than re-entry. 
Maybe 5 hours for 100 names. NOTE: This option cannot add living people. 

3. Using any one of the three software packages that can synchronize with Family Tree. (Legacy Family Tree, Ancestral Quest, RootsMagic). If the data is already in the software’s own database format, there is no need to import a gedcom.   (This option can also export data from FT.)
  
I selected 381 records, and it took 5 minutes for the software to categorize the records:
114 positive matches (almost certain, but check if you wish); 
25 Possible matches (requiring maybe 2 minutes each allowing for possible duplicates); 
96 Not Matched – Deceased (they can be added as a group); 
72 Not Matched – Living (they can be added as a group if there is a reason to do so); 
74 Already Linked (already linked to records in FT). 
In my experience 100 records might take 1-2 hours of time, depending whether you choose to accept all of the positive matches without reviewing them. 


Using RootsMagic 7 to Link Ancestry.com and FamilySearch Family Tree

A recent option for RootsMagic users is to synchronize their database at ancestry.com and FamilySearch Family Tree. No gedcom is involved. This will be of special interest to Public users. RootsMagic.com can provide detailed instructions on using their product. Any requests for information should be referred to RootsMagic.com

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Microfilm Ordering Has Been Extended to September 7

Permission has been received by FamilySearch Online Film Ordering to extend microfilm ordering for an additional week. Instead of it ending on August 31 (today), it will end on September 7, 2017. 

Standard Dates and Places in Family Tree

The terms "standard date" and "standard place" in the FamilySearch Family Tree can be confusing. The date and place of every major life event is stored in two forms: the displayed form that is shown on most screens, and the standard form that the computer uses for it's own purposes (the Find function, Possible Duplicates, PDF charts, etc.)

To make searches work better, Family Tree uses standard dates and standard places. These are Family Tree's interpretation of the data that was uploaded or input. Sometimes these are totally different from the date and place displayed on the various screens of Family Tree. In other words, what we see and what the computer sees can be totally different. This is the reason patrons may be warned of a Data Problem when the data looks perfect. For example, the date may be shown as “12 January 1901”, but Family Tree may have it standardized as “12 January 1091”. A place displayed as “Scotland” may be standardized as “Scotland, St Helena” a place thousands of miles away.

When you are helping a patron with a possible date or place problem, how can you be sure what the Standard data is? The key is to hover the mouse pointer over the date or place until the Standard interpretation of the data is displayed in a pop-up.

If the Standard data is wrong, help the patron to edit it and then check it to make sure the edited data is standardized correctly. In the Help Center, see: Entering standardized dates and places (71996)

(Sometimes editing requires you to add a space at the end of the data, to force the system to bring up the list of standard dates or places to choose from. If the real place name is not on the list presented by the computer, clicking in the gray area will cause the computer to select the first place on the list as the standard place, which may be what you want. In any case choose the standard place closest to the actual place. In some countries the state and country may be as close as close as you can get, at the present time.) 

To reserve ordinances for an individual, there must be a standard date and standard place of at least one major life event. (birth, christening, marriage, death, or burial) See (52714) in the Help Center. If all ordinances have been completed, there is less need for standard dates and places, although there will be data warnings if they are missing.

When dealing with dates and places it can be useful to distinguish between FORM and FUNCTION. The standard form for a date is day + month (spelled in full in any supported language) + year
e.g. 12 July 1789, or 4 Mars 1654, 26 Junio 1862
The standard form for a place is the levels of jurisdiction from smallest to largest separated by commas. e.g. Breton, Alberta, Canada, or Harrow View, Harrow Wield, Harrow, Middlesex, England

In actual practice, a date or place may be in some other format and still function as standard. This is especially true of dates.  e.g.  7 FEB 1923, or 22 AVR 1855
And the date and place may be in a standard form and not function as standard.
e.g. Germany (and every other standard place name that has not been recognized as standard).


Hold the mouse pointer over the data to see how the computer interprets it. Once you know this information you are prepared to help your patron.