Friday, March 17, 2017

New Tool for Maiden Names of Mothers (England and Wales)

Those who research England and Wales in the time period starting on 1 July 1837 probably have FreeBMD already on their Bookmarks Bar. This is the free index to the civil registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths. It is especially useful for finding the maiden names of brides. (From the census or other records you determine the probable time and place of the marriage, and search for it by using the husband's given name and surname and the wife's given name. Bingo! There they are with the wife's maiden name... if there is only one woman on that page with that particular given name.)  http://www.freebmd.org.uk/

What is new?
The General Register Office, the agency of the UK government that looks after government records, now allows the general public to register for online accounts, where they can do free searches for births, where the mother's maiden name is given. And searches of deaths where the age at death is given. This information has been available in FreeBMD for searches of births after 1910 and deaths after 1865, but these new searches give that information for earlier births and deaths. Suddenly you may be able to research the ancestors of mothers where you did not know their maiden names. Note that Free BMD has a more powerful search engine, but once you have identified the year and place of an event in FreeBMD, the new tool becomes very useful.

Example:
I have known for a long time that Robert Teal and Jane Constable had a son Robert Teale, christened 13 Jul 1845 at Holme Upon Spalding Moor, Yorkshire, England.
Searching with the new tool I found the death of a Robert Teale aged 2 in 1847 in Howden registration district (which includes Holme). So obviously, our little Robert died at the age of 2. Without the age, I might have thought it was the death of a different Robert Teale.
Then I discovered:
Name:                         Mother's Maiden Surname:  
TEALE, ROBERT     CONSTABLE   Order
GRO Reference: 1850  S Quarter in HOWDEN  Volume 23  Page 60
Obviously, this Robert Teale is also a son of Jane Constable (and Robert Teal). "Order" is a link so I can easily order an official birth certificate, if I want to pay for it.

To set up your free account, go to https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/ and click Order certificates online. On the next screen, click Order Certificates Online and search the GRO historic birth and death indexes. And click Register as an Individual 


Another companion to FreeBMD is FreeReg, which is becoming a "must use" tool in its own right. https://www.freereg.org.uk/ You might want to check it out too, if you have not checked it lately.

The Consultant Planner

At RootsTech 2017 last month, a new tool was introduced for general use by Temple and Family History Consultants. It is referred to as the Consultant Planner. Its aim is help consultants easily access the accounts of the people they are helping on an on-going basis, and to create lesson plans for finding family names to take to the temple.

To use it, click Get Help in the upper right hand corner of the screen and select Help Others.







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!