Friday, December 9, 2011

PAF 2.3.1 for Macintosh

"Mac PAF" has not been available for several years but there are still a few users. Last night at the FHC we had a lessson on MacFamilyTree, and afterwards a patron asked for help in importing his Mac PAF gedcom into his new Family Tree Maker for Mac software.

I told him to create a new (empty) file and import the gedcom. I watched as he tried unsuccessfully to import the gedcom. I suspected that the gedcom file might be corrupted, so I inspected it in a text editor (Notetab Light), and the gedcom seemed to be normal.

I tried importing the gedcom into PAF and PAF couldn't see it. Note to self: a file name extension of .GEDCOM is not normal. Change it to .GED so it is recognized.

I imported the gedcom successfully into a PAF 4 file, reasoning that PAF 4 was in use at the same time as Mac PAF, so there would be a better chance of a smooth import.

Feeling that the problem was solved, I exported a new PAF 4 gedcom and asked the patron to import this into FTM. FTM now recognized it as a gedcom but rejected it because it did not conform to gedcom standard 5.5.

Now I knew what to do. Back on the Windows computer, I opened the PAF 4 file in PAF 5, allowed PAF 5 to convert it to PAF 5 format, and then exported the data in gedcom 5.5 format.

This gedcom file was imported by FTM with no complaints. SUCCESS!!!

My patron was relieved and very happy. He was not looking forward to re-entering the data for 2000 people!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Reviving a Stake Family History Center

If I were trying to revive a stake FHC, here are some ideas I would try:

1. Create a schedule of fairly basic lessons. We have more patrons when we have lessons to offer.

2. Phone each ward to get the name, phone number and email address of the bulletin editor and HPGL.

3. Contact each bulletin editor to verify their email address.

4. Send each editor and HPGL a copy of the schedule of lessons and ask to have it included in their bulletin for the next two weeks. Ask them to include the hours of operation as a standing item in each weekly bulletin.

5. Make sure that your hours of operation and phone number are listed in the stake directory, and maybe the FamilySearch wiki.

6. Get a list of all the ward consultants with their contact information.

7. Schedule a monthly training meeting for constultants and other staff.

8. Make sure your stake president and your high councillor over genealogy know who you are and what you are doing.

9. Find out who your area FH advisor is, and what suggestions they have. Their support can be a tremendous benefit.

10. Try to recruit staff that are comfortable with technology. Maybe that recently released YW president or High Councillor? That young man that needs to wait a year before serving a mission? Or that couple who just returned from a mission where they used Skype for a weekly visit with their families? If you are the director, a few strong assistants can help to move the work forward.

11. Delegate these tasks as necessary.

12. Always pray for guidance and help.


Bill Buchanan

Sunday, September 25, 2011

1916 Census of Canada's Prairie Provinces - Coming soon

I remember when this was briefly available on a few years ago. I searched it diligently, day after day. Then suddenly it disappeared. In its place was a notice saying that due to contractual obligations this census was not currently available.

Guess what! This past week I saw a FamilySearch knowledge document saying that after 19 December 2011 this census would be available on So on December 19th or sometime soon after, we will have access to this census again.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Free Getting Started Videos

While looking at videos on the FamilySearch YouTube channel, I found four short Getting Started videos, sort of like the 5-Minute Genealogy series but slightly more basic. I think I will use them to introduce some of my up-coming lessons at the FHC.


Free Family History Classes!
At the Riverbend Stake Family History Centre
Tuesdays 7-9 p.m. repeated Thursdays, 7-9 p.m.

Sept 20/22 Starting your family history, with paper or computer, for beginners!

Sept 27/29 5-minute genealogy! How to find your ancestors online for free with

                             New.FamilySearch - How to prepare names

                                      Oct 4/6 part 1: Adding missing people
Oct 11/13 part 2: Combining duplicate records to clean up your family tree

                                      Oct 18/20 part 3: Reserving ordinances and printing Requests.

Oct 25/27 Accessing USA records online for free at the Family History Center

Nov 1/3 Accessing British records online for free at the Family History Center

Nov 8/10 Accessing Canadian records online for free at the Family History Center

Nov 15/17 New LDS sites – Wiki, FamilySearch Forums, Labs, Indexing

                             Nov 22/24 When and how to use the classic (old)

Nov 29/Dec 1 Connecting software to new FamilySearch – PAF and certified affiliates, GEDCOM

Dec 6/8 Especially for Mac users - FamilySearch affiliated software, other software and website usage.

Learn how to use the Internet to find your ancestors for FREE!

North-east entrance 14325 53rd Ave

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

(Take the 53 Ave exit off the Whitemud Freeway.)

Phone: 780-436-0136 (FHC) or 780-435-8141 (director)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

1871 Census of Canada is now Free

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter had big news today (link to article

1871 Canadian Census now Available Online
 Library and Archives Canada has placed the 1871 census online. 1871 marked the first regularly scheduled collection of national statistics. The information covers the four provinces that were part of the Dominion of Canada in 1871: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.
The online database provides digitized images of original census returns featuring the name, age, country or province of birth, nationality, religion, and occupation of Canada's residents at the time. The database is searchable by nominal information such as Name, Given Name (s) and Age, and/or geographical information such as Province, District Name, District Number, and Sub-district Number.

The 1871 Canadian Census is available free of charge at:
You can learn more about the 1871 census at

[Until now this census was only fully available through by subscription and at Family History Centers and some public libraries. EOGN article is quoted by permission.]

Friday, July 29, 2011

New Genealogy Online Forum

I received an invitation to join this forum, so I will give it a try:

"Ancestry purchased Rootsweb and renamed the boards. And thanks for reminding me about GenForum at which is also owned by Ancestry. If the genealogy community wants their own Q&A genealogy site independent from any vendor, then here is our opportunity. And thanks for signing up there. Since I committed 3 hours ago, there's now 4 more of us. If we all let others know, we might be able to get our 200 needed fairly quickly." - Louis Kessler

I encourage you to try it out. It is free.

Personally, I will also continue to use RootsWeb message boards and GenForum. FamilySearch also has forums. A Google search should find postings on all of these forums, so it may not be necessary to do separate searches on each of them.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Finding the maiden names of females in England and Wales.

Attendance at our Thursday night classes has dropped drastically with the arrival of spring, but this past week I had 5 students. To see the contents of the class click this link. Then click the link to England and Wales below my photo.

We ran into a technical glitch. We lost our internet connection for about 10 minutes, but we perservered and it returned.

Finding the maiden names of females is relatively easy in England and Wales. The census will show you approximately when the marriage occurred. Then use to look for the marriage. If you are lucky there is only one person with the name you are looking for getting married in that locality in that time period. In marriages after 1900, it will actually give the spouse's surname. For example, searching for the wife of William Shipgood in 1900-1920, we find:

Surname  First name(s)  Spouse  District  Vol  Page 
Marriages Sep 1913   (>99%)
Forsbury  Mary A  Shipgood  Camberwell  1d 1947   
Holliday  Robert V  Smith  Camberwell  1d 1947   
Shipgood  William  Forsbury  Camberwell  1d 1947   
Smith  Florence  Holliday  Camberwell  1d 1947   
William's wife's surname is shown as Forsbury, so we know he married Mary A. Forsbury.

Prior to that date you need to do a little more detective work, by finding the husband in the next census and seeing which wife he is with.

For example, looking for the marriage of Thomas George Ing in London, about 1865, we find:
Marriages Dec 1862   (>99%)
Ing  Thomas     Luton  3b 9_1   
Marriages Dec 1865   (>99%)
Ing  Thomas George     Bethnal Gn  1c 691   
Marriages Sep 1866   (>99%)
ING  Thomas     Berkhampstead  3a 519   
The one in Bethnal Green is the only one in London. Clicking the link to the page number, finds these people's marriages on that page.

Surname  First name(s)    District  Vol  Page 
Marriages Dec 1865   (>99%)
Batt  Thomas    Bethnal Gn  1c 691   
Boulton  Eliza     Bethnal Gn  1c 691   
Forsbury  Martha Jane     Bethnal Gn  1c 691   
Ing  Thomas George     Bethnal Gn  1c 691   

So who did Thomas marry, Eliza Boulton or Martha Jane Forsbury? The 1871 census has the answer!

1871 Census of EnglandName Age in 1871 Birthplace Relationship Civil Parish County/Island
Thomas Ing 34  Paddington, Middlesex, England Head  Paddington  London [Coster monger]
Martha Ing 22  Paddington, Middlesex, England Wife  Paddington  London
Thomas Ing 5  Marylebone, Middlesex, England Son  Paddington  London
William Ing 4  Marylebone, Middlesex, England Son  Paddington  London
Location in 1871 Paddington  Kensington, St Mary Paddington

Obviously Thomas married Martha Jane Forsbury, and Thomas Batt married Eliza Boulton.

What work did a coster monger do? He sold fresh fruits and vegetables, usually from a portable stand or a wheelbarrow. (Sort of like Molly Mallone in the old song. "She was a fish monger, ... She pushed her wheelbarrow down streets dark and narrow, crying "Cockels and mussels! Alive, alive! Oh!") Some coster mongers were fortunate to work along busy streets with lots of hungry pedestrians; they were the equivalent of today's fast food outlets. McDonalds, Wendy's and so forth, didn't arrive in England until a century later.

Enjoy your English research!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Keeping your data in sych automatically

If you are using the same data file on multiple computers, you might want to look at having DropBox installed on both computers and keeping your data file there.

For me, it has been the solution to the problem of adding data at the FHC or archives without throwing my database at home into confusion. I love being able to update my PAF file from either computer, and from any location. I have had to train myself to close PAF and wait a minute when shutting off my computer for the night, to give DropBox a chance to save all of the latest changes. A 2 GB account is free from 

You may never need to Restore another backup. DropBox will automatically keep your data file in sych across multiple computers and smart phones.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Certificates no longer viewable in FamilySearch?

On the question was asked "Is anyone else still having trouble view images on FS, i. e. Ohio death certificates. It has been well over a month since I have been able to view one"

Someone else replied that you could see the certificates if you were signed-in.

I decided to give it a try.

I tried viewing an Ohio death certificate, signing in, then doing the search for the death certificate of:
Name: Nellie Watson
Death Date: 13 Dec 1926
Death Place: Toledo, Lucas, Ohio
As previously, I found the transcription, but this time I received the message "Image is not available online." Fortunately I had saved the image of her death certificate a few months ago, when it was viewable online.
So the certificates (at least some of them) are not viewable on at the present time, and it makes no difference whether you are signed in or not.
Lois Casson sent this reply she received from FamilySearch Support:
Sometimes images are blocked by temporary internet files and cookies on your browser history. Deleting these files often gives you access to the images. See instructions at:
If this does not work, try clicking on the "back to search results" link, then clear the files and cookies again and then click on the name for the image you need.
You may need to close the browser and open again to access the images.
If the above solutions do not work, try opening in a different browser, like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. You can find free downloads for these browsers online.
We are trying to pinpoint the cause of your problem for the engineers. We would appreciate your sending the name, event, location, and date of the person you are searching. We also need to know the name of the collection you are searching.
Family Search
I tried it with Firefox and the image is present! But it was unavailable in Internet Explorer.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What do you do when nobody comes?

On last Thursday's shift we had no classes scheduled and no patrons came. But it was still a productive evening. My partner on the shift that night had replaced his dead desktop computer with a new laptop a few weeks previously, and was unable to sign in His daughter had registered him in nFS and had used her own email address, so the sign-in/password recovery system didn't work the last time I had spoken to him about it. In the interval he had phoned to change the email address. It seemed that things should be very simple.

Not quite! I guided him through the process of having his sign-in name emailed to him automatically by FamilySearch. He then phoned his wife and asked her to check for the email message. She told him that she had never been able to access email on the new computer. At this point he decided to go home and fetch the laptop. When he got back I checked Windows Mail and sure enough, he needed a password to access his email. I helped him find the phone number for his ISP, and after verifying his identity, they reset his password. Now he could open his email from FamilySearch and get his sign-in name. I was going to guide him through the steps of recovering his FamilySearch password, but he remembered it, so that was unnecessary. When he signed in, Internet Explorer said that it was not the password that was saved for that sign-in name. I asked him to ignore the warning, and in a few seconds he was happily looking at his family pedigree.

Later I even helped him with some research on his wife's family line.

So it was a nice productive evening ... even if no patrons came. But this week we have a class on German genealogy research, and I hope we get a good turn-out.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Technical problems

I use the free screen-sharing program from for teaching my lessons at the FHC. About 7 PM, as I was about to begin my lesson, it stopped working. The internet access went down. The wireless network in the chapel was working fine, I could even print over the wireless network, it was the network's access to the internet that was "down". I unplugged the power from the DSL modem, the hardware firewall, and the wireless router; then reconnected them; and rebooted two of the computers; but it didn't restore internet access. We phoned the Stake Tech Specialist, who told us that the problem was probably with the telephone company's equipment. I phoned the telco, navigated their automated support maze, and was asked by the mechanical voice to leave a number where they could call me back. When we locked up the FHC at 9:30 PM they STILL had not called. This was all rather disappointing for me and my students.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

FamilySearch Research Wiki

In response to an invitation to create a wiki page for my Family History Centre, I created one for the Edmonton Alberta Family History Centre. After some debate with myself and with the director, we settled on the American spelling of "center" rather than the common Canadian spelling of "centre".

I ran into some snags with links and had to redo nearly all of them. I learned (again) to input the link text, then select the link text, then click the link icon and paste in the URL. Otherwise the links would work but the URLs were visible, sometimes two or three times for a single link ... very messy! The URL for the map spanned 5 lines of code, so it looked especially ugly and confusing, but it looks good now.  

I also wanted to do a good job of including links to other resources for the Edmonton area, which required additional effort, but should be helpful to researchers.

Check it out!

Here is the original invitation from FamilySearch:
"If your FHC doesn't have a wiki page, I encourage you to create one. There is a template that simplifies things. In the last few days, a person with the Family History Department has developed a quick and easy way to create a page on FamilySearch Wiki for your FHC. A few were online before, but they have made it easy to put up a page, then edit it to your center's individual needs and circumstances.
First, go to this page.
You'll see a sample showing the various parts of the page and its layout. The instructions on how to set up the page are below, in the gray box. Note, a few centers have pages, and others have been created using the center's official name, to help get some started already. You can search for your center's name to see if there is an article already.
It may take a little bit to get the hang of editing in the wiki, but we have user group meetings, one is for new users, click on the community meetings tab on the far right of any page to find the meetings and their times and call-in phone numbers. Most meetings are for specific projects, or are more technical, but some are for the newest and otherwise novice users of the Wiki when it comes to editing."

Census and Vital Records

This is my handout from the lesson I taught last Thursday.


Census - An Indispensable Resource for Family History
Censuses have been around since the earliest recorded history, especially by centralized governments all over the world. For example: The Old Testament book of Numbers gets its name from a census that was made when the pyramids were new ...
In the New Testament, the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem was for a Roman census related to taxation ...
Whenever governments wanted to know who is available to form an army or to pay taxes, it was time for another census ...
In more modern times, most of the Western world has a national census every 10 years. This allows you to follow a family backwards in time, giving a rough time-line of moves and births, marriages and deaths.
Here is the family of James Lidgett and Mary Ann Tyson in Lincolnshire, England.

The chart is compiled from census records spanning 41 years. The census gives the birth places and approximate birth years. This makes it relatively easy to find vital records.
James Lidgett born Ludford Parva, Lincoln18451845184518451845
Mary A Lidgett born Ludford Magma, Lincoln 1846184518461846
Edith Lidgett born Ludford Magma, Lincoln 18691869  
James LIDGITT born Ludford, Lincoln  1872  
Sarah J. LIDGITT born Ludford, Lincoln  1875  
Charles W. LIDGITT born Ludford, Lincoln  18761875 
Mary Ann LIDGITT born Ludford, Lincoln  18781878 
George H. LIDGITT born Ludford, Lincoln  18801880 
Thomas LIDGITT born Ludford, Lincoln  18811882 
Fred Lidgett born Ludford Magma, Lincoln   18841884
Earnest Lidgett born Sixhills, Lincoln   18861886
Agnes Lidgett born Sixhills, Lincoln   18881888
Auther Lidgett born Benniworth, Lincoln   18901891
Vital Records
By "vital records" we mean records of major life events: birth (or christening), marriage, death (or burial). In different time periods, vital records may be kept at the national level (e.g. England and Wales), or at the state/provincial level (e.g. Canada), or at the municipal/county level (e.g. USA), or they may be kept at multiple levels – even in the countries listed above. In addition, vital records may also be kept by non-governmental organizations such as churches. Local newspapers may also record births, marriages and deaths.

Primary or Secondary Sources?
This question becomes important if different sources provide conflicting data. A primary source is a record created at the time of the event, by someone who was present. In a court of law this would be referred to as "eye witness evidence". A secondary source was created at a later time or by someone who wasn't present. In a court of law, this would be referred to as "hearsay evidence" (probably true, but open to challenge).
Your research will have greater credibility if you can support your data with sources. Your sourcing should allow other researchers to know (a) what you found and (b) where you found it. It can also be important to explain the basis of conclusions you have drawn from the evidence. PAF's notes gives plenty of space to do this.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Canadian Place Names Have Been Fixed in nFS/FT

Yesterday, our Area FH Advisor's blog reported that this long-standing issue has been resolved.
I tried it out with some of my place names, and it is working properly.
So, anyone with western Canada place names in your database can now use the nFS standard place names for this area with confidence.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Updated

(December 2010)

In December 2010, the main FamilySearch website was changed. The former became the new gateway for doing web searches. For some time, the beta site had become the destination for the results of indexing projects. It also became the destination of un-indexed (browsable) image collections, that can be viewed like a series of pages on a microfilm ... which is exactly what they are. i.e. The film is digitized and catalogued but without a detailed index (If you know the place and approximate date of an event, you can usually find it within minutes. But without this information you may not find it or you may, but it will take a long time.)

The databases at are a work in progress.

It is definitely the place to search for new record sets, but for older record sets, better access is available on the old website. To get there, click to blue link on right-hand side of the home page, the link that says “Go to previous site”. Then click on Advanced Search or Search Records menu > Advanced Search, to view the familiar searches:

All Resources
Ancestral File
Census for 1880/1881 USA / Britain / Canada
International Genealogical Index
Pedigree Resource File
US Social Security Death Index
Vital Records Index for Scandinavia and Mexico

Items from the old site will continue to be added to the updated site, but at the present time, the following are not available on the updated site:

International Genealogical Index patron submissions
Ancestral File pedigrees (only individual details are viewable), no GEDCOM downloads
Census for 1881 Britain
Pedigree Resource File

The new site has the remaining items, classed in two categories:

Historical Records, includes census, parish records (including IGI), vital records, passenger lists, browsable images ... lots of new records!

Family Trees presently consists of individual records from Ancestral File.

The remaining information from the old site will eventually be added. Access to census images from affiliates is also supposed to be added when we are signed-in, but is not currently available.

You can select a database to search, or do a general Advanced or Basic search. Wildcards are accepted.

This information comes from the electronic publication “Adjusting to the new version of (8 December 2010)” from FamilySearch

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Teaching Indexing

Tuesday night, for the first time, I was asked to teach indexing to a group of about 30 people (youth and their leaders) with about 15 laptop computers.

While much went right, we had our share of snags. I thought that a posting here might help things to go more smoothly for any of you planning to do the same thing.

Give participants a handout with the name of the wireless network and its password, as well as the URL for indexing. ( or

The leaders need the names and membership numbers of the youth to help them register. (Minimum age is 13 for indexing.) (This was provided by the ward membership clerk and returned to him afterwards.)

The Indexing "test drive" is best run from a computer with a 3:4 (rather than a 9:16) aspect-ratio monitor to eliminate constant scrolling up and down the screen. A projector will allow everyone to see the test drive or a 3-minute PowerPoint/Impress presentation for orientation.

Make it clear that members who already have an LDS online account should use it without registering again. If it doesn't work, then register.

Registering has the usual confusion over acceptable sign-in names and passwords. Ask everyone to write down their sign-name and password and take it home with them.
Downloading the software and installing it put a strain on the wi-fi network, as several people were doing this simultaneously. Download times increased to about 8 minutes.

Make it clear that once the software is installed, they look on the computer Desktop for the FamilySearch Indexing icon, and double-click it.

Once they run the software, they can sign-in for indexing.

Make sure that they select a Beginner batch. (usually a draft card registration or other simple document.) Some of my students didn't accept the Beginner batch suggested to them, and were overwhelmed by a more advanced-level batch.

Beginner batches do not need to have records added, so when that box pops-up they should just close it.

Have enough leaders to help them complete the batch and the Quality Check (which mostly looks for fields that have been left blank).

I noticed that some youth and leaders were reading "County" as "Country", so maybe watch for that.

If the box to transmit the batch fails to pop-up, they can use the icon (second from the left above the data entry table).


Actually, if you include all of this info in the hand-out, it should eliminate most of the problems. (I wish I had had it.)

Still, several of the youth were able to complete batches. Some did 3 or 4 batches. The YW leaders plan to do a follow-up indexing session next Tuesday without my help. If I am asked again, I will be better prepared.


Bill Buchanan

Friday, April 8, 2011

Protecting Your Family History Research

In last night's lesson, my subject was "Protecting Your Family History Research", and the areas of focus were:
Where to?
This link is to the document where I discuss these questions and offer suggestions.


Here is a hillarious genealogical horror story, that leads to the next point.

A Codicil is an addition to a Last Will & Testament. Should you give your Executor and your family members direction on what to do with your research when you die? I think the obvious answer is "Yes". Should it be in the form of a Codicil? "Maybe and maybe not". The following link is to a modified copy of a Genealogical Codicil that is available at many places on the internet. I don't know who created it nor whether it is valid in your part of the world. Still, if it gets you thinking and discussing your wishes with your probable successors, it will be worth your time to download and print a copy. On my first read of  "CLEANING MOTHER'S HOUSE", my sympathy was entirely with the deceased Barbara. On re-reading the article, my sympathy was a bit more divided. Apparently Barbara had left no instructions, leaving the self-obsessed Charlene and her children to do whatever they wanted. Maybe a Codicil with an inventory and clear instructions would have changed the outcome. I leave that to you to decide.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Version of PAF Companion 5.5.1

FHCs don't have it yet, but it will be coming soon. The following posting is from Pierre Clouthier at  The new chart can be accessed from the Reports menu, and not from the Descendants button. It looks really nice!

NOTE: The unlock codes for PAF Companion versions 5.2, 5.3, and 5.4 will unlock this version, which is compatible with 64-bit Windows7. I have updated the download link below.


Date: 29/03/2011 04:47 AM
Subject: [PAF5-Yahoo!] Re: fan charts

This is your lucky day - we have recently added a Descendant Fan chart to PAF Companion. If you have paid for a previous version, you can download the program from here:

The Descendant Fan chart can be printed as a half, full or quarter circle. You can color by generation, lineage or gender, and save to PDF. A "smoothing threshold" option gives you control over the font size.
I'm not aware of any other program that can generate a Descendant Fan chart. Hope it's what you're looking for.

Pierre Clouthier
Progeny Genealogy

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thursday Night at the FHC

We had 11 students sharing our 6 computers. I was teaching the use of

A patron arrived at 5 PM by appointment, to have me change her PAF databases to use AncestralQuest instead. Before I was finished with that task, two other patrons arrived. So I started helping them.
By 7 PM, when the class was to start I still had not run Mikogo on all of the computers to allow me to share my screen with them.
But aside from starting a little late, things went really well. I taught my lesson, and everyone seemed to enjoy the class.

Free Genealogy Software

Free Genealogy Software

Now that we have, why would we still want genealogy software? Good reasons include:
  1. Because of the need to protect the privacy of living people, is great for deceased relatives, but not for living relatives. Genealogy software is excellent for keeping track of the living as well as the dead.
  2. Software does a much better job of keeping track of notes and sources of information.
  3. Software allows you to create electric and printed versions of books and charts for displaying data.
  4. Software can have photos, documents, sound tracks and videos linked to individuals.
  5. Software can often generate personal websites.
  6. Software can display a list of possible data problems. (e.g. child is born to mother aged 3)
The following software versions (for Microsoft Windows) do all of these things and are free, although there is often a commercial version as well that has additional features. All of the following can open or import PAF files. AncestralQuest can replace PAF or be used to synchronize PAF data with RootsMagic4 Essentials and Legacy Standard Edition can replace PAF and both of them can synchronize their data with
Personal Ancestral File (PAF) is a free genealogy and family history program from FamilySearch. PAF allows you to quickly and easily collect, organize and share your family history and genealogy information.

Ancestral Quest Basics
is FREE family tree software which allows users to sync with New FamilySearch, yet looks and feels like an upgrade to PAF 5. “AQ Basics provides all the essential features of Ancestral Quest, ... the perfect program with which to get started, or with which to replace PAF. AQ Basics is PAF Add-in certified, which means you can directly work with your PAF data. It includes everything you need to sync your data with and import family lines from New FamilySearch and reserve and track temple ordinances.”

RootsMagic4 Essentials is the free version of RootsMagic4 and contains most of the basic features. “RootsMagic Essentials includes tools which make it a snap to clean up your data. Potential problem lists, sophisticated merge techniques, date and soundex calculators are just the start. Our unique SourceWizard writes and manages sources and citations for you. Built-in templates based on Evidence Explained make citing your sources as easy as "filling in the blanks".”

Legacy Family Tree 7.5 Standard Edition (free) Includes:
“• Map Your Ancestors Around the World - Using Microsoft® Virtual Earth™, Legacy will automatically pinpoint and plot important locations in ancestors’ lives from within Legacy. See 3‐D, satellite and bird’s eye images of where your ancestors lived.
Create Beautiful Wall Charts - Create stunning graphical charts – ancestor, descendant, fan, hourglass, bow tie, and even DNA charts.
Cite Your Sources With New Templates - The new Legacy SourceWriter™ will help you prepare properly formatted sources regardless of your expertise. Simply fill in the fields and Legacy creates the footnotes, endnotes, and bibliography for you, following industry standards.
Interview Center - Legacy has the perfect questions to interview your family.”


A totally different kind of free genealogy program does none of these things, but has just one function, to download a basic family tree from as a PAF data file. It does not download temple ordinance information. Get My Ancestors

Friday, March 25, 2011

Free Webinar Recordings

One of the popular FamilySearch affiliate programs is RootsMagic.
There is a free version, RootsMagic Essentials. The paid version is about $30.
I found several free webinar recordings for this software at

A "Webinar" is a seminar (class or presentation) viewable on the World Wide Web if you have a high speed internet connection. Sometimes you need to register in advance for the "live" session, and sometimes there is a recording that you can watch at a later time that is convenient for you. Some webinars have a cost and others are free.

(I watched the webinar on RootsMagic 4 and and found it to be excellent!)

Past WebinarsClick on a Watch link to watch a past webinar in your web-browser (Adobe Flash required). To download a past webinar, right-click on the Download link and choose "Save link as..." to save it to your computer. All webinars are in .mp4 format and are viewable by Windows Media Player, iTunes, and most other media players.

Getting Started with RootsMagicRecorded 8 Jan 2011, 78 minutes, 53 MB

Publishing a Family History with RootsMagicRecorded 11 Jan 2011, 64 minutes, 52 MB

FamilySearch Made Easy with RootsMagicRecorded 18 Jan 2011, 102 minutes, 63 MB

RootsMagic To-Go: Running RootsMagic on a Flash DriveRecorded 24 Jan 2011, 63 minutes, 28 MB

Sources, Citations and Documentation with RootsMagicRecorded 4 Feb 2011, 85 minutes, 59 MB

Working with Files and Folders in RootsMagicRecorded 8 Feb 2011, 74 minutes, 48 MB

Cleaning Your Family Tree in RootsMagicRecorded 15 Feb 2011, 85 minutes, 65 MB

Personal Historian: Bringing Life to Your Life StoriesRecorded 23 Feb 2011, 73 minutes, 58 MB

Creating Custom Reports with RootsMagicRecorded 2 Mar 2011, 59 minutes, 49 MB

Mapping Your Family Tree with Family AtlasRecorded 8 Mar 2011, 68 minutes, 75 MB

Adding and Editing Information in RootsMagicRecorded 16 Mar 2011, 88 minutes, 62 MB

Disclaimer: I have no connection to RootsMagic other than using the free version a few times. I have a high opinion of this software. It may be easier to use than the software I am currently using to synchronize my data with

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Are Family History Centers Still Needed?

If you are in Edmonton, attending the multi-stake meeting in Bonnydoon on Saturday, March 12th you will have the opportunity to hear my presentation that attempts to answer this question.

What is a FHC worth to you in dollars and cents? I will try to answer this question too!

What is the minimum age for a good Family History Consultant?  61? 21? Other?
I may take a stab at that one too, although it is getting into dangerous territory!

An Introduction to the Family History Center

We have free access to,, HeritageQuest,, and other commercial websites on our computers.

For your use, we have 6 computers and two printers, all connected via a secure wireless network. We also have 6 microfilm readers, a fiche reader, and a film/fiche printer. Use of our facilities is free.

My shift is Thursday evenings. I usually arrive well before my shift begins.

This coming Thursday from 7 PM-8:30 PM, I will be teaching members of Callingwood Park Ward to use There are lessons on most Thursday nights, but we are also available to help you with your own family history research.

If you are in the Edmonton area, I invite you to come in and see us.