Saturday, June 25, 2016

FamilySearch Down for Technical Upgrade on Monday, June 27th 2016

Across the top of the website you may have noticed a banner this week that states: "The FamilySearch website will be undergoing a technical update Monday, June 27th starting at 12:00 am MDT (6:00 am UTC) and may be down for up to 24 hours as we test the system."

Here are some details about what is happening.

  • 12:30 am MDT the outage will officially begin. FamilySearch will migrate data and conduct performance tests.
  • 5:30 am MDT the outage should be over. Users should see FamilySearch back online.
  • If the update is not successful another attempt will occur on July 11th, 2016. In this event users will see FamilySearch back online at the 5:30 mark but the new tree foundation will not be in place.

How will you know if the upgrade happened?
The best way to tell is by looking at the Person's Detail tab. If the box on the right marked "Latest Changes", shows the last three changes for the individual, instead of just a link "Show All Changes", then you know the upgrade took place. This is what the box currently looks like.

Some users will remember the "Latest Changes" boxes used to show a list of the past three changes. This was removed a couple months ago to save resources. With the new tree foundation in place it will be supported again. It's also a great visual indicator to the lay person if the upgrade happened.

So why the 24 hours window for the upgrade?
That's because things happen. FamilySearch will be failing forward. If the change over happens and it goes live at the 5:30 mark there is no going back. They will test and resolve any new issues throughout the day. If you get online and see issues you need to report them to FamilySearch Support. This really shouldn't be a time frame you try to have FamilySearch work on any other issues with people or records. This is performance issues they are looking at. Things that used to work and don't now.

How ready is FamilySearch for this upgrade?
They have rehearsed the change over from the Oracle database foundation to the new Cassandra tree foundation nine times on the website. Everything looks great and its a go. The only thing that can happen is the unknown.

What should I do if I'm using a Third-Party product like RootsMagic and I have issues?
The Third-Parties will be monitoring the FT API for issues throughout the day on Monday and reporting them to FamilySearch. It is best to let the dust settle before inundating their support staff with issues. The best thing to do is NOT expect to use any Third-Party product's FamilySearch features on Monday. If you see issues give it a couple of days to "shake out" before reporting it.

This is a major upgrade to the FamilySearch back end. Not only are they moving from an Oracle database to Cassandra, they are also moving to the Amazon servers. The connection to the (old) "new FamilySearch" website and its servers will be severed. This move will allow scalability. So instead of cruising on the highway at 55 MPH with occasional traffic jams, it will increase to 65 MPH with more lanes opening up as traffic increases. It's not going to be much faster, but the performance will be consistent. The bottle-neck on Sundays should be a thing of the past.

Moving to the new "Tree Foundation" is just that a foundation. Once that is in place the ability to build greater things into Family Tree become possible. Older issues can now be resolved, like merging IOUS (Individuals of Unusual Size).

Here are some of the new system limits for an individual after the upgrade.
Note length 10,752 characters
Person notes: 50, characters 215,040
Relationship notes 12, characters 129,024
All person and relationship notes characters: 386,320
Conclusions: 200
Person source: 200
Relationship source: 50
Memories: 1000
Person not a match: 400
Discussions: 20
Couple relationships: 200
Sets of parents: 50
Number of children: 400

If you have some people already in Family Tree that exceed these limits the excess items will remain. You will not be able to add more memories or notes, etc. until you are below the threshold for that item.

When merging IOUS, which many will start to do after this upgrade, these system limits may prevent them from happening. Clearing notes or merging duplicate spouses or children so you are below the combined record threshold will allow the merge to take place.

I'm excited for the upgrade to happen. The whole process is fascinating to me. The benefits of what this new "Tree Foundation" will bring us is totally worth a 24 hour down time period. My prayers will be with the FamilySearch team that all will go well, that their minds will be quick and alert in those wee hours of the morning, able to resolve any sticky issues that may rear its head.

See ya tomorrow, for tomorrow is always another genealogy day!

Friday, June 24, 2016

RootsTech Presentation Proposal Deadline Approaching

The following is from RootsTech.

The deadline for submitting RootsTech and Innovator Summit 2017 presentation proposals is Thursday, June 30th - days away!

Now Accepting Presentation Proposals

The RootsTech planning committee is calling for dynamic presentations for the RootsTech and Innovator Summit 2017 events that will be held February 8–11, 2017, at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
If you have a desire to define, shape, and influence the family history industry with an innovative and interesting presentation idea, click on the link below to learn more and to submit proposals.
The submission portal will be open through June 30, 2016.

Do you know a great presenter?
Do you know someone who would be a great presenter for RootsTech or Innovator Summit 2016? If so, we invite you to share this email with him or her.

About RootsTech and Innovator Summit
RootsTech is a global family history event where people of all ages learn to discover, preserve, and share their family connections through technology. RootsTech offers something for everyone, regardless of experience or skill level—from expert genealogy researchers to beginners just starting their family trees.
Innovator Summit is a one-day conference event for developers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders offering the latest content and resources to inspire innovation, impact current and future technologies, and create business opportunities within family history and adjacent industries.

Contact Information
If you have questions regarding the submission process or speaking at RootsTech 2017, please contact us at

Internet Archive: Browsing the Archive

The following is from the Internet Archive.



Among the three million books we’ve scanned, some pretty amazing things have fallen out from between the pages--bits of history, long forgotten by the iconic figures who left them there. Jeff Sharpe, Coordinator for our Midwest Regional Digitization Center, recounts the treasures his team has found--and left in digital form--between the pages, including this survey report from 1797 penned by Daniel Boone. You can read the notes by Abe Lincoln, Aaron Burr and more here. And take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Digitization Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana below. 


Historic Freedmen's Bureau Project Completed

The following is from the Mormon Newsroom.

Historic Freedmen's Bureau Project Completed

Nearly 2 million Civil War-era records indexed

Mormon Newsroom

"Now that the names are indexed, we will focus our efforts on teaching African Americans how to search the new digital records to discover and reunite with their families,” said Thom Reed, marketing manager of FamilySearch, the largest genealogy organization in the world, which is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch has announced completion of the Freedmen’s Bureau Project, indexing the names of millions of African Americans collected directly following emancipation.
The unprecedented indexing effort will allow African Americans to digitally search for their ancestors who were previously lost to history. The project was completed almost a year to the day after it was announced in a nationwide news conference at the California African American Museum on the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the celebration of Emancipation Day.
Over the past year, about 19,000 volunteers participated in the project across the U.S. and Canada to extract nearly 1.8 million names of former slaves and immigrants from Civil War-era records.
Key to the project’s success were the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society’s(AAHGS) nationwide chapters, the Smithsonian and local Mormon congregations who partnered in over 100 indexing events to bring the project to a successful conclusion.
FamilySearch also partnered with HISTORY® in May to give the project a final push through a social media campaign to coincide with the premiere of the television series “Roots.”
“In addition to our valuable partners, the project was embraced by dedicated genealogists, religious groups, universities and even was the focus of Eagle Scout projects,” added Reed. “We all sensed an urgency to bring this important chapter in history to life and shine a light on this courageous generation of African Americans.”
William Durant from the AAHGS Metro Atlanta Chapter said, "Indexing Freedmen's Bureau records puts you 'up close and personal' with ancestors and their struggles to begin life anew after slavery. It helps prepare you for your own research and saves time because you become familiar with the records, their format and wording, and [you] already know where to look for names."

The project’s completion coincides with the September 2016 opening of the SmithsonianNational Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C. A symbolic handover of the records will take place later this year. At that time, all of the records will also be available to the public to search online at no cost.
“The genealogical community is fully embracing these records,” said Hollis Gentry, genealogy specialist at NMAAHC. “You’ll find African American genealogists are quite excited about the Freedmen’s Bureau Project. It offers a tremendous potential for them to find their ancestors in this large group of federal records that may bridge the gap between freedom and slavery in the records.”
“The Freedmen's Bureau Project will change the very fabric of genealogy for African Americans," said Sherri Camp, president of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. 
The Freedmen’s Bureau, organized under an 1865 Congressional order at the conclusion of the Civil War, offered assistance to freed slaves. Handwritten records of these transactions include records such as marriage registers, hospital or patient registers, educational efforts, census lists, labor contracts and indenture or apprenticeship papers and others. The records were compiled in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
Although the project is completed, it will be few more months before all of the records will be available to the public because they still need to go through an arbitration process.
“To ensure the accuracy of the indexed information, two volunteers index each document. Any differences between the entries of these two volunteers is reviewed by a third, experienced volunteer called an arbitrator,” explained Michael Judson of FamilySearch. “The arbitrator chooses the correct indexed data or adds their own information when neither appears to be correct.”
Project organizers report that even more records have been discovered as a result of the original indexing project. The additional records will be available for indexing Once completed, they too will be added to the collection at the Smithsonian and will be available online.
“One of our key beliefs is that our families can be linked forever and that knowing the sacrifices, the joys and the paths our ancestors trod helps us to know who we are and what we can accomplish,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who spoke a year ago at a news conference in Los Angeles to launch the Freedmen’s Bureau Project. 

UGA DNA Special Interest Group

The following is from the Utah Genealogical Association.

DNA Special Interest Group

UGA is pleased to be hosting a DNA Special Interest Group once again.  The group will meet on the third Tuesday of each month utilizing both online and in-person formats. Meetings are open to UGA members only.  For meeting links and locations, or to access recorded presentations, please login and click on the DNA interest group under the Members tab.

DNA SIG format:  Meetings will be held on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 pm.  Most presentations will be delivered virtually and recorded for member viewing. Every fourth meeting will be held in-person and will not be recorded for privacy reasons. Members may submit questions for the in-person meetings ahead of time, and the presentation will facilitate working through the questions and related discussion.

Presenter:  Stephanie Saylor
Stephanie holds a degree in Biology with an emphasis in Neuroscience and has actively worked in research for several years on topics including: Parkinson's disease, toxicity of TCDD, opioid receptors, maternal immune activation and glial cells.  Stephanie has completed several genetic-genealogical-related courses, including the Advanced DNA course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the Advanced DNA Practicum at the Forensic Genealogy Institute.  Presentations and workshops will combine her DNA background with a firm belief in sound research and a love of genealogy.

June 21, 2016:             Basic Biology Overview
July 19, 2016:              Autosomal DNA Basics
August 16, 2016:         Y-DNA Basics
September 20, 2016:   In-person meeting - working through member DNA research questions
October 18, 2016:        xDNA Basics
November 15, 2016:    mtDNA Basics
December 20, 2016:    Organizing DNA Research
January 17, 2017:        In-person meeting - working through member DNA research questions

Meetings are open to UGA members only.  To obtain the link, login at and go to the “Members” tab in the menu.  Recordings will also be made available in this same location after the meetings.

New From SLIG

The following is from the Utah Genealogical Association and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.

New From SLIG

SLIG Goes Virtual

We just completed the beta testing for our new Virtual Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum course.  Coordinated by Angela Packer McGhie, CG, and modeled after her Practicum course that runs at SLIG each year, this new virtual course will allow participants to attend and do the research from the comfort of their own home.
Five cases have been selected from those presented in past SLIG Advanced Practicum courses. Students will have a full week to work the research in around their regular schedules.  Registration opens June 25th for SLIG 2016 participants and July 9th to the general public.  Details:

Just One Month to SLIG Registration

Learn from the field’s top educators. Obtain in-depth instruction.  Network with respected experts.  Just three of the five top reasons to attend the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, to be held 22-27 January 2017 at the Hilton SLC Center hotel.  Not to mention the fourteen amazing courses from which to choose.
Registration opens July 9th at 9:00 am MDT, and as most of you know, several courses fill quickly.  How quickly?  Let’s just say you definitely want to be logged onto the website and ready to go well in advance. If you haven’t yet renewed your UGA membership, please do so now, so you have the information you need in plenty of time (membership is not required to register; just for the UGA member discount).

Lodging reservations will also be taken directly through UGA/SLIG this year and submitted to the hotel as a group rooming list.  Reservations will open July 9th as well at
Please take a minute to peruse the courses.  As the month moves forward, full course outlines and additional instructor information will be added to the site.  In the meantime, follow us on Facebook (  And if you have attended SLIG previously, you can request to join the closed SLIG2017 Facebook page (
Hope to see you there!

Ancestry Academy New Courses Added June 2016

The following is from Ancestry Academy.

Ancestry Academy

New Courses on Ancestry Academy

Ancestry Academy’s online course library continues to grow! Not only do we have four new full-length courses, but we’ve also added a variety of short Getting Started and beginner videos—with more to come each month! These shorter videos are accessible from the Ancestry Academy home page, as well as through links on relevant pages of the Ancestry website and its related product sites, Fold3 and
Come check out these new offerings, including the four new courses below taught by experts in the genealogy community:

Discovering the History of Your House on Ancestry, with Marian Pierre-Louis

You may have joined Ancestry to learn about your ancestors, but did you know you can also research the history of your house? Researching the history of your house could be just as fulfilling, as you learn about the families that once lived there. The big difference between genealogy and house history research is that we only want to trace the homeowners when they lived in the home; we don't typically trace them from generation to generation.

The Lure of the Train Whistle: Researching Railroad Workers, with Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA

Understanding the records of a particular area will help you be a better researcher. In this course, you will get a feel for the wide range of records that are available to you in this state of 254 counties and over 171 million acres of land. By the end of the course, you will be more confident with researching your Texas ancestors.

Family History: Putting the Pieces Together, with Donna M. Moughty

You’ve started your family history but the pieces don’t seem to fit and the jigsaw puzzle isn’t revealing a picture as you’d hoped. Sometimes it’s just a matter of turning a piece in another direction or fitting it into a different place in the picture. This class will look at the basics of sound research, utilizing the principles of "The Genealogical Proof Standard" to focus your research. Creating clear objectives and searching appropriately to meet the objectives will save time and provide better results.

Behind the Scenes: The Science Behind AncestryDNA Results, with Catherine A. Ball, PhD

We walk through the scientific process upon which your AncestryDNA results are built, primarily focusing on DNA matching as a case study. Using the scientific method, we look at the development of a new version of DNA matching: from our hypothesis and suspicion of false positive matches, to results from extensive research and data exploration, and finally to the development and evaluation of new algorithms. We discuss the advantage of our large database, which has led to, and will continue to lead to, other influential findings powering new AncestryDNA features. 
Find these courses and more on Ancestry Academy!

Ogden FamilySearch Library Summer Activities!

The following is from the Ogden FamilySearch Library.

Adult and Youth 2016 Summer Activities at the Ogden FamilySearch Library
Are you wondering what to do this summer? 
Want to do family history but don't know where to start? 
Have teenagers looking for a summer activity?
If so, come on down to the Ogden FamilySearch Library and take advantage of the following introductory courses in family history.

Beginning With Me - Everybody starts here - Bring your LDS membership number, your email address and the names of a few deceased ancestors. 
You'll learn:
How to set up your FamilySearch account
How to build bridges from me to my family
How to search and explore FamilySearch/Family Tree
Now armed with your new found knowledge, along with your user name and password go ahead and choose from any of the topics below:
Adding Memories - If you have a flash drive with photos, stories, etc. bring it! 
You'll learn:
How to add people to FamilySearch/Family Tree
How to add Memories (Photos, documents, stories) to your ancestors records
How to create albums and find photos and stories in Family Tree
Finding Family Ties - Research
You'll learn:
How to Search for records in Family Tree
How to sign up and use Free Partners at the Library
How to verify and source entries in Family Tree
How to merge duplicate records
Properly Preparing Names for the Temple
You'll learn:
How to use descendancy in Family Tree
How to check for and resolve duplicate records
How to request and share ordinances
How to print Temple Cards
Basics of Indexing
Finding a project
Help Resources
For further information drop in - 539 24th Street, or call - 801-626-1132

FGS Conference Early Bird Discount Ends 1 July 2016

The following is from the Federation of Genealogical Societies.


A Conference for the Nation’s Genealogists

Registration now open!

Join fellow genealogists and family historians Aug. 31—Sep. 3, 2016, at the FGS 2016 National Conference, “Time Travel: Centuries of Memories,” designed to inspire you and enrich your family history.
Hosted by the Federation of Genealogical Societies with local host Illinois State Genealogical Society in Springfield, IL, FGS 2016 brings you sessions with a wide array of offerings from many of the nation's leading family history experts, along with top international speakers from Scotland and Australia. Each day of the conference is full of sessions aimed at strengthening your research skills no matter what your level or area of expertise might be.
FGS Conference 2016 - Time Travel: Centuries of Memories
You'll meet new friends and old while learning from top-notch speakers. Whether you are just starting to research your family tree or have been an avid genealogist for years, the FGS 2016 Conference is an event you cannot miss. This year’s all-star lineup features speakers from across the world, and topics will blend recent trends in family history — from DNA to technology with balanced research tips and general advice.

Here’s what is planned for you at FGS 2016:

FGS 2016 Keynote Speakers
Learning: With over 160 sessions72 expert speakers from around the world, 10 luncheons with speakers, 7 workshops, 2 interactive seminars, and exhibit hall, learning opportunities abound in the FGS 2016 program!  With strong daily tracks covering the U.S. Midwest (regional track), the United Kingdom (British Isles and Commonwealth track), and continental European research (ethnic track), you’ll learn a multitude of ways to uncover more about your family’s history.
The migration track will provide many ideas for tracing how ancestors moved, and attendees will learn how to put their ancestors into context with the occupations, military, and religions tracks.
To stay current or expand your understanding of the value of DNA and technology tools, look for sessions and tracks on these subjects throughout the program.
At FGS 2016, there is something for everyone interested in exploring family history!
Networking: We’ve built-in a multitude of opportunities to meet like-minded genealogists and family historians with our special events including celebrating our FGS 40th Anniversary Gala on Friday night. Also, catch-up with old friends or meet new ones at one of our 10 luncheons, or explore our exhibit hall with other genealogists meeting genealogy vendors.
Fun: FGS conference attendees always have fun, and this year will be no exception with our special events including the premiere of the FGS Family History Quest game where 40th Anniversary Gala attendees will take a stroll down memory lane with FGS and have the opportunity to win prizes.
Plus, Springfield, IL, and the surrounding area are filled with easy-to-access historic sites and research opportunities with the Lincoln Home National Historic Site and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum within walking distance of the convention center, and others just a short car ride away. 
FGS 2016 National Conference in Springfield, IL #FGS2016

7 Reasons You Should Attend FGS 2016:

  1. Discover new ways to help you solve your genealogy research problems with over 160 expert-led sessions and workshops designed for all skill levels — beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
  2. Get a handle on DNA for genealogy with our DNA track and sessions led by the foremost experts in the field.
  3. With leading U.K. and Australia experts in our British Isles & Commonwealth track, finally tackle those overseas ancestral questions you have and expand your family tree.
  4. Learn how to unravel your ethnic ancestors’ stories with our in-depth continental European ethnic track.
  5. Take your family history research further with tracks covering military resources, religious resources, occupation resources, Midwest regional resources, migration patterns, and more to solve genealogy problems and to put your ancestors into context.
  6. Meet society leaders and organizations in the Society Showcase located in the Exhibit Hall and learn how their organizations can help you with your family history.
  7. Meet and have fun with other genealogists and family historians just like you with our built-in networking events and Springfield’s historic sites.

Register Now!

2016 Northwest Genealogy Conference

The following is from the Stillaguamish Valley Genealogical Society

2016 Northwest Genealogy Conference
August 17 – 20, 2016
Arlington WA
Family Secrets Uncovered – Lost History Found”
Claudia BrelandLisa Louise CookeBlaine Bettinger
Claudia Breland
Thursday August 18th
Lisa Louise Cooke
Friday August 19th
Blaine Bettinger
Saturday August 20th
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Free Beginning Genealogy Class
From 1:00pm to 5:00pm
Beth Foulk
Beth Foulk
Presented on the FREE day, three content rich classes geared for beginning genealogists: 
  • Introduction to Genealogy - I don’t know where to start?” If this is you, great! You’ve come to the right place. Take the first steps to a rich and rewarding passion. We’ll start out easy in this fun-filled look at the best places to start, the best resources to use, and the best questions to ask. Remember, nothing is hard, once you know how.

  • Secrets of Ten Record Groups - Going just beyond the basics, this class explores ten record groups. This content-rich class reviews in detail census, cemetery, vital records, military, city directories, land, probate, and more records. The audience will learn: 1) what you need to know about the records, 2) what information you’ll find in them, 3) and where to find the records.

  •  If I'd Only Known - Beginner Mistakes - We all know that awful feeling of “ugh!” when we’ve wasted our time, messed up the tree, or found a better, faster way to the results we wanted. This class outlines – with personal examples – many mistakes that you can now avoid. Laugh, learn, and love the new ideas you’ll come away with knowing how to more effectively build your family tree.
For further information about each speaker go to the Speaker page