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New Super Easy Way to Add Sources on familysearch.org

Posted on September 4, 2013 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you seen the new updates familysearch.org has made? I am thrilled about how easy it is to find and attach sources to individuals in your tree! For those who haven't heard about the change, I will show you here how incredibly easy it is! This is one of the main reasons I paid for a subscription to ancestry.com. Now it is not necessary to spend all that money for these features!

To start, you will want to be on the "PERSON" page of the individual you want to search. If you need help finding that page, you may want to read my previous blog about navigating the site by clicking here. From the "PERSON" view, click "Search Records" under "RESEARCH HELP."

Clicking this button automatically adds the information for the currently displayed individual. It is much faster then it was previously, and in my opinion it is much more thorough at finding records as well. So now that you have searched your ancestor. You need to decide if any of the sources found are actually a match. Click on the name in blue to open more details and to verify whether or not it is a record of your ancestor.

After you have verified that the individuals match, then you can attach the record to them so it will always be easily accessible. To do this, click the blue button on the right "Attach to Family Tree." This is a wonderful new technique they have added to the site! Before you had to add it to your source box, then go into your source box and attach it to the desired person. Of course, you can still do it that way if you want. I personally prefer to skip a few steps. :)

After clikcing on the blue button, you may have a couple different things happen. It may identify immediately who the source should be attached to and you simply have to enter a reason. Or it may not be able to identify and will give you a list of people to attach the record to. My example below, simply identified the person in my tree without any effort on my part. Awesome! Right?

Just click "Attach" and you are done! It now only takes a couple of minutes to add all the sources about your ancestor to them! That is no time at all, and the sources help straighten out so many errors! So what are you waiting for? Let's add sources!

Merging Duplicate Records in Your Family Tree

Posted on July 16, 2013 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (0)

In this entry I will go into the basics of merging duplicate records in your family tree! I will start quite basic, because I haven't gone over some of these basic navigation tools in previous posts.

So to start, if you hover your mouse over a couple in your tree, a bunch of arrows will appear. Using these arrows is a great way to find errors in your tree and will be a huge help towards correcting them! Watch for duplicates under each of these arrows. In the example below, it shows 3 gray arrows. If you were to click on the one below the couple it will bring up a list of their children. If you click on the one to the left of the wife, it will show you his other wives. Likewise, if you click on the arrow to the left of the husband, it will show you her other husbands. This particular example does not show arrows on the right. If your's has arrows on the right, you can click on it to see multiple parents. Usually if there are arrows on the right this is a red flag that something is duplicated! Just the same, it is there for a purpose because people do have step parents, adoptive parents, etc.

So for now, lets take a peek at what is under the arrows in our example. In the image below we have clicked on the arrow to see the other wives. From a glance, it doesn't look like this Thomas Deverett had multiple wives, but rather there are duplicates of Mary. These are errors that we want to correct, so let's keep going. Let's open the "PERSON" view for Mary. (This was explained in a previous blog entry which you can access by clicking here.)

In the "PERSON" view on the right side of the screen there is a box of "TOOLS." Under this tools section you will click "Possible Duplicates".

This will bring up a list of possible duplicates. In this case there are 10 possible duplicates. Warning: Do not automatically merge these people! Make sure they are the same person before merging them! If one of them looks like a duplicate than click "Review Merge" to the right of that name. For instance many of the Marys listed in the example have a spouse named Thomas Deverell. This is a good sign that we have duplicates.

This will open a screen with the information from the original record on the left and the corresponding information from the possible merge on the right. If you are sure that the person is a duplicate, than be sure you add all of the correct information from the right column to the left column or else it will be deleted. (Similar to the image below). Please be sure to read this next part, it is the most important information in this article! If this part is done incorrectly, not only could information be lost; but it can create a huge problem with temple ordinances! While you are going through the process of merging, you may come across something similar to what I have below. This Thomas Deverel is already listed as a spouse as you may recall from earlier. Here it is asking me if I want to add him again as an additional spouse. Many people do not move him to the left, because they think they are preventing a duplicate from being made since the relationship will be deleted. Don't make this error. Move him to the left! Why? All additional information that is connected to him will be lost. This includes temple sealings! He needs to be moved to the left. Later you need to go back in and merge him to the other Thomas. Be sure to do this for all duplicate children, spouses, and parents!

I will get off my soapbox now. I just want everyone to realize that it is important, and that there is no going back to correct it, if you do it wrong.

That's all for now. Check back soon for more!

How To Get Started On Your Family History (Navigating The Family Tree: Part 1)

Posted on June 27, 2013 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

During this entry, I will focus on how to navigate the family tree on familysearch.org. During my last entry I explained how to get to the family tree and some other basics. Click here to access that information.

To start off let's learn to navigate the pedigree view. Notice in the image below that there are two names in each box. Each of these is a married couple, with the husband on top and the wife on the bottom. To the right of the box is an arrow. If you click on this arrow it will expand the tree. The parents of each individual will appear to the right of them. The husbands parents will appear on the top and the wife's parents will appear on the bottom. Notice also the temple symbol above each couple (I believe these will only appear if you are signed in as a member of the LDS church). There are symbols next to the temple. These symbols indicate the status of the temple work for the couple. These are their meanings:

Check Mark = Temple work is complete

Yellow Triangle = More information is needed before temple work can be done

Green Arrow = This couple is ready to take to the temple

(Click on the temple symbol. It will take you to a page where you can request the ordinances.)

Blue Briefcase = This couple's ordinances are being done in the temple.

If you click on a name in the tree, a box will show up to the right of it (see image below). At the bottom of this box you have the option of "TREE" and "PERSON". If you click on "TREE" it places that indivdual as the main person in the pedigree chart. They will be in the center with their parents to the right of them and their children to the left of them.

If you click the "PERSON" view it will take you to a screen that looks like the image below. If you would like to add or change information on an individual, click on the information you would like to change and select "Edit" on the right hand side. To return to the tree view of this person, select "View Tree" located under their name at the top.

WARNING: by selecting "Edit" and changing information you are permanently changing the database. Only change information if you are sure the information you enter is correct. You should have sources for all of your information and attach them to the "Sources" section under the individual. (I will explain how to do this at a different time.) This way everyone can see why the information you entered is correct.

While viewing individuals in the tree view, you will see the following navigation bar at the upper left hand side of the screen. Here you can choose whether you would like to see your family tree in "PEDIGREE" view or "FAN CHART" view. Pedigree is what we were looking at before, so now we will take a look at the fan chart.

The picture below is an example of what your family would look like in fan chart mode. The blue arrow indicates the individual whos fan chart we are looking at. The green arrows indicate his parents. The layer after that is his grandparents and so forth. The orange arrow indicates his spouse. The purple arrow indicates his children. The fan chart will only show five children at a time. If they had more children, you can navigate through them (indicated by the red arrows.) If they had more than one spouse, you would be able to navigate them in the same way.

To place another individual at the center of the fan chart. Simply click on their name and select "TREE" at the bottom of the window that pops up.

That is all for now! I realize we have barely scratched the surface of what can be done with this site, but hopefully this will help you get started. Get used to the feel of your family tree and use your new navigation skills. Then check back for my next entry with more hints! Good luck with your family history!

How To Get Started On Your Family History

Posted on June 18, 2013 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

This entry will be the beginning of several that will hopefully help you better understand how YOU can get started on your family history. I am going to start with the very basics, because lets face it...some of us need it. Some people aren't familiar with the computer or the internet. To make matters worse, family history intimidates all of us. Thankfully, I had some very kind people help me get past the basics. Now I can honestly say I have no fear of family history, only a thirst for more (you will get there too if you stick with it, I believe it is commonly known as the "spirit of Elijah").

So, lets get started with the basics:

1. First you need to get access to your family tree. Go to familysearch.org. This is a site put on by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The site is free, and it has a great family tree set up and is very user friendly. Click "Sign In" at the top right of the screen

If you already have an account, then sign in. If you are LDS and you have an account to lds.org, select the option at the bottom that says "sign in with LDS Account". If you are not LDS, then create an account by clicking "Create an Account" at the top. Remember it is FREE, so don't worry about making an account. If you are LDS you will want to have your membership number available for this step. You can find your membership number on your temple recommend or you can ask your bishop for the number.

After you get in click "Family Tree" at the top of the screen. If you are LDS you are likely already entered into the database and if you have any relatives who have worked on family history, all of that information will show up for you. You do not need to enter the information again. This is a very important reason to make sure that you sign in with your LDS membership number (described in the previous step). If you are not in the database start by entering information about yourself, your parents, and grandparents. If you are in, verify that the information entered for you is correct.

2. The next most important step after creating an account, is to gather information. Now don't get overwhelmed here, I am not saying find documents from the 1750s and finding information on a name you have never heard of before. Even if your family tree is all filled in and it looks like you don't need to do any work, DON'T jump to the end of the line to work there and DON'T assume that there is no more work for you to do.

I am saying collect information about your parents, grandparents, and great grandparents if they are available. Even finding this much information can seem overwhelming, so don't do it all at once. This is what you do. Pick a grandparent and learn their story. Then pick one of their parents learn about them. Stick with that great-grandparent's line for a year before moving on to any of the other grandparents. This way your information has direction and it doesn't get overwhelming. After 8 years you will have learned about all of your great-grandparents and you will likely have completed most of your tree. After the 8 years you can come back through and fill in the holes that were left incomplete.

What type of information are you looking for? When it comes to your grandparents, I really think you should get to know them personally. If they are alive, talk to them. If they have passed on, talk to people who remember them. Find out if they kept a journal or wrote a personal history. If they didn't write much themselves, maybe their spouse (or other close relative) kept a journal. Sometimes it is more fun to learn about them from someone else's perspective. Maybe you can find letters if they went off to war, or on a mission.

If your grandparents were LDS, get a copy of their patriarchal blessing (you can only do this if they have passed away). You can request a patriarchal blessing by going to lds.org. Click on "Tools" at the top. Then select "Patriarchal Blessing" from the drop down menu. You may request a copy of your own patriarchal blessing or a deceased, direct-line ancestor.

That's all for now. Watch for future posts containing more helpful family history tips.