“Family Tree:” The Common Pedigree of Mankind

Update: Elder Marlin K. Jensen, LDS Church Historian and Recorder, Director of Family History and Genealogy. Keynote Address, Northern Utah Genealogy Conference, Eccles Conference Center, 6 Oct 2006. Public access to selected records, now digitized by the Family History Library and indexed by volunteers, will be available next year on http://www.familysearch.org.

(This is the reason for the discrepancy between the total number of microfilm reels being scanned and the indexed images being posted. See my News Sheet blog 7 Aug 2006, “Indexing the World.”  As the projects are completed, the records most often requested for genealogy purposes will be posted to the web.  We don’t have to wait for all 2 1/2 million rolls of film to be done!)
The familysearch website is being re-designed to make access more user friendly–even those without prior genealogical experience can log on and bring up their own family tree.  Users will have their own login and password, so they can plug in themselves and other living members of their own family, without compromising privacy laws.

The whole project has been more challenging than was originally thought, with massive algo-rhythms to enable the billions of individual entries and emerging databases to be eventually linked into one common family tree. This undertaking cannot be outsourced to the responsibility of others. Each genealogist will want to post their own data so that both the information and the links are correct.

Beta testing is ongoing. Duplicates in the current databases are being eliminated or merged: 1 billion, 200,000 names have been shrunk to 700,000 million names during Beta I. Beta II will be restricted to members of the LDS Church to further shrink their family data to about 500,000 million names. It is estimated that about 130,000 LDS members submit information to the databases on a regular basis. They will participate in Beta II.

With duplicates removed and corrections made, the databases will then be opened to everyone in the genealogy world at large in a re-designed format.

Everton’s Genealogical Helper is emerging again in its familiar format under the direction of managing editor, Leland K. Meitzler:  reasonable advertising costs to encourage everyone to let us know what projects they are doing, which ones are completed, which families have been traced already, and where help is available.  A lot of us have missed this information.

I, especially, found the September-October 2006 issue, which just arrived, of great interest for two reasons:

  1. William Dollarhide is providing a series of articles on “National and Statewide Name Lists for the Civil War Era.”  This is a time of great upheaval in the United States and migrations do not match the predictable patterns of earlier times.  Access to these name lists is essential to locate people uprooted by the war and its aftermath.  And Bill is a master in this format.
  2. Leland and Bill have launched in collaboration, a new section:  “Net Family History.”  This section  provides us with in-depth reviews of selected websites with digital documents for American research and real access to indexes, search tools, and research aids.  For those of us who want to research our ancestors ourselves,  this section is invaluable.  It will save us time, provide accurate assessments of quality and coverage, and identify resources on the internet we might otherwise miss.

For many years, I read every issue of the Genealogical Helper from cover to cover, marking those items of particular interest to me.  How glad I am to have the old format back.  And how glad I am to anticipate reading each and every issue from cover to cover:  articles, columns, ads, and special notices.  This is one way to keep abreast of the new stuff available–not just from the big publishers, but also the life-work books self-published by individual genealogists.  Welcome back!

Next episode–“Off the Beaten Path” resources from the “road less travelled” and the “out-of-the-way” locales where amazing genealogy finds occur.  I want to include some of this in almost every one of our News Sheets.

Alert for interested persons--I am preparing in-depth information products on selected genealogy subjects:

__Tracing the Ladies on Your Pedigree

__American Naming Patterns

__Immigration and Migration of American Families

__Property Records:  Land, Tax, Court, and Probate.

For professional genealogists (or wannabes) who wish to increase their knowledge or would like to specialize in particular localities and their records.  Drop me an email if you have a special interest so I know which to complete first.
Each project will include audio tapes and CD’s, selected DVD’s, resource bibliographies, research strategies, recommended research collections, actual examples based on real pedigrees–my trademark in genealogy show and tell.

Your email places you under no obligation of any kind.  Just gives me an idea of where your interests lie.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

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