Thursday, December 05, 2013

Where did I go?

I haven't added content to this blog for quite some time. I recently switched blog platforms and started blogging again. I've been wondering about moving all of my old blog posts to the new site. In the interim, you'll find my new blog here. You'll also see a cool picture of my 5th Great Grandpa's Cattle Mark.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pioneer Day

I'm very excited about Pioneer Day this Sunday. I suspect it is a more prominent holiday in Utah than other parts of the US. It certainly rivals the 4th of July celebration around here. In honor of Pioneer Day I was excited to see this new Pioneer Collection pulled together on

I went looking for some of my pioneer ancestors and quickly found this photo of Henry Grow (architect of the Tabernacle on Temple Square). While the collection has some great data sets that will be of interest to those with ancestors that were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it also has wonderful information about pioneers throughout the US regardless of their religious affiliation.

You can search nearly 14 million names in the Pioneer Collection.

Here are some of the highlights in the collection:

I'd love to hear of any success stories you have searching the collection.

Enjoy your search and have a happy Pioneer Day!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Rare Opportunity to Experience Echo Canyon

If you have mormon pioneer ancestors that came to Utah by handcart or wagon, you need to go on the Echo Canyon Tour being sponsored by the Mormon Trails Chapter of the Utah Genealogical Association.

The tour will be Saturday, June 18th. John Eldredge will be the guide for this tour. Mr. Eldredge has written the book, “The Illustrated Emigrant’s Guide,” a booklet written for the 2005 Oregon California Trails Association Convention. You will find Eldredge’s historical knowledge remarkable and appreciate his ability to tell about the artefacts among the ledges and emigrant trail.

Watch the Echo Canyon Tour video or go to the Utah Genealogical Association website to register and get more info.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Product Review: Genealogy At a Glance

From time to time someone will send me something in hopes that I'll provide a review of it on my blog. I've been a little slow to do that (ok, so I've never really done that) but I've decided to give it a shot. I've also decided to be very honest in my perspective. Here goes...

Last night when I got home from the office I had a package from waiting for me. Inside were two nicely laminated 8 1/2" X 11" bifold Genealogy at Glance guides. The first was Genealogy at a Glance: Scottish Research by David Dobson. The second, Genealogy at a Glance: French-Canadian Research by Denise R. Larson.

The Genealogy at a Glance series is intended to provide succinct review of the critical information to keep in mind when performing research on ancestors from are particular part of the world. They are quick reads, just 4 pages, that are somewhat reminiscent of restaurant menus. In both the Scottish Genealogy Research and French-Canadian Genealogy Research aids, the authors did a great job distilling the pertinent details into consumable chunks of information. I was able to review the information in a matter of minutes and come away feeling like if I were to embark into researching ancestors from either location I would know where to begin. If you're someone that prefers printed materials and is interested in Scottish or French-Canadian research these might be very helpful for you. I could also imagine that these would be very helpful in a library setting or for a family history center that wanted to provide quick information for people starting into a new area of research.

It did seem like the format and approach to providing the information assumed at least a basic understanding of how to do genealogy. If you're just getting started, you'll probably need more help than one of these sheets can give you. If you're experienced with genealogy but inexperienced with the nuances of a new location the information is exactly what you'll need.

For me however, this particular approach is not a good fit. I'm a very technology oriented person. The chances of me packing these sheets around with me is fairly low. Put the same content into a mobile format - say an iPhone or iPad app and you'd have a product I'd be interested in.

In summary, if you're an experienced genealogist but are new to Scottish or French-Canadian research and you like or don't mind the physical format, these are probably worth the low investment. These would also be a nice add to any library or Family History Center.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Family History Entrepreuners

I recently received an e-mail from a web magazine I hadn't heard of before, Mormon Entrepreneur. Their latest edition spot lights members of the LDS Church that are entrepreneurs in the family history space. I enjoyed reading the articles and as a member of the LDS Church love the concept behind the magazine.

Here's a snippet from them introducing this issue:

Mormon Entrepreneur has published their latest issue on Family History entrepreneurs. Published online every other month, Mormon Entrepreneur seeks to engage aspiring entrepreneurs through the stories of successful entrepreneurs. The result is a community of entrepreneurs engaged in each others success. In this issue, Alan Eaton (, Janet Hovorka (Generation Maps), John Vilburn (Ohana Software), Paul Allen (, and Russ Wilding ( are highlighted. Learn about about OneGreatFamily's latest project Ask yourself, “Would I do Family History work if it took only one click to find a family member that I could take to the temple?" Read their stories online at Enjoy.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Genealogy Questions Answered in 6 Minutes

How many times when you’re stuck on a genealogy problem have you thought to yourself, “I’m sure someone out there knows the answer to this question.” If you could just ask the right person a quick question it would save you a ton of time. Well over at FamilySearch we’ve been kicking around some ideas of how we might help people with this experience. This past Wednesday I was thinking about how much I’d like to find the death certificate for a particular ancestor when the thought struck me, “I’m sure someone out there knows the answer to this question.” The question for me was, how do I find the death certificate for Warren Dodge, who died about 1888 in Barton County, Kansas?

Well I decided to try a little experiment. What if I could throw that question out to a large audience. Would they respond? Would they answer my question? Here’s what happened.

6 May 11:47am I posed my question on Twitter. Twitter automatically put my tweet on Facebook as well.
Fullscreen capture 582009 41047 PM.bmp

  • 11:53am - 1st response comes in via Twitter
  • 12:04pm - 2nd response via Twitter
  • 12:04pm - 3rd response via Twitter
  • 12:14pm - 4th response via Facebook
  • 12:31pm - 5th response via Facebook
  • 12:51pm - 6th response via Facebook
  • 4:14pm - 7th response via Twitter

Here are images of the Twitter and Facebook responses.

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Fullscreen capture 582009 41310 PM.bmp

The first response was within 6 minutes! The last response was less than 6 hours later. All responses were accurate and helpful. As a result of the information provided I went to the Barton County genealogical society website and discovered that the county did not have death certificates that early and the state (as my online experts indicated) did not keep death certificates until 1911. I did not waste any more time looking for a death certificate but rather changed my focus to probate records. I called the Barton County records office and asked if they had a probate record for Warren Dodge who died there in the 1880s. Without even putting me on hold, she looked it up confirmed they had it and is sending me a copy of the whole file. Wow! That was a terrific experience.

Oh, by the way. The folks that offered answers on twitter are not people that I know personally. One of the responders on Facebook is an old friend I haven't seen for nearly 20 years. The other Facebook responder is a relative that I frequently collaborate with on genealogy stuff.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The future of computers in genealogy

Imagine where this could take us...