thegenealogygirl


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Learning New Things

ELLIS, Margaret, toddler - smaller for FT

My sweet grandmother, Mary Margaret Ellis.

Last week was filled with learning new things.  On Thursday night I made my favorite discovery of the week while working at my local Family History Center.

This time of year I know that if the weather is nice we usually don’t have patrons come into the center.  Last Thursday was an especially nice day so I took a small stack of photos with me to scan.  The only patrons that came in were either attending a class or they were using one of the scanners and didn’t need assistance.  So, I spent my whole 2 hour shift scanning.

As I worked through the stack I had brought, I found a small bundle of negatives inside of a letter written to my grandmother by her older sister Beth.  I was excited to see what the photos were and held a bunch up to the light.  There were some sweet little gems in there.  As I was checking them out, a fellow consultant walked into the room and said, “You know our scanner can scan negatives don’t you?”

Well blow me down!

 

I DID NOT know that.

I got a quick lesson and proceeded to scan the stack of negatives.  Among them was this very sweet photo of my grandmother that I don’t recall having seen before.  A new treasure that I am delighted to have!

I have so many photo negatives at home.  SO. MANY.

Now that I know I can scan them at the center, I can save a bunch of pennies I was planning to spend having them professionally digitized.

But now I wonder how it would do with more modern photos?  Like the thousands of negatives I have saved from my whole life…

The lesson?

Know what resources are freely available to you.

 

I have been working at my local Family History Center for nearly 5 years.  I use the scanner all of the time and had no idea it could do this!  Such a happy discovery.

Happy Monday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today!

 

 


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Finding “Hidden” Records on FamilySearch

FamilySearch_Logo

If you are reading this, you are most likely familiar with searching for records on FamilySearch.  What you may not be familiar with are three types of “hidden” records you can utilize on FamilySearch – images that aren’t indexed but are part of a partially indexed collection; browse collections; and digitized microfilm collections in the catalog.

Hidden Record Type 1:

Images that aren’t indexed but are part of a partially indexed collection.  I will use some Québec records as my example.  Let’s start with the Québec search page on FamilySearch:

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You will notice at the top of the page it reads, “Québec Indexed Historical Records”.  It is important to note that not everything in this list is completely indexed.  As I scroll down the page I can see a list of Québec records, which also includes larger collections that have Québec records in them.

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Only a few collections are showing until I click “Show all 21 Collections”.

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As I scroll down the list, I am looking for any collection that has a camera beside it.  That means there are images in the collection.  Close to the bottom is a collection entitled, “Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979”.  It has a camera icon which means there are images in the collection and it lists that there are 79,535 indexed records in the collection.  The question I have is, are there more records in the collection that aren’t indexed?  I simply click on the collection to go to the search page.

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Once I am on the search page I scroll to the bottom.  The collection has a browse option at the bottom that reads, “Browse through 1,399,175 images”.  This means that in this collection of 1,399,175 images, there are a little over 1.3 million records that are not indexed.  If I click that “Browse through 1,399,175 images” button, I can search the records like digital microfilm.

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I get this list of parishes to help me navigate the images.  I noticed one today that I have never seen before:

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How’s that for a parish name?  😉

Here is a parish that I regularly search:

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I click on the parish name again and get this:

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Then I can click on one of the date ranges and get this:

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It is basically a digital microfilm.  This particular collection is tricky to navigate because it contains such a large span of years and the years are written out like this “one thousand seven hundred forty seven”, except they are written in French.  Despite it being a bit trickier to navigate, it is totally worth it.  I get faster every time, it just takes a little practice.

Any collection that contains images has the potential to contain more images than indexed records.  If everything is indexed in a collection, you will not see the browse option at the bottom of the search page.  MANY indexed collections contain images that are not indexed.

Hidden Record Type 2:

Browse collections.  These collections are also accessed from a main search page.

We will go back to the Québec search page and scroll to the bottom.

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These collections are labeled as “Québec Image Only Historical Records”.  Most locales have several of these browse collections.  None of the records are indexed yet.  I clicked on “Quebec Notarial Records, 1800-1920”.

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You will notice that I have no search box, just the “Browse through 4,956,093” images link.  When I click that I am taken to this page:

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From here I can select a location, I chose Iberville:

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Then I choose a range of documents:

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Then I am once again looking at a digital microfilm.  This particular collection would be hard to use unless I have a time frame and location in mind for the record I am seeking.  That information would come from other good research.

Hidden Record Type 3:

Digitized microfilm collections in the catalog.  This particular type of record is brand new to me.  In fact, I have no idea when FamilySearch started doing this.  They snuck it in recently.  I discovered this record type while I was using microfilm at the FHL in SLC.  I had a list of Estate Files I was looking for.  I had found 6 and went looking for the 7th file when something wasn’t quite right.  That led me to look at the catalog entry for the microfilm to double check the information I would expect to find.  I thought maybe I had written the microfilm number down incorrectly.  This is the page I went to:

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I scrolled down to find my microfilm number in the collection of 419 microfilm to see this list:

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Ummmmmm… see those little camera icons on the right?!  This entire collection was digitized AFTER I had made my list of microfilm to search just shortly before going to the library.  When I click the camera I get a digital microfilm that looks like this:

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What on earth?!  When did FamilySearch start doing this???  The craziest part is that the images aren’t on the South Africa search page, not in the same grouping you can find here.

So.

Check the catalog, and check it again, and check it again.  I know that the rate of digitization far exceeds the rate of indexing but apparently FamilySearch can’t keep up with cataloging in an orderly fashion either?

One important last thought – FamilySearch often has images available that go away once the entire collection is indexed.  If you find an image that is important to your research, PLEASE, don’t assume the image will always be there.  Save a digital copy of that image.

And while we are on the subject of disappearing images, it is important to know that the contractual agreements that FamilySearch enters into with the owners of records can change at any time.  In fact, several collections that matter to me and my research are no longer available.  FamilySearch still holds the microfilm, but they are under lock and key because the contracts were renegotiated.

 

Have you been using these three types of “hidden” collections on FamilySearch?

 


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Learning From My Cousin’s Loss – A Story About Archiving

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My cousin Bobbi is currently on a cross country trip visiting various cousins and significant family sites.  It’s a true genealogy lover’s dream trip.  I’ve been enjoying her brief updates on Facebook with a few photos and little stories of her adventures.  But last week, while still on her trip, Bobbi shut her iPhone in her car door.  Broken phone.  Lost photos.

Oh the heartbreak!

I read her post and thought of the many times I’ve heard people say that their phone crashed, was dropped in water, or broke and they hadn’t downloaded their photos and videos in X amount of time.  Those stories are almost always followed by the inevitable lamenting of lost memories.  My sister recently lost a months worth and that month included her son’s 8th birthday.

Every time I hear something like that my heart stops.  I am TERRIBLE about downloading the photos and videos from my phone.  I know you can use iCloud, and I have in the past, but my phone is so full that I have to pay $5/month to use it.

Well, in Bobbi’s post about her phone breaking, someone left a comment and told her that she should use the Flickr app on her phone.  They explained that you can turn on a setting to automatically download every photo you take.

What?!

Why, oh why, didn’t I know this before?

I added the app immediately and my phone has been chugging away for days.  Every photo – all 2.9K of them – have uploaded to my Flickr account and now it’s working through the videos.  The videos take A LOT longer than the photos.

I already had a Flickr account and I love it for so many reasons but now I have an app on my phone (and on my husband’s phone) that is doing the work for me and making sure my precious memories aren’t lost.

And… Flickr is completely free!

If you decide to give it a try here are a few tips.  Once you have the app on your phone and have an account set up, click the settings icon in the upper right of the app.

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Then click on Auto-Uploadr

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Then turn on the Auto-Upload photos option.  That’s it!  Now all of your photos will start uploading and will be stored in a folder called “Auto Upload”.  All photos that upload through this auto feature are automatically marked as private and will only be visible to you unless you choose to change the setting.

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If you happen to have a preschooler who likes to take 50+ pictures in a row of absolutely nothing, you will be lucky enough to see whole sections in your new folder that look like this.

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And this.

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And this.  Isn’t it fabulous?  In all seriousness, I love that he enjoys taking photos.  I should probably clean them out of my phone occasionally.  Now, I will have to clean them out of my phone and my Flickr account.  Maybe not all of them though…

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While the videos are waiting to load they look like this.  Once they have uploaded they show a video icon with the length of the video.  I will mention that once they show up it still takes a little while before they will play the entire video.  The first few that popped up didn’t play properly for several hours.  I was getting nervous but I checked again and they work great now.

If you are a bit lazy about your archiving like I am, the Flickr app may be perfect for you!  I am loving it.

By the way – did you know that most TV devices, like the Roku and Apple TV, have a Flickr app that allows you to view your photos and videos right on your TV?  We have that and every now and again we will look through pictures as a family.  Pretty awesome technology!

 

Happy Monday.  I hope you make a fabulous genealogy discovery today!

 


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FamilySearch Book Scanning Service

Title Page - FWE Book

Title Page for a Family Record Book kept by my 2nd great grandfather Frederick William Ellis.

Among the many cool things in the boxes that belonged to my grandmother was a Family Record Book that her grandfather had kept.  It has a bunch of information that I already knew but it was handwritten by my 2nd great grandfather.  Such a treasure!  And while I say that it is information that I already knew, I think the important thing here is that he actually knew many of these people personally so his record will contain hidden gems that may help answer questions.

Like most of my genealogy adventures, I try to digitize and share what I find in a way that is useful for my family members.  Only one person can physically possess this book at a time but I certainly don’t want it’s existence to only benefit me.

That’s where FamilySearch comes in to help me out.  They offer a free book scanning service during RootsTech.  So I took my book along to RootsTech and had it scanned for free.  That book is now digitized and available on FamilySearch under the “Search” tab in the “Books” collection.  You can find it here.

If you have a book that is not under copyright, or a book that you own the copyright to, or a book that is under copyright but you get signed permission from the copyright holder, you can take that book to RootsTech and have it scanned.  A very cool service.

Additionally, FamilySearch will accept donations of items like journals, family Bibles, compiled histories and so on.  You can stipulate in your donation that they must scan the item and make it publicly available and they will!  The item will then be stored appropriately and can be viewed in person by family members at the Church Archives building.  This is a great option if you have an old item that is in danger of deterioration or if you have special family items and no one to care for them after you pass.  They have different storage methods including very cold storage that they use to help preserve really old items.  In fact, if your item is stored in one of these cold storage areas you have to make an appointment to view your item well in advance so they can slowly bring it to room temperature for your viewing.

I am so grateful for the many free services FamilySearch offers that help me to make my genealogy work available to my family members in a free and easily searchable way.  This book is a treasure and now it can be treasured in every household that descends from Frederick William Ellis and not just in my home.

Here is one last image from the book.  It’s the family group sheet for Frederick and his wife Susan, written in his own hand.

FWE & SKD family group sheet

 

Happy Wednesday.  I hope you make an amazing genealogy discovery today!

 

Note:  I could only find the information for donating items that are relevant to LDS church history.  I know that FamilySearch accepts donations of other items and stores them properly and digitizes them, I just couldn’t find the appropriate link in the time I have…  I’m off to pick up a preschooler.  If you are interested in this info let me know and I will track it down.


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Browse Collections on FamilySearch

Arsene

Marriage record for my 4th great grand aunt Marie Arsene Duval.

Have you ever used the browse collections on FamilySearch?  If you haven’t, I would like to introduce you to a new friend.  A very good friend.

See that beautiful record up there?  It comes from a FamilySearch browse collection.  Here is the ancestry version:

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Quite a difference.

I most commonly use the ancestry Drouin collection for records on my Quebec line simply because they are a bit easier to search.  Not because the index is good – it’s pitiful – but because the records are broken down by year and the FamilySearch collection is in very large clusters of years.  To use the FamilySearch collection I have to spend a lot more time “reading” the handwritten years.  To further complicate that the years are written out in word form.  That is slow going for this non-French speaker.  But I digress…  The ancestry marriage record for Marie Arsene was difficult to read and I couldn’t make out a few key pieces of information so I went through the process of finding the same record in a FamilySearch browse collection.  It was worth the effort.

So how did I do it?  Here are the steps.

Go to familysearch.org, click on “Search” in the top center.  In my case I wanted Quebec records so I clicked on Canada on the map and then chose Quebec.  This is the list of Quebec resources on the website:

 

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See that collection second from the bottom?  Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979?  It only has 79,535 records but it has a camera icon.  That camera tells me that this collection has images.  Any collection with images has the potential to be a browse collection.  The number of records refers only to the number of INDEXED records in this collection.  I clicked on the collection:

 

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I can search the indexed records like I normally would by typing info into the search fields.  But notice at the bottom of the page there is a hyperlink that reads: “Browse through 1,399,175 images”.  Bingo – I have found a browse collection.  These collections are like going though microfilm online.  I clicked on the hyperlink and then I get this page:

 

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For this browse collection I get a HUGE list of parishes.  I scrolled down and found my civil parish of Sainte-Luce and clicked on it.

 

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Then I get another page where I choose the ecclesiastical parish.  In this case I only have one choice so I clicked on Sainte-Luce again.

 

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I know this one is hard to read.  The important thing here is that I have three choices.  They are Baptism, Marriage, and Burial collections covering different year ranges.  I choose the appropriate range and click it.

 

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Voila!  Now I am in a set of images that I can click through.  This set has 727 images and covers the years 1842-1869.  Most collections are in chronological order but some are in alphabetical order.  You can usually figure out how your collection is organized fairly quickly.  Once I know how it is laid out, I like to skip forward and backwards in large chunks until I land really close and then I start using the arrows to go a page at a time.

Many of the collections you have been using may also be browse collections.  Here are two gems (images have links that will take you to the page you see here with one click):

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And there are so many more!  Give the website a look and see if you can find a collection that might include one of your ancestors and check to see if that collection is a browse collection.

 

Bonus tip:

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At the bottom of every location specific search page there is a list of image only collections.  This is the top of the Illinois list.  The entire list is quite long and contains some really great collections.

 

Have you ever used a browse or image only collection on FamilySearch?

 

 


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How to Preserve Family Photos

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My Grandma’s boxes that I received late last year.   I also have boxes from my other grandparents.  So many boxes and so many wonderful photos.

Over the past few months I have been gathering bits and pieces of information about proper methods of archiving photos.  I have literally thousands and thousands of old family photos sitting in these and many other boxes.  There are so many of them that my efforts to digitize them have stalled a bit.  I want to be very organized about the entire process from start to finish for each photograph.  Because I haven’t quite settled on a plan for the end – the storage and organization methods – I have really slowed my digitizing.

I just watched something that may help me get my groove back.

Amy Johnson Crow shared an interview on her blog this week.  She interviewed Denise Levenick about the very thing I have been so concerned about – How to Preserve Family Photos.  Ironically, I have been trying to decide which of two books to order written by Denise about this topic.  Amy’s blog post helped me settle on which book I think will help me make my plan and gave me several great tips to start wrapping my mind around now.

If properly organizing, storing, and archiving family photos has been on your mind too, you may want to check out Amy’s blog post and get a little inspiration.

 

Happy Wednesday – I hope you make an amazing family discovery today!


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Genlighten.com

Emilie Brouillette signature

Signature of my 4th great grandmother from her widow’s pension application.

I have several Civil War pension files that I have been wanting to order for a long time.  But they cost a pretty penny so I have been putting off.  Sometime last year I noticed some recommendations for using the website genlighten.com for this service as an alternative to ordering directly from NARA.  I filed that away in my mind and moved on to other things.

While I was at RootsTech I stopped by the genlighten booth and asked some questions.  I got a recommendation from the owner for a specific genlighten provider to use for Civil War Pension files.  In March I placed an order and on Friday I got my pension file.

So here’s the scoop.  I used the researcher dchristina.  She charges a flat fee of $35 (the website adds a $1.75 processing fee) but does add a per page charge for files over 65 pages.  Here is the link to her Civil War Pension file service.  She took a month to fulfill the request.  The file was scanned well and was exactly what I wanted.

The website is pretty cool.  You set up a free account.  You can browse providers to find someone who will do something you need, then you can either message them or submit a research request through their submission form.  They accept the request.  Then you submit payment which is held by genlighten until the research is completed.  The researcher does their work and then submits their files to you through the website.  You download and review the files, write a review of their work, they get paid, then they can write a review of you as a customer.  Great system.

The bottom line?  I would recommend genlighten and dchristina if you have a Civil War Pension file you would like to order.  Just know she is slower than she says she’ll be but her work was worth the wait for me.

 

Have you ever hired a researcher?  What was your experience like?