Find My Ancestor Blog

Give Them Food And They Will Index

Last night in my Student Ward (LDS Church congregation) we had an indexing extravaganza! I would say there were over 60 university age young adults gathered together for some food and indexing with the FamilySearch program. Of course one of the biggest enticements to gather that many young adults together to do indexing was the food, but regardless of the food, we had a great time getting people registered, software installed on their computers and indexing like crazy!

By the end of the night we were able to count over 2400 names indexed and submitted! That doesn't include all the names still in progress being done by all those who were unable to finish a batch. Last year our Stake (a group of LDS Wards) indexed 137,102 batches and arbitrated 13,191 batches! The Bishop of our Ward wants us to step it up even further this year and I believe we are all up to the challenge! To help accomplish this great task we are having indexing parties every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings as well as on Sunday during Sunday School. I think this is a great opportunity for young adults to get interested in doing their genealogy. There were quite a few people last night that mentioned how fun indexing was. A few of them even said that they thought they were hooked! What are all your thoughts? Do you know of someone who has gotten interested in genealogy because of either FamilySearch Indexing or the Ancestry World Archives Project? Do you have kids or grandkids that you can introduce to indexing? If you are interested in learning more about FamilySearch Indexing and how to sign up, visit the FamilySearch Indexing website. Click on Get Started to sign up and download the application on your computer. Both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and non-members can sign up to do indexing.


Combustible Film Forces Evacuation at LDS Church History Library

The following was posted on the Deseret News website yesterday:
SALT LAKE CITY  —  Two floors of the LDS Church History Library were evacuated Wednesday afternoon as a precaution because of decomposing film that posed an explosion risk. Salt Lake Fire Capt. Michael Harp said an alert archivist noticed deteriorating 72 mm film inside a canister at 2:30 p.m. The film contained an unstable element called cellulose nitrate, which Harp says can be flammable or even create a small explosion. Patrons on the third and fourth floors of the library were escorted out while the film was contained in an archival room. From there, a company specializing in the removal and transport of such materials picked up the film. After several hours when downtown traffic had tapered off, Harp said the film was taken to the local landfill where where it was detonated.
As soon as I read this many questions started popping into my head. What was on the film? Do they have a backup copy of the film? How does this situation affect other possible instances with other film? What else could happen to these rolls of microfilm that have been stored for many years? To me this just shows the importance of digitizing all of the microfilm the LDS Church has in the Granite Mountain Vault. It is hard to say what some of the condition of the film is like in the Family History Library, Church History Library, as well as any other library in the world that has old documents stored on microfilm and microfiche. Digitization of these documents is critical in order to ensure their preservation for future generations.


Family History Library: Introduction to the Library Patron Desktop

The following post continues the Family History Library Series. With this series you will learn all you need to know for your future trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The series covers topics such as the Patron Library Desktop, Family History Library Catalog, using microfilm, and much more. If you haven't been following the series, be sure to check out previous posts.

Post 1 - Getting Started

When visiting the library, whether you are on your own laptop or one of the many library computers, the home screen on the internet browser is called the Library Patron Desktop. This is a very handy tool because this is what gives you easy access to the Family History Library Catalog, access to subscription websites such as,,, Heritage Quest Online, World Vital Records, and many more.

The Library Patron Desktop has four main tabs:

  • Find Ancestors
  • Manage Records
  • Online Resources
  • Submit Records.

The default tab that comes up when using the Library Patron Desktop is the Find Ancestors tab. You can spend hours just simply checking out all the links and seeing what is available.

This page gives you access to subscription websites, BYU Family History Archives, trial websites, the Family History Library Catalog, New Tools from Family Search, WorldCat, HeritageQuest, and various databases only available by using the Library “Patron Desktop” computers.

The first item in the list on the Find Ancestors tab is a link to can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, not just at the Family History Library. The FamilySearch website has been a great resource and utility in finding your ancestors for more than a decade.

In about August of 1998 LDS Church leaders decided to build a genealogical website. In May 1999 the website first opened to the public and it almost immediately went off-line because it was overloaded. 1 The website was extremely popular in the beginning launch. Many people, LDS and not, were excited to have a great genealogical resource available to them for free online.

One of the newest pages on FamilySearch has links to video clips from Celebration of Family History, the special event FamilySearch held during the National Genealogical Society conference in Salt Lake City in April of 2010. For those who were not able to attend the special event, you can now view some of the video clips that were shown at the LDS Conference Center.

Click here to go to the Celebration of Family History page. You can also click the links below to play the video clips directly.

FamilySearch also offers a number of free courses and lesson to help you further your genealogy research. The Family History Lesson Series is a great resource in expanding your genealogical research skill.

There are so many other links, resources, etc. to be found at FamilySearch. The FamilySearch website could be a series all on it’s own. I highly recommend you become familiar with the website. It will definitely help you become a better genealogist.

Next time we will be talking about more of the links available on the "Find Ancestors" tab of the Patron Library Desktop.


Mobile Monday – MobileTree

Disclaimer: The following reviews may have personal opinions in them. At the bottom of each review there is a link to purchase and download the app reviewed. By clicking on the links below you are helping support this free blog and Find My Ancestor. Thank You!
The following post continues the Mobile Monday Series reviewing various apps for mobile devices that help doing genealogy while you are on the go. If you haven't been following this series be sure to check previous posts:
Before I continue to review this app I need to make it very clear that this app will only work if you have a NEW.FAMILYSEARCH account. This is NOT the same as other FamilySearch accounts. For the time being, new.familysearch accounts are only applicable to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the time this website is in beta mode to the members only. I have heard of a couple people who are not LDS that have been given access to review and help with some technical aspects of it. Hopefully the website will be available to everyone shortly. But in the mean time, please do not download this app unless you have a new.familysearch account because it will NOT work for you. As soon as non-members receive access I, along with many others, will let you all know when you can get access and so you can download this great app.
MobileTree is a great app to access the new.familysearch database showing all your ancestors and family  within the database.
When you first start the application it asks for a username and password. This is your new.familysearch username and password. If you have not yet registered to new.familysearch, go to the homepage ( and click on "Register for the new FamilySearch". You will need your membership number and confirmation date. This can be obtained from your Ward Clerk.
Once you are logged in, it will bring you up as the Home Person. Since you are obviously living, the only event it will show is your birth. On this page it also shows your Person Identifier Number on the right-hand side below your name.
This is an example of what the "Person" screen looks like which will pull up with you when you first start the application. This is my great-grandfather and since he has passed away it shows more detail including LDS Ordinances and more Life Events.
By clicking on the arrow right below your name or your ancestor's name it brings up a little tab with four icons. The first icon is Map Events. All the events belonging to your ancestor will pull up with little pins on a map.
When you click on the pins they bring up the event.
The second icon on the tab is the Add to Favorites. You can add specific people to your favorites for easy access down the road. If you have an ancestor that is 4 or 5 generations back you don't have to go back generation by generation, instead you can add them as a favorite and have quick access.
Next you have the Media Center. When you click on that it brings up the following menu.
You can add photos, audio, movies, and notes. You can also browse all available media. If you have other family members and cousins who have added media, you can download it to your iPhone for easy access and sharing. It really becomes a great collaboration tool.
On the bottom of the screen is four other icons - Family, Pedigree, Search, and More.
The Family screen shows the spouse and children of who ever is in the Home position at the time. By clicking on someone else's name it moves them to the Home position so you can view and add media and view their Life Events.
The Pedigree screen shows the Home person, parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. You can have a quick view to 4 generations on one screen. This screen gives basic birth and death information. It also shows each person's Personal Identifier Numbers. If you are unfamiliar with Person Identifier Numbers, they are unique numbers given to each person in the whole database. If makes if very easy to find someone in the database if you have their Person Identifier Number(PIN).
If you turn your iPhone on its side while in the Pedigree view the orientation will change and show more of a tree view rather than a list view the other screens show.
You can also search for anyone in the database. You can search by either name or the PIN number.
The More screen gives you options for login, favorites, FamilySearch Wiki, Wikipedia, and Google Search.
I find MobileTree to be a great app to hurry and look up an ancestor when I don't have access to a computer. There have been quite a few times I have been in the car with my grandpa talking about genealogy and it was so simple and fast to just find them in this app. If you are a member of the LDS church I highly recommend downloading this app. And if you are not a member, keep your eyes out for announcements of when newFamilySearch will be available to everyone.