Find My Ancestor Blog

Weekly Genealogy Wallpaper – 2/7/2011

Here is your Weekly Genealogy Wallpaper! Enjoy! Do you like this genealogy wallpaper? Check out the other genealogy wallpapers too! Also, if you like this wallpaper, be sure to tell others! You can also let me know by sending me a message on Twitter - @findmyancestor, Facebook - Find My Ancestor or send me an email!


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.


Mobile Monday – NARA Goes Mobile

Last week I saw an interesting blog post that I wanted to share today for this weeks Mobile Monday post.
Attention smartphone users:  The National Archives has released our first mobile application called “Today’s Document,” based on the popular feature on
This app pulls documents and information from the website. It appears that each day there will be a featured document, person, place etc. that you can learn more about by using your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Below are some more screenshots of the app.



  • Pinch to zoom and inspect individual documents and photos - each rendered as stunning high resolution images.
  • Swipe a document left or right to view the previous or next day's document.
  • Use the calendar icon to select a specific date or just browse documents at random.
  • Tap the info icon to read fascinating background information.
  • Add a document to your favorites list by tappin the star icon.
You can simply navigate your way through the app learning more about the featured item by clicking on the little "info" button on the top of the screen.



On the iPhone, the app brings up a completely new screen giving a brief description of the item, while on the iPad it brings up a little window showing the same info. After the descriptions there are two links. The first link will take you to a page in Safari (mobile web browser) to give you more information and pictures. The second link will take you to a page to view the document on, giving more information as well. displayed in Safari on the iPad

You can also select the featured item and make if a favorite. This will give you the option of quickly referring back to the item at a later time with easy access. You can search for various items according to:
  • Yesterday's Document
  • Today's Document
  • Tomorrow's Document
  • Select a Date
  • Surprise Me!
This fun app is a great way to learn more about the various records and documents stored at the National Archives and Records Administration. When I started playing around with this app it reminded me of the other historical app I reviewed last year, On This Day... Of course another great feature of this app is that it is free! Be sure to check it out. Download it now in the iTunes App Store.
Today’s Document - National Archives and Records Administration

Download it on your iPhone

Today’s Document - National Archives and Records Administration

Download it on your iPad


What Kind of Documents Do You Search For?

There are so many documents and records that are available to genealogists to help us find our ancestors, but sometimes it is hard to know which documents to look for and which ones give us the most information.

Some of the most common records we search for are birth, marriage, death, census, and military records. As we do more research and learn new techniques we learn there are records and documents out there that we never would have thought of using to help us break down those brick walls.

We all have those specific records we search for because we know they can be a goldmine of information. Some of us treasure one record type over another because of the time it was created, where it was created, or because of who it is about. Many of us have a "checklist" of items we search for for each person we do research on. The question is, what records or documents do YOU use to find the most information about your ancestors? Why do you use those documents? Where can they be found? Are they available online, microfilm, or only in person at an archive? Do these documents cost money to access or are they available for free to everyone?

Please take a minute or two and give your input on what kind of records and documents are the most beneficial to your research. Use the form "Genealogy Checklist" to give your input.