Find My Ancestor Blog

RootsTech 2011 – Day Two!

Friday was such an amazing day at the RootsTech Conference! To start off the day, I attended the Keynote presentation given by Curt Witcher. This presentation was unbelievable! He was so energetic and fun. Or course since this conference is about technology with genealogy, he was talking about many of the advantages and resources that have become available over the years. He also focused a large portion of his presentation on talking about how younger genealogists are the future. They are going to be the ones who are going to develop new technology, apps, websites etc. for us to use. It's the young people who know how to use the current technology and instinctively pick up on the new things that emerge almost daily. One of the points that he made that really stuck out to me was "we need to look at change and think - opportunity!". I completely agree with that! I love learning about new technology and think that others should too. I understand that many are not as excited as I am to learn and use new technology, but one thing I always tell people is that if you never try, you will never learn. One reason why I know so much about using computers and other gadgets is because I am not afraid to just play with them. For the most part, technology created specifically for others to use and play with is made to be user-friendly. Many people sometimes think they would break it if they push a button or click something wrong, but I think that is the best way to learn how to use something. Reading manuals just frustrates me so I pull it out of the box and just start playing. I think many people would be surprised at how fast they learn is they would just play with it and experiment. I also attended Lisa Louise Cooke's class on How to Create a Podcast. For those of you who don't know, Lisa has a number of different podcasts she produces including the Genealogy Gems Podcast. I have been interested in learning how to create a podcast for quite some time now, but I have not yet ventured out there and done it. After the exhibit hall and classes ended for the day, many people made their way over to the Family History Library for an evening of food, a showing of Who Do You Think You Are and of course research! Normally the library closes at 9pm but last night they wanted to give researches a little extra time to break down those brick walls and digitize as much microfilm as they could, so therefore the library was open until midnight! I'm not even sure the last time the library stayed open that late! The showing of Who Do You Think You Are was great. With so many genealogists there it was fun to laugh at many of the documents that were shown. Tim McGraw was shown document after document taking him back one generation at a time in his ancestry. I personally think it is funny because it makes it look so easy, but we always have to remember that research for these episodes took many many hours and difficult research. Below is a little video clip of some of the party at the Family History Library.


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.


I Am Thankful For… 23 November 2010

Many of you who are avid genealogists and especially those of you who live in or near Salt Lake City have been to the Family History Library. The Family History Library has the largest collection of genealogical records, anywhere! The Family History Library is owned and operated by FamilySearch.

According to FamilySearch:
“FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. For over 100 years, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide. Patrons may freely access our resources and service online at, or through over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Family Connection
FamilySearch is a service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our commitment to helping people connect with their ancestors is rooted in our beliefs. We believe that families are meant to be central to our lives and that family relationships are intended to continue beyond this life. We therefore believe that all family members—those living, those past, and those future—share an enduring bond that reaches across the generations.
All Are Welcome
We encourage all people to seek out their ancestors and preserve their family histories. Because interest in family history is not limited by culture, ethnicity, or religious faith, we welcome all who wish to discover more about their family and their heritage.”
The Family History Library is located in the heart of down town Salt Lake City. The Library covers 5 stories full of microfilm, microfiche, books, maps, computers and more.  Here is some more information about the Family History Library:
Family History Library Building:
  • Address: 35 North West Temple Street, Room 344, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84150-3440
  • Dedicated October 23, 1985
  • 142,000 square feet on five floors
  • Humidity, temperature, and lighting designed to protect the collection from deterioration
  • Public phone number: 801-240-2584 or 866-406-1830
  • FAX: 801-240-1794
  • E-mail: Click here to send us an e-mail at
  • Website:
  • Founded in 1894 to gather genealogical records and assist members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with their family history and genealogical research
  • Largest library of its kind in the world
  • Open to the general public at no charge
  • An estimated 1,500 daily visits
Records Collection:
  • The collection includes over 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records; 727,000 microfiche; 356,000 books, serials, and other formats; over 4,500 periodicals; 3,725 electronic resources.
  • The Ancestral File database contains more than 36 million names that are linked into families.
  • The International Genealogical Index database contains approximately 600 million names of deceased individuals. An addendum to the International Genealogical Index contains an additional 125 million names. These names have been patron submitted or extracted from thousands of original birth, christening and marriage records.
  • The Pedigree Resource File database contains over 100 million names that are linked into families.
  • Records available are from the United States, Canada, the British Isles, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
  • A majority of the records contain information about persons who lived before 1930.
  • Approximately 200 cameras are currently digitizing records in over 45 countries. Records have been filmed in over 110 countries, territories, and possessions.
Patron Resources:
patron computers
microfilm readers
microfiche readers
digital microfilm and microfiche copiers
book copiers
Seating capacity at tables
book scanners
  • Orientation and research classes
  • Currently 100 full-time and part-time professional staff
  • Approximately 700 trained volunteers
I frequently make my way down to the Family History Library and spend hours researching my genealogy and finding original documents to help me fit my puzzle pieces together.

For those of you who are not able to visit the Family History Library, FamilySearch has been working on making their records digitized and available online, free of charge! To access the millions of names and records that have already been put online, visit The digitization process will still take many years to complete, but in the meantime, be sure to regularly check back to see what new records are available. If you try to find records online, but are unsuccessful, you can still order copies of microfilm to be sent to your local Family History Center. Here is come information on contacting your local Family History Center:

Family History Centers:
  • Family history centers are branches of the Family History Library.
  • Over 4,500 family history centers operate in more than 100 countries.
  • Local family history centers are staffed by helpful volunteers.
  • About 100,000 rolls of microfilm are circulated to family history centers each month.
  • Click here to locate the nearest family history center, or call 866-406-1830 in the United States and Canada.

In closing, I would like to express my thanks towards the Genealogical Society of Utah and FamilySearch for their amazing work and dedication to helping us find our ancestors by digitizing and preserving these millions of records.


Free Workshops Cover Variety of Family History Topics

The following is an announcement from FamilySearch.

RIVERTON, UTAH — Both beginners and experienced genealogists can find something of interest at the next Saturday Seminar at the Riverton FamilySearch Library. On September 18, 2010, eight free classes and a keynote speaker will cover a variety of topics, from New FamilySearch to using social media in genealogy.
No registration is required for this three-hour seminar, which runs from 9:00 a.m. to noon. The library will also be open until 5:00 p.m. that day for patrons desiring to do individual family history research. For more information, please visit

At 9:00 a.m. the keynote speaker will be Alan Mann from the FamilySearch. In his presentation, “All a Twitter about Wave,” Alan will talk about using technology in new ways, including social media.
Following the keynote presentation, there will be two blocks of four classes each that will cover both research and technology.

Classes to be held from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. are:
·         What Do You Need from Laptop and Smartphone Technology?  – Michael Helmantoler
·         Mid-Atlantic Research – DeAnne Shelley
·         Waypointing: A New Tool for the Online Publication of Genealogical Records – Travis Mecham
·         New FamilySearch: Combining and Separating Duplicate Records – Kathy Anderegg

The classes available from 11:00 a.m. to noon are:
·         Synchronizing Roots Magic Data with new FamilySearch – Sue Maxwell
·         Bits and Pieces: How to Write Your Personal History – Rose Ann Fisher
·         Sourcing Original Documents – Joni Kesler
·         Where to Start on new FamilySearch When Your Genealogy is All Done – Janet Hovorka

Admission is free. The Saturday Seminars will be held on the third Saturday of each month. The Riverton FamilySearch Library is located in the LDS Riverton Office Building at 3740 Market Center Drive. The facility is near the intersection of Bangerter Highway and 13400 South, just east of The Home Depot.

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.