Find My Ancestor Blog

Mobile Monday – More Mobile Friendly Blogs

A month or so ago I posted about making your blog "mobile friendly" for those viewing your blog on their mobile device. Those posts can be found here: Today I would like to feature some fellow bloggers who have made their blog mobile friendly for those like me who use my iPhone and iPad to read blogs quite often. If you have not yet made your blog mobile friendly, I recommend you do so. More and more people are using their mobile devices to surf the internet and read blogs. Making your blog mobile friendly will make it easier for visitors to read your content on your website.


Mobile Monday – Find My Ancestor on Your Mobile Device

findmyancestor_ipadI don't know how many of you have tried to access Find My Ancestor on your mobile phone, iPad or other mobile device, but if you have, you have noticed that both the main website as well as the blog are formated for easy viewing and navigation. I regularly use my iPhone and iPad to surf the web, read blogs and watch movies. Surfing the Internet on a mobile is so much easier when the websites I go to are "mobile device enabled". The website appears a bit different than if you were access if on your desktop computer, but with it being mobile device enabled you don't have to worry about always "pinching" your screen to zoom in on paragraphs, pictures and links. Take a look at some of the examples of my website and blog being viewed on a mobile device. Notice some of the differences, but also notice how clean and simple it looks compared to viewing the regular browsing site.

Now, as I have surfed the web with my iPad I have noticed that many of the websites I visit do not automatically take me to the mobile version of that page but rather the full blown site. For the most part I do not find this to be annoying or weird because the screen size of an iPad is big enough that the full blown site works just fine. There are a number of full blown sites I have noticed do not work properly on an iPhone or iPad such as Google Reader. In order to use Google Reader on your iPhone or iPad you need to use the mobile version. If you use either Blogger or WordPress for your genealogy blog, it is very simple to make it mobile device enabled.  My  next two posts are going to show you exactly how to make your blog mobile friendly using Blogger and WordPress so stay tuned!


Snow, Snow, Go Away – I Want to Go Outside and Play

I have never been a fan of the winter with all the snow and cold. By the time Christmas is over I am ready for spring and summer to come! I have been staring at cemetery gravestones all morning long and it is really making we wish I could go out and take photos, but I definitely don't want to do it in the snow. Am I alone in this or do some of you out there feel the same way? I know to the non-genealogist I might sound crazy, but for some reason I have an urge to go out and play among all the headstones right now!

I have also been thinking about the various websites available for volunteers and researchers to find photos of headstones, submit information/memorials and gather information on their ancestors. The two that come to my mind are and I have used both of these services, which are free, and find them to be quite useful. Find A Grave has been around for quite a while and has over 56 million grave records - that is a lot! Every single memorial and gravestone photo on Find A Grave is created and submitted by volunteers. For those who have never used Find A Grave before, the process is very simple. First, search the database to see if your ancestor already has a memorial. There have been many times I have searched the database not expecting to find my ancestor, but alas, there they are. Most of the time when I find ancestors on the website they have been contributed by someone who isn't even a relative. Many have gone through obituary records, vital records and many other types of records and have just started adding individuals from these collections. So, before you go and create a memorial make sure it hasn't already been done. There are quite a few duplicate memorials I have come across in the past because of this. If you didn't find a memorial for you ancestor, then go ahead and create one. Simply follow the easy steps on the Create a Memorial Link located on the side of the screen. Once you have created the memorial, or if you found a memorial previously created you can see whether or not there is a headstone photo already submitted. Obviously if you just create a memorial there won't be one available. One of the things I like best about Find A Grave is that you can get headstone photos for people who live thousands of miles away without you having to spend all the time and money traveling to take it yourself. Simply request a headstone picture by clicking on the request link in the person's memorial and hopefully within a few days to a month a volunteer in the area will fulfill your request. One thing to remember is that these are volunteers who are taking these pictures so you can't expect a response immediately. There are headstones I have had requested for over a year now and they still haven't been fulfilled. Just be grateful for the ones you do get because after all it is very nice of these people to take the photos free of charge. Names in Stone is another great website that hasn't been around as long as Find a Grave, but I can see some promising things happening there. One of the features that sets Names in Stone apart from Find a Grave is the fact that you can see on a map where your ancestor is buried in the cemetery as well as others who are around them. This can be a great help in finding other ancestors who you may not have know were buried there. Over the past year there has been quite the increase in the number of cemeteries added to the database and new ones added all the time. Names in Stone is always looking for new contributors to help build this mapping database. If you are unfamiliar with either of these websites, I highly suggest you check both of them out.


Information and Tips from FamilySearch

FamilySearch recently sent out an Information and Tips email to family history consultants, family history center directors, and other church leaders.

Below are 3 resources for helping you in your family history efforts:

"1.       Modern technology provides blind individuals an easy method for working on their family history. The new.familysearch.orgWeb site can be accessed using the JAWS (Job Access With Speech) screen reader. Keyboard commands support signing in to the site, searching for ancestors, combining duplicates, adding new individuals, and clearing names for ordinance work. Blind individuals can also access PAF (Personal Ancestral File) using JAWS.   

You can find documentation on how to access with JAWS in the Help Center (from main menu, select Help Center,  and then use JAWS as your search term). Also, blind individuals can receive personal training on how to use from a FamilySearch Support missionary at 1-866-406-1830 or by sending an e-mail to  
 2.       A series of online interactive courses on how to read handwritten genealogical records in different languages is available Additional lessons for each of the courses are currently being developed. The courses provide instruction and practice in reading documents written in 11 different languages or scripts.
To access the training, go to www.familysearch.orgclick on the Library tab, click Research Classes Online, scroll down to find the Reading Handwritten Records series, and select the lesson you want to complete.

3.       FamilySearch has announced a new test site where anyone can go and see the next generation Web site being built test-drive the site, and give early feedback so that changes can be made before the new site becomes official. To access the new test site, referred to as “Beta FamilySearch,” go to"