Find My Ancestor Blog

NGS Conference Exhibits – Part 1

At the NGS Conference there were the typical exhibitors that you see at every genealogy conference -,,, FamilySearch, etc. but there were also a few new companies/associations I have never seen before or that I think are so cool that I want to feature.

"Geneartogy - the name itself is a contaction of Genealogy and Art and that's what we do". I first came to know of Geneartogy back in January when I was at the Mesa Family History Expo. I found the concept of their designs so intriguing and very creative. I love seeing creative ways to display our family histories and this is one of my favorite ways of displaying it I have seen. Geneartogy allows people to create their own customized family tree for display in their homes. Your projects are created on either canvas or watercolor paper. Geneartogy also frames your project and ships them directly to your home.

To learn more about Geneartogy and their products, click on the link below.

Geneartogy-family tree templates

If you are a genealogist that wants to make a little extra money on the side then this next company is something you might want to look into. Genlighten is a fairly new website that allows you to post your profile and your qualifications for genealogical research. Through Genlighten people can contact you and consult with you to find records, documents, and other genealogy research. It is a great way to network, help out other genealogists, and make a few dollars. 

Be sure to check back for more exhibitors and re-postings of my tweets from the NGS conference.


New FamilySearch and Their Cloud Computing

Recently Randy Seaver of the Genea-Musings blog had an interview with David Rencher, the Chief Genealogical Officer for In the interview Randy and David discussed the New FamilySearch(NFS) website and database. They talked about some of the process that has taken place for the NFS to become available to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and how NFS is going to become available to non-members.

For quite a while we have been told that they are working on making NFS available to non-members but we have never been given an exact date. In January when I was in Mesa for the Mesa Family History Expo, Bryce Roper, Product Manager for FamilySearch, said that they were working on it. Then again in February at the St.George Family History Expo I asked him if there was any new information regarding when it would be available. This time he said that they were hoping for sometime this year. I wonder if any new developments will be announced next week at NGS? I will definitely keep you posted if I hear anything new next week.

Later on in the interview they are talking about some differences in their new "rollout" of NFS and David mentioned something that I think many genealogists don't agree with, including me. He states:
The other major difference is that it removes the need to have your own personal desktop data management software. You can manage all of your data now on New FamilySearch. Where I've used Personal Ancestral File for years on my laptop, I don't have to have my own Personal Ancestral File database any more. I can simply go to New FamilySearch and manage all of my content there. So that's a pretty radical departure from the way most genealogists have learned over the years to manage their data.
I noticed there were a couple of comments on this post, one by James Tanner and another by DearMyrtle. They pretty much both said that they don't think genealogists will give up their desktop databases anytime soon. I agree with them. Even though cloud computing is becoming the new way of storing data, I believe that there are a lot of people out there like me who want their own database that they can add media files to that they may not necessarily want shared with everyone on websites like or I know in my personal desktop database I have birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other documents that are "sensitive" information that the individuals would not want shared online and accessible to anyone and everyone. Granted, there are options in these online databases to decide on the privacy levels, but in the end I think it is safe to say that most people would still feel better knowing that the sensitive information isn't out there on the web but rather on their personal computer.

I am very interested in knowing how others out there feel about what David Rencher said in his interview. Do you think cloud computing will take over our desktop genealogy applications? How safe do you feel about putting sensitive information online even though you have set your "privacy filters" on these online databases? In your opinion, what are some of the advantages/disadvantages of storing your genealogy database online versus your personal computer?


NGS – How Could I Pass it Up?

Well, in about a month and a half the National Genealogical Society will be holding it's annual conference here in Salt Lake City.

I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make it to this conference at first. So far this year I have gone to the Mesa Family History Expo and the St. George Family History Expo, and so between the two I have taken a few days off work and spent a little bit of money for traveling and other expenses. I wasn't sure if I would be able to accommodate everything, including school, for NGS.

The more I thought about it though, I though it would be a shame if I didn't go to it since it is being held only 15 minutes away from my house! I wouldn't have to pay for travel expenses(at least not compared to flying to Mesa!) and I wouldn't have to worry about food and a hotel(even though I didn't pay for a hotel in either Mesa or St. George - THANKS Brad, Lexee, and Aunt Vonda!). I guess all in all, I figured I could afford to take another couple days off work and go to this great conference.

I was also reading earlier today that this will only be the second time in 25 years that NGS has held it's national conference in Salt Lake City! That is definitely another great reason I can't afford to miss this conference. Who knows the next time it will be here again?

So, as I'm sure you can guess, I have registered for the conference and also became a member of the National Genealogical Society at the same time! Last weekend, before the early registration deadline, I registered as a member of NGS and for the conference. I was also able to save $35 during my registration for becoming a member!

If you live in Salt Lake City, or anywhere in driving distance, I would highly recommend you attend this conference! I have never been to it before, but from what I hear and read about it, it is definitely one conference you do not want to miss out on! Early registration has ended, but you can still register at the conference! For more information on registration, dates, and more, visit the National Genealogical Society website.


Free Census Tools Online

This is kind of a "re-post" from Dick Eastman, but I figured I would post something about it just in case there are followers here and not Dick's site.

Earlier Dick posted an article on some free Census tools available online. I had never heard of this site so I went and checked it out. The gentleman who owns the site has made multiple Census spreadsheets for you to input your family data into that looks just like the Census. I downloaded them and tried them out, and they are great! I have been thinking about doing something like this for myself, but now I don't need to.

Some of the available downloads include:
  • U.S. Federal Census(1790-1930)
  • State Census
  • International Census
  • Cemetery Data
  • Passenger Manifest Data
  • Research Log
  • Family Group Record
If you have been looking for a good way to transcribe all the data from those census records or old family group records, I highly recommend you check out this site!

To learn more about Census Tools and download these forms, visit All forms are both Windows and Mac compatible.