Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Indexed Records to Remain Free on FamilySearch.org

Press release from Paul Nauta of FamilySearch:

The recent announcements of joint census projects with FamilySearch and affiliate companies, such as findmypast.org and Ancestry.com, have caused some confusion. FamilySearch patrons and indexing volunteers are wondering if the indexes created from their efforts will continue to be free to the public. The answer is a resounding YES!

All data indexed by FamilySearch volunteers will continue to be made available for free to the public through FamilySearch.org—now and in the future. Access to related digital images may not always be free to everyone. Working jointly with other organizations ensures wider availability to improved indexes and provides a tremendous benefit to millions of people around the world who are seeking to connect with their ancestors. FamilySearch is committed to working with records custodians around the world to provide faster access to more records for more people.

Where possible, FamilySearch will seek to provide free public access to digital images of original records. Due to affiliate obligations, free access to some images may be available only to FamilySearch members (volunteers and indexers who meet basic contribution requirements each quarter, patrons at Family History Centers, and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints whose contributions support FamilySearch’s operations). FamilySearch members will also enjoy convenient access in their homes or wherever they have Internet access. (FamilySearch is currently developing its ability to verify that users are FamilySearch members for future home access. This expanded access should be enabled in 2009.)

The general public will have several options to access any fee-based images offered under FamilySearch affiliate agreements. 1) Home access will be free for FamilySearch members; 2) access is free through a local Family History Center or the Family History Library; 3) access is often free through the record custodian or archive reading room; or 4) for a nominal fee, the public can access the images on specified record custodian or commercial Web sites.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What You Missed: The July 2008 Computer Class

8 October 2008: Updates to the information in this post can be found here.

Before I tell you about four fabulous computer classes you missed last Saturday, July 19th in the Gates Computer Lab at the downtown branch of the Spokane Public Library, I have to highlight some amazing people! We had four members and three non-members who very generously donated their time to make presentations for our society on various genealogy software programs. Because of extenuating circumstances, every one of these individuals was asked last-minute to teach on their favorite software, and rose to the challenge to give interesting, enlightening, and informative presentations. In addition, nearly everyone who presented was on a learning curve themselves, since two of the programs had recently been upgraded, one presenter had just recently purchased his software, and the last program is about to get upgraded within the next few months!

Our first class, held from 10:15 - 11:15 AM, was on FamilyTreeMaker, and was presented by Lola McCreary, Ruby Simonson McNeill, and Bette Butcher Topp. These ladies are long-time FTM users, and have been using FTM 2006 for a while. Lola recently purchased version 2008, and they highlighted the new features and answered the many questions that came their way. FTM 2008 can be purchased for $39.95, plus shipping and tax, at Ancestry. Here are some helpful links (all free!):

Next up was Lew and Trudy Lundy with their presentation on RootsMagic from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM. EWGS members may remember the Lundys from their presentations on German research at the Family History Conferences held at the North Stake LDS Church. Lew served as tech support, while Trudy, who is very familiar with RootsMagic, version 3, gave the presentation on this user-friendly software. They highlighted features of RM 3 and then went to the RootsMagic blog for sneek peeks at RM 4, soon to be released. You can download a free trial version from the website.

The current version (3) of RootsMagic can be purchased for $29.95 (CD or download), $39.95 (CD and book) or the book only for $14.95. Upgrades from earlier versions of RootsMagic or Family Origins (the original software name) are $19.95 (CD or download) or $29.95 (CD and book). Shipping and handling, where applicable, are extra.
Lew and Trudy lead the Spokane, Washington RootsMagic User Group. They meet at 7 PM on the second Tuesday of each month at the LDS Church at 808 E. Sitka, just off North Nevada Street. For contact information, go here.

Our third class was on Legacy Family Tree and was presented from 12:45 to 1:45 PM by Judy Linnebach, who graciously answered my plea for help on the Legacy Mailing List after our scheduled presenter had conflicting family commitments. She showed the online video highlighting the newly-released Deluxe Edition of Legacy 7.0, then opened up her own program to demonstrate various aspects.

Standard editions of Legacy 7.0 and earlier versions are available as full version free downloads! (I recommend them to my Online Genealogy students to use if they don't have their own software, even though I am a RootsMagic user.) The Deluxe Edition is available for purchase for $29.95 (download) or $39.95 (CD and book). Upgrades from Deluxe Edition 6.0 are $21.95. Here are some helpful links:

Our last presentation, from 2:00 to 3:00 PM, was headed up by Bill Hire, who brought in his iMac to demonstrate Reunion for Macintosh. Even with the small number of Mac users within our society, there were six interested attendees, including myself and another PC user. Bill recently made the switch from a PC to a Mac at home, and he and the other Mac users enjoyed sharing and learning from each other about Reunion's great features (it reminded me in many ways of RootsMagic). The group was so enthralled, the class went on for an extra half-hour!

Reunion, like much of the software (genealogical or not) available for Macs is more pricey than PC software. Version 9 can be purchased online or in store (locations are on the website) for $99.00 (CD or download) or upgraded from earlier versions for $59.95 (CD or download). Shipping costs are likely added, where applicable.

If you are at all interested in purchasing any of the above software, or need support for software you already have, I highly recommend you visit the links I've provided. You may also wish to check out Cyndi's List of Software for other genealogy programs not listed. Dick Eastman and Randy Seaver often give interesting reviews on their blogs about various software programs, too--not just database programs, but organizational, research, mapping, reunion planning, and personal history programs, like Clooz, GenSmarts, FamilyAtlas, Animap, etc.

The next computer class will be presented by Miriam Robbins Midkiff on "WorldVitalRecords.com" on Saturday, August 16th (Karen Struve's class on Newspaper Archives Online has been postponed until May 2009). If you are interested in signing up for any of our classes, please contact me, Miriam Robbins Midkiff, at kidmiffATgmailDOTcom (substituting the appropriate symbols for the text in green), or see our member directory for my telephone number. Currently, there are some spots available during the 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM and the 1:30 - 2:30 PM sessions for August's class. You must be a current EWGS member to attend. If you are interested in joining EWGS, please go to our website here and download the membership application.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another FamilySearch Update

46 Million New Names and 1.2 Million New Images Added to Online Census Collections

Approximately 46.3 million new records and 1.2 million new images are now available on the Record Search pilot at http://pilot.familysearch.org. This brings the total number of names available on the test site to 467,180,871.

Two new Records Access projects (1841 & 1861 England Census collections) were published with links to images on findmypast.com. This is important because it tests the pilot search engine’s capacity to ingest third party indexes and link to images hosted on affiliates’ sites. Such functionality enables FamilySearch to better fulfill its goal to increase access to more genealogical records faster for its users and members. Recent Records Access news announcements can be found at FamilySearch.org.

Project Name: 1841 England and Wales Census
Indexed Names: 15,806,949
Digital Image Count: 340,544
Comment: New - linked to FMP images

Project Name: 1850 United States Census
Indexed Names: 6,044,749
Comment: Updated - NY, PA, NC

Project Name: 1850 United States Census (Mortality Schedule)
Indexed Names: 62,269
Comment: Updated - NY,NC

Project Name: 1850 United States Census (Slave Schedule)
Indexed Names: 299,141
Comment: Updated - NC, UT

Project Name: 1861 England and Wales Census
Indexed Names: 19,178,973
Digital Image Count: 922,225
Comment: New - linked to FMP images

Project Name: 1870 United States Census
Indexed Names: 4,350,059
Comment: New - indexed data (15 states)

Project Name: 1930 Mexico Census
Indexed Names: 617,446
Comment: Updated - Chihuahua

Monday, July 21, 2008

FamilySearch Teams with findmypast.com and Others to Broaden Access to All Censuses for England and Wales

Online Volunteer Indexers Sought to Improve Select Collections

SALT LAKE CITY—FamilySearch announced today that it is joining forces with findmypast.com, The Origins Network, and Intelligent Image Management—companies that specialize in providing online access to British family history resources—to make significant British historical record collections more broadly available online. The first joint initiative seeks to publish online indexes to censuses for England and Wales from 1841 to 1901. The 1841 and 1861 Census indexes are the first targeted under the agreement and are accessible now at FamilySearch.org and findmypast.com.

In the agreement, FamilySearch, in conjunction with The Origins Network, will provide digital images for the 1851, 1871, and 1881 Censuses. It will also extend the 1871 Census index. Findmypast.com will provide FamilySearch copies of its English and Welsh Census indexes from 1841 to 1901. The Federation of Family History Societies will help complete the index for the 1851 Census.

Initially, users of FamilySearch.org will be able to do a free search by record type, given name, surname, age, gender, place of birth, and relationship to head of household (relationship was not recorded in the 1841 Census). The free search capability at FamilySearch.org will include additional fields of data in the future. Users will be able to search the full indexes and view original images for free at FamilySearch’s 4,500 Family History Centers or for a nominal fee at findmypast.com.

The addition of findmypast.com’s English and Welsh Census Collections to FamilySearch’s online databases will increase the use of the valuable record sets and increase traffic to findmypast.com.

Jay L. Verkler, Managing Director for FamilySearch, said, “The new images and additional information provided by FamilySearch will significantly enhance and improve the overall English and Welsh Census collection. And its addition to FamilySearch.org will increase awareness of the rich Web resources of FamilySearch affiliates and the likelihood of success for FamilySearch.org patrons doing British research.”

Elaine Collins, Commercial Director at findmypast.com, commented, “Findmypast.com is delighted to be working with FamilySearch to launch the British Census Collection online. Censuses are the core building blocks for family historians and genealogists alike, and now, at last, here is the definitive version. This has been a very exciting project for us, and we look forward to collaborating with FamilySearch in the future to bring other important collections to an ever wider international audience.”

FamilySearch will utilize its impressive online community of volunteer indexers to add more fields of data to select censuses. When finished, the improved census indexes will be available on FamilySearch.org, findmypast.com, and Originsnetwork.com. Individuals interested in volunteering as online indexers for British historical projects can do so at FamilySearch.org.

Ian Galbraith, CEO of The Origins Network and Upal Rahman, President of Intelligent Image Management (IIM) Inc. said, "The FamilySearch England and Wales Census project is clearly a milestone initiative in the history of genealogical research. It heralds a new era of easier accessibility to a mountain (literally!) of genealogical material available hitherto only to the privileged few, if at all. We are delighted to be working with FamilySearch and proud that they have chosen for the FamilySearch Website the 1841 and 1871 UK censuses—the most accurate available—which The Origins Network and IIM jointly developed."

FamilySearch and Ancestry.com Team to Publish New Images and Enhanced Indexes to the U.S. Censuses

New 1900 Census Images Now Available on Ancestry.com; Volunteer Indexers Sought to Improve the 1920 U.S. Census Index

SALT LAKE CITY—Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, the two largest online family history resources, announced today they will exchange records and resources to make more historical records available online. The first project is a joint initiative to significantly enhance the online U.S. Federal Census Collection (1790 to 1930). The original census records are among the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

FamilySearch is digitally converting master microfilm copies of the original U.S. Federal Censuses from 1790 through 1930 and, under this agreement, will give these improved images to Ancestry.com. All census images and indexes will be available on Ancestry.com for subscribers. As projects are completed, images will be available for free in NARA reading rooms and FamilySearch’s 4,500 Family History Centers.

Ancestry.com, which currently offers indexes and images to the entire publicly available U.S. Federal Census Collection, will give FamilySearch copies of its existing census indexes. Through its online indexing system and community of volunteer indexers, FamilySearch is already indexing select censuses. FamilySearch will merge the Ancestry.com indexes with the new FamilySearch indexes to create enhanced census indexes, which will be added to both sites. Indexes to the enhanced censuses will be free on Ancestry.com for a limited time as they are completed. Indexes will also be available for free on FamilySearch.org.

Allen Weinstein, the Archivist of the United States, welcomed this agreement as a significant benefit for researchers. He remarked that, “Census records are among the most important documents the American people have to trace their genealogy and know their family history. Having two of our partners working together to enhance the indexes and images of these essential documents will enable an unprecedented level of access and understanding.”

The first census exchanged is the 1900 U.S. Census. FamilySearch completed a 1900 index in addition to Ancestry.com’s original. In the new index, FamilySearch added several new fields of searchable data, such as birth month and birth year, so individuals can search for ancestors more easily. The two indexes will be merged into an enhanced index, available on both sites. The new 1900 census images are now available on Ancestry.com. The enhanced 1900 index will be available for free for a limited time at Ancestry.com and ongoing at FamilySearch.org.

Ancestry.com will also provide FamilySearch its original 1920 U.S. Census index. Using the Ancestry.com index as a first transcription, FamilySearch will create a new second index with added fields and arbitrate any discrepancies between the two indexes. The 1920 project is currently in progress. Individuals interested in helping create the improved index can volunteer at FamilySearch.org. Once completed, the enhanced 1920 index will be available on both sites and will link back to images on Ancestry.com.

The 1850 through 1870 (partial) and 1880 and 1900 U.S. Censuses can be searched currently at FamilySearch.org; all publicly available U.S. Censuses are already available on Ancestry.com.

Tim Sullivan, president and CEO of The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of Ancestry.com, said, “This collaboration represents a significant step forward in making family history research more accessible. The enhanced U.S. Federal Census Collection that will become available through this agreement is a gold mine for family history researchers, and we look forward to collaborating with FamilySearch in identifying other opportunities to help people discover their roots.”

“The U.S. Censuses are arguably the most important collection of U.S. genealogical records. FamilySearch is excited to see the complete, improved indexes of these collections freely available online over the next two years. And we look forward to working with Ancestry.com to enhance access to additional, significant collections in the future,” said Jay Verkler, Managing Director for FamilySearch.