Sunday, November 21, 2010

Holiday Questions - Take the time to Learn.

It is time for families to get together to party and feast.  This is also the time for you to get those mystery questions answered.  When you are visiting with your aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, etc., don't forget to get some family history information.  Take along your camera, tape recorder, video camera, pictures of ancestors, etc.  Ask the important questions:
     1.  Get those names, date, places of anyone and everyone in your family tree.
     2.  Bring along pictures of your ancestors and talk with those that knew these people.  Get as much information about the ancestors as possible.  Find out what they did for a living, what are the names of their kids, how did they live, how did they die, etc.  Think, "What is something I really want to know about this person's life".  Those are the questions you want answered.
     3.  Take a few minutes and video those elderly in your family.  Plan some questions to help them get to talking about their life. 
     4.  If you are elderly, call your children and grandchildren around you and you tell them about life when you were a child.  Bring your history to them first hand.
     5.  Write down EVERYTHING!  Or record it somehow.  You may never get another chance to do so.
     6.  Have members of your family share memories of times in their lives that made an impression on them.

Have fun at your holiday get-togethers!  Take advantage of this time to fill in some information on your family tree.  Most of all, teach your family about their ancestors by getting them involved.  The opportunity to gather information may never be any better than this year - so make it a priority!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NEW - Family History Lessons HERE!

I know that Family History (Genealogy) has changed so much since I began my searching.  I started when I was 11 and now I am into my 60’s.  When I started, I wrote tons of letters, made many copies of my work by hand, forgot to document anything, made incorrect assumptions, and moved forward two steps and back one.  I have learned much in these many years. 

I have worked in the Family History Center at a time where we ordered hundreds of films a year for patrons to view.  Our centers were full and all microfilm readers had waiting lists to use them.  Then the computer came on the scene.  It was a great tool for everyone.  Things at the center have changed.  Not many films are ordered, patrons drop by for shorter research stays, and the Internet has made it possible for research to be done right from home.  
When people came into the FHC, they learned how to do research one step at a time.  They asked a staff member how to start and one step led to another.  The steps were pretty simple, fill out a Pedigree Chart and Family Group Sheet, order films like Census Records, and begin. 
Searching on the Internet is much the same.  Start with the same basics and take one step at a time.  One thing learned will lead to another way to search. 
I see lots of people that feel overwhelmed when it comes to genealogy.  They look at this elephant as way to difficult to even take one bite at a time.  They feel a responsibility to search for their family for a variety of reasons but get stopped before they even start.  That is why I feel I need to step in and see if I can help them.
I have taught several classes at the Family History Center but I feel there is a need to teach those that are unable to come to the center because of a variety of reasons.  I know there are lessons online in hundreds of places and reinventing the wheel is not what I intend.  My goal is to help you move from step to step using many of the tools that are already available but making it logical for YOU to find. 
Because the very first name on your records will begin with YOU and then go to your parents, immediately we each will go in a different direction.  That poses a great dilemma when trying to teach research.  Hopefully you will ask for help when needed and let us help you find the direction you should go.
Let’s begin gathering your family together.  Follow along with the lessons.  Please let me know if you have any questions along the way.  If you have them, then others probably do also.  I am squeezing these lessons into a busy schedule so please forgive me for not getting all the lessons up immediately.  This will be a work in progress.  If you need to hurry along faster, please check out the websites listed in the Basic Internet Research section.  You will find our lessons under the folder LESSONS at the top of the screen.
Our email is  Please feel free to write – let me know how you are doing or if you have questions.  Diane

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


We are changing our hours at the Family History Center in Sandpoint.  Until further notice, beginning Nov. 16, we will be open only two days a week - Tuesday and Thursday.  We will now be CLOSED on Wednesday's.  We have made this decision due to lack of staff and limited use by patrons. 

We encourage everyone to work from home. Please email us if you need assistance and contact us if you need to schedule a session at a different time.

Hours Open (beginning Nov. 16)
     Tuesday and Thursday 9am - 3pm

We will be closed the week of Thanksgiving (Nov. 23, 24, and 25).  We will also be closed for Christmas from Dec. 20 - Jan. 3. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Websites for ALL Kinds of Research - A MUST SEE!!!

Here are some fantastic websites for all kinds of researching (from a Webinar by Paul Larson Legacy Webinars):
Paul Larson wrote:  CRASH COURSE IN FAMILY HISTORY – An easy step by step illustration guidebook and comprehensive resource directory.
Some of the sites are free and some cost money ($$).  I am so excited about checking these out.  I will keep a link to this group of sites under BASIC INTERNET RESEARCH (a tab at the top of this website). 

            Contains important and valuable resources not found anywhere else.  Over 2,400 databases containing over 135 million names, 28+million documents, artifacts, records, manuscripts, books, bibles, photos, etc.  Specializing in American, Irish, English, Italian, Scottish, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, Native American, and Jewish genealogy. - $$
            A premium source of information – 4+ billion names, 27,000 databases, 26,000 historical records collections, the only completely indexed US Census records, US ship passenger lists, African-American historical documents, city directories, vital records, family trees, etc.
            ANCESTRY PUBLIC MEMBERS –>search>publicmembertrees
            ANCESTRY’S WIKI  -
                        Contains:  THE SOURCE – A guidebook to American genealogy
                                         REDBOOK – American state, county, and town sources
                                         And other content from Ancestry and people

            A free directory of online death indexes listed by state and county:  Death records, death certificate indexes, death notices and registers, obituaries, probate indexes, and cemetery and burial records.

            A mega portal of key worldwide genealogical databases and resources.

            The Family History Library’s best websites for each country + other links.

FAMILY SEARCH  - FREE - -  Free access to billions of records – Improving their infrastructure to make it easier for everyone, and eliminate duplications – digitizing and indexing their extensive records in the Granite Mt. Vault – Partnering with other libraries to digitize their records – Upgrading their catalog using new technology – Adding new searchable maps, a new wiki site, and a digital image viewer – Expanding published family histories – Over 200 digital cameras currently digitizing records in 47 countries.
            ANCESTRAL FILE
            COMMUNITY TREES (new) –
RESEARCH WIKI – -  browse by country – they have the largest international data resource available.  Links to archives, births, marriages, cemeteries, census, etc. Over 40,000 articles, tutorials, and videos.  Search by Category – including ethnic groups and many different topics.  Check out the Ancestry Map showing the largest population in US. 

FAMILY TREE –FREE - – It will eventually include capabilities to link “public documents” with each record – It has the option to dispute and provide alternative lineages with notes and proof documents.  It will soon be open to everyone (now currently open only to LDS) – This will revolutionize family history research collaboration, and be a boon to tracking and sharing your family roots.  This will combine all info into one place so everyone can work on it together.

            A growing collection of unique data indexed from a variety of secondary sources, such as:  high school and college yearbooks, Masonic rosters, club and society member lists, insurance claims, church directories, orphanage and soldiers’ home residents, prisoner logs and much more…not available elsewhere.

FIND MY  - $$
            A UK site containing over 550 million family history records and key UK databases.  Free to search pay to view.  $$
            Collections include:  Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI, &II, Vietnam War, the Great Depression, interactive 1860 and 1930 census images, African American history, Native Americans, historical newspapers, naturalization documents, and city directories.

            Over 90 million names.  You can pair names in your pedigree with those in their database.


            A new web site that combines social networking with tools and resources to research and share family history, and collaborate with others.
            They make it easy to discover exciting details about your ancestors:  over 1 billion names, over 4,000 newspapers (1690-today), over 275,000 historical books, pamphlets and documents (pension records, land claims, military reports), and over 130 million obituaries and death records.

GENEA NET – FREE but $ for advanced functions without commercials
            Over 390 million names – French website, contents:  UK, Germany, France, Holland, Spain, and Italy.

GEN  - $$

            A private library that houses over 200k books and periodicals, much of which is not available elsewhere – including: state and local histories, international resources, family histories, biographies, records by religious organizations, church records, funeral records, cemetery records, military records, maps, and hand-written material.

HERITAGE QUEST    (or see your local library website – you will need your library card) – also available at LDS Family History Centers free.
            US Census 1790-1930, over 24,000 family and local histories, the PERSI index to 2.1 million articles, Revolutionary War pension and bounty-land warrants, Freed-man’s Bank records, and US Congressional records.

            Over 30,000 historic photographic collections.

            Over 370 million names;  build your own family tree online with pictures.

            Links to 18,000 libraries worldwide

            One of the world’s premier collections of genealogical and local historical publications.
            A huge directory of over 9 million worldwide genealogy links categorized by locality.

            A central search portal for 300k digital resources (text, photos, video, audio) from universities, colleges, libraries, museums, and historical societies in the mountain west.

            The nation’s record keeper.  A treasure trove of records and documents to trace your family roots.  Access to more than 85 million historical records, photos, and maps.

            More than 10 million European aerial reconnaissance images from WWII (overlaid with modern satellite images)

            A large historical newspaper database online.  You can search every word in tens of millions of newspaper pages between 1753-present.

            Over 200 million names – allows everyone to one huge, shared database.

PRO GENEALOGIST  (where the pro’s go)
            UNITED STATES GENEALOGY SLEUTH = Links to US web sites that professional genealogists use daily when conducting US genealogy research (see also the International Genealogy Sleuth).

            A global volunteer organization that will look up courthouse records, take pictures of tombstones, etc. and email them to you at no cost.

            A free genealogy community providing an environment for learning, collaborating and sharing – Contains: huge transcribed records, extensive interactive guides, numerous research tools for tracing family histories, over 31,000 mailing lists, more than 132,000 message boards, and a surname list of over 1.2 million names.
            ANCESTRY’S FAMILY TREES –  FREE public trees

VITAL  - Free to search $ to order
            A comprehensive resource for locating vital records.

            A free service for publishing family trees in GEDCOM format for sharing and easy access.  (Also search hundreds of thousands of family trees.

            Provides historical context around places, people, and events.  Helps you better understand the historical context of your family history.

            Provides access to thousands of genealogy databases:  Everton publishers, Quintin Publications, Archive CD Books Australia and Canada, Gould Genealogy, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, Ellis Island, Genealogical Publishing, Find My Past, Godfrey Memorial Library, Find a Grave and Family Search.

            How and where to find birth, death, marriage, divorce, and adoption records.

            This free sprawling, all-volunteer site is packed with how-to tips, queries, and records such as censuses, tombstones, family group sheets, cemetery surveys and marriage indexes for every US state and virtually every county.

He said that perhaps 90% + of all family history records are not yet available on the Internet.  It is all a work in progress.

EVERYTHING LISTED HERE AND MUCH MORE IS AVAILABLE IN HIS BOOK OR IN HIS E-BOOK (WITH DIRECT LINKS TO THESE SITES).    Check out the Legacy web site for details on how to purchase the book or download the e-file.

I have not checked these out so please let me know what you find, how they worked for you, which ones you like best and please let me know if there is a problem with any of the links.