Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Ancestral Quest Releases Major Upgrade ver. 15

Ancestral Quest (AQ) has been my go to genealogy software for many years. Their software originated from PAF and has always maintained a close connection to FamilySearch. Their latest update provides more great enhancements.

TreeTips: AQ has always been able to search other genealogy websites for hints. Previous versions have even allowed you to write your own code to search your favorite websites. But now it searches as you view your ancestor's name and tells you when hints have been found for MyHeritage, FamilySearch and FindMyPast. That's a potential 10 billion records! Each of their icons show up next to your ancestor's name indicating new hints have been found.

TreeTips Provides Helpful Hints

Memories Manager: FamilySearch has a gallery where people can upload their memories (photos, documents, audio clips, etc.) for their ancestors. AQ has a scrapbook where you can link your records to your ancestors. Now, with Memories Manager, you can sync these records between your FamilySearch account and AQ. You can even download and link records that others have uploaded. You are able to see the records from FamilySearch and AQ side-by-side and sync those files between the two.

Memories Manager

Enhanced Child View and Pedigree View: This new upgrade allows you to see even more information in the standard views. The Child View provides symbols to the left of the names that indicate if the person was married, had children, or doesn't have any information. The Pedigree View now provides up to 7 generations on the same screen. Previously the default view was 5 generations.

Enhanced Child View

Enganced Pedigree View - 6 Generations Shown

The enhancements provided in AQ15 make your research quicker by finding more hints and making syncing between FamilySearch and your files easier. For more information visit AQ's website and read more about the updates.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Making Family History Fun for the Kids

Fun? When was the last time you heard someone say family history was fun? If you have worked with some people beginning their research you might have heard them exclaim how much fun it was when they found a new record. But generally, people who aren't doing family history consider it a boring task, best left to the retired members of the family and definitely not for the children. What if I could tell you some ways to make family history research fun for your children? Would you try them? I hope so.

With the holidays upon us, there are many opportunities for family gatherings. These are the perfect setting to add family history to the discussion. Many of us are planning on travelling and need activities for the children to do during the long trips.

One activity you can prepare are word search puzzles. There are many online sites that help you develop your own word search puzzles. Discovery Education has a great word search generator. You can enter in words or names of your ancestors and it creates a puzzle. Below, you can see a puzzle I created using some general words that we run across during our research but you can use any variety of words to make it interesting for you and your children.

Word Search Puzzle from Discovery Education

Did you ever play Car Bingo when you were a kid? If you did, you probably remember finding license plates or road signs with the words or numbers you were searching for to fill in your Bingo card. Now, you can create your own Bingo cards with information about your family history by visiting the BingoBaker or the TeachingStuff website. Just fill in the squares with information that your children may find as you travel and connect it to your family history. In the example below I have included a few dates, places and names that they may find on license plates, signs, or other things they will see.

Example of Bingo Cards from TeachingStuff website

Do you have a bunch of family photos sitting around? Maybe you can create a matching game or jigsaw puzzle from copies of the pictures (don't use the originals). For the matching game you can make duplicate copies of the photos and attach them to card stock paper to make them sturdier. Shuffle the pictures and place them face down and have your child pick the matches. You can make it more difficult by using two different pictures of the same person as the marching cards. As your child picks up a card and turns it face up you can tell them who it is and maybe a short story to help them recognize the photo. Jigsaw puzzles are easy to make. All you have to do is enlarge a copy of a photo and glue it to a hard backing then cut it into interlocking pieces. If you want to get elaborate with this, you can attach the photo to a thin piece of wood and use a jigsaw blade to cut pieces.

How about 20 questions? As your child becomes familiar with their ancestors you can start playing 20 questions. One person thinks of an ancestor and the other asks yes or no questions to try to figure out who it is.

In today's world, kids are used to video games and the electronic world. It could be interesting to show them games that you played as a child, or games that their grandparents played. Get them outside after the meals and play freeze tag, follow the leader, or hide and seek. If the weather isn't suitable you can stay inside and play jacks, checkers, or hot and cold. I am sure you have your favorite games from your childhood that you can teach to the kids.

There are so many ways to work family history into your children's activities. Take the opportunity to learn more about your family history and pass it along to your children in a way that they will enjoy.

It's All Online, Why Should I Visit the Family History Center?

Good morning all. I decided to take some time off from work to catch up on my writing. It is a beautiful crisp 68 degrees this December morning (I love south Florida) and as we get into the holiday season the number of visitors to our Family History Center (FHC) is begining to drop off. As the Vero Beach Stake Family History Center Director, I have been working on ways to increase the use of our FHC and when I woke up this morning it hit me, I haven't written about the Center. I maintain a Facebook page for the Center, but how else should I be reaching out to prospective patrons?

I do hear from many people that there is so much information online that they don't feel the need to come to the FHC. As long as they are working on family history somewhere, I am happy, but they are missing out on the excellent resources that the FHC has available. So why should they visit the FHC? Here are just a couple reasons to visit your local FHC.

1) Expert Assistance: Our Center has 7 consultants available during the week. We are open to the public most Mondays and Fridays 10:00 am - 2:00 pm and Wednesdays 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm. We are also open for LDS members on Sundays during Sunday School hour. There are always at least two consultants available on Monday and Friday and on Wednesday and Sunday we have 5 or more consultants available to give personal assistance.

2) Equipment: We have 7 computers in the FHC and one printer/scanner. We also have several film and fiche readers. The printer/scanner can scan your family photos directly to your Gallery in FamilySearch.

3) The FHC Portal: The FHC Portal is a collection of sites which you can access free from the Family History Center. This collection includes:
  • 19th Century British Library Digital Newspaper Archive
  • The American Civil War Research Database
  • American Ancestors
  • Ancestry
  • Findmypast
  • Fold3
  • Geneanet
  • Kinpoint
  • MyHeritage
  • Newspaper Archive
  • Paper Trail
  • ProQuest Obituary Collection
  • Puzzilla
  • and ArkivDigital Online

4) Trained Staff: We have been working to make sure all our FHC Consultants are properly trained. Through regular in person and online training, we are building a set of expertise that can provide you the help you need to find those elusive ancestors.

5) Record Access From Salt Lake: You can order microfilms and other records from the Salt Lake Family History Library and have them sent to your local FHC where you can take your time looking through them. It's much cheaper than flying out there for a record but maybe not as much fun.

6) Our secret weapon: Ok, if you come in on Wednesday you get me. Yeah, I know, now the doors will be busting down on Wednesday evenings.

7) Special Events: We are working on providing special events so the patrons get to know us better. Our first event of 2017 will be the Indian River Genealogy Conference. This is a free event scheduled for Saturday, March 18 (8:00 am - 4:00 pm). You can visit the Facebook site for more information on this conference. We are also planning for an open house and other events during the year.

8) In Home Assistance: For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we can provide in-home assistance on your family history. All you have to do is contact one of our Consultants and set up a time. We will take the opportunity to get to know you better, figure out your research interests, and develop a research plan for you to achieve your research goals.

We welcome all visitors from beginners to experienced researchers. We are called to serve the members of our Church as well as the people in our communities. Our Center is located at 3980 12th Street, Vero Beach, Florida and our phone number is 772-770-2361. Come visit us and learn more about your family's history.

So, how do you find your local Family History Center? One way is to go to FamilySearch.org and click on the [Get Help] link. From there select [Contact Us] and enter your zip code. This will provide a map to your local Family History Center. Once you locate your FHC give them a call and let them know you are coming to visit them, I'm sure they will be glad to hear from you.