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James Tanner's Blog – August 2010 Archive (17)

Looking for the ideal lineage linked database program

There have been a rash of Blog posts about the release of Family Tree Maker 2011. It looks like I last visited the subject of lineage linked database programs

back in January of 2009. For those of you who are not used to that

name, a lineage linked database program is software that stores your

family information such as Personal Ancestral File, RootsMagic,

Ancestral Quest, Legacy… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 31, 2010 at 8:00pm — No Comments

Connecting the Genealogist to the Research -- an online conundrum

In the title to this post, I use for the definition of "conundrum" that

of an intricate and difficult problem. The question was raised by Martin

Hollick, author of

Hollick, Martin E. New Englanders in the 1600s: A Guide to Genealogical Research Published between 1980 and 2005. Boston, Mass: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2006.

in his post, "Shepardizing… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 30, 2010 at 8:18am — No Comments

Following links from Google Books, WorldCat and

When I was working at the University of Utah Library a million years ago

(maybe only half a million), my past-time on break was to walk the

stacks, it was exercise and I also became acquainted with all of the

different sections of that huge library. I would also find books of

interest from time to time. Whenever I go to a library, I essentially do

the same thing, walk up and down the shelves looking for relevant

material. I have learned that no index (card catalog)… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 29, 2010 at 5:12pm — No Comments

My rules for buying a new computer for genealogy

In my recent post

on buying a new computer I talked about some of the factors that go

into choosing a system for home (or small business) use. Here are my

rules or at least the ones I have adapted over the years in purchasing

dozens of computers:

Rule No. 1: Always buy the fastest computer you can reasonably afford.

This is a pretty simple rule.… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 28, 2010 at 5:39pm — No Comments

On publishing genealogy -- still a viable option?

The hallmark of the published genealogy is a thick book of names, reported relationships, brief narratives and NO

sources. I have a number of these books on my own shelves at home. Most

are treasured as family heirlooms, written by someone's great

grandmother or aunt, long since passed away and unavailable to make

corrections or even defend their work. In a past post, out of a sense of

self preservation, I have declined to identify any particular book.

Now,… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 28, 2010 at 5:39pm — No Comments

On buying a new computer for genealogy

In the past and for many years, I owned an Apple computer store which also sold a variety of manufactures' computers (most of those early computer stores are long since out of business). Since selling off my computer store business, I continue to teach a lot of classes about genealogy programs and online resources which gives people the idea I might… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 25, 2010 at 10:38pm — No Comments

Have you looked at Community Trees? Why not?

Quoting from the Community Trees website,

Community Trees are lineage-linked genealogies from specific time periods and geographic localities around the world. The information also includes the supporting sources. Most of the

genealogies are joint projects between FamilySearch and others who live

locally or have expertise in the area or records used to create the

genealogies. Each Community Tree is a…

Added by James Tanner on August 22, 2010 at 8:01am — 1 Comment

How do we know what we know?

Genealogy is not an exact science. What we know about the historical

past and particularly our family is based on our experience. Some of the

information is likely very accurate, while it is entirely possible that

some of the things we know, or think we know, about our family are

entirely false. Whether our beliefs about our family are based in fact

or not, depends to a great extent on our system of justified beliefs,

that is, those things we "know" to be true from… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 21, 2010 at 6:14pm — No Comments

Genealogical plagiarism -- legal or moral offense?

Right out of the chute, plagiarism is not a criminal act. The closest

legal involvement is with copyright infringement or violation claims.

Certainly, extensive plagiarism is almost always also a violation of

copyright. To quote from the University of Arizona Libraries website on Avoiding Plagiarism,

"Plagiarism is using others' ideas and words without clearly

acknowledging the source of… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 15, 2010 at 7:30am — No Comments

Who can claim a copyright to old diaries, journals and letters?

Some of the most valuable documents for family history research consist

of diaries, journals and letters. From time to time, copyright issues

arise concerning these types of documents, especially if the text of the

documents or a facsimile is being published either online or in a

printed format. The first rule is that physical possession of the

documents does not confer any right to the copyright. I have found that

the possessor of the document usually incorrectly… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 13, 2010 at 9:04am — No Comments

Can I make editing changes to a document to obtain copyright protection?

This post is a continuation of the discussion in my last post, Can I obtain a copyright of a copy of an old document? The commentary is directed at websites that claim copyrights to digitized images of old documents of interest to genealogists, such as U.S. Census records, wills, deeds, maps and other such items. Let's suppose that as an attorney, I have read all…


Added by James Tanner on August 12, 2010 at 12:27pm — No Comments

Can I obtain a copyright of a copy of an old document?

Recent news releases in the genealogical community highlight additions

to more huge online databases of historic images, including private

documents such as journals, wills, maps and other such items. Many of

these images are put online by companies trying to charge a fee for some

aspect of either searching or reproducing the documents. This raises a

more than academic question, can anyone obtain copyright protection by

virtue of scanning an old documents and… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 11, 2010 at 9:08pm — No Comments

Scanners vs. Digital Cameras for preserving genealogical documents and photos

There are a number of ways to digitize documents and photographs. The

two primary ways are to use some form of a scanner or in the

alternative, some kind of digital camera. Following is a number of

digital files of the same document acquired for the computer with

different options. In each case the document was scanned or photographed

at the optimal level for the device. The file was saved as a .tif file

and the image was magnified to 200% of the original. The… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 9, 2010 at 8:07pm — No Comments

You really can find your ancestors on the Internet

One recurring question is whether or not the vast number of records

being digitized on the Internet actually increase anyone's chances of

finding their ancestors? From my standpoint the answer is a resounding

yes. This last week had proof of the possibility, one from Sinaloa,

Mexico and another from the Midwest U.S.

It has been the case for sometime that the Family History Library had a

very high percentage of the Mexican Catholic Church Parish Registers… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 8, 2010 at 10:08pm — No Comments

Notes and note taking

I was an awful note taker at the university and in law school.

Especially in law school, I would watch the other students scribble

furiously in their notebooks, so I would copy their behavior and write

copious notes from every class. There was just one problem, when I got

home and went back through my notes, they were absolutely meaningless.

It was not that I couldn't write legibly, it was just that whatever I

wrote down made no sense. I finally got to the point of… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 6, 2010 at 9:42am — No Comments

Any updates for FamilySearch?

In the BYU Continuing Education announcement of the Conference on Family

History and Genealogy recently concluded, the senior product manager

for FamilySearch, Daniel C. Lawyer, was scheduled to present "The Future of FamilySearch (Something Big is Coming Soon)"

Although there were a lot of comments about a presentation by Curt B.

Witcher on the coming Dark Ages of Genealogy and a few news accounts of

the presentation… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 2, 2010 at 8:45am — No Comments

Is a royal line back to the Middle Ages real genealogy?

In a recent comment to my statement about old royal pedigree, Martin said,

It's an incorrect opinion. You've confused two things. I don't believe in lines going back to Adam either. However, I can verify using modern genealogical standards, my line back to medieval

royalty and that royalty back to the early dark ages (about 400-600

A.D.). So it is real genealogy and real history.
Given Martin's expertise in genealogy, it is highly likely that his… Continue

Added by James Tanner on August 1, 2010 at 2:57pm — No Comments


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