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James Tanner's Blog – December 2009 Archive (25)

Finding out almost anything and everything

When I last checked most of the genealogists I know were also people who had to live and do other things besides genealogy once and a while. But it is still interesting how many things I do every day relate to genealogy in some way or another. One of the notable events of this past year has been the phenomenal increase in my ability to find out things. It started with maps. Google Maps revolutionized the way I find places, not just for genealogy, but going to stores or other locations. Part of… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 31, 2009 at 9:29am — No Comments

Technology in genealogical research has its place

If I am scanning old photographs, newer technology is better. It is faster with higher resolution than just a few years ago. If I am searching census records, the new technology that allows me to view images of the census pages online from my home computer is nearly a miracle compared to searching through miles of microfilm. But technology has its place. Unfortunately, not all researchers realize the limitations of the current technology. For example, I now find people who have searched for… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 30, 2009 at 10:52pm — No Comments

Privacy, Identity Theft and Genealogy -- How real is this concern?


In this series of posts, I have been exploring common concerns among genealogists about both the privacy of the information they gather and the risk of being a victim to identity theft. Although there are real concerns in both areas, the media has hyped these topics to the point of gross exaggeration. What we do in our homes and with our family, are for the most part "private" in the classical sense. But anything we do in the public, buying, selling, traveling, working, etc.… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 28, 2009 at 8:28am — No Comments

Privacy, Identity Theft and Genealogy -- More on Identity Theft


In the past few posts I have been commenting on the fact that privacy and identity theft are both real concerns, albeit not nearly so important as the media would have you believe. Given the reality of the criminal activities included in the umbrella term "identity theft," it turns out that the danger of having your identity stolen, posed by sharing genealogical information, even online, is vanishingly small despite the reportedly large number of instances. Also, in the… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 27, 2009 at 8:47pm — No Comments

Newest updates on FamilySearch's Record Search

In the December 24, 2009 update, Record Search added a number of new collections; Washington State County Marriages from 1858 to 1950, England Cheshire Parish records from 1538 to 2000, Cheshire Bishops' Transcripts fro 1598 to 1900 and Germany, Baden, Boondorf Church Book Duplicates from 1810 to 1869. The following collections were also updated; Brazil, Catholic Church Records, Florida State Census for 1935 and 1945, England, Cheshire Non-conformist records from 1671 to 1900 and the 1920… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 27, 2009 at 6:22pm — No Comments

Privacy, Identity Theft and Genealogy -- Privacy worries


In the last two posts I have discussed identity theft and privacy, two concerns of genealogists working with today's interconnected technology. Privacy is a difficult topic because there are so many aspects to the issue, from personal privacy in daily life, to whether or not banks and other financial institutions can see your personal financial records. Genealogists research families and therefore often encounter personal, private, sensitive topics and information. The main… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 24, 2009 at 9:00am — No Comments

Privacy, Identity Theft and Genealogy -- Privacy, an issue?


The purpose of this series is to highlight the real privacy and identity theft concerns associated with genealogy. In my first post in this series, I explained that the danger from identity theft has been dramatically overblown in the media. For example, it is twice as likely that you will have your wallet stolen, than to have a problem with identity theft via the Internet. This post continues with a discussion of privacy.

Privacy... What is really private and what… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 23, 2009 at 5:42pm — No Comments

Privacy, Identity Theft and Genealogy -- First in a series

Almost every time I teach a class, especially of older people, and mention purchasing something online or downloading a file from the Internet, I get several individuals who say that they will never buy anything from the Internet because of possible identity theft and privacy concerns. From my perspective as both an attorney and a heavy user of online services, I have come to the conclusion that although there are some real concerns, most of the fear is irrational and based on ignorance. Now,… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 22, 2009 at 9:28am — No Comments

Parade of States -- online digital genealogy resources -- Virginia

Time to get back to the Parade of States, this post is on Virginia's online resources. It is interesting to see the variety of resources that some states have already put online and the paucity of resources from other states. The differences in availability do not seem to be governed by economics or the size of the population, but generally, larger states have more resources, with some notable exceptions.

Virginia has some collections of online records, and what is available is… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 21, 2009 at 8:54am — No Comments

Furthering the discussion on certification

Craig Manson has written a very entertaining and provocative post entitled "The Discussion about Standards, Certification, Maturity, etc.: Useful or Divisive? Elitist Envy or Intellectual Inevitability?" I really enjoyed to the mock court room examination of the proposed expert witness on the subject of genealogy. The hypothetical testimony points out several serious questions; Can a genealogist (or anyone) become an "expert" merely by doing what many genealogists do all the time? Is there a… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 19, 2009 at 6:36pm — No Comments

FamilySearch Community Trees -- a truly amazing innovation

Very recently FamilySearch on its FamilySearch Labs Website introduced an new concept to genealogical research and online databases, truly amazing Community Trees. This collection contains more than mere lists of individuals, it is the genealogy of entire communities. It is also far more than a lineage linked database. It is also free and available to anyone, whether or not they are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As explained on the Community Trees… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 18, 2009 at 7:44pm — No Comments

What's another billion records or so?

There seems to be no end to the Websites claiming to have millions, if not billions of records online. In case you were wondering, here is another site with a huge collection of online records. The site is called . It is a company whose only location is shown in Nebraska. They have a newer Website with a significant number of records, as of 18 November 2009, they claim 1,035,043,627 records with the number changing as you watch. At the time of this writing they have 75… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 18, 2009 at 12:16pm — No Comments

Even more on standardization of place names

The starting point for the use of place names in a family history or genealogical context is the rule that the place is the location at the time the event happened, especially if the place name was different at the time of the event. If there is a need for further explanation, the modern or current place name should be in a note. The reason for this rule is simple, any other notation obscures the historical reality and makes further investigation more difficult.

From the perspective… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 17, 2009 at 8:58am — 1 Comment

New Records from Argentina, Guatemala, Georgia and Germany

FamilySearch's Record Search has added another round of new records. December 14, 2009 shows records from Argentina, Guatemala, Georgia (USA) and Germany. Here are brief descriptions of the new records:

Added by James Tanner on December 15, 2009 at 10:16pm — No Comments

Revisiting Stadardized Place Names

The latest revisions to New FamilySearch contain some disturbing developments. In the release notes for the New FamilySearch Web Site of December 2009, it states: "In addition to the other information that is required for temple ordinances to be performed, an individual’s record must now have at least the country for birth, christening, marriage, death, or burial. The place-name must be standardized." There are actually two problems with this requirement; first, place names change over time and… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 15, 2009 at 8:53am — 2 Comments

Update on Family History Expo in Mesa, Arizona

January 22nd and 23rd will find me at the Family History Expo at the Mesa Convention Center. I mentioned previously that I have been asked to attend as a Blogger of Honor. I don't mind giving free publicity to the Family History Expo because I thought the one last year was very well done. I put the Blogger of Honor button and the Family History Expo button on my site and you can find them off to the right. Feel free to copy the Family History… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 14, 2009 at 10:04pm — No Comments

Insight into Family History Centers

It is commonly reported that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has more than 3,500 Family History Centers around the world. What does this actually mean to those interested in genealogical research? First of all, the main repository for genealogical information collected by the Church is located at the Family History Library and other storage facilities in and around Salt Lake City, Utah. The local Family History Centers are branch facilities of the Family History Library.… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 14, 2009 at 7:54am — No Comments

Major changes to New FamilySearch

After two consecutive Beta test runs, FamilySearch has introduced some more major changes to the New FamilySearch program. Anyone, even if you cannot register yet for New FamilySearch, can see the changes. Just click on the News and Updates link from the home screen.

Chief among the many changes is the introduction of the Family Tree interface, long available on the Website. By clicking a Change View button from the familiar Family Pedigree (3 generation) view… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 13, 2009 at 4:45pm — No Comments

Speaking of Australian Records...

I have a continuing interest in Australian genealogy records, although I admit I haven't done as much as needs to be done, because part of my family immigrated from England to Australia and then a smaller part came to the U.S. The National Archives of Australia has a very impressive Website with tens of thousands of digitized records, the Mapping our Anzacs Website. The scanned image above comes from an online collection of hundreds of thousands of military records maintained by the National… Continue

Added by James Tanner on December 11, 2009 at 8:26am — No Comments

Australian, Mexican and Argentine Records added to Record Search

December 8, 2009 brings significant additions to FamilySearch's Record Search collection of world wide genealogy source material. In addition to Australian, Mexican and Argentine records, there were additions to the U.S. States of Arkansas and Indiana. The references here to the "Wiki" are to the Family Search Research Wiki reference for that collection. The following collections were added:

Added by James Tanner on December 10, 2009 at 9:06am — No Comments




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