Monday, 3 Aug 2009 | by Mark Tucker


Here is a collection of my tweets from the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy:

Keynote by David Rencher, AG, CG, Chief Genealogical Officer, BYU grad, past Pres FGS, plus much more
In overflow room. Too bad half of the slides are cut off.
Hard to give up what we are used to. Card catalog to microfiche to computer.
Goal of FamilySearch is to remove barriers to family history in their own products.
FamilySearch Labs is a workshop. Good use and feedback might lead to a finished product.
Updated Research Guidance will move to FamilySearch Wiki
Silver microfilm for original capture is still available. The diazo & vesicular film stock only supplied by Kodak. Expensive.
Short. Microfilm is going away.
Miracle. See how long church has made DOS work. Needed for Scottish Church records.
Didn’t know some were still using Universal Data Entry program for extraction. Replaced with FamilySearch Indexing.
FamilyTree feature of FamilySearch. Replacement of TempleReady
Even mistakes in NFS for the CGO (Chief Genealogical Officer)
Elder Brough – Members spend too much time reorganizing information on those whose temple work is already done
My question is: If you don’t have a firm foundation, how can you go do quality research? I do see Elder Brough’s point.
RecordSearch Pilot. 2.5 million rolls of film in Granite Mtn Records Vault. Plus still capturing images in the field
RecordSearch (RS) is serving areas not viable by for-profit companies.
Need to solve issue of how to know what you have already seen in Family History. Want to be a gazillionaire?
Over 250M names indexed in FamilySearch Indexing. Projecting 250M names a year.
FamilySearch Book Scanning partnership w/ BYU Family History Archives. 41.1 thousand volumes published. Available on BYU site.
My thought: What about home scanning to help with FamilySearch Book Scanning? Maybe through GenSeek?
FamilyHistory Support doing a great job!
FamilySearch resources spent to get information into homes. From Genealogical Society of Utah in 1894 to FHL, then FHC, Internet
Still doing research in a microfilm mindset. Need to think differently.

Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA – “Becoming & Remaining Focused”
How do you know that your ancestor is (or not) the same as someone else with the same name?
13 ways to stay focused – 1 Focus on the Goal
Goal setting – knowledge, research skills, organization abilities. Research Planner.
What is complete identity? name, variations. Research Planner is done in advance. Includes goal, your name, locality.
Separate planner for each goal. Jot down record groups that might solve the problem.
2 – Focus on Documentation
Record sufficient detail. Documentation tames chaos. What to record? complete names, dates, locations, family, associates.
3 – Focus on Organization
Things worth recording – Exactly what entry stated, names of associates & neighbors
4 – Focus on Sorting
Sort by YEAR, EVENT: location (largest to smallest)
Let children/grandchildren help with filing. Have system be that easy. Gets them involved.
5 – Focus on Facts vs. Traditions
6 – Focus on Recording All Clues. Make image, but transcribe everything or you will miss the clue.
3 Elements to Recording Clues – citation, transcription, analysis
7 – Focus on transcribed records, Don’t just cite sources.
8 – Focus on the territory. Evolving jurisdictions & locality clues.
AniMap, Wikipedia, gazateers, FamilySearch Wiki
9 – Become acquianted with the Historic Past
10 – Focus on the success of others
11 – Use charts & forms
12 – Focus on a filing system
13 – Focus on a report to yourself. That’s if for that presentation.

Mary Slawson “Tips for Making a Family History Interview Better”
She worked as a Forensic Accountant and did 100s of interviews a year.
Oral history – systematic collection of living people’s testimony of their own experiences. Not folklore, gossip, hearsey, rumor.
Prep – questionanaire, equipment,10:03 AM Jul 30th from web
Get written agreement of interview rights before the interview.
Pre-interview meetings could intensify anxiety, send questionnaire instead.
Brings 3 digital recorders, all running during interview from different locations. If use cassette no longer than 30min each side
Learn equipment well enough that you can use it in the dark. Try it.
Checklist:financial agreement, interview agreement, questionnaire, research, interview quesitons, address, archival pens, etc.
Items the invoke memories: pictures, music, smells (scent bag – cotton ball w/ pine scent, etc.), a favorite recipe, objects.
Ask questions about present before past or future
Attire plays a supportive role – not too casual or too formal. Grooming & cleanliness should be impeccable
Setup interview at right angle, keep table clear to show maps and objects. Also good for video, so interviewer is not on tape
Do your background research before the interview. Create timeline of events and take to interview.
Mix up order of questions. Short questions. Ask follow-up questions. Its OK to ask: beliefs,feelings,customs,religion,politics…
Interview the whole person. Think FBI profile. Motivations, attitudes, relationships, character, background, skills.
Timeline includes: wars,tech,depression,natural disasters,news,current events,music,fashion,movie,sports,etc.
Become a great interviewer: draw interviewee out,ask question,refrain from talking,develop listening skills,remain neutral,…
… ask clarification, but don’t correct; look for the full story (not just list of details) Sit on edge of chair, complete engaged
End on time, schedule next interview, send thank you card.
All field notes should be completed before you leave interview location. Your observations about the interview.
Preservation. Make back-ups. Transcribe from back-up. Safely store originals. No interview complete until in some repository..
QA – Counter on recorders to mark sections; levelier mic is a must; uses software that converts speech to text(review & correct)
Contract includes location where archive copy will go: LDS Church, Holocaust Museum, etc.
Limit use of scent bag to 3-4 scents per interview.
That’s it. Great job Mary!

Time for lunch, Wilkinson center, BYU Bookstore

Get ready for 2 hours with Mary E.V. Hill – “Organizing Your Paper Files In a Computer Day and Age”
Handout: Pedigree chart with circles 1-5, 8-9,16-19 blue circle; 10-11,20-23 green; 6-7,12-13,24-27 red; 14-15,28-31 yellow
Have been teaching this since 1996; saw need through teaching class at BYU
Links: , Look for articles beginning with Organize
Organize so you can pick it up, put it down, pick it up, put it down…
Simple organization is key. Setup a genealogy corner. Still need paper files-originals (certs, pictures, letters, maps, logs, etc)
Setup box with you + 4 generations. Checklist:

Box setup. 4 steps.
1)Gather docs, 2)Do pedigree chart w/ parents, gp, 3) Divide docs by 4 surnames of your grandparents, 4) Fill in rest of ped chart
13 Steps to fill in the File System
FamilySearch has 12 steps at Later added 13th step
Picture of what box will look like:
1 – Go shopping. Gather supplies for your filing system: 2 boxes, hanging file folders in 4 colors, oliver hanging file folders…
… manilla folders 1/3 cut, permanent ultra fine black in pens, book highlighters, labels for file folders, Colored dots,
About $80 for supplies
2-Put copy of your 5 gen pedigree chart in the front of the box in an olive colored folder. Circle numbers as shown in handout
3- Print 5 gen chart from computer program
4- Separate the lines of your 4 grandparents by color.
5-Put 16 colored hanging folders (4 of each color)
6-Label colored hanging files (left-hand labels) with surnames Alphabetize surnames within each color.
7-Print 16 more pedigree charts, highlight separate surname lines and put 1 in each of the colored folders.
8-Setup a manila folder (tab on right) for each family. For multiple marriages, use a separate folder.
Don’t need left hand manila folders, so turn inside out.
Each manila has a colored label tab w/ LASTNAME, First + birth year of each spouse. More than 1 marriage, add marriage number.
PAF and Legacy prints color coded family group sheet. How about RootsMagic, Family Tree Maker & others?
Need to make a decision for where to put docs of people that are more than one color.
As needed add colored handing folders behind ones with surnames when you run out of space for manila folders.
9-File the manila family folders. Sort by color, then surname, then husband first name.
10-Put documents, family group sheet, to do list, research log, timeline, maps, research notes, etc. in each family folder.
Collateral lines? Make center tabbed manila folders for brothers & sisters.
11-Setup holding & locality files. Pure gold!
Holding files: One for each surname & put behind the surname folder. Put docs not sure where to put them. Others with same surname.
Locality Files: Folder for each location, sub location, record type.
12-Expand boxes as needed.
13-Keep the system updated and useful. Temporary inbox, then later in computer system and in person, location, surname holding file.
If you can find info in 3 min or less, system is working for you.
For digitized photos: has folder “images to sort”
Think about Heritage Collector for digitized file.
A box of descendants .
Wow. Lots to think about.

“Establishing Your Own Migration Trail” by Michael John Neill
What moved your ancestor? Economics, politics, family, acquaintances, friends, religion.
Migration chains – groups of people that moved over time.
Your ancestors are in an area for a reason. Not likely that a UFO just dropped your ancestor in Kentucky.
Look at who was involved in estate: witnesses, appraisers, buyers of property at auction, bondsmen
Land records: from whom was the first land purchase made? Might be a relative.
Bonds: marriage – bondsmen knew bride & group and put up money saying no issue legally to getting married.
last post should have been groom, not group
Other types of bonds – executor, estate, guardian. Bondsman different than a witness. Bondsman has legal responsibility
Tax lists – get names of neighbors. Easier to avoid census enumerator than the tax man.
Census records – look at others in same township; look in the cemetery;
Check pension records. Best pension record is when husband died and wife lost marriage record. Must contain affidavits.
Try searching database without names. Just include location of birth and death of ancestor and see if it might identify clusters
Database example using RootsWeb’s WorldConnect and Census on Ancestry
Church records – check sponsor’s of godparents of baptized children. Good chance they are related.
Done with the conference for today.

Outside Observations
Just noticed that search on #byugen only returns 99 of the 129 tweets from yesterday with that tag. Complete list at
Not sure how much I will be able to tweet today.
Less than an hour to go til my presentation. Room seats about 90 people. Wonder how many will attend?
My presentation went great! Wonderful group of people in the class.

“Hanging Out a Shingle?” by Crista Cowan
Lot’s of info on marketing from “Professional Genealogy” by Mills
Need to determine why you want to go into business and what you want to accomplish.
How do we get there? Budget 30-35% on marketing.
“You are a marketer who does genealogy NOT a genealogist who needs to market.” Not a bad thing if you are making a business.
She works full time at Ancestry and full time as a professional researcher.
Ready, Fire, Aim. Don’t spend too much time being a perfectionist.
Know your ideal client so that you can focus your marketing.
Ancestry identifies 4 typical client profiles.
APG – dues paying organization, agree to code of ethics;, member directory, forum, magazine, APG-L, TGF-L, conf,networking
Check to see if there is a local APG chapter in your area:
Check out subcontracting to get experience or exposure. Make friends w/ local librarians.
Mentions of Ancestry Expert Connect, Genealogy Freelancers, and other listing services.
Great way to market – speaking & writing. Google: “Call for Papers” genealogy article aggregator
Should I be on the web? Depends on your target audience. Don’t have to do it yourself.
@cristacowan. Hello. Great presentation
Use social media: blogs, twitter, facebook
Easier to keep current clients: keep commitments, always provide next steps, follow up, keep in contact, ask for referrals
The Law of the Harvest. You have to plan BEFORE you can harvest. Set aside a portion of your time & $
The conference is complete.

On Twitter, you can find other tweets from the conference by searching for #byugen.


  1. I enjoyed the tweets so much. I would never have been able to be there so your tweets were exciting and helpful for me.
    For the most part I am finding Twitter to be constant drivel. You have proved it can be a helpful tool if used right.
    Thank you so much.

    Comment by Sheri Bush — 9 Aug 2009 @ 9:08 am

  2. Was nice to meet you in person at the BYU conference and thanks for sharing your experience with others. I don’t often see the notes attendees take in my lectures and that gives me a nice perspective too. And as Sheri mentioned, it’s good to see Twitter used for something besides mindless drivel.

    Comment by Michael John Neill — 10 Aug 2009 @ 6:47 am

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