Collaborative Family History

February 19, 2009

What’s In A Story?

Filed under: Genealogy, New Features — Tags: — becky @ 9:30 am

I have a GG Grandmother, Arminta Williams, on my maternal line that has always been an inspiration to me.  She labored with her husband, Thomas, and children to eek out an existence on a farm on the Western Frontier.  While the endurance and perseverance is awe-inspiring, she went above and beyond her circumstances.  The family story that has been passed on says that she never turned an orphan away, either for a meal or a home.

The family story also reported her to have lived to be 102yrs old.  However, I didn’t know where they lived or when she died.  Looking for a family that consistently had extra children in the house helped me identify them in censuses and unlock their genealogy.  She and Thomas took in the first foster child just 3 yrs in to their marriage.  At one point, they had 3 foster children living with them.  I have yet to locate any legal adoption papers, just children listed in their household as “servant” “laborer” or just “visitor”.  I learned that Thomas went blind at a rather young age and that Arminta died the same year my father was born – just a few months short of being 102 yrs old.

Family Pursuit now offers the ability to share this story as well as documentation with my entire family.  I have one photo of Arminta, sitting in a wheelchair with a corncob pipe between her lips, surrounded by numerous descendants and foster children.  I can attach this photo to Arminta’s story and her Individual profile in my Private Tree and provide a means for all her descendants to know of her generosity and love for others and her tenacity throughout life.

February 12, 2009

Visit Family Pursuit at the St. George Family History Expo

Filed under: Family Pursuit — Michael Martineau @ 6:29 pm

Come meet us at the St. George Family History Expo and be the first to learn how to connect to New FamilySearch through a Private Family Tree on Family Pursuit.  We will be teaching 2 classes on how to upload your research conclusions to new FamilySearch.

What:    Family Pursuit: Getting your Family Involved with new FamilySearch - Even in Utah

Where:    Entrada Room B

When:    Saturday February 28th, 1pm or 4pm

You can attend either class to learn more about how Family Pursuit involves your entire family, novice to expert, in family history research and connects you to New FamilySearch to add your family to the FamilySearch family tree database.

We also have vendor booths 213 and 215 in the free Exhibit Hall.  Stop by for demonstrations and more information.

About  the St. George Family History Expo:

Where:    5th Annual St. George, Utah, Family History Expo
The Dixie Center at 1835 Convention Center Dr
St. George, UT 84790

When:    Feb 27-28, 2009 – 8am to 6pm

Early registration is going on now for only $60, through Feb 14th.  Thereafter and at the door the price is $65.  Your registration allows you to attend two full days of classes from world-class genealogists and vendors of ground-breaking technology, like Family Pursuit.

For more information about the expo and to register, go to

February 9, 2009

Upload Photos and Documents on Family Pursuit

Filed under: Family Pursuit, New Features — Michael Martineau @ 4:45 pm

Family Pursuit is pleased to announce the release of the photo and document upload feature for Private Family Trees.  You can now upload photos and documents and attach them directly to individuals in your tree, allowing the entire family to view and download.  With photo and document upload you can:

  • Upload photos of family members and attach them to their record in the tree
  • Document your research with images of source documents
  • Upload scanned images of old photos, letters and other documents
  • Upload scanned images of research notes and logs and attach them to your research projects
  • Upload previously written histories and stories about your ancestors
  • Upload all file types including: PDF, DOC, audio and video files

All images are stored at full resolution making it easier for family members to read scanned documents such as birth, marriage or death certificates and census records.   Images and documents can also be attached to multiple individuals in the family tree as in the case of a family photo or census household record.

Uploading images and documents is only available in a Private Family Tree.

February 2, 2009

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Filed under: Genealogy, New Features, Research — becky @ 3:43 pm

When I first started researching my family’s genealogy, I took many classes to learn what resources were available, how to use them, and how reliable they were. In one of the classes, my husband and I were shown a photo of a gravestone and asked to interpret the information. The information seemed fairly straightforward and clear. I was taken aback when my husband thought it was equally clear, but had a completely different interpretation. Discussion of this photo lasted quite a while, and my husband and I continued discussing it afterwards. This really taught me how open to interpretation all documents and sources are.

While extractions are definitely needed and useful, nothing compares to the original source with all the info intact. It is invaluable to have a duplication to study for yourself and place in context of its time and history.

Coming soon, you will be able to upload any image to your Family Pursuit Private Family Tree and attach it as a source for others in your family to view and interpret. The advantage of sharing copies of original documents is invaluable to collaboration. Once the image is uploaded, anyone in your tree can view it and, through discussions, the ambiguity can be clarified. This is also another great way to help mentor the new genealogist. The image can be used for teaching, or a beginner can be assigned a task to get the image for the family to then analyze.

Images are not the only file that can be uploaded. Video and audio files are also accepted and are a great way to help younger generations connect to their older relatives by hearing their voice or seeing them in action.

Technology has greatly enhanced the amateur’s ability to get quality files. For digital photos Dick Eastman’s Forum has a great discussion about techniques and devices to use to ensure high-quality images:,61.0.html. This discussion thread is contributed by other genealogists and is very interesting and helpful. It is relatively inexpensive to purchase an audio recorder that can be used to record interviews then plugged in to the computer to upload the files – no conversion necessary. Camcorders and webcams have facilitated recording home movies and interviews.

Sharing images, audio, and video will not only enhance the collaboration and mentoring ability available through Family Pursuit, but, more importantly, it will personalize your ancestors to help your entire family feel more connected to them.

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