Thursday, December 19, 2013

Census Forms

We had a short discussion last night, at the monthly meeting of the East Valley Chapter of the Family History Society of Arizona, about the availability of Excel forms for Census information. I had mentioned that I use, and like, the spreadsheets created by Gary Minder at CensusTools. I find his material well worth the $15 he is asking, only $13 for a download version.

A quick search around the web found:

Census Tools
  • The U.S. Federal spreadsheet collection includes worksheets for each census year from 1790-1940 and several U.S. special census records. Complimenting the Federal spreadsheet files are the 1850-1860 Slave Schedules, 1850-1880 Mortality Schedules, 1883 List of Pensioners, the 1890 Surviving Veterans and Widows Schedule and Dawes Roll.
  • State spreadsheets for Iowa 1836-1925, Kansas 1865-1925, Massachusetts 1855-1865, Minnesota 1849-1895, New Jersey 1855-1915, New York 1825-1925, Rhode Island 1865-1935 and Wisconsin 1836-1905. Each set collection features the main spreadsheet as well as a Tracker and Checklist.
  • Spreadsheets for Canada 1851-1901, England 1841-1901, Ireland 1821-1911 and Scotland 1841-1891
  • A cemetery data spreadsheet, passenger manifest spreadsheet, Research log, and Family Group Reports. 
USGenWeb Census Project

Excel or MSWorks template-files for the census years
               1790 through 1940 (except for the 1890-Population Schedule)
               1850 and 1860 Slave Schedules
               1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 Mortality Schedules
               1890 Veteran's Schedule
               1900 and 1910 Indian Population Schedules

USGenWeb Free Census Project

All Federal Census

In addition, several sites have blank forms that can be downloaded:


Family Tree Magazine

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hangout Infographic

This is a great infographic on how to use Google Hangouts. Thanks to George Sepich,, for the work on it.

How To Start A Hangout

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 Brings Beauty to Descendancy Charts

Above is a three generation descendancy chart for my 3rd Great-Grandfather, Nathaniel Stewart, 1807-1869.

Produced at using FamilySearch FamilyTree as the source of information. This is a great way to view descendancy, much like a fan chart, giving you a quick look at the whole. They do limit the number of generations to 7 due to the shear volume of descendants that generates.

Limitations include currently the inability to display children of single-parent families. Also, information on the living is limited to the security imposed by FamilyTree.

Friday, August 30, 2013

No Family History Expo in 2014

Release posted to the FamilyHistoryExpos Blog this morning:

August 29th, 2013 

Family History Expos is supporting the RootsTech conference February 6-8, 2014. We are not holding our annual Expos in Mesa or St. George this coming year. We look forward to seeing you at RootsTech and some of our other events in 2014.

They are going to be sorely missed by our community. Yes, the FamilySearch Library does put on a nice conference in the fall, but it lacks the breadth and I believe, the vitality, of the FHExpo. For those of you who cannot afford the admission fee or travel expense for Rootstech, make sure you check out the Mesa FamilySearch Library's conference, Saturday, Oct 26. In fact, if you can afford to attend Rootstech, check out our local conference anyway. Get more information at

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

September 3 & 4, the National Archives will host a virtual Genealogy Fair with live lectures,chat and a call-in genealogy help line.

This two-day program will showcase tips and techniques for using Federal records at the National Archives for genealogy research. Lectures are designed for experienced genealogy professionals and novices alike.

For more information, check out their website at the National Archives.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rootstech 2014

Registration for Rootstech, the Family History and Technology Conference, is now open. You can register at Dates are February 6-8, 2014.

If you plan on attending any of the labs you should register sooner than later. I just checked and two of the labs are already full.

This conference, hosted by FamilySearch, is the premier conference for family historians and technologists. Where else do you get to sit down and have lunch with the actual FamilySearch programmers? I had lunch with them the first year of the conference and it was interesting to see that we had similar issues with the system, just different viewpoints of it. A great place to meet others with your interests and try out new technology.

Check out the website, get your warm clothes, and lets meet up in Salt Lake City.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Disappearing Website

While giving a presentation this afternoon, I discovered that I could not access this site. Luckily, I had a screenshot of it for the presentation reference.

After reviewing the DNS table I could not see a problem so I called my hosting company, GoDaddy. While the support person was very nice and polite, he could not find a problem either and suggested I contact Blogger for support. Reviewing it again, I found an incorrect entry in the CNAME table that was causing the issue. Strange how things get changed, the support person told me that the table was last updated  in January of 2012.

What does this have to do with you? If you come to the site and it says it is "Parked" at GoDaddy, please send me an email at and let me know.

I just love computers.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

RootsTech - Day -1

Stopped at Cabelas for an Elk burger on the way to SLC for early registration. That was the good part of the day. Got to SLC a little before 4pm, registration is open today 4pm to 8pm. Found our way up to the registration area and I was surprised at the number of people there.

There were 3 others in the line for the U-Z names, so I thought this shouldn't take long, 30 minutes later I finally got my registration. Each of the four of us had issues with registration. You would think an organization as smart as FamilySearch could nail registering. If tomorrow is anything like I saw today, it is going to be a nightmare up there. I'm glad my wonderful wife was willing to stop let me get my credentials.

To cap off the day, we got to Ogden where we are staying and the hotel room I booked is not the one I had thought I booked and those rooms are not available. The refrigerator is broken, they did bring us a working substitute until maintenance can come by tomorrow. Parking is even worse than it was last year, at least the parking lot elevator is working this time.

Well, there is always tomorrow and I am looking forward to a great conference.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Family Tree is Live for All Users

The blog today announced that Family Tree is now live on and is available to all users.

This now opens up the collaboration and other tools of Family Tree to all researchers. Many have been waiting for this, I hope they are not disappointed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Family History Library to Shorten Saturday Hours

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is cutting their Saturday evening hours. Hours have been until 9 pm, but will now be cut to 5 pm, matching the closing hours for Mondays.

The following is from GenealogyBlog:

SALT LAKE CITY— Beginning April 13, 2013, the Family History Library Saturday operating hours will change to 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The change in hours will better allocate resources that were being spent on low-traffic hours late Saturday evening.
“This change is being made so that valuable staff and volunteer resources can be allocated to other busier times during the week that have greater patron demand,” said Don Anderson, director of the Family History Library. “This change will facilitate better service to patrons during the high-demand hours.”
For more information, contact Merrill White, Family History Library manager of Patron Services, at 801-240-6405 or

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Genealogy Fair

Check out the Southeast Regional Library for an amazing Genealogy Fair on Saturday, February 9! Learn how to discover your own personal history and learn about the people in your family tree! A continental breakfast will be available compliments of the Southeast Regional Friends of the Library. Enjoy a free day of learning about a variety of genealogy subjects from Valley experts. Attend one or several workshops to learn how to sharpen your research skills for documenting family history.

The event will be held from 9am to 4pm.

09:00 - 10:00am - Valley Genealogy Societies and Organizations Meet and Greet
10:15 - 11:15am - DNA Testing & Genealogy or Discovering Your German-Russian Roots
11:30 - 12:30pm - Writing Your Family History or Immigration & Naturalizaton
12:30 - 01:30pm - Lunch
01:45 - 02:45pm - Arizona State Library Resources or Arizona Historical Society Resources
03:00 - 04:00pm - Q&A Panel: Getting Around Obstacles

Click here to see the class schedule and register for classes. Also check for this and other great events.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

FHExpo Presentation

For those of you who attended my session today on Facebook and Genealogy, thank you.

You can download the Handout and Slides by clicking on the links.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Arizona FHEXPO

A great afternoon at the expo. Attended a great session on researching Canadian census records by Kathryn Lake Hogan. During the lecture she mentioned the free Canadian Census site,  While this site does not include the 1871 or 1881 census, it prompted me to once again check the records for my Great Grandfather, Arthur Patterson, born abt 1867 in New Brunswick on Sure enough, there he was in the 1871  census, 4 years old, with his large family.

His record has evaded me for years, one more wall down...

Great day, thank you Kathryn for your presentation.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Families App

Families Forums

If you are a Legacy user you will want to take a look at the Families App from Telgen. Available for Android devices, iPhones, and iPads.

I have been using this for over a year and have been very happy with it. It gives me all the functionality I need on my phone and tablet.

The Families app includes the ability for:

  • Multiple family files
  • New family files can be created from scratch
  • Family View, Pedigree View, Descendant View and Timeline
  • Index, searchable by Given Name, Surname or RIN
  • Events
  • To Do Lists
  • Master and Detail Sources
  • Locations and Addresses, with geolocation via Google Maps
  • Alternate Names
  • Pictures, including the ability to add pictures from camera or photo album
  • Bookmarks
  • Portrait and Landscape mode on all views
  • Full screen support on the iPad
  • Legacy file versions 6 and 7 are supported
The website states that for Android devices you must have a USB connection, but that is no longer true. An update quite awhile ago fixed that and the wireless sync works great. A companion program on the PC is required. 

It also includes a sample family file for your use.

The cost ($14.99) is a little steep for an App, but has been well worth it, given the full access it gives me to my Legacy data.

Monday, January 7, 2013

2013 Arizona Family History Expo

This is the tenth anniversary for Family History Expos, and it is kicking off here in Mesa. This year's theme is "Top 10 Techniques: Fishing for Ancestors and Other Persons of Interest."

The Expo will be held Friday and Saturday, January 18-19, 2013, at the Mesa Convention Center. Exhibits will open at noon on Friday. Registration will also begin at noon, and the last class on Friday will be offered at 7:20pm. On Saturday, registration and exhibits open at 9:00am, event closes at 4:00pm.

Register for the event at to receive access to online class handouts in advance. Note: Online class handouts are available only to those who register online.

Registration costs:

Registration Fee - $79
Friday Only - $55
Saturday Only - $55
At the Door - $99
Exhibits - Free

If you are attending make sure you drop into the Facebook class at 1:30 on Saturday. It will be my first full presentation at an Expo.

See you there.