09 March 2015

Exciting FamilySearch explanations at Rootstech 2015

Note: This post was written for my Polish blog, more about international things. There are a a number of Virginia records on FamilySearch too. I just saw Danville City Cemetery records are going up. One collection I have found very helpful was Virginia deaths and burials 1853-1912. I have found several Mecklenburg relatives in there. Go to familysearch.org. Click on the word "search" in the top middle of the page. Then underneath the map click on the words "browse all published collections". Scroll down the page to the letter "v" and you can see the collections for Virginia. Or if you prefer, go to "N" for if they were more in North Carolina. Hope you find this post of interest. -Julie
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This month I have been busy enjoying watching Rootstech videos and preparing for our local Family History Day conference, which will be this Saturday. I'm giving a presentation (locally) on how to get around in the FamilySearch Family Tree and how to do searching on FamilySearch. Like using the filters, FamilySearch wiki etc. I really loved watching Dear Myrtle's Ambush cams at Rootstech. They were so fun to watch, I felt like I got to meet people.

One of the first things I loved about FamilySearch is how it's really worldwide oriented. (Not just the United States.) And how we're all connected, the bigger picture. One of the early record collections on FamilySearch was the 1895 Argentina Census, where I saw some Cabitto relatives. Most databases before, were based on the English soundex systems. Which really doesn't help you if you have a Russian (or really any Non-English) surname. On FamilySearch.org, if you type in a residence or birth place outside the United States it searches similar spellings to the that ethnicity. For example, when I searched "Sanetra" and typed "born in Poland", it looked up spellings like Szanetra, Scanetra, and Zanetra.  I got a lot more search results that were real possibilities. Mazurkiwicz and Wandzel had a lot more variations which was very helpful because I never would have thought clerks or other record keepers would spell it those other ways. English soundex spellings and pronunciations would just not work for these types of names!!

Here's some impressive things I learned watching Rootstech videos this week. I watched these sections of the videos a few times to make sure I wrote the numbers down correctly: FamilySearch CEO Dennis Brimhall talked about the benefits of the partnerships with FamilySearch (Thurs keynote). Currently FamilySearch is partnering with: Ancestry.com, Find My Past, My Heritage,  American Ancestors (New England Historical Genealogical Society), family me, and Global Family Reunion. Brimhall told about a project he was excited about, saying this was a great example of benefits to the partnerships and he thanked the CEO of Ancestry.com. FamilySearch did a project of filming 80 million church and civil records for Mexico in 1952. He explained there are not enough Spanish speaking indexers for this project. It would take 40 years for FamilySearch volunteers to complete this project. But Ancestry.com has asked to help do the indexing for this project and they said it will be done and available by the end of this year! FamilySearch and Ancestry.com also made 545 million records available and visible on both sites this year. FamilySearch will always keep their site free, even with their partnerships.

Ron Tanner, a lead developer for FamilySearch gave these amazing numbers in his presentation called: FamilySearch FamilyTree 2014 and Beyond:
  • They do updates 3 times a day.
  • approximately 2.5 million new persons added to the tree every month
  • approximately 2.6 million conclusions that are changed/written every month
  • 4.5 million sources added to the tree each month
  • 1.1 billion persons in the tree with 89 million sources
  • In a year FamilySearch went from 12 million to 89 million sources!
In Feb 2011, a pilot version of FamilySearch was released. I'm happy to say that I was one of the beta testers! In March 2013 it was released to the public. It's really exciting to see all the record collections continuously added from around the world. On 27 Feb 2015, 19.2 million record were added from Canada, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and the United States. Dennis Brimhall said during the Thursday Keynote address that FamilySearch partnered with Genealogy Bank to do over 100 million names from obituaries last year. 319,000 volunteers worked on these obituaries last year. That was 1.3 million names every day going into Family Search. Pretty amazing things are happening! One thing I liked though, with all this cool hi-tech stuff I was seeing, Joshua Taylor (at RootsTech) talked about the tech things he couldn't live without, yet he said he still needed his library card. A good balance I think. One last partnership with FamilySearch that I'm personally excited about, wasn't actually part of Rootstech. It's a partnership with the country of Italy. Familysearch is indexing and making accessible the Italian civil records. Below is today's status on the familysearch indexing page. (9 March 2015) Also below is 1 of 3 indexing collections our Italian Cabittos need and are looking forward to. No matter your ethnicity or nationality, if it's not there yet, it's coming!





25 January 2015

Old year book pictures? Have you seen your grandparents' year book?

How long have year books been around? Where can you find old year books? Do you have a year book? Have you seen your parents and grandparents year books?

Fern & Olive Dortch yearbook picture
I've been thinking about teenagers and graduation type things in my personal life. I was telling my kids the other day the story about when I graduated from high school. Our school was on a hill, facing the ocean. We all usually wore sunglasses because the California sun was so bright. A few students asked the principal if we could keep our sunglasses on during the ceremony, because it was so bright, facing the ocean. It had never been done before, (wearing sunglasses during the whole graduation ceremony), but the principal agreed and he and the vice principal wore sunglasses too, to show their support.

A friend copied a picture of Fern and Olive Dortch's year book page for me. (click icon to view full page) They were born and raised in Kankakee, IL. Their father Jasper Dortch was born in Mecklenburg, VA.

On Ancestry.com, I see that there are schools and churches grouped together under yearbooks. A lot of churches publish centennial events that are listed as year books. There are at least 262 listed under schools and churches on Ancestry.com. One is a Presbyterian church in New Jersey in 1894. Some yearbook listings are outside the USA. Sometimes the churches taught schools and had a year book. Here's a site I found interesting with many USA year books, information, and old pictures. You can browse by state: http://www.old-yearbooks.com/

I have always thought my grandpa Sanetra was cool. But when I show other people (including family) his picture now and then pictures of him as a  cool football player, his prom picture, his motorcycle, and that he had acne as a teenager too, then he becomes more real, and you want to learn more about that person. Do you know if your grandparents played sports, liked science, played chess, played a musical instrument or liked to dance? If you haven't seen their year book or asked them if they had one, give them a call. Or ask your parents about it. What was their graduation day like? How much school did they complete? (Previous rural farming generations often did not complete high school, but rather 5th or 8th grade completion was considered sufficient). Have you told your children what your graduation day was like?

18 December 2014

Eugene Dortch cemetery slide show-Ashland, (Hanover) VA

video
Here's a slide show for Eugene Dortch and his wife Georgia Barnette. They were the only ones I knew in that cemetery. Eugene was known as "Uncle Pete" by his family. He was missing one hand and was a taxi driver. The picture of Eugene and Georgia is from Jamie Malogorski. I got the obits at the funeral home. Eugene and Georgia did not have any children.