Timelines at FamilySearch

FamilySearch.org has just updated the person pages in the Family Tree. The streamlined menu at the top of the page makes it easier to get to the information you need.


A new tool added to the person page is the Time Line. Here you see the Time Line with the Map feature is turned on. It displays the location of each time line element for this person. In this example it shows where Marjorie was born (Georgia), where she got married (Mexico) where her husband died (near Japan) and where she died (Florida).

Using the command buttons at the top of the Time Line you can Add events, use the Show button to filter which events and relationships you would like to see and turn the Map on or off. The green icons in the timeline are used to describe what kind of events or relationships you are viewing.

The Add button makes it easy to add even more events to this timeline. In addition to the “vital” events, you will find a number of other events including things like occupation, residence, military service and more. There is even a custom event option for events unique to your ancestor.

At the moment, the Time Line is only available on the desktop version of FamilySearch.org. I’m hoping it will soon also be accessible in the mobile apps too. Wouldn’t that be awesome!

Are You A Collaborator?

Are you taking advantage of the collaboration features offered by a growing number of online archives? Connecting with research cousins is a great way to share the “personal” resources that are seldom available from a genealogy archive. Instead of moaning when Ancestry’s shaky leaf leads you to another user’s family tree, take a look at that tree to see if that user is researching the same family you are and then check to see if that tree’s owner is a serious researcher or just someone collecting names. If a serious researcher, tap/click the person’s username and Ancestry will take you to a screen giving you basic information about that person. You’ll also see a Send Message icon that opens an in-house message panel so you can contact that user.

It’s surprising how much help a research cousin can be. Some time back, a shaky leaf led me to a portrait of my third great grandmother, Frances. I followed that source to the researcher to ask if I could save a copy of the portrait. We chatted for a while to determine how we were related. I descend from Frances’ youngest child, William, while she descends from Frances’ only daughter, Georgiana. Then the bomb dropped. Georgiana kept a diary most of her adult life. My new cousin not only had the diary, but she had transcribed it and published it as a Kindle book on Amazon. It was a goldmine of information about this family and explained several things that would never be found in an archive.

MyHeritage Screen

Ancestry isn’t the only service offering collaboration features. FamilySearch is collaborative by design. Your tree is not your own and you will quickly find other researchers posting information on your ancestors. There is an internal messaging system to connect and collaborate with them. When reviewing matches in MyHeritage, you will find other users sharing your ancestors. As you see in the image above, there is a contact button with each confirmed match allowing you to connect with that user. MyHeritage has also just announced a new Inbox feature on their mobile apps which works like an in-house email service making it even easier to communicate with other members.

Connecting with research cousins doesn’t just help your research effort. It gives you access to others who are just as passionate about their family research as you are. Yes, there will be sloppy researchers hoping you will do the work for them, but there are also researchers who will be delighted to find research cousins who want to learn more about their ancestors and share what they know.

You will soon find that collaboration can be a wonderful thing.

What’s New: FamilySearch Places

FamilySearch has a new research tool called FamilySearch Places, which makes learning about places easier. Although the development of this tool is ongoing, some great features are already available, so you can start using it now.

Here’s a look at Places on an iPad. The panel on the left scrolls to show you all kinds of information about this place. The Research Links area is especially interesting.


Free 5-Day Western European Family History Conference



Need help researching your Western European ancestors? FamilySearch can help!

FamilySearch’s world-renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, will be holding its free Western European Family History Conference, May 15 to May 19, 2017. Guests can attend classes in person or online. The conference will focus exclusively on select Western European research and is intended for beginning and intermediate researchers. Classes are free, but registration is required due to class size and webinar bandwidth limitations. For more information or to register, go to FamilySearch Wiki.

Classes will be taught by the Family History Library’s staff of experts and guest genealogists. Content will focus primarily on how to research records from Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium. Topics addressed will include census, church, immigration, and vital records.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Use the following links to register for deisired conference classes online or in the library: in-person guests or webinar guests.

Get registration details and complete course descriptions at FamilySearch.