For the Love of a Dear Sister
Finding the Mother Lode
I first looked at FamilySearch, the genealogical organization operated by the Genealogical Society of Utah (“GSU”), and the genealogical arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the largest genealogy organization in the world. It is this organization that we can thank for digitizing billions of family history records.
And yet, here is this completely FREE genealogy website with billions of indexed records, access to billions of pages of unindexed records (most of them original source material), with a significant educational component (the Wiki and Video Courses), a collaborative family tree (featuring sources, notes, record hints, photos, stories, etc.), and only five percent of a genealogy enthusiasts audience of 100 use it–and 95 out of 100 in this audience were aware of it and had visited it (according to Randy Seaver, author of Genea-Musings Blog).
At any rate, I took my friend’s small ancestry.com tree, used my Family Tree Maker (FTM) software and downloaded her tree’s .ftm file into a GEDCOM (.ged) file so I could upload her file into FamilySearch’s database. My only other option would have been to re-enter all her family history data manually into FamilySearch (FS). Next, FS uploaded the information into its database, but it didn’t add all her records automatically. I was required to do a one-to-one comparison of her records to those possible duplicate records already in FS. On a small file this isn’t so bad, but on a file as large as my ancestry.com tree (12,000+ records) this would be a tedious and exhaustive process–a real downer. Perhaps this is why people choose not to transfer their files to FS? Or, maybe because it’s a collaborative database and they are not willing to share or have their data edited by others who they do not know or feel they can trust their genealogical skill sets? Bottom line, my dear sister friend was euphoric to have her own family tree and to be able to manipulate it on her own. My sister and I are going on a short out of town trip very soon to hear her son’s band play and this will be an opportunity for us to revive our genealogical buzz.
Awaiting Another Intoxicating Adventure
Meanwhile, in my endeavor to try out and test FS, I queried the database about my third maternal great grandfather Henry Ford–a brick wall in my tree. I didn’t nail down Henry’s data, but I discovered there were two conflicting records for my second great grandfather–the father of my maternal great grandmother, Mary Susan Morris, who was the wife of John Carpenter Ford. One record had his death in 1880, which agreed with my record, but a census record showed an inmate in 1900 at the North Carolina State Insane Asylum. So, I contacted the FamilySearch research support team. Within a couple of days I received the most unexpected in-depth research about the conflicts and directions to further resources about these people. And, to boot, FS researchers complimented me on one of my blog posts that they had found and read as a result of their queries on my behalf.
So now, the genealogical addict in me is adding my ancestry.com public tree (slowly and surely) using the GEDCOM file upload and one-to-one record comparison method to see what my sharing and comparing of these data might bring to light.