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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Reporting from BYU Genealogy Conference -- Part Four Wednesday

The more interested you are in genealogy, the more you will enjoy a genealogical conference. For the novice, it can be difficult to digest all of the information offered. For the more experienced, it can be a challenge to find classes that don't cover the same thing you heard in the last conference. Except for the technology aspects, genealogy is not a rapidly changing field. Birth records are birth records and that is not going to change very soon. But what a conference can do for you is to remind you of work undone, offer new ways of doing things, open doors to ideas and concepts you never knew or had long forgotten and take you to places you could not imagine.

Wednesday afternoon's presentations began, for me, with a presentation by Barry Ewell on photographic editing called, "Photo Editing Software --Tricks, Tips and Applications for Genealogical Novice to Expert." The presentation was based on Photoshop Elements. Ewell provided a perceptive and valuable insight into the basic tools needed to do photo editing with his focus on Photoshop Elements.

On to a class with The Ancestry Insider (AI) on "Life after the IGI." If you are not aware, the IGI is the International Genealogical Index. It was primarily a database for the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to verify and keep track of the ordinances done in the Church's Temples. The main idea was to limit duplication of ordinance work. Originally, the IGI was the Computer File Index, a compilation of the information on the Temple Index Bureau 3 x 5 cards showing the ordinance work that had been done. The IGI also included extracted (copied from original sources) records and user submitted information as the members of the Church submitted names for ordinance work. Ultimately, the IGI was online and searchable in the older FamilySearch.org or Classic.FamilySearch.org website. If you go to the newer website, there is a link to the older site. There was originally an effort made to avoid duplication by rejecting any extracted records that were already duplicated in the file.

The IGI did not contain any source citations, but there was a way to follow the batch numbers to find the input source record. The AI went on to explain that the IGI was not designed for genealogical research, so the user submitted information is now disbursed into New.FamilySearch.org, the extracted records were generally moved into the Historical Record Collections on FamilySearch.org. So the primary source extracted records are still available in the Historical Record Collections with the exception of the records originally eliminated from the IGI because of duplication.

The sum of all this was that the IGI is going away with the Classic FamilySearch.org website. The older site will likely be gone at some unspecified time in the future. (Although I have heard estimates that the old site will disappear sometime by the end of 2011. But don't be surprised if the site is still around in 2012).

The day ended with a presentation by D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS called "Beyond Keyword Searching: Finding Materials in Online Library Catalogs." I decided to come to this class because of his outstanding presentation in the Keynote opening. Taylor gave some very interesting insights into the way libraries handle their catalogs and how they work. He made some very useful suggestions, such as searching in the local public library where your ancestors resided. A good suggestion. Also, search your ancestor's state library. Hmm. This sounds like something I should have written about myself. He even advocates searching your ancestor's national library. Taylor also suggested investigating the library's collection before doing an extensive search to know what to expect is available in the library.

Joshua Taylor said, "It's about knowing what resources are available." That statement about sums it up.  He goes on to college and university libraries. Pretty soon the information becomes somewhat overwhelming, even for a seasoned genealogist. It is apparent I have barely scratched the surface in research in library. This is a subject that I need to pursue.

See you tomorrow.

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