Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Odds and Ends -- FamilySearch Research Wiki, Standardized Place Names, RootsTech and more

Sometimes I have a whole list of things I am thinking about but none of them is long enough to merit writing a whole blog post. So here are some of the things going on that need to be noticed. This will look a little like a list but just because I don't go on and on about the subjects they all need to be mentioned.

1. The FamilySearch Research Wiki is on the fritz. Formatting has essentially gone away due to a programming problem. Lee Drew has explained the problem in detail in his blog post "What Is Going On With The FamilySearch Wiki?" If you haven't noticed the problem, don't worry about it. If you are trying to edit pages in the Research Wiki, then have patience.

2. Standardized place names continue to spread throughout the genealogical community's online resources. FamilySearch Family Tree, and others have "suggested" standardized place names for entries in place name fields. When you enter information into either a data field or a search field, the programs show a drop down menu of places with standardized names. The problem here is that over time, the names of places may have changed and the standard name should be the one at the time the event occurred not the present place name. In the case of data fields, the user may be "correcting" the entry with the wrong information and obscuring the original place name and location. This applies to many towns where the name has changed over time or counties and parishes where the boundaries have changed over time. It may even apply to countries that have changed over time. Think about someone born in the U.S. Canal Zone which no longer exists. What is the proper way to show their birth information? Are the records in the United States or Panama?

3. The website for RootsTech 2013 is now online with a lot of information about this upcoming event. As a consequence, the online presentations from the last RootsTech have disappeared. Links to the presentations now go to the new site. Here is a link to the old presentations. They are still online folks.

4. I have been using Adobe Bridge for some time now to view and edit photographs. I just got a copy of Adobe Lightroom and I am working my way through that challenging program. I will be writing more about both, when I figure out a use for Lightroom. Stay tuned.

5. was expected to make a decision on the sale of the company by the end of September. Well, here it is the end of September and no news of a final sale.

6. I had one big presentation this past week to the Phoenix FamilySearch Center patrons and still have 11 or 12 more in the works over the next few weeks. The next big presentation will be an online, live webinar on FamilySearch Family Tree from the Mesa FamilySearch Library on October 15th at 2:00 pm Arizona time (right now the same as Pacific time). If you would like to see the webinar live, you will have to register. The next event will be the Mesa FamilySearch Library conference "Connecting to your Roots" on October 20th. Details on the website.

I sure there are more. I will probably expand on some of these as things begin to develop.


  1. If genealogists are going to be family historians then I think we have to concur that Tanner makes a good argument for not standardizing place names. We should be preserving original (historical) place names. Why are software innovaters (on and offline) oblivious to this? So we'll know where to look for records? I think we'll actually discover that standardization may obscure or muddy the waters in the long run.

  2. I agree with Margaret. The problem in not the place names the problem in the software. The software should have the capabilities to have alternative place names.