This is it!  The last day of the 2012 BYU Conference.   Glad to have you back! 

For my first stop I attended, “Find Lost Ancestors in the Draper Manuscripts,” by Mary Hill.  The Draper Manuscripts hold a gold-mine of genealogical information concerning those who lived sometime between the Revolutionary War and about 1850 in a central state such as  Missouri, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, etc.  The manuscripts are available on microfilm, yet are difficult to search.  Hill used this collection to trace one William Riddle who was hung because of his Tory allegiance during the Revolutionary War.  Hill walked us through steps to find people in this collection.  You can find more information about these manuscripts at the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Draper Manuscripts page.

Next stop, Barry Ewell’s class, “Use a Digital Camera to Cut Your Research Time by Half.”  I always gain so much when I attend Ewell’s classes.  He covers tons of ground at lightening speed, but then gave attendees his email address with a special code to put in the tag line, and he will send us the dozen or so files that of information used in his presentation.  Knowing that, I didn’t feel like I had to keep up taking notes, just worked at keeping up with what he was teaching us.  It was a great presentation and I wish I could have attended more of his this week.

In Donald and Diane Snow’s lecture, “Freeware and Shareware for Family History,” they shared programs useful to genealogical work. The time limit constrained the Snows to only show six programs, but their syllabus material covered many more.  The six they featured were:

  • Everything – a program to search your desktop and organize files, available from voidtools.
  • Evernote – to clip and file web clippings, available from Evernote.com.
  • Q-DIR – for opening several windows at the same time and facilitate file management, available from SoftwareOK.com.
  • PDF-XChange Viewer – use this to enter information on a .pdf form, available from Tracker Software Products.
  • PhraseExpress –  a clipboard extender useful for entering common phrases, available from Phrase Express.
  • Faststone Capture 5.3 – a capture tool that enables scrolling down to capture the whole image, available from A + Freeware.

Echo King, an employee of Ancestry, shared, “U.S. Census Records on Ancestry.com.”  Ancestry has just completed and released the entire 1940 U.S. census, and they have made some improvements for viewing it. For instance, they added a highlighting feature with the subject of the search highlighted in yellow on the census image, their family in green.  Ancestry also added category tags to help as you maneuver across the page, and name label overlays so when you hover on an image, the indexed word will appear.  She addressed other censuses such as the Mortality Schedules, Slave Schedules, Veterans Schedule (1890), Agricultural censuses, and 1890 census substitutes.

Finally, David Williams of Fold3 demonstrated “Finding Your Family on Fold3.”  Fold3 is “The web’s premier collection of original military records.” Fold3’s collection is growing as fast as they are able.  Williams demonstrated Fold3’s search feature, asked for a name from the class.  Knowing my dad was missing in action in World War II, I gave them my dad’s name, David Farrell.  Williams entered my dad’s name in the search engine, and up popped the report for my dad’s plane shot down April 17, 1943.  The list included the other men on my dad’s plane.  Just like that!  Fold3 promises to be VERY valuable for helping us access military records.  If you feel deprived for having missed this lecture, the site has Training Center Tutorials on their home page.

The BYU Conference and exhibitors hosted a random drawing in which many of those attending won one of several prizes such as  RootsMagic products and books, Barry Ewell’s new book, Paul Larsen’s book, charts from Family Chartmasters, a book from Family Roots Publishing,  a one year membership to Sharing time, a one year membership to the Utah Genealogical Association, and a registration to next year’s conference!

Alas, this conference came to an end, but I’m not done.  I hope you’ll stay tuned because I plan to write a couple of posts about some new products and services.