19 October 2012

FamilySearch for Archives - No more budget problems for your archive?

FamilySearch offers their more than 100 years of records preservation and access expertise to archives worldwide--for free.

© 2012 Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
With the budget cuts in state and national budgets necessitated by these hard economic times, there are many archives nearly forced to shut their doors. A most recent example is that of the Georgia state archives.

FamilySearch is working hard to let all archives know that they are available and willing to help. The primary purposes of any archive are records preservation and access. With funds being cut so low in some places, both are threatened.

Any archive who is willing to consult with FamilySearch is being offered free help in any or all of the following:
  • Image Capture
  • Digital Conversion of Microfilm
  • Indexing
  • Access 
  • Preservation
In return, FamilySearch would like to keep a copy of the records to preserve indefinitely at no cost. They would also like to make it available for free on FamilySearch.org. For organizations who want to restrict records access to a specific group, or location, they are happy to create a customized contract. It sounds too good to be true, but as a result of earlier partnerships billions of historic records are already on FamilySearch.org.

To learn more, simply go to FamilySearch.org and click on the Archivists link in the RESOURCES section on the bottom of the page.

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

18 October 2012

The heartwrenching Mt. Carmel Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland

In 2005 we walked into the cemetery which just recently had been bought by new owners after many years of overgrowth and see the typical sunken graves with their toppled stones clothed in foliage.


I recall seeing some piles of stones bulldozed aside at the time, but back then I did not have the confidence to speak up. I feel bad that I have not done more, sooner. I also regret not getting more pictures than what I have. Sadly, this same process has continued all the way into the present and there are no signs that it will stop.

In a day and age when a Facebook petition can end a story telling stroll through a local cemetery, it is sad that this unethical, disgusting, bulldozing treatment of our ancestors final resting places on O'Donnell Street can go by with only a faint cry--with no definitive action and nothing has changed.

Several people have voiced their disdain for the treatment of this once majestic cemetery.

It is remarkable that even a paranormal activity group has begun to speak up online regarding the terrible condition and care of the cemetery. The slideshow is rather long. Minute 5:00 and 5:50 showcase some of the piles of rubble commonly seen.

If this doesn't work, try the link: http://youtu.be/wtzYkCzNauM

The Paranormal Research and Investigation Society who produced this film has some insightful comments one the YouTube page with this video, which includes the following:
"Maryland's Department of Corrections brought prison trustees out to help clean some of the cemetery. But this place is an utter disgrace. As new burials are accepted, odler sections are bulldozed haphazardly, and without reason."

There are several complaints about the cemetery on the Find A Grave message board.

There is a negative review on Yellow Pages.

There is a negative review on Google.

One of the best sites to reveal the community's feelings is actually a photographer's website.

A flickr search for pictures of this cemetery reveals several hundred results, many of which reveal the poor conditions.

This has been a problem for many years and many people have complained. Again I ask, why does a stroll around a cemetery get shut down while bulldozing our ancestors graves is overlooked?

If you agree please leave comments here, on the sites mentioned, write your own blog posts, go to the cemetery and save your ancestors headstones before they all get bulldozed up... do something!

11 October 2012

FamilySearch hidden opportunity

Thanks to Renee's Genealogy Blog for tipping me on today's obscure opportunity.

Renee cites the LDSTech blog on which Jim Ericson of FamilySearch marketing has written an encouraging little post.

Jim Ericson's 28 September 2012 article is titled: "New Opportunity to Test Family Sharing and Heritage Services"

The article itself provides very little detail about the program. Considering FamilySearch's track record with a couple of programs that seem to stay in beta forever (ex.: Family Tree), some people may be happy to go without knowing FamilySearch's latest prototypes. If you don't know the prototype exists it is hard to get anxious for its release. We genealogists sometimes have a hard time patiently waiting for good things to come.1 I'm thinking that this is related to Kinfolio or as James Tanner called it, Poindexter (for the marketing catchphrase used in one screenshot).

There are a few key phrases in the post. "The services are designed to help Church members [if it is tied to Family Tree, probably everyone eventually], share information and media... Examples may include uploading a photo..." One commenter on the LDSTech blog post speculates that after these images are securely hosted by FamilySearch they can be linked to using the Family Tree program on FamilySearch.org. I like the idea. Although, I hope whatever the outcome, that the integration and experience are seamless.

1labs.familysearch.org is only a small fraction of the many good ideas and programs FamilySearch has/is piloting. I am very interested in seeing the progress of FamilySearch Linking, FamilySearch Indexing (browser version), and many other programs.

PS. This will all make more sense if you go to the recently overhauled about page at FamilySearch.org and learn about their mission as an organization.