16 April 2013

Occupy Genealogy!

Occupy Genealogy is a Facebook page and website where people can gather to discuss legislative issues facing genealogists.

Any interested person can help. I've been interested in legislation affecting genealogy research for a few years. Since at least 2009, I have taken that interest to social media as the first admin of the People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access' PaHR-Access Facebook page. While I did not lead the organization in any formal way, I asked the founder if I could step in to help--using the name--and he gladly consented. Making a difference in our communities is all about the grassroots efforts of individuals. Occupy Genealogy seeks to provide a grassroots forum where we can all learn about the issues facing genealogists, and learn some ways to get involved.

In the end, it will be up to you to be creative. You can call, email, write letters, visit and find other ways to make your opinion known to relevant legislators. Your efforts don't need to stop there though. Other ideas have included local ralies or discussions, coordinating between organizations in support of records access, contacting the archives or departments in charge of the records policies directly, talking to the local genealogy societies about what is being done, etc. etc.

Recently I joined as an admin of the Occupy Genealogy Facebook page to do what I can in helping get the word out there about various issues facing our records access. Please join the discussion and consider how you might help.

Enduring Legacy blogger Michael McCormick featured in FamilySearch video

Enduring Legacy blogger, Michael McCormick, featured in FamilySearch press release video
(I'm the second to the end)

I was sitting in Ron Tanner's class on Family Tree at RootsTech in March. At the end, I was looking at my cell phone as everyone else left the classroom. A press release guy came up to me and kindly requested if I might answer a few questions for them on camera. It was a surprise, and I was simply in the right place at the right time--depending on if this was a good thing or not :)

FamilySearch Press Release: New version of website

April 16, 2013
Press Release

16 April 2013

New Online Tools Help Preserve and Share Precious Family Photos and Memories

Features create connections and bring family stories to life
FamilySearch New Features Media Kit
Training Videos

  • Searching Records
  • Family Tree
  • Photos and Stories
  • SALT LAKE CITY - FamilySearch International, a nonprofit, volunteer-driven genealogy organization, announced the release of significant new enhancements to its web services that allow visitors to collaboratively build their family tree online, preserve and share precious family photos and stories, and receive personal research assistance-all for free. Find out more at FamilySearch.org.
    "Every person who has ever lived has a right to be remembered and is a story waiting to be told," said Dennis C. Brimhall, CEO for FamilySearch. "Every family is a story in progress." Brimhall explained that the new FamilySearch.org features help move family history beyond research to appeal to a larger audience of people who are very interested in their family's stories, but who don't consider themselves genealogists or researchers. "We all treasure memorable family photos and ancestral stories that inspire, amuse, or connect us. Families can now share and preserve for posterity those social heirlooms that help vitalize their family history," Brimhall added.

    The enhancements include Family Tree, an online application where users begin by adding information about themselves and then start to add information about their ancestors to collaboratively build, manage, and share their family history. The tree is already populated with over 900 million records contributed by patrons. And there are billions of historic records that can be searched for free to help further expand your family tree.

    The Photos and Stories feature lets you preserve favorite family photos of ancestors and share them through social media. You can tag people in a photo to identify who they are and connect them to respective ancestor profiles in the Family Tree. The photos can then be easily shared with the online community. You can also upload your favorite stories about an ancestor to preserve them for future generations.

    Julie Lowe from Missouri is the proverbial photo archivist of her family. She has albums of ancestral photos. Between her and her siblings, they are also walking libraries of countless stories and memories of their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, some great-grandparents, and other ancestors. They will be using the Photos and Stories feature to begin preserving their favorite photos and stories for future generations. Each person can save and share up to 5,000 ancestral photos in Family Tree.

    "When a parent or grandparent takes the time to tell you a story, there's a bonding that occurs there," Brimhall said. "Likewise, a family photo and story preserved and shared in the context of one's family tree, in an instant, can personally touch us and teach us time-honored principles by those who have gone on before us, like the value of hard work, dealing with life's ups and downs, and the impact of choices."

    Other features added include the interactive Fan Chart, a tool used by millions to create a colorful fan chart of their ancestry; the Family Tree Wizard, a tool that asks questions to help you begin to build your personal family tree and get you started; and Live Help, a global online community that provides free product help and personal research assistance by phone and web chat 24 hours a day/7 days a week. The help website and services are available in 10 languages.

    About FamilySearch International
    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.