Friday, February 26, 2016

Follow Friday ~ Fab Finds for February 26, 2016

My Fab Finds for this week are (in no particular order)
  1. A Probate Tickler? AND Please don't throw it away! by Peggy Lauritzen, author of Anxiously Engaged
  2. Impact of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic on Your Family by Joanne Cowden, author of Researching Relatives
  3. My Persistant Pursuance of a Passion by Angela M. Money, author of Northern Mama: Family History ~ Family Life
  4. Meet our Sponsor: The National Institute for Genealogical Studies by Gena Philibert-Ortega for Gena and Jean Genealogy Journey
  5. Genealogy here, genealogy there, genealogy everywhere! by Dianne Nolin, author of Genealogy: Beyond the BMD
  6. Finding Every Opportunity by Amie Bowser Tennant, author of My Kith N Kin
  7. Like – Share – Win by WikiChicks Conference Keeper
  8. INTERMENT RIGHTS for Ancestor’s burial plots ~ How to gain ownership by Diane Gould Hall, author of MICHIGAN FAMILY TRAILS
  9. Another Genealogy TV Show: Relative Race by Ancestry Insider, author of The Ancestry Insider
  10. A NEW LOOK AT BLOGGERS’ TOOLBOXES by Linda Stufflebean, author of Empty Branches on the Family Tree
  11. Using Freedmen’s Bureau Records Records in Genealogy Research by Lisa Lisson, author of Are You My Cousin?
  12. Navigating Norwegian Churchbooks online by Margit Nysetvold Bakke for Norwegian Genealogy and then some
  13. Many genealogists may have OCR by Martin Roe Eidhammer, author of Norwegian Genealogy and then some
  14. Family History is for Everyone AND Make Your Family History Book Kid-Friendly by Nicole Dyer for Family Locket
  15. Source Citations: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly by Diana Elder for Family Locket
  16. Studying Evidence Analysis, Part 2 by Angela McGhie, author of Adventures in Genealogy Education
  17. Easton Suffolk WW1 postcard – translation help needed? by Simon Last, author of Charnwood Genealogy
  18. Chatbooks – My New Love by Amberly, author of The Genealogy Girl

RootsTech 2016 ~

This week's "May I Introduce To You" Interview on

New Blog Discoveries

In Case You Missed Them….My Contributions to the Blogosphere Last Week

Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog

Thanks for reading!


© 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 25, 2016

"Turning Hearts to the Fathers" ~ Family Discovery Day

This coming Saturday, February 27, 2016, is the "Turning Hearts to the Fathers" Family Discovery Day. It will be held at 1880 Gettysburg Avenue in Clovis, California from 8:30 am - 12:00 pm.

I'll be teaching a class at this fun event. My class is called "Family History Blogs and Social Media" and my class description is as follows: "From cousin connections to document translation help, this class will explore the many benefits of using social media for genealogy research."

As you can see from the back of the invitation (below), there are amazing class offerings as well as activities for the whole family. This really is a family event.

In addition to the wonderful classes, there will be exhibits and activities in the cultural hall including the following:

  • The Heritage Center ~ San Joaquin Valley Heritage and Genealogical Center
  • Daughters of Utah Pioneers (DUP)
  • Fresno County Genealogical Society
  • Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)
  • Sons of the American Revolution (SAR)
  • The Mayflower Society
  • Find a Grave Table
  • Family History Blogs and Social Media Table
  • Family History Missionary Table
  • Family History Center Wiki Page Table
  • Relative Finder Table
  • Family Photo Booth with Period Costumes and Props

The Family Discovery Day is a free event open to the public. All are welcome. For more information including syllabus materials, and to register for the event, please click on the link below.

See you there!


© 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Monday, February 22, 2016

RootsTech 2016 ~ My Interview with the Co-Founders of Twile

Kelly Marsden and Paul Brooks
Co-Founders of
at RootsTech 2016
On Friday, February 5, 2016, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Kelly Marsden and Paul Brooks, the co-founders of

Twile is an award-winning company based in Sheffield, England. At the RootsTech 2016 Innovator Showdown, Twile won the following awards:

  • People's Choice Award ($10,000 cash)
  • 3rd Place Judges Choice Award ($6,000 cash, $10,000 in-kind)

What is Twile? The "About Twile" section of their website includes the following:
"With Twile, you can create a rich, visual timeline of your family history, made up of milestones and photos, which everyone in your family can explore and contribute to."
Twile's mission according to their website:
"Make family history exciting and engaging for the whole family and preserve as many memories as possible for the future generations."
Here are some highlights from my interview with Paul Brooks and Kelly Marsden:

Jana Last: Tell me about how you got started.

Paul Brooks: We started Twile in 2013 in Sheffield in England and we launched our full product in April 2015, so a year ago. We spent a year and a half trying to work out how to build a timeline that would solve all the problems in genealogy. And we launched it last year. We spent a year trialing, experimenting, and where we are today is a pretty popular product.

Jana Last: Ya, I think it looks excellent. I was intrigued that you're talking about getting it FamilySearch compatible.

Kelly Marsden: Conversations will take place following this conference. Everybody's really excited.

Jana Last: I am so excited about that!

Paul Brooks: And the beauty is you will pull in your FamilySearch in a click and it will instantly create your timeline. Because otherwise, at the moment you have to import a GEDCOM file, which is okay, but a slow process, whereas if you can just push a button, then that's amazing. We've been here a few days and they've convinced us to get working on that as quickly as possible.

Jana Last: We'll look forward to the press release on that. So, you've talked about Who Do You Think You Are? Live, that you're going to that in April? Are you presenting? What are you going to do there?

Kelly Marsden: We'll have a stand there. We do have someone presenting on our behalf.

Jana Last: Anything else you want to tell us about Twile?

Paul Brooks: Just that we'd love everyone to give it a go and try it. Since we launched it the number one data that we've used to build the product has been feedback from customers.

Kelly Marsden: We want to encourage everyone to start recording their lives today, because today is tomorrow's history. So, let's not just think about Twile as being a tool for the past, but a tool for today as well.

Jana Last: I love that.

 ***end of interview***

I'm looking forward to when Twile will be compatible with FamilySearch. It will be wonderful to instantly create my Twile timeline using my FamilySearch Family Tree.

In addition to their website,, Twile can also be found on the following social media sites:

Family History with Twile Facebook Group

Twile's Facebook Page

Twile on Twitter

Twile's YouTube Channel

Want to see what a Twile timeline looks like? Please check out the "Introducing Twile's Family History Timeline" video from their YouTube channel.

Thanks for reading!


© 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Friday, February 19, 2016

Follow Friday ~ Fab Finds for February 19, 2016

 My Fab Finds for this week are (in no particular order)
  1. Ancestor Coloring Page AND Related to a U.S. President? AND Recreate an Ancestor Photo by Nicole Dyer for Family Locket
  2. Tell Me a Story by Amberly, author of THEGENEALOGYGIRL
  3. Hobbiton! by Judy G. Russell, author of The Legal Genealogist
  4. Find Your Mexican Ancestors Using Church Padrones by Moises Garza, author of Mexican Genealogy
  5. There’s An App For That by Ryan Henrie for RootsBid Blog
  6. Searching Newspaper Records on Findmypast by Randy Seaver, author of Genea-Musings
  7. Celebration Sunday~Genealogy Happy Dance! by Cheri Hudson Passey, author of Carolina Girl Genealogy
  8. can i use that picture? by Tami Osmer Mize, author of Relatively Curious
  9. Exploring the Obsolete: The Need for Adaptation in Genealogy by Heather Collins for NextGen Blog
  10. How to Skip School in the 1930s by Laurie C., author Sharing The Past
  11. New 11 Part Series on Microsoft Word with Thomas MacEntee by Geoff Rasmussen for Legacy News
  12. Finished my portfolio for the Board for Certification of Genealogists by Yvette Hoitink, author of Dutch Genealogy
  13. Studying Evidence Analysis, Part 1 by Angela McGhie, author of Adventures in Genealogy Education
  14. ANCESTOR SKETCHES ON MY BLOG by Linda Stufflebean, author of Empty Branches on the Family Tree
  15. FindMyPast’s Maritime Collections Led to New Documents on Bartholomew Oliver by Jake Fletcher, author of Travelogues of a Genealogist
  16. More Brick Wall Busting Going On Here by Ellie, author of Ellie's Ancestors
  17. Philippine War Letter Home a Treasure Discovered by Fran Ellsworth for Worldwide Genealogy ~ A Genealogical Collaboration
  18. How to Build a Genealogy Research Plan by Amy Johnson Crow, author of Amy Johnson Crow Blog
  19. Using the Slave Narratives for African American Research by Taneya Koonce, guest blogger at Lisa Lisson's Are You My Cousin? Blog
  20. My Search Was Unsuccessful, Now What? by Curt, author of MODROOTS

RootsTech 2016 ~

This week's "May I Introduce To You" Interview on

New Blog Discoveries

In Case You Missed Them….My Contributions to the Blogosphere Since My Last Fab Finds Post

Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog

Jana's Place 

Thanks for reading!


© 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Much Anticipated Historic Freedmen’s Bureau Project Reaches Halfway Point with More Than One Million Records Transcribed ~ More Online Volunteers Needed to Hit Juneteenth Goal

The following press release is from FamilySearch ~

Much Anticipated Historic Freedmen’s Bureau Project Reaches Halfway Point with More Than One Million Records Transcribed

More Online Volunteers Needed to Hit Juneteenth Goal

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—As of February 9, 2016, the Freedmen’s Bureau Project reached a significant milestone with more than one million records transcribed. Nationwide efforts to make these historic records of African Americans and others from the Civil War-era searchable online represents 51 percent of the total records needed to complete the project. When complete, the Freedmen’s Bureau Project will be a virtual Rosetta stone for African Americans seeking to extend their family histories beyond the proverbial brick wall of the 1870 census.

“As we have worked with the African American Genealogical and Historical Society (AAHGS), other institutions, and countless volunteers, our goal has been to complete the indexing, arbitration, and online publication of these records one year from our launch date, or Juneteenth 2016,” reported Thom Reed, marketing manager for FamilySearch International, a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Indexing is the process and technology online volunteers use to make these highly sought after records easily searchable online. Nearly 16,000 volunteers have contributed to this effort, including JoAnn Gilbert Jeppsen of Mantua, Utah. Jeppsen has been working as an arbitrator (reviewer of indexed records) on the project since November 2015. She was recently informed that she had arbitrated the one-millionth record—a monumental milestone in this project. “Working on the Freedmen’s Bureau Project has been interesting work,” said Jeppsen, who has been indexing census records and other documents on a weekly basis for FamilySearch since 2006. “It gives African Americans an opportunity to find their records.”

“I was just amazed,” expressed Jeppsen. “I didn’t know the government had these programs for [Civil War-era African Americans]. I just think about what happened to them when they were freed.” She has worked on Freedmen Bureau documents that include labor contracts, pensions, and rations, as well as information about a murder trial.

Jeppsen encourages others to participate in indexing. “It really doesn’t take much time. It’s something they can do, regardless of their circumstances. If they’re hooked up to a computer, [they] can do it.”

Reed anticipates there will be more than two million names online for African Americans to search for their family when the Freedmen’s Bureau Project is complete. And although there has been a steady stream of new volunteers joining the project each week, more volunteers are needed to complete the project on time.

Once the project is finished, in addition to being freely searchable online at, the database will be shared with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C. NMAAHC is also a sponsor of the Freedmen’s Bureau Project and will open on September 24, 2016.

“The genealogical community is fully embracing these records,” said Hollis Gentry, genealogy specialist at NMAAHC. “You’ll find African American genealogists are quite excited about the Freedmen’s Bureau Project. It offers a tremendous potential for them to find their ancestors in this large group of federal records that may bridge the gap between freedom and slavery in the records.”

“We greatly appreciate the contributions made by our partners, by national and international volunteers, and by Smithsonian volunteers,” added Gentry. “Each indexed document brings us closer to reclaiming our ancestral heritage and historical past. We look forward to the completion of the project in 2016 and invite everyone with an interest in American history and African American culture to support our efforts to index the records of the Freedmen’s Bureau.”

The Freedmen’s Bureau, formerly known as the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, was organized under an 1865 Congressional order at the conclusion of the Civil War. It offered assistance to refugees and freed slaves in many ways. Handwritten records of the Freedmen’s Bureau include marriage registers, hospital or patient registers, educational records, labor contracts, indenture or apprenticeship papers, and many more kinds of documents. The records were compiled in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

For more information on the project, visit

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International 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 free online at or through over 4,813 family history centers in 130 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

RootsTech 2016 ~ Photos of Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah

In a previous post, I shared photos from our genealogy bloggers meetup lunch at the Blue Lemon restaurant.

After lunch, I went across the street and took pictures at Temple Square. It's so beautiful there!

The gorgeous and historic Salt Lake Temple behind some trees. This beautiful temple took 40 years to complete.

Snow on the tree branches.

The Assembly Hall. This beautiful Gothic-style building was built between 1877 and 1882.

I took this picture because the Assembly Hall's reflection is on the Deseret Book Company building across the street.

The Handcart Pioneer Monument. It's near the Assembly Hall. You can see where it is on Temple Square in the photo above.

The Tabernacle. This beautiful building has amazing acoustics. A pin dropped at the pulpit can be heard in the back of the hall.

The Salt Lake Temple behind the reflecting pool.

I went to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and took some pictures inside. This gorgeous building used to be known as the Hotel Utah. It served as a hotel for 76 years.

The beautiful lobby.

The stunning chandelier and stained glass ceiling in the lobby.

 A statue of the Prophet Joseph Smith on Temple Square.

Pictures of snow around Temple Square.

I hope you enjoyed these photos of Temple Square. It truly is a beautiful place.

Thanks for reading!


© 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

RootsTech 2016 ~ Lunch at the Blue Lemon

I arrived in Salt Lake City for my RootsTech 2016 trip on Monday, February 1st in the afternoon. The next morning I went on a group tour of the LDS Church History Library. Later that day, I had lunch with fellow genealogy bloggers at the Blue Lemon, which is a restaurant in the City Creek Shopping Center. Thank you Pat Richley-Erickson, author of the DearMyrtle blog, for organizing this lunch!

This was my first of many genealogy blogger meetups throughout RootsTech. It was wonderful to meet fellow genealogy bloggers that I've only known online. It was also great to see genealogy blogger friends that I've met before.

Here are some photos from our genealogy blogger lunch meetup.

Photo Above (Left to Right): Randy SeaverMichelle Goodrum, and Michelle Taggart.

Photo Above (Left to Right): Jana Last (Me), True Lewis and Michelle Taggart.

Photo Above (Left to Right): Gordon Erickson, Lana PorterPat Richley-Erickson, Barry Kline, and Audrey Collins.

Getting together with fellow genealogy bloggers at RootsTech really was awesome!

Thanks for reading!


© 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Monday, February 15, 2016

RootsTech 2016 ~ Tour of the Church History Library

Church History Library
Photo Courtesy of the Church History Library

On Tuesday, February 2, 2016, I had the amazing opportunity to tour the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was a "behind-the-scenes" group tour and was one of the opportunities I was given as a RootsTech 2016 Ambassador.

First, we gathered in the beautiful lobby.

Church History Library Lobby
Photo Courtesy of the Church History Library

We were given special badges and were taken to the Reference Area. There are lockers in this area for patrons to store their coats, etc.

Church History Library Reference Area
Photo Courtesy of the Church History Library

We returned to the lobby and were taken downstairs. Our tour guide was Keith A. Erekson, Director of the Church History Library.

Church History Library Vault
Photo Courtesy of the Church History Library

Our group was able to see the vault area and the book preservation room. We were also taken to a conference room and were shown how different types of media are preserved.

We were taken back upstairs to the Reference Area and were shown the Foundations of Faith Exhibit, which contains rare and special documents from the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including an Egyptian papyrus fragment dated from the second century B.C.

Foundations of Faith Exhibit
Photo Courtesy of the Church History Library

Foundations of Faith Exhibit
Photo Courtesy of the Church History Library

The Foundations of Faith Exhibit is also available online at the following link:

Foundations of Faith online exhibit

The Church History Library is also a wonderful resource for family historians.

Church History Library Computers in the Reference Area
Photo Courtesy of the Church History Library

The Church History Library has a website that includes a searchable catalog. Search their databases and see what you find by clicking HERE. I did a search and found my husband's grandfather's name in the Early Mormon Missionaries Database.

The information for Charles lists his birth date and place and his parents' names. How cool is that? We already have this information, but if we hadn't, this would be a priceless genealogical find.

The Church History Library has a YouTube Channel which has many videos including a video about the purpose of the library, a video about the Foundations of Faith Exhibit, and even videos about how to properly handle and preserve items such as books, electronic media, textiles, etc.

To learn more about the Church History Library, click on the link below.

Church History Library

Thanks for reading!


© 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, February 11, 2016

I'm Home From RootsTech 2016

My husband and I returned home last night from our trip to Utah. I flew to Utah on Monday, February 1st to attend RootsTech 2016 as a RootsTech Ambassador. My husband joined me on Friday, February 5th in the evening. He drove the whole way to Salt Lake City. It was a 13 hour drive. Even though he'd had a long day already, he went with me to the MyHeritage RootsTech After-Party that night. What a guy! I love him! He attended Family Discovery Day on Saturday, February 6th, while I attended to my duties as a RootsTech Ambassador.

We combined and extended our trip to RootsTech with visiting family in Utah. That's why we didn't arrive home until yesterday evening. Combining RootsTech with spending time with family was awesome! It was a win-win situation. We spent time together with our family going out to dinner, playing games, meeting new friends, watching movies, and more. We also had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Provo City Center Temple Open House on Tuesday, February 9th in the evening.

Yesterday, my husband and I drove home. It was a very long day of driving. It took us about 13 hours to get home. As you can imagine, now that I'm home from my 10-day trip, I'm trying to catch up with things here today. Washing clothes, going through lots of emails, and transferring photos I took at RootsTech from my laptop to my desktop computer are among the things I need to do today. 

I will be sharing more posts about my experiences at RootsTech in the very near future. I just wanted to let you all know why I haven't done so already. I will say this about my time at RootsTech. It was an amazing experience! I loved it! If you ever have the opportunity to attend, I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading!


© 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Photos from the RootsTech 2016 Expo Hall

As promised, here are some photos from the Expo Hall at RootsTech 2016. Things were really humming around there. Attendees were walking around checking out the vendor booths, listening to demonstrations, scanning books, and more.

The RootsTech Diner had lots of delicious options for attendees to choose from.


The ICAPGen booth. ICAPGen stands for International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists.

The FamilySearch Family Discovery Zone

Free book scanning by FamilySearch.

I'll share more photos from the RootsTech 2016 Expo Hall in a future post.

Thanks for reading!


© 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved



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