Sunday, November 15, 2009

"What's New in Family History" according to Mary Slawson

For those of you who didn't attend yesterday's LDS Family History Fair in Redmond, I'd like to report on Mary Slawson's keynote presentation on the above topic. It's a bit of a misnomer in that she focused on what's new in LDS family history--not the entire field. But other than that, it was very interesting and informative.
The biggest shock was Mary's comments about the Family History Library's plans to totally phase out all CDs and microfilm. Can you imagine NOT pawing through all those rolls of microfilm at the FHL? I can't! Don't start holding your breath yet, as it could take awhile to digitize and index everything on those hundred of thousands of microfilm rolls and thousands of CDs. But it was a shock to hear that there will be a time in the not-too-distant future when the FHL has no microfilm.
Mary also talked about the new Family Search Family Tree program being developed. It provides for on-line collaboration among people working on the same families, with detailed sourcing capabilities and provision for posting multiple conflicting facts. It's also designed to link to your existing genealogy software.
Another new LDS genealogy development is a set of style guides being added to the Family Search Wiki--articles on how to do genealogy in different countries written by FHL experts.
Of course, we all know about Family Search Indexing and the Record Search pilot site. But did you know the FHL is also involved in a huge book scanning project? They're scanning books from the FHL, BYU, Allen Co., Houston, Mid-Continent and many other libraries. Mary reported that they've already completed the scanning of over 40,000 volumes. If you go to and click on "Search Records" and then "Historical Books" [in the drop-down list], you'll see that they've actually scanned 52,743 books already! There are several search boxes to use for finding your surnames and/or locations in the scanned items.
If you'd like to check out some of the new features the LDS folks are working on, take a look at You'll find links there to most of the projects mentioned above.
Thanks to Mary for a great keynote and to the Redmond and Bellevue LDS stakes for another great day of genealogy presentations.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Ginny for your informative review of Mary Slawson's presentation. I arrived toward the end of the talk and misinterpreted some of the things she was saying. Thanks to you, now I get it.