Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Fond Farewell from Roots TV

Got this in the morning email. Let's hope that someone can pick up this valuable genealogical resource.

Dear Viewer,

It's with mixed feelings that I'm sharing the news that I will be closing (RTV) as of March 10th. Back in 2006, RTV was launched to fill a void. As I wrote at the time:

"We've been perplexed for a long time. These days, there's a horse channel, a wine channel, a sailing channel, a poker channel, a guitar channel, and even a shipwreck channel. So why, we wondered, isn't there a channel servicing the millions of people interested in genealogy and family history?"

The good news is that this yawning gap is now being filled. Genealogy is finally going mainstream. Some of you are probably already watching Faces of America on PBS and The Generations Project on BYU. And many, I'm sure, have heard of the imminent launch on NBC of Who Do You Think You Are? (a series I'm proud to be affiliated with, and for which, I wrote the companion book). The non-genealogical world is finally waking up to the long overlooked potential of what we roots-sleuths do on a daily basis, as you can read in this article:

Roots TV Becomes New Branch of Reality TV

I'm honored to have had the opportunity to fill this void for more than three years. I hope that you have enjoyed the hundreds of high quality videos that has produced or selected. From the viewing numbers and kind comments, I know that many of you have. It's been a privilege to give the genealogical community this resource, but this seems the appropriate time to move on.

We'll be featuring some of RTV's most popular videos during our final days, so please come on over and enjoy them. Thank you for your viewership and friendship. Og and I will miss you!


Megan Smolenyak

P.S. If any genealogical entities would be interested in "adopting", I would be open to that possibility, but would need to hear from you immediately (megan at

Everybody's Related to Royalty

This is an interesting article on how our ancestors fan out in the past and double every generation.

We all have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and so on. To determine the number of ancestors you have, all you have to do is grab a calculator and determine how many generations you wish to go back. That should easy. Or is it?

Read more at:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Open House at Peachtree NC FHC on Feb 27

For your information. regarding an Open House of the Family History Center Saturday, February 27 from 2-4 PM. Marlene Bryan, FHC director, is adding Thursday evening to her schedule. We thought you would like to let your students and local community know of this event so they can become acquainted with the center and Marlene. She is available to assist anyone with their family search for free. Be assured that the center is a "no proselyting zone" and no one need fear being involved in any religious conversations that they don't start. If they ask questions about The Church of Jesus Christ, the questions will be briefly answered.

Marlene Bryan, experienced genealogist, is the director of the Family History Center at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 656 Highway 141 in the Peachtree area of Murphy. She offers free assistance to those who need help in finding lost ancestors.

Bryan says, "It is a thrill to find someone in your family tree. I just love it when individuals come to the center, and I help them use the tremendous resources we now have. Some find information about an unknown great grandfather who distinguished himself in the Civil War and was decorated for his courage and valor while under enemy fire. Others have been thrilled to find they could trace their ancestors through the Sons of the Revolution or find they descended from a family that sailed on the Mayflower or discover their line came through Scottish and Irish royalty."

The Family History Center is open to the public and is equipped with microfilm and microfiche readers with many microfiche and a few microfilms on site; others may be ordered for the cost of shipping only. The center has three computers with internet access and programs that seem almost magical in what they can do; the computers are connected to a printer and copies of all data can be made for 10 cents a sheet. Bryan announced: "I am expanding my hours to include Tuesdays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Thursdays 4 - 8 p.m. (Starting March 4), and Fridays 1- 5 p.m.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints invites all to an Open House this Saturday, February 27 from 2-4 p.m.. Visitors are welcome to meet Marlene and see all that the center offers--remember, there is no cost either for use of the center or to have Marlene's expert assistance. At 2 p.m. Saturday, Mayor Bill Hughes and his wife Barbara, Mike and Karen Crubaugh, and Ron and Anne Cluff will be honored for their superb service to the community after which the Family History Center will be open to visitors.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What Are IGI Batch Numbers?

Entries in the Church of Latter Day Saints International Genealogy Index - IGI © - come from two major sources of information:

1. Individual Submissions - Members of the LDS church regularly submit information to the church about families or other specific records. These records are then processed by a computer and a Batch number assigned to them. Often the information has been submitted on an Individual Entry Form or a Family Group Sheet. The entries submitted may or may not tell you the sources the used for the information submitted and do not always include up-to-date addresses or information about the submitters themselves. Each batch number will often have an associated film number assigned to which is the LDS microfilm number containing the image of the original entry form(s).

2. The Name Extraction program - The Extraction Program of the Genealogical Department involves thousands of members of the LDS church, volunteering their time to extract names from parish records and other vital records around the world. The data extracted is then grouped together for processing by a computer. The computer assigns a BATCH NUMBER to each grouping of records submitted. As a result each group of parish records that have been extracted are assigned an overall number. Christening records from the parish are then assigned a "C" at the beginning of the parishes batch number. Marriage records are recorded with a batch number that starts with an "M".

If a batch number has leading letters that begin with an M or a C, it usually means they have been extracted from an original record. The information for that record will also provide you with a specific LDS microfilm number for the complete list of the records extracted for that particular "BATCH" of submissions.

What this means is that a Batch Number can lead you to extractions of your particular surname for specific parish or church records, for a specific type of vital event during particular time periods covered by the extraction. Most importantly, the Batch number will allow you to search the IGI to identify all entries for a specific parish that may be connected to your family names.


There a number of codes associated with IGI Batch numbers. The IGI Resource Guide written by the LDS gives the following meanings for letters used as codes in the IGI Events column:

A Adult Christening - An LDS Temple record of the sealing of a wife to her husband. Access to the temple sealing record is limited to the couple's direct descendants and their spouses.

B Birth

C Christening - An original or printed record of births or christenings extracted as part of the extraction programme.

D Death or Burial - Deceased members or 110 year suspended file

E Marriage records from the early marriage record extraction project - these were used by the LDS for proxy baptisms and endowments

F Birth or Christening of first known child (in lieu of marriage date)

J Extraction project

M Marriages - An original or printed record of marriages extracted as part of the Genealogical Department's extraction programme.

N Census

S Miscellaneous: A miscellaneous event may substitute for either a birth or a marriage.

W Will or probate record.

What are Ancestral File Numbers?

For my students in both of my Internet and Genealogy classes:

An Ancestral File number is a unique number allocated to an individual under the Personal Ancestral File or PAF software.

An Ancestral File Number (AFN) was intended to be a unique identifier for each individual who has a record in the Ancestral File format, but the number isn't always unique, since many individuals have been assigned multiple AFNs through the years, making it confusing for those doing research. AFNs are used as a genealogical indexing tool by the LDS Church. AFNs consist of four capital letters or digits, a dash, and then two or three more capital letters or digits. An AFN does not contain any vowels (A, E, I, O, U, or Y). An example is 1BS3-9X1. AFNs can be searched online at the LDS genealogy website, FamilySearch.

Using the Google search engine you can enter an AFN, sample below, to search all records for someone on Familysearch. 8XJF-4B