Sunday, March 16, 2014

Genealogy Editorial: Even State Law Makers Are Stupid and Ignorant People!

The home of state legislators who do not read bills -- Oklahoma State Capitol
This is something I have know for quite sometime, but now after the federal government limiting access to the SSDI debacle, I have proof that this stupidity extends down to the state legislatures as well.

Thanks to my friend Dick Eastman and his newsletter for this gem (link

I have inserted some additional thoughts in this piece that was not in Dick's original article since he is always a gentleman and diplomat about these sort of things and I'm, well, I'm a retired Navy Chief. That pretty much says it all.

Seems a professional genealogist last year tried to obtain a copy of a death record. Several years ago the boomer sooner state of Oklahoma Legislature enacted legislation that addressed vital records. That law only permitted the named person "the deceased"  to request their own death record. The law also made it a felony if a Department of Health Services employee provided the death certificate to anyone other the named person -- the person that is dead!

So let's recap this for a second. Thanks to a law passed by the Oklahoma state legislature the only person in the in Oklahoma who could request a death certificate is the person who is dead and six feet under. Truly amazing and another case of we have to pass the bill in order to figure out what is in it. I would love to know the name of the law maker who authored that bill. I have some basic life principles I would like to pass on to him/her.

In this year’s legislative session there was supposed to be amendatory legislation to address this one “glitch.” Glitch? Is that what you call stupidity? However, the legislature decided to proceed with inserting the Model Vital Records Act embargo dates for birth, marriage and death records instead.

From Dick's newsletter:

"SB 448 permits access to the death records 75 years from date of death; birth certificates 125 years from date of birth . There is no mention of marriage records in the bill. The bill still makes it unlawful to permit inspection or disclosure the information to any person other than the person who is the subject of the record unless a court of competent jurisdiction permits before the 75/125 embargo dates.

"The bill passed the Oklahoma Senate on 45-0 on March 4 and is now in the Assembly awaiting action. To read the bill as it passed the Senate go to:

"HB 3028 consolidates three departments: Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department and the Oklahoma Arts Council into one agency named the Department of Tourism, History and Cultural Affairs. It is an emergency bill which would take place immediately upon enactment and the governor signing the bill into law. The bill was originally introduced as a “shell” so that it could be “filled in” at a later date.

"The Oklahoma Historical Society is essentially dissolved, along with its board of directors and a new Oklahoma Historical division is created within the new Department of Tourism, History and Cultural Affairs. To read the bill see: On February 27 it passed the Government Modernization Committee 6-5. The bill has to be scheduled for a full vote by the House. If it is not scheduled by March 13, it dies.

"The Oklahoma Historical Society has 10,000 members and the new proposed division within the Tourism, History and Cultural Affairs apparently would not have members. House Bill 3028 converts the OHS Board of Directors to an advisory group with no authority and transfer all its assets and funds to the Tourism Department. The Society has been around for 120 years."

So we fix one bit of stupidity and add even more. As Forrest Gump said, "stupid is as stupid does."

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Miss the old search at Ancestry already? Read this post for some relief of the new search blues!

Now that I have cooled off from a morning of frustration with Ancestry and their insanity, I have found a nice work around that will get you back to some of the functionality and feel of the old search that isn't half bad. Sorry Ancestry, and all those Ancestry insiders and kool aid drinkers; your new search engine still sucks and nothing you can say will change my mind. I will illustrate point that later in this post.

First, you will need to open a new browser tab and jump over to Ancestry (keep my instructions handy) in another tab and do the steps that I have outlined and illustrated below.

Next, login to your Ancestry account. Good, now per diagram below click on pull down menu next to your account name and click on the "Site Preferences" menu option (click on picture to see a closer view).

Once you are on the "Site Preferences" page scroll down the page to the menu option "Search Preferences." (see below)

Click the box then hit the orange button titled "Update Preferences." (see below)

Now it is time to go over the search tab at Ancestry and click on it. You will get a screen that looks like below. Again if you have trouble seeing the graphic, click on it and it will enlarge for you.

At the bottom of the image above next to the orange button labeled search is a link titled "Hide Advanced" and you will then see the simple search form.

Now you should start feeling a bit more comfortable with the search engine you see above. I strongly suggest that you use the "Match all terms exactly" box if you have some exact terms you want to search for. So let's see how this works. I'm going to hunt for my 4th great grandfather Aaron Redus in Mississippi where he lived the later part of his life.
First here is a view of the search results with the category tab selected.
And now here is what it looks like with the records tab selected.
All in all this is manageable, what I wanted and expected to see. Since this search engine, like the old doesn't use their "fuzzy logic" you can use wildcards (an asterisk (*) and a question mark (?) to see expanded results. The question mark takes the place of any one letter. The asterisk can be used to indicate that any letters attached to the “known” portion of the name.
Uncheck the "Match all terms exactly" box and you will be back to the horror story known as the new search engine (see below), 57,199 results for the same search I did above.

If you use the "Show Advanced" function and check the "Match all terms exactly" box I still get the same result as I did with the "Hide Advanced" function. So if you can deal with a bit more screen you might improve your search experience by using the "Show Advance" function. Just remember if that "Match all terms exactly" box is unchecked, you will get a ton of stuff.

So hopefully this will help the few of us (Ancestry says there weren't many) who used the old search. Some of their volunteers on their FB page have belittled us as old people who couldn't grasp their new search engine and were still using televisions with knobs. Uh, to that poster on the Ancestry Facebook page, does the picture of my TV below look like it has knobs?

Nope, that is a 60 inch LED. Sorry we all aren't totally illiterate who liked the old search engine. Oh yea, that was a Nikon high end digital camera that took the picture.

As always if you have questions, please feel free to drop me some email at the address in the masthead and I will do what I can. If you are a student of mine in either Tuesday or Thursday nights classes, I will be in a bit early to address your questions in class.

Ancestry has ticked me off today again!

Well Ancestry has killed off the old search and all their defenders are on the FB page belittling those of us who don't like it. I will address that in a separate post at some point here on my blog.

But I don't want this to be a total downer (it is a pretty day today for a change) so here is something that will put a smile on your face for sure (Gayle is still giggling).

Without comment here is a real tombstone from a Baptist church cemetery in Nova Scotia, Canada (Find A Grave Memorial# 74715644)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Last Chance for DNA Class Signup

Just a quick note here to remind you folks who are local that time is running out to sign up for our Genetic Genealogy DNA 101 class that starts Tuesday evening, March 11 at 6:30 p.m. in Enloe Building room 133 on the Tri-County Community College Peachtree campus. Cost is reasonable -- $15 for a four week class.

One of the things that has amazed me with my autosomal DNA test is the amount of pedigree collapse I have seen in my own results that has resulted in much deeper matches than one would expect. Since I have had my dad tested and this is where my Virginia lines are the longest and most tangled, I am getting many lines proven thanks to this phenomena of pedigree collapse.

Pedigree collapse and DNA testing are just one of the areas I will be covering in my class next week.

I have also been looking at my double Clark ancestor lines back to Michael Clark (b. ca 1620 in England and died 1678 in Barbados) who married Margaret from England. This has resulted in many deep matches for my dad and I in our autosomal DNA test results thanks to pedigree collapse. I'm also really interested in the grandfather of Michael, John Clark, who some say was the Master Mate and Pilot on the ship who brought the pilgrims into Massachusetts and died in Jamestown in 1623 during an Indian attack. he would have been hanging around my other two Jamestown ancestors Nicholas Martiau and William Cole. But that is something that needs a lot more research work before I can get things firmed up.

Again hope to see you folks Tuesday night.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Use Google Books to Get Free Copies of Pages of Family History Library Books

And the news gets better from Salt Lake.

Free copies of pages from books at Salt Lake. By

Family History Library IP Approved
Earlier this year, FamilySearch announced a FREE lookup service for genealogy books and microfilm available at the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The response was overwhelming, 1000s of people contacted us to take advantage of this free service. Another way to utilize this service is to start with limited preview Google Books and get us to scan the entire page and email it to you for FREE.
You can get specific details on how this FREE service works on the FamilySearch blog at

Policy Change for Patrons Requesting Photocopies From the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah

Well this is interesting news from the FamilySearch Blog By


Please note the following change in the policy for patrons who are requesting copies from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
All requests for information copied from films, book pages, CDs, marriage, death or birth certificates, wills and/or deeds, etc. will be copied in digital format and emailed to patrons in a zipped PDF or JPG file format. There is no charge for this service if we are able to email to information to patrons.
If a patron does not have an email address, we can mail the information to the patron using the US Postal Service.  However, as much as possible, we will rely on emailing all requests for information through the internet. If patrons do not own a computer or do not have an email address, they can request to have the information emailed to their local Family History Center, where they can print the information at the center.
Patrons should request copies by submitting their request here: Photoduplication Request Form.  All requests MUST include the following information:
  • Film or Fiche number
  • Item number
  • Name of Individual(s) referred to in the record
  • Title of the record
  • Name of parents, spouse, grantor, grantee, etc.
  • Event type (Birth, Death or Marriage)
  • Complete event date and place
  • Event place (county, parish, township, etc.)
  • Volume or page number
  • Registration or Certificate Number
  • Any other information that will help us locate your record.