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Thursday, September 24, 2015

FH Blog - Boot Camp

I write a newsletter for my church concerning Family History.  I also have a blog that I refer members to but it is actually open to the public.  In my newsletters, I have a section I call Boot Camp. I try to help people with their family history.  So many would like to do family history but have no idea where to begin so these are some very basic lesson and ideas to help everyone with their family history. Remembering that we are actually living our family history now, there are some ideas on what to do now for future generations also.  Even though this blog is directed towards the people in my church and my city, it often will have some interesting information for everyone anywhere.  So HERE is the blog.

Most of my Boot Camp lessons will be referring to Family Search.  It is a wonderful FREE program with  World Wide Family Tree.  The Family Tree is Live - meaning if you add something to it, your relatives all over the world will be able to see it and use it right then.  I know most of us use a variety of Family Trees online but this one is FREE and Live which most are not.  One word of note is that it is mostly for the deceased.  Any living people information will not be viewable to others.  You can put living people into your tree but that will be the only thing others will not be able to see until those living in your tree are deceased. You can add photos, stories, videos, etc. that others will be able to see (for deceased people).  There is an awesome FREE search area and lots of FREE help.  Check out the blog for other information about Family Search.

Friday, May 1, 2015

BOOT CAMP - Lesson 1 - Getting started on Family Tree

I have started a Family History Newsletter for our church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) in my hometown.  In it I have started having some lessons using the Family Search website and Family Tree (a personal tree just for you and your ancestors and relatives).  This tree is available FREE on  This tree is also in real time so when you add something to your tree, other family members will be able to see it right then.  They can also add to the tree making it so everyone in your family can work together.  Of course, as you add lines to your tree, others will connect to those lines making your family GROW!!!  As I said, this is a completely FREE website - no strings attached.

The newsletter is for people in our ward working in Family History but I thought I would share these lessons with everyone. Family Search also has lessons but this is just another way of looking at things.  I am trying to make the steps very easy and will direct my assignments to very basic steps so as not to make Family History feel so overwhelming.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I may not have the answer but I will certainly try to help you or direct you to where you might find help.  I am also posting this on my Family History website  Please feel free to go and check out some of my other information.

BOOT CAMP - LESSON 1 - Getting started on Family Tree

Use these training ideas to help you learn the ins and outs of Family History. 

For additional help, email us at
It helps to have an interest in your family to go from the - Yeah, I love my family - to - I love my family enough to help us be united for eternity.  Help your love for your family grow by getting involved in your family history.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has taken the work out of Family History. Find our family and their information has become so much easier. Today we are going to take the very first step to learning how to do Family History. Some of you may be long past this stage and for you, I encourage you to keep going.  For those of you who have not started doing any kind of research, let's start at the beginning.  This information will also be very helpful for those you are teaching.

We will be working with Family Search and a few sites that will not only be interesting and informative, but also fun. Just click on the highlighted words to get more information as you go along.

This month we will be getting the "feel" for Family Search.  You will get logged on and do some simple exploring before we actually get started on researching. Take some time to look at your family tree and follow through on some of the lessons available.


1. Log onto or sign up for an account.  

To Log on - Go to Family Search home page and in the upper right hand corner (using your LDS account or your Family Search user name and password) click on Sign-In.

To open a new account - Go to the  home page of Family Search in the upper right hand corner and click on Free Account 
or click HERE (watch video) to learn how to sign up.  You do not have to be a member of the church to sign up for an account.  Note:  You will get a message in your email that you will need to confirm to finish the account sign up.  

2.  Now let's learn a bit about using the Family Tree - click HERE for basic instruction on how to use Family Tree.   Practice some of the things taught and be sure to "connect" YOU with your ancestral lines if that has not been done.  If you still do not understand this step, please ask your ward/branch consultant for help, visit your Family History Center, or email me at

NOTE: Family Tree mostly works with deceased people.  If your parents are still living, you will need to manually add them - refer to the instructions given in step #2.

This course will help you get a good start on understanding Family Tree.  We will discuss many of these topics covered in more detail in future newsletters.  HERE is another place to go if you have questions.

by Diane (Sandpoint Stake Family History Consultant)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Italian Records being Indexed

Great news!  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has made an arrangement with the Italian government to film historic genealogical records in exchange, we are indexing those records and they will be made available for everyone to research on the FamilySearch website as soon as they become available.  If anyone out there speaks Italian or would like to assist, check with the Indexing portion of the FamilySearch website for information.

The fun thing about Indexing is that:

1.  You do not need to be a member of the church to help
2.  You do not need to be a member of the church to search the indexed records
3.  The records are available to everyone world-wide FREE
4.  Indexing is very rewarding - you will be contributing to one of the biggest World Wide Service Projects available
5.  You can do it at your own speed in your own time
6.  You can pick your own project (usually just 1 page)
7.  You can send the project back if you don't like it, it's too hard, or you don't have time
8.  You will be helping your family and everyone else in the world unite your/their family
9.  You can access the site anytime day or night from wherever you live
10.  Did I say it was FUN and extremely REWARDING???  Well, it is!

Sign up today and give it a try.  You don't have to do Italian.  There are a variety of languages and types of documents to index.  It costs nothing to check it out (and costs nothing to try).

GO TO and check out the whole site.  There is so much available to you FREE so what are you waiting for.  Search for your family, learn lessons on how to do research, record your family in the world's biggest FAMILY TREE

Friday, February 8, 2013


I am not sure if everyone knows this, but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have Family History Centers that are open and available for anyone and everyone to go in and do research for their family lines. I work with the Family History Directors in our area. We are trying to get the word out to everyone that they are WELCOME to come in to the centers. The service is FREE. The facility is FREE. Often the FHC's have classes available or conferences and they are absolutely FREE also.

Family History research has changed over the years. When I started researching my lines, I needed to write tons of letters and make many trips to the Family History Center in my area. I ordered tons of microfilm and microfiche (at a price) to search records desperate to find my family. Today, the Internet has changed all of that. Through the Indexing program with the Church, millions of pages of these same microfilm and microfiche are being digiatlized and indexed to make research so much easier. The LDS church has also provided a website completely FREE to everyone. That helps us not only search for our ancestors but there are FREE classes available for just about every country/subject you may wish to know to assist with this research. You can watch the training videos as often as you want, you can do your research any time of the day (or night), and you can get tons of online help through the Forums and other programs on the site.

The Family History Centers on my area are providing classes once a month in several topics to teach patrons how to use this FREE program (FamilySearch), how to organized their information, and how to use some of the many free websites on the Internet.  Check to see what's going on at your Family History Center.  You can locate the nearest center to you at the FamilySearch website.

If you are hunting for your ancestors and have not been to a Family History Center in your area, you should really go see what is available and have them help you get started with all of the FREE services available to you on the FamilySearch website.

Check it out

Friday, March 16, 2012

1940 US CENSUS - Nation Wide Service Project

In April we will have the opportunity to join a huge nation wide service project.  The 1940 census will be available online.  The main problem with accessing it is, you have to know exactly where your family lived to find them......SO, there is a massive Nation-Wide Service project getting ready to start Indexing the entire 1940 census.  They need the help from EVERYONE! 

It is easy and so beneficial.  If you are just beginning your family history, it will help you to find your family in just one step.  All you will have to do is type in their name on the FamilySearch website and the indexed information will come up.  You will then be able to click on the actual document and view it...and all of this for FREE!  (Indexed names will be updated on a regular basis so the faster the names are indexed, the faster you will be able to access the information.)

So what do you need to do to help?  Just sign up to do Indexing at and follow the steps to register.  You will need to download a program.  Once you have downloaded the program, you will need to get registered then you will be ready to begin.  It is so easy to sign up.  You will need a sign in name with a password (if you belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, you just use your church sign in name and password). 

After you have downloaded the program and signed up, you will be able to download a batch.  A batch is generally 1 or 2 pages of the census record.  Other types of records are available too as the Church is working on indexing all of the microfilm/microfiche that they have photographed over the many years.  Many of the records available are in other languages.  You only choose the language you will feel comfortable indexing.  If you do read another language, they really need some help from indexers that can read foreign languages.

The batches are not that long, as I said before, just a few names.  Most batches take about a half hour to do.  You can do as many or as few batches as you'd like.  You have about a week to complete one batch.  If you do not finish the batch, it will be taken away in a week for someone else to complete.  If you find one batch is too difficult and you do not want to do that batch, you can just send it back. 

So this is what's happening, you download a batch from the website server and work on it on your computer.  You can choose to work offline or stay online and work that way.  You have to be online to download a batch and online to submit the batch but if you only have dial-up or if you want to load some batches to do while traveling, you can download them, work on them offline, then go back online to submit them.  You can load up to 10 batches at once.

There is awesome help for indexing.  For complete help and even live chat assistance, click on the HELP section at the Indexing website.  Every batch has it's own set of instructions so be sure to read them before you start.  If you cannot read something or something is missing that should be there, refer back to the HELP section for assistance.  As I said, if you really cannot find your answer, click on  LIVE CHAT (found in the HELP section) and someone will be more than happy to assist (you can also call or send an email for assistance).

Who can index?  If you can read, you can index.  You do not have to be proficient on the computer.  You do not have to be a fast typist.  You work at your own speed, in your own home, and on your own computer.  If you can give a few minutes a week to this project, you can do it.  It is easy to learn.  If you only have a few minutes of one week a month, you can do this.  If you have time at your lunch break, when the kids are down for a nap, when you are waiting for a call, you can do this.  If you feel that you are bored and nothing interests you, try indexing. 

A word of warning, you can become addicted.  Time flies by so fast and you may have the boss, kids, or spouse tapping the desk for you to get back to their needs but just tell them you are doing a service project.  Ask them to join in.  The age for signing up is 13+.  I knew a lady in her 80's that decided to do something with her days.  She learned how to use the computer (just enough to do indexing - nothing more) and began indexing.  She ended up working an easy 8 hours a day every day until she died (into her 90's).  She even learned how to do the Spanish records and she never spoke or read Spanish before.  She just wanted to learn so she did!

Join us in this wonderful World Wide Service Project (general indexing) and our National Service Project (1940 census) and find how truly rewarding it is to offer service this way.  Maybe you will even find some of your family while doing it!  Check it out today!  You do not have to wait for the 1940 census to get started.  There is tons to index right now so go take a look.  They even have a little "Test Drive" to see what it is all about.  If you know someone who needs purpose to their life, have them try this.  It is the best therapy you can imagine.  I hope you will not just take my word but will actually give it a try.  Join us today!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fun Blog for the Grand Kids

I have set up a new blog for my grand kids recently.  What fun!  It all started because some of my grand kids in the 7-12 age bracket have started using email to communicate with their friends and cousins and of course, with their grandma (me!).  I began thinking how fun it would be for me to get involved in their lives through this mode of communication.  One thing led to another and poof!!!  I started a blog for them.

I say this blog is for them because I am trying to do things with them and for them to enhance their learning skills with computer stuff and communication with others.  I just started so things are in those beginning stages.  I began with opening an email account just for this purpose.  I sent an invitation to all of the parents first and let them know what I was doing.  The parents then agreed to it and got their kids involved in reading the emails that I began sending. 

One thing that I do with email is I send out a thought for the day.  This actually goes to the kids ans to their parents.  I do not really know how they are receiving it (meaning, I don't know if they really care at this time about what I am saying) but it gives me a little chance to express how I feel about things and to give my point of view of things.  It is a simple thought and I always try to have a little learning message with it.  Hopefully, family members will be inspired by it a little and we can all try to improve our outlook on life's situations.  If nothing else, it is a little thought journal for me.  They can discard it and I will never know!

The blog is geared more towards the kids.  I began with a picture and asked them to try to guess what it was.  This was the picture:

It seemed easy to me because it is something all of them had seen and some quite often.  I was surprised that few really knew what it was.  I offered camp points (which I will explain in a minute) for guessing.  Later I posted the full picture -

This is a picture of my dog Lucky.  The white spot was from the top of her head. 

I have also posted riddles and other fun things.  I am encouraging the kids to post things also.  One grandson posted a poem.  Many of the grand kids (I have 24 1/2) are talking about things they want to post.  They can earn camp points (as the name of my blog is Camp Maw Paw) for things they submit and answers they give to my riddles and pictures.  These camp points can eventually earn them a little spending money.  (100 points can be cashed in for $5,00).  Who doesn't want to earn money?

What this blog is doing for them is teaching them some things about using email, using the Internet, writing stories and poems, planning activities, and using their minds to figure out riddles. They are learning how to take pictures and process them through the computer (download to a file, adjust the picture quality, and email it to me).  It also enhances their reading skills.  Most of all, it gives me some special time with the grand kids even when I can't be right there with them.

Having this blog for the grand kids is a win win situation.  I love it because it gives me time to think about ways to connect with them and I hope it gives them something fun and clean to do on the Internet.  It also helps all of us to be a little closer as a family.  We are always mentioning the grand kid's names and giving praises and such.  Hopefully this will be a special memory in their lives about something they did with their grandma.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Senior Hiking # 405 Last Schweitzer Snow Hike


June 6, 2011…the last Schweitzer snow hike…
hike # 405
by Betsy

The forecast was for 60% rain today but the sun was coming out when we left. Normally we would have been done with Schweitzer by now but we needed more practice with our approach skis, and Jim bought another new pair and he was especially anxious to try them out. They are shorter than the others and do have skins. Temperature was to be around 70° so I wore short sleeves and summer hiking pants.
As we started up the cat track, we found many bare spots with water running everywhere. We carried the skis up to a point when we hit snow again and thought it was safe to put the skis on. The snow was horrible to walk on, very soft and smooshy…slippery too. Since we weren’t sure how much snow would be on the Cloudwalker route, we continued up to the top as we did last week to Stella, and thought we would try going down the Zip Down Run. Up at Stella, we had our mango snack again…took off our skis and sat down for a bit. We bought silicon spray to apply to my ski skins to see if we could slip them up a bit…they seem to go fast at a certain decline and then they take off fast. But on the flat or slight declines, they kind of drag a bit.

We got our first taste of wildflowers; so many yellow violets, trillium, glacier lilies and even one pussy willow bush. We saw no bear tracks today.

If we thought the snow was bad down lower, it was extremely bad up top as we began to ski down Zip Down. I started first and it wasn’t long before I thought…no way.
The snow was full of little craters from the different rate of snow melt, and it was soft and slippery. I had no control. Jim, who had taken the skins off his skis for easier down, was in for the same surprise only more so.

He was the first to take the skis off and suggested I do the same…and we thought it would be so much safer to walk down. He carried the skis on his pole over his shoulder. When we got closer to the bottom, we put the skis on and skied down the last bit…Jim’s skis were so slick and he fell almost immediately.

Safely at the bottom of the run at Wolf Ridge, we ate lunch, and then headed back. Jim’s skis kept coming off…had to get the wrench out for some repair a couple of times but it didn’t help much. They kept coming off, and he fell a few more times. Rain clouds were ominous when we got to the village and as we drove down the mountain rain drops began to hit the windshield. We made it back just in time.

We can now drive up Pack River Rd and when we hit snow, we will park and walk to the first trail head…it is usually around 1-2 miles. While it is not so bad on the way in, it is a chore on the way back…it is hard to not be at the truck when you get down but have to walk the miles to the truck. We’ve done it many times…and once in a hard downpour…that was no fun. This is the latest we have been up at Schweitzer and the latest we have not been up to the mountain trail heads. We are anxious. It’s been a long winter. We’ll see if we can stay away from Schweitzer next week!

Left home 10:00
Started up 10:30
Got back to truck 3:10
Total hiking time 4 hours, 40 minutes
Total miles hiked 6 miles