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UVHS Schooled in Genealogy Search

Paul Hinman discusses the FamilySearch genealogical website at the April meeting of the Upper Vandalia Historical Society.

Genealogist Paul Hinman was the special guest speaker for the quarterly meeting of the Upper Vandalia Historical Society, which was held on Sunday, April 28, at Bancroft Church of God Mission. During his presentation, Hinman discussed the genealogical website FamilySearch, explaining its many features and how to use them.

FamilySearch is a free site which draws upon extensive genealogical records compiled by the Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints. The site, which cooperates with other genealogical companies such as Ancestry, Findmypast, and MyHeritage, operates as a massive family tree with 1.5 billion names in its database. Members can view entries created by other members, as well as make changes or contribute new information.

In addition to functioning as a Wikipedia-style directory of deceased persons, FamilySearch also features vital statistics, photographs, images of books and articles, and audio recordings. The FamilySearch headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, is home to a vast collection of records, including 2.4 million rolls of microfilm and 1 million microfiche. Not all information on file has been indexed or added to the online site, however.

Users who create a free account with FamilySearch can start their family tree by entering the names, birth dates, and death dates of immediate family members. After the user manually enters the required minimum of information, FamilySearch generates a family tree based upon information submitted by other members.

FamilySearch also has two affiliate websites, Relative Finder and Puzzilla. Drawing from information found in a user’s FamilySearch account, Relative Finder searches a person’s family tree for connections to famous people. Some of the categories listed include movie stars, sports figures, European royalty, and U.S. Presidents. Using the Relative Finder site, a person might find that they are Thomas Jefferson’s first cousin seven times removed, Abraham Lincoln’s sixth cousin seven times removed, and Barak Obama’s ninth cousin three times removed.

The other affiliate site, Puzzilla, allows a user to draw upon their FamilySearch records to create an intricate family tree featuring collateral lines. This allows a user to discover patterns of incomplete research in their family tree so that they might be able to focus their research attempts on filling in the gaps.

The Upper Vandalia Historical Society meets four times a year to discuss Putnam County and local history. Anyone who has an interest in local history and trivia is invited to attend meetings. For more information about the Upper Vandalia Historical Society, visit http://cclark8399.wix.com/uppervandalia

If you have Facebook, you can also become a member of the “Upper Vandalia Historical Society (Putnam County, WV)” group by going to https://www.facebook.com/groups/431246375713984

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