Thursday, May 31, 2007

Footnote now in the LDS Family History Centers

FamilySearchSo this was originally announced a few weeks ago, but it's now live. If you haven't subscribed to Footnote at home, this is an opportunity to check out the content on the site through the LDS Family History Centers. Of course even if you don't subscribe, the hope is that you upload your own content and build a story page or two around your own family history which you can do with a free membership! Remember that there are several titles that are freely available and all user contributed content is always free to search!

The Footnote excerpt of the release says:

Footnote (

Footnote is a subscription-based website that features searchable, original documents that provide users a view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. The site will have over 25 million digital images by the end of 2007. Footnote is currently working with FamilySearch to index the American Revolutionary War Pension files. Additional projects with FamilySearch are under development.

Individuals with Footnote subscriptions will be able to sign in with the same Footnote username and password they use at home in order to save, annotate, and upload content.

Here is a link to the full news item. It includes announcements about other sites that will be also available at the Family History Centers:

More Web Site Service Providers Team With FamilySearch

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Refining Search

Filtered search is a feature that has been around since launch but seems to be underused. To illustrate the power of this feature, I'll give an example.

If you're looking for information on Footnote about a specific John Smith, typing "John Smith" in the search box will give you a lot of results. There are results from all sorts of documents from different places and times. As of today there are 6338 search results. This is an unmanageable number of entries to review.

I know that the John Smith that I'm looking for served in the Revolutionary War, at least that's what I understand from the other documents that I've found. In order to limit the search I can either use the drop down on the search page or use the browse page to select a title (see screenshot to the left). In this case I want to look in the Revolutionary War Rolls.

This helps significantly to filter the results to only 2114 results. This is still a lot though so we should try to limit our search again. We're pretty sure that our John Smith grew up in Vermont and probably served from there... so using the browse page, we can further limit the search to Vermont Regiments.

With this additional refinement we now only have 26 results. These can be quickly browsed for valuable information.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Footnote/FamilySearch Blog Coverage Roundup

Well, there has been a lot of coverage of the recent Footnote/FamilySearch Announcement with regards to the Revolutionary War Pensions. Here is a roundup of some of the coverage on family history blogs. If you've mentioned the announcement in your blog, please leave a comment with a link to your site!

In no particular order...

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter - Teams With FamilySearch to Release Complete Revolutionary War Pension Files
DearMYRTLE, your friend in genealogy - releases original Rev. War docs for 1st time on 'Net
Columbus Public Library Genealogy & Local History - Revolutionary War documents available for the first time on the Internet
JacksBox4You - Footnote Teaming with FamilySearch
The Ancestry Insider - accessible for free at FamilySearch Centers
The Genealogue - While I Was On the Roof...
Roots Television - 80 BILLION family files to go online!! Wow!
The Accidental Genealogist - Missing NGS?
Genea-Musings - FamilySearch and Footnote team up
Ancestor Search Blog - Teams with Family Search to Release Revolutionary War Pension Files
Renee's Genealogy Blog - Tidal Wave Starting to Flood
Olive Tree Genealogy Blog - Revolutionary War Pension Files To be Released by Teaming with FamilySearch
Ancestors At Rest - Teams with FamilySearch to Release Revolutionary War Pension Files

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Deseret News Article... Footnote as a footnote

The Deseret News, a widely distributed newspaper, had a first page article on FamilySearch this morning where Footnote got a mention. The article is more to highlight the new program that FamilySearch is rolling out (Dick Eastman's comments on the program) than Footnote, but since we are the first partner to have a project start up under the program (Revolutionary War Pensions), we were referenced.

80 billion family files to go online: LDS Church plans to be history 'clearinghouse'

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

FamilySearch and Footnote Part 2 - Revolutionary War Pensions Online

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a press release announcing the availability of the Revolutionary War Pensions. Here are some excerpts from the release.

For example, a pension application might contain information on an individual soldier’s rank, unit, date mustered in and mustered out, basic biographical information, medical information and military service assignments.

The pension files also often contain supporting documents such as narratives of events during service, marriage certificates, birth records, death certificates, pages from family Bibles, family letters, depositions of witnesses, affidavits, discharge papers and other supporting papers.

The historic Revolutionary War Pension Records project is the first of many future projects the Church is undertaking to expedite access to historical records. The new Records Access program initiated by FamilySearch will result in a virtual tidal wave of online databases around the world, according to FamilySearch officials.

See the full press release at: Revolutionary War Records Go Online

Monday, May 14, 2007

FamilySearch and Footnote

Footnote has announced a partnership with FamilySearch (formerly the Genealogical Society of Utah) which is sponsored by the LDS Church. Here is an excerpt from the press release:

“We are excited to partner with to provide historians and genealogists alike a tremendous source of data that will assist greatly in putting puzzle pieces together to create a rich family history,” said Paul Nauta, manager of Public Affairs for FamilySearch. “This affiliation allows us to better meet one of our goals to provide as much data online as fast as possible for those working on their genealogy.”

Also, as a part of this agreement, will be accessible for free in all FamilySearch operated centers worldwide. FamilySearch has more than 4,500 Family History Centers in 70 countries.
This partnership will allow Footnote to continue to expand the content on the site and offer increased value to our members by allowing both parties to work together to digitize and index millions of documents.

The increased exposure through the Family History Centers should do two things: 1) show the value that Footnote brings and hopefully increase the number of subscribers (which is good for Footnote) and 2) increase the number of members and therefore the amount of user generated content on the site which benefits everybody.

Here is a link to the release in Footnote's Press Room:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Footnote's Annotations

One of the new features that we've added is Footnote generated annotations. On certain publications we've keyed names and other data as annotations. The first title to have this feature is the Revolutionary War Rolls. In the example image above and below ( or|10191483), the Muster Roll has each of the names annotated.

To the left is detail of the list of annotated names (note the boxes around each of the names). We believe that this data will be invaluable to Footnote users in this and many future titles.

The footnote user currently has approximately 1.5 million annotations on the site and thousands more being added each day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

New Feature... Completion Status!

The Footnote team is constantly working on new features for the site. A cool new feature that was added to the site recently is "completion status". Most (but not all) publications will have this and will show how much of a publication is currently available on the site. We think that this will be a big help to everybody out there as it allows users to see if more of a particular publication is still coming.

Here is a blurb from the Footnote site about it:

The completion status graph Indicates the progress we've made in adding images from this title to the Footnote site.

We want to give you access to as many images as we can, so when we add a new title, we begin putting up images as soon as we have them ready and keep working until all the images are posted. We've designed this graph to give you a quick view of how far along we are.

Since some grouped titles (for example: city directories or naturalizations), and even some individual titles, don't have a definite number of images in them, we can't provide a completion number in these cases.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

More Footnote in the News (a few days late)

I've been pretty bad about posting recently. Footnote issued a press release (link) last week that was picked by many news outlets. Additionally, the Salt Lake Tribune published an article soon thereafter with a more "in depth" look at Footnote (not just reprinting the press release).

This article and press release highlight some of the Revolutionary War content that is available on the site which can be accessed at