By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

B urleigh Allen knew the information couldn’t be right, and the red exclamation marks backed up his suspicion.

The date, entered for his ancestor who lived in the 1700s, showed that she was born after she’d married.

“This tells us everything about her — but it’s incorrect,” he says to Bev Moore.

On Saturday, Allen sought Moore’s help in his genealogical research at the Church of Latter-Day Saints’ Family History Center.

Although he has done extensive research using his home computer — “I’m four generations back,” he says — he’d come to a point where he needed some help.

“I needed a census record, and she helped with that,” Allen said of Moore.

Of course, the date of birth didn’t quite match up, which means he has more research ahead of him.

“The information is here somewhere. You just have to have tenacity and patience. A lot of patience,” he said.

Many like Allen who sought to learn more about genealogy research attended the Family History Day Saturday at the LDS church in Baker City.

“It’s the best we’ve had,” Carol Field, one of the organizers, said of the crowd.

After a short welcome by Bishop Tom Isaacson, attendees split up to attend various sessions throughout the morning and into the afternoon.

Maure Albert’s talk covered the importance of maps, which can provide a “visual path of travel” when tracing ancestors.

Much emigration in the 1800s, she said, followed rivers.

“There were definite routes,” she said.

Modern technology has opened up ways to research maps without leaving your house — Google Maps, for instance.

“I can walk down this street,” Albert says, bringing up Google Maps on her computer and zooming in to street level to a German town where she’s traced her ancestors.

Another source in tracing a family tree is the BLM’s database of General Land Office records —the website is glorecords.blm.

This free archive includes land patents back to 1756, and includes a copy of the patent signed by the president of the day.

“This will give you an actual document,” Albert said. “Wherever there is an exchange of money, you’re going to have names.”

In her own genealogical research, Albert has discovered many hand-drawn maps from the 1850s that show names of her ancestors and the acreage of their land.

“Right here I have ‘Widow Burg,’” she said, pointing to a portion of a Wisconsin map from 1858. “That gives me a huge clue — when did Mr. Burg die?”

She said these maps are also more accurate than census records, which often contain misspelled names because the census takers often misheard pronunciation through thick accents.

Historic maps also hold details not found on the modern-day versions.

“These old maps give you tiny towns that are no longer in existence,” she said.

The record of land purchases can also prove when an ancestor arrived in a place.

Another type of map is called a Sanborn Fire Map, which was used by fire departments for the layout of a town and the location of water sources. These maps also use a color code for buildings to describe their construction, such as brick or wood.

“Maps give us an enriched environment that our people lived in,” Albert said.

To expand on the topic of online research, Barb Scrivner’s presentation gave tips on how to use the website ancestory.com — one available to use in the church’s Family History Center.

Ancestory.com provides a way to search for family members, and also fill in a family tree. When Scrivner first uploaded her research onto the website, she kept the setting as “private.” But then she received an email from someone researching the same family line, and he suggested she make her information public.

She did, and that now allows other family members — near and far — to see the links she’s already established in the family tree.

“Because I’m not stingy with my research, I put it out there,” she said.

See more in the Feb. 27, 2017, issue of the Baker City Herald.

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