Archive for 2011

Family History Bulletin: Nov 2011 Issue

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

WorldVitalRecords Nov 2011 Issue

Family History Bulletin
Coopers Gravestone Cooper’s Grave, A Reminder of the Special Nature of Burial Sites.

by Mark Olsen

In no time I was winding up the side of a mountain on an old paved road, just high enough to be above most of the homes. East Lawn Memorial Hills Cemetery was quite the surprise. I thought back to the recent burial of my grandfather and wished this picturesque location could have been chosen for his final resting place. I meandered through the cemetery roads a bit and then pulled over and began to walk the rows of in-the-ground, flat tombstones.

That is when I made a discovery at a one of the most beautiful burial grounds I had ever seen…

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We’ve Added More Records

As we work to bring you the best family history records, we are constantly finding and releasing new content for you to use in your search.

Nov 2011 New Records:

From Social Security Indexes to censuses, we have added over 150 million records in the last 6 months to assist you with your family history research.

Start Searching

Family History Search Together

Cooper’s grave a reminder of the special nature of burial sites

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

I work with genealogy data every day at, but lately, as a genealogist, I’ve wanted to get out of the office and help record the important facts left behind on tombstones. One of the many content partners whose data we index at WorldVitalRecords is Find A Grave, so that’s where I started.

I signed up as a contributor at Find A Grave and found some photo requests for a local cemetery I had never visited before. It was nice to discover that this cemetery was only a mile or so away from my office in Provo.

During lunch I jumped in my car to locate the cemetery and take a look around. I planned on going back again later with the printed photo requests to gather the requested information.

In no time I was winding up the side of a mountain on an old paved road, just high enough to be above most of the homes. East Lawn Memorial Hills Cemetery was quite the surprise. I thought back to the recent burial of my grandfather in Lindon and wished this picturesque location could have been chosen for his final resting place. I meandered through the cemetery roads a bit and then pulled over and began to walk the rows of in-the-ground, flat tombstones.

The cemetery is nestled in the foothills above Provo, near the mouth of Provo Canyon. Mountains soar behind it. Paths wind among the trees, hills, flower gardens and graves. Utah Lake dominates the

Halloween Memorial

Halloween Memorial

vista to the west, with more mountains beyond it. Truly this is the most beautiful of all burial grounds I’d ever imagined.

There are more gravesites here than first appear; the flat headstones hide in the grass until you come close to them. I was alone with the residents, at peace, a few hundred feet above the hustle and bustle of the suburbs.
I ventured toward a couple of young trees, which appeared to have a sign strung between them.

I could see that great care had been taken in stringing the sign, and the tree trunks had become columns of pictures, tied with orange ribbons and bows. There were pumpkins at the bases of the trees.

The pictures were of all of the same family, dressed for several Halloweens. The little boy in the pictures was Cooper; his name was spelled out on the sign. I had not yet seen his grave.

Cooper's Headstone

Cooper's Headstone

A few steps from the trees, I found it. Little Cooper’s windswept hair, mischievous eyes and big, happy smile were now embossed forever in bronze, with a lake in the background. Cooper’s parents have since told me that the lake is Navajo Lake, near Cedar City, where Cooper loved to wade and skip rocks. It was the most beautiful tombstone I had ever seen.

Suddenly, the graves all around me felt alive. A gravestone is not just a rock in the ground with some lettering on it. It marks the final resting place of someone’s son or daughter, brother or sister, parent or neighbor or friend. To someone like me, who is involved in the never-ending work of family history, perhaps this should be obvious. But on that day in that place, I felt it as I hadn’t felt it before. A grave is a place to keep memories alive.

I went back a couple of days later with Cooper’s name on my list of photo requests, because the Internet is a place to keep memories alive, too. I met a brother and sister who are also Find A Grave contributors. They were busy walking the rows, looking for graves of which photos had been requested. They hadn’t seen Cooper’s grave yet. I told them they were in for a special moment. I imagine them lingering, as I had, amid the Halloween decorations, at the beautiful resting place of a beloved little boy.

Take the time to work on your genealogy. Learn more of the stories of your own ancestors, and sooner or later you’ll find some special places like Cooper’s.

Discover Your Family Stories

Note: Cooper’s family has a blog where you can learn more about Cooper, the annual run established in his memory and the family’s memories of their son and brother.

View From the cemetery

View from the cemetery

Cooper's grave and Halloween Memorial

Cooper's grave and Halloween Memorial pages go ad free

Saturday, October 1st, 2011 Goes Ad-Free

As of October 1, 2011 will be ad free!  Many thanks to our loyal subscribers and partners for your support. You have made it possible for World Vital Records to get to the point where we no longer need to bring in additional revenue through advertisements on the website.

In place of ads in the margins, we will utilize this space to bring research tools to our customers. Some tools you are already familiar with which are live on our site, and more such tools that we are working on now. Including, but not limited to:

  • Recent Searches
  • Popular Collections
  • Related Collections
  • And more to come….! is now home to a collection of over 4 billion names which make it a great resource for genealogy finds when you run into a brick wall. When you are looking for rich content to add to a family history or the historical context to help fill in the gaps look no further. Search for those missing genealogical records in the 4 billion names on our site. Our Tombstone, Newspaper, and Historical Map collections are growing by the day and are already some of our most impressive collections.

Again, thank you for your support.  We are listening to your suggestions and working hard to add content and valuable features to our site. We appreciate your partnership with us in this and aim to make your genealogy finds more meaningful and your experience more enjoyable each and every day.

Paul Allen Webinar – How to use and get the most out of and

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Register for our free webinar – Exploring and – Friday, September 16

Listen to this article. Powered by

PaulAllen recently celebrated its 5th anniversary. Founder Paul Allen and his team of genealogy developers have been building a “one-stop-shop” for genealogy records and family history information by aggregating records from numerous sources. Today, WVR has nearly 5 billion names in more than 50,000 databases from nearly 50 content partners around the world.

This webinar is for 1) those who want an overview and comparison of these services without having to buy anything and 2) current subscribers to or who want to learn more about the resources already at their fingertips. Of course, no purchase is necessary to learn about these services, but if you’ve been considering new ways of finding your ancestors, this webinar is for you. Paul Allen is the founder of both and, and has quickly become known as the unofficial Google+ Statistician.

The live webinar is scheduled for Friday, September 16, 2011 at 2PM Eastern U.S., so register today to reserve your virtual seat. Registration is free but space is limited to the first 1,000 people to join that day.


About the presenter

Paul Allen is the Founder of and and has quickly become known as the unofficial Google+ Statistician. His expert use of posting in Google+ features, stats and using his own insider tricks have helped to make a huge impact on the initial success of Google+. Those who are part of Paul’s Circles have already benefited from his expertise.

Add it to your Google Calendar

With our brand new Google Calendar button, you will never forget our upcoming webinars. Simply click the button to add it to your calendar. You can then optionally embed the webinar events (and even turn them on and off) into your own personal calendar. If you have already added the calendar, you do not have to do it again – the new webinar events will automatically appear.

Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Friday, September 16, 2011 at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain
  • 11am Pacific/Arizona
  • 6pm GMT

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here’s how to attend:

  1. Register at today. It’s free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email during the week prior to the webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  6. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone.

We look forward to seeing you all there! Content Updates Recap

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Here are the highlights of new content added to and over the past few months.  Over 120 Million new Names added.

Content Update

Content Update

Death and Disaster – Have a Data Backup Plan

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

The US had a major earthquake yesterday….It covered major territory though thankfully it did not cause major damage.

Between that and the passing of a grandfather these have me thinking a lot about data preservation.
My Aunts and Uncles have been clearing out the house that was left behind and passing along family trinkets, heirlooms and mementos. Interestingly enough the most sought after possessions are Grandpa’s books, journals, photos.

In preparing for the impending death of my Grandmother several years ago I spent many days and hours with her in front of a scanner where we fed thousands of photos through a scanner that was big enough and smart enough to automatically feed, save and name thousands of pictures. We had the troublesome task of babysitting the scanner to make sure it all worked out all right and though we never got around to sorting the now digital copies of the pictures at least we have several copies at different homes around the US serving as back up copies.

Having see an earthquake and a funeral happen in the same week makes me want to go home and scan my own big box of photos – I’ve actually already done this once before but it was several computers ago. I think I have them on my external hard drive as well but need to go home and find out if for sure they are safe.

You never know when a disaster, death etc. will occur so it’s best to at least get a copy of them onto a computer or external drive. Perhaps a digital copy saved to an online storage company, cloud based, would also be a good idea.

The trinkets are fun to have but the data, photos, writings etc. are priceless and I’d hate to see those disappear due to simple lack of preparation.  Of course all of us also have bills, memories, journal and just random memorabilia in paper format that really should be scanned and sorted digitally.  Along with a 72 hour kit it would be pretty easy to include a jumpdrive or even and external hard drive of 1 Terra byte or more fairly inexpensively nowadays.

Scanners – I used an older Cannon Scanner that accepted a stack of around 40 – 60 photos possibly more.
I have since thrown it out as it wore out.

I have not been and am not really in the market for a new scanner that does multi-feed – depending on if I can find my digital photos collection or not I may be soon.

Here is one at that may do the trick….I am not sure though so make sure to read up on these first.

If anyone knows of any nice scanners that can do a great job with multipage scanning please post links in the comment thread.
By the way – with these scanners you can sometimes scan old negatives and get photos from those as well.

Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day)

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

The month of August may seem like a quiet month with no major holidays, and can be a month of transition from summer to fall. But August is an important month globally, especially when it comes to military history. Did you know Emperor Horhito announced Japan’s surrender, ultimately ending WWII in the month of August? On August 15th, 1945, the Japanese accepted the Potsdam Declaration- which had called for the surrender for the Empire of Japan from World War II. The declaration stated that if Japan did not surrender, they would face “prompt and utter destruction.”  News spread of the Emperor’s announcement, and by 7 P.M. daylight time, U.S. President Harry Truman sent out a nation-wide broadcast announcing the surrender, and that the war would formally end on September 2, 1945. September 2nd came, and a ceremony was led aboard the battleship USS Missouri, where the papers were signed- making the surrender of Japan official. In Japan, V-J day is called “the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace”, and in Korea it is called “Liberation Day.”

Victory over Japan day (also known as V-J Day) is recognized on August 15th in the UK, Japan, and Korea- because that is the day it was announced by Emperor Horhito. Whereas the U.S. recognizes V-J Day on September 2nd, when the papers were signed- making the surrender official.

Do you have ancestors who fought in World War II, or any war for that matter? Search over 20 million military records to find who you are looking for!

Search our records specific to World War II -

Search our Military records-

Pioneer Database

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Pioneer Records contain data and insight into the lives of our pioneering ancestor’s that are an important part of any genealogists family history research.

At, we currently have over 534 databases in our pioneer collection, with over 13.8 million names- 9 million of these names were added this month! Read the list of Newly Updated/Added Pioneer Databases below to find out what records and information we may have on your pioneer ancestors.

Newly Updated/Added Pioneer Databases Include

Search Pioneer Records

Recently Added: Over 20 Million Names to Military Databases

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Many of us have ancestors who have served in the military. In Genealogy, military records contain some of the most pertinent information of an ancestor’s life. These records can include: birth and death dates, names and addresses of family members, and details of your ancestor’s service.

On FamilyLink and WorldVitalRecords, we have an ever-growing collection of military data. We have recently added over 20 million names to our collection! Find out if we have information you are looking for. Click the link below to get started-

Newly Added Military Databases Include
US Army Registers, 1813-1969
Official histories of divisions, regiments, etc.
Boys of ‘98: History of the Tenth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Duke of Cornwall’s Own Rifles: Regimental History of the Forty-Third Regiment, Active Militia of Canada
Heroes of the Argonne: Authentic History of the Thirty-Fifth Division
Extract From the History of the Third Regiment Rhode Island Heavy Artillery

Other Highlights from our Current Military collection
World War II Army Enlistment
World War II Reserve Corps Records
Air Force Registers (US)
World War II Prisoners of War 1941 – 1946
Revolutionary War Land Bounty Grants
Union Regiments of Kentucky
Roster of North Carolina Troops in the War Between the States
Queenslanders Who Fought in Great War
Army Casualties 1961 – 1981
Militia Attestations Index, 1886 – 1910
Roster of Revolutionary Soldiers in Georgia

Paul Allen Analyzes Census Data to determine Google Plus User Counts

Monday, July 11th, 2011

How many Google+ users’s Paul Allen has been using Census Data to determine the growth of Google+ and a lot of people are talking about it.   A Google news search revealed 290 related articles in the past few days.  Using Census Data Paul has estimated that somewhere around 4.5 million Google Plus accounts now in use.   He is expected to release a new estimate today.

I asked Paul this morning if he was still expecting the 4.5 million and he just smiled and said it was now looking to be over 6 million – he’ll let us know.  I assume we’ll find out via his Google+ Account.

At FamilyLink we are very excited about Google Plus.   From creating Family and Surname circles to sharing Genealogy information via your posts much like a blog Google Plus is opening new doors to link Families together.

More Engagement

Paul Allen also sees much more engagement in Google Plus than in other social media worlds.  The reason – I have not asked him but I would imagine its due to the circles.  If I am working on planning an Olsen Family Reunion I can create a circle for this – Olsen Reunion – place all the right people in this circle – start the discussion and it stays within that group – on topic. There are no distractions as there would be in other realms.  In G+ we can stay on topic – have a video hangout – and work toward the reunion in a synchronized way.  Sure we may have tangents but the fact is everyone there is in the circle for the same reason

I for one am extremely excited that I can now put my wonderfully and random chatty nieces, nephews, and kids in their own circle which I can read or ignore at will and in the meantime have genealogists around the world in another circle where I can learn and share the latest and greatest Genealogy information – not mixing the two completely unrelated news streams – a wonderful thought indeed!

We invite you to follow the Google Plus accounts of  Paul Allen Mark Olsen Dan Lawyer Kari Harbath as we work to expand what we can do in the Family History world via Google Plus.

Paul Allen

Paul Allen G+Account