Monday, February 13, 2017

New Feature/Video - Puzzilla "Search 10 Hints for Superhints"

Hurrah! A new Puzzilla feature to make family history research even easier!

The above link (video) will make it even easier for beginners and those helping beginners, find a new person to add to their family tree. is the easiest and best way to discover new family members because of the unique way it displays family trees. Bill recently introduced this video and new feature at RootsTech Conference 2017 in Salt Lake City.

Be sure and watch the short 11- minute video all the way to the end for valuable clues and assistance.

Friday, April 1, 2016 Log - New Feature for Premium Users!

We appreciate the warm reception Puzzilla has received. We have heard from many individuals having great success doing family history research using Puzzilla. If you are not yet a premium subscription user, feel free to sign up for the 30-day free trial.

Short on short term memory and long between sessions? The Puzzilla Log is an invaluable new tool recently added to Premium Features to help users keep track of their family history research! Just follow these simple steps:

 - Go to

 - Log in with User ID and Password
 - A Puzzilla view of your family tree appears
 - Select someone from the tree by clicking on a blue square (male) or red circle (female)
 - From the pop-up, select "Log This Person"
 - ID number and name of person immediately appears on Puzzilla Log, viewed in new Tab at the top of your browser

 - "Next" and "Notes" - Click in row to the right of the name on the log to write what you want to do next and to write additional notes. These next and notes will automatically wrap in the space, so you can write as much or as little as you would like. ie: copy and paste the URL of a website or the "Path" of how you are related to this person.

 - "Refresh ordinances" at the top of the page to see an update of completed LDS ordinances displayed on the right hand side of the log. (B C I E SP SS)

 - "1 2 3 4 5"
These numbers are special "Status" markers that can indicate your research work flow or whatever you want them to be. For example, if you click on the small dash that appears under the "1" a small triangle appears in the chart in the corresponding color to the "1". You might choose this to mark everyone you are doing current research on. You might choose "5", a black triangle to mark those whose research is completed. Other markers might indicate family names you have shared work with or where others are doing research, etc.  As you return to your tree, refresh your pages and click the new "Status" button on the left of the page. Colored triangles corresponding from your log will now appear on your Puzzilla tree to help you clearly see the status of your

- "Search" - Use this feature to find anything within the log
- Click on words and numbers in the title bar of the Log to see the list sorted according to that category. Return to the Log's original state by refreshing the page.

Want to add or delete someone from the log? Here's how:

 - "Log This Person" appears in pop-up on every person you select on your puzzilla ancestry or descendancy tree
 - "Add ID" is a box at the top of the Log where you can enter the ID number of anyone you want to add. They will immediately appear on your list.
 - "Delete Row" will remove the row you have selected

Note: Data is automatically saved 10 seconds after your last key stroke, this is an industry standard. Data is completely secure and can be accessed from any computer by you through your login.

Puzzilla Log is an invaluable tool for keeping track of your research work flow and everyone involved in the process. Give it a try. We welcome feedback on your success or suggestions.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

6 Steps to doing free family history research using

Here are 6 steps to doing free family history research using
Affordable premium features are also available for the serious user. Beginner Tutorial

1.              Sign in to using your FamilySearch user ID and password.
2.              Examine “Ancestors” tree. Blue squares indicate males, red circles indicate females. Move your mouse over the symbols to browse their names.
a.     Notice  “Generations” field. Suggestion for youth: change to 7 or 8 generations.
b.     Click someone in the topmost row to select that person
c.      Click “Descendants button.
3.              Examine descendants tree.  Selected person is at the center; children are in the first circle, grand-children in the second circle, etc.
a.     Click “Targets” button. This adds a red square to persons whose children have not yet been found. These are good places to start because they are likely places where others’ research stopped.
b.     Suggestion: under Targets button click in “Birth Range” field and type 1830-1870 to narrow the time to a period of good record coverage.
c.      Click a target person. Suggestion: choose someone with an uncommon name.
4.              Click on “View in FamilyTree”. Examine person details in FamilyTree.
a.     Birth and death: upper left
b.     Spouse and children: lower left
c.      Parents and siblings: lower right
d.     “Record Hints” and “Search Records”: upper right
5.              Click “Search Records.” This is like a Google search and lists records in order of decreasing probability of matching your target person. Suggestion: Click “Record Hints” if any are available. Record hints show pre-selected historical records with a higher probability of including your target person.
6.              Examine “Search Results from Historical Records” or hint record details.
a.     Look for records containing your target person. Match the names, the event dates and places, and the relationships to known family members.
b.     Success: Previously-unknown family members are discovered in historical records, such as birth, marriage, death, census. Get help from a Family History Consultant to help you add new persons to the tree, attach sources, resolve duplicates, and submit ordinances.
c.      Try again: If you don’t find a match in the first Search Results page immediately, close that browser tab, return to the Puzzilla descendants tree tab and select a different “Target” person. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until previously-unknown family members are discovered in historical records.
d.     Suggestion: Try many searches; don’t get stuck on one person, one family, or one descendants tree. Try a different descendants tree for a different ancestor from the Puzzilla ancestors chart.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Family Genealogy - Poem by Donald Lines Jacobus

The Family Genealogy

Compendium of dullness, in your pages
   Name crowds on name; the humble and the great
Each in few lines receives his equal wages,
   And headstrong passions crumble to a date.
Here are the founders of a mighty nation;
   Here are the pioneers who won the soil,
As generation followed generation,
   With axe and plough and with back-breaking toil.
Here are the women of a hardy people,
   Weakness and doubt yielding to faith held fast;
The pulled-up stakes; eyes lifted to the steeple;
   Farewells to home; the new homes gained at last.
Here are the hints of buried old romances;
   The broken families, and the too young dead;
The autumn frolics and the village dances;
   Roll of recruiting drums, the soldier's tread.
And here are darker things, now long forgotten;
   The unwed mothers; the deserted wives;
Misdeeds of rogues far better unbegotten;
   Heartbreak and self-destruction; ruined lives.
All this and far, far more is in these pages
   If we might clothe with flesh the lifeless names,
Parade the knaves, the saints, the fools, the sages,
   And resurrect their obloquies and fames.
Their names, their dates, are entered in a column,
   The unjust here embalmed beside the just;
And in the pages of this dusty volume
   A second time they moulder into dust.

Donald Lines Jacobus

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

How To Travel The World Vicariously

When my husband and I began our adventure visiting different temples in 2011, we started with a goal of 34 within a year, to celebrate 34 years of marriage. Since that time I have found myself on a very specific journey, learning how to do my own family history research. I became absorbed in the work of indexing marriage, birth and death records which gave me exposure to the variety of ways information was recorded and the spelling variations of a single name. I developed feelings for these people whose faces I had never seen.

Then one day we received a phone call from our youngest son, telling us of a challenge he had been given by a church leader, to find an ancestor and do their work in the temple. He had attempted to search through the family tree with little success, because the tree looked completely filled out. He asked us how he could accomplish this challenge. We dreaded hearing this question, because we had also tried on our own to do research with no success.

My husband, Bill, serves on the High Counsel in our Stake and has had the assignment for many years to assist others with family history work. He felt frustrated in his attempts to do this when he was not having success himself. This question from our son prompted him to ask the Lord how he could help both his son and other people in our area.

Bill's mother was a passionate genealogist when Bill was growing up. She traveled back east to Wellsboro, Tioga, Pennsylvania, where she advertised in the newspaper for contact with descendants of her ancestors. Eventually she made contact with a Judge Charles G Webb and his wife Sally where she was adopted into their home as though she was a daughter. Each summer she traveled there for 2-3 months to gather maps and books, and visit cemeteries to take pictures of tombstones and record the details. She studied the maps to learn where people migrated to with their families as they moved west. As she gathered numerous sources within a single town she began studying all the families within that town. Her research took her beyond her own direct ancestors into the lives of her cousins and their descendants. At home she found 12 foot long pieces of butcher paper and with a yard stick and a sharp pencil she created descent charts of her ancestors.

One day, borrowing a pair of leather boots to protect her from snakes she took a drive into the country. She went looking for a specific cemetery located on land owned by an old farmer. However, she was told not to go there because he would meet her with a shotgun. Her red hair and disposition would not be dissuaded, and armed with one of her decent charts she approached his home. Sure enough, he came out with his shotgun in his hands, in contrast with the descent chart in hers. Needless to say, the descent chart won and they spent the afternoon rummaging through his attic where precious records and family books were found.

Bill grew up hearing his mother share these experiences and watched her meticulously write the details on her descent charts. From these experiences and while searching for a solution for himself and our son, Bill discovered a way to show hundreds of descendants of his ancestors on one page, and puzzilla was born. From the arial view provided by we can clearly see where research was done and where it stopped. As a result we, and many others have known where to start new research and fill in the holes in our family tree with thousands of new cousins.

My journey in the past few years has taken me to many more temples than the few I have mentioned thus far in my blog. I could not possibly accomplish all the work that needs to be done for all these cousins by myself, so I have been sharing their names with the temple for others to do the work. In this way it could be said I am vicariously visiting temples all over the world. Here is a list of some of the temples where work has been done for my ancestors and cousins:

Aba Nigeria
Apia Samoa
Billings Montana
Bogota Colombia
Boise Idaho
Bountiful Utah
Buenos Aires Argentina
Calgary Alberta
Campinas Brazil
Caracas Venezuela
Cebu Philippines
Ciudad Juarez Mexico
Cochabamba Bolivia
Columbus Ohio
Curitiba Brazil
Denver Colorado
Detroit Michigan
Draper Utah
Edmonton Alberta
Gila Valley Arizona
Gilbert Arizona
Halifax Nova Scotia
Hamilton New Zealand
Jordan River Utah
Kansas City Missouri
Laie Hawaii
Logan Utah
Los Angeles California
Louisville Kentucky
Lubbock Texas
Madrid Spain
Manaus Brazil
Manhattan New York
Manila Philippines
Mesa Arizona
Mexico City Mexico 
Mount Timpanogos Utah
Nashville Tennessee
Nauvoo Illinois
Newport Beach California
Nuku/alofa Tonga
Oakland California
Oaxaca Mexico
Portland Oregon
Preston England
Provo Utah
Recife Brazil
Regina Saskatchewan
Redlands California
Reno Nevada
Rexburg Idaho
Salt Lake Utah
San Diego California
San Jose Costa Rica
San Salvador El Salvador
Santiago Chile
Seattle Washington
Snowflake Arizona
Spokane Washington
St George Utah
Tegucigalpa Honduras
Vernal Utah
Villahermosa Mexico
Washington DC

I have become a world traveler....or perhaps I have become an intergalactic traveler....

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Recently, Bill and I left for a short vacation to a favorite nearby lake. We had a few days available in a condo there. But when we arrived, the condo arrangement was rather depressing. It was located in the basement with a view, not of the lake, but of a cement wall. The smells and sights were uninviting and when we discovered there was no internet or phone service we made an immediate decision to leave.

We turned to each other and asked, "Where would you like to go?" I began thinking about a place our oldest daughter and her family visited last year. I suggested it and away we went! Using the miracle of our smart phones we mapped our way to numerous interesting places along the way. We stopped at historical markers and actually read them out loud. It was a fun and spontaneous adventure.

Here is a picture of our final destination. You will recognize the place and most of the faces.

On the way home we experienced some severe storms. I am totally impressed at the pictures my camera took from a moving rain-drenched car.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Snuggle - Poem

Recently, I wrote this poem for one of my granddaughters, who is loving and snuggly and sweet.
S t r e t c h and awakening Lydia treat
  Daughter of My snuggledaughter sweet
       Dripping with stuffed bunnies and animals galore
       Dragged from the bed, bursting basket and floor
  More numerous than arms and laps can hold
  Child wrapped in glorious snuggleicious fold
       Droopy eyes dip into mountain of fluff
       Tussled hair covered in soft pixie dust
  Just one moment more in cushion retreat
  Billows of stuffed pillows and snugglelydia sweet

                                                            Janice Harten, 4/20/2014
                                                            Copyright © 2014 Janice Harten.  All rights reserved.