FamilySearch Wiki talk:WikiProject Utah Experimental CountyEdit This Page

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Revision as of 21:29, 28 July 2012 by ElizabethSnow (Talk | contribs)

Link of convenience to Project Page
Please make comments about anything and everything:

  • Color, content, ideas, suggestions.
  • What works for beginners, for experts?
  • What should be added, left out?

Please enter your comments under sections below. Be sure to sign by entering 4 tildes ~~~~. Thank you.AdkinsWH 18:51, 17 January 2012 (UTC)


General comments

Wilma, the construction in the Sandbox is WONDERFUL,  so colorful, and such immediate feed back. I would stay on the Utah Project just because it is immediate success.  Fabulious construction.  Thank you for all of your hard work!!! Wyzer17 15:34, 28 December 2011 (UTC)

Way to experiment! I love looking at new ways to do things. Two comments: 1)I think the page is really long and when it has more data in it it will get even longer. Is there a way to break it up into a series of pages rather than one really long page? Just a thought. 2) I would love to see some step-by-step guidance for finding births, marriage, death, etc.loosledc 19:29, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Wilma, one source that has not been addressed in Utah is the Delayed Birth Certificates made by the LDS Historians office. I can not find one piece of information on how to locate them. The ones I have in my possession have all been passed down through our family. Do you know anything about this resource?Liz Snow 21:29, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Table at top


  • What about the yellow as the middle color. To me yellow says "light bulb" with works with "ideas". Also wondering about a tan or something for the third color. Don't know what the meanings of colors are. Love the green as the first color. Like you said, Joy, green means "go." AdkinsWH 21:13, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Interesting experiment. I like the idea of the table.
    • You may want to share the idea of the table with an instructional designer and see what they might add.
    • Not sure what the colors mean.
    • The census years listed are a bit misleading. It gives the impression for those who are less familiar with census records that there is a census for every year from 1856-present. Is there another way to do this such as "Beginning 1856" or "Earliest 1856"? loosledc 19:25, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I love that you have directed them to other counties what Beaver residents may be from. loosledc 19:31, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Implemented Suggestions:

  • Wilma and others who visit this page.  I have changed the colord on the first table, but feel they are not as inviting as more vibrant colors.  Would love you input.  Thank you! joy 20:51, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
    Thanks, Joy. I'll take a lookAdkinsWH 21:09, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Wilma ...  I fixed your spacing at the top of the TOC box where it is level with your Infobox  Jane evancol 21:19, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Add a panoramic picture at the top, not just a stark table. Contributor's meeting 17 Jan and admin meeting 18 Jan
Job added a panormic view. WOW! Talk about more interesting! AdkinsWH 18:42, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Style guide


  • I think the page is really long and when it has more data in it it will get even longer. Is there a way to break it up into a series of pages rather than one really long page? Just a thought. loosledc 19:29, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
    • While I agree it is really long the TOC should negate most of that if done correctly. Klaw 13:54, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
    • Long lists of items:
    • columns
    • link to a separate page
    • Short list with a More link
  • Color, icons
    • What about using a light bulb and the color yellow on the pages for suggestions, not just words.AdkinsWH 18:53, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Implemented Suggestions:

  • Use Bullets for each item listed under a topic or heading.
    • Exception: blurb that explains more about the heading should be on the margin
  • Use SHORT paragraphs. Computer screen space is limited, people bypass paragraphs longer than 1 or 2 lines
  • Using "templates" for repeated content in counties.
    • FHL and Allen County Public Library blurb

 Find and use records section

(Was located above Resources on the table of contents)


  • Move this below resources. The term "Find records" should work for beginners and not interfere with experts. (Comments from meeting17 Jan, 2012)

Implemented on the Experimental page:

  • Moved the section down. Moved what was under "repositories" to this section. Created a separate section called "Guides to using records".AdkinsWH 19:24, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Genealogical topics

The topics listed below are targeted for the Utah Wiki Project. Treat it as a "parking lot" for ideas or sources we don't want to forget when we are ready to work on that topic.


Church Records


May I suggest we adopt a Utah version of Template:PAChurch1 for use in our church records section.  In addtion to what PAChurch1 presents, I would add a link to PERSI.

JanaStokes 20:08, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Court Records

Land and Property


Back to obits area of experimental page.

Discussed in 4 Apr 2012 and 11 Apr 2012 meetings.

  • Must treat with Newspapers as well. Has this been done adequately?

Questions: if include, where:

(MJM) write a few inviting phrases to link to the state page for that topic and rotate them on the county pages so they aren't reduntant.

Not sure everyone reads state page -- miss information.

When we come to a record type: how to use the resource, and list of resources. Statement: to effectively use these resources and link to that place Consistent from county to county. Tip to that county is when we use the tip icon. (Jana)

Or give a juicy tip, and then direct them to the tips area for that topic.

A design committee meets every Fri morn. Now no overall structure, but being organized to help direct users more easily. It will become more evident. Wiki easier, more transparant (James)

  • Review what is at state, US levels. Do we need to add, embelish? Include major online resources (for recent and historical obits).
  • Usually written from information given by family. State page (tip)
  • info may be inaccurate (family biases?)  State page (tip)
  • written by funeral directors or newspapers editors who write from information given by the family (state or tip)
  • mention of war service, accomplishments; education; religion; names of surviving family, sometimes those who died before. (teaching and explaining area (state or US)
  • Popular since around 1870's. (teaching and explaining area (state or US)
  • Published in newspapers (at a cost), sometimes kept by funeral homes (helpful if not in a newspaper) (JS: my grandfather and great-grandfather being  newspaper editors would say most people couldn't write so well so a favorable obit was written by newspaper editor from his interviews with the family;
  • Substitutes: Funeral home programs.

After the project is done, put in watchcare of moderator and assistants.

On the pages, give new people a way, a place to add it without stepping on another contributor's toes. Especially when we don't understand or want to correct another person's writing. (Jana)

(James) supposed to relinquish ownership, coherent is a function of talk pages. If no one responds within a reasonable time, go ahead.  Utah project revisited in X year(s)

Links broken, items put in "wrong" pages (MJM)
Instructions on discussion page: annotate the Wiki: there is a separate CW page, please use that.

The further east, the more needed it is.

Probate Records

When I linked to the Beaver [Beaver being a sample county] county clerk contact and information page I realized that if I was relatively new to genealogy, I would find that page confusing as it says the things it can help you with but has no mention that they hold probate records from 1872 on.

I wondered if when the probate records section becomes a task, in addition to ascertaining the county clerk contact website, if we shouldn't also be sending an email to the respective county clerk alerting him that the FS wiki is linking to the page and why we are doing it. Then at the same time might we include what we think are that offices probate holdings and ask for verification/additions.

Regardless as to whether we do that, when we cite the county clerks probate holdings, we will also need a citation to the Handy Book for Genealogists for that source will have been used to develop content for the email. (Although the email itself and it's reply would become the main citation.) All this makes me question whether even if we have a citation for each county clerks probate listings, are we not using too much of the The Handy Book for Genealogists content?  Maybe not if just Utah? What if pattern is adapted by other states?

Lastly, is there another reference besides The Handy Book for Genealogists that would list what the probate holdings are of each county clerk?

JanaStokes 17:35, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes, there is Eicholz, Alice RedBook by AncestryAdkinsWH 21:48, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

Based on  the ideas from last Friday's mtg I redid the probate records section. Now the probate record types link to a Probate Records of x county page (which is actally in my sandbox). The "sample" page in my sandbox actually has records from a variety of counties, rather than just Beaver. This was just for data illustrative purposes. Also put in a blurb abt the "scope" of the "stub" page. Articles or resources that lack information about their scope drive me nuts. When a page goes beyond a stub, then perhaps the "scope" notes belong on the talk page; but is there any reason why the initial scope can't be stated on the stub x county Probate record page?

JanaStokes 20:17, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Resource Repositories


Link to Libraries on Experimental County page

Summary of decisions to this point in the conversation

  • Bullets used with text of "four" or less items
  • Headings used for "five" or more items with only pertinent explanations Note: this decision may not be in graniteAdkinsWH 05:03, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
  • No extra lines between bullets will be used - keep text together

Discussions were in the following meetings:

Suggestions from Feb 1 community meeting
Put a link to these under the state page

  • WorldCat. Locate books near your zip code (About) Unless there is a good explanation, people can't really use it easily
  • FHL Utah, BeaverFamilySearch Library, Salt Lake City, UT (About)
  • Allen County Public Library, Ft. Wayne, IN (About)
  • U, Special collections, BYU, Utah State, DUP (in each county), SUP, Church History Library, State Archives, State Historical Society

Feb 22 meeting:

Feb 29 meeting:

Mar 7 meeting:

Don't forget:

  • Interlibrary loan

Yet to be addressed:

  • List only libraries that have collections - or list others as well
  • Link to Utah Archives and Libraries page from each county
  • Format for gathering information - not yet decided
  • Pictures of Libraries would be helpful

Vital Records

Birth topic on Experimental County page

One of our challenges is to keep this area loaded with the ideas that have come, but organized enough that even small ideas are not lost.

Summary of decisions

  • Each section needs a blurb

Questions to consider


Before 1847

White settlers did not arrive in the area now known as Utah until July, 1847. If your records indicate the person was born in Utah before 1847, find a record that gives a more accurate birth place.
  • Page to write: How to get birth information when civil birth records don't exist. Include comprehensive discussion of levels and county vs state...why should get both...where orig located in x time period, before moved to present location, etc...history of county record keeping [for this we can include that in the timeline history for each county, and have something quite general on this suggested page.)
  • In the Wiki contributors mtg Tues 17 Apr (Wilma gone) they presented the NY project as being done well as refered us to town page for an example..but I switch to county (Dutchess)....I thought they had some really good structure thoughts for the vital records section that we may want to consider. One thing they didn't do, that I would have done was make the vital records section a separate page. Take a look at it.

Stuff previously on the exper co page

It was moved here 5/9/12

Timeline w/suggestions (substitute records) One visual look (overview) w/o scrolling Table for this.

Date column, source location, source, suggestion column let them know what level we are taking them to: outside or elsewhere on our county page

  • (To do: should people get bmd's from the county clerk or the state after 1905?)
  • From 8 Feb meeting: Listing gaps, etc. in records

What do we need to keep from the following that were on the exper co page? The concepts and wonderments, for sure. What do we put in the summary of decisions?

  • [Pre-1799] xcounty not yet created. See Moonshine county, Utah or the Utah Territorial Vital records substitute page.
  • [1800-1852] No law in effect requiring government to keep records. Substitute records:Church.
  • [1852-1909] Legislation required keeping bith records for some years. Compliance spotty.
    • [1852-1867] Honest Abe's book Marriage LIc and Bonds in county courthouse.
    • [1868] None extant. Substitute records: Church. Cemetery
    • [1869-1891] See such and such county level collection and/or state level collection. or Substitute: Cemetery. 1900 Fed cen.
  • [1892-1941] Utah, Births and Christenings, 1892-1941.
  • [1941-present] Avail at Vital Stat Office. Restrictions apply (direct descend). Substitue: SSDI.
  • For a thorough discussion, including more obscure collections and unique record content tips see x County, Utah Vital Records -Birth page.

Okay, so I did the template brainstorm above based on use in more "eastern" states. Given that Utah didn't become a state until 1896. Much of this won't apply...Is it possible to devolope a template that is easily a adaptible or for which parts can be commented out...  It would seem to me that the substutute records part of the template would be consistent for time periods. And it would be nice not to have rethink which records are substitutes for a given time periord along with their links.

I would also suggest that only one (possiblly two if the best isn't on-line and we want to try to have an easily accessable ref) collections/books by each date range. The source chosen should be best in terms of solving the most of the patrons questions. If there are additional or alternative sources, they would overflow to x county, Utah Vital Records - Birth page.

JanaStokes 17:06, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Summaries of minutes

What needs to move up to summary of decisions?

  • Date or timeline concept giving suggestions based on birth years. Liked by everyone
  • Table concept OK'd. Jana and Liz will play with the columns and headings
  • The purposes of each VR section were discussed
    • 1) Our first purpose: help them get a birth date/place, even when the best records (i.e. certificates) did not exist.
    • 2) If they can't find it from the major sources, what do they do.
    • 3) Then help them get other records that may provide more clues. (How do we move them toward other skills?)
    • 4) Then help them know how to deal with clues. Not part of Utah project to write, but to Link only Analyze, see clues, etc. US and Utah VR pages have separate pages on how to use birth, death, marriage.
  • Create a page (or add to the state page) a link to alternative resources and be sure they are well explained in that area. Exceptions that affect a county should be explained within that county. That breakout page is a good place to explain anomalies about collections.
    • Refer to NY VR pages for examples to employ or modify
    • Add a link from Historical Records pages to Utah VR page.
  • We need a footnoting task description. Marilyn has much on this already and will email to Liz, Jana, Wilma.
  • Must-haves on the section:
    • Dates for each county: top of page, but also needed here. Intro statement: County formed in 1856, records start in 1892. (Added after meeting: but keep up their hope of finding something anyway)
    • Also need to tell where originals are. Detailed stuff needs to go at bottom of the table. Or in introductory paragraph before. Can even include the history of where the records are and were.
    • 1905 statewide system began. Counties vary. in compliance for each county. At county level is most valuable.
5/16/12 notes and meeting

Summary of minutes (and of thoughts by Jana)

  • Universally liked the timeline breakdown. One person said privately that Jana should be so pleased. She has presented this in a way that people will understand immediately.
  • From last meeting:
    • "Don't be too repetitive"
    • "send people to the state page where many alternatives could be taught"

Purpose of chart (Jana's notes from Talk:Pulaski County, Kentucky)

  • The idea behind the table is to solve a problem for the beginning/intermediate skill level patron quickly and precisely.
  • It is not to be reflective of all resources, nor is it intended to train the patron in every concievable record alternative.
  • It is also designed to be very county specific and flexible
  • Although the alternatives will often be the same, the order of recommendation will vary depending on the time frame, ethnicity and religious affiliation of the majority of county residents;
  • And whether the record type being linked to on the county page has any "problem solving content" in it.
  • The order of alternatives and/or recommended collections will have the potential for updating as more collections are digitalized and content written.
  • Table is too long to fit in average open browser.....reduce alternatives length?.... ie: take out church rec link in 1800-1852 section since it such a lame resource for this county---suppose some may think writter is lame not to even have church rec listed---but I think we have to go with what is most helpful for THIS county; not what would be most helpful statistically speaking for a state or national page on alternatives
  • She gives more thoughts below the table for specific date ranges.

5/16 meeting summary

  • Chart can be uniquely adapted to each county.
  • Most of chart should be specific to the county, then refer to state/alternative sources
    • Kept the "Alternative/Also Try Resoures" links SPECIFIC TO THE COUNTY (something I failed to point out to the group).
    • The idea was if no vital rec then to send them to that county's church rec section—not to a State page where:
      • After reading about all the alternatives (including some state-wide sources link which they would tend to click on and go off and search)
      • They would have to remember to come back to the county page to pick up county specific church resources not mentioned on the state page.
    • Birth info could be in any type of record -- and a very long list
    • Which alternative record is most effective at getting me the birth date?
  • Don't make the table too long
    • What do we do when there are several "gap" dates? That in itself makes the table longer. But also more valuable to the user.
    • Don't overwhelm with too many resources listed
    • Point to a state page that can give a long list of alternatives
    • Where do we draw the line on alternative sources? On the state page, on the county page?
    • And when do we link to that page with sources that offer hope and supplemental info?
  • "When [birth] records don't exist" area -- at the top or bottom of the chart
    • Preferrably linkable from within the chart
  • Pat is cleaning up the state VR page. Please don't work on it until she has finished.

Comments from Jana's email, 5/15

I know it looks like I did zippo, but actually I gave it some serious thought and ended up doing several things.

First, realized I needed to play with some data I was familiar with so I transferred one of my "play" table to,_Kentucky

Do me a favor and read through that page after reading the rest of this epistle..

My original intention was to come back to the experimental page, do some homework in the way of Utah county content and apply it--though I never got to that step

In the last meeting, people suggested two things: "do we really want to repeat resources" and "perhaps we should send people to the state page where many alternatives could be taught"

At first I thought I could avoid repetition by just coding a "rowspan" command in the "Also try" category, but it turns out that when you have to jump between extant and non extant resources the "Also try" category suggestion changes back and forth--negating the use of the "rowspan" command.

I also realized that when I designed the county table I kept the "Alternative/Also Try Resoures" links SPECIFIC TO THE COUNTY (something I failed to point out to the group). The idea was if no vital rec then to send them to x county church rec section of the county page -----not to a State page where after reading about all the alternatives (including some state-wide sources link which they would tend to click on and go off and search) they would have to remember to come back to the county page to pick up county specific church resources not mentioned on the state page.

One of the table's strengths was it's UNIQUE presentation for that COUNTY. Even the order of "Also trys" would eventually reflect a deep understanding of the county. (see notes under Pulaski table for why choices were made to illustrate this)

The biggest grief the table gave me was that it ended up too long, and certainly was too long for a county page. This is because of so many "non extant" year breaks. Utah probably doesn't have so many "non extant" breaks, so maybe it could still work.

I thought about combining years---not showing ALL the non extant years; but realized idea was not acceptable---showing the non extant years is what made the table priceless in terms of efficiency. For example often Ancestry and Historical Records will entitle their collection "1800-1900", when really there is no coverage for year 1880, 1891, etc and so you are flat out WASTING your time searching those collections for 1880 birth---especially considering all the name variations/transcription errors one has to adjust for and search for in attempting to find an individual.

So, in the end, I ended up a baffled, confused, zapped soul---in great need of some chocolate ;) .....leaning towards the table belonging on a separate birth records county page because of it's length and having no decent ideas on what to put regarding births on the county page.


  • Western States mg index


  • I would love to see some step-by-step guidance for finding births, marriage, death, etc.loosledc 19:29, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Wilma and Pictures

Please send the pictures.  I have time to put them up.

Thank you!

joyjoy 18:17, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Offer to help create a template

Hi, I see that you have made great progress with this project to include a summary of county records in a table at the top of county pages. Would you like some assistance in converting your table into a template with parameters that can be used to insert the specific information for each county? If so just let me know. --Steve (talk| contribs) 23:26, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Wilma replied to my offer on my talk page (see User talk:Cottrells#Table_in_Utah_Experimental_County). As a result of the positive response I have created a new template {{US County records}} based on the code used in the article. Having created the template I have now swapped out the code and put in the template with the parameters that have been used for this example. The only difference a person will see is that table now refers to "WikiProject Utah Experimental County residents" as that part of the template uses the page name to create that line of text. When the template is used on a real page the text will make more sense. I used the same anchor link words in the template as were used in the table, but I notice that some do not work, for example there is no section called "Land" rather there is one called "Land and Property". Also there is no "Probate" section - the section being named "Probate Records". I also note that the "Birth", "Marriage" and "Death" sections are formatted in white text with additional coloured boxes with the same titles displayed underneath! Is this really necessary? --Steve (talk|

contribs) 18:20, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

We are using this page to experiment with anything and everything, including whiting out the words to a link and trying a colored bar instead. At this point, we are unlikely to ever implement this experiment. Thanks for noticing and for creating that great template. AdkinsWH 21:25, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Context ideas

23 Feb w/Beth Longley

Restate when birth records start, and where originals are housed

Where people can get them including microfilm, internet, archive

When state starts and how to get those

Do they have the same info (state or county), is one better, cheaper, how does county allow access?


Type of information b records have

  • Name of child usually (some not yet named at time records was created
  • DOB, POB usually
  • Fathers name frequently (In some cases may be blank when father not known or not reported)
  • Father's age sometimes, occupation sometimes, bp seldom
  • Mothers given name usually
  • Mother's age sometimes, # of previous births (sometimes)
  • Mother's BP seldom
  • Maiden name frequently . In earlier records (years?) may be less often
  • Date of registration (is there a clue in that?)
  • Informant frequently (relationship?)
  • Clerk usually
  • Dr or midwife usually

Types of birth records

  • Midwife, MD, hospital, other

Rather than a long list of all these, use a More link

Make it visually appealing

Icons ready to review

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png
Tip New.jpg

Tip Tip1.jpg

Light Bulb.png
This is the remember light bulb - remember to do the following:

Llave bronce.jpg
This is the key to unlocking all researching tips you would ever want to know.

Notepad icon.svg.png
For digital newspapers, the quality of the image affects the accuracy of your searches. Early issues may be low quality. Suggestion: look at a microfilmed copy of the newspaper. Better yet, find an original if at all possible.

Nuvola apps kwrite.png

Take notes

Colored pencils.jpg

Caution Sign.svg.png

For digital newspapers, the quality of the image affects the accuracy of your searches. Early issues may be low quality. Suggestion: look at a microfilmed copy of the newspaper. Better yet, find an     original if at all possible.

Clouds - possible icon for online resources

Cumulus clouds in fair weather.jpeg
"online icon"

Comment on Newspapers

I suggest we link to pages about each category of repository. For example, we should have a U.S. Page about the Library of Congress' s Chronicling America project including how to use the newspaper section. The information about how to use the Newspapers could be on that page Library of Congress

On Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 11:44 AM, Jana Stokes <> wrote:

So this conceptual way of organizing/heading-things could be applied to probate records, newspapers, vital records, etc. The goal is to make headings that are "problem solvers" for people with heading one being the first choice of solving the majority of patrons needs.

Heading One: Fully searchable newspaper resources

These will almost always be online. In fact the only exception I can think of would be OCR searchable PDF file within library or society that while on a CD or the libraries "intranet" is NOT made available to the public on the cloud. Fully searchable are powerful (usually online, yippie!) problem solvers, often they are the larger collections thereby a patron would stand a higher probability of finding what they need right from the get go since more records will be searched with a single click. Would include things like a google book (if the book was OCR searchable) of Beaver county newspaper abstracts.

Heading Two: Indexed and abstract newspaper resources

These may or may not be on-line. USGenWeb might have an on-line index. (clearly not as potentially problem solving as fully searchable which would pick a name in an obit even if it was listed as parent or child whereas the on-line index would only pick up the dead person). But this heading would pick up more traditional books (including google non-OCR books) or catalogs (Early Church Info File?) --again these may or may not be on-line; but the key is that they are secondary problem solvers.

Heading Three: Originals and/or digital (nonsearchable and/or un-indexed or "not-yet-indexed") and/or microfilms

These stand the least probability of being on line (ie: microfilms) but if they are digitalized but not indexed they should be listed as resources. And this heading is needed because even if a record is identified in a Heading One source or Heading Two Source the researcher may need to know more about how to tract down an image. (Esp significant for just a name index.)

Heading names/titles obviously would need tweaking but I think now you can see the idea and why trying to separate things into online and non-online was driving me nuts---it didn't really help me solve a problem and there are too many things that are half on-line/have not (ie: Chronicalling America -some just catalog ref ..not digital...others digital) or in the gray area.

A while back you made a comment along the lines of "prime real estate". Heading one is prime real-estate - this category should solve as many problems as possible and quickly before we loose the readers attention and before we ask the reader to enter the beginning world of research in heading two.