Sunday, June 30, 2013've come a long way, baby!!

      Internet genealogy was just starting to take hold in 1998. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided in Aug.1998 to jump on the bandwagon. The website was rolled out in May 1999 after only about 6 months on the drawing board. That was an amazing feat to get such a huge site up and going so quickly. The activity was so great the first day, that the system crashed! For the first few weeks a user was limited to website access for about 20 minutes at a time. They were then automatically disconnected so others could get onto the website. 
     This is a pretty poor image of the first website. I didn't realize I would have such a hard time finding images. Darn!

     The first version that was released in 1999 had Ancestral File and the International Genealogical Index (IGI). It was a very exciting time to be able to do research from a computer connected to the Internet. By Oct. 1999 the website had over 1.5 billion hits. In Nov. 1999, 240 million names were added to the databases, bringing the total number of names on the website to 640 million.
    The next version came out in 2001. The "cover" had a new look and a few new features were added but the insides were basically the same.I am not sure which version added the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC).  It was a great help to have the updated catalog available online. How could the website get any better?
     People grumbled because it had changed and they liked the old site better. After we all adjusted to the new look and could find our way around we could see that it was an improvement.
     There have been a couple more updates to the site and each time there are lots of grumbles and the previous site was so much better--remember--this was the site that was so awful when it was released?
Here's an image of one version. Not quite sure which year this came out.

      When I teach classes I tell the class that a new website is like when you get a new car or a new cell phone--the old one is always better until you get used to where the windshield wiper button is in the new car or where the contacts list is located on your new phone. Once you become familiar with the new gadget it now becomes your favorite!
     Here is what it looked like in 2010 when the website again was given a facelift.

    The amazing thing that happened to the website at this time--digitized images of original records were now being put up on the website.
     In 1938 the Genealogical Society of Utah started using microfilm to make copies of original records found in archives around the world. A huge microfilm vault was finished in 1965 in the granite mountains east of Salt Lake City. The conditions were ideal for storing these irreplaceable records. Here is a link to a short video about the granite vault. There are about 2.5 million rolls of microfilm stored in the vault. In June of 1966, I went on a tour of the vault and was amazed at what I saw. I never knew then how important those rolls would become in my life. Tours have not been given for many years. What an incredible experience I had and little did I know I would be one of a relatively few number who were allowed inside.
     In about 2000 it became evident that the microfilms were deteriorating and would never last as long as predicted. These rolls of microfilm were supposed to last at least 100+ years. It was about this same time when digitized images became the norm. It was decided that the rolls of microfilm would all be digitized. It was a monumental project that they figured would take about 100 years!!!!!!!!!!!!  Within just a short time, new equipment was invented that made the task must easier. They are now predicting that they will be done digitizing in the next 4-5 years!!!!!!! Not all the 2.5 million rolls of film will be digitized because many of the record custodians have not given permission for that to happen but the vast majority of the films will be digitized.
    There is no doubt in my mind that Heavenly Father had a hand in the development of the new equipment that changes a roll of film into digitized images in minutes!! This work is so important and divine intervention was needed for the work to reach new heights.
     There are more than 20 "crews" working all over the world, copying records directly into digitized images that are put up on the website within days of being copied. Over 1 million records per day are being published. It is an absolute miracle how it happens!!
         We have been told almost since we got here in August that the website was going to change. A few times they would even give us a date and then at the last minute they would not go forward because of a problem that was found.
     On Monday, 15 April 2013 we had our weekly devotional and the speaker was one of the people responsible for the new website. He gave us a live presentation of some of the features that were going to be in the new version. It really looked exciting and really new. He even dared announce that
the new website would be rolled out the next morning. Because the zone Len and I work in is the support group for the website, we were very interested in whether it really would happen. It would mean a bizillion calls would be received about the new site and "what happened to the old site? I liked it so much better and why did you have to change it?" It would be nice if we knew just a little in advance!
     On Tuesday, 16 April 2013 by 10am the new site was rolled out. Those in charge had been working feverishly for weeks getting it ready to launch and had been up most of the night with "It's a go" and "It's a no go"--off and on. At 8am, we still did not know if it was happening or not.
    Here is it's new look. We had no idea just how different it was going to be. We were as surprised and lost as everyone else!

     On the new site you can add photos and stories; use the new, awesome Family Tree! You can still search for records, look at the FHL catalog,find articles on the wiki and watch a free online course. I will be posting a few articles about the new and improved website. Take a look and see for yourself at

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Garden of Eden!

     Temple Square is comprised of the LDS Temple, the famous Tabernacle(home of the Tabernacle Choir), the Assembly Hall and the North and South Visitor's Centers. There are 10 acres in this area.
     Just east of Temple Square is a giant plaza. It was once part of Main Street but the LDS Church bought the section from the city, took out the street and turned it into a giant pedestrian area with a BEAUTIFUL reflecting pond, walkways, a patio and gardens. The Joseph Smith Memorial Building (JSMB) has two entrances onto the plaza. Just to the east of the plaza are more gardens, the Church Office Building, a huge fountain, the old Administration building, a huge formal garden, the Beehive house and Lion House. This whole area is another 10 acres.
    The two sections are affectionately known as "Temple Square campus". Many people think that the young sister missionaries who give tours on Temple Square are part of our mission. They are not--they have their own mission.
     The gardens, on the campus, are world famous. They have the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen. When we were on our last mission I was amazed at how beautiful the flowers were from early, early spring until the snow feel and covered up the beautiful pansies that are planted in the fall to be ready for spring. I also learned how I could not be anything but happy as I walked all over and saw the most incredible flowers.
     This spring the flowers were more beautiful than anything I could imagine! There are many people who said this was the prettiest spring in many years. Tulips are my favorite flower and there were 40,000 of them. It was like a fairy garden. Underneath Temple Square Campus there are tunnels and parking garages which help keep the soil warmer than normal ground. The flower beds are all planted and prepared in the fall to be ready as soon as the snow melts.
     The first flowers that appear are the daffodils and the crocus. The pansies are already up and going, just recovering from being covered with snow all winter. The trees bloom early and they are magnificent!
     The following pictures were taken all over "campus". I will post the pictures with no explanation. Remember--they planted 40,000 tulips last fall. That is just one of the MANY flowers.Enjoy the view!
To make the picture bigger just click on it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Four Weeks, Three Times

     I have had several of the missionaries ask me for help in doing their research and in helping them to find their family. Most of those who are called on this mission have never done family history or genealogy and they have no idea how to begin.
     It is true that the first two weeks we are here we have one-on-one training but to tell you the truth--it is not enough, especially for someone who is just getting started, who has little or no experience with using a computer and who is in a new and stressful environment.They have had very little time to get settled into an apartment, buy needed groceries and just absorb what is going on! I really admire the single sisters who come out because they don't have a spouse to help with everything--it is all up to them and it really can take a toll on what they retain those first two weeks.
     Probably about 20% of the missionaries are in an area that has nothing to do with family history and they get none of the one-on-one training. The name of the mission is the Family and Church History Headquarters Mission. The Headquarters can be taken two ways--that it is the Headquarters for Family and Church History, which it is but it really means that it includes the Headquarters for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Those missionaries who are assigned to work in the Church Office Building and work in places like Military Relations; Water & Natural Resources; Real Estate; Temple Construction; Translation Dept.; Mission Dept. to name a few places. These areas used to be in a separate mission but when we were here in 2007, they combined the two into one. They know when they receive their mission call what area they will be working in and they go to the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo for two weeks before beginning their service in Salt Lake. When these Headquarters missionaries return to their home wards, everyone assumes that they have spent their mission doing family history and genealogy and they are immediately called to be the director of the local Family History Center or they are called to be a consultant and they are to teach and help others with their family history and genealogy. I talked to one missionary who didn't know what the Family History Library was, what it was for and where it was! These missionaries become very concerned about returning home and not knowing anything about family history and genealogy.
In March, I met with one of the counselors in the mission presidency and asked him if it would be ok to teach a basic class on getting started and using the website. I was really interested in being able to use one of the computer labs on Tuesday evening. The idea was to teach a few things for 45 minutes and then let them practice for 45 minutes. He thought that was a wonderful idea and wanted to be one of the first "students". He checked and was able to secure the training lab that has 15 computers for Tuesday evenings. I contacted the people I had been helping and had a great class of guinea pigs. The 4 weeks went well although I ended up teaching most of the time and they didn't get to practice like I wanted but I made pretty detailed handouts and they all said they could take them home and practice there. They asked for more information instead of the practice time.
     I decided to teach another 4 week session and we opened it up to the entire mission. I had decided that I would not even have them use the computers each week and just make sure that the handouts were detailed enough that they could use those. I was hoping for about 25 people to sign up. We sent email invites out to all the missionaries and I ended up having 90 people sign up. That was way more than one classroom could comfortably hold, so I split the class and taught about 45 in May and I am teaching another session in June. The May group went well and I totally revamped the handouts and made them much more detailed. I should now be good to go for the June classes.
     It has been a really fun experience and I sure have learned a lot. They say the teacher always learns more than the students and that is so true.
     The website had a complete face lift on 16 April and it has been fun teaching all about the new website. I have heard lots of grumbling and complaining about it and it really did catch us all off guard when the change took place but I can see some wonderful things happening with the website.
If you have never seen or if it has been awhile since you visited the website, take a little trip over there and see what I mean. Enjoy!!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Update on our grandchildren

This will be the one and only update on our grandchildren. Since I finally posted, two months after the fact, about Søren being born, I decided I better give an update on what they all look like.
It is hard to believe they are getting as big as they are.

Here is Mr. Drew at Easter and then at 6 months. Can they really be 6 months already?

 Here is Miss Harper at Easter and then at 6 months.

Here is Søren at 2 months.

And we can't forget Malena.  She will be 8 years old the day after we are released. I can't believe she is growing up so fast.

Thanks for humoring me for one post. Just couldn't resist this one time.
We are grateful for the wonderful blessing of grandchildren.
They truly are a joy in our lives!!!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The score is tied!

     When we left on our mission the first of August 2012, we knew that while we were serving, there would be THREE grandbabies born. It was a well known fact that our oldest daughter, Stephanie and husband, Darrell, were expecting twins around Thanksgiving. We even knew they were one of each flavor. What was not known by anyone, other than close family, was that our youngest daughter, Emily and husband, Jake were also expecting but not until the end of March. That was a hard one to keep quiet!
     Emily and Jake had decided to nickname their baby and not reveal the real name until after the baby was born. I am not quite sure where the nicknames came from but if the baby was a girl she would be called "Birdie" and if it was a boy, he would be called "Buzz". I was thirteen months old when my younger brother was born. His name was Michael or Mike but that was too hard for me to pronounce. The best I could do was say "Brother" but it came out as "Buzzer". Then as I got a little older, he became "Buzzy" and then "Buzz".  By the time we were in Junior High, he was insisting that we call him Mike. It took a long time to make the change to Mike, so the nickname "Buzz" is a happy memory.
     The end of October they found out they were having a BOY!! We were even there when they revealed the baby's gender. Yes, we were in Salt Lake City, Utah and they were in Bellevue, Washington. We did it all over Skype. Emily, Jake, Harold and Megan (Jake's parents) were gathered in their apartment around the dining room table with a white frosted cake on a cute cake plate while Len and I were gathered around our dining room table and our computer. After much fanfare and excitement, the cake was cut, revealing a bright blue interior. It was official--"Buzz" was on the way. The due date was 27 March--Emily's birthday. Here is a link to Emily's blog post about the event.
     The score was going to be tied for Ingermanson grandchildren with 2 girls and 2 boys. Now, to wait for this sweet baby boy to join our family! It is probably a good thing I was busy with missionary stuff because I was really excited.
     We got permission to go to Bellevue when "Buzz" was born. Since our time was limited we decided not to leave until after he was born. That way, I could help as much as possible when it really counted. I am not sure I was much help but it sure was fun.
     On March 21, sweet baby boy, Hawken, decided to complicate things by putting his mom through hours and hours of labor and then figured he was too comfortable where he was and would not budge. Emily ended up having a C-section. Thankfully all went well with mother and baby. We spent a delightful week with this cute new family.
    Introducing. . .Søren Frederick Hawken   7 lbs. 11 ozs.     20 inches long

Saturday, January 12, 2013

It's a Small World After All!!!


     My great, great grandparents were Ole Olsen and Maria Eriksdotter and they were from Norway. They were tenant farmers on a farm named Petterborg. The Petterborg farm was owned or at least run by the Lutheran Church. The Olsen’s were given a part of the farm to live on and where they could raise crops and animals to sustain their family. They had 9 children, two died as infants. The majority of their time and energy was working the big property for the owner. They also gave quite a hefty percentage of what they raised for their family to the owner. Life was hard and NOT easy. Much like the rest of the world at that time.
     In 1866 much of the family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church). When the Lutheran Church minister, who was the overseer of the farm, found out that Ole and Maria’s family had joined the LDS church, he took the farm away from them. Sometime, while they were living on the farm, they took the name of Petterborg as their surname because when they joined the church they were known as Ole Olsen Petterborg and Maria Petterborg. Some of their children took the Petterborg name and some didn’t. The family moved to Oslo where they worked and saved their money so they could move to America and specifically, Idaho where Ole had a ½ brother—David Jensen. Ole, Maria, Emil (my great grandfather) and youngest daughter, Beate, came to America in 1872. Of their 7 living children all but one eventually immigrated to America.My maiden name is Petterborg.
   Fast forward—In 2010 I started a blog called “From Olsen to Petterborg” where I have been trying to tell the story of Ole and Marie and their children and what happened to them and share as much about them as possible for those of us today to read and share and learn. I have not been very good about posting for the last year but the blog is still out there. A few of the posts on the blog show pictures of the Petterborg farm as it looked about 15 years ago when a second cousin (or something like that) went to Norway and took some pictures of the farm as it was then. I went to Google Earth and found it today. I posted many of the Google Earth pictures. It really has not changed very much in years and years. The landscape is beautiful and I would love to visit.Click on the blog name above to see pictures and read those posts.
     On Tuesday of this week I opened my email and there was the most exciting message. A man, living in Norway, was surfing the Internet and stumbled onto the blog. His name is Hege Johansen and he wrote to tell me that he lives on the Petterborg farm today. He bought the farm from his father, who got it from his father, who got it from his father!!!!!!!! I asked him to tell me when his great grandfather lived on the farm. I might be able to close the gap from 1866 forward. They have farm books in Norway that list the history of the farms and who has lived on them. I am not sure how late they go but I can give it a try. Hege sent me pictures of the farm from 4-5 years ago taken from a plane. He said that he is going to takes some pictures with is camera and send them to me.
     His grammar and spelling is charming. He English is great. I wish I could use Norwegian 1/0000th as well as he uses English. I am ecstatic that he wrote and at the possibilities because of the Internet. What a small world we live in!
    I am not posting his pictures of the farm until I ask him for permission. As soon as he says it’s ok I will post them.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!!!!

 Salt Lake has been experiencing a drought for the last several years, just like much of the country. If you have never been here, Salt Lake City is in the high desert. There are mountains all around can help and hinder the climate. The Rocky Mountain to the east and northeast of the state block frigid air from coming into the valley and so the temps are milder than you would think for an area that is at 4300 ft and also so far north. Really cold air that does reach the area comes from the north and western Canada. Temperatures seldom get below 0 °F.
    Temperature inversions sometimes move into the area and create a real mess. An inversion is when cool air, moisture, and pollutants are trapped in the valley by surrounding mountains. The air quality becomes very nasty. There has been an inversion for about the last ten days. When I look straight up the air is clear with beautiful skies but as I look forward all I see is thick, brownish, green smoggy air. The temps stay very cold. Lately the highs have been in the teens and in the single digits at night. The weird thing is that when an inversion happens the areas around the city that are on the sides of the mountains and also the ski areas are much warmer—in the 30’s during the day!! They can look down into the valley and see the thick gunk hanging over the city!!! Kind of weird.
    We finally got a storm strong enough to blow all the pollutants away and in the meantime dumped a massive amount of snow. I think our downtown area got about a foot of snow in 24 hours. Many of the areas around us got around 24 inches of snow and the mountains and ski resorts got several feet. It has been quite a punch but a welcome relief for the drought conditions.
     We still need lots more. I just googled to see how much snow it takes to make 1 inch of water. It depends on the temperature and kind of snow. If the temperature is really cold the snow is light and fluffy and it can take 20 inches to make an inch of water. If the temperature is warmer, the snow will be wet and it can take just 3-4 inches on snow per inch of water. The average is about 10 inches of snow for 1 inch of water. Utah is known for its “powder”, so it is going to take more snow to add more water.
     Even though I am not used to all the snow I am not hating it. It is very beautiful and we have a nice warm and dry place to live. We came prepared with coats, gloves, scarfs and even boots although my snuggly and warm Ug kind of boots has blown a hole in the side where the boot meets the sole. NOT GOOD!! We live just 2 blocks from where we work, so life is good.
    Yesterday, Friday, 11 Jan, they closed all the buildings on Temple Square at 1:30pm and sent everyone home. There weather was getting worse and worse and so were the roads. They don’t do that very often.
    The Church Office building that is on Temple Square is 28 stories high and I am sure there are hundreds and hundreds if not thousands who work there.
     Below I have posted a picture of the Salt Lake Temple as we saw it out the window of my office. Another missionary, Scarlet Holman, took the picture with her iPad. Thanks Sister Holman for an awesome picture!!! BTW, it was even more beautiful seeing it in person!!!!!!!

 They are telling us the inversion will be back this week! I am NOT fond of the gunky air.