Thursday, January 19, 2012

Family History Fun (#18)

Even though we had a typical week of attending church, holding choir, making Bishopric visits, doing clerk work, attending seminary and institute, visiting the sick, visiting members, finding lost members and packing and preparing for our Senior Conference in Guam, we had one overarching goal: get the Family History Library up and running.

We expected some setbacks and we love setbacks because we like to call them “adventures.” Our adventures this week felt somewhat like running really fast into a brick wall.

Sister Johnsen was determined to make our little Family History room into a “real” family history library. She cleaned out all the junk that everyone throws in there, bought a shelf for the things that people seem to think are essential to the location, organized and sorted through all the materials, threw away a really old fax machine, and hung the four friendly and appropriate family history signs that have been in mailing containers for who knows how long.

Next, Elder Johnsen came in to save the day by getting the computer up and going. We have a working flat screen and a keyboard, but apparently both of the hand me down former MLS desktop units were not able to boot up. He brought them home and found time between so many other responsibilities to get one of them up and running. The first problem was the mouse where someone had obviously tried to jam in the plug without getting the connectors lined up and had bent the prongs flat. Luckily he brought to Palau his handy Boy Scout backpack and had just the tool necessary to get everything straightened out. But even with a working mouse the computer still wasn’t able to boot up properly. So Elder Johnsen deduced that we must be having a memory problem which he resolved by taking all the memory out of one old computer and adding it to the other. Finally, miracle of miracles, we had a computer running XP with enough memory to boot up and run all the software . . . except for the family search software. What’s up with that, after all that work we still can’t run family search with all those data CDs? It turns out the family search software is so old that XP is way too modern to run it. Furthermore, we were told, that those old family search disks can all be thrown away because the church does everything related to family history over the internet. So just as an experiment Elder Johnsen tried to do a little family history using our home dialup (since he’s hasn’t been able to get the modem in the hand me down computer at the church to work yet). And as you might have expected it takes high speed internet to make doing family history fun. New family search using dial-up speed is S O S L O W!

So why don’t we have high speed internet at the chapel? The answer is cost. The most the church is willing to pay for high speed internet is $200/mo. In Palau internet service is provided by a single internet provider owned by the government called Palau National Communication Corporation. According to the PNCC rate schedule at service rates for website.pdf we could get DSL operating at 256kps for $660 per month. So what is the solution? There is a laptop that is available to members who want to try to connect up with someone who has the key to get the laptop out, and then they can take it to a local hotel or other hotspot and try to do their family history. Mostly though, this is not allowed. But the real point is, why do we have a family history library if you just have to leave the building to try to do family history. The bottom line is that we’ll be using new family search at dial up speed into the foreseeable future.

While we were cleaning out the library we found an article called “Census Takers Need An Education” which was found in the Family History Center In Tri-Cities, Washington:

Ocupayshun ---- Cencus Taker

  • "I am a cencus taker for the city of Bufflow. Our city has groan very fast in resent years & now, in 1865, it has becum a hard & time consuming job to count all the peephill. Thare are not many that can do this werk, as it is neseasarie to have an ejucshun, wich a lot of pursons still do not have. Anuther attribeart needed for this job is good speling, for meny of the pepill to be counted can hardle speek Inglish, let alon spel there names!"

So next time you head to your local family history center think of us pour pepill in Palau.

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