News of the Church


Personal Ancestral File: New Genealogical Software for Home Computers

The Genealogical Department of the Church has announced the Personal Ancestral File™, a new genealogy software program for personal computers. This sophisticated yet easy-to-use system for simplifying genealogical record-keeping is modestly priced at $35 and is now available.

The package consists of six program diskettes and a detailed manual that enables users to assemble pedigrees and compile a wealth of genealogical information for each of their ancestors.

In addition to storing a wide range of vital statistics, Personal Ancestral File enables users to enter valuable historical and source information for each individual. All of this information is stored on diskettes other than the program diskette, which means that there is no limit to the amount of data that can be stored.

Information retrieval is fast and easy, and the system will sort and print various lists. The program will also group families together, linking husbands and wives, children, parents, and siblings—and it will repeat these functions for each generation.

Information entered into the system can be printed out. The program can print blank or filled-in pedigree charts and family group record forms in either letter or legal size. The program can also produce completed name submission forms for temple ordinances as well as lists of persons whose temple work has not been completed. Forms printed by this system will be accepted by the Genealogical Department for four-generation filing or for temple ordinances.

The system also has a separate data-sort utility to simplify the management of large volumes of original research data. With this program, information sources can be documented in detail. Data is entered as individual events (birth, marriage, military service, death, etc.). These events can then be sorted or searched by name, date, place, relationship, or source, and then saved or printed.

Personal Ancestral File is a powerful tool for compiling information, and as such, it promises to be a great aid to personal and family genealogical work. However, it will not automatically organize genealogical record-keeping or teach research principles or strategies. Nor will it provide access to any of the computer files in the Genealogical Department. Church development of this system is not intended to encourage the purchase of a personal computer, as it is not necessary to have a computer to do genealogy.

At present, Personal Ancestral File has been developed for IBM PC and IBM PC/XT computers with the following capacities: 64K RAM minimum (DOS 1.1) or 128K RAM minimum (DOS 2.0 and above); two disk drives (two floppies or one floppy and one hard); printer: condensed print (16/17 characters per inch) on 8 1/2″ by 11″ paper, or elite print (12 characters per inch) on 8 1/2″ by 14″ paper. To order, write to: Salt Lake Distribution Center, 1999 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104, USA. (Catalog number is PBGS1019; cost, $35.)

TRS-80 III and Apple II+ versions are planned. Inquiries about the availability of these and other versions should be addressed to: Genealogical Department, Ancestral File Operations Unit, 50 E. North Temple St., Salt Lake City, Utah 84150, USA; or telephone (801) 531-2584.

IBM is a registered trademark of International Business Machines Corporation. Apple is a registered trademark of Apple Computer, Inc. TRS-80 is a registered trademark of Radio Shack, a division of Tandy Corporation. The licensor is not affiliated with the above named corporations.

Donating Artistic Works to the Church

The opening of the new Museum of Church History and Art in 1984 provides an unusual opportunity for individuals and groups to donate artistic works to the Church. Art so contributed may be included in the museum collections or used in other ways—for display at Church Headquarters, for example, or, when approved by the First Presidency, in temples.

Only the finest quality works are being sought. The Church is unable to accept all art that is proffered, nor can it guarantee that art accepted will be kept on continual display. Interested parties may contact the Director, Museum of Church History and Art, 45 North West Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.

Persons wishing to secure a tax benefit for art donated to the Church should understand that it is their sole responsibility to determine the value of their donation and the effect it will have on their taxes. Those who want to help establish a purchase fund for use by the Museum Committee in acquiring art, or who want to support art acquisition through gifts of property or through bequests and estates, may contact the LDS Foundation, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.

Church Magazines Use Postal Discounts to Cut Costs

The latest in computer technology is helping Church magazines take advantage of the lowest possible postal rates to speed your copy of the Ensign, New Era, or Friend on its way to you.

Each month, about one-quarter of the half-million Ensigns printed for each issue leave the printing plant in Salt Lake City specially packaged for the United States Postal Service so they can go directly to local carrier routes, without further sorting. The operation involves some one hundred forty thousand Ensigns and is called Carrier Route Sequencing. Copies of the Friend and New Era similarly packaged add up to another one hundred forty thousand magazines.

This allows Church magazines to use the lowest second-class postal rate, said Theon Rigby, manager of Circulation and Subscription Fulfillment. Resulting savings are substantial. The magazines also take advantage of other available Postal Service discounts where Carrier Route Sequencing is not possible, he added.

A computer is the key to in-plant sorting of magazines for specific mail carrier routes throughout the United States, Brother Rigby explained. The computer master files are matched against tapes furnished by the Postal Service which contain carrier route information, and the magazines are assigned to carrier routes according to the subscriber’s address. The computer produces mailing labels for individual magazines, along with a large, eye-catching label to signal the start of each bundle destined for a particular carrier route. As magazines stream out of the bindery at the Salt Lake Printing Center, workers gather up individual bundles and put each bundle in a separate bag.

The bags of magazines are stacked on wooden pallets, wrapped in plastic, and placed in a semitrailer for transport to the post office. Because postal employees do not have to sort them, the magazines go at the lowest rate and get to local post offices sooner.

Under U.S. Postal Service regulations, there may be as few as six magazines in a bundle for a particular carrier route, Brother Rigby said, and if the bundle of magazines for a route weighs more than seventy pounds, it must be broken up into bundles of no more than seventy pounds each. The computer makes sure bundles meet these requirements.

The computerized sorting is currently being used for magazines going to Utah, Idaho, Arizona, and Nevada, where large Latter-day Saint populations make it possible to bundle magazines for many routes. If mailing lists show it is possible, computerized sorting will soon be used for magazines going to California, Oregon, and Washington.

Brother Rigby emphasized that while the Carrier Route Sequencing speeds mailing to areas where it can be used, every effort is made to get magazines to subscribers outside these areas as fast as possible. The Ensign, New Era, and Friend arrive at most homes in North America within a week after mailing. However, they must go by ship to England, South Africa, Australia, and other English-speaking overseas areas, where it may be five to eight weeks before they are in subscribers’ hands.

Occasionally, a magazine may arrive damaged. “We get an average of only seven complaints a month on damaged magazines, so we don’t think we have a big problem,” Brother Rigby said. But if readers call or contact the circulation office to report the damage, circulation personnel immediately send out another copy, in an envelope.

Address changes are no problem, Brother Rigby said. “We do a quarter of a million address changes a year. That is an average of one thousand address changes each working day.” Readers may simply call or mail them in. The address will be changed on the computerized mailing master file within two days. But if the magazine has just recently been printed and mailed, the change will not take effect until the next month’s mailing, he explained.

Subscribers who wish to report address changes or contact the magazine subscription offices may call (801) 531-2947 or write: Church Magazines, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150, U.S.A.

[photo] After computer-prepared labels are automatically attached to the magazines, workers gather up individual bundles for different carrier routes.