Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Looking for an unusual surname?

READER'S FEEDBACK: Setting Google Alerts

From:
diane_rogers@shaw.ca
DearMYRTLE,
I have set up
Google Alerts for my less common (and my more elusive) surnames. I've set up the alerts as 'BATTICE GENEALOGY' to cut down on the less relevant notices.

For my Swedish family names which include non-English letters, I've added two alerts, one in Swedish, and one as anglicised, for instance, 'LOFHOLM GENEALOGY'. This seems to work, but I suspect I'd get far more results by setting up two accounts, one in Swedish and one in English. I've noticed when doing Google searches that requesting only Swedish language results using the advanced search in Google brings up many more Swedish LÖFHOLMs right away.

I might also try surname alerts adding the words 'FAMILY HISTORY' or the often misspelled 'GENEOLOGY' or even specific place names or first names.

You can set up to 1000 alerts (10 at a time, I think) and now it's very easy to add or delete them if you have a Google account.

("Google Alerts" don't seem to be case sensitive. I'm only using capital letters here hoping to make my meaning clearer.)

DearDIANE,
Thanks for describing a practical use of
Google Alerts with your surname studies. Ol' Myrt didn't know one could set up 1,000 alerts. I was only aware of the limit of ten. I do not have the alerts sent to my Gmail account, but to my Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com account.

It would be important to have the name be uncommon or else modify the alert to include “family” or “genealogy” as you mention. If Ol’ Myrt set up a Google Alert using her maiden name “PLAYER” she would certainly have to specify “family” or “genealogy” or else Google would send her alerts about football team players and violin players.

FOR FURTHER READING

  • DearMYRTLE - What is a GOOGLE Alert?
    http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2007/04/what-is-google-alert.html
  • Google Alerts FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
    http://www.google.com/alerts/faq.html?hl=en
    What are Google Alerts?
    What are the different types of alerts I can sign up for?
    How do I sign up?
    How frequently will I receive alerts?
    What kinds of topics make for interesting Google Alerts?
    I'm not getting the alerts that I expected. How do I get more relevant results?
    I have lots of Google Alerts. How do I manage them all?
    Why am I not able to sign in on the Google Alerts homepage?
    How do I delete my alerts?
    I've set up lots of Google Alerts, but suddenly I'm getting a message that says I have too many unverified alerts.
    What is the maximum number of alerts I can create?
    Can I subscribe to alerts in multiple languages?
    I'd like to receive Google Alerts in plain text rather than HTML. Can I do that?
    Can I change my email address and still get Google Alerts?
    Is this just a way to get my email address so you can sell it to spammers?
    I'm receiving Google News or Web Clips alerts on my desktop, how can I make them stop?

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Compendium of New England Gazetteers

New Tools for New England Family History Researchers

NOTE: The following was just received from Bob Velke. All inquiries should be addressed to Elizabeth Vinci of Archive CD Books USA, as indicated below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
30 May 2006 -- Archive CD Books USA is proud to announce the release of a major new tool for researchers of early New England families.

The Compendium of New England Gazetteers makes all of the classic New England gazetteers available on a single CD-ROM. This comprehensive collection includes 10 rare books, more than 4600 pages, and the names and descriptions of thousands of places, many of which are no longer known by the same name.

Historical gazetteers hold a prominent place on any experienced researcher’s bookshelf, but not just because they help to decipher many of the earliest place names that would otherwise be lost to history. “They are a valuable source of a different kind of information that is often missed by novice researchers,” said Bob Velke, President of Archive CD Books USA. “Gazetteers frequently also offer the names, biographies, and anecdotes about the earliest settlers, ministers, and prominent citizens of those areas.”

For the first time, this collection combines very early regional and state gazetteers with “FastFind” indexing, making it easy to search for people or place names across all of early New England at the same time, using AND, OR, phrase, and word-proximity searches. The CD includes high-resolution images of every page and six early maps that were included in the original publications.

The new CD was first introduced to the public at the recent National Genealogical Society conference in Richmond, Virginia. It is the perfect companion to the popular Compendium of New England Pioneers, a collection of 14 classic reference works detailing thousands of families of early New England settlers through several generations. That CD was released last year by Archive CD Books USA to rave reviews.

"Many of the individual gazetteers have been very popular on our web store," said Velke, "and we haven't forgotten those loyal customers." The Compendium is priced at just $59.95, which is 66% off the combined regular prices of those individual books ($177.50). Those who have bought one or more of the individual titles have been extended full credit for those purchases when upgrading to the Compendium of New England Gazetteers.

For details about the Compendium of New England Gazetteers, please visit http://www.ArchiveCDBooksUSA.com/negazetteers.htm.

About the company: Archive CD Books USA was founded in 2005 in order to make digital reproductions of old books available to family historians, to donate original publications to libraries and other institutions, and to cooperate with these repositories to preserve their existing collections for future generations. It is a member of the international Archive CD Books Project, whose other affiliated companies digitize books from Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, and Australia.

Contact:
Elizabeth Vinci
Archive CD Books USA
Voice: (410)715-2260 x132
Fax: (410)730-9734
marketing@ArchiveCDBooksUSA.com

Monday, May 28, 2007

Civil War Records

YES, some Southern states gave pensions

From: bthreatt@hotmail.com
RE: Accessing Union Civil War Service & Pension files
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2007/04/accessing-union-civil-war-service.html

DearMYRTLE,
I have gotten the files for my soldier from the state courthouse in Alabama, but after reading your answer to another's question I was wondering would the records be the same from the NARA? What I got from the state was [soldier's] name, wife's Pension paper, his date of death, wife's name. I want more info if I can get it. What is the difference between the state cards and the National Archives - NARA files?

DearBETTY,

The UNION Civil War Service & Pension Files were the topic of DearMYRTLE's blog on 26-27 April 2007. As you’ve discovered, Alabama is one of the CONFEDERATE states that provided pensions. The scope of the Union pension collection I was describing does not include Confederate states. There are some records of service for Confederate states at the NARA. Ol' Myrt suggests looking at:

Alabama Department of Archives & History
http://www.archives.state.al.us/referenc/military.html
This website explains there were a variety of records including:

  • Alabama Confederate Service Cards
  • Index Cards to the Confederate Marines 1861-1865
  • National Archives Compiled Service Rolls Index (If you find your soldier in this index, it will refer you to a NARA file. Service files are not as genealogically interesting as pension files.)
  • Confederate Military Unit History Files
  • Civil War & Reconstruction Subject Files
  • Confederate Pension Files
  • 1907 Census of Confederate Soldiers in Alabama
  • 1921 Census of Confederate Soldiers in Alabama
  • Contemporary Newspapers
  • Alabama Governors' Records
  • Loyalty Oaths
  • 1867 Voter Registration Lists
  • Letters, Diaries, and Manuscripts
  • Documenting the Civil War Period Flag Collection at the Alabama Department of Archives and History
  • Confederate Officers Photograph Album
  • Photographs
  • Maps
  • Pamphlets

Ol’ Myrt would also suggest:
Genealogy section - Alabama Department of Archives & History
http://www.archives.state.al.us/ge.html

How about feedback from experienced Alabama Civil War soldier researchers?

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Restoration of a Brooklyn Civil War cemetery

ACROSS MY DESK: RESTORATION OF Green-Wood Cemetery.

From the ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL GENEALOGISTS public genealogy mailing list:

On Behalf Of MJ Mann
Sent: Monday, May 28, 2007 2:41PM
To: apg-l@rootsweb.com
Subject: Re: [APG] Cemeteries Seek Breathing Clientele

The original article about cemetery activities mentioned Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY. They have a wonderful website. Lots of history.
http://www.green-wood.com/

In addition, today's NY Times has another article about Green-Wood and a five year project that produced results through extensive research (historic & genealogical). It is also doing 'good' in restoration and preservation at the cemetery. It's a still on-going project.

Rows of New Markers, and Untold Sacrifice by Civil War Soldiers
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/28/nyregion/28civil.html

There is a link there to a video on the topic. About 5 minutes long.
IMHO very informative. A very fitting subject for Memorial Day.


DearMAUREEN,
I especially liked the end of the video "...just quiet little boys. And someone remembered."

Very precious, and perhaps one of the best memorials I've seen. Honest, grassroots efforts of genealogists to document who was buried there, and be sure that a new tombstone is placed at each grave site.

Volunteer experts estimate there are still 6,000 unmarked or obliterated graves of Civil War soldiers in this cemetery yet to be identified.

Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Google Books

How Myrt found a circa 1900 book about Conrad Weiser, her Pennsylvania ancestor

DearREADERS,
Family history work is getting easier all the time. Today will browsing the web, I stumbled across the scanned images of the book describing my 6th great-grandfather Johannes Conrad WEISER (Ancestral File Number: 2691-KG) born 12 Nov 1969 in Affsteadt, Herrenberg, Wuerttemburg (Germany) and died 13 July 1760 in Womelsdorf, Berks, Pennsylvania.

CONRAD WEISER AND THE INDIAN POLICY OF COLONIAL PENNSYLVANIA
by Joseph S. Walton of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, published in 1900 by George W. Jacobs & Co., Philadelphia.

You may click to view the entire book online free because of the Google book scanning project. This is not one of the books that is downloadable. However, when I clicked to "Find this book in a library" I was taken to a list of hits for my locality, including the Seattle Public Library. I guess my ISP address is giving away my location.

Let's look at the Google Book screen a little more closely:


Click to find out more about the book on Conrad Weiser.”   <span style=

Note: One can read the book in 1 or 2 page spreads, the search term "Conrad Weiser" is highlighted in yellow on each page. One can skip over to another chapter by using the chapter headings on the right side of the screen or by entering a specific page number in the navigation bar on the top of the book screen. We're on image 7, not necessarily page 7 in this book, since the title and copyright pages are not numbered in a book, but they are numbered at Google Book.

Be sure when printing out pages from this online book, that you are careful to make copies of the title page and copyright info.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.

Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.


Memorial Day 2007

God bless America

DearREADERS,
Here in the US we take pause on this MEMORIAL DAY, Monday 28 May 2007. Many of my DearREADERS have expressed how current world conflicts have affected deeply their daily lives.

Times of war and strife are devastating regardless of one’s political point of view.

My brand-new grandson Tyler was born yesterday at a time where in this country we enjoy many freedoms that are unknown to many others throughout the world. We can vote to make a difference. We have freedom of speech. We can choose to travel and enjoy the wonders of our country. Our homes are safe from immediate danger. We can worship how, where and what we may.

It is for these rights that folks like my father served during World War II. Unlike many others, he did not have to make the supreme sacrifice.

Many other families have had to live without their father, mother, uncle, aunt, grandparent or child, because that loved one's blood was shed on a distant field of battle.

May this day of personal reflection bring you and your family members closer together as we silently thank those who have courageously served and pray for those who bravely continue to serve the cause of freedom.

HISTORY CHANNEL MEMORIAL DAY PAGE
http://www.history.com/minisites/memorial/


Click to explore the History Channel's Memorial Day minisite.


For Further Reading:

Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.



Saturday, May 26, 2007

Newest Grandson

All is well

DearREADERS,

Today Ol' Myrt's middle daughter Stacey & her husband Steve made a 4am dash to the hospital just in time for their 4th son -- Tyler to be born. Here Baby Ty (only three hours old) is shown with his next older cousin Braden.

Myrt's newest grandson, Tyler.

Baby Ty weighed in at an even 7 pounds. He is 19.5 inches long, and a "very mellow guy" according to his mom.

Look at that head of dark hair. The other five grandchildren are either light brunettes or blondes.

Needless to say, I am one proud grandmother. Couldn't be happier.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.

Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

Friday, May 25, 2007

To FACEBOOK or not to FACEBOOK

That is the question.

DearREADERS,
Guess it is time for Ol’ Myrt to get out of her genealogy rut. Not to worry, I’m still here, but I am looking at new possibilities every day.

While browsing the blogs my RSS aggregator pulled in this morning, ZDnet talked more about Facebook. When I ran across
Paul Allen’s discussion about Facebook.com I decided it was an omen, and that I had to look into this Facebook phenomenon. Paul spent an entire blog discussing from a technical point of view how this upscale version of MySpace is growing by leaps and bounds and is expected in his book of predictions to eclipse Google as the internet tool for the average Joe.

Now Ol’ Myrt here doesn’t normally get excited about discussions on topics like LAMP stack, CRM systems or even the slightly more understandable PHP. But I DO get excited when I hear about large numbers of participants which Paul explains as: “Facebook is adding 100,000 new users per day. That’s 3% growth per month. And the fastest growing segment is over age 25. At this rate, they’ll have 50 million users by the end of this year, and 75% of them will be out of college. I read just on paidcontent.org that
Facebook is the fastest growing social network in the UK, and today Mark said that 10% of Canada’s population is using it.”

100,000 new users per day? That is a lot of growth.

No one is saying those are genealogists. But statistically speaking, there are going to be genealogists in the bunch.

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW
Remember I started out ‘onlining’ in the old BBS (Bulletin Board Service) days, where terms like FIDOnet were part of the equation. When I logged on to Q-Link (the grandparent of AOL) in the winter of 1984/85, I was using a 300 baud modem, communication was terrrible:
  • Limited to the other people on Q-Link
  • Couldn’t send files to share ancestor photos or databases of compiled genealogy
  • Chat rooms were limited to 21 attendees, and it was all typing, no voice.
  • No global search of ALL AOL message boards, meaning that a typical genealogist could ONLY review the message boards AFTER one arrived at the Your Family Tree (genealogy) section of Q-Link. Getting there was too difficult, as we noted even two generations later when AOL Leadership Team members would meeting folks at NGS and FGS annual conferences.

In the mid-1980s, you had Myra Vanderpool Gormley on Prodigy, Dick Eastman on CompuServe, and although I was very active on Q-Link in the genealogy forum, DearMYRTLE hadn’t been invented yet. Russ Kyger (RIP) and Terry Morgan were the driving forces on Q’s Your Family Tree. But the only way I could attend an online chat scheduled on Prodigy or CompuServe was to pay up for membership. Being a young mother, my funds were limited and so I couldn’t do that very often. “I Q, do you?” was the bumper sticker for Q-linkers.

WITH THE ADVENT OF THE INTERNET
Gradually things improved, and it seemed marvelous to have the ability to post items on internet-based genealogy message boards. Then anyone with access to the World Wide Web could participate. The ability to join Newsgroups and ListServs with like-minded researchers definitately improved communication. Until lately we had problems emailing very large GEDCOM files, but with FTP access and many with their own websites, that was not a big hurdle. Now both internet-based file storage and larger free email service storage areas make sharing our genealogy databases and scanned images of source documents much easier for the average Joe.

WHY MYRT IS GETTING INTO FACEBOOK?
DearMYRTLE wants to reach outside the bounds of “normally accepted” genealogy tools to reach millions of potential genealogists.

Also, one of the hallmarks of the DearMYRTLE column has been the concept of “discussion” between Myrt and her readers.

Why not merely continue with RootsWeb’s DearMYRTLE message board, now owned but still offered for free from Ancestry.com? (NOTE: Paul Allen was a founder of Ancestry.com, who pulled out a few years ago.) Well, that message board is part of the “normally accepted” genealogy tools. On a side note, I am frankly bummed out that the coder I spoke with at Ancestry didn’t care that my Internet Explorer 7 (only IE option with new Windows Vista computers) ALWAYS opens up 3 windows (2 are error messages) when I press enter after typing
www.Ancestry.com . That short-sighted attitude really urks me, particularly since I took the time to describe the repeatable phenominon to 2 layers of tech support in the Ancestry call center before I got to the “programmer”. But I digress as usual.

Why not use other services such as:
· GenCircles

·
Genealogy Wikia
· Geni.com
· MyFamily.com
·
WeRelate
· WikiTree www.wikitree.org

Again, these are tools designed specifically for genealogists.

Remember, DearMYRTLE's goal is to break out of the normal genealogy channels.

I believe eventually we will all keep our genealogy data (names, dates, photos, scanned document images, video clips, etc. somewhere on the internet, as the use of personal hard drives will probably become a thing of the past. When it comes to creating a website with interactive tools for documenting I think the new version of FamilySearch will do that for most of us. We'll likely choose FamilySearch from a variety of commercial sites quite simply because of FamilySearch’s reputation as a provider of genealogy services for free.

However, I do have an identity that doesn’t include genealogy.

Why didn’t Myrt jump on the Yahoo bandwagon? Certainly there are noteworthy genealogy groups to be found at groups.yahoo.com. When Yahoo started, I didn’t see the benefit, because we didn’t have global search engines like Google, and Ol’ Myrt felt the boards at RootsWeb/Ancestry were doing the job in the genealogy community.

Realistically, I think it is a good idea for DearMYRTLE to get out into the NON-GENEALOGY section of the world to pull people into our mainstream genealogy resources both on and off the Internet. ‘Course Ol’ Myrt is not so puffed up as to think she should consider herself the world’s ambassador for genealogy.

At this point in time Ol’ Myrt sees Facebook as a great choice because:

  • It is a growing main-stream ‘center’ for people from all walks of life, who might not otherwise venture over to the RootsWeb/Ancestry.com realm.
  • Email notices sent through the network link to your Facebook “in box” where scanned images of a document can be attached to an email query from a DearMYRTLE reader, without overloading my email box, or placing my computer in jeopardy for catching a virus.
  • Scanned images of a document can be uploaded and then referenced in a message board posting if one of my readers wishes to show me the document in question when asking for advice. Yes, you can do this in a Yahoo Group, and theoretically one could do this at Ancestry if you use their new photo & sound clip options and reference the URL for the document in your message board posting.
  • Networking among like-minded individuals works beyond the confines the current group. There HAVE to be genealogists who love to garden, cook or climb mountains (and I don’t mean just mountains of paperwork.)
  • Facebook is open to new ideas, in that the owners are encouraging software developers to implement programs that will become embedded in the site. This means new free tools available to users like Ol’ Myrt and her readers. The Generations Network is a closed book, paying only a finite number of programmers to maintain the site, and dream up new tools.
  • Growth in the UK expands my readership. The UK has some interesting attitudes about family history, particularly with the large turnout at the most recent
National History Show reported by Dick Eastman. 15,000+ attendees is nothing to sneeze at considering NGS and FGS are happy with 1/10th the numbers.

WHAT DOES FACEBOOK MEAN FOR RESEARCHERS?

  • Realizing there is life beyond genealogy (really?)
  • The average Joe can easily create their own page, where interests (including genealogy) can be listed.
  • Link yourself with family members, society members, college chums, etc.
  • Unlimited space for uploading photos.

WHAT DOES FACEBOOK MEAN FOR INFORMATION PROVIDERS?
Active participants can derive 100% from the advertising they post. When visitors read a DearMYRTLE message board posting at RootsWeb, all the advertising is from/for/about Generations Network products.

No, you do not have to change a thing, to continue receiving DearMYRTLE’s blog. But you might consider posting your questions to Myrt on her Facebook message board.

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2960625373

I am populating the DearMYRTLE’s photo album area at:http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=4229&amp;amp;l=07b2e&id=688062819

What other ideas do you see for this service?

PS - Within an hour of joining a Norwegian group at Facebook, I’ve began exchanging Facebook mail with the administrator of the group.

Frankly, right now, I like the LOOK and FEEL of FamilyLink, but it is a genealogy site, and quite frankly, FamilyLink is not adding 100,000 members each day. Remember Ol' Myrt's GOAL is to reach thousands of the non-genealogists out there and pull them in. I also like WeRelate, but the copyright issues are clearly labeled “Others can add to, edit, and redistribute your contributions.” Perhaps FamilySearchLabs.com’s look at “Life Browser” will be the ticket for online genealogy databases and collaboration. Who knows how these things will filter down.

So what has Ol' Myrt accomplished in rambling through this blog today?

RESOLVED: To keep writing DearMYRTLE articles, now syndicating in blog format.

RESOLVED: To establish a presence on FACEBOOK, as a method for reaching new readers.

RESOLVED: To provide a better message board interface using FACE BOOK, where readers can also upload scanned images of documents they want to discuss with Ol’ Myrt. I won't be spending my hard earned $ to pay for bandwidth and file storage, and the conversaton can be shared by others in the DearMYRTLE group.

RESOLVED: To keep an open mind about other social networking and/or wiki type sites whether or not genealogy-specific to see what develops.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

US Military Collection 90 million names at Ancestry.com

Multi-media on main screen bows to use of online presentation of video as a mainstream tool

Collection is free through 6 June 2007

DearREADERS,
Gosh, Ol' Myrt only went to the bank and the Post Office for about 45 minutes. While I was gone, Ancestry.com has added a completely new collection, known as the "US Military Collection." I stumbled across it looking for Civil War records for my ancestor Ferd Goering (didn't find him.) What struck me was the use of old newsreels and Mathew Brady photos, in a delightful montage just above a timeline, and the actual search form.

Next, I spotted Dick Eastman's blog, then I checked my email box, and found the following announcement from our friends at Ancestry.com. All inquiries should be addressed to support@ancestry.com

Ancestry.com is announcing it has launched the largest collection of U.S.
military records available and searchable online, featuring more than 90 million
names that span more than four centuries of American history from the 1600s
through Vietnam.

This U.S. Military Collection includes exclusive record sets such as the only complete collection of WWI draft registration cards and commemorative military yearbooks and newspapers. Combined, the records bring to life the stories and sacrifices of the millions of brave men and women who have
served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Inside the U.S. Military Collection
Ancestry.com’s U.S. Military Collection captures all major wars and conflicts from American history, including the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam conflicts as well as the Spanish-American War and the War of 1812.

The eclectic volume of records features more than 700 databases and
titles and 37 million images of original and often personally autographed
documents including:

  • World War I and World War II draft registration cards
  • Prisoner of war records from the War of 1812, Civil War, World War II,
    and Korea
  • Muster rolls (unit rosters) for the Marine Corps
    1893-1958
  • WWII U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier Muster rolls, 1939-1949
  • U.S. Military burial registers 1768-1921
  • Service Records from Revolutionary War
  • Service Records from War of 1812
  • Service Records from Civil War
  • Civil War Pension Index
  • Casualty listings from WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam
  • WWI and WWII Stars and Stripes Newspapers
  • Young American Patriots Military Yearbooks (post WWII)

Rare historical media such as the United Newsreel Motion Pictures (1942 – 1945) are another highlight of the collection, making Ancestry.com the only online source for all 267 counter-propaganda films shown in U.S. theaters and abroad during WWII. Produced by the Office of War Information and financed by the U. S. government, the United Newsreels consisted of several short stories concerning allied military operations and were reportedly released in sixteen languages. Newsreels were also dropped behind enemy lines in a German language version and distributed in friendly and neutral countries.

Beginning now through June 6th (D-Day), Ancestry.com will make its entire U.S. Military Collection free to the public. For more information on Ancestry.com’s U.S. Military Collection, visit www.ancestry.com/military. In order to see the new titles added to Ancestry for this military release, go to www.ancestry.com/military and view titles by war/conflict.

A gal can't even go to the bank without important things happening in this exciting world of online genealogy!

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Family Heirlooms Project

Submit photos and documents

DearREADERS,

I think the non-genealogists of the world relate to family heirlooms more readily than they do to our pedigree charts and family group sheets.

Case in Point
A knitting/crocheting blogger reports attending a family reunion this past weekend. She took 2 photos of an old family quilt in what Ol’Myrt thinks is the Tim’s wife Sheila’s first attempt at documenting her family history. The quilting was done by an 8-year-old ancestor Tim. This is a great way to begin sharing heirlooms with other family members! See:
http://mythreadedbliss.typepad.com/my_threaded_bliss/2007/05/family_history.html

While Ol’ Myrt works on another installment of her “Great-grampa Glen’s bear” saga, why not submit some digital pictures of one of your family heirlooms to Ol’ Myrt at:
heirlooms@DearMYRTLE.com

I would love to honor your ancestor by creating a blog page dedicated to his/her memory. Your addition to the heirloom project will give other people ideas about how to preserve the stories that go with family heirlooms. You might consider including:
  • Photos of the heirloom in GIF or JPG format
  • The story that goes with the heirloom
  • Name of ancestor
  • A picture, sketch or silouette of the ancestor
  • Date & place of birth and death of ancestor
  • Places where the ancestor lived
  • Names of children
  • Be sure to protect the right of privacy of living individuals.

Perhaps several articles in DearMYRTLE’s blog this past week will guide your thought process when preparing your submission to the FAMILY HEIRLOOMS PROJECT. In the meantime, I am setting up that domain, and will dedicate the site to the preservation of family heirlooms.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

The Elsie Mystery

What is the story Grandma Jones was covering up?

From: Pamela pjhb@motion.net
DearMYRTLE,
Our family’s major brick wall is “The Elsie Mystery”.

My maternal grandmother, Elsie (JONES) Hackett was supposedly born 15 October 1889 in Taunton, Massachusetts. This was the story promoted by her mother, Carrie Maria (FRENCH) Jones. [Maiden names appear in capital letters for emphasis only].

However, just days before her own death in 1936, Grandma Jones was overheard saying, “Now no one will ever know about Elsie” as she was seen stuffing papers into the stove. Elsie’s children and grandchildren are now convinced Elsie was adopted because we can find no evidence of her birth. If Grandma Jones had papers, however, surely someone else also had them.

What we’ve found:

  • No birth certificate at Taunton, MA or the nearby town of Berkley, where her mother was born.
  • No evidence of a name change to Elsie Jones in Massachusetts. Tthere was a name change from Elsie Jones, but this person shows up subsequently with her adopted parents.
  • Marriage certificate lists her birthplace as Taunton, MA and her mother’s name as Carrie Reed (should be Carrie French).
  • Her death certificate (May 11, 1940) lists her birthplace as Taunton, MA and mother’s maiden name and birthplace as Carrie M. French, Berkley, MA.
  • Census records list the birthplace of [Elsie] and her parents variously:
    Elsie Mother Father
    1900 NY MA MA
    1910 MA Canada* MA
    1920 MA US US
    1930 MA MA MA
    *Canada is where Elsie’s mother-in-law was born

So far, Grandma Jones was right - no one knows about Elsie. Any suggestions where we could look next are enormously appreciated by her puzzled descendants.

Thank you so much for all of your tree-climbing help. I've picked up all sorts of hints to help with other puzzles.

DearPAMELA,

“Momma’s baby – Papa’s maybe” is a catch phrase in the world of genealogy. Fortunately the law recognizes children born to a specific woman as being legitimate heirs to both that woman and her husband at the time. Heaven only knows how many men erroneously thought they were the father of each child born of their marriages.

Understanding the fact that
people are human
does not make genealogists any less curious.

CONSIDERATION #1
Elsie’s mother, Gramma Jones, may have been burning letters from an old flame, and not legal adoption papers. Those letters from her former beau might mention his reaction to the news of her pregnancy. The letters could also have been from her dying best friend who asked Grandma Jones to care for her baby as her own. Alternatively, Grandma Jones’ older single daughter could have written begging her mother to care for an out-of-wedlock child rather than place it for adoption outside the family. Perhaps the unfortunate girl, banished to the home of a distant cousin during her confinement, could have been Grandma Jones’ unmarried sister. Maybe to keep things “hushed up” Grandma Jones merely pretended that the child was her own.

These suggestions are purely speculative, but see how your analysis of the paper-burning story has pointed you only to the conclusion of a legal adoption? Aren’t Ol’ Myrt’s suggestions just as plausible?

CONSIDERATION #2
Check out the “Carrie Reed” as that name has to come from somewhere.

CONSIDERATION #3
Superstitions and social mores may have played a part in the story.

Pressure to conceive
Women were considered less-than-desirable if they were barren. Of course, a male child was a more honorable gift to the woman’s husband. However, the pressure to conceive could have prompted Grandma Jones to agree to pose as the true mother of Elsie.

Social Ramifications
On a related topic let me share the story of a man with Down’s syndrome, who lived to his early 60s. His name was Bud, and I got to know him because of my good friend Barb Schultz who cared for this man with the help of John Brown, after Barb’s mother passed away. Barb’s mother had become the court-appointed guardian for Bud when his mother passed away when he was in his teens.

Barb’s mother discovered that Bud was shunned by his family. The story goes that at the time, people in the South hid Down’s syndrome children away in attics or sanitariums for several reasons. The story discussed in this family was the odd belief at the time that if you had a Down’s syndrome baby, it was because you had previously had an abortion. Bud’s family were considered “high society” in this small Florida town, his father was a retired Army colonel.

CONCLUSION
If pressures within families and from society were this strong, then anything could have happened in Elsie’s case.

You are right to look for a paper trail,
but it just may be that you won’t be able to find one.

RESEARCH SUGGESTIONS
You’ve done quite a bit of research, but only on the usual and customary records of census, birth, marriage and death. Begin looking at everything else. I’d be reading every issue of old area newspapers, probably on microfilm. This could take years.

Look at every probate packet (not just the wills) for anyone with the surname JONES, REED or FRENCH. Determine & then study every type of record group created on the town, county and state level for:

  • Taunton, Massachusetts
  • Berkley, Massachusetts

Find out about these records and where they are archived by looking at the Massachusetts Research Outline and the United States Research Outline created by the experienced researchers at the Family History Library.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Civil War soldier’s grave found in abandoned cemetery

Emmet genealogy group marks site in Center Township

By Fred Gray News-Review Staff WriterPetosky News Review

CENTER TOWNSHIP — “No one should be forgotten,” said Harold Daniels of Petoskey when he discovered that 15 people, including Civil War veteran Alfonso Brooks, were buried in unmarked graves in an abandoned cemetery in Center Township between 1883 and 1936.

The one-acre plot lies in what was once farmland, now overgrown with poplar, maple and beech, and myrtle and fiddlehead ferns, far from any sign of civilization.

Daniels discovered the cemetery while researching his family history, and brought it to the attention of the Emmet County Genealogical Society. The society’s members shared Daniels’ concern for its forgotten inhabitants and erected a sign on Saturday to mark the cemetery, listing all who had been buried there.

For the rest of the story, see:
http://www.petoskeynews.com/articles/2007/05/22/news/news03.txt

Monday, May 21, 2007

Great-Grampa’s bearskin rug – Part 3

Providing provenance

DearREADERS,

Perhaps you’ve followed the saga of Great-grampa Glen’s black bear and Ol’ Myrt’s attempts to explain it to her grandchildren. If not, play catch up by reading:

This has spilled over into additional articles about citing sources:

Today’s blog concerns a term we hear discussed when viewing the Antiques Roadshow on local PBS stations. Items are considered more valuable when there is evidence of its history of ownership. It would seem like the second definition of provenance from American Heritage really describes what Roadshow is going for in the way of documentation and history.

PROVENANCE

  1. A place of origin; derivation.
  2. a. The history of ownership of an object, especially when documented or authenticated. Used of artwork, antiques, books.

    b. The records or documents authenticating such an object or the history of its ownership.


    See: Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/provenance (accessed: May 21, 2007).

On other TV shows, including CSI and Law & Order, forensic scientists and police investigators are concerned about maintaining a chain of evidence. Of course, those TV programs seem real because they espouse some basic principles of real-life criminal investigations.

When it comes to genealogical investigations – proving our point with concrete (not hearsay) evidence is just as important. So today, Ol’ Myrt would like to introduce the following document into evidence proving a few points about Great-grampa Glen’s bearskin rug, namely the Evergreen Taxidermy Company’s invoice #6339 dated 24 Dec 1976 for Dr. Glen Player, including his address, with no zip code. Guess that was a while back, eh?

Now, we have a little clarity as to ownership, and the time period, including the description of the black bear hide that Ol’ Myrt is preparing to discuss with her grandchildren.

Glen's receipt from Evergreen Taxidermy.

JUST THE FACTS MAM
I am wondering if the customer’s code on the invoice is really the date Dad dropped the item off for work (0421 might be April 21st) since I doubt Dad had a purchase order through his medical practice for the making of the rug. OK, no point in speculating.

HAVE WE ESTABLISHED PROVENANCE?
The bearskin rug, the photo of Dad just after the shoot, and the invoice from the taxidermist might lead one to believe this rug is truly identified. But is this enough? What other things might Ol’ Myrt add to the mix?



Great-Grampa Glen's bear, photo & taxidermy receipt.


Stay tuned for more info on how Ol’ Myrt is carefully documenting this family heirloom.

All this talk of bear hunting makes me glad I am not related to Teddy Roosevelt. His hunting is reflected in the decorative layout of his hallway at Sagamore Hills . Documenting those trophies would keep me busy for most of the century. Both my Dad and Teddy (if I can use the familiar term) were really more interested in birds than in game hunting. I recently ran across my Dad’s handbook of North American birds, where he crossed each one off and entered the date as he spotted them in his travels. – But as usual, I digress.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

CMOS deletion of posting date for online cites

From: eshown@comcast.net
DearMYRTLE,
In answer to “Anonymous,” [
Citing a website: Is the date necessary?] four considerations are at play here:

The budget-driven trends of university presses
Chicago Manual of Style is published by a university press. It is a style guide for other published works in academia. As such, it follows the modern trend of university presses toward minimalistic citations in published material---the same trend that prompts most university presses to eliminate citations in sections of books that deal with genealogical matters. In seeking to reduce costs, publishers often limit citations to just matters they consider important and strip citations to the absolute minimum needed for readers to relocate a record. With university presses and academic journals, the unspoken assumption is that authors who have years of academic training and the appropriate degrees in their disciplines have made judgments other academics can trust. That assumption is supported by the fact that manuscripts at academic presses and journals undergo extensive peer review prior to their acceptance for publication. These criteria and assumptions do not apply to most genealogical research.

The needs of publishers vs. researchers
The needs of researchers go beyond those of publishers. As researchers, the citations in our working files typically include observations about quality, as well as tracking data, that a university press or an academic journal would likely delete. The research process is one in which we gather all facts with any scintilla of relevance to the project. In our analyses and the eventual publishing process we winnow those facts down to the essentials needed to make a particular point. If, in the research stage, we gather and record only what we think we will eventually publish, we hamstring ourselves from the onset.

An apparent oversight
CMOS’s statement that “previous versions will often be unavailable” is partially correct but curiously shortsighted. From a publisher’s standpoint, that may justify ignoring the date upon which an Internet writer made a particular assertion. From a researcher’s standpoint, that date can be critical to the analysis of another writer’s conclusions---as when a cited “fact” appears in a paper that predates knowledge of certain other facts. The CMOS statement also seems to ignore the existence of Internet Archives’ Wayback Machine, via which we can access material from millions of defunct web pages if we have a date on which it was previously available.

CMOS’s statement that an author may have consulted several revisions of a manuscript across time is also correct. However, academic publishers assume that an academic writer has consulted the last version and is citing the writer’s final conclusion. That is not an assumption we can make in our field.

The different needs of different fields
Writing in the William and Mary Quarterly in 1997 (3d ser., 54: 8), historian Gloria Main observed: “Professional genealogists hew to stricter rules of evidence and more rigorous citation practices than even professional historians.” Her point is an important one. (Caveat: her word “professional” should be replaced by the word “good.” Not all who do research for pay adhere to high standards and not all who adhere to high standards do research professionally.) The historians and other academics to whom CMOS is marketed typically have broader needs than genealogists and they have a higher tolerance of error on minor points. Their focus is History Writ Large. Ours is History in Microcosm. By and large, they focus on societal patterns. We focus on minute details about individuals whom historians often consider insignificant. Societal interpretations made by social scientists are drawn from the bell curve of their evidence. If they make a mistake on a bit of minutiae at one end or the other of the bell curve, it rarely affects their overall conclusion. For us, there is no bell curve; a misjudgment anywhere along our trail of evidence can be fatal. If---for lack of precision in recording or analyzing our information---we make a mistake in identity or kinship, every bit of work we do thereafter that is based on that misjudgment will multiply our error exponentially.

No one enjoys writing citations. We all wish we could shortcut them. We love to be told that this or that really isn’t essential. But, as researchers, we also recognize that different fields have different needs and that the needs of researchers and the needs of publishers are often at odds.

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
Samford University Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research

AUTHOR OF:
Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian (1997)
QuickSheet: Citing Historical Resources, Evidence! Style (2005)
Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (forthcoming: August 2007)


Dear Elizabeth,
Thank-you for the detailed response to the series of blogs about citing sources. I had not yet made reference to the series on the APG list, because I am awaiting more feedback from readers. At the very least, encouraged readers to think about providing more informative citations. Your point is well taken when describing the difference between “professional” and “good” genealogists.

Looking forward to your August 2007 publication.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

NGS awards Scholarship for Home Study Course

National Genealogical Society awards Scholarship for Home Study Course

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from the Christina Humphries of the NGS. All inquiries should be addressed to: learning_center@ngsgenealogy.org

Arlington, VA. 18 May 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The National Genealogical Society, based in Arlington, Virginia, is pleased to announce it has awarded the scholarship for NGS American Genealogy: A Home Study Course to Teresa Steinkamp McMillin of Inverness, Illinois. The course is an in-depth learning opportunity aimed at the intermediate to advanced researcher. The scholarship covers the cost of all three CDs as well as the grading of assignments and comments provided by experienced genealogists. This represents a value of $475.

Ms. McMillin intends to pursue a career as a professional genealogist specializing in German research. She is first Vice President of the Northwest Suburban Council of Genealogists. In 2006 she was part of the Chicagoland Genealogical Consortium that sponsored the NGS Conference in
Chicago, and received the NGS Certificate of Appreciation for her volunteer work. She attended the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in 2005 and 2006.

Further information on the Home Study Course can be found at
www.ngsgenealogy.org/eduhsc.cfm.

The National Genealogical Society was founded in 1903, and is the premier national society for everyone from the beginner to the most advanced family historian. The NGS serves its members by providing genealogical skill development through education, information, publications, research assistance, and networking opportunities.


Source: http://ngsgenealogy.org/Press/release8.htm

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Citing a website: Is the date necessary?

DearREADERS,
Thanks to the reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, for immediately replying:


DearMYRTLE,
Thank-you for your dissection of the Gail Staples' footnote in your blog:
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2007/05/book-citations-annotated-footnotes.html

I cannot help but make note of Chicago’s statement about the use of a date with reference to a web address in source citation. See page The Chicago Manual of Style 15th Edition page 646 section 17.2 which reads:

Access dates. Access dates in online source citations are of limited value since previous versions will often be unavailable to readers (not to mention that an author may have consulted several revisions across any number of days in the course of research). Chicago therefore does not generally recommend including them in a published citation. For sources likely to have substantive updates, however, or in time-sensitive fields such as medicine or law where even small corrections may be significant, the date of the author’s last visit to the site may usefully be added.”

How do you reconcile this style notation in Chicago with the footnote dissected in your blog?

DearANONYMOUS,
It is wonderful that you have jumped into this discussion. I have four responses.

  1. An article published in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register must conform to the style of that journal. Chicago's allowance for such an exception was referenced in my original blog on this topic. Apparently the date of viewing a web site is required by NEHGS.
  2. Indeed, web pages come and go, and at the very least are modified more easily than a book or journal article. Dates may seem superfluous.
  3. Elizabeth Shown Mills provides a variety of citation formats in her book titled Evidence! Citation and analysis for the Family Historian, also mentioned in the original blog. She speaks of printing out the online source and uses that printed date in some of her citations, particularly on pages 80-82.
  4. A genealogy researcher must use some reasonable method of citation to explain the source of a lineage assumption.

Again, I refer readers to the original blog, where I’ve quoted Chicago’s overview for intent to cite a book.

In summary, as competent genealogists, we should make every effort to provide enough ancestral source documentation so folks can follow our tracks to see if they arrive at the same conclusions.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Book citations & annotated footnotes

Standard practices for leaving good audit trails

DearREADERS,
There are reasons why Ol’ Myrt studies the publications of the NGS (National Genealogical Society) and the NEHGS (New England Historical and Genealogical Society.) Specifically I wish to hone my skills by observing how more experienced genealogists:

  1. Think through research challenges
  2. Report findings
  3. Document anomalies
  4. Cite sources

Guiding creation of book citations, The Chicago Manual of Style 15th Edition declares “A full reference must include enough information to enable an interested reader to find the book. Some references contain supplementary information not strictly needed for that purpose but enlightening nonetheless.”

Continuing on page 647 (IBID) concerning information to be included we read that that some flexibility with consistency is acceptable. “As long as consistent style is maintained within any one work, logical variations on the style illustrated [sic] are quite acceptable if agreed by author and publisher. Such flexibility, however, is rarely possible in journal publication, which calls for adherence to the established style of the journal in question.”

It should be noted that both the NGS and NEHGS have specific, though very different, styles to be followed if one wishes to prepare a manuscript for publication. Genealogists who study this can improve source citations, essential to any good research report.

The April 2007 volume of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register published by NEHGS provides a variety of examples in footnotes that are particularly inspiring. Let’s dissect this footnote from “The English Origins of Jeffrey Staple of Weymouth, Massachusetts” by Gail Staples on page 98 reproduced below. The superscript numeral 23 pulls the reader’s eye from the text to the appropriate footnote.

Example of footnote from NEHG Register Vol 161 p 98.

Note these elements of the footnote, including punctuation:

  • Author: Donald Lines Jacobus
  • Comma
  • Title of the reference work: History and Genealogy of the Families of Old Fairfield
  • Comma
  • Volume: 3 vols. In 4
  • Beginning parenthesis
  • Publication location: New Haven, Conn.:
    Note the use of a period for abbreviation of Connecticut (not CT) and colon as a break leading to the next item.
  • Publishing company: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor
  • Comma
  • Publication date: 1930-32
  • Semi-colon
  • Reprint info: reprint
  • Reprint location: Baltimore
  • Reprint publishing company: Genealogical Publishing Co.
  • Comma
  • Reprint date: 1976
  • End Parenthesis
  • Comma
  • Volume number: 1
  • Page numbers: 579-80
  • Period

This citation naming another's published work is completed, referring the reader to author Gail Staple’s source.

But Ms. Staple’s footnote does not end there. What follows is an annotation, though on topic, it does not specifically refer to the book referenced in the footnote. Interesting.

From
www.Dictionary.com we read:
--------------------------------------------
an•no•tate [an-uh-teyt] verb, -tat•ed, -tat•ing.
–verb (used with object)
1. to supply with critical or explanatory notes; comment upon in notes: to annotate the works of Shakespeare.
–verb (used without object)
2. to make annotations or notes.

an•no•tat•ed [an-uh-tey-tid]
–adjective
supplied with or containing explanatory notes, textual comments, etc.: an annotated edition of Milton's poetry.
--------------------------------------------

Gail Staple’s footnote 23 has an annotation that includes reference to a DNA study with descendants of the first generation Jeffery Staple, the second generation John Staple and another ancestor Thomas Staple. The author’s notes on this DNA study are placed in square brackets [ ]. Not only is the URL for the website listed, but it is followed by a comma and the date viewed.

The date was listed in the normally-accepted genealogy format: day month year. Although 3/6/2007 (US) or 6/3/2007 (European) would be correct, we must think globally, and remove all doubt about interpretation of a date, hence the format 6 March 2007.

FOR FURTHER READING:

Click to find out more about Evidence!

Elizabeth Shown Mills.
Evidence! Citation & analysis for the family historian.

Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.
1997, reprinted 2006
ISBN: 9780806315430
Item #: GPC3846
$16.95 regular price



Source citations are the most important element of a quality research product in any genre.
For too long genealogists have accepted half-truths and fabrications. Now is the time for us to rise to a higher level of research by clearly labeling elements of our work with accepted methods of source citation.

Having 16,000 names in an undocumented pedigree is nothing compared to 160 names with multiple citations pointing to reliable original source documents. Citations allow those that follow to evaluate our work and compare it with new information that may have come to light.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.

Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Great-Grampa’s bearskin rug – Part 2

Establishing a time period

DearREADERS,
Yesterday Ol’ Myrt began this series of blogs about how to document a family heirloom. Minimal first level documentation would be to take a picture of the 3-dimensional object and carefully labeling it with:

  • the name of the ancestor
  • the name of the current owner
  • location of the object

I came up with the following photograph of my father's bearskin rug as the first attempt at explaining its origin to my grandchildren. I used PaintShop Pro (similar to Adobe's Photo Shop) to add the text to the digital image. Every time this is picture is viewed or printed it will include the label as shown below:

Great-grampa Glen S. Player's bearskin rug.

But this clearly leaves many unanswered questions about the bearskin rug. As competent family historians we want to report the full story to descendants, don't we? One picture may be worth 1,000 words, but in the case of the rug, is that enough? I think not.

HOW do we know that this is indeed Great-grampa Glen's bear? I might answer that question by making sure to include the following photo when describing the rug to my grandchildren. It just happens that this photo was taken right after the shoot by Dad's hunting partner. Later it was matted, framed and mounted on the wall next to the bearskin rug. Both remained there for decades until a bedroom overhaul was completed about 5 years ago, when all things bear-like were relegated to the closet. Imagine my delight when I found the rug AND this photo:

Great-grampa Glen S. Player after getting his bear.

Still, there are questions left unanswered. For instance:

WHEN did Great-grampa get this bear? Can you tell by looking at either photo?

  • One might construe the date of the photograph to be sometime in the 1970s, because of the long mutton chop sideburns.

  • Ol’ Myrt might add her recollection that when her two oldest daughters were little, they would find small candy eggs in the mouth of the bear at our family's annual Easter egg hunts.

    However, you’d have to determine if I am a reliable source. Memories can fade over 36 years. Also, I had a car accident in mid-1986, with some cranial injuries, so my memory of things before that incident is sometimes sketchy at best. We do have to make value judgments about the reliability of an eyewitness account.

Perhaps Great-Grampa left a diary? Maybe other members of the family, particularly my siblings, could be canvassed to report their recollections about the rug. Well, Ol' Myrt does have a few more ideas, and will post them in subsequent blogs about Great-grampa Glen's bearskin rug.

In the mean time, are you, my DearREADERS, beginning to think of ways to document YOUR family heirlooms? Even if you are not the one that inherited the item, perhaps you can venture out this summer to photograph the item, and gather stories about it at your family reunion.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Volunteers: Have you indexed your 50 names this month?

FamilySearchIndexing.org reports over 7 million names indexed in April 2007

DearREADERS,

Despite my travels this month, Ol’ Myrt has begun her May 2007 personal goal of indexing 1,500 names for the month. When I signed into the FamilySearch Indexing program, a new message was posted from headquarters which reads:


“The number of records you indexed in the past two months is truly awesome. In March, you indexed over 4.5 million records. In April, you submitted over 7 million. The total number of records indexed almost doubled in just one month. Thank you for this fantastic achievement!” 18 May 2007 FamilySearchIndexing.org internal software email to indexers.
Perhaps you've read this week about the new PUSH that the folks at FamilySearch are making to reach out to archivists, courthouses and churches throughout the world. See: http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2007/05/familysearchs-program-to-increase.html

NOW is the time to offer your services as a volunteer indexer and become part of this huge "wave" of indexed original records to be offered on the Web.

Ol’ Myrt has previously explained how EASY it is to participate in FamilySearch indexing as Arlene reported in http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2007/04/readers-feedback-familysearchindexing.html This blog entry includes a screen shot of a census page, and the indexing fields where one would type on the bottom half of the computer screen.

Remember, this is the QUALITY indexing, using data entry procedures with 2 typists. As an indexer, you are only aware of your entries. More experienced typists can elect to become arbitrators. An arbitrator looks at anomolies noted by the indexing software when comparing your indexing with that of the other indexer who worked the same page.

FOR FURTHER READING:

Let’s double the number of indexed entries this month as well. PLEASE.

The ancestor you index may be your own!

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 Pat Richley, All Rights Reserved.

1925 Iowa State Census is golden

Three pages of questions include name of parents

DearREADERS,
It pays to read other bloggers' reports of research breakthroughs. This morning Michael John Neill described progress he made on the 1856 Iowa State Census with his ancestor Ira Sargent. Michael's success prompted Ol' Myrt here to look at ancestors on her maternal side of the family tree that were known to have lived in Iowa. Here are the steps I took (the first with dead-end results) and what I ultimately found to be of great interest.

FIRST TRY:
  1. I set my browser to www.Ancestry.com and typed "Ferd" then "Goering" (without the quote marks) in the first and last name search fields.
  2. I specified "Iowa" for the place & pressed Enter on my keyboard.
The return was a link to a Family File with Ferd, his wife Nancy Jane Swanker, and his birth and death date and place. I consider this very unreliable info because it does not involve the scanned image of an original document. I should note that from my other research, the names, dates and places are correct, but a competent researcher would not accept this hearsay source as the gospel truth without fortifying the find with corroborative evidence with compellingly convincing surviving original documents.

SECOND TRY:

  1. I began to search on the wife's name and typed "Nancy" then "Swanker" before pressing enter.
  2. This lead me to a link in the actual 1925 Iowa state census for Lucas County, where the head of household is: "Ben Gooring" with a mother "Nancy Swanker." This is curious because:

    a. "Gooring" could be an incorrect indexing transcription of "Goering."

    b. Nancy Swanker would be known on records by her married name
    Nancy Goering by the time she was Ben's mother, her 8th child.

    c. My maternal grandmother's handwritten family history notes an 8th child "Benjamin" born Nov 1889 to Ferd and Nancy Jane (Swanker) Goering. I had previously proved this info through other source documents including the 1900 US Federal Census Records for Dallas Township, Marion County, Iowa District 39 listing the household of Ferdinand Goering on NARA Group T623 Roll 447 page 10A, which I had photocopied from microfilm at the National Archives in Washington, DC some 21 years ago using one of those ancient
    wet paper copiers. Additional supporting evidence available on request.When Ol' Myrt clicked to view the scanned image of the census page, Ben Goering's entry was on one double page, and two smaller pages as accentuated by the red oval in the screen shot below:

1925 Iowa State Census, Lucas County from www.Ancestry.com

Like a school teacher’s grade book, the second and third pages are cut smaller, so the name of the enumerated individual shows through from the first page, saving the census taker the effort and possibility of error of having to write the name three times. Note in the detail of page 2, that Ben H. Goering's parents are listed as:

Goering, Ferdinand, born in Iowa, age at last birthday 74
and
Swanker, Nancy, born in Iowa age at last birthday 68


1925 Iowa State Census, Lucas County from www.Ancestry.com

Now don't you wish that each census enumeration was this detailed?

FOR FURTHER READING:
A big thank-you to the folks at Iowa GenWeb who have gone all out in describing and transcribing the various state census records. See:
http://iagenweb.org

THANKS to Michael John Neill for steering me in the right direction. There are numerous other research possibilities from this one family’s entries, not to mention the other Goering family members that appear in the state & special census records for Iowa. Ol’ Myrt here is so excited about this informative 1925 Iowa enumeration of her ancestors that she just had to share!

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE, Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com
www.DearMYRTLE.com

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.