Monday, July 30, 2007

Puget Sound Chapter APG meets 11 Aug 2007

The Puget Sound Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists Presents

North Olympia Peninsula Genealogical Treasures
By Lesa Barnes of LBGenealogy

Saturday, August 11, 2007
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
National Archives & Records Administration,
Pacific NW Regional Archives
http://www.archives.gov/
6125 Sand Point Way NE

Seattle, WA 98115
(206) 336-5115

Presentation: Lesa will present a summary of historical events that affected the movement of people to, through and from Jefferson and Clallam counties, and she will outline the records that are locally available to family and historical researchers. Lesa is owner of LBGenealogy at http://www.lbgenealogy.com/. She is a member of PS-APG and the Jefferson County Genealogical Society.

Chapter Business: After the presentation, we will hold the PS-APG Business Meeting from about 11 to 12 noon.

Guests are welcome to attend both events!

For further information contact Bonnie Jean MacDonald, Chapter President at BON_MAC@msn.com .

The PS-APG website is at: www.apgen.org/chapters/pugetsound/index.html.

National Archives Films to Be Made Available Through

From: Public.Affairs@nara.gov
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2007 8:39 AM
July 30, 2007

Thousands of National Archives Films to Be Made Available Through CustomFlix Labs

Washington, DC. . . The National Archives and Records Administration today announced that it has reached an non-exclusive agreement with CustomFlix Labs, part of the Amazon.com, Inc. group of companies (NASDAQ:AMZN), to make thousands of historic films from the National Archives available for purchase on Amazon.com. The National Archives and Records Administration holds more than 200,000 motion picture titles that include documentaries, newsreels, instructional films, combat footage, research and development films, and many other formats that provide an unequalled visual history of the United States.

The National Archives has selected the CustomFlix DVD on Demand service to initially make its collection of Universal Newsreels, dating from 1920 to 1967, available on DVD to the general public for purchase on Amazon.com. Newsreels cover worldwide events in politics, entertainment, fashion, sports and technology. Historic moments in world history, such as the death of FDR, the end of WWII, the famous 1960 Nixon-Kennedy debate and the royal wedding of Princess Margaret, are all chronicled. Thousands of public domain films and other U.S. Defense Department and U.S. Information Agency titles from the National Archives motion picture holdings will also become available in the near future.

"Our initiative with CustomFlix Labs will reap major benefits for the public-at-large and for the National Archives," said Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States. "While the public can come to our College Park, MD research room to view films and even copy them at no charge, this new program will make our holdings much more accessible to millions of people who cannot travel to the Washington, D.C. area. CustomFlix Labs DVD on Demand will provide the National Archives with digital reference and preservation copies of the films that are sold on Amazon.com. This is an important contribution to our preservation program."

The CustomFlix Labs DVD on Demand program allows organizations like the National Archives and Records Administration to offer their DVDs for sale on Amazon.com without inventory. DVDs are manufactured only when customers purchase them, eliminating the risks and hassles associated with traditional distribution, while ensuring titles remain in stock. Once purchased on Amazon.com, DVDs can be delivered to the customer within 24 hours.

"The National Archives and Records Administration houses an amazing collection of motion picture titles that historically have been hard for the general public to access," said Dana Piccolo-Giles, co-founder and managing director of CustomFlix Labs. "Our DVD on Demand service will make these titles readily available for purchase on Amazon.com to be enjoyed by history buffs today, as well as for future generations to come."

Films from the National Archives can be purchased today on Amazon.com with more titles to be available soon. For more information on CustomFlix Labs DVD on Demand, please visit www.CustomFlix.com .

About National Archives
The National Archives and Records Administration, an independent federal agency, is the nation's record keeper. Founded in 1934, its mission is unique -- to serve American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, ensuring that the people can
discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives meets a wide range of information needs, among them helping people to trace their families' history, making it possible for veterans to prove their entitlement to medical and other benefits, and preserving
original White House records. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at www.archives.gov .

About CustomFlix Labs
CustomFlix Labs is a DBA of On-Demand Publishing LLC, a subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc., (NASDAQ:AMZN). CustomFlix Labs is the leader in manufacture on demand services for independent and enterprise media content owners. Founded in 2002 with the mission of profitably connecting content owners to a worldwide audience, CustomFlix Labs now offers professional digitization into the Future-Proof Archive service, inventory-free physical media distribution via both CD on Demand and DVD on Demand, as well as video downloads through Amazon.com's Unbox digital download service.

About Amazon.com
Amazon.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection. Amazon.com seeks to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything
they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as health and personal care, jewelry and watches, gourmet food, sports and outdoors, apparel and accessories, books, music, DVDs, electronics and office, toys and baby, and home and garden.

Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.de, www.amazon.co.jp, www.amazon.fr, www.amazon.ca, and www.joyo.com .

Sunday, July 29, 2007

CSI software used to create a family tree

From DearMYRTLE’s “Wackiest use of software” files

DearREADERS,
For those of you who have an extra $1,500 lying around to purchase software, Ol' Myrt ran across something that is most certainly unique:

Use the same software crime scene investigators use to track addresses of victims to predict the next place the perp will attack

~ to ~

create a family tree.


And in case you are asking, the answer is NO – this version doesn’t directly import a GEDCOM file, but it could easily be rigged to do so.

The Spring 2007 Issue of Arc News reports that ESRI GIS & Mapping Software can be used to make an editable, sharable, printable family tree:

“One of the main drawbacks of a typical hard-copy drawing was the density of information and the inflexibility of updating and adding new family members. With GIS, this issue was resolved. The ArcGIS advanced editing capabilities, with the possibility of selecting, moving, adding, copying, and pasting, made data updating a flexible and enjoyable task.

Sayed started by designing a geodatabase that contained the people as a polygon feature class where each feature represented one leaf or section of a branch or the trunk, that is, one family person. The feature class included English name; Arabic name; date of birth; file number; origin (family branch); gender: male or female; marital status: single, married, divorced, or widowed; profession; position; living status; mobile number; e-mail; cause of death (if the person is deceased); picture (raster); and general comments. The geodatabase also included the following tables: address, spouse, and children.” See: GIS Preserves Family Ties (complete with how-to screen shots),

FOR FURTHER READING

  • ArcGIS Desktop version “ArcGIS Desktop is software that allows you to discover patterns, relationships, and trends in your data that are not readily apparent in databases, spreadsheets, or statistical packages.”
  • GIS for Law Enforcement
Despite the versatility offered by the ArcGIS software, I doubt this class on drawing family trees will be discussed at the 2007 ESRI Homeland Security GIS Summit in Denver this November.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Add your story to Muskegon history compilation

ACROSS MY DESK: County History to be published

Add your story to Muskegon history compilation
Sunday, July 29, 2007
By Clayton Hardimanchardiman@muskegonchronicle.com

Members of the Muskegon County Genealogical Society want to publish the community's history, and they want you to help.

They want to know when your family came to Muskegon County and why they made the trip. They want to know about the catastrophes they endured along the way. Did they survive a storm? A flood? Do they have a special memory of the Seaway Festival or the Occidental Hotel or some other area of Muskegon history? Did they serve in the military during a war?

For the rest of the story see:
http://tinyurl.com/2nq469

Contact Muskegon County (Michigan) Genealogical Society:
http://www.rootsweb.com/~mimcgs/

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Trouble getting into the FH Fair?

Log on code is different from content code

DearREADERS,

In my previous blog entry, about www.FamilyHistoryLiveOnline.com folks were advised to use a specific code “get into” the event. I was first aware the code didn’t work when Rene emailed me.

Thanks to Gerhard Ruf (by way of Rene Zamora) figured it out by using a previous code.

fhlo.fair

I will amend my previous blog entry, but want this code to become available via the usual and customary channels.

If you plan to attend the Family History Fair on July 28, you must first download content or you will not be able to log in.

Open the ReGL viewer (if you have not yet installed the viewer, goto http://www.stillmangeorge.com/sgregl.exe and follow the instructions)
  • Click on the “UPDATE REGL” button
  • Click on the “UPDATE CONTENT” button
  • Type in the field : fhlo.gen1 then click next This is the content code.
  • Click on “Install”, this will install the content.

Now to get into the fair itself:

  • Open the RegL Viewer.
  • Click on the “CLICK TO LOG ON” button
  • Click the “JOIN A SESSION” button
  • Type in your name
  • Enter the session code: fhlo.fair
    This is the log on code.
  • Click the “LOG IN” button

Just now they are on a break, and there is no “music while on hold” so you will come into a seemingly quiet empty room. Remember the schedule of speakers is as follows:

  • 8:00 AM Welcome - Moderator, Gena Philibert Ortega8:10 AM Jonathan Walker: "Using Catholic Records"
  • 8:45 AM Generation Maps
  • 9:00 AM Gena Philibert Ortega: "Needle in the Haystack: Finding Female Ancestors"
  • 9:45 AM BREAK
  • 10:00 AM Peter Barrie: "A Transatlantic Case Study"
  • 10:45 AM BREAK
  • 11:00 AM Barry Ewell: "Effectively Tapping into Local, County, and Historical Societies"
  • 12:00 PM Discussion and break for lunch1:00 PMWelcome - Moderator, Gena Philibert Ortega
  • 1:05 PM Barry Ewell: "Effective Strategies for Researching Newspapers"
  • 2:00 PM Closing - Moderator, Gena Philibert Ortega
  • 2:05 PM Genealogy Jam

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Why microfilm is the first choice

DearREADERS,
"Great job" to Randy Seaver for his feedback blog titled Using the FHLC to find probate records”. The more voices in the wilderness…

Ol’ Myrt agrees wholeheartedly about the need to view microfilm of original documents rather than bother a courthouse clerk. Whenever I speak, I talk with folks about how busy things are at their local courthouse. Late 20th and early 21st century economics and “reductions in force” directives have placed the work of 2-3 people on the desk of one court clerk who struggles with his remaining co-workers to keep up with the current docket. Understanding this workload allows genealogists to comprehend how frivolous letters of requests for photocopies are received in our ancestors’ distant courthouses.

I consider it frivolous to write to a courthouse when the cited source is already available on microfilm, most usually through the Family History Library and its 4,000+ branches known as Family History Centers. My original post suggested ordering the microfiche of the index book before writing for a copy of the actual will.

Randy's blog entry today about 20th Century Property Records at the New York City Municipal Archives is timely. Using technology to provide online access to digital records cuts down on requests to those over-worked clerks. Projects to protect older documents such as regional state archives and LDS Family History Library microfilming are laudable.

Working together, rather than pointing fingers, interested segments of a community should encourage microfilming, digitization, and placing the originals in “cold storage” -- a great alternative to hot, dusty courthouse attics.

By the way, Ol' Myrt doesn’t know what is happening that there has been so much interest in Alabama records research lately.

· Tuscaloosa County Courthouse to scan & destroy originals
· Getting to the original will
· Getting to the original will - Part II
· Tuscaloosa & Greene County AL courthouse records are at immediate risk

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Getting to the original will - Part II

From: Randy Seaver
DearMYRTLE,

I read your blog post "Getting to the original will" about the Alabama estate records. I really like posts that lay out the research process the way you did it.

However, as I checked some of the FHL Catalog items, I noticed that it appears that the FHL has microfilms of the Chambers County, Alabama Estate Records filed by alphabetical surname for 1832-1915. The citation is:

"Estate files and index, 1832-1915, Chambers County, Alabama" -- records housed at Probate Judge Office in Chambers County Courthouse in LaFayette, Alabama. There are 77 microfilms for these records - each microfilm has a citation like this:

"Estate case files, Blair, Adam - Blount, William T. (folder 5 of 6), 1832-1918 / VAULT US/CAN Film 1221960"

Your correspondent should order the microfilm that has Henrietta Nichols' estate file at a Family History Center (FHL Microfilm 1542472). This microfilm should include more than the will - probably the court affidavits, the will, an inventory, an account, a distribution, and perhaps more records of her ancestor's estate. And even better, these are probably the original records with the actual will and other papers, all probably enclosed in a probate packet closed by a twine thread. These estate case files are probably the best and most complete probate records you can find. And all for the cost of renting a film and making copies of the papers.

I was going to post this on my own blog but thought I would pass it on to you first - perhaps you can add the above to your post and really save Patsy the $25.

Cheers -- Randy Seaver
rjseaver@cox.net
http://randysmusings.blogspot.com

DearRANDY,
Thanks for taking the research challenge a step further than Ol' Myrt considered. While the original post looked specifically for "Will Book 3" not covered in the FHL microfilm collection, your suggestion is valuable. While it has not been my experience that wills are included in estate papers, I'll admit I haven't done any Chambers County, Alabama courthouse research.

In the places (and time periods) Ol' Myrt has researched, wills are posted in a will book when probated, and usually the loose alpha/chronological index at the beginning of the will book lists not only the page in the book for the posting of the will, but the case number and other identifying info to make it easier for the Clerk to find the probate packet or as it is sometimes called the estate file.

I wonder if it is unusual that the estate files would be in strict alpha order. Would that every county clerk had time to arrange things as well.

Thanks, Randy, your experience comes shining through. And you know, this points out how important it is to discuss our research challenges with others when as in this case, another set of eyes can sometimes view the problem from a different angle. We get by with a little help from our friends.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Tuscaloosa & Greene County AL courthouse records at immediate risk

Will the Alabama Department of Archives & History create a 15th & 16th local government records archive?

DearREADERS,
My email box has been overflowing with comments from readers with interest in preserving the records in the attic discussed previously in DearMYRTLE’s blog entry titled “Tuscaloosa County Courthouse to scan & destroy original records”.

Noted genealogist, Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG explains: “In past years, I spent much time up in the Tuscaloosa County courthouse attic with those records. They are a goldmine of information not to be found anywhere else on the earliest settlers of the county—many of whom do not show up in the early land, marriage, and probate records. The records in Greene County are in even worse condition. When I last used them, they were piled in an outbuilding behind the jail, with—literally—rusted out lawnmowers piled on top of the heap.”

From: Mike Sullivan sulliv812@msn.com
DearMYRTLE,

Please stay on top of this story as much as you can. I also got a story printed in the Tuscaloosa News on 03 Oct 2004 pretty much describing the same conditions. In fact, there have been stories in the Tuscaloosa News since 1972 about this and our county officials continue to turn a blind eye.

On 12 Oct 2004, I got the Assistance Director for the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) to tour the attic with the past Circuit Court Clerk. The ADAH committed to helping clean and organize these records, if and when the clerk’s office did a little general house cleaning. That was never done, but it shows that ADAH has known about this for some time.

The description [in the most recent
newspaper report ] that these records are Circuit Court Records is not completely correct. In 1973, Alabama reconstructed their judicial system and many of the old records that are plainly titled “Tuscaloosa County Court” were transferred to the authority of the newly created Circuit Court. [This is an Alabama] state court which today generally handles criminal cases, but these old records are from such courts as the Tuscaloosa County Commissioners Court of Roads and Revenues.

The new (1973) court system took control and responsibility of these records from the Probate Court and gave them to the state-run Circuit Court, who has no use for them.

The present courthouse was moved into in 1964. By design, the top (7th) floor was left unfinished to be used for storage, including janitorial supplies and a maintenance shop. [It is] all open-air with no ceilings or walls but separate areas created with chain link fencing. [There is] no heating, air conditioning or any kind of climate control whatsoever, yet Alabama has the law (Alabama code 1975 section 36-12-2), which has not been amended, that clearly states that all government officials are to maintain their records in conditions that protect and preserve records from utilation, loss or destruction.

Does the storage area I described to you fit that mandate?

The Circuit Court says they have no money to do anything. The Tuscaloosa County Probate Judge says he will not spend county money on state records, yet as I try to point out, these are "OLD" county records. The Tuscaloosa County Probate Judge is the chair of the Tuscaloosa County Commission, and is in fact the courthouse landlord and these records are in his courthouse.

To really describe the conditions, image having a sheet metal building for storage that you never cleaned up or threw anything away. Year after year, you simply opened the door and stuffed another few boxes of records wherever you could put them, including just stacking them in the aisles only for the heat and humidity to cause the cardboard boxes to collapse, spilling their contents all over the floor. You just stomp right across them as you continue to bring in more stuff. I do hope you can see that picture in your mind.

What kind of mess do you think you would have after nearly 40 years of this sort of practice? Remember the Alabama Dept of Archives and History's Assistant Director witnessed this in 2004. I was with her!

Many of the old records are in bound books. I have held in my hands County Court Records dating in the 1820s and 1830s. Unlike all of the surrounding counties, the Tuscaloosa County Courthouses have never been burned and Tuscaloosa was formed before the State of Alabama was created in 1819.

These bound books are suffering from Red Rot, which is a deteriorating process. Red Rot is to leather what dry rot is to car tires and the lack of climate control speeds that process, something ADAH knows about. This Red Rot eats away the leather potions of the books, which causes the bindings to weaken and break, which leaves you with a handful of pages. Although the pages may be in good shape and most still have easily readable handwriting, the pages are getting scattered about and no one seems to care. Moreover, the books are placed on bare wood shelves, witnessed by
ADAH.

You are correct that there has been a
Loose Papers Project. This was done by LDS in conjunction with ADAH, who provided the training for volunteers (many from the local Genealogical Society) and assisted in getting permission from the different courts to copy the records. I attended the first training session in June 2004. It was brought to the attention of Mr. Tom Turly of ADAH, who was conducting the meeting, that there were many old records on the 7th floor that should be included in this project.

This current project was to cover divorce records held by the Circuit Court that covered the years 1925 thru 1950. Later Estate Records, again from the Circuit Court files were added. When the 7th floor records were mentioned, ADAH said they may be included but an inventory would have to be taken and submitted to Salt Lake City for approval. The LDS coordinator was more interested in copying records from the 1920 through the 1950 and wasn't concerned about records 100 years old than those. […] Although LDS would love to microfilm everything, [he said] it just was not economically possible.

I next turned to my local Genealogical Society. The President was initially supportive and helped me bring to passage a standing committee titled "Records Preservation Committee". Our by-laws plainly state that we are to educate ourselves in the methods of genealogical research and preserve historical records whenever possible. [Unfortunately, efforts here have not been forthcoming.]

I am in contact with Karen, the genealogist featured in the latest
Tuscaloosa News article. We are teaming together. She has Alabama Department of Archives and History coming to the courthouse on 01 Aug 07 and I will be there with her. The wagons are circling but we need help from everywhere.

Our thoughts are to create a Local Government Records Archive. There are provisions where records can be transferred to a suitable location. There are 14 such independent Archives in Alabama and ADAH has a program to help create them. Even help with available grants. I have leads on locations but nothing confirmed.

Please talk this up all you will. Tuscaloosa County is not the only county suffering in Alabama this way. On the News Forums, one poster said that she found 19th century records in Greene County just lying on the floor. Our judicial system does not fund the courts to care for old records. The local courts just pile them up and cover them with more stuff and the Alabama Archive people are aware of it.

Others have written describing how political the topic has become. It sounds to Ol' Myrt like the Alabama state-funded “local government records archive” would be a great alternative for both Tuscaloosa and Greene County records in jeopardy.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Code for attending FamilyHistoryLiveOnline classes

NOTE: This blog entry has been amended to distinguish between the content code and the session's log on code.

DearREADERS,
Ol' Myrt has previously participated in a learning experience provided by FamilyHistoryLiveOnline.com and recently wrote about the upcoming Online Family History Fair 28 July 2007. Today I received the link to the “content” which will allow attendees to see what’s happening on the marker board screen in addition to hearing the presentation by the following speakers:

8:00 AM Welcome - Moderator, Gena Philibert Ortega
8:10 AM Jonathan Walker: "Using Catholic Records"
8:45 AM Generation Maps
9:00 AM Gena Philibert Ortega: "Needle in the Haystack: Finding Female Ancestors"
9:45 AM BREAK
10:00 AM Peter Barrie: "A Transatlantic Case Study"
10:45 AM BREAK
11:00 AM Barry Ewell: "Effectively Tapping into Local, County, and Historical Societies"
12:00 PM Discussion and break for lunch
1:00 PM
Welcome - Moderator, Gena Philibert Ortega
1:05 PM Barry Ewell: "Effective Strategies for Researching Newspapers"
2:00 PM Closing - Moderator, Gena Philibert Ortega
2:05 PM Genealogy Jam
From: lynnec@livefhsupport.com
DearMYRTLE,
If you plan to attend the Family History Fair on July 28, you must first download content or you will not be able to log in. (We recommend you download the content the day before the fair.)

  • Open the ReGL viewer (if you have not yet installed the viewer, go
    to
    http://www.stillmangeorge.com/sgregl.exe
    and follow the instructions)
  • Click on the “UPDATE REGL” button
  • Click on the “UPDATE CONTENT” button
  • Type in the field : fhlo.gen1 then click next
  • Click on “Install”, this will install the content

Regards,
Lynne Crawford
Family History Live Online
www.familyhistoryliveonline.com

DO NOT use the content code to log in to the session, DO follow these instructions:
  • Open the ReGL Viewer.
  • Click on the “CLICK TO LOG ON” button
  • Click the “JOIN A SESSION” button
  • Type in your name
  • Enter the session code: fhlo.fair This is the log on code.
  • Click the “LOG IN” button
Ol' Myrt heartily recommends taking these free genealogy classes. If you have any questions, contact Lynne personally at: lynnec@livefhsupport.com

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

Getting to the original will

When another researcher cites an index, what is your next step?

See also: Getting to the original will - Part II

From: Patsy
DearMYRTLE,
It has been a while since I’ve done research, and I have forgotten how to access FamilySearch, find a county, and go through the process to get a copy of will, etc.

I know that Chambers County, Alabama has been microfilmed, according to their site. I have a reference that states in Will Book 3 (1855-1872) there is a will for Henrietta Nichols. I’ve never looked at it and don't know how I missed this one. Can you give me the steps for checking FamilySearch? Once I find the fiche/film number, what will be the best way to get a copy?

DearPATSY,
Thank-you for writing for help with a specific research challenge. I wish Ol' Myrt here lived in Salt Lake so I could simply run to the Family History Library and obtain a copy for you directly.

Since the majority of genealogists in the world do not have private jets to do research in person, this case study will serve to show folks how to use the FHL Catalog, identify & order microfilm or microfiche and view the item through their local Family History Centers. Since there is a network of over 4,000 such local branches of the Family History Library it is likely most researchers will find one close enough to visit on a regular basis.

GOALS
Locate & obtain copy of page(s) from Chambers County, Alabama Will Book 3 (1855-1872) where you have been told there is a will for Henrietta Nichols.

Also, obtain copies of the probate packet that may provide more clues about family relationships in the list of heirs and other next of kin perhaps not named in the will itself.

LOCATE THE WILL BOOK ON MICROFILM
1. Go to http://www.familysearch.org/.

2. CLICK on Family History Library Catalog.

3. CLICK the “Place Search” button.

4. Type CHAMBERS as part of ALABAMA and click the “Search” button.

5. CLICK to select “Alabama, Chambers”. Localities are listed by largest to smallest jurisdiction.

6. NOTE categories of records for the place. The FHL Catalog explains “Chambers County was created by act of the state general assembly on 18 December 1832 from lands ceded to the state by the Creek Indians. County seat: Chambers Court House (April-October 1833) and LaFayette (1833-present).”

7. SCROLL DOWN to note two related categories:

8. CLICK “Alabama, Chambers - Probate records” and NOTE the list does not include your cited source “Will book 3, 1856-1872, Chambers County, Alabama”:

PAUSE & THINK THIS THROUGH
Before you close the FHL Catalog, let’s think this through. Since the Will Book 3 in question is not on film at the Family History Library, you will need to write to the courthouse.

Yes, it is possible that the microfilms of Chambers County administrator, inventory, settlement and miscellaneous probate records listed above may include info about your ancestress. However, we need more info from the index your source cited to proceed.

Ol' Myrt recalls your experience with another courthouse, where you provided the exact page number of a will, and the reply was that “We did not locate a will.” The will was found when you visited the courthouse and made the same request in person. This is why we need to collect as much specific information as possible, including exact date of death, probate dates, case or page numbers, etc. to assist the already over-worked county clerk of the court in locating the will and probate packet for your ancestress Henrietta Nichols.

It is possible that the next FHL Catalog category “Probate Records – Indexes” will have the information you seek.

CHECK THE OTHER PROBATE CATEGORY
9. CLICK the back button on your web browser.

10. CLICK “Alabama, Chambers - Probate records - Indexeswhere we succeed in finding a FHL catalog entry for Index to will book 3, 1856-1872, Chambers County, Alabama compiled by MariLee Beatty Hagness. This entry explains this index is on “14 leaves” published in a series called Alabama Genealogical Sources: V AL 13-5, published by MLH Research circa 1997 in Anniston, Alabama.

If you were planning to visit the FHL in person, the book is available on the US & Canada floor under call number 976.156 P22h. Fortunately the “VIEW FILM NOTES” button is available to click in the upper right hand of the catalog entry, which means the index also available on microfilm or microfiche.

11. CLICK “VIEW FILM NOTES” button.

12. NOTE the FHL Catalog detail “Index to will book 3, 1856-1872, Chambers County, Alabama […] Also on microfiche. Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1999. 1 fiche. FHL US/CAN Fiche 6002452.” US/CAN means that the single microfiche #6002452 is filed in the Family History Library on the US & Canada Floor.

ORDER THE FILM THROUGH LOCAL FAMILY HISTORY CENTER (FHC)
13. PRINT the entry in the FHL Catalog for this microfiche (item 10 above) so you may order the microfiche through your local FHC. This saves you time at the FHC because it handwritten microfilm/fiche numbers must always verified to avoid ordering the incorrect item.

14. Click Find a Family History Center Near You if you are unfamiliar with using FHCs and do not know where to go. Hours of operation vary from center to center, so it is best to call in advance for specifics.

15. Place the order for your microfilm/fiche. There is a small fee for this service.

VIEW & COPY THE MICROFILM/FICHE
A FHC volunteer will call when the fiche order arrives. Microfilm initially stays in the center only a few weeks, but microfiche orders involve a new copy of the original being created and sent to complete your order. This means the fiche you order will stay in the center as part of the permanent collection.

Most FHCs have microfilm/fiche reader printers so you can make a paper copy of the page mentioning your ancestress. Be sure to also make a photocopy of the title and copyright pages of the book on fiche. Some busier FHCs are equipped with reader printers that scan the images and place them on CD for you to take home and print out on your home computer system. I like this option, so that you can attach a copy of the scanned image to your ancestress in your genealogy management software.

16. Make note of the date and other identifying remarks about your ancestor provided in the index book on microfiche, so that this information can be included in your letter of request to the Chambers Probate Office.

DECIDE WHAT TO DO
Now that you have some specific notes including the date and location of Henrietta Nichol's will, you probably have enough to submit your written request.

COMPOSE & SNAIL MAIL YOUR LETTER OF REQUEST
17. The Handybook for Genealogists 11th Edition on CD explains:

  • “CHAMBERS County was created 18 Dec 1832 from the Creek Cession of 1832.
  • The researchers' website at RootsWeb is: www.RootsWeb.com/~alchambe .
  • The Probate Office has marriage records from 1833, probate and land records from 1843; Clerk of the Circuit Court has divorce & court records. 18 Alabama Avenue, Lafayette, AL 36862. Phone 334.864.7181.”

Ol' Myrt does not advise telephone calls to request a file from a courthouse. Your letter of request should look like this:

Probate Office
18 Alabama Avenue
Lafayette, AL 36862

Date: ____________________

Dear sirs,
Please provide a copy of the
will, and all items from the probate packet of my ancestor Henrietta Nichols who
died
_______________________.

Sources:
· Index to will book 3, 1856-1872, Chambers County, Alabama compiled by MariLee Beatty Hagness states _________________________.
· (list other reference)
· (list other reference)

I have enclosed a check for $25 toward the cost of photocopies, and can be reached by telephone at: (000) 000-0000.

Thank-you,
Your name
Your street address
City,
State Zip

It is not necessary to send a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to a US state or federal agency.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

National Archives Sept 2007 events schedule

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from the National Archives Public Affairs desk. All inquiries should be addressed to: public.Affairs@nara.gov

July 25, 2007

SPECIAL PROGRAMS TO HIGHLIGHT NATIONAL ARCHIVES RECORDS IN SEPTEMBER

Washington, DC. . . In September, the National Archives will feature a series of programs highlighting records from the National Archives holdings on a wide range of subjects including genealogy, Hispanic military service, Puerto Rico, and Asian immigration.

All programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted and will be held in the National Archives Building Research Center and at Archives II at College Park, Maryland. Both facilities are fully accessible. To request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) for a public program, please email public.program@nara.gov or call (202) 357-5000 at least two weeks prior to the event to ensure proper arrangements are secured.

Please note: For programs at the National Archives Research Center, the public must use the building's Pennsylvania Avenue entrance, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC. The National Archives at College Park, MD is located at 8601 Adelphi Road. For directions to both locations, see: http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro.

Wednesday, September 26, 9:30-11:30 a.m., Jefferson Room Hispanics in the 19th Century through Military and Census Records Archivist Constance Potter and Archives Specialist John Deeben will present a workshop on Hispanics in the Southwest in the 19th century, focusing on Civil War military service, regimental, and pension records for volunteers from New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas as well as population and non-population census schedules. Reservations are required, and a fee of $20 is payable by cash or check at the door. Call 202-357-5333.

Friday, September 28, 10:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Jefferson Room Who's on Your Family Tree? Beginning Your Family Genealogy How can you get started on your family genealogy? Marie Melchiori, CG, CGL, will take a look at home, local, county, and Federal sources as well as what might be on the Internet. Reservations are required, and a fee of $20 is payable by cash or check at the door. Call 202-357-5333.

Tuesday, September 4, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center Footnotes National Archives Librarian Jeffrey Hartley will discuss how the National Archives and Footnote.com are bringing unprecedented access to selections of the Archives' holdings and how to use this resource. (This lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in Lecture Room B, on Thursday, September 6, at 11 a.m.)

Tuesday, September 11, at 11 a.m., National Archives at College Park, Lecture Room D Early Chinese/Asian Immigration History: Records of the National Archives Pacific Region (San Francisco) Archives Specialist Bill Greene will focus on the 250,000 immigration case files and related records in the National Archives Pacific Region (San Francisco), which document Chinese/Asian immigration history during the Chinese Exclusion Acts period, 1880s-1940s. (This lecture will be repeated at the National Archives Building in Washington in Room G-24, Research Center, on Thursday, September 13, at 9:30 a.m.)

Thursday, September 13, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center Mexican Border Crossings Archivist Claire Kluskens will discuss Mexican border crossing records that document the arrival of permanent and temporary immigrants to the United States at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Tuesday, September 18, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center Hispanic Volunteers in the Antebellum U.S. Army Archives Specialist John Deeben will discuss service records and other documentation for Hispanics who served in the U.S. Army, 1835-55. Many fought in the Second Seminole War, the Mexican War, and the Apache and Navajo wars of the 1850s. (This lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in Lecture Room B, on Thursday, September 20, at 11 a.m.)

Friday, September 21, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center Hispanic-Related Films from the National Archives We present and discuss a variety of film clips illustrating Hispanic population, culture, activities, and families in the early to mid-20th century.

Tuesday, September 25, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center Documenting Community, Politics, and the Economy in Puerto Rico, 1898-1950 Archives Branch Chief Kenneth Heger will provide an overview of the records of the two Federal agencies that administered Puerto Rico-the Bureau of Insular Affairs and the Office of Territories-focusing on their value to local historians. (This lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in Lecture Room B, on Thursday, September 27, at 11 a.m.)

Wednesday, September 26, at noon, Room G-24, Research Center From the Records Book Group We will discuss The Archaeologist Was a Spy: Sylvanus G. Morley and the Office of Naval Intelligence, by Charles H. Harris III and Louis R. Sadler. Please check the Archives Shop (202-357-5271) for book availability and a special discount for participants. October's book will be The Secret in Building 26: the Untold Story of America's Ultra War against the U-boat Enigma Codes, by Jim DeBrosse and Colin Burke.

To verify the date and times of the programs, the public should call (202) 357-5333, or view the Calendar of Events on the web at: http://www.archives.gov/calendar/.

To contact the National Archives, please call 1-866-272-6272 or 1-86-NARA-NARA; (TDD) (301) 837-0482.
# # #

For PRESS information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (202) 357-5300.

DearMYRTLE’s FAMILY HISTORY HOUR 24 July 2007

DearLISTENERS & READERS,
This week's DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour 24 July 2007 genealogy podcast is available for listening via computer or transferred to your .mp3 player if you choose to download it automatically through a service such as iTunes. For a complete list of current podcasts visit: http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com/.

TOPICS & GUESTS THIS WEEK:



  • Diane Rapaport, author of New England Court Records: A research guide for genealogists and historians, to discuss the difference between case “at law” and case “in equity” and Admiralty courts, in addition to what to expect at state courts and federal courts within a given state. Contact: info@Diane-Rapaport.com Website: http://www.diane-rapaport.com/



    Raspberry Jam
    - Ol' Myrt describes the actual cooking & canning process. Note the three pictures below include a water bath canner, jam making tools, and three new jars of freshly made jam. The taller jar on the right did not get turned rightside up in time for the jam to settle in the jar before jelling, hence the odd clear space at the bottom of the glass jar. So be sure to observe the Certo recipe's 5-minute suggestion if using the inversion method for sealing the jam jars.
















LINKS WE MENTION

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


(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.


National Archives to celebrate Constitution Day

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from the National Archives Public Affairs desk. All inquiries should be addressed to: Public.Affairs@nara.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - July 25, 2007

THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES CELEBRATES CONSTITUTION DAY


Washington, D.C. . . . The National Archives celebrates the 220th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution throughout September with exciting public programs including a special family day on Sunday, September 16, and a panel discussion on racial equality on Constitution Day, September 17. These events are free and open to the public.

The National Archives has the original Constitution on permanent display in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom of the National Archives Building, located on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, D.C.

Constitution Day Family Celebration - Happy Birthday U.S. Constitution!
Sunday, September 16, 12 noon - 3 p.m., Presidential Conference Center

  • Sign the Constitution (Presidential Conference Room Lobby, noon-3 p.m.)
  • View the film The Making of the Constitution, 1997, 25 minutes (Jefferson Room, noon and 1 p.m.)
  • Have a piece of birthday cake and meet President James Madison, Father of the Constitution, and First Lady Dolley Madison (Washington Room, 12:30-2 p.m.)
  • Meet Syl Sobel, author of The U.S. Constitution and You (Washington Room, 1-2 p.m.)
  • Join Mrs. Madison as she describes White House entertainment in the early 19th century (Jefferson Room, 1:45-2:30 p.m.)
  • Explore historical documents that demonstrate the Constitution in action. Take on the role of a "Presidential researcher" and match original documents to sections of the Constitution (Boeing Learning Center, noon-3 p.m.)

Unfinished Business: Racial Equality in American History
Monday, September 17, at 7 p.m., William G. McGowan Theater

What social and political factors have influenced the path of racial progress, and how have law and court decisions contributed to American equality? In the newest volume from Oxford University's Inalienable Rights series, Unfinished Business: Racial Equality and American History, Michael J. Klarman offers a succinct account of racial equality and civil rights throughout American history. Archivist Allen Weinstein moderates a panel featuring Klarman, historian John Hope Franklin, and Lonnie Bunch, director, National Museum of African American History and Culture. A book signing will follow the program.


Related programs and exhibits at the National Archives:

School House to White House: The Education of the Presidents
Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery

As a boy, Richard Nixon won an oratorical contest by expounding upon "The Ever-Increasing Strength of the Constitution." Learn this and more in the new family-friendly "School House to White House" exhibition. Documents, artifacts, photos and films drawn from the collections of the National Archives Presidential Libraries reveal fascinating details about children that would grow up to be presidents. Journey back to a time of one room school houses, large public schools, and private tutors. See these future presidents as young sports stars, choir members, and musicians. Watch them mature into serious college and military academy students. Together these experiences demonstrate the variety of educational and extra-curricular experiences that trained and influenced our nation's future leaders.

The 1297 Magna Carta
West Rotunda Gallery

The 1297 Magna Carta is on display in the Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives. In 1215 on the plains of Runnymede an assembly of barons confronted the despotic King John of England and demanded that traditional rights be recognized, written down, confirmed with the royal seal, and sent to each of the counties to be read to all freemen. King John agreed, binding himself and his heirs to grant "to all freemen of our kingdom" the rights and liberties described in the great charter, or Magna Carta. Thus King John placed himself and England's future sovereigns and magistrates within the rule of law.

Between 1215 and 1297, Magna Carta was reissued by each of King John's successors. The 1297 Magna Carta, confirmed by Edward I, was entered on the English statute rolls and thus became the foundation document of English common law. Only four originals of the 1297 Magna Carta remain. The 1297 Magna Carta on display at the National Archives was purchased by the Perot Foundation in 1984 and is on indefinite loan to the National Archives. It is the only Magna Carta permanently residing in the United States.

A New World Is at Hand
Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom
Flanking the permanent display of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights is the exhibition, "A New World Is at Hand." Featuring a selection of the National Archives' most treasured documents, this exhibition reveals the drama, passion, and poignancy of the struggle for freedom that has defined much of U.S. history. On Constitution Day, we call particular attention to George Washington's own working copy of the first printed draft of the constitution. Other highlights of the exhibit include Benjamin Franklin's draft of the Articles of Confederation, a working draft of the amendments that would become the Bill of Rights, and a document from the milestone Marbury v. Madison Supreme Court case.

The Public Vaults
This permanent interactive exhibition - literally located behind the wall of the display of the Constitution - is organized according to the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. The Public Vaults creates the feeling of going into the stacks and vaults of the National Archives, and offers visitors a "hands on" examination of the workings of the three branches of government, as outlined in the Constitution.

Special online educational program - Teaching With Documents: U.S. Constitution Workshop
What does the light bulb have to do with the U. S. Constitution? Or the board game "Monopoly"? How about the letter you wrote to the president when you were in elementary school? The answer to all three questions is: plenty-if you know your Constitution. See: http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/constitution-workshop/index.html

Exhibition Hours and Contact Information:
Summer exhibit hours through Labor Day are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. Beginning September 4, hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily, except Thanksgiving and December 25. The National Archives is fully accessible. If you need to request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) for a public program please email public.program@nara.gov or call 202-357-5000 at least two weeks prior to the event to ensure proper arrangements are secured.

# # #
For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.
07-118

Australian British Convicts database online

Ancestry.co.uk launches the most complete collection of Australian convict transportation lists - approximately 160,000 names

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just released through the Ancestry.co.uk MediaRoom. All inquiries should be addressed to Ancestry's support desk.

25 July 2007 - In a world-first, Ancestry.co.uk today launched online the most comprehensive collection of convict transportation records - the Convict Transportation Registers: 1788-1868, which include most of the 163,021[i] convicts transported to Australia during the 18th and 19th Centuries.

Ancestry.co.uk estimates that more than two million Britons are directly descended from these deportees[ii], meaning that there is a one in 30 chance of Brits having a convict ancestor listed among the records.

The collection - the originals for which are held at The National Archives, includes the four transportation registers spanning the 80 years of convict transportation, and also the New South Wales and Tasmania, Australia Convict Pardons and Tickets of Leave, 1834-1859, Convict Musters, 1806-1849 and Settler and Convict Lists,1787-1834.

Information contained in the records includes name, date and place of conviction, term of sentence, name of ship, departure date and colony to which convicts were sent. Also included can be occupation, marital status, religion and the date on which freedom was finally granted.

The Ancestry.co.uk convict records collection provides a unique insight into the penal practices of the British Empire. Australia was first settled in 1788 when the British Government established a penal colony at Port Jackson, Sydney Bay, with accurate records of all convicts kept from that date.

Convict deportation reached a peak in 1833 when 36 ships transported nearly 7,000 convicts to the colonial outpost. The journey to Australia took eight months, six spent at sea and two in ports for supplies and repairs.

83 per cent of convicts were male aged between 15 and 30 years and 75 per cent worked in unskilled professions. Although a small number were convicted of serious crimes such as murder or assault (two per cent), most had committed more minor offences – 87 per cent of men and 91 per cent of women were convicted of property crime including larceny, burglary and ‘theft of animal or fowl[iii]’. Some more colourful crimes listed in the collection include:
  • Stealing fish from a pond or river
  • Embezzling Naval stores
  • Receiving or buying stolen goods, jewels and plate etc.
  • Setting fire to underwood
  • Petty larcenies or thefts, under one shilling

Convicts of note, or whose descendents have gone on to enjoy success or notoriety, are listed in the records, include:

  • Red Kelly, the father of Ned Kelly, Australia’s most famous bush ranger. An Irishman, Red was sentenced to seven years for stealing two pigs and was sent to Tasmania. Upon release, Red settled in Victoria, married and in 1855 had a son, Edward (aka Ned) who became a folk hero for his defiance of the colonial authorities. He was hanged at Melbourne Gaol in 1880.
  • Elizabeth Thackery, the first female convict to have set foot in the country, was sentenced to seven years for the theft of five handkerchiefs, arriving on the First Fleet. She eventually settled in Tasmania, living to the age of 93.
  • John Caesar also arrived on the First Fleet, having been convicted for stealing 240 shillings. Caesar originated from the West Indies and was the first black convict to arrive in Australia.

Ancestry.co.uk spokesperson Josh Hanna comments: “This is the first time that these unique records have ever been brought together in one place online, making them accessible to so many. While Australia’s convict history itself has been well documented, there are thousands of individual stories in the collection just waiting to be told.

“These records are of significance not only to the one in four Australians who are of convict descent, but also to the estimated two million Brits, many of whom are unaware of their links to the other side of the globe and who can now claim Australian convicts amongst their ancestors.”

[i] A.G.L. Shaw, Convicts and the Colonies, 1977

[ii] 163,021 convicts were deported between 1787 and 1867, with the midpoint and peak of deportation being the early to mid 1830s. The average convict had five siblings meaning convicts left behind 800,000 brothers and sisters. The population at this time stood at approximately 15,700,000, meaning relatives of convicts made up around 5.1 per cent of the population. Taking into account emigration and migration since the end of convict deportation, this sample of 800,000 people will have grown into a population of around two million (1.95 million) or 3.33 per cent of the current population (one in 30). This is a broad estimate. Sources include ONS trends data, Papers of the Royal Commission on Population, and the 1841-1901 Censuses.

[iii] L.L. Robinson, The Convict Settlers, 1965

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pioneer Day 24 July

DearREADERS,
Ol' Myrt just spoke via cell with her 7-year-old granddaughter Aubrey who often asks about our family’s pioneer ancestors. I had forgotten that today was the 24th of July, which is an official holiday in Utah commemorating the arrival of the first Mormon pioneers as they first looked upon the Salt Lake Valley, and leader Brigham Young stated “This is the right place”. Aubrey and family are going on a picnic with neighbors for dinner tonight to celebrate.

Thanks for writing to include your suggestions of online resources for early LDS Church genealogy researchers.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Missouri Mormon War documents online

DearREADERS,
In preparation for the previous blog entry citing laudable Missouri records preservation efforts, Ol' Myrt stumbled across the Missouri State web page titled The Missouri Mormon War where we read:

“Within a few years, the migration and settlement of Latter-day Saints in frontier Missouri led to events that would earn Mormonism a painful place in Missouri history. The state’s “Old Settlers” (usually recent immigrants to the Missouri frontier themselves) characterized the Mormon settlers as fanatics whose clannish behavior made a mockery of republican institutions by placing power in the hands of a single man. The Mormons claimed that they had done nothing wrong, and were attacked for their religious beliefs. Violence broke out in 1833 as the “Old Settlers” under the guise of “extra-legal” justice took the law into their own hands."

Included in the collection are links for researchers such as Ol' Myrt who have early LDS pioneer ancestry:

While I did not have any known ancestors who were killed at Haun's Mill or elsewhere in Missouri, it is helpful to look at original documents that prompted the forced migration of many on my paternal side of the family tree. Historians will agree that second-hand reports are less reliable that original documents that have survived from the time period in question.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Tuscaloosa County Courthouse to scan & destroy original records

Alabama researcher wishes to preserve vital link to family heritage

DearREADERS,

Clerks of courts have a daunting task keeping up with the current docket in a society here cutbacks in funding are the norm. Maintaining records in optimum conditions is often frustrated by fiscal belt-tightening foisted upon the clerks by the county or state government that provides increasingly less support for the physical facilities where clerks are employed.

Ultimate responsibility falls on constituents and interested parties to prevail upon county and state governments to adequately provide for the preservation of our heritage.

According to a newspaper report posted online yesterday, Circuit Clerk Magaria Bobo explains Tuscaloosa County [Alabama] court documents will be scanned and destroyed, citing the delicate nature of old files.

However, the Library of Congress Digital Preservation Resources page warns “In many cases, digital materials are considered more fragile than physical ones. The files themselves can be easily destroyed or stored in a format that becomes obsolete.”

Scanning old documents is only part the preservation process and that it is not infallible. Originals must be available for review by historians when the scanned image is unreadable. An example is the case of US federal census records in the custody of the National Archives (NARA). Microfilm copies suffice for 99.44% of research, but on rare occasions, original census books for some years may be viewed when the microfilm image is too murky to decipher.

Ol' Myrt is under the impression that pre-1900 paper generally holds up better than newer paper, because the later is bleached white during the creation process, resulting in a higher acid content that causes premature aging. That is probably why there is a proliferation of products and processes to deacidify paper for long-term storage. However, the hot and moldy attic cited in the Tuscaloosa County court documents article is not conducive to prolonging the life of anything.

“Locked away in a seemingly forgotten room of the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse are hundreds of records detailing events in Tuscaloosa County’s past dating back as far as 1812.

All the documents stored on the seventh floor, or attic of the courthouse, are circuit court records. Many are handwritten in cursive penmanship on aged parchment that could easily crumble if not carefully handled.The specifics of the records vary, but a few are marriage licenses, divorce records, jailhouse records, family records, lawsuits and criminal cases.

For genealogist Karen Hunnicutt, who recently learned of these ancient Tuscaloosa records, they are more precious than Aztec gold.And that’s why she became quite livid when she found out the records were falling apart and slated for destruction.

Hunnicutt, 41, found the records while researching a historically prominent Northport family with local historian Marvin Harper. She said she was shocked at the condition of the records.“The records were somewhat disorganized and some were in complete decay," she said. “They’re supposed to be in a cool, preserved environment, not some hot, moldy attic."

For the rest of the story see Genealogist tries to preserve county records: Records dating to 1800s stored in courthouse attic by Jamon Smith, Staff Writer, DatelineAlabama.com July 23, 2007.

Thanks to Leland Meitzler of Genealogy Blog for staying up late and bringing this sad news to Ol' Myrt’s attention.

With little effort, Ol' Myrt was able to determine the Alabama Department of Archives & History has embarked on an Alabama County Loose Records Project and that Tuscaloosa County is listed as one where the filming project has been completed, per color-coded map dated 05/07. However, attempts to determine bibliographic references to records groups in this microfilm preservation project failed. Calls to the Alabama Department of Archives & History office (reference desk) this morning reverted to the “we are closed Sun & Mon” voice message. This is Tuesday and I had hoped for more.

Ol' Myrt is sending a copy of this blog entry to the following organizations with the hope that instruction and resources will be forthcoming.

Please note that the Tuscaloosa County, Alabama website is largely under development, and provides only a US Mail and telephone method for contacting the county probate judge and county commissioners. I will therefore address my letter to:

Tuscaloosa County Alabama
W. Hardy McCollum, Probate Judge & County Commission Chair
Bobby Miller, Commissioner
Reginald Murray, Commissioner
Don Wallace, Commissioner
Gary Youngblood, Commissioner
714 Greensboro Ave
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

It is hoped that by shedding light on the plight of the Clerk of the court in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama that additional community resources will be forthcoming. This discussion may lead to effective documents preservation in other communities.

Note that in DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour podcast to be released later today, New England Court Records author Diane Rapaport, explains that many times court records are no longer kept at local county courthouses. In the Ohio, the Library of the Ohio Historical Society is also the State Archives of Ohio. There are also eight branches of the Ohio Network of American History Research Centers. In Missouri, the counties have turned over all death records to the Missouri State Archives. Would that all governments would agree with this organization’s policy statement:

“The Missouri State Archives is the official repository for state records of permanent and historical value. Its mission is to foster an appreciation of Missouri history and illuminate contemporary public issues by preserving and making available the state's permanent records to its citizens and their government.”

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.