Friday, August 31, 2007

Ancestry speaks about this week's fiasco

DearREADERS,
What a week it has been. After challenges with Ancestry.com noted in DearMYRTLE's blog entry titled Numbers, ranking & Ancestry.com (29 Aug 2007 12:39pm Pacific US) followed by Ancestry withdraws offensive database (29 Aug 2007 4:15pm Pacific US), we now hear an apology and statement of purpose:

From Ancestry.com's blog, 24/7 Family History Circle, we find a posting from Ancestry employee Kendall Hulet:

"I wanted to write you a note because I’m extremely concerned about the frustrations that the recently-removed Internet Biographical Collection has caused. We had hoped to provide a way for you to be able to search the entire web easily for genealogically-relevant pages and provide for preservation of sources for future generations. In looking back, we understand why members of the community are upset. We’ve heard you loud and clear, and we’ve removed this product with no intention of re-releasing it. Instead, it is my hope that someday we’ll be able to provide a free web search engine that links directly back to the live web pages, and can become a useful tool to the genealogical community. If we do move forward with this type of initiative, we will seek your input and talk more with community leaders to make sure we get it right." Source: More on the Internet Biographical Collection



Ol' Myrt here sure hopes Ancestry will follow-through with this plan.

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, August 30, 2007

GenealogyBank - 3 million records from 122 newspapers from 43 States and DC - in August

August was an amazing month for GenealogyBank – adding almost 3 Million new records & documents – including 122 newspapers from 43 States & DC.

Click to find out more about GenealogyBank.com


New content added to http://www.genealogybank.com/
August 2007

Summary Totals – 199,955,364 records (Up from 196,963,511 records last month)
Newspapers - New content added for 43 States – 122 Titles
Almost 3 Million records and documents were added this month


Historical Newspapers (1690-1977) Over 1,300 titles; 94.6+ Million
articles - updated monthly
America's Obituaries (1977-Current) 25+ Million Obits; over 900
newspapers - updated daily
Historical Books (1801-1900) More than 11,700 items - updated monthly
Historical Documents (1759 - 1980) Over 120,000+ reports; Now
digitizing September 1922
SSDI (1937 to Current) Over 80 Million death records. Only site to be
updated weekly

Remember: You may search http://www.genealogybank.com/ for free - you will see just a few lines of the articles or document with your search terms - to see the entire item you DO need to subscribe.

AL Birmingham Labor Advocate 6/29/1895 to 12/20/1902
AL Montgomery Daily Alabama Journal 4/14/1849 to 12/31/1853
AR Little Rock Arkansas Whig 5/22/1851 to 12/29/1853
AZ Prescott Weekly Arizona Miner 1/8/1875 to 12/29/1876
CA San Francisco Alta California 6/1/1850 to 10/6/1856
CT Hartford Hartford Daily Courant 2/3/1840 to 7/6/1876
CT Hartford Hartford Times 2/6/1832 to 12/9/1833
CT Hartford Patriot and Eagle 3/7/1835 to 12/30/1837
CT Hartford Times & Weekly Advertiser 1/12/1829 to 12/28/1829
CT Middletown Constitution 1/1/1873 to 12/30/1874
CT Middletown Sentinel and Witness 10/1/1823 to 8/7/1833
CT New Haven New Haven Register 10/23/1878 to 12/31/1900
CT New London New London Gazette 1/1/1827 to 12/27/1837
CT Suffield Impartial Herald 6/14/1797 to 6/11/1799
DC Washington Daily Globe 12/5/1848 to 7/7/1858
DC Washington Evening Union 6/8/1863 to 6/29/1867
DC Washington Madisonian for the Country 2/2/1839 to 12/4/1841
DE Dover Delaware State Reporter 6/17/1853 to 10/14/1859
DE Wilmington Delaware Gazette and State Journal 1/31/1826 to 7/15/1828
DE Wilmington Delaware Patriot & American Watchman 1/25/1828 to 12/5/1828
FL Bonita Springs Banner 01/27/1996 to Current
FL Longboat Key Longboat Observer 11/02/2006 to Current
FL Tallahassee Floridian and Journal 1/1/1859 to 12/22/1860
GA Augusta Augusta Chronicle and Georgia Advertiser 9/5/1822 to 12/30/1829
GA Augusta Southern Centinel 11/2/1793 to 12/28/1797
GA Columbus Columbus Ledger-Enquirer 5/5/1911 to 7/18/1911
GA LaGrange LaGrange Daily News 02/01/2006 to Current
GA Savannah Georgia Gazette 10/23/1788 to 11/25/1802
GA Savannah Savannah Republican 1/1/1849 to 12/31/1850
HI Honolulu Friend 5/1/1870
HI Honolulu Polynesian 4/11/1846 to 9/11/1858
HI Honolulu Sandwich Island News 9/2/1846 to 12/23/1846
IA Burlington Burlington Gazette 7/10/1837 to 12/15/1838
IA Des Moines Daily Iowa State Register 1/3/1866 to 12/31/1867
IA Des Moines Daily State Register 7/1/1868 to 12/31/1868
IA Sioux City Sioux City Journal 1/3/1872 to 8/20/1900
ID Silver City Owyhee Avalanche 10/17/1874 to 12/28/1900
IL Chicago Inter Ocean 7/7/1874 to 12/25/1889
IL Chicago Pomeroy's Democrat 1/6/1869 to 2/15/1879
IN Indianapolis American Nonconformist 11/11/1886 to 6/13/1895
IN Indianapolis Indiana State Journal 6/24/1846 to 5/19/1897
KS Atchison Weekly Champion and Press 2/20/1858 to 1/14/1864
KS Topeka Lucifer the light-bearer 1/1/1886 to 12/25/1896
LA New Orleans Daily True Delta 5/23/1857 to 5/17/1862
LA New Orleans Daily True Delta 5/23/1857 to 5/17/1862
LA New Orleans Louisiana State Gazette 11/25/1825 to 12/7/1826
LA New Orleans Orleans Gazette & Commercial Advertiser 6/11/1805 to 1/5/1816
LA New Orleans Sunday Delta 9/28/1856 to 3/25/1860
MA Boston Boston Daily Advertiser 1/1/1822 to 6/29/1822
MA Boston Emancipator and Republican 5/18/1833 to 12/26/1850
MA Newton Newton TAB 08/23/2006 to Current
MA Stockbridge Berkshire Star 1/4/1821 to 1/1/1829
MA Stockbridge Western Star 9/30/1799 to 11/8/1806
MA Worcester National Aegis 6/15/1825 to 2/14/1827
MD Baltimore Sun 5/17/1837 to 2/33/1901
ME Portland Eastern Argus 1/1/1800 to 12/30/1800
MI Detroit Weekly Detroit Free Press and supp.. The Household 1/2/1886
to 6/4/1887
MI Grand Rapids Grand Rapids Herald 1/1/1899 to 12/30/1900
MN Duluth Duluth News-Tribune 2/1/1918 to 2/28/1918
MN Ontonagon Lake Superior Miner 8/16/1856 to 5/19/1869
MN Two Harbors Lake County News-Chronicle 05/11/2006 to Current
MO Ashland Boone County Journal 02/15/2006 to Current
MO Kansas City Kansas City Star 1/1/1913 to 4/14/1919
MO St. Louis St. Louis Enquirer 3/17/1819 to 12/18/1824
MS Biloxi Daily Herald 4/1/1921 to 6/30/1921
MT Butte Butte Weekly Miner 3/4/1897 to 6/29/1899
NC Fayetteville American 4/16/1826 to 4/11/1827
NC Raleigh Star 8/13/1813 to 7/25/1817
ND Bismarck Bismarck Tribune 1/1/1887 to 12/31/1892
NH Keene New Hampshire Sentinel 1/1/1840 to 12/26/1888
NH Keene New Hampshire Sentinel 1/1/1840 to 12/29/1841
NJ New Brunswick Political Intelligencer 2/11/1801 to 5/22/1819
NJ Trenton Trenton State Gazette 1/1/1838 to 6/30/1898
NV Elko Elko Daily Independent 7/1/1885 to 2/19/1887
NV Reno Nevada State Journal 8/1/1893 to 6/6/1922
NY Hudson Bee 1/6/1807 to 12/19/1820
NY Hudson Hudson Gazette 1/4/1803
NY New Orleans Orleans Gazette 6/28/1805 to 12/31/1819
NY New York Emancipator 7/1/1841 to 7/4/1844
NY New York Flash 10/31/1841 to 12/10/1842
NY New York Log Cabin 5/2/1840 to 11/20/1841
NY New York National Advocate 12/20/1825 to 6/27/1827
NY New York New York American 4/1/1898 to 12/31/1898
NY New York New York Herald 10/15/1844 to 8/31/1863
NY New York New-York Gazette 1/1/1805 to 10/31/1821
NY New York New-York Herald 2/1/1830 to 9/11/1830
NY New York Weekly Herald 8/1/1840 to 12/30/1854
NY Rochester Rochester Telegraph 1/6/1823 to 2/22/1827
OH Columbus Crisis 1/2/1862 to 1/20/1864
OH Columbus Daily Ohio Statesman 9/5/1837 to 11/30/1864
OH Columbus Ohio Statesman 1/2/1846 to 11/2/1852
OH Steubenville Steubenville and Steubenville Gazette 1/20/1821 to 12/28/1822
OK Muskogee Indian Journal 7/6/1895
OK Tahlequah Cherokee Advocate 4/29/1871 to 7/25/1896
OR Portland Democratic Standard 8/30/1854 to 2/16/1859
OR Portland Oregonian 12/7/1907 to 5/18/1908
OR The Dalles Dalles Chronicle 03/01/2005 to Current
PA Boyertown Boyertown Area Times 03/08/2007 to Current
PA Harrisburg Patriot 1/2/1868 to 1/3/1873
PA Philadelphia Pennsylvania Freeman 5/9/1844 to 6/15/1854
PA Philadelphia Pennsylvania Gazette 1/3/1760 to 6/26/1760
PA Philadelphia Weekly Aurora 6/19/1810 to 2/21/1821
PA West Grove Avon Grove Sun 04/05/2007 to Current
RI Newport Newport Mercury 1/6/1866 to 12/29/1866
RI Providence Microcosm, American and Gazette 4/17/1830 to 6/5/1830
RI Providence Providence Patriot 1/29/1814 to 12/27/1834
SC Charleston Southern Patriot 5/1/1843 to 10/31/1848
SD Aberdeen Aberdeen American 1/16/1917 to 12/31/1922
SD Aberdeen Aberdeen Daily News 10/16/1918 to 12/31/1919
TN Memphis Memphis Daily Avalanche 1/1/1867 to 6/30/1867
TX Victoria Victoria Advocate 1/20/1848 to 1/11/1849
UT Salt Lake City Salt Lake Daily Telegraph 1/12/1866 to 6/30/1867
VA Richmond Richmond Daily Whig 12/27/1833
VA Richmond Richmond Examiner 2/24/1862 to 10/26/1864
VA Richmond Richmond Whig 6/22/1824 to 4/27/1827
VT Bennington Bennington Banner 1/19/1865 to 6/28/1866
VT Burlington American Repertory 9/21/1821 to 3/25/1823
VT Windsor Spooners Vermont Journal 1/5/1818 to 8/3/1818
VT Windsor Vermont Republican 1/14/1811 to 11/27/1820
WI Madison Weekly Wisconsin Patriot 7/8/1854 to 7/25/1857
WI Madison Wisconsin Democrat 1/10/1846 to 10/13/1849
WI Madison Wisconsin Patriot 10/22/1864

ACROSS MY DESK: Neat videos on the net for genealogists

DearREADERS,
Among the sites visited this week, Ol' Myrt would especially like to draw your attention to:

Allen County Public Library’s
Genealogy Center I (tour) 9:14
Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library II (tour) 07:30
General Reference Wiki 03:59


Robert Ragan’s “how-to” presentations
The Genealogy Guy - Intro from Robert Ragan 02:32
Part 1 of Online Genealogy Information Gathering Method 08:39
Part 2 of Online Genealogy Information Gathering Method 07:14
Part 3 of Online Genealogy Information Gathering Method 06:08
Genealogy and Family Tree Researchers - The Google Toolbar 03:41

Canada AM Live’s
Digging for Irish Roots 4:30

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Genealogical.com offers penny shipping

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at Genealogical.com. All inquiries should be addressed to info@genealogical.com.

A PENNY FOR SHIPPING at Genealogical.com

(Offer Expires at 12 Noon EDT, Wednesday, September 5, 2007)

Dear “Genealogy Pointers” Subscriber:
Celebrate the long Labor Day weekend by saving big-time on shipping costs at Genealogical.com.

For the next six days you can order any quantity of books and/or CDs on our website and pay only one cent additional for PARCEL POST shipping. You can order as many times as you like before noon on Wednesday, September 5, 2007, and be charged just a penny for postage and handling on each order.

This limited-time offer applies to every book and CD in our collection. For example, you can use the penny offer towards our 40%-and-more-off "Genealogy Warehouse" books; or you can buy Elizabeth Shown Mills' remarkable new book, Evidence Explained: Citing Historical Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, for $49.96, just one cent more than the retail price.

Or, you can select one or more of the five CD-ROM publications that are on sale this week and pay just a penny to have it/them sent to your address. Anything on our site at all!You do not have to do anything special to receive this special offer.

Our shopping cart will automatically calculate $.01 on every PARCEL POST order you place. Are you going to be away from your computer over the holiday weekend? Not to worry. The penny-for-shipping special is in effect right now, and it doesn't expire until the middle of the day on the Wednesday after the holiday.

Important Exception: This special offer applies only to PARCEL POST shipments. All UPS, Federal Express, and postal shipping methods other than parcel post (e.g., Priority Mail, Next-Day Mail) will be charged our regular shipping prices.

CONTACT US
www.genealogical.com is the online home of Genealogical Publishing Companyand its affiliate, Clearfield Company. For general information about ourcompanies and their products, e-mail us at info@genealogical.com.

To order on-line, you may e-mail us at sales@genealogical.com.

To order other than online, you can:
1. Order by mail: 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260 - Baltimore, Maryland21211-1953

2. Fax your order to 1-410-752-8492

3. Call toll-free to our sales department at 1-800-296-6687.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ancestry withdraws offensive database

DearREADERS,
Thanks to our friend Juliana Szucs Smith, Ancestry.com’s blogger for reporting the Internet Biographical Collection is now officially removed from Ancestry. I think Ancestry.com just saved itself the heartache of another a class-action lawsuit.

WOW! Ancestry.com is thinking and responding to the incredible outpouring of negative response to the establishment of the “Internet Biographical Collection” with info culled from other websites and posted under an Ancestry.com copyright. See DearMYRTLE’s Numbers, ranking & Ancestry.com.

Hurrah!

A number of years ago Ol' Myrt was offered a web-bot service that would crawl behind most members-only genealogy database websites, in order to create a mega-database website of my own. I declined, because I feel…

Just because we have the technology doesn’t mean we should use it.

Let’s save our energy for worthwhile, honest pursuits.

My hat is off to The Generations Network (Ancestry.com’s parent company) for wising up about the ill-advised process of taking content from other information providers and using it to add to & improve Ancestry’s ranking on the web. Bravo!

Special thanks to many readers who’ve responded to the thought of Ancestry pirating genealogy content from other websites. During the past few hours I’ve received perhaps 150 emails on the subject, including this from Don who writes:

“I, for one, will continue to “only” view your information thru you and not thru Ancestry. I have long contended that they are thieves in the general sense of the word. That may be a bit harsh in my wording, and I know it takes paid subscriptions to keep that site up and
growing, but
this latest bit seems very underhanded in a big way to me at gaining material when they didn’t even work for it. Almost like some family sites that take from others sites and post to theirs in what I describe as “gleaning” only to make their family history grow to as many names as they can without doing the hard researching work. I know of a site using my surname material and has done none of the research only taking from others. For that reaso,n I do not have a website of my own. Keep after them Myrt, Ancestry, to make it right!!!”

I think it took many writers/bloggers to get the word out to Ancestry.com. Amazing how the so-called silent majority can get things done when they put their collective minds to it.

Ancestry has essential databases and scanned image collections to help you identify ancestors and add to your family tree. However, no one website call be all things to all people. I pray that Ancestry will continue to do a good job with the info they have, and leave the work of others alone.


There is a significant GREAT thing Ancestry.com IS doing right. Ancestry.com is hosting a free WEBINAR (an online seminar). VERY cool! It will be held tonight – in about 45 mintues. See 24/7 Family History Circle Blog’s Webinar to Teach Ancestry Search Techniques . The event will feature Suzanne Adams — Accredited Genealogist, specializing in Italian research. The blog explains “She is a Brigham Young University graduate with degrees in sociology and family history/genealogy. Suzanne currently works as the Professional Services Desk Manager for Ancestry.com, part of The Generations Network (formerly MyFamily.com, Inc.) and previously worked in both Electronic Production and Content Acquisition for more than eight years at Ancestry.com.”

I have registered for this event and am excited to attend. Ol' Myrt here is always looking for additional genealogical research training.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Numbers, ranking & Ancestry.com

Web ranking: It’s all about the numbers, folks
Or
Why Google is better at global searches than Ancestry.com


DearREADERS,

Yesterday, Ol' Myrt here took the day off to have a simple biopsy, and all heck broke loose in the world of genealogy. Again, the topic is ANCESTRY but this time the gene-bloggers won a partial victory.

WHAT HAPPENED
The Generations Network, better known as Ancestry.com announced its new “Internet Biographical Collection” initially placing it behind the membership wall, available ONLY to paid subscribers of Ancestry.com service. Many gene-bloggers were appalled that Ancestry would charge for our free columns, and let Ancestry.com know such by flaming blog entries with justifiable arguments. Ol' Myrt here was shocked to see that Ancestry still 12:52pm Pacific Daylight time 29 Aug 2007) has the nerve to copyright the collection as noted below:

Source Information
Ancestry.com. Internet Biographical Collection [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Original data: Biographical info taken from various English web sites. See specific website address provided with each entry.


Here are links to some of the bloggers who really got the job done yesterday in taking Ancestry.com to task:

By yesterday afternoon, Ancestry.com’s official blogger announced “Based on community response to the addition of the Internet Biographical Collection, Ancestry.com has decided to make the database free.” Source: Internet Biographical Collection is Free at Ancestry

Unfortunately, this attempt to appease the masses of genealogy bloggers, website producers and online genealogy researchers isn’t an adequate response.

WHY THIS IS ONLY A PARTIAL VICTORY
Gene-bloggers are to be applauded for effectively bringing Ancestry.com to it’s knees. But…

Making the collection FREE, doesn’t absolve Ancestry.com from responsibility for breaking copyright laws.

Ancestry is robbing us (other internet genealogy content providers) of the number of unique visitors to our website when viewing our information. NUMBERS of visitors affects ranking, a term used to evaluate the effectiveness and possible resale value of a website based on the number of unique visitors the site receives each month.

HOW IS THIS A COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT?
Ancestry is getting our hits – thereby ranking us lower and Ancestry.com higher. THAT ultimately it affects our bottom line. The challenges with copyrighted information have to do with the ability of one entity to rob another entity of income. For instance, if I want to sell advertising on DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour, the rates are based on the number of podcast listeners, and the number of hits my website receive each month. Ancestry.com's unfair use of my content robs me of hits needed to sell advertising for a reasonable fee.

ANCESTRY IS ROBBING ME OF HITS
If people are reading my DearMYRTLE columns via the Ancestry.com website, then DearMYRTLE.com is not receiving the hits. This means that Ol' Myrt here cannot charge potential advertisers a reasonable, fair fee that adequately represents the full extent of my impact as a genealogy content provider. However, Ancestry.com is free to state they have X number of hits even if it is for the content they didn’t create and don't own.

OPPOSING POINTS OF VIEW
Some opposing points of view on this topic basically say

  • What’s the problem?
  • We created these websites to share information.
  • Its now for free.
  • “Users must first register before using this free service, which seems like a trivial issue to me.” Dick Eastman

These bloggers haven’t yet thought through the NUMBERS GAME.

WHY GOOGLE IS BETTER THAN ANCESTRY.COM WEB SEARCHES
Most of DearMYRTLE’s traffic comes from the Google Search Engine. YES, like Ancestry.com, Google also knows about the content on my website. But with Google, the page is usually viewed with one click directly to my website, - so it is a win-win situation. Google gets 1 hit, and DearMYRTLE gets 1 hit.

Ancestry gets 2-3 clicks on a search and then Ancestry.com shows you a cached version of DearMYRTLE's column. Cached versions are nothing new. Yes, there is a small link to the actual DearMYRTLE website, where one can view the content I provided. But since the content is already provided by Ancestry.com, they get those extra clicks instead of DearMYRTLE.com.

Those extra clicks, because of OTHER content providers artificially inflate Ancestry.com’s ranking, giving them credit for material copyrighted by other websites like mine.

Myrt doesn't charge readers or listeners for her blog, columns or podcasts. I shoulder the cost of the website and podcasts from my own pocket. As things continue to grow and expand, I'll either have to receive funding from an anonymous donor or a rich uncle, if I cannot demonstrate to potential advertisers that the content I provide is viewed by X number of people for X number of years. Ancestry.com's unfair use of my content skews those numbers unfairly in Ancestry.com's favor.

CONCLUSION
Ancestry does have marvelous, unique databases in their collection, which are “must use” resources for genealogists.

Ancestry is correct in realizing they cannot charge for the info other internet content providers have created.

Ancestry.com overstepped its bounds in an attempt to increase number of visitors to Ancestry’s site.

IN MY HUMBLE OPINION
IF Ancestry wants to be wonderful, they will present the Internet Biographical Collection in “hit list” format like a GoogleSearch hit list, with the major link to (for instance) my columns at DearMYRTLE’s website, and no links to a cached version of the page in question. Now THAT would be a great service.

I do not know if other genealogy content providers would approve of this alternative.

It is an easy database fix, if Ol' Myrt can see how to do it.

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, August 24, 2007

Legacy Road Communications

Ideas to improve your writing style

DearREADERS,
Every month, Ol' Myrt receives a communiqué from Jay Speyerer, a professional writer who has assisted thousands of would-be writers to accomplish their goals. His website is Legacy Road Communications located at: http://www.legacyroad.net/ . His main page today sports two intriguing proposals:
  • Fire off e-mails without shooting yourself in the foot
  • Turn your memories into stories and assure your legacy

This latter point should pique the curiosity of family historians. Jay visits with all sorts of government, business and genealogy organizations creatively sharing his knowledge for improving your writing.

Note that Barbara Diller, Conference Coordinator, Tarentum Genealogical Society writes to Jay with a glowing reports from a recent conference: “You have inspired a number of members to finally begin to write the story that goes along with all the dates and facts they have been collecting for years. From all the great comments I heard after the conference, and again at our meeting, everyone will definitely be looking forward to your visit next year.”

Needless to say, Ol' Myrt here has some thoughts. There are purists like Jay, friendly, outgoing man who has exacting specifications about how to write an effective story. His monthly emails explain some of the oddities of using specific words more effectively.

Then there are folks like Ol' Myrt here who thinks we should just hope to it, and get the job done, maybe 1 story a day or so. Often we do not write for fear of making grammatical errors like mixing up the use of these three words that spell-check wouldn't pick up:

To
Too
Two

CASE IN POINT
Years ago, one of my beginning genealogy students came back after a 4-month summer break up north with two huge notebooks chock full of photos, documents and anecdotes about each member of his family. He asked me to compile his family history so it could be printed. He wanted me to “pretty things up” a bit.

What he gave me to work with were printouts of his family group sheets and pedigree charts, and a handful of photographs. The pictures were nice, but the printouts were boring.

What I asked for was the opportunity to also review the 2 huge notebooks, and am I glad I did.

There I discovered he had written heart-felt stories in his best street-smart English about how as little kids, his mom would take him and his brother for rides on snowy days, pulling them behind the car with ropes tied to the bumper. He recalled her wonderful cooking, and how she managed when her husband spent the week’s earnings down at the local bar. He mentioned his mom's early death due to complications from diabetes because Dad's drinking didn't leave enough money for consistent medical attention.

The researcher even printed his recollections about his mother on yellow paper, because that was her favorite color.

The notations in the 2 huge notebooks are exactly what this man’s children and grandchildren need to know – his feelings and recollections about his parents, grandparents and 1 set of great-grandparents in addition to details of that man’s life growing up in a household of love despite the hardships.

I am thankful for Jay’s writing expertise, because it does improve my writing when I've edited an ancestor’s story using his techniques. Other times, I am lucky if I can just type up the story quickly late at night between giving Dad his hospice medications and adjusting his oxygen to make him feel comfortable. I hope to go back and review each family story with Jay’s ideas in mind.

But whether you are a writing purist like my friend Jay, or a "get it done without worrying" type like Myrt, don’t let ANYTHING stand in the way of writing the story of EACH of your ancestors’ lives.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

READERS’ FEEDBACK: Improving society presentations

Original DearMYRTLE blog entry: Improving society presentations

From: Allison Ryall
DearMYRTLE,

As both a speaker and a conference organizer (NERGC - The New England Regional Genealogical Conference), I would love to put the transparencies to rest however it simply isn't a financially feasible thing for most to do. Most speakers own a laptop computer now a days but most do not own a projector. To buy an LCD projector often costs in excess of $800 and many more powerful ones needed to accommodate large rooms are in excess of $1,500. In addition, the cost to replace the bulbs usually is in the hundreds of dollars. Most places only pay speakers a pittance and in many cases speakers aren't even compensated at all. Unless someone is a national speakers who has the ability to command a higher rate of payment, most local area speakers can't afford or can't justify the cost of an LCD projector.

On the other side conferences can't afford to rent LCD projectors as the cost per projector per room is usually around $400-500 per day. This past year NERGC in Hartford, CT did provided LCD projectors for those speakers who needed them and didn't own them and ended up with a huge equipment rental bill to the tune of around $13,000! OUCH! As a result NERGC will no long be providing LCD projectors (with the exception of the large banquets) at future conferences. Either speakers must bring their own or resort to transparencies.

Just my .02 cents!

From: Shelina
DearMYRTLE,

Regarding Improving society presentations I agree that people should make every effort to have their presentations so that it is easy for the audience to see and understand.

Having spent all week trying to make a slide show, however, I do understand that some people don't have the most up-to-date software, nor do they have the technical knowhow to make such elaborate presentations. If a presenter has information that I do not, I think I would be willing to be patient with him/her, and be grateful for the new knowledge in whatever format the presenter is willing to share it.

DearSELINA.
Another reader (whose email I apparently deleted) reminds Ol' Myrt here that we should consider using Open Office, which is a free suite of applications that are similar to Word, PowerPoint and Excel. This is a perfectly legit alternative that can be freely downloaded from: http://www.openoffice.org/

Our favorite genealogy techie guru, Dick Eastman refers to Open Office in his blog titled Modern Day Tea Party in BostonI have written several times about OpenOffice.org, a free suite of programs that is comparable to Microsoft Office. OpenOffice.org contains an excellent ...” As late as May and June of this year he has discussed his preference:

Ol' Myrt says try it, you'll like it.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Finding Civilian Employee Deaths overseas - War Dept


Click to find out more about GenealogyBank.com


NOTE FROM DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friend Tom Kemp at GenealogyBank.com. All inquiries should be addressed to support@genealogybank.com

Unusual Sources - Finding Civilian Employee Deaths overseas - War Dept
by Tom Kemp

I am always looking for people - in every possible resource.

I found these obituaries and death records of American civilian employees of the Bureau of Education of the War Department in the Philippines. They all died in 1902 or 1903 and are recorded in the 1904 annual report of the "War Department" You can find it in the US Serial Set - check with your college or larger public library to see if they have it in the US Government Documents collection.

I found these on GenealogyBank.com and put digital copies of these pages on the web for everyone to see at: www.GenealogyBank.com/free

I think that it is a good example of the unusual places that we can find genealogical information.

It would be difficult to find a record of their death in the Philippines, giving this much additional information, anywhere else.

Here is a list of the people named in this report.

Allen, Joseph E. died 29 April 1903
Baugh, Josephine, Mrs. died 22 Aug 1903
Cooper, Price W. died 7 April 1903
Gilliam, Walter died 7 July 1903
Kirkpatrick, Joshua Bartlett died 14 Nov 1902
Lutz, Marian, Mrs. died 24 July 1903
Matthews, Walter Roy died 19 Feb 1903
Montgomery, D.C. died 31 Oct 1902
O'Donnell, John J., Jr. died 15 Aug 1903
Osbon, Orman K. died 24 Jan 1903
Ross, Mae I., Mrs. died 3 Jan 1903
Skiff, Vernon E. died 2 Feb 1903
Walker, Robert P. died 3 July 1903

The details of their life, government service, cause of death and next of kin are given in the annual report. Even the description of the obscure grave markings and locations are given.

Invaluable for genealogists.

I have put the digital copies of these obits at: www.GenealogyBank.com/free

One down, 200 million resources to search.

Genealogy website management revisited

Effective search engines cut bandwidth usage & improve chances of finding an ancestor

DearREADERS,

Several things have come to mind since writing yesterday’s blog entry. Creative-Gene blogger Jasia also wrote about the behind-the-scenes costs of running successful websites.

Let’s revisit the notion that the volume of IGG database searches was bogging down ISP servers.

What I failed to consider in my original post was that the ISP would have been more overwhelmed if the searches had not gone through Steve Morse’s more efficient search engine. Why?

Without Steve Morse’s search engines, people typically spend more frustrating hours of research on a website, thereby truly bogging down ISP servers.

Researchers and database managers alike are grateful for Steve Morse’s free search engines. Long honored for his work in the genealogical community, Steve Morse most recently received the 2007 NGS Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society and the 2007 APGQ Excellence Award from the Association of Professional Genealogists. The venerable EllisIslandRecords.org website recognizes that Steve Morse has a better search engine, and provides a link to his site for our use in sticky Ellis Island search situations.

In fact, I use Steve Morse’s search engine to look at Ellis Island right off the bat, because of the 44 basic search criteria (plus 158 ethnicity options). Contrast this with EllisIslandRecords.org’s 4 basic search criteria where the ancestor’s last name is required. What if family tradition has it that your female ancestor came through Ellis Island in the summer of 1898 from Greece at age 22 but you don’t know the name? Steve’s search engine can handle it.

Perhaps the IGG should consider using a different ISP to handle the volume of researchers accessing the site. Switching servers isn’t hard and it doesn’t mean the web address needs to change. It only means the servers change.

You know, it isn’t just websites that have problems with ISPs arbitrarily deciding to block access from other websites. Myrt remembers the case of an individual researcher, “Tom” who had RoadRunner somewhere in upstate NY. He reports that his old ISP blocks all RootsWeb genealogy mailing lists for some unknown reason. Can you imagine not being able to receive RootsWeb postings?

The fact that a lot of genealogy activity is going on out there on the web should not cause an ISP to block that activity. After all, they are internet service providers, aren’t they?

The bottom line is – if your ISP doesn’t meet your needs, SWITCH.


Changing ISPs is easy for webmasters. Ol’ Myrt moved her website to a different ISP and discovered it is a fairly painless process. Expect that your website will be down for a maximum of 24-48 hours to give the internet directory time to point to the new servers. In my typical case, there was no change in the domain name DearMYRTLE.com.

Ol' Myrt here now uses Godaddy.com as my web server, and I never go over my budgeted amount. Receiving daily usage reports allows Ol' Myrt to determine the level of bandwidth she should provide to allow free access for her DearMYRTLE readers and listeners. As I mentioned in the original column, it was the internet radio streaming that would have cost me an arm and a leg, not a fault of the ISP but of old technology. Fortunately newer podcast technology has saved Ol' Myrt’s pocketbook in that regard.

As I said in my original post “The the overwhelming cost of bandwidth (usage) is an important consideration when societies and individuals undertake to present information on the web.” The mystery of website mechanics is challenging for entities that work on limited budgets and are focused on collection of relevant genealogical data.

Bandwidth costs need to be factored in to the commitment when deciding to create a website. Prospective website creators might think it is an easy thing to put a database up on a website. That is the least of their worries. In any scenario, if one’s current ISP can’t handle the load, then the webmaster should take his group’s business elsewhere.

Please don’t give up using the web to distribute your information. Ultimately the WWW will be more successful than a printed book on the shelf at your local library if you sincerely want to reach your target audience – namely, serious genealogy researchers who need access to your compiled data.

Be grateful for Steve Morse’s labor of love providing free superior search engine capabilities for genealogists. Long ago I joined the ranks applauding his work.

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, August 23, 2007

Genealogy sites at no cost to users?

Amended

Website management and bandwidth (useage) costs are problematic for individuals and small societies

DearREADERS,

Costs of running websites are factors online genealogists are unaware of but must take into consideration.

All this talk about free website access through local LDS Family History Centers is fine, but if the affiliate websites are not able to gain paid membership and outside advertising, the house of cards will fall. Ol' Myrt has some understanding of this. It costs money to purchase computers, maintain a website, and provide bandwidth (usage). These costs are not unlike the costs to house the original historical documents we seek at local courthouses, regional & national archives and libraries.

We must remember there is no free lunch.

Eventually, someone has to pay the piper.

CASE #1 – Accessing Italian & German databases through Steve Morse’s website

Today on a public genealogy mailing list called apg-l@rootsweb.com, this notice was posted:
From: apg-bounces@rootsweb.com Behalf Of JDeLalio
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 10:15 PM
To: APGListserv
Subject: [APG] Steve Morse/IGG/GGG
As a founding member of the Italian Genealogical Group, I would like to clarify an email that was sent regarding problems with the use of Steve Morse's One-Step website to access databases on the Italian Genealogical Group's website. Neither IGG nor GGG blocked people from accessing our databases through Steve Morse's site. The problem occurred because of the systematic methods used by Steve Morse to obtain information from our website. He has allowed many many people to use the site in such a way that it overwhelmed it. Our ISP provider crashed which affected not only our two organizations but all of his other clients. He therefore banned Morse's access. [See DearMYRTLE’s Italian & German database access through Steve Morse”.]

We have now had to get a larger provider at a greater cost. It is important to understand, however, that by using Steve Morse's site people can obtain their data without going through the previous IGG pages. These pages explain what the work we do in assembling these databases which have millions of records from the New York area. They pass by the requests for donations which is needed to keep adding the databases online and for volunteers without whom these records could not be assembled. If you have ever visited our website http://www.italiangen.org you readily understand that this is a big undertaking for two small genealogical societies. We cannot do this without help. Therefore, while we would like to accommodate everyone's use of Steve Morse's site, it does come at a cost to us. If the donations and volunteers dry up, we may have to remove or restrict the databases. We are not the bad guys and wanted to explain the situation to all.

TO WHICH, our dear friend Joy replied:
From: apg-bounces@rootsweb.com On Behalf Of Joy Rich
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2007 11:22 AM
To: APGListserv
Subject: Re: [APG] Steve Morse/IGG/GGG
June and other readers of this list,
I apologize for giving the impression that the Italian Genealogical Group and the German Genealogy Group made the decision to block access to some of their databases via Steve Morse's website when it was actually the decision of their Internet Service Provider. IGG and GGG are providing a wonderful service to the genealogical community, and I wouldn't want to besmirch their reputations.


Ol' MYRT FIGURED it was an bandwidth (usage) issue, since this fine group of websites, organizations and individuals is working toward the same end – helping researchers find ancestors. The the overwhelming cost of bandwidth (useage) is an important consideration when societies and individuals undertake to present information on the web.

CASE #2 INTERNET RADIO STREAMING & PODCASTING
Overwhelming response is the primary factor that pushed Ol' Myrt to suspend internet radio streaming, because the cost of sending out 750,000 - 1 million individual listener streams per week was prohibitive. By contrast, podcasting is usually worked through a much less expensive business model.

Production costs are practically nil, once equipment & software is in place. But Ol' Myrt still must provide space for the initial podcast file on my website. Fortunately most people listen to my newer-style DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour genealogy podcasts via iTunes and that keeps my costs down. Also quite fortunately, the number of individuals who listen to a single episode directly through my website is small – about 500 per week, so I can handle the bandwidth (usage) costs.

But if those numbers grow, I’ll be stuck with the same problem described by the Italian Genealogical Group. That’s what we get for not selling out to big business, I guess.

Sometimes success is a difficult thing with which to deal.

(Maybe I need to take a few business classes?)

---------------------------------
Amendment:
Genealogy website management revisited
Effective search engines cut bandwidth usage
& improve chances of finding an ancestor

DearREADERS,
Several things have come to mind since writing this blog entry. Creative-Gene blogger
Jasia also wrote about the behind-the-scenes costs of running successful websites.

Let’s revisit the notion that the volume of IGG database searches was bogging down ISP servers.

What I failed to consider in my original post was that the ISP would have been more overwhelmed if the searches had not gone through Steve Morse’s more efficient search engine. Why?

Without Steve Morse’s search engines, people typically spend more frustrating hours of research on a website, thereby truly bogging down ISP servers.

Researchers and database managers alike are grateful for Steve Morse’s free search engines. Long honored for his work in the genealogical community, Steve Morse most recently received the 2007 NGS Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society and the 2007 APGQ Excellence Award from the Association of Professional Genealogists. The venerable EllisIslandRecords.org website recognizes that Steve Morse has a better search engine, and provides a link to his site for our use in sticky Ellis Island search situations.

In fact, I use
Steve Morse’s search engine to look at Ellis Island right off the bat, because of the 44 basic search criteria (plus 158 ethnicity options). Contrast this with EllisIslandRecords.org’s 4 basic search criteria where the ancestor’s last name is required. What if family tradition has it that your female ancestor came through Ellis Island in the summer of 1898 from Greece at age 22 but you don’t know the name? Steve’s search engine can handle it.

Perhaps the IGG should consider using a different ISP to handle the volume of researchers accessing the site. Switching servers isn’t hard and it doesn’t mean the web address needs to change. It only means the servers change.

You know, it isn’t just websites that have problems with ISPs arbitrarily deciding to block access from other websites. Myrt remembers the case of an individual researcher, “Tom” who had RoadRunner somewhere in upstate NY. He reports that his old ISP blocks all RootsWeb genealogy mailing lists for some unknown reason. Can you imagine not being able to receive RootsWeb postings?

The fact that a lot of genealogy activity is going on out there on the web should not cause an ISP to block that activity. After all, they are internet service providers, aren’t they?

The bottom line is – if your ISP doesn’t meet your needs, SWITCH.

Changing ISPs is easy for webmasters. Ol’ Myrt moved her website to a different ISP and discovered it is a fairly painless process. Expect that your website will be down for a maximum of 24-48 hours to give the internet directory time to point to the new servers. In my typical case, there was no change in the domain name DearMYRTLE.com.

Ol' Myrt here now uses Godaddy.com as my web server, and I never go over my budgeted amount. Receiving daily usage reports allows Ol' Myrt to determine the level of bandwidth she should provide to allow free access for her DearMYRTLE readers and listeners.

As I mentioned in the original column, it was the internet radio streaming that would have cost me an arm and a leg, not a fault of the ISP but of old technology. Fortunately newer podcast technology has saved Ol' Myrt’s pocketbook in that regard.

As I mentioned in the original column,“The the overwhelming cost of bandwidth (usage) is an important consideration when societies and individuals undertake to present information on the web”. The mystery of website mechanics is challenging for entities that work on limited budgets and are focused on collection of relevant genealogical data.

Bandwidth costs need to be factored in to the commitment when deciding to create a website. Prospective website creators might think it is an easy thing to put a database up on a website. That is the least of their worries. In any scenario, if one’s current ISP can’t handle the load, then the webmaster should take his group’s business elsewhere.

Please don’t give up using the web to distribute your information. Ultimately the WWW will be more successful than a printed book on the shelf at your local library if you sincerely want to reach your target audience – namely, serious genealogy researchers who need access to your compiled data.

Be grateful for Steve Morse’s labor of love providing free superior search engine capabilities for genealogists. Long ago I joined the ranks applauding his work.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour 21 Aug 2007 genealogy podcast

DearLISTENERS & READERS,
DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour 21 Aug 2007 genealogy podcast is available for listening via computer or transferred to your .mp3 player if you choose to download the file. An alternative would be to download the file automatically via iTunes.

For a complete list of current DearMYRTLE podcasts visit: http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com/.

TOPICS & GUESTS THIS WEEK

  • Geoff Rasmussen of LegacyFamilyTree.com to discuss what’s coming down the pike for Legacy version 7 including compatibility with the much-anticipated new FamilySearch, also yet to be fully released.

  • Pierre Cloutier of ProgenySoftware.com to discuss GeneLines , software to place your ancestor's life in a timeline format, in relation to other family members and to points of local and national history.

  • Genealogy bloggers “Jasia” of CreativeGene and Schelly Talalay Dardashti of Tracing The Tribe to compare & contrast the use of the terms “genealogist” and “family historian”.

MightyMouse TOUR – dropped this week in favor of the extra interview.

LINKS WE MENTION

DearMYRTLE’s Blog entries since the last podcast:


For more information about listening to Myrt’s genealogy podcasts see DearMYRTLE’s Podcast how-to info .

For more information about other genealogy & history podcasts see What’s on DearMYRTLE’s iPod?

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


(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Coweta Georgia fire closes genealogy collection

Fortunately records were saved

DearREADERS,
Seven years ago, Ol' Myrt wrote about a marvelous book Coweta County Chronicles for 100 Years with an account of the Indians from whom the land was acquired & some historical papers… compiled circa 1928 by Mary G. Jones & Lilly Reynolds.

Now it appears that family history research in Coweta County, Georgia will be hampered for a period of time owing to a fire reported in the local The Times-Herald this morning:

Fire closes genealogical center
By ALEX McRAE alex@newnan.com
“Invaluable historical and family records escaped damage and destruction Saturday night when a small fire broke out at the Coweta County Genealogical Society research center in Grantville. The office is in the old passenger train depot and is stacked wall-to-wall with family histories, records, research materials and documents that have helped generations of Cowetans and out-of-town visitors trace their family roots.

Firefighters knew what was at stake and took extra care when attacking the fire, according to Coweta County Deputy Fire Chief Jay Jones. "We always take care to try and salvage what we can at any fire," Jones said. "We can't know what's in every home, but our people knew what was in that building and knew the importance of trying to protect it. We always try and keep everybody's best interest in mind. Our guys know the area and they knew what to do."

The fire was reported just after 8 p.m. Saturday. The first firefighters on the scene discovered a small fire in the wall of the historic structure and additional units were dispatched. Firefighters on the scene were instructed to take special care to minimize damage to documents.

Phil Herrington, president of the Genealogical Society, was at the building Sunday and said while there is a smell of smoke in the building, no documents sustained damage. The building will be closed until a damage assessment can be made and any necessary repairs are completed, Herrington said.”
More…

Good luck to our friends during the recovery process.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Eastman: Allen County Public Library Genealogy Department Video

DearREADERS,
In the last hour, three of you have forwarded this item to Ol' Myrt about the video of the new digs for genealogy researchers in Ft. Wayne, Indiana:

Allen County Public Library Genealogy Department Video Dick Eastman explains “From the convenience of your computer, you can now take a video tour of the Genealogy Department at the new Allen County Public Library (ACPL) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Even if you were not able to visit this library during last week's FGS conference, you can "take the tour" without leaving home via the internet.

The Allen County Public Library contains the largest publicly-owned genealogy collection in the world. The genealogy department contains approximately 340,000 printed volumes as well as thousands of microfilms, CD-ROM disks, and online resources.” Dick's blog entry contains a link to the video tour.

To obtain a subscription to Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter – Plus Edition, go to http://www.eogn.com/plus.

To receive a free e-mail notification whenever a new Standard Edition of the newsletter becomes available, go to http://eogn.com/subscribe-standard.htm

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

Triangulation: Analysis of historical documents

Why we must revisit and review evidence to understand history

NOTE FROM DearMYRTLE: The audio version of this blog entry is available in DearMYRTLE's podcast collection.

DearREADERS,
Our friend Mike Sullivan brought an online 25-minute video interview to Ol' Myrt’s attention that has prompted the following thoughts based on the participants’ comments:

  • People will lie either intentionally or unintentionally, and this is one of the reasons it is important to preserve old documents to provide an “evidence check” against faulty recollection.
  • We need more than one eyewitness, to get closer to the truth about an event.
  • More than one surviving document of eyewitness accounts is necessary to adequately evaluate a historical event.
  • Historical “truths” are subject to the prejudices of the viewer regardless of attempts to provide an impartial analysis. It nearly impossible to escape cultural influences.

The online video in question is Face to Face: Alabama State Archivist interview. “Dr. Ed Bridges is the Director of the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Bridges has held the post since 1982. The Alabama Department of Archives and History began in 1901. The oldest state archives in the country it holds most of the items chronicling Alabama’s history. Bridges will discuss the role of the Department of Archives and its job of maintaining state records.”

Our friend Mike explains “It is true that unfortunately we can not preserve everything of historical value but in the discussion concerning the saved Civil War ship CSS Alabama, Dr. Bridges pointed out that through the preservation of the ship's log book and triangulation with other important documents, today we can piece together the truth of the history of this ship.” Mike continues:

  • The interviewer pointed out that in history books, we don't really know what is fact from fiction -- all the more reason to preserve as many documents as possible.
  • Multiple copies of microfilm in differing locations is the only way to insure that if the original record is lost, destroyed or deteriorates to the point where they can no longer be handled by the general public, at least they are preserved.
  • With distribution of copies, there can never be a lost record again. If one collection is destroyed by fire, flood or other reasons, that collection can be rebuilt from another copy.
  • It is so important to save historical artifacts such as cannons, cabins and Civil War ships, which can always help tell the stories of our histories but only the documents can tell us the truth.

One cannot overemphasize the need of responsible citizens to look again at surviving documents to see if the history being taught is accurate, and that conclusions were not skewed by inapproriate societal pressures influencing the previous historian, who may have been too close to the situation to see the bigger picture. Microfilming and proper storage is the least we can do to preserve those documents for future generations.

It is our legacy, it is their heritage.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Monday, August 20, 2007

WorldVitalRecords.com Now Availalbe in 100 Family History Centers

Access to WorldVitalRecords.com Now Availalbe in 100 Family History Centers...and Counting

NOTE FROM DearMYRTLE: The following was just posted in Vol 1 Issue 48 of WorldVitalRecords News.

For the past few months, a common question the support team at World Vital Records, Inc. has received is, “When will WorldVitalRecords.com be available to access at my family history center?”

And the answer to some is, “Right now.”

A representative from FamilySearch(TM) announced last week at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana that WorldVitalRecords.com can now be searched in 100 family history centers throughout the world.

This week, WorldVitalRecords.com will be available to patrons in 500 additional family history centers. Within the next two weeks, WorldVitalRecords.com anticipates that patrons will be able to access WorldVitalRecords.com in more than 4,500 family history centers.

We hope you enjoy searching WorldVitalRecords.com the next time you visit your local family history center.

In case you missed the announcement about WorldVitalRecords.com being accessible in more than 4,500 family history centers worldwide, click here to read the press release.

Souce: http://blog.worldvitalrecords.com/?p=238

North America Local and County Histories to Go Online

Three genealogical libraries pool their collections in massive digitization effort

15 August 2007

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—Thousands of published family histories, city and county histories, historic city directories, and related records are coming to the Internet. The Allen County Public Library (ACPL) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, and FamilySearch's Family History Library in Salt Lake City announced the joint project today. When complete, it will be the most comprehensive collection of city and county histories on the Web—and access will be free at http://www.familyhistoryarchive.byu.edu/.

The digital history project will target over 100,000 published family histories and thousands of local histories that are rich in names as well as biographical and genealogical data associated with those names. "Publishing those collections from the three libraries involved will make a significant and attractive family history digital library online for genealogists and historians," said David Rencher, director of Records and Information for FamilySearch.

"I believe the most immediate, substantial contribution of this collaboration will be the addition of local history materials," said Allen County Public Library's Genealogy Center Manager, Curt Witcher. The collaborative project will digitally scan thousands of historic city directories, as well as city and county histories from North America. The ACPL and the Family History Library have the largest collections of city and county histories from North America. "I believe the strength of our two well known, well used, and well loved institutions working together is a terrific benefit to the genealogical community," added Witcher.

Once digitized, the collections will have "every word" search capability, which allows users to search by name, location, date, or other field across the collection. The search results are then linked to high quality digital images of the original publication. Digitization efforts have begun. New additions will be noted and hyperlinked in the Family History Library Catalog at FamilySearch.org as they are digitized. The collection can be accessed currently at http://www.familyhistoryarchive.byu.edu/.

FamilySearch is providing the computers, scanners, and camera operators required to complete the project. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

Source: FamilySearch.org

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Italian & German database access through Steve Morse's site

Across My Desk: Thanks, Joy.

From:
joyrichny@earthlink.net
DearMYRTLE,

In early July, the IGG and, shortly afterward, the GGG website began blocking requests that were coming from Steve Morse's free One-Step website (http://www.stevemorse.org/ ). Users could no longer take advantage of the added value that Steve's One-Step site gave to those websites' data, such as easily finding the bride's record that corresponds to a groom's record. Only the death, grooms, and brides indexes were being blocked.

Steve learned that, as of yesterday, the IGG website has stopped blocking him. The GGG website is still doing so, but he expects that they will remove the blockage shortly.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Keeping Genealogical Records Open Workgroup (KGROW)

Genealogists fight closing of public records as guise in war against ID theft and terrorism

NOTE FROM DearMYRTLE: I am remiss at not having posted this worthy item about records access on a more timely basis. Please address all inquiries to floridasearch@tampabay.rr.com .

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2007

KEEPING GENEALOGICAL RECORDS OPEN WORKGROUP (KGROW)

A group of genealogists announced today that they have begun a project to educate governmental leaders and the public that closing or restricting access to many public records will have little impact on preventing an enormous identity theft problem or terrorism attacks in the United States.

“Federal and state governments have been closing or trying to close many public records or limiting the public’s access to them, especially vital records--birth, marriages, and deaths,” explains Jean Foster Kelley, CG (Certified Genealogist) of Tampa, Florida. “They want to protect people’s privacy, prevent identity theft, and prevent terrorism,” she says. “But we find there’s no evidence that open public records contribute to identity theft or terrorism to any measurable degree."

Instead, she says, restrictions actually prevent many genealogists, news people, and others who have legitimate reasons to see the records from freely viewing them. She says she and four other genealogists formed the Keep Genealogical Records Open Workgroup (KGROW) to prepare a position paper to combat the “war on public records” movement that has swept the country since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The group plans to solicit support for its paper from the Association of Professional Genealogists, the news media, and other organizations later this summer and fall.

Kelley is co-chair of KGROW along with Dick Robinson, CG (Certified Genealogist), of Boynton Beach, Florida. Other members are: Alvie L. Davidson, CG (Certified Genealogist), Lakeland, Florida; Melinde Lutz Sanborn, FASG (Fellow, American Society of Genealogists), Derry, New Hampshire; and Frederick E. Moss, JD, LLM, Plano, Texas.

KGROW is a project of the Florida Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). APG is the world’s leading professional genealogical organization of some 1,700 family history and related professionals. Since 2001, most states have tightened public record laws, and more records are threatened every year. A 2006 Associated Press survey showed that states passed 616 new laws restricting access to public information, including vital records, and approved 284 laws that loosened public records access.

For more information, contact:
Alvie L. Davidson,
Information Officer
KEEPING GENEALOGICAL RECORDS OPEN WORKGROUP (KGROW)
4825 N. Galloway Rd
Lakeland, FL 33810-6722
Day phone: (863) 858-6745
Email floridasearch@tampabay.rr.com

DearMYRTLE's genealogy podcasts

Myrt, you forgot your own podcast

From: Stacey
DearMYRTLE,
Thanks for the big list of genealogy and history podcasts in yesterday’s blog "What's on DearMYRTLE's iPod?" .However, you forgot one important podcast – YOURS. I love your upbeat podcasts, especially the interviews. Keep up the good work. I know you’ve had challenges with your father’s health, but it is great when a new podcast comes out. I look forward to each edition. -- If YOU won’t toot your own horn, I WILL.

DearSTACEY,

Heavens, thanks for the heads up and your kind comments. I’ll amend the previous column to add my own podcast to the list.

YES, Ol' Myrt here does have DearMYRTLE’s FAMILY HISTORY HOUR and the individual column podcasts on her iPod, but she doesn't actually listen to her own podcasts using her iPod

BECAUSE she has already listened to each podcast at least four times during the production process.

When creating each week’s DearMYRTLE’s FAMILY HISTORY HOUR podcasts, I complete the recorded telephone interviews with my special guests by saving each to my hard drive. Next, I listen to each segment using Audacity to edit out sound checks, dead space and too many “ummms”. I am lucky because the talented folks I get to interview are dynamic speakers, so it’s easy to talk with them, and there is very little editing to be done. I then record my own parts of the podcast, hoping that everything will equal about an hour of content. Using Mixcraft, I splice all the segments of the podcast together including such things as:
  • bumper music
  • intro
  • interviews
  • ads
  • PSAs (public service announcements)
  • readers & listeners’ feedback
  • titles from the past week’s blog entries
  • across my desk
  • MightyMouse segment
  • the wrap up
  • interesting bits of background music to spruce things up

At this point, Ol' Myrt listens to the entire show again for sound leveling and continuity. In true multi-tasking form, I usually fold laundry right next to my computer desk while listening, so I can edit something immediately if there is a problem.

Continuity can be a challenge some times, because the interviews may have been recorded weeks in advance of a podcast’s release. To overcome potential continuity problems, Ol' Myrt usually schedules the interviews within a day or so of release, so that breaking news (like new FamilySearch affiliates access or photocopy price changes at the NARA) can be reflected in the content of an interview.

Then I have Mixcraft convert the file to an .mp3 file, adding tags and identifying info before I press the “Save” button. Once the file conversion is complete, the podcast begins playing automatically using my default .mp3 player that came with my computer. At that point, I’ll listen to the podcast 1 more time to be sure there were no hiccups or chipmunk-speed problems. Now with faster, more reliable computers, and streamlined audio editing software, there is seldom a challenge with the finished product. But it is my responsibility to put my best foot forward, and make sure my guests interviews sound great.

If I were really a “MASTER Multi-Tasker” I’d spend that hour filing all these genealogy papers stacked in piles around my computer desk, but I’m not.

YES, Stacey, by the time I’ve created a DearMYRTLE’s FAMILY HISTORY HOUR podcast, I have listened to the podcast all the way through at LEAST four times.

So when Ol' Myrt does her power walks, she likes to listen to the audio files produced by other podcasting genealogists.

PS - I hope some would-be podcasters will look into the software I've mentioned. Mac users would tell you that those of us with PCs have to work a bit harder to get podcasts produced, but don't let that deter you. I hope you are encouraged to do your own podcasts -- starting right now!

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, August 17, 2007

What’s on DearMYRTLE’s iPod?

Post comments to add your favorites to the list
updated 18 Aug 2007

DearREADERS & LISTENERS,

Yes, I, know Ol' Myrt swore she would never wear those ear-buds that came with her iPod. See WHY Myrt finally bought an iPod 15 Nov 2006. Nevertheless, Ol' Myrt has changed her mind – and she isn’t even running for president.

There are so many great podcasts about genealogy and family history, that I now listen to them during my once or twice daily walks around the neighborhood. Since I don’t want to carry around portable iPod speakers, I’ve had to actually resort to using ear buds since I want to continue to learn about family history research. I have to agree with DearMYRTLE listener DougB81042 that it helps to multi-task.

Ol' Myrt uses the free iTunes software to organize and automatically download the newest episodes of my favorite podcasts. All of these podcasts are available at no cost to listeners. YES! That gives us more money to spend on photocopies.

So for the fun of it, I thought I’d list the podcasts in DearMYRTLE’s 80 gigabyte audio/video iPod, by category and then alphabetical order.

ETHNIC & REGIONAL GENEALOGY PODCASTS
· Anna-Karin's Genealogical Podcast - Swedish. Delightful background on traditions. I hope to meet her in person when I travel to Stockholm next summer.
· Irish Roots Café Genealogy Podcast , by Mike O’Laughlin of http://www.irishroots.com. When I listened to his “White/Whyte” podcast today, I was intrigued by his invitation for folks to leave a voice message with comments or queries. I had given that up call-ins when I quit doing live internet radio streaming, but I think it is a good idea. A little more personal in a digital world. See also its sister podcast Missouri Irish History & Legend: Ireland to America.
· Waynesville Voices Hostess Karen Campbell from the Mary L. Cook Public Library takes listeners on tour. The most recent podcast interview features Dr. Spencer R. Crew of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
· Nuestra Familia Unida - Coordinator Joseph Puentes has compiled a variety of audio interviews & recitations providing insight to “indigenous” history. Indigenous “as in Latina/Latino, Hispanic, Chicana/Chicano, Mexicana/Mexicano, and all other descriptors identifying the peoples of the America's and Western Hemisphere.”
· Under the tree - African American Feb 2006 – Aug 2007 with host Meredith C. Williams. She has an amazing collection, but in particular, I learned much from Episode 8: Slave auction process in Baltimore, MD and slave plantations in PG County, MD. The lengthy bibliography posted for each episode provides further study materials for interested researchers.
· US Holocaust Memoriam Museum’s Voices on Genocide Prevention with Jerry Flowler with links at oprah.com. Topics not limited to the Jewish WWII Holocaust, but include Darfur, China, Eastern Chad, and Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. These podcasts don’t properly load through though iTunes, so right-click on an episode to save it to my computer’s hard drive, and go from there.

GENERAL GENEALOGY PODCASTS
· DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour - practical, down-to-earth advice for family historians featuring interviews with genealogy's leading authors, software producers, and web site managers, readers feedback and a weekly MightyMouse tour of great genealogy websites.
· Family History Minute – Enjoy nine episodes of Brian Mickelson’s thoughts about doing family history. Great ideas for looking at our ancestors through different eyes.
· Family Roots Radio Genealogy Hour – Season one is complete. Listen as Host Kory L. Meyerink masterfully interviews genealogy greats Paul Allen, Christine Rose, Tom Kemp, Martha McCartney, Megan Smolenyak, Dick Eastman, Leland Meitzler, Myra Gormley, Karen Clifford, Craig Scott, Kathleen Hinckley, Matt Helm and John Philip Colletta.
· Genealogy Gems – ideas including Episode 21 where you’ll find out about host Lisa Louise Cooke’s idea for creating a “Sweet Memories” candy bar wrapper. Never thought of THAT one before!
· Genealogy on Demand – Shamele Jordon does a great job: Don’t miss “Pedigree Analysis: Back to the Basics: Can you prove that your grandparents are really your grandparents?" I hope that more podcasts will be added to the mix. However, on their own, the existing collection of podcasts is noteworthy.
· The Genealogy Guys Podcast – George Morgan and Drew Smith have recently celebrated the release of their 100th podcast. Way to go!

GENERAL HISTORY & BIOGRAPHY PODCASTS
· A Prairie Home Companion’s News from Lake Wobegon
· Ancient & Medieval History with Catherine Loomis
· American History before 1870 with Gretchen Ann Reilly
· American History Rules with Chuck Taft for his 8th Grade Am Hist class
· BBC History Magazine
· China & the Chinese – Henry Allen Giles (1845-1935) with David Barnes
· Great Moments in History with John G. Stockmyer
· History 132 (US since 1865) by David Hoogland Noon of Univ of Alaska Southeast spring semester 2007.
· History Hints with Larry Kreiger, A study guide for the AP history exam.
· HistoryPod with Alan Joyce
· LearnOutLoud’s Biography Podcast
· Military History Podcast with George Hageman
· Oxford University: Podcasts from Medieval English Lectures
· Sparkletack – The San Francisco History Podcast with host Richard Miller.
· Talking History – Although production ceased over a year ago, due to cutbacks in funding, the archive includes 2005 podcasts, 2006 podcasts. Notable podcasts included “Marriage: A history”, “The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin” and “Washington’s slaves”.
· The Biography Podcast – Stories of Life
· This HistoryNetwork.org Fortnightly podcast essays covering military history.

NATIONAL ARCHIVES - UK & US

· NARA (US) "Presidential Archives Uncovered"
· National Archives (UK) – Of particular interest is Dave Annal’s “In the name of God, Amen: wills for family history” where I learned the difference between pre-1858 and post-1858 wills. I had to take in two extra blocks in my walk to finish learning from this detailed explanation.

OTHER STUFF

· Classic Tales Podcast with BJ Harrison.
· Larry King Podcast
· Law of Attraction Tips – as mentioned on Oprah, with Karen Luniw.
· Learn to Meditate by the Meditation Society of Australia.
· NPR’s Classic Kids - From the Top - best young classic musicians in the country.
· NPR's Science Friday I particularly like how the interviews during the 2-hour podcast can be listened to individually, or combined as a complete podcast.
· NPR’s This I believe.
· NPR’s Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me One of my favorites for “this week’s news in review” mental quizzes.
· You, the Owner’s Manual with Dr. Michael Roizen (often a guest on Oprah.)

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.