Friday, October 24, 2008

Moving this weekend

DearREADERS & LISTENERS,
Ol' Myrt here had quite a surprise on Monday when she learned her mortgage loan was approved. I "closed" yesterday and am 99% packed for the movers to do their thing tonight and tomorrow.

As a consequence all scheduled blog entries and podcasts won't resume until at least Tuesday next week.

The good news is that the internet guys is installing on Saturday, but I don't wish to move the computer equipment until my office is otherwise set up.

Can you believe I'll finally be able to unpack all my genealogy books, files and gosh, even have time to unearth some Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations with which to delight my grandchildren?

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

http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/
http://blog.TeachGenealogy.com

http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com/

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Community history, church, and membership

From: JackDuffy
My DearMYRTLE,

I look forward to your podcasts. Thanks for your willingness to provide so much information to us. I had an experience this week where my wise, wonderful mother made a statement that's very applicable to genealogy. Here's the story:

My mother spent her teenage and early married years in the Phoenix, Arizona suburb of Peoria. Her parents moved there shortly after World War II. In a Peoria history book I found recently, I learned the Presbyterian church, built in the early 1900s, was the community’s first and only church for twenty years. It’s evidently the longest continuously used church in Arizona. I called my mother to tell her about this discovery. Her comment was, "No wonder so many long-time Peoria residents were Presbyterians."

This statement revealed a lot to me about church membership in communities. Many people evidently attended the church in the community as opposed to traveling many miles to a specific denomination. Genealogists should consider looking first for records of their ancestors in the church that has been in the community the longest period of time.

I just thought you may be interested in sharing this with podcast listeners or on your blog.

Thanks again and I look forward to seeing you in St. George.

DearJACK,
Thanks for sharing. I've heard the same thing when discussing which grocery store people choose to frequent in the late 20th century. Basically, it is the one closest to home that proves most convenient. Now with high gasoline prices, there is all the more reason to shop locally.

The same will probably hold true for church attendance.

By the way, I will be in Mesa, Arizona and most other www.FhExpos.com, but in 2009, there is a conflict with St. George. I will be in London for the Society of Genealogists and "Who do you think you are - LIVE!" I'd like to figure out how they manage to pull some 25-30 thousand people through the doors over a long weekend so we can begin doing something like this in the US.

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

http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
http://blog.TeachGenealogy.com
http://podcasts.DearMYRTLE.com

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© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bloglines is back

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: This news around the net is that Bloglines has overcome its programming glitch that had prevented timely updates. Thanks for this update on Marshall Kirkpatrick's 3:12pm posting this afternoon on ReadWriteWeb.

"Popular RSS reader Bloglines says it's solved the much publicized recent problems with feed updating that lead smaller services to pursue its users and Google Reader triumphalists to declare the RSS reader market all zipped up. It's true that Bloglines has a lot of problems, but all software does and competition is incredibly important in any sector, including among RSS readers."

What follows are Marshall's comments about what happened, why he prefers Bloglines, and his suggestion that Google Reader should not have Monoploy Control over RSS readers. Randy Seavers will be happy.

Trouble with Bloglines not updating

DearREADERS,
Been having trouble with Bloglines as the reader for your favorite genealogy blogs? I’ve noticed a lag.

However, today on LifeHacker (that I pull into my Outlook 2007 to read as it is one of my favorite techie blogs) the following was posted by Gina Trapani:

“TechCrunch reports that web-based feedreader Bloglines has stopped pulling in updates for "thousands of blogs" with no word from its parent company, Ask.com, about what's going on. We made the switch from Bloglines to Google Reader two years ago. How about you?”

Fortunately I have many of the genealogy blogs also posted on my iGoogle page, with Google Reader as an option. If you need help setting up, see Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems podcast entries, in particular Episode 15 “I love to iGoogle and you can too!” That’s where Ol’ Myrt here learned some great Google tips and tricks. Thanks Lisa for being ahead of the curve.

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

http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/
http://blog.TeachGenealogy.com

http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com/

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373
© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to
http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Friday, October 17, 2008

MyCanvas & additional yearbooks

Note from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at Ancestry.com. Please address all inquiries to support@ancestry.com.

This week Ancestry.com has two exciting announcements. First, we’ve renamed our self-publishing tool—from AncestryPress to MyCanvas.

Second, we doubled the size of our yearbook collection.
The collection now contains more than 6,000 yearbooks ranging from 1902 to 2005. In conjunction with this yearbook release, we kicked off a yearbook scanning project. You can search the updated yearbook collection for free through the end of October at www.ancestry.com/yearbooks. You can also view the full list of recently added databases, extending back a couple of months, at http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/recent.aspx.


AncestryPress Is Now MyCanvas
AncestryPress--Ancestry's online self-publishing service--has a new name, MyCanvas, and a new website. You can check out the new site by clicking the "Print & Share" tab (formerly the "Publish" tab) on Ancestry.com. Customers who go to http://www.ancestrypress.com/ will automatically be forwarded to http://www.mycanvas.ancestry.com/.

While the site has a new look, the publishing program is virtually unchanged, except for a few additional features. You can still access your AncestryPress projects by going to the MyProjects page. As before, the publishing program is tightly integrated with Ancestry.com, allowing Ancestry members to automatically create family history books and family tree posters based on data, records and photos in their online trees. MyCanvas offers all of the products that were available in AncestryPress, plus a new custom cover photo book and an exclusive line of premium books for special occasions.

Premium family history books are available in an 11"x8.5" format with a velvet or nubuck cover. Premium photo books are available in two sizes--11"x8.5" or 8"x8"--and four cover types: velvet, nubuck, genuine leather or Japanese silk. Now through November 3, Ancestry members can save $50 on any premium book with this coupon code: MCPREM8.

Yearbook Scanning Project
Ancestry.com is compiling a nationwide collection of school yearbooks starting from the time yearbooks began. These yearbooks will be digitized and the resulting images will be made available on our websites. The main purpose of this program is to collect yearbooks and histories from institutions such as schools and libraries, however, individuals with collections are welcome to participate also. Learn more about this project at http://landing.ancestry.com/yearbook/submission.aspx.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

FamilySearchIndexing is easy

From: Margaret
DearMYRTLE,

Thanks always for your informative podcasts!

I did get motivated to sign up for http://www.familysearchindexing.org/ after your last podcast. Describing how easy the software made the task was very convincing. I did 80 names in a few minutes, and it was painless (1870 census). Is there a way to enter a "stake" that refers to "Team DearMYRTLE" so you can get feedback on your personal influence on this project?

DearMARGARET,
THANK you very much for volunteering to index scanned images. This work IS easy and I think it is a lot more fun than playing “Spider Solitaire” and, of course, a lot more productive.

There are ways to set up group indexing projects. These are usually associated with specific record collections. For instance, the Utah Genealogical Association and the Ohio Genealogical Society are two such entities that influenced members to participate.

A little competition is good for the soul, but I am not sure I dare ask the FamilySearch people for a special “Team DearMYRTLE” designation. They’d have to deal with previously registered indexers who’d want to join the team.

Ol’ Myrt here is sure that as additional digital images are indexed and placed on the net, other genealogists will see the value of this project, and will join this massive indexing effort.


In a recent notice from FamilySearchIndexing.org posted October 2, 2008 titled Access to Indexes and Images we read: “All indexes created by FamilySearch volunteers will be available free to the general public through FamilySearch.org. Access to any images with a “convenience fee” provided under FamilySearch affiliate agreements (e.g., with Ancestry.com, Findmypast.com, and Footnote.com) will be available for free through any family history center worldwide, to LDS Church members, and qualified FamilySearch indexers (a volunteer who indexes 900 names in a 90 day period will have 90 days of free image access). FamilySearch is testing a validation system that will enable it to authenticate qualified FamilySearch members. It will be implemented in 2009.”


If you do the math, becoming a “qualified FamilySearch indexer amounts to indexing about 10 names per day.

I am just thrilled to be part of the indexing project, and will continue from time to time to encourage my blog readers and podcast listeners to participate.

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

http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/
http://blog.TeachGenealogy.com

http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com/

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373
© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to
http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Footnote: Civil War Widows' Pension Records

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at Footnote.com. Later today a podcast will go out with an interview on this topic. Please address all inquiries to justin@footnote.com.

FOOTNOTE.COM RELEASES CIVIL WAR WIDOWS’ PENSION RECORDS

Civil War Widows’ Pension Now Available On The Internet For The First Time

Lindon, UT – October 16, 2008 – Today, Footnote.com released the first digitized versions of the Civil War Widows’ Pension Files.

Through its partnership with Footnote.com, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and FamilySearch, Footnote.com has worked together to prepare, scan, index and now publish these highly popular original documents. “These are one of the most heavily used series of original records at the National Archives,” said James Hastings, NARA Director of Access Programs.

Having never been microfilmed before, the Civil War Pension Files were previously accessible only at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Now, through this project, anyone can access these records via the internet exclusively on Footnote.com.

“The significance to family historians is obvious,” says Cynthia Fox, a NARA Deputy Director. “However, these records offer much to the scholarly community as well. They document the lives of common Americans; people who rarely left journals or collections of letters. They often tell the life stories of people whose daily lives would otherwise be undocumented. Having these records online opens this virtually untapped resource for the study of social history in new and exciting ways.”

Footnote.com has additional paper-to-digital projects to the site including:

“It’s crucial to preserve this information and make it available on the internet where more people can interact with these records,” explains Russ Wilding, CEO of Footnote.com. “At Footnote.com we believe it’s all about people connecting with history in a unique way and our goal is to make sure we provide the best content to help make that connection.”

Footnote.com now features over 45 million records ranging from the time of the Pilgrims and the Revolutionary War to the Vietnam War. Millions of documents are added every month with increasing numbers of people adding their own piece of history to the Footnote.com site through photos, documents, letters and stories.

Visitors can view every image on Footnote.com by signing up for a free 7-day trial. To learn more, visit http://www.footnote.com/?xid=345 today.

About Footnote.comFootnote.com is a history website where real history might just surprise you. Footnote.com features millions of searchable original documents, providing users with an unaltered view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At Footnote.com, all are invited to come share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit http://www.footnote.com/?xid=318.

10 Years Ago I........

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings started a game of tag. I was tagged by Kathy Brady-Blake, of Kathy’s Genealogy Blog. Here are Ol’ Myrt’s responses.

***10 Years Ago I........

1. Was cross-posting my AOL genealogy columns on the web
2. Was teaching computers at the local vo-tech school
3. Was doing one-on-one computer consulting
4. Was instructor at the Manasota Genealogical Society
5. Was excited to be a first time grandmother

***5 Things on Today's To-Do List......
1. Interview 11 people for upcoming podcasts.
2. Write a blog entry.
3. Release DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour.
4. Talk with the editors of Family Chronicle Magazine.
5. Do a load of laundry.

***5 Snacks I Enjoy........
1. Ultimate Nachos (with the works)
2. Popcorn
3. Red licorice
4. Hershey’s Kisses
5. Frangos- chocolate raspberry (I’m with Kathy on this one!)

***5 Places I Have Lived......
1. Seattle, Washington
2. Rockville, Maryland
3. Lindenhurst, New York
4. Bradenton, Florida
5. Salt Lake City, Utah

***5 Jobs I Have Had.....
1. Sales clerk at Sears & Roebuck
2. Receptionist for R. A. Ridges & Company
3. Document typist for Honeywell
4. IT for Telecheck Long Island
5. Computer instructor

***5 Blogs I tag to play.....
1. Elizabeth at Crowe’s Nest
2. Tom Kemp at GenealogyBank
3. Mark at Think Genealogy
4. Diane Haddad at Genealogy Insider
5. Rene at Renee’s Genealogy Blog

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

http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/
http://blog.teachgenealogy.com/
http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com/

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373
© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to
http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

READER'S FEEDBACK: pens & sorting

From: Arlene W Hinman
DearMYRTLE,

I got a big kick out of your article on the 2nd October Through their eyes - name your poison (er...) pen. Is India Ink extinct? I remember using it in school. We had to practice our handwriting and we done it with a straight pen (not even a fountain pen) which we had to keep dipping in the ink. We had interchangeable nibs, to do our calligraphy. How many out there knows what nibs are? Ask Carrie about that one!

Kids today are missing out on a lot not knowing the 'antique' equipment we had to use. Our desks at school had a hole in them (in the upper right hand corner) where we put our bottle of fountain pen ink, can't remember the brand name (Script comes to mind), it was blue and hard to wash off your hands as was the India Ink. Your blog brought back a lot of memories and many chuckles for me. We're not that 'old' are we? I know I'm too young to have a knee replacement...I'm too young for bifocals, and what about grey hair and cataracts? Where did the time go?

Your blog of today Sorting it out was a blog that fits me to a tee or T. Are you sure you haven't been in my house when I was not at home? Your description of where all your papers are is a very good description of my research. However, I do use the floor as there is more room, but my research hasn't got as far as the kitchen yet! I find that binders are great to use. I am with you...paperless?? Ha!! is right. Who ever said that was not a family history researcher. I keep telling myself that I can't print out anything else until I get everything under control...then I find something I can't live without a printout. So far the paper keeps stacking up. Oh well, who has more fun than family researchers?

I used your ideas a few years ago about making time to get yourself organized a week at a time. That was good advice and was very helpful. When you do it that way, it is not so overwhelming. I even told some cousins about it when I was teaching them about organizing their records, and how to do research. You never know how many people you reach out to and help in many ways.

I use the color-coded method, and have been for quite a few years. I learned this from a lady at the FHL that was teaching a class at a seminar a few years ago. I had already started to use the color-code before I heard her, but with different colors. I now use the colors she suggested: blue for your father's fathers line - green for your father's mothers line, red for your mother's fathers line and yellow for your mother's mothers line. Works for me as long as I keep my line and my husband's line in different file cabinets.

I have three file cabinets full of family research that needs to be gone over...when I have the time. That is after I have researched everything there is to research...that should be about a week from next Thursday, if I'm lucky..... :o)

Keep up the good work with your blog...we all need a good laugh now and then.

DearARLENE,
I remember the interchangable nib pen points. I used a C-2 for my calligraphy classes.

You'll perhaps be happy to note that I am reworking my Finally Get Organized Weekly Checklist and it should be done just before Christmas, in time to start sharing it in the new year.

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

http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
http://blog.TeachGenealogy.com
http://podcasts.DearMYRTLE.com

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373
© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.


READER'S FEEDBACK: Scanning, Filing, and a plug for Footnote.com

From: Lise Embley
DearMYRTLE,

RE: Sorting things out
Thank you for so thoroughly discussing the paper trail! I have more people ask for help with that aspect of family history than any other single question.

About scanning – I am the (grateful) recipient of quite a few family heirloom documents that no one knew quite what to do with. Included among those documents are a dozen or so letters dating back to the 1830’s. I have had many of them de-acidified and encapsulated (using the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives lab – a well-kept secret in Frankfort). Then I scanned them.

When my husband got me a subscription to www.Footnote.com for Christmas, I finally realized the perfect “resting” place for those letters. For an example, go to Footnote.com and look for Nathaniel Bird. His Revolutionary War pension file is there, and I have contributed a letter written to his son Frederick in the wilds of frontier Illinois. The letter is an absolute treasure. Nathaniel Bird must have hundreds of descendants, and now all of them can read the touching words of counsel of a good father to his son.

We live in hurricane territory. I sleep a lot better knowing that I have backups (Mozy), historic photos uploaded to Google's Picasa, significant historic documents uploaded to Footnote.com, and a gedcom uploaded to Rootsweb's WorldConnect. My papers could be gone in an instant – tornado, fire, flood, whatever.

I appreciate what you do. I have all my family history consultants subscribe to your newsletter. We’re all better prepared to serve our ward members and the community thanks to you!

Regards,
Lise Embley
Director,
Williamsburg Family History Center

DearLISE,
Ol' Myrt here thinks your idea about maintaining records online is a good one when it comes to sharing. Eventually we'll all probably keep all of our data online, genealogy or otherwise. That way we won't have to depend on any particular computer for storage. The only problem is living individuals and their rights to privacy.

Your Family History Consultants will be especially pleased with today's previous blog entry from Family Search New Online Tools and Training for Family History Consultants.

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

http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
http://blog.TeachGenealogy.com

http://podcasts.DearMYRTLE.com

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373
© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

New Online Tools and Training for Family History Consultants

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at FamilySearch.org. Please address all inquiries to support@familysearch.org.

15 October 2008

New Online Tools and Training for Family History Consultants


The Family History Department of the Church is developing new online tools and services to help ward family history consultants get information and support through the Web. Family history consultants should register online at http://consultant.familysearch.org.

Registered consultants will receive the following:
  • Access to the most up-to-date online training
  • Early access to new systems, products, or services when available
  • Periodic e-mails with helpful tips and family history-related updates

Consultants will need their Church membership number and ward or branch unit number to register. Both can be obtained through their local ward or branch clerk.

“This is such an exciting time in the history of the Church to be involved with family history. FamilySearch continues to roll out new tools that make it easier for members of the Church to find their ancestors and offer the blessings of the temple to them. Family history consultants will be key in this effort,” said Merrill White (Family History Library Patron Services Manager). “It is essential that consultants are properly prepared to assist those in their area. Online training and resources are easy to use and will help them better fulfill their calling.”

FSIndexing notices: Java/Mac issue resolved & access to indexes

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following items are posted on the main screen at www.FamilySearchIndexing.org, and may be of assistance to volunteers.
October 9, 2008: Mac Users and Java - Resolved
A fix has been created for Mac users who have not been able to start the indexing application for the past week (see announcement below on Sept 29th). For the fix to apply to your computer (if you are one of these Mac users), click the Start Indexing button in the bottom right corner of this home page.

If you experience an issue, such as a certificate mismatch error, please click
here to run a file that will remove old JAR resources from your computer. Then click the Start Indexing button again, if needed.

October 2, 2008: Access to Indexes and Images
All indexes created by FamilySearch volunteers will be available free to the general public through
FamilySearch.org. Access to any images with a “convenience fee” provided under FamilySearch affiliate agreements (e.g., with Ancestry.com, Findmypast.com, and Footnote.com) will be available for free through any family history center worldwide, to LDS Church members, and qualified FamilySearch indexers (a volunteer who indexes 900 names in a 90 day period will have 90 days of free image access).FamilySearch is testing a validation system that will enable it to authenticate qualified FamilySearch members. It will be implemented in 2009.To search indexes and images freely now at FamilySearch's pilot site, click here.

US Revolutionary War: Hessian deserters

From: Cindy S. Drake
DearMYRTLE,

As a followup to your information about ENEMY VIEWS: The American Revolutionary War as Recorded by the Hessian Participants, are there any books you are aware of about Hessian soldiers who deserted and stayed in America? I have not read this book, but the description of the book at the Heritage Books Bookstore gives the impression that these diaries are of soldiers who returned to Germany. My husband has a Hessian soldier ancestor who deserted, married, and lived the rest of his life in the United States.

Sincerely,
Cindy S. Drake
Library Curator
Statewide Cemetery Registry Coordinator
Nebraska State Historical Society
1500 R Street,
P.O. Box 82554
Lincoln, NE 68501-2554
cdrake@nebraskahistory.org
http://www.nebraskahistory.org/

DearCINDY,
I decided to forward your query to my favorite US military records expert, Craig R. Scott, CG, owner of http://www.heritagebooks.com/. He replied almost immediately with this offering from Genealogical Publishing, which he says is the first place to look. Unfortunately it is currently out of print. Hopefully you can find this through ILL Interlibrary Loan. At least you know what to look for.

German Mercenary Expatriates in the U.S. & Canada Following the American Revolution
The Contingents from Brunswick, Ansbach and Bayreuth, and Hessen-Hanau, Based upon German Sources.
(Originally Published as German-American Genealogical Research Monograph Numbers 1, 2 & 5) by Clifford Neal Smith.

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

http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/
http://blog.TeachGenealogy.com

http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com/

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sorting things out

DearREADERS,
Remember when personal computers first came out? The gurus of the time said we'd become a "paperless" society. Ha! -- THAT prediction certainly hasn't come to pass, has it? If anything, we tend to accumulate more than the typical household of the pre-computerized age of the 1950s and 1960s. As genealogists, we take accumulation of paper to a higher level. Our extended family members, let alone members of our immediate household, are well aware that our family history work has taken over the computer room, the guest bedroom, the top of the dining room table, the buffet and two kitchen counters -- and that our photocopies threaten to extend into the outer reaches of front room, and will eventually dominate plans for installing a solarium out back behind the family room.

So what's a respectable family historian to do? Give it up, and scan everything? Maybe that's a good idea, though I still like to pour through copies (in page protectors) when I am reviewing a family history challenge.

Randy Seaver has written two blog entries about organizing genealogy files on his computer. Is this my new computer genealogy filing system? - Post 1 was followed quite shortly thereafter by Is This My New Computer Genealogy Filing System? - Post 2. Randy also spotlights Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Filing System - Data Files.

I've heard about color-coded file systems, which seem to work fine, unless your lines do as mine -- cross-over with inter-marriages among cousins, etc. In my opinion, the color coded system is also unwieldy if your database of names gets quite large.

Why I still use binders
Basically, when my brother David comes to visit again, I won't have to run all over the house pulling photos from one shelf, census records from a file cabinet, birth and death certificates from my fireproof locked box, etc. My binders read like coffee table books and why not? To Ol' Myrt here, our family tree is more interesting than Audubon's Birds of America, though the later is certainly a worthwhile study.

For years I've espoused a system where my 263 surnames are filed in 3-ring binders, with dividers for each surname. I have about 100 research binders, since some surnames have only a printed family group sheet, and only one or two supporting documents. (Oh dear!)

Other surnames extend across several binders because I've collected more info on those families. Where I have two seemingly unrelated family lines with the same surname, they get two sets of binders with divider tabs.

I primarily use binders because it is easier for non-genealogists in the family to relate to my work. They don't have to learn to use any particular genealogy program, or even know how to turn on a computer.

What about digital storage of documents?
Ol' Myrt here is committed to scanning everything from here on in, and eventually scanning the previously-gathered documents.

At this point I file everything in my documents folder on my computer, in a sub-folder called genealogy data. Then I name the file with the SURNAME in caps followed by given name and short description of the item. Notice, when it's a census record, I chose to add the census year and locality at the beginning. EVERYTHING is in the same folder, but right now I only have about 300 scanned images.

1850MOFromanLJ.jpg
1900IowaDallasMarionGOERINGFerd.jpg
PLAYERJackwithmotherMyrtle.gif
PLAYERPattiAge3ish.gif

OK, here's what THAT last file looks like! Yes, it is me, when my hair was still a wonderful dark brown! I think my mom cut those bangs! Eeek!

The reason I put all files in the same folder is that unlike earlier versions, Windows Vista allows only so many characters for file names, and since the location of my documents folder is quite a few levels down from the C:\ drive as follows..


C:\Users\Pat\Documents\
genealogy data


I have to take those additional characters into account. Also, since some documents concern more than one family line, I don't have to hunt all over the place to find the photo or scanned image when I wish to attach it to an additional person in my genealogy management program.

A little more about those binders
They are organized so that when you open a binder, you'll find (in this order):

  • A welcome letter telling the reader to look for the pedigree chart, and providing definitions of the tabs to be found in the notebook -- i.e. direct line, collateral lines, & unproved. (I printed out one for each notebook.)
  • A pedigree chart with highlights added, to show how I am related to this family line.
  • A divider tab for the surname labeled - Direct Line
  • A divider tab for the surname labeled - Collateral
  • A divider tab for the surname labeled - Unproved

What is behind the "direct line" tab divider?
I print out family groups sheets on 3-hole punched paper, and arrange them in chronological order with the youngest family first. Let's use the example of my PLAYER family 3-ring binder.

-- First Family Group Sheet
I am the youngest direct in my PLAYER line, so I appear as a child on a family group sheet with my siblings and parents Glen S. PLAYER and Barbara ______________. Next you'll find documents and photos pertaining to my siblings and self as children, my parent's marriage certificate, and two circa 1950s LDS Church Census records where I am listed as a child to my parents. (No, Ol' Myrt here doesn't show up in the most recently available 1930 US Federal Census. My granddaughter just came in and saw this picture of me as a 3-year old, and said "Oh, you had CARS back then?") Geesh.

-- Second Family Group Sheet
My father Glen S. PLAYER now appears as a child in the family with his siblings and parents Shirl PLAYER and Myrtle Eliza WEISER. Supporting documents and photos follow. There is also a map of Salt Lake showing the location of the old family home. Shirl built it across the street from his father's home, with his father's assistance. I have a picture of my Dad as an infant sitting on a blanket in front of that home. The family moved to Seattle when Dad was eight years old.

-- Third Family Group Sheet
My grandfather Shirl PLAYER now appears on a family group sheet as a child in the family with his siblings and parents Alma Oades PLAYER and Mary Elizabeth WRIGHT. Supporting documents and photos follow. There is a map of the Salt Lake City Cemetery, showing where these individuals are buried.

-- Fourth Family Group Sheet
My great-grandfather Alma Oades PLAYER now appears on a family group sheet as a child in the family with his siblings and parents Charles W. PLAYER and Betsey OADES. Supporting documents and photos follow. I particularly remember locating a clearer copy of Betsey's death certificate online than the old black with white letter wet paper copy I had from the early 1970s. (Guess I have been doing
research longer than I thought!)

What is behind the "collateral line" tab divider?
When I run across things on the SIBLINGS of a direct line ancestor, I print out a family group sheet, and file them in chronological order with attendant documents and photos. This is where I put my sibling Mike's family group sheet where he and Becky are the parents, and David, Marissa and Morgan are the children. I file my sister Sharon's married stuff in the DAINES family binder.

What about the "unproved" tab divider?
Sometimes when searching through an area, I find other people with the same unusual (it has to be unusual) last name. Sometimes these end up to be cousins, sometimes the individuals are totally unrelated. Until I can totally eliminate these folks from my family tree, they are there in the same surname notebook, but clearly labeled by the "unproved" tab divider, and my handwritten note "unproved" on the top of each family group sheet.

What about information on the mom in each family?
Information on a woman as a child appears in the surname binder for her maiden name. Once she is married, related marriage documents and photos appear in the surname binder for her married name. I am careful to reprint the family group sheet where she is a child so that the new information about her spouse is briefly mentioned, thereby referring people to that married name surname notebook in my collection.

Things that haven't made it to a binder yet
Admittedly there is a delay getting things into my binders, and it has to do with coming home EXHAUSTED from doing research at the Family History Library. Remember Ol' Myrt's commitment to scanning everything new? Well that is ALSO a bottle neck for me. So I have a vertical file drawer called "to be scanned/filed", with those Pend-a-flex hanging folders for each letter of the alphabet. Some of those hanging folders also have a surname folder IF it happens I am collecting a lot on a specific surname. So no matter how tired I may be from the rigors of a research trip, I've promised myself to immediately file the newly acquired photocopies into the appropriate hanging file folder.

Check only 2 places
Myrt's filing system means that I only have to check two places if someone asks me about documents supporting my lineage assumptions for a name in my family history:

  • The 3-ring binder for that family name.
  • The "to be scanned/filed" folder for that surname or related letter of the alphabet.

I don't have to worry about a stray document somewhere else.

But what about scanning from microfilm to a flash drive?
Yes, I do that. But when I get home, I also print out a copy (since it is cheaper to print at home than at the Family History Library's reader/printer.) So you could say that I spend about 30 minutes printing and filing when I get home from a research outing. While the printer is working, I rename the next digital file using my naming scheme described above.

When do I file a paper into a research binder?
On a day when it's raining or the snows are blowing, I make myself spend 60 minutes as follows:

  • Locate the paper copy in my files.
  • Determine if I have a scanned image copy to attach to the first ancestor mentioned in my genealogy management program.
  • Scan if necessary, then place the document in a top-loading sheet protector.
  • Pull the appropriate surname notebook from the shelf.
  • Transcribe the document (word-for-word) and place that transcription with the principle ancestor mentioned in the document in my genealogy management program.
  • Copy/paste info to additional ancestors mentioned. For instance the bride, the groom, her parents and his if mentioned.
  • Attached the scanned image of the document to all ancestors mentioned as a source or multi-media file in my genealogy management program.
  • Insert the paper copy of the file behind the appropriate family group sheet (in the case of a marriage behind the family group sheet for the couple in question.)

Is Myrt's system perfect?
No, sometimes I've given up and made two copies of a document, placing it first under a woman's maiden name and secondly under her married name. This was in a case where a woman was married four times, and things got a little confusing. I am sure there are other pitfalls to this system, but this is what is working for me now.


Greatest organization tip I've ever heard
Back in 1989 or 1990, Bill Dollarhide once taught an all-day seminar in Bradenton, Florida. He told us to quit writing research notes on the back of a bank receipt on an old torn envelope. Everything should be converted to 8 1/2 x 11 inch pages for ease in filing. (Even if you have to tape the smaller note on a piece of photocopy paper.)



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

http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/
http://blog.teachgenealogy.com/
http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com/

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© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.
This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Everton Online Edition free access until 17 Oct

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friend Leland Meitzler, editor of Everton's Genealogical Helper. Please address all inquiries to ed@everton.com .

Everton Online Edition FREE Access
Since the initial launch of the Genealogical Helper as an Online Edition, it has been determined that hosting the magazines on World Vital Records' servers was causing too much confusion and difficulty of access for subscribers. To alleviate the confusion, Everton's have undertaken the hosting themselves, with a much simpler user interface.

Everton apologizes for any inconvenience that genealogists experienced with the initial launch of the Online Edition, and are confident that your experience will now be a pleasant and rewarding one. Everton is offering access to the two Online Edition issues now available at thesite: Jul-Aug 2008 and Sept-Oct 2008 absolutely FREE until October 17.

Simply go to: www.everton.com.

ALSO - until October 27 the $12 annual subscription fee to the Online Edition of the Genealogical Helper will be reduced to $10.00, and the $29.00 annual subscription fee for the hard copy edition of the magazine (includes access to the OnlineEdition) will be reduced to $25.00.

The Genealogical Helper is widely recognized as having no equal in terms of amount of total content, educational and research information, and lists of organizations, events, and repositories.The complete magazine is online, and all websites listed in either the content or advertisements are hot-linked.

Virtual appearances

DearREADERS,
Virtual appearances are coming into their own in the world of online genealogy.

Virtual appearances? This is where participation in a genealogy lecture is accommodated through the use of technology and the internet. The chief benefit is that time and travel expenses are saved as both participants and presenters attend via home computers or workstations from anywhere in the world.

Participants can hear the presenter speak (in real time, not pre-recorded) and see anything on the presenter's computer screen (a PowerPoint or demo of genealogy software, etc.)

Two types of "virtual appearances" have emerged of late, which for ease of discussion Ol' Myrt here has labeled:
  • Type A - One computer connects to many computers (with many attendees)
  • Type B - One computer connects to one computer (with many attendees)

Type A - One computer connects to many computers (with many attendees)
This type of virtual appearance is the more expensive type, as the cost is related to the number of incoming connections. For instance, the more people attending, the higher the cost for the host.

FamilySearch holds technical webinars to coordinate with outside (& distant) programmers who are refining software to coordinate with the newly emerging version of FamilySearch.org. You'd expect techies to use hi-tech to get their work done.

On a level Ol' Myrt can relate to -- Ancestry hosts virtual appearances of a variety of genealogy professionals who share their how-to knowledge with researchers like you and me. In fact, you may register to attend this week's webinar, Saving Family Treasures, featuring Maureen Taylor, the photo detective. You'll need to pre-register to attend. Ancestry bears the cost of participation for such events.

Type B - One computer connects to one computer (with many attendees)
Individual speakers contract with local genealogy societies to appear virtually using an interface such as www.gotomeeting.com . Ol' Myrt will make such a virtual appearance Tuesday, Oct 21st at 6:30pm Eastern US with folks that gather in the meeting room at the public library in Moultie, Georgia. The cost to me as the presenter is relatively low since only the computer with projector in that meeting room will connect with mine.

Given the high cost of travel in an economy of declining returns on our investments, virtual appeances are a trend worth looking into.

FOR FURTHER READING

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

http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
http://blog.TeachGenealogy.com
http://podcasts.DearMYRTLE.com

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373
© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.
This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to
http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

FamilySearch Indexing Update13 October 2008

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at FamilySearch.org. Please address all inquiries to support@FamilySearch.org . Volunteer to index at www.FamilySearchIndexing.org .


We had great response to our request a week ago for help with the Cheshire - Poor Law project. Thanks to the focused effort of many volunteers, the Cheshire project is now 97% complete!

That's a 15% increase from last week (or 5,748 batches - Indexer A + Indexer B + Arbitration). It should only take a few more days to get to 100% completion. Sincere thanks go out to all of our indexers who responded to the request. Keep up the great work!

New Projects This Week
This week, two new indexing projects were added-Missouri and Tennessee from the 1870 U.S. Federal Census collection. Please send a message to all friends, colleagues, and family members who might be interested in participating in indexing the two newly added state projects or any of the current indexing initiatives noted below.

Current Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion Status
  • Alabama - 1920 US Federal Census English - 1920 85%
  • Argentina Censo 1869 - Buenos Aires Spanish - 1869 76%
  • Arkansas Marriages II English - 1837-1957 10%
  • Brandenburg Kirchenbücher German - 1789-1875 9%
  • California - 1920 US Federal Census English - 1920 32%
  • España Lugo Registros Parroquiales Spanish - 1530-1930 7%
  • Florida 1945 Census English - 1945 30%
  • France, Coutances, Paroisses de la Manche French - 1792-1906 7%
  • Guanajuato Censo de Mexico de 1930 Spanish - 1930 60%
  • Guerrero - Censo de Mexico de 1930 Spanish - 1930 38%
  • Illinois - 1920 US Federal Census English - 1920 16%
  • Massachusetts - 1920 US Federal Census English - 1920 17%
  • Missouri - 1870 US Federal Census English - 1870 (New)
  • Morelos - Censo de Mexico de 1930 Spanish - 1930 78%
  • New York - 1870 US Federal Census English - 1870 88%
  • Nicaragua, Managua Civil Records Spanish - 1879 - present 8%
  • Tennessee - 1870 US Federal Census English - 1870 (New)
  • Trento Italy Baptism Records Italian - 1784-1924 7%
  • UK - Cheshire - Poor Law English - 1848 -1967 97%
  • Venezuela Mérida Registros Parroquiales Spanish - 1654 - 1992 0.4%

Parable of the Red Pencil

DearREADERS,
Here are links to some of the latest entries on my other blog – Teach Genealogy.
  • The Parable of the Red Pencil presented at the Utah Valley PAF Users Group on Saturday during Ol' Myrt's presentation titled Practical Advice for Family History Consultants.
  • Isle of Man provides research suggestions for a DearMYRTLE's Salt Lake Study Group attendee who has an ancestress from this area.
  • Early [LDS] Church Information File includes a link to the Family History Library Catalog entry for this record group, to assist a participant of DearMYRTLE's Salt Lake Study Group after a discussion at our recent Tuesday night workshop.
  • More Early LDS follow-up to previous post.
  • DUP Field Trip 18 Oct 2008 copy of handout given at our workshop concerning the DearMYRTLE's Salt Lake Study Group field trip coming up this weekend.

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

http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
http://blog.TeachGenealogy.com
http://podcasts.DearMYRTLE.com

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373
© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Lloyd Bockstruck joins Eastman's newsletter staff

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following welcome news was just received from Dick Eastman. Please address all inquiries to Dick@eogn.com .

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, an online publication available at www.eogn.com, today announced the addition of another writer to the newsletter's staff: Lloyd de Witt Bockstruck.

Lloyd will be writing a weekly column featuring a wide variety of genealogical- and history-related topics. "I believe the addition of Lloyd Bockstruck to our writing staff greatly strengthens the team that produces the online genealogy newsletter," said Dick Eastman, owner of the newsletter.

"Lloyd's expertise in genealogy methodologies, technical topics, legal issues, and hereditary societies is unsurpassed. Lloyd is passionate about heritage and about accuracy in research. His knowledge and writing style should complement that of myself and of George G. Morgan. I look forward to publishing Lloyd's articles in the Plus Edition of the newsletter."

About Lloyd Bockstruck
Lloyd de Witt Bockstruck, the son of Harry Earl Bockstruck and Olive Elsie Blakenship, was born in Vandalia, Illinois. He graduated with an A.B. cum laude in biology and history from Greenville College in 1967. Mr. Bockstruck received an M.A. in Modern European History from Southern Illinois University in 1969 and an M.S. in Library Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1973. He received a certificate from the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, Samford University, in June 1973. Mr. Bockstruck was a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of History, Southern Illinois University, 1967-69. He served as a secondary teacher and librarian at Mombasa Baptist High School in Mombasa, Kenya, 1969-71, and was a Graduate Assistant in the School of Library Science at the University of Illinois, 1971-73. He joined the Dallas Public Library in 1973. From 1974 to 1991 he served as an instructor in the School of Continuing Education, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. He is the senior ranking faculty member of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, Samford University, having joined in 1974. He also was on the faculty of the Genealogical Institute of Mid-America for ten years. Lloyd Bockstruck has been Supervisor of the Genealogy Section of the Dallas (Texas) Public Library since 1973. He is also a prolific writer, recently ending seventeen years of publishing a weekly genealogy column in the Dallas Morning News. Thanks to that newsletter's web site, readers all over the world have enjoyed his column.

Mr. Bockstruck has been the recipient of many awards, including: History Award of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (1989), Professional Award for Historical Preservation presented by the Texas Historical Commission (1992), Fellow of the National Genealogical Society (1992), Filby Prize for Genealogical Librarianship (1999), Indiana Historical Society Willard Heiss Memorial Lecturer (2002), Lifetime Achievement Award from the Northeast Texas Library Systems (2003), National Society Sons of the American Revolution Gold Good Citizenship Medal (2006), National Society Daughters of Colonial Wars Award for Preservation of Colonial History (2007) and others as well. Lloyd Bockstruck resides in Dallas, Texas.

About Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter was founded in 1996 by Dick Eastman for the purpose of providing current news, information, and lots of "how to" articles of interest to genealogists. It is now the most popular, independently-owned and operated genealogy publication in the world with more than 41,000 readers around the globe, according to QuantCast Audience Profile. Articles in the newsletter are written by Dick Eastman, George G. Morgan, and now by Lloyd Bockstruck. Pam Cerutti serves as Editor.The newsletter is available in two versions: a free "Standard Edition" and a subscription-based "Plus Edition." Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter may be found at http://www.eogn.com.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Cooking the books

DearREADERS,

Just what sort of family history are you cooking up?

Years ago it was Enron "cooking the books" by under-valuing losses and over-valuing stock, just so the big bosses could sell and make millions. Those are the exact millions many Enron inventors lost when reality caught up with such illegal activities. More recently, the outgoing AIG boss asked that last year's bonus calculations wouldn't include the losses that took place in the same time period. (Gosh, the rest of us must work on a net profit/loss basis.)

In addition, that AIG boss left with a 15 million dollar golden parachute, unfortunately too late to participate in this week's $440,000 luxury get-away (including some $23,000 in spa treatments) enjoyed by AIG insurance salesmen just a few days after a multi-million dollar government bail-out was received. I heard late last night AIG is getting another $85 million. The numbers are mind-boggling. No wonder the world's markets are facing unprecedented losses, with banks and mortgage companies being nationalized by their respective governments in an attempt to stabilize our global economy.

Let this world-wide chaos be a lesson to family historians who must avoid "cooking the books" at all costs.

Let us not throw ingredients into our family history stew that will sour the result.

Good family histories are more likely to remain palatable if these simple guidelines are followed:

  • Avoid jumping to lineage assumptions too soon.

  • Never take a website's compiled genealogy as truth.

  • Interpret a surname book as merely a list of clues to finding source documents that may or may not prove familial relationships.

  • Forget about believing everything found in a county history or an 1880-1920s "mug book".

  • Cite every source checked.

  • Resolve conflicting evidence source documents may pose.

  • Consider taking advice from more experienced cooks, err.. genealogists, by attending seminars and conferences, and asking for a professional review of your family history stew.

You don't want to end up with a mish-mash of goulash.

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

http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/
http://blog.teachgenealogy.com/
http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com/

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373


© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to
answer each personally.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Summit County Ohio Court Receives Grant

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at FamilySearch.org. Please address all inquiries to support@FamilySearch.org.

Summit County Ohio Court Receives Grant

Hundreds of thousands of historic records will be freely available online

Salt Lake City, Utah—Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, and the National Association of Government Archive and Records Administrators (NAGARA) announced on July 24, 2008, that Judge Bill Spicer and the Probate Division of the Summit County Common Pleas Court in Akron, Ohio, were awarded a 2008 grant for the digitization of Summit County marriage, birth, and death records. The court’s grant was one of only two awarded in 2008. This significant grant will make it possible for Summit County to digitally preserve and provide free online access to select historical documents.

The project targets 1840 to 1980 marriage records for over 550,000 individuals, birth records prior to 1908 for over 46,000 individuals, and death records prior to 1908 for over 22,000 individuals. A free, searchable name index linked to the digital images of the original records will be available to the public through the probate court’s Web site www.summitohioprobate.com and the grant partners’ sites.

“As a result of the grant, our Website, which was chosen as one of the 10 best in the country by the National College of Probate Judges, will now have the added distinction of being a model for the state and country for accessing historical court records,” said Judge Spicer. “Not only will it improve access, but by reducing the need to see the often-fragile originals, it will make the court’s job of preserving hundreds of thousands of original records easier. The project is a far-sighted and important effort in preserving local history. On behalf of the court and the citizens of Summit County, I thank the project sponsors for selecting Summit County Probate Court as its 2008 grant recipient.”

This is the first year that this national grant was offered. It is sponsored by Ancestry.com and FamilySearch and administered by NAGARA. Under the grant, FamilySearch will digitize the original documents on-site in the Summit County courthouse by the end of 2008, and Ancestry.com will create an electronic index linked to the images. The entire project is scheduled for completion in 2009. The commercial value of the grant is estimated to be $150,000.00.

Outside of this and similar business transactions, no legal or other affiliation exists between FamilySearch and The Generations Network.

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at FamilySearch.org or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

About the Ancestry Global Network
The Ancestry global network of family history Web sites is wholly owned by The Generations Network, Inc. It consists of nine Web sites – www.ancestry.com in the U.S., www.ancestry.co.uk in the UK, www.ancestry.ca in Canada, www.ancestry.com.au in Australia, www.ancestry.de in Germany, www.ancestry.it in Italy, www.ancestry.fr in France, www.ancestry.se in Sweden and www.jiapu.cn in China. Ancestry members have access to 7 billion names contained in 26,000 historical record collections. Tree-building and photo upload are free on all Ancestry websites. To date, Ancestry.com users have created more than 7 million family trees containing 700 million profiles and 11 million photographs. Nearly 5.8 million unique visitors logged onto Ancestry.com in August 2008 (comScore Media Metrix, Worldwide).

Why church records aren’t there

DearREADERS,
For comic relief Ol’ Myrt here reads until she falls asleep. At any given point in time, some three to five books are found on the floor at the side of my bed. I used to put them on the night stand, but when an avalanche ensued in the middle of the night a few years back, I decided to forego the possibility of another rude awakening where books independently decide to test out the law of gravity. (I.E. Do two books of different sizes and weights fall at the same rate?)

Last night, reading from T. K. Cartmell’s
Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and their Descendants: A History of Frederick County, Virginia from its Formation in 1738 to 1908 page 167, I came across the following passage concerning a small pre-Revolutionary War community where my Hite and Froman ancestors once lived.

Dr. Foote* says “That in 1739, Mr. John Thompson, as an evangelist, preached at Opecquon and the new settlements on the frontiers of Virginia, and that Mr. Wm. Robinson, on his long to be remembered tour through Virginia and North Carolina, Repeatedly preached at Opecquon in 1742.” The first Presbyterial Records of the Old Donegal Presbytery furnish the names of Rev. John Hindman, Samuel Caven, Wm. Bertram, ______ Linn, and Alexander McDowell, as frequent visiting Ministers from their Presbytery to do Missionary and Evangelistic work at Opecquon, Cedar Creed and Elsewhere. This was continued at intervals until 1754, when we find Opecquon with her first Pastor, who was Rev. John Hoge, grandson of Wm. Hoge (Hogue), who gave the land on which the first Meeting House was built. Mr. Hog’s pastorate continued for eighteen years. The Presbytery records show that his salary was scarcely adequate. He made complaints of privations and great labor while he rendered efficient service to the early settlers, and that he did not receive sufficient support from the two churches to justify his further service in this field. This last statement to his Presbytery, produced prompt action in that body, for this language appears: “My. Hoge is released from his pastoral charge on account of non-payment of salary.” We find these churches for some years after the withdrawal of Mr. Hoge, were supplied by Revs. Vance, McKnight, Thompson, Slemmons, Craighead, Balch, Linn and others, who had pastorates in other sections. […] Unfortunately no church records were preserved for many years; and this state of affairs narrows the history of the church to either tradition or Presbyterial reports.”

Given this brief description of poor funding and traveling clergy predating by 15 years an officially-appointed minister, is it no wonder there is a scarcity of church records of christening, marriage and burial records? These Virginia church records are nothing like those that have survived from the late 1600s in Bisham, Berkshire, England where I’ve found an abundance of ancestral records. The difference is that Bisham wasn’t on the outer boundaries of a developing and emerging nation in the 1600s.

Long have genealogy instructors advised students to turn to church records which were typically kept prior to public vital records. However, perhaps frequently, as in this case of the Virginia’s developing “western frontier”, traveling pastors administered ordinances as weather and schedule permitted, leaving those of us yearning for complete chronological reports saddened by the absence of necessary direct evidence of our ancestor’s lives. Such early development challenges also explain why some church records show a couple’s marriage and the christening of the oldest two children on the same date. The community approved of the marriage, but it wasn’t officially solemnized until a few years later when a traveling minister came through the area.

Given a lack of church records, genealogists may next turn to land and tax records, and probate files. In fact, any activities noted in the court files would provide direct or indirect evidence of an ancestors life. Simplistically put -- direct, if he is the subject of the action (for instance, his own will listing heirs), and indirect if he is perhaps merely a witness to a document (for instance, a friend's will).

FOR FURTHER READING
Cartmell, T. K.
Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and their Descendants: A History of Frederick County, Virginia from its Formation in 1738 t0 1908 copyright 1909 by the author, facsimile reprint Heritage Books, Inc. 2007.

* On page 165, Cartmell cites “Doctor Wm. H. Foote, in his Sketches of Virginia, 1855” among others who in Cartmell’s estimation have composed detailed histories of early church development in Virginia. We know from additional research that a more complete citation would include the following text – Foote, William Henry, Sketches of Virginia, Historical and Biographical, second series, 1855. The
1856 version published at Philadelphia by J. B. Lippincott & Co. is available in full view at Google Books, from a scan of the original 596 pages at the New York Public Library in Feb 2008. The title page of this version lists Rev. Foote as the Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Romney, Virginia.

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

http://blog.dearmyrtle.com
http://blog.teachgenealogy.com
http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373
© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.


Monday, October 06, 2008

Old maps online

From: Dee Whiting
DearMYRTLE,

Here is a great (free) place to get out-out-copyright maps of places all over the world, as well as photos and paintings. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Old_maps

Isn’t that great? I like Italy South 1849 and Amsterdam, Holland.

An old map is defined as over 70 years old. Each listing states why it is in the public domain and thus free to download. The photos and paintings are such a great opportunity to add some physical reality to our research, and to pique the interest of family members.

Thank you so much. Your podcasts have really helped me to be a better genealogist.

DearDEE,
Thanks for helping folks find readily accessible free maps online that may help illustrate the locale where their ancestors once lived. The use of a wiki to distribute information is fast becoming the norm, eh?

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

http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
http://blog.TeachGenealogy.com

http://podcasts.DearMYRTLE.com

DearMYRTLE's Facebook® Group Message Board
http://www.new.facebook.com/board.php?uid=2960625373
© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to
http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

American Genealogical Biographical Index

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at the Godfrey Memorial Library. Please address all inquiries to Bruce Tyler, Interim Director library@godfrey.org .

28 Sept 2008
Jan 2009: AGBI images to be posted at Godfrey & WVR

Godfrey Library publishes the American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI). The AGBI is a 226 volume every name index of hundreds of genealogies, including unindexed and partially indexed genealogies. The AGBI also indexes the Boston Transcript genealogical column that appeared from 1896 to 1941, the 1790 census, parts of the Pennsylvania Archives and various vital, church and military records. About 300 large libraries, in addition to the Godfrey Library, have print copies.

The only online addition appears on Ancestry.com. That is about to change. Beginning in January 2009 the AGBI will no longer be part of Ancestry.com. Instead the AGBI will be part of Godfrey Library's paid subscription service, Godfrey Scholar, and will also be part of World Vital Record's database offerings.

The American Genealogical Biographical Index is an invaluable first step in any genealogical research. Since the AGBI also sorts names by birthdate whenever available, it is also an important research tool when the the same given name appears many times during a surname search. The AGBI also sorts by geographical location within a surname listing.

Godfrey Library owns all the material indexed in the AGBI.

Godfrey Library, a library of genealogy and family history, is located in Middletown, Connecticut. www.godfrey.org

Friday, October 03, 2008

FamilySearch Indexing Update 3 Oct 2008

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at FamilySearchIndexing.org. Please submit all inquiries to support@FamilySearchIndexing.org & do your part by participating as an active volunteer indexer.

FamilySearch Indexing Update
3 October 2008

Over 29 million new names were posted this past week on the
FamilySearch Record Search pilot. Kudos to the FamilySearch volunteer indexers for their monumental contributions! The chart below lists the current indexing projects and their completion status. Volunteers can help any time by registering or downloading a current project at www.familysearch.org (click on Index Records>Volunteer or Start Indexing) or www.familysearchindexing.org.

Project Spotlight: United Kingdom, Cheshire Poor Law
The United Kingdom, Cheshire Poor Law indexing project is currently 82% complete. We would like to finish this project by the end of next week, 10 October 2008. If volunteers have time to donate before October 10th, try doing at least a batch or two (or more) from this project. (To download a batch from a specific project, click the Download From… button in the My Work section of the indexing application’s start page, select the project from the list, and click Download.)


The Cheshire project includes several types of records kept by the workhouses in Cheshire County, including the Chester Union Workhouse at Hoole, from 1848-1967. Some of the poor in the community would go to the workhouses for only a short time. Some ended up spending the rest of their lives there.

We are indexing birth and baptism records, death and burial records, admission registers, and creed registers. The information gathered depends upon the record type and includes the names of those admitted, admission dates, religion, names of children, names of parents, birth dates, baptism dates, names of the deceased, death and burial dates.

These are not all of the Poor Law records but a significant portion of them. It is estimated that these records include 500,000 names. [The population of Cheshire County during the time period of these records is uncertain, but the population in 2001 was 673,781—so a significant portion of the community is represented in these records.]

Current Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion Status

Alabama - 1920 US Federal Census
English - 1920
79%

Argentina Censo 1869 - Buenos Aires
Spanish - 1869
66%

Brandenburg Kirchenbücher
German - 1789-1875
8%

California - 1920 US Federal Census
English - 1920
28%

España Lugo Registros Parroquiales
Spanish - 1530-1930
6%

Florida 1945 Census
English - 1945
24%

France, Coutances, Paroisses de la Manche
French - 1792-1906
7%

Guanajuato Censo de Mexico de 1930
Spanish - 1930
56%

Guerrero - Censo de Mexico de 1930
Spanish - 1930
35%

Illinois - 1920 US Federal Census
English - 1920
15%

Massachusetts - 1920 US Federal Census
English - 1920
15%

Morelos - Censo de Mexico de 1930
Spanish - 1930
68%

New York - 1870 US Federal Census
English - 1870
55%

Nicaragua, Managua Civil Records
Spanish - 1879 - present
8%

Quintana Roo - Censo de Mexico de 1930
Spanish - 1930
88%

Trento, Italy Baptism Records
Italian - 1784-1924
7%

UK - Cheshire - Poor Law
English - 1848 -1967
82%

Venezuela Mérida Registros Parroquiales
Spanish - 1654 - 1992
0.3%