Tuesday, April 30, 2013

WEBINAR: Blogging for Beginners - Friday 3 May 2013

DearREADERS,

Ol' Myrt is completing my handouts for Friday's Blogging for Beginners webinar hosted by our friends at LegacyFamilyTree.com and FamilyTreeWebinars.com . You’ll find the direct link to the archived webinar here, within a few hours after the initial webcast.  
GOAL: This session provides additional support for newbie bloggers and is a follow-up to the previous webinar Blogs: Easy-to-Make Web Pages with Ol’ Myrt here and my daughter Carrie Keele available for review here.
PROCESS: During Friday's webinar, Ol' Myrt will briefly review the 3-step blog set-up process discussed during our last session, then focus on composing creative blog posts, inserting graphics including captions with attribution. Learn about the advisability of end notes and using MS Word for composing. We’ll discuss disclosure statements, and how a blog can literally be a portfolio to build interest in your society, or professional research service.
Blogs are so easy, you'll be up and blogging in no time at all.

SOME SURPRISING STATISTICS

You aren’t alone if you are new to blogging. During our last webinar session, the moderator asked:
“Do you have a personal or genealogy blog?”
·         21% Yes
·         52% No
·         27% Thinking about it
“Do you subscribe to genealogy blogs?”
·         34% Yes, via email
·         19% Yes, via a blog reader like Google Reader
·         46% No, not yet

Does your genealogy society publish a newsletter?
·         19% Yes, in paper format
·         39% Yes, in paper and digital format
·         22% Yes, in digital format
·         21% Not yet


NOT TO WORRY! Ol’ Myrt here will provide a step-by-step approach to creating a blog, and making postings using the free service at Blogger.com. This is a proven method for sharing genealogy research, posting your society's newsletter, and distributing info with extended family members. This webinar will also feature a survey of sample blogs, and links for additional help. 

REGISTER TODAY!
Here's where to find out more, and to click to register. http://www.familytreewebinars.com/webinar_details.php?webinar_id=75

Friday 3 May 2013
2:00pm Eastern
1:00pm Central
12:00pm Mountain
11:00am Pacific
7:00pm GMT 


ARRIVE EARLY
There are always more registrants than spaces available. (Not sure why, but it is a standard GoToWebianr policy.) See you Friday!

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

Blog: http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DearMYRTLE
G+ DearMYRTLE Community
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

Monday, April 29, 2013

NGS: NYC, Long Island and Westchester County Research Guide

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at the National Genealogica Society. Please address al inquiries to PR@ngsgenealogy.org.



National Genealogical Society Announces Release
of New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County Research Guide

 
Arlington, VA, 29 April 2013: The National Genealogical Society announces the release of the newest edition in its Research in the States series: Research in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County. This publication was written by native New Yorker and nationally recognized genealogist Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, FGBS. Laura is a trustee and former president of BCG and co-editor of the NYGandB Record. Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS, is a former NGS president and is the current editor of the NGS Research in the States series and the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy.
 
Research in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County is an introduction to resources and repositories essential to genealogical research in these geographic areas. “Millions of Americans have ancestors who spent some time in the New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County area,” said Laura Murphy DeGrazia, author, “and knowing what resources exist and where they are located can help family historians be more successful in their research.”
 
The guide will be available for sale at the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas from 8–11 May in the NGS booth (#205). Author Laura Murphy DeGrazia will be available for book signings at the NGS conference booth on Thursday, 9 May from 9:00 a.m.–10:50 a.m.
 
Research in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County will be available in the NGS store at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/research_in_the_states in a PDF and print version beginning 8 May; the print version will ship after 20 May. Other titles in the Research in the States series, which are also available in PDF and print form, include Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Additional states and a full New York State guide are planned for the future.

ABOUT NGS 
Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records.  The Arlington, VA-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists.  Please visit the NGS Pressroom for further information.




Saturday, April 27, 2013

MGP Study Group: Everybody's IN

DearREADERS,
The Mastering Genealogical Proof (MGP) Study Group orientation session is set for Sunday, 2 June 2013 at starting at 8pm Eastern US (New York). If you need a time zone converter, there is a great one located here: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html 




At that time we will meet the following panelists and alternates and practice cycling panelists in and out of the session and over to the DearMYRTLE's YouTube Channel and back. We will also introduce our first homework assignment.

Barry Kline
Carol Petranek
Cary Bright
Darlene Steffens
DearMYRTLE
Jennifer Dondero
Kathryn Lake Hogan
Lisa McKinney
Lori Meyer
Michael Hait
Pam Drake
Patricia Kuhn
Peggy Lauritzen
Russ Worthington
Sheri Fenley

HERE'S WHAT PANELISTS will need to send to Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com within the week:

  • Name:  
  • Email:  
  • Google+ account name:  
  • Blog or website URL:   
  • Employment:
  • Research expertise (locality or ethnic group):
  • Equipment: Mac including OS system or PC - version of Windows
  • Preferred web browser
  • Genealogy software program you use most frequently
  • 200 word bio, with a genealogy slant.
  • Recent photo (head shot) minimum 300 dpi
  • Letter of commitment to the MGP schedule posted here. Panelists will log in 35 minutes prior to each session.
  • Confirm that you have received your copy of Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones,  PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA.


HERE'S WHAT EVERYONE ELSE CAN DO


FOR MORE INFO
To learn more about DearMYRTLE'S MGP Study Group plans see:
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2013/03/announcing-mgp-study-group-hangouts-on.html


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

Blog: http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DearMYRTLE
G+ DearMYRTLE Community
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

Genealogy webinars, chats and hangouts next week

DearREADERS,
Thanks to the centralized calendar at GeneaWebinars.com, genealogists interested in learning more about our craft may register for these online seminars coming up this week. Be sure to verify the time in your neck of the woods. If you need a time zone converter see: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

Most of these webinars are held using the services of GoToWebinar.com. You don't need to have an account since the webinar organizer has that. As an attendee, you merely need to register, then click on the link in your confirmation email at the time of the event to attend. Newbies will find these links useful:


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


Blog: http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DearMYRTLE
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
G+: +Pat Richley-Erickson
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont  
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

NGS Official release announcement: Mastering Genealogical Proof

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from the National Genealogical Society (NGS). Please address all inquires to support@ngsgenealogy.org.



NGS announces the release of Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, phd, cg, cgl, fasg, fngs. As a unique textbook on genealogical methods and reasoning in the twenty-first century, Mastering Genealogical Proof guides readers in acquiring genealogical skills transcending chronological, ethnic, geopolitical, and religious boundaries. Dr. Jones, a noted writer, lecturer, and editor in the field of genealogy, explains and develops the level of proof that is appropriate to genealogy.

Dr. Jones relies on his vast experience as a genealogist to explain the various concepts and techniques involved in the genealogical research process. Mastering Genealogical Proof aims to help researchers, students, and new family historians reconstruct relationships and lives of people they cannot see. It presents content in digestible chunks. Each chapter concludes with problems providing practice for proficiently applying the chapter’s concepts. Those problems, like examples throughout the book, use real records, real research, and real issues.

Mastering Genealogical Proof will first be available for purchase at the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, 8–11 May 2013. Dr. Jones will also be available for book signings at the NGS booth (#205) in the exhibit hall on Friday, 10 May, from 10:45 a.m.–12:00 noon and on Saturday, 11 May, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Purchases may be made in advance of the signings in the NGS booth starting at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 8 May, when the conference exhibit hall opens. Mastering Genealogical Proof may also be pre-ordered from the NGS online store at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.



Ancestry.com wants us to create trees and not do individual searches?

DearREADERS,
Randy Seaver woefully noted recent changes at Ancestry in his post titled Ancestry.com Home Page Changes and Wild Card Search Frustrations. I think we're seeing a major shift in how Ancestry.com wishes to have people interact with the website.

To Ol' Myrt's way of thinking, the best way to provide context-sensitive search results is for users to have an Ancestry Member Tree.

Notice what's missing when comparing today's Ancestry.com "advanced" search box  on the home page and the screen shot Randy took on 12 April 2013 for his presentation two days later:

IMAGE: from Randy Seaver's blog post,
http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/04/ancestrycom-home-page-changes-and-wild.html
My red arrows and rounded boxes are added.


Specifically, the form now on the Ancestry.com homepage does not include search modifications such as:
  • adding multiple life events (to exclude people who didn't live in the same time frame)
  • adding the names of known family members (especially helpful when we know the spouse or children of an elusive ancestor)
  • gender (that makes it hard with my grandfather named "Shirley" and his father named "Alma")
  • race or nationality


What we are left with is a bland "advanced" research form that means we will spend significantly more time doing individual searches. The additional "length an individual stays on the site" may boost Ancestry.com traffic score, but will also boost frustration levels among researchers who know this new search is a giant step backwards:





WORK-AROUND?
Registered users should forget Ancestry.com's home page and click the "Search" option on the top navigation bar to find the old familiar search box, with the additional options to:

Restrict the search to any or all of the following:
  • Historical records
  • Family Trees
  • Stories and publications
  • Photos and maps

I do not know if researchers using this advanced form will experience the same wild-card search frustrations discussed in Randy's post about the home page search box




 A private Ancestry Member Tree may be your best solution.



When "de"selecting the default option "Allow others to see my tree as a public member tree" Ancestry.com advises:
What if I don't make my tree public?

  • When you choose not to share your tree, you potentially miss out on opportunities to collaborate with other members and grow your tree.
  • Even if you don't share your tree, other members can still learn if a specific deceased individual is in your tree, in addition to the birth year and birthplace of the person and your username (but no personal information about you).
  • They can then contact you anonymously through the Connection Service on Ancestry.com sites to request more information. Keep in mind that members who want to learn from your tree may also have helpful information about your tree to offer you in exchange.

BOTTOM LINE
Ancestry.com benefits by our posting online member trees, but so do researchers. Those trees provide the potential for more member-to-member collaboration and facilitates Ancestry DNA matches. Ancestry Member Trees may also be the only viable alternative to the poor Ancestry.com search algorithm challenges described by my esteemed colleague.

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

Blog: http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DearMYRTLE
G+ DearMYRTLE Community
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

Mastering Genealogical Proof has shipped!

DearREADERS,
Got mine today. Rather Mr. Myrt got it in Virginia and is sending me one of my two copies overnight to our Utah home, where I am busily packing for our move between speaking assignments.

THE big thing this year is the debut of Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, Ph. D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA. From the publisher we read:
As a unique textbook on genealogical methods and reasoning in the twenty-first century, Mastering Genealogical Proof guides readers in acquiring genealogical skills transcending chronological, ethnic, geopolitical, and religious boundaries.


Mastering Genealogical Proof aims to help researchers, students, and new family historians reconstruct relationships and lives of people they cannot see. It presents content in digestible chunks. Each chapter concludes with problems providing practice for  proficiently applying the chapter’s concepts. Those problems, like examples throughout the book, use real records, real research, and real issues. Answers are at the back of the book along with a glossary of technical terms and an extensive resource list.
This book will be the syllabus for DearMYRTLE's MGP Study Group, starting 2 June 2013. Find out more here:

Sessions will be held using the Google+ Hangout on Air platform where there are no confinements as to "room size". All who wish may observe and interact with the MGP Study Group panel live during 10 sessions of intensive study. Others may elect to review the recordings of each session. Panelists will be posting their homework online, and reviewing each other's assignments as we delve into genealogical research problems outlined by Dr. Jones.

It will be Ol' Myrt's privilege to serve as moderator and coordinator of the study group.

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

Blog: http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DearMYRTLE
G+ DearMYRTLE Community
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

CALL FOR PANELISTS: Mastering Genealogical Proof (MGP) Study Group

DearREADERS,
Ol' Myrt here just received word from Mr. Myrt that my two copies of Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA were delivered to our place in Virginia today. (Naturally I am in Utah now!)  This means we can go forward with the schedule for DearMYRTLE's MGP Study Group to be held on the Google+ Hangouts on Air platform starting 2 June 2013.

Now it is imperative that those who wish to be on the panel let me know via return email Myrt@DearMYRTLE. A number of folks have asked Ol' Myrt about being on the MGP Study Group Panel. Four have expressed a particular interest. The time for commitment is NOW.

I have waited to make selections for the panel until this time, giving folks a chance to become accustomed to Google+ Hangouts on Air.

HERE'S THE SCHEDULE
DearMYRTLE's MGP Study Group #1 meets Sunday evenings as follows:
June 2, 2013 - ORIENTATION
June 9, 2013 - Break for IGHR, but practice attending HOAs and posting comments.
June 16, 2013 - Chapter 1 Genealogy’s Standard of Proof
June 23, 2013 - Chapter 2  Concepts Fundamental to the GPS
June 30, 2013 - Chapter 3 GPS Element 1: Thorough Research
July 7, 2013 - Break for NIGR
July 14, 2013 - Chapter 4 GPS Element 2: Source Citations
July 21, 2013 - Chapter 5 GPS Element 3: Analysis and Correlation
July 28, 2013 - Break for GRIP
August 4, 2013 - Chapter 6 GPS Element 4: Resolving Conflicts and Assembling Evidence
August 11, 2013 - Chapter 7 GPS Element 5: The Written Conclusion
August 18, 2013 - Break for FGS
August 25, 2013 - Chapter 8 Using the GPS
Sept 1, 2013 - Chapter 9 Conclusion

TIME
8pm Eastern US (New York)
7pm Central US (Chicago)
6pm Mountain US (Denver, Salt Lake City)
5pm Pacific US (Los Angeles)


If you need a time zone converter, there is a great one located here: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

FOR MORE INFORMATION
To learn more about DearMYRTLE'S MGP Study Group plans see:
http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2013/03/announcing-mgp-study-group-hangouts-on.html

BASICALLY participants "major" in the study of Mastering Genealogical Proof for the duration of this series. We're going to eat, sleep and breathe this project until we get it down pat. There are some revolutionary thoughts in this book that will be a paradigm shift for even some experienced researchers. This pilot group will:

  • Set the pace for future MGP Study Groups.
  • Establish additional questions to discuss during each session.
  • Provide feedback to the moderator about the mechanics of the series.
  • Provide feedback to the author.
This DearMYRTLE's MGP Study Group is not sponsored by the author or publisher of Mastering Genealogical Proof. The 10-session series is designed for genealogy researchers to study Dr. Jones' ideas in a positive, collaborative, peer-group setting.


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

Blog: http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DearMYRTLE
G+ DearMYRTLE Community
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

Monday, April 22, 2013

5 Million and counting at WikiTree - Congrats

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at WikiTree. Please address all inquiries to them.

WikiTree Reaches Five Million Profiles

Important Milestone for Feature-Rich, Free Family Tree Website
April 22, 2013: WikiTree, a community of genealogists and family historians committed to growing a 100% free worldwide family tree, announces its latest achievement: Five million profiles created by WikiTree members.
According to Thomas MacEntee, genealogy educator and author, “The ability to reach 5 million profiles is something to shout about, especially since WikiTree intentionally takes a ‘slow growth’ approach. What does this mean? Well, instead of having users ‘dump’ profiles filled with dubious content, WikiTree encourages well-researched profiles from its users.”
WikiTree discourages bulk additions such as large GEDCOM imports. Community members are encouraged to merge all duplicates and collaborate on the same ancestor profiles. Therefore, while five million may not compare to some family tree websites, WikiTree profiles are continually improving, not just growing in number.
Innovative Features Encourage Participation
What makes WikiTree attractive to those who want to preserve their family history research and share it with friends, family and other genealogists? Many new features have been added to the WikiTree platform that provide a user-friendly way to track genealogy research and allow for richer collaboration. Features include:
●     Advanced Privacy Controls
●     Genealogy Alert Features
●     Free GEDCOM Comparisons
●     “Cousin Bait” Toolkits
●     Genealogist-to-Genealogist Q&A
●     Embeddable Family Trees
Genealogists and serious family historians are invited to visit the community and discover the benefits of WikiTree for themselves. WikiTree – Growing the World’s Family Tree.
About WikiTree
Growing since 2008, WikiTree.com is a 100% free shared family tree website that balances privacy and collaboration. Community members privately collaborate with close family members on modern family history and publicly collaborate with other genealogists on deep ancestry. Since all the private and public profiles are connected on the same system this process is helping to grow a single, worldwide family tree that will eventually connect us all and thereby make it free and easy for anyone to discover their roots. See http://www.WikiTree.com.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

This RootsTech "grousing" is for the birds

DearREADERS,
There has been some grousing about the selection of  "official" RootsTech bloggers by one not been selected these past three years. And for these three years I've been silent, wishing to stay above of the fray. Now I feel it my responsibility to speak in defense of the hard working bloggers who are reporting about RootsTech, whether or not chosen as "officials". Clearly, Ol' Myrt here doesn't think the grousing is justified. From Dictionary.com we read:

Related Words for : grouse

The blogger's posts specifically single out by name, each official blogger, and is based by her stated and very purposefully limited review of the work official bloggers actually do before, during and after RootsTech. Her stated purpose is to criticize how official bloggers are selected, yet she attempts to do this by pointing out perceived faults in each official blogger.

Frankly, there's a "whole lotta grousing" going on.

PHOTO: Sage Grouse
This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. Information from its description page there is shown below.
Commons is a freely licensed media file repository
PRE-CONFERENCE PROMOTION
The disgruntled blogger's posts register concern that official bloggers don't blog much about RootTech prior to RootsTech. In reality, the only information official bloggers receive about the upcoming event is from the main sponsor, FamilySearch.org. The first year there were periodic informative conference calls. But in subsequent years, we received precious few emails from FamilySearch about what will be happening at RootsTech. These emails are usually sent days after RootsTech posted the same text on their official blog. Ol' Myrt here doesn't like posting "redundancies". That's why GeneaPress.com is such a great idea.

Bloggers cannot write about something they cannot "see" or "hear" about. Regularly-scheduled conference calls are advisable here, so bloggers are better able to build interest in attending RootsTech. This would best be weekly meetings, starting a good six months before the conference and would encompasses 48 hours of work, half for the conference calls and half for writing a post each week.

BLOGGERS ARE NOT PAID
There is a misconception that travel expenses are paid for official bloggers. We come at our own expense, though typically our conference registration is paid. This represents a hardship on Derk (Germany), Sonia (Spain), Rosemary (England), Jill (Australia) and others who traveled many thousands of miles to participate in RootsTech throughout the years.

Our conference admission is comped, though this year I paid the $99 "early bird" special conference registration rate. I did not know I would later be chosen as an "official blogger". I was not reimbursed.

One decided perk, each year official bloggers attend a bloggers dinner the night before the event, where we receive our registration kits and conference bags. This saves us from standing in registration lines the following morning. There is no partying late into the night, as the next day we must be up early to cover the opening keynote.


WHAT WE DO
On RootsTech day one Official RootsTech Bloggers can elect to attend an private tour of the closed exhibit hall before the opening keynote session, making it easier to find a vendor later when he is at his booth. Interviews must be done in quick moments when the vendor can get someone to manage his booth. Typically this interviewing is held during class session periods when traffic in the exhibit hall is lower.

We are not restricted as to which classes we must attend and how many tweets, blogs, Instagrams, Facebook and Google+ posts we must make as "official" bloggers.

WHAT DID MYRT DO DURING ROOTSTECH 2013?
My work with video blogging is completely discounted by the disgruntled blogger. My blog had one "DearMYRTLE Live! at RootsTech 2013" post pointing my DearREADERS to my YouTube channel. Except for participating on two panels, one live-streamed, I attended no sessions because I was taping and uploading the unprecedented number of video interviews on a timely basis. Ooops, I did attend one session - where my daughter presented, her first time at a national conference. It was all I could do to FB a picture of her at the beginning, since my tears of joy prevented blogging of any sort.

I agree with Amy Coffin's comment on the disgruntled blogger's recent post, that the disgruntled blogger has only considered our blogs, when more conversations are going on using other regularly-accepted social media tools. This multifaceted social networking trend is well-documented by main stream media. Our blogs may have put us on the map, as noted by Thomas MacEntee with his comment about "top 40" and "official" blogs. Drew Smith responded with "I am more of a podcaster than a blogger". In my case, more conversations are indeed happening on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter than in my blog. Photos from the presentation at the bloggers dinner brought the first look at FamilySearch's new look posted by "official" bloggers Thomas and Ol' Myrt on Facebook.

By the disgruntled blogger's own admission admission, she chose not to put the effort into analyzing these well-accepted social media outlets resources when evaluating the reach of RootsTech Official Bloggers.

Ol' Myrt realizes it is hard to keep up with changing technology, and it is hard to quantify the impact of the RootsTech bloggers. Checking Klout, you'd find my score higher than Dick Eastman's rating, and that is obviously inaccurate. His readership is higher, and he is more techy than Ol' Myrt here.

ETHNICITY ISSUES

Let's avoid playing the ethnic or religious heritage card. I attend genealogy conferences as an family history researcher, not as a Quaker, Lutheran, Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, atheist or a practicing LDS; nor as a German, English, Scottish, Irish or Welshman, with typically Caucasian but some Native American in my blood.. Those orientations certainly shaped the lives of my ancestors and affect who I am today.
 
I come to conferences with an inquiring mind to discover new research methods and learn about evolving tech tools that may assist in my personal ancestral quest. I choose to share what I learn with my DearREADERS in my blog, and more effectively in my video work now developing on my YouTube channel, where we can actually try out some of the tech tools together and discuss rather than lecture about research methodology. I certainly don't know it all, and:

I sure enjoy being in conversation with other genealogists on a regular basis where we can grow our research skills together.

By contrast, disgruntled blogger states "I write for myself. I write because I want to and I write about what I want to write about." Blogging is indeed a worthwhile method for honoring ancestors and expressing individual breakthroughs in research.

THINKING POSITIVELY
Ol' Myrt here applauds RootsTech.org and it's sponsors for the profound, forward-thinking influence in the genealogy space. Innovations such as live streaming were previously unheard of at our conferences. Is there room for growth and change? Certainly. And big changes on already on the docket.

RootsTech is scheduled to broadcast to 100,000 attendees world wide in 2014, using satellite technology in place at local LDS meetinghouses throughout the world. I know of no other organization willing to dedicate such time, effort or expense to reach a world-wide audience and teach them how to preserve the history of their culture and ancestral heritage.

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

Blog: http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DearMYRTLE
G+ DearMYRTLE Community
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Genealogy webinars, chats and hangouts next week

DearREADERS,
Thanks to the centralized calendar at GeneaWebinars.com, genealogists interested in learning more about our craft may register for these online seminars coming up this week. Be sure to verify the time in your neck of the woods. If you need a time zone converter see: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

Most of these webinars are held using the services of GoToWebinar.com. You don't need to have an account since the webinar organizer has that. As an attendee, you merely need to register, then click on the link in your confirmation email at the time of the event to attend. Newbies will find these links useful:


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


Blog: http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DearMYRTLE
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
G+: +Pat Richley-Erickson
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont  
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thoughts on FamilySearch Redesign

DearFAMILYSEARCH,
If the goal is to soften the approach to genealogy, then make a new website, just as  LDS.org did with the less formal Mormon.org. I've heard several high-level FamilySearch engineers explain "There is only a small segment of potential users who are serious researchers, so the thrust is now to reach those who have photos and stories, but are not interested in becoming genealogists".

At the RootsTech 2013 Official Bloggers' dinner, I agreed with that concept, but I didn't think the new focus would be at the expense of the existing FamilySearch user base.

If the goal is to alienate the researchers in the genealogy space - you succeeded.

Family records? That doesn't mean archive and church records from throughout the world. It means the records one holds within a family. That is a pretty tried and true, well recognized definition of that term. So why place your digital record collection under "family records?"

It's obvious the FamilySearch engineers didn't consult a panel of genealogists when designing the site.

If less than 11% of the FamilySearch digital collection is indexed, then WHY persist in encouraging a search by name? This means a great number of searches will prove disappointing. The solution? A simple clickable image map for browsing record collections moved to a prominent  "above the fold" position. I can envision a table where search boxes are on the left, and the image map of the world is on the right, with text explaining that only X% of the images are indexed. Yes, include a link to encourage folks to participate in FamilySearch Indexing.

At least provide a site map.

How about "mouse roll overs" providing definitions to family history terms that may be unfamiliar.

How about white background and black text, instead of grey letters on a lighter grey background? This is difficult for people to read.

OUR HANGOUT ON AIR
Russ Worthington, Randy Seaver and Laurie Haldeman-Lambe joined Ol' Myrt here on the panel for the Exploring the FamilySearch Redesign Hangout on Air last night. Here's the recording:




COMMENTS FROM ATTENDEES


  • Doris Haskell "Just finished watching tonight's HOA about Family Search.  The impression is that there is plenty of room for improvement.  I think it may be because it is such a massive website.  The site has come a very long way, and I have faith that it will continue to improve.  Thank you for making this information available to us."
  • Sharon Atkins "Thank you for the HOA re: New FamilySearch site.  I really liked Russ's suggestion of a Home Page populated with links directly to the other sections of the site.  Generally speaking, what used to take us 1-2 clicks, appears to have doubled."
  • Hillary Gadsby "Watched some of this last night but had to leave when it got to midnight here in the UK. I have been building my tree but have not yet added any photos or stories and will probably not add any until I have checked with other family members who have sent me some of the photos that they are happy for me to add them.
    My main concern is with merging as I have noticed that sometimes other children get added with another spouse instead of the same couple as parents. I am not sure how this happens and whether the other children need to be added in a particular way.
    I think I will have a read before I try adding any more children to see what advice is on the website. 

    Maybe like many others I went in thinking I knew what to do before reading the instructions. Never a good idea." (FamilySearch, this means the site isn't intuitive!) 
  • Marilyn Poole "I'd like the button to take me back to the old FamilySearch place!"
  • Donna Wendy "After reading Randy's blog I tried adding to my Family Tree there.  Had to telephone FamilySearch help.  They were very nice.  I had to delete children before I could get rid of the family where the father had the same name as my ancestor."
  • Kathryn Smith "My one complaint about the new Family Search site is how deeply they buried the link for the Wiki.  I probably wouldn't have found it if I hadn't read Randy's blog.  (Thanks, Randy!)"
  • Betty-Lu Burton "I hope Family Search is listening and make it easier to find the Wiki."
  • Barry Kline "I am a bit concerned about this merging aspect.  Do you happen to know if someone can change information that I uploaded and know to be correct and documented through merge with something that is incorrect and not sourced?"
  • Kathryn Smith "Yes, there is lots of work that needs to be done cleaning up the tree.  It seems to have automatically added a child and both parents with EVERY state birth record.  Therefore, if a couple had three children, each parent is in F.S.F.T. THREE times before the merges are completed."
  • Virginia Kysh "I have 250 photos in Family tree. I love it."
  • Taneya Koonce "I cannot get enough of the new FamilySearch! I love absolutely everything about it. Yes, they have issues to iron out, but I am overall feeling very positively about the new features."

OL' MYRT'S BOTTOM LINE
With change comes a learning curve. But this revision of FamilySearch.org is too far off base. Put all the fluffy stuff over on a new website. 

FOR FURTHER READING
Lee Drew's New FamilySearch Site Design ~ A Left Turn?

  • Randy Seaver replied on G+ "I just use bookmarks... the one on my Chrome toolbar is for Record Collections since I tend to search by place."
  • Ol' Myrt replied on G+  "In this day and age, bookmarks on a specific computer should not be the mainstay for Internet researchers."
Randy Seaver's First Look at FamilySearch Family Tree Stories.

Randy Seaver's FamilySearch Unveils Their New Website Design.

Randy Seaver's FamilySearch Photos is Open.

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

http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DearMYRTLE
G+ DearMYRTLE Community
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

40 languages? Way to go Family Tree Builder 7

DearREADERS,
Earlier this week I mentioned that MyHeritage had release version 7 of Family Tree Builder. When installing it on Ol' Myrt's laptop, I was deeply moved by this screen indicating the multi-language commitment at MyHeritage. This demonstrates how truly global our genealogy world has become.



So now it looks like it is time to encourage, urge, motivate, and prod MyHeritage to support open standards by joining FHISO.org.

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

Blog: http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DearMYRTLE
G+ DearMYRTLE Community
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

MyHeritage: FTBuilder 7 released

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



MyHeritage releases Family Tree Builder 7.0 to bring the power of the cloud to genealogy software

Updated version of world’s most popular free family history software now syncs with online and mobile, opens new channels for the discovery of historical records and is available for the first time also in Chinese, Japanese and Korean 

PROVO, Utah & TEL AVIV, Israel – April 17 2013: MyHeritage, the popular family history network, today announced the release of Family Tree Builder 7.0, free genealogy software that combines innovative technology with easy-to-use features. The millions of family history enthusiasts and genealogists worldwide using Family Tree Builder to explore, document and showcase their roots, can now synchronize their family tree between different devices and enjoy sophisticated ways of making new discoveries via the cloud.

Family Tree Builder 7.0 is available as a free download from http://www.myheritage.com/family-tree-builder.
Using the new software, users can now optionally synchronize their entire family history between their computer and their online family tree on MyHeritage. This connection of genealogy software to the cloud enables users to access their family history anytime and anywhere. It also enables users to benefit from the renowned network effects of MyHeritage’s huge user community, with advanced matching technologies that automatically search millions of user-contributed family trees from around the world and a database of billions of historical records, to help users make breakthrough discoveries.  The new version 7.0 adds new languages to cater to family history fans in the Far East, enjoys a graphical facelift and sports better looks.

“Feature-packed and cloud-powered, Family Tree Builder has become a must-have tool for anyone interested in family history”, said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “We’re proud to be bringing family history to the masses with the most technologically advanced, yet easy-use software for building a family’s digital legacy and preserving it for future generations. By combining helpful family tree tools for charting a family’s course through history, with an advanced sync system and Record Matching technology, new Family Tree Builder 7.0 offers an unbeatable journey to the past.”

New Sync System
All family tree information is synchronized, including photos, videos, audio files, notes, sources, citations and other information, except private information such as DNA markers which never leaves the user’s computer. The family history data can now be privately and securely viewed, edited and expanded from any device - the user’s computer, the user’s online family site on MyHeritage – or via the free MyHeritage mobile apps for iPad, iPhone and Android. Users have full control of who can be granted permission to view or add information. The new sync system also provides a backup of the users’ precious data. 

Record Matching technology Whereas previous versions of Family Tree Builder already enjoyed Smart Matching™ technology, which brought users matches from the millions of user-contributed family trees on MyHeritage, the new version 7.0 is the first to enjoy the company’s successful Record Matching technology, recently praised by well-known genealogy bloggers and opinion leaders James Tanner and Randy Seaver as “magic”.

Record Matching is a discovery-finder and a time-saver. It automatically researches every individual in the user’s family tree and looks for matching historical records with high accuracy. All historical records found are consolidated in one convenient report, which the user can then go over systematically. Record Matching is the world’s first and only technology capable of automatically finding newspaper articles about one’s ancestors.
Additional language capabilities
Family Tree Builder 7.0 has been rewritten to support Unicode, which means that data can be entered in any language and saved accurately as entered. The software has been expanded from 37 to 40 languages, by adding support for the first time for Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Japanese and Korean, as MyHeritage expands its global network into the Far East.
The full range of features in Family Tree Builder is ideal for beginners and professionals alike, and includes photo albums, automatic face detection technology for photo tagging, beautiful family tree charts, poster printing, reports and statistics, interactive maps, support for DNA, automatic consistency checks and much more. The software is based on the Freemium model. It can be downloaded and used for free for building an unlimited-sized tree on one’s computer. Premium features of the software can be unlocked for a one-time purchase and affordable subscriptions are available for online family sites of unlimited capacity and access to premium content.

Family Tree Builder 7.0 is available for Windows. The company is working on adding support also for Mac OS X and this will be available starting with the next version of the software.
About MyHeritage
MyHeritage is the family history network helping millions of families around the world discover and share their legacy online. Pioneers in making family history a collaborative experience for the entire family, MyHeritage empowers its users with innovative search tools, a massive library of historical content and an international collection of family trees. The site is available in 40 languages. For more information visit www.myheritage.com

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

HANGOUT: Exploring the FamilySearch Redesign 17 April 2013

DearREADERS,
Gosh, Ol' Myrt here takes a day off, away from my keyboard and a really big thing happens in the world of genealogy: FamilySearch.org debuts it's site redesign.

Ever mindful that my DearREADERS enjoy being "in the know" about all things genealogical, we've set up a Hangout on Air where panelists will demo what they've discovered about the new options, new menu items, and the like.



This is an unusual DearMYRTLE G+ Hangout on Air in that I've set up a Google Doc for ten panelists to "sign up" to demo specific parts of the new website. You'll find the document here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkvzrkpbaGH0dGZnMXpuWENseHBwN2pxUEdJRmJKYXc&usp=sharing


EXPLORING THE FAMILYSEARCH REDESIGN
Platform: Google+ Hangout on Air
When: Wednesday, 17 April 2013 at 6pm Eastern (New York) time.

5pm Central US (Chicago)
4pm Mountain US (Denver, Salt Lake City)
3pm Pacific US (Los Angeles)

If you need a time zone converter see:
http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

HERE'S HOW TO JOIN
*Special for this HOA only* All JOINers must have voice capabilities and have signed up to share a specific part of the site redesign. You will receive a personal invitation based on the Google Doc sign up form to JOIN as a panelist over on Google Plus at 5:30pm Eastern US time,

Standby at DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Community on Google+ located here:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/104382659430904043232

HERE'S HOW TO VIEW THE EVENT LIVE
Everyone else will VIEW the HOA live on DearMYRTLE's YouTube Channel located here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

The Hangout will not start appearing here until I press the record button at the top of the hour. It may take a minute for the video stream to kick in.

HERE'S HOW EVERYONE CAN POST COMMENTS
If during the live broadcast of this Hangout On Air you'd like to post comments do so back at DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Communitt on Google+, perhaps on a different tab on your web browser. Ol' Myrt's community is located here:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/104382659430904043232

IF YOU MISS THE LIVE HANGOUT OR WANT TO REVIEW IT LATER
The archived version of a Google Hangout On Air appears usually within 30 minutes of the close of the recorded session. You will find it on DearMYRTLE's YouTube Channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE


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

Blog: http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DearMYRTLE
G+ DearMYRTLE Community
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE



Monday, April 15, 2013

Tonight's "Your Library in the Cloud" HOA

DearREADERS,
JOIN us tonight to learn from +Gena Philibert-Ortega as she presents Your Library in the Cloud. It's all about Google Books.

WHEN:
Monday, 15 April 2013 using the Google Plus Hangout on Air platform.

9pm Eastern (New York)
8pm Central (Chicago)
7pm Mountain (Denver, Salt Lake City)
6pm Pacific  (Los Angeles)






JOINers (on the panel) Find link when it goes live here about 5 minutes early on DearMYRTLE's G+ Genealogy Community: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/104382659430904043232

VIEWers (live) on DearMYRTLE's YouTube Channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

ALL may comment back on DearMYRTLE's G+ Genealogy Community:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/104382659430904043232


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

Blog: http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DearMYRTLE
G+ DearMYRTLE Community
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

Today's Mondays with Myrt is archived

DearREADERS,
Here's the link to continue the conversation about today's MONDAY'S WITH MYRT Hangout On Air over in the DearMYRTLE G+ Genealogy Community: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/104382659430904043232




Here's the link to the archived version of the HOA.







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

Blog: http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DearMYRTLE
G+ DearMYRTLE Community
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Genealogy webinars, chats and hangouts next week

DearREADERS,
Thanks to the centralized calendar at GeneaWebinars.com, genealogists interested in learning more about our craft may register for these online seminars coming up this week. Be sure to verify the time in your neck of the woods. If you need a time zone converter see: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html

Most of these webinars are held using the services of GoToWebinar.com. You don't need to have an account since the webinar organizer has that. As an attendee, you merely need to register, then click on the link in your confirmation email at the time of the event to attend. Newbies will find these links useful:


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


Blog: http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DearMYRTLE
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
G+: +Pat Richley-Erickson
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont  
http://www.youtube.com/user/DearMYRTLE