Monday, October 10, 2005

Reading & Listening to DearMYRTLE


Someone just asked me why my columns aren't on AOL anymore. Times change. It’s a broader audience out here on the internet. I am thankful to AOL, and in particular the Genealogy Forum that used to be available on America Online, for giving me a place to start. I treasure many friendships made in those early days in 1995.

YES, it has been nearly 11 years since DearMYRTLE was first "invented." I remember working through to pick the DearMYRTLE screen name with George Ferguson on the telephone line. (My original choice was "AuntHarriet" but someone on AOL already had that name.) I was thrilled to use DearMYRTLE, since Myrtle is my paternal grandmother's given name. Then George and I sent old-timey pictures back and forth, until we settled on the one I use in the upper left corner of each page on my website.

But ol' Myrt here began onlining back in the winter of 1984-85 when I signed online with my Commodore 64 computer. It had a 300 baud modem which is simply archaic by today's terms. The grandparent of AOL was called Q-link, and there was a small genealogy group that met there. Our fearless leader was Russ Kyger, and that's where I met Terry Morgan, Bertha Bealle and another gal named Romary. They are among my oldest online genealogy friends. Russ lived in the next county in Maryland, so we met at the Library of Congress early on; but I didn't meet Terry until 12 years later when I spoke at a NGS Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

Ol' Myrt here is currently contributing new articles for distribution in print to:
For more info see:

Myrt's periodic (usually daily) genealogy "how-to" columns are available free through the following online resources:

For more info see:
-- Blog & Mailing List:
-- Message Board:

To SEARCH DearMYRTLE's columns for previous postings see:

Ol' Myrt here first began radio broadcasts on a small Sarasota AM station in January 2000. It was usually simulcast over the internet via an old, expensive method called "internet radio streaming." Within six months, DearMYRTLE's FAMILY HISTORY HOUR internet radio show began broadcasting only over the internet, but costs of production and equipment were a challenge. By the time the hurricanes struck Florida in the summer of 2004, DearMYRTLE was also producing a 30 minute daily internet radio stream. At the time, each Tuesday night show was broadcast live over 12 different internet radio platforms that totaled 800,000 to a million listener streams per show. Costs and equipment were an enormous investment. Listeners had to tune in at a specific time each Tuesday to catch the show, which was hard for folks in France or Australia. Time zone differences were quite a problem in our global community.

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW. Podcasting has become the norm; file storage is now free and the cost to distribute is nil because bandwidth is now free. Availability has increased to 24 hours 7 days a week, which accommodates all time zones. You can also use any type of .mp3 player, like an iPod, or you may simply listen to the show using your computer. The shows can automatically download using something like iTunes to pull in the file. Alternately, you can go to and click to listen to each show whenever you want, as many times as you want.

To view the current list of shows in .mp3 format see:

PODCASTS ARE NEAT. Its especially cool that you can pause (to talk on the phone) and rewind/play (to determine what in heaven's name was just said.) Also you can transfer the podcast from your computer to your portable .mp3 player every time you hook it up to your computer. Even my sister Sharon (who doesn't really like genealogy) can do it. She has an iPod for her favorite music, and a typical show is just like adding 10 or 12 music files to your iPod.

Myrt currently recommends downloading and installing the free iTunes software. Then click "Advanced" and then select "subscribe to podcast" and insert Then click the OK button. Periodically when you open iTunes, click the "update" button in the upper right, to have it automatically look for the latest podcast from DearMYRTLE.

For more info on how to receive the podcast automatically:

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
6023 26th Street West PMB 352
Bradenton, FL 34207

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