Tuesday, February 28, 2006

READER'S FEEDBACK: Stillborn Births

From: Gartzr@aol.com
You may have seen some of my answers to inquirers. I am the family history researcher at the historic cemetery of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In our records at the cemetery there are hundreds of "child of ________"listed on our Lot Cards and then, when I look it up in the records I will find the words "Still-born." So, if cemeteries are helpful in that area of the country, a good place to search is the cemetery records.

In some places, though, the parents are buried on a large Lot but I will find a child or two of theirs that are buried in another location. I personally lost a child that is buried in Wisconsin Dells but he was five hours old when death occurred (preemie).

After moving the Milwaukee area I purchased at a cemetery here and later buried my mother-in-law there, my daughter (age 30) and my sister-in-law there.

Sorry to say, though, many cemeteries are not all that helpful as I found out when I donated time to the now defunct website, headstonehunter.com where I traveled a two-county area taking pictures of monuments and headstones and markers for people.

I would recommend if there are people out there with a little time on their hands to volunteer to help the office staffs of cemeteries by being willing to help them and family historians for their is usually much more information to be found than just name, dates and location.

Wisconsin, for instance, at one time (but no more) required "cause of death, place of birth, place of death, marital status at time of death, last residence address and the Lot Card shows who all is buried there, many I have found were still-born children.

DearBOB in Brookfield,
It’s obvious you have a special talent and interest in cemetery records. Thanks for sharing your first-hand experiences with my readers. Its a great idea for societies and individuals to support the local cemeteries. Oft times we think of this in terms of cemetery clean-upprojects. Many of the older cemeteries don't have computerized indexes of interments, though this sort of finding aid might prove time-saving and useful to both staff and visitors.

Regarding all those tombstone shots from the two counties in Wisconsin -- do you have copies to submit to USGenWeb? We wouldn't want to lose the great deal of time you've spent helping other researchers. The USGenWeb Archives has a "Tombstone Project" which would welcome the addition of your work.

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

Monday, February 27, 2006

Stillborn Births?

From: Ann Rivera
How does one even know if a family ever experienced a stillborn birth, or death of a small child between censuses, if the child never appeared in a census to begin with? Just curious, as I came across some stillborn record births and it occurred to me that I wouldn't even look at these if I never had any reason to believe there was such a birth.

What a great question! I attended a class yesterday where the instructor Tricia Williams was discussing the importance of using census records in our genealogical research. She has a friend in the class who detests censuses because newbie researchers focus on those and don't look for other records out there that are considered more reliable. Tricia graciously pointed out that:

CENSUS RECORDS PLACE OUR ANCESTORS in a specific place at a specific time, so we are then able to look for OTHER RECORDS IN THAT SPECIFIC PLACE that have survived from the time period our ancestors lived.

How do you know any such death records exist? We cannot make generalizations, since each county, state or country set its own rules for when vital records should begin to be kept. I'd look at:

http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/RG/frameset_rhelps.aspfor the state or country where the ancestors lived. Expect to find a listing of the types of vital records and the dates when they began to be kept.

-- the HANDYBOOK FOR GENEALOGISTS mentioned often in ol' Myrt's columns, which list specific counties in each state and when records began to be kept, including which have been known to survive.

-- USGenWeb - Visit
http://www.USGenWeb.com to see what is known about surviving records by other experienced researchers for those areas where your ancestors once lived.

-- STATE OR TERRITORIAL CENSUS - Find out about these at USGenWeb or in the HANDYBOOK.

http://www.familysearch.orgBe sure to look for each locality at the county (or town level in New England) in the appropriate states. Remember the microfilm of public vital records is a priority, and the FHL has records from over 80 countries throughout the world. Once you find a likely microfilm, print out the page, and take it with you to your local LDS Family History Center to order the microfilm. It will cost about $5.50 and will arrive in a few weeks. Good luck!

I agree with you that it is important to document "complete" families, not just the one son or daughter of our direct lineage. I certainly would not wish to exclude a sibling from a family unit merely because he didn't live the ten years between enumerations.

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

Desertion and divorce in Arkansas

From: Joe F

We thoroughly enjoyed seeing you at the St. George Jamboree.

Question: A relative in
Arkansas reportedly deserted his wife and family
around 1895 and is found in the 1900 Census in
Indian Territory with a
wife and two children. the children could not be his biological
children because of their ages. His deserted wife remarries in 1897 in

Would desertion be a cause of the marriage being "null and void"? Would
there have to have been a divorce? Where would such records be found?


From the ARKANSAS RESEARCH OUTLINE at www.familysearch.org we read

"Major Arkansas courts that have kept records of genealogical value
include the following:

Circuit courts have countywide jurisdiction over criminal cases,
naturalization, and major civil cases. The Family History Library has
copies of many circuit court records.

Chancery courts have countywide jurisdiction over equity, divorce,
probates, and adoptions. The Family History Library has some chancery
court records. For
Pulaski County, for example, the library has copies
of the records from 1839 to 1877.

Courts of common pleas have countywide jurisdiction over non-real estate
civil matters. The Family History Library has some courts of common
pleas records.

County courts have countywide jurisdiction over juvenile matters, taxes,
claims, and county expenditures. The Family History Library has some
county court records, including
Pulaski County files from 1846 to 1878.

Justice of the peace courts have countywide jurisdiction over
preliminary hearings of criminal cases and minor contract matters. The
Family History Library has some justice of the peace records, such as
Pulaski County files from 1873 to 1917.

Original court records are kept by the clerks in each county courthouse.
Copies of records at the Family History Library often date from the
creation of a county to about 1900, and some indexes are available
through the 1970s. Court records are also available at the
Regional Archives."

So the answer is YES, there were divorce records. I do not know if
desertion was considered a reason for divorce in 1897, as each state
had peculiar laws that changed over time. Your best bet is to look in
the county courthouse records, first through microfilm and failing
that, by writing to the courthouse in question. THE HANDYBOOK FOR
GENEALOGISTS which II received from www.myancestorsfound.com lists each
county in
Arkansas and the county records office contact info.

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

Monday, February 20, 2006

DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour 21 Feb 2006


Since I'm leaving for Phoenix in an hour, I've already uploaded this week's DearMYRTLE's FAMILY HISTORY HOUR genealogy podcast, which normally comes out on Tuesday. Its available 24/7 to accommodate your schedule.

My guests include DeadFred.com's founder Joe Bott and the site's archivist, Jeannette Balleza discussing the lost photos archives and the new e-book The Desperate Genealogist's Idea Book: Creative Ways to Outsmart Your Elusive Ancestors. LegacyFamilyTree.com's Geoff Rasmussen discusses what to do when someone's email address has changed and how to create a hopefully permanent email address for your genealogy postings. There are numerous links to genealogy news that has come across Myrt's desk including articles about Cape Cod gravestones and a new Swiss genealogy website.

The show page with links we mention, and directions for listening to the show through your computer are located at:

Now have a great week... I'll be playing in sunny Arizona!

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

Friday, February 17, 2006

2nd Great-grandmother's obit search

From: OakFlats@aol.com
My GGGrandmother Hannora (Nora) was born in Ireland. According to the 1900 Census, she was living in [Joplin] Jasper County, Missouri. The census stated she came to America in 1855 and that her father was born in Scotland and her mother was born in Ireland. She married Daniel Flanery on 2 June 1856, in Painesville, Lake County, Ohio.

They migrated to Racine, Wisconsin where they had their children. Their first child Margaret was born 16 Mar 1857, in Painesville, Ohio. In the 1860 Census they were living in Burlington Township Racine, Wisconsin. Living with them was a Mary Holland born in Ireland and a son. James Holland born Ohio. Hannora died 19 Feb 1903 in Prosperity Township, Jasper County, Missouri. She was a Catholic. Every one of her children's death certificates shows her with a different maiden name.

Death certificates were not issued at the time of her death. How do I get an obituary on her, or some kind of death certificate? I'm 56 years old and I have been working on this, line since I was 13 years old. Can you give me some kind of advise or a miracle?

Sometimes family records are all that has survived for an ancestor, particularly when documents either weren't kept or didn't survive from the time period. However, there are a number of alternate sources to review. I checked the 11th edition of THE HANDYBOOK FOR GENEALOGISTS, sent to me by the editor Holly Hansen
http://www.myancestorsfound.com and discovered:

-- "JASPER COUNTY, MISSOURI was created 29 Jan 1841 from Newton County. Offices are located at: 302 S Main Street, Carthage, MO 64836-1696; phone 417-358-0441, The courthouse was destroyed in 1863 but the records had been moved and were returned in 1865. Courthouse burned in 1883, no mention of fate of records. The County Clerk has birth records 1883-1900, death records 1883-1891; Recorder of Deeds has marriage and land records, Probate Judge has probate and court records."

"County Clerks were required to register births and deaths from 1883 to 1893. [...] State registration began in 1863, but did not reach full compliance until 1911. The records after 1910 can be obtained from the Bureau of Vital Records."

This means the official death certificate for your ancestress was probably never created.

HERE ARE A FEW IDEAS FOR EVIDENCE ABOUT YOUR 2nd great-grandmother's death, some of which ol' Myrt has searched for you:

-- PUBLIC LIBRARY NEWSPAPER HOLDINGS I believe the nearest large library is the Joplin Public Library http://www.joplinpubliclibrary.org/index.html Ask for a volunteer or paid researcher who can look at the old issues perhaps on microfilm for Nora's notice and her obituary.

-- JASPER COUNTY COURT RECORDS Did her estate go through probate? It may have even if she didn't have a will. You never know until you look. The FHL (Family History Library) Catalog has microfilm records of all types. See:

Specify place, type in Jasper as part of Missouri and work through the listings to determine which microfilms you'd like to order through your local Family History Center. If you don't know about the local center, check for a listing on the home page at FamilySearch.org.


-- A search for "Flannery" and "Flanery" in Ancestry.com's Jasper County, Missouri Deaths
1878-1905 only showed 1 man: Thomas (Charles Rambo) Flannery, died 26 Dec 1906.

-- A search for Flannery" and "Flanery" at the Missouri State Pre-1910 online database didn't show a likely match. http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/birthdeath/

-- A search of Jasper County cemeteries returned no matches:
Cave Springs Cemetery
Fairview Cemetery
Forest Park Cemetery
Mitchell Cemetery
Mount Hope Cemetery
Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery
Twin Grove Cemetery
Webb City Cemetery

-- A search of online obituaries for Missouri for "Flannery" and "Flanery" proved fruitless.


Subscribe: FLANARY-L-request@rootsweb.com
Search the FLANARY archives.
Browse the FLANARY threaded archives.

Subscribe: Flannery-L-request@rootsweb.com
Search the Flannery archives.
Browse the Flannery threaded archives.

-- US CIVIL WAR PENSION FILE. Soldiers must list the full name and birth date of wife and children. This would help with her maiden name. This would be found at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Be sure to specify the complete file. A preliminary search for Daniel Flanery at the US Civil War Soldiers and Sailors database http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/ returned the following hits for Union soldiers. (Remember one did not have to "muster in" for the state of residence. Sometimes bounties offered by a neighboring state encouraged enlistment there.)
---- Flanery, Daniel, Union, 12th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry
---- Flanery, Daniel, Union, 16th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry
---- Flanery, Daniel, Union, 6th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry
---- Flanery, Daniel, Union, 80th Regiment, Illinois Infantry
---- Flannery, Daniel, Union 29th Regiment, Michigan Infantry
---- Flannery, Daniel, Union, 80th Regiment, Illinois Infantry
I'd check out the Michigan entry first.

-- CATHOLIC CHURCH RECORDS - Locate the nearby Catholic church office and explain you need death notice or burial information on a former member of the parish. See: http://www.catholicweb.com/directory.cfm?fuseaction=show_state&state=MO

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

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Report on Irish teleconference tonight

Tonight I participated in a live genealogy teleconference on the subject of "Irish Maps," part of a series known as "The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) Ireland Trip." Our hostess was Sharon Sergeant of
http://ancestralmanor.com. The featured presenter was Mary Ellen Grogan. My job was to listen and become familiar with the teleconference process.

TELECONFERENCING IS A FUN & EASY WAY TO EXPERIENCE REAL-TIME LEARNING & FIND TIME TO TALK WITH LIKE-MINDED RESEARCHERS. Prior to the scheduled conference, Sharon sent ol' Myrt an e-mail with both telephone and PIN numbers to connect to the scheduled Irish teleconference. She also provided a link to a 14-page "handout" to go along with the presentation. It was in .pdf format and took only a moment or two to obtain. I saved it to my hard drive, although one could just view it online during the teleconference as an alternative.

-- At the appointed hour, I dialed the number and punched in the PIN number. Since I have a Vonage telephone line, the cost of the call is part of my monthly unlimited service.

-- At the beginning, I was asked to state my name, so the hostess would be able to recognize my arrival.

-- Then hostess explained how the open-format discussion will follow each segment of Mary Ellen Grogan's presentation. If the group became too large, I believe the hostess could mute all of us, so the presenter could go forward.

-- The presenter was introduced & each of us settled back and listened to Grogan's presentation.
-- There was time to "unmute" oneself and pose a question so the presenter and other attendees could answer my question.

-- Poor Law Union is about ten mile radius from a point, designating who will support the workhouse for that area.

-- Poor Law Union maps (1838) were the basis for the later Superintendent Register Districts.

-- The vital records from 1864 (birth, marriage & death records) list name, year and Poor Law Union.

AMONG THE WEBSITES MENTIONED DURING TONIGHT'S TELECONFERENCE that Myrt visited during the conference. These URLS were derived from the conversation of the conference participants, and not from the handout. Ol' Myrt wrote them down before attempting to visit each website.

-- www.Seanruad.com - Database from the 1851 index to townlands.

-- http://www.pasthomes.com - a site for old Irish maps.

-- www.irishorigins.com Griffith's Primary Valuation of Ireland records and maps, Irish Wills Index (1484-1858), the 1851 Dublin City Census, Militia Attestations Index 1872-1915, Irish Royal Garrison Artillery Records, Dublin City 1847 Ordnance Survey Town Plans, etc.

http://ancestralmanor.com/dnn/Default.aspx?tabid=98 for clickable links:

-- Ancestral Manor Geneathon - The Winter Geneathon begins February 19-25, 2006
-- Acadian/Cajun Cooking
-- Boston States Migrations
-- DNA & Genealogy--
-- Emigrant Ancestors from the 19th and 20th Century.
-- Family History Collaborations - for Private Family Groups.
-- First Nations/Metis and French Canadian Marriages
-- Forensic Genealogy and the Database Detective - with Colleen Fitzpatrick
-- French-Canadian (Quebecois) Research (Beginner) Resources and Strategies
-- Fun Stuff for Genealogists - 50 great Gifts, supplies, tools and doodads plus charts!
-- Genealogy Conference Information
-- General Question & Answer Sessions
-- Irish Research Tips
-- Italian Research Tips
-- Loyalists in the American Revolution: Resources, Indexes, Documents and Migrations
-- Map Research Tips
-- National Archives (NARA)
-- Newspaper Research Tips
-- Photo Identification and the Digital Detective
-- Records Access Legislation
-- Research Help from MyAncestorsFound.com
-- Reviews of Out-of-Print Genealogy Resources
-- Stagecoach, Inn and Routes Research
-- Stagecoach Maine Documentaries
-- Treasure Hunting Tips

If genealogy teleconferencing sounds good to you, then sign up for the free mailing list at AncestralManor.com by clicking "CONTACT US" and then opting in for the list. I just signed up myself, but have been assured the mailing list will announce upcoming teleconference schedules.

MY REACTION TO THIS TELECONFERENCE? I simply love the idea of connecting with other researchers in real time, where no typing is required! It's a great use of technology to further our understanding of genealogy research methods.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.
Genealogical.com's newsletter

From: Donna
Regarding your broadcast of DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour 14 Feb 2006, while on the Genealogical Publishing site you mentioned their newsletter. I could not find a link to subscribe to the newsletter. Did I just overlook it?

Dear Donna,
THANKS for responding to this week's podcast
http://www.DearMYRTLE.com/06/0214r.htm Indeed we took a MightyMouse tour to the Genealogical.com website, where I talked about "taking" Genealogical Publishing Company's e-newsletter called GENEALOGY POINTERS.

Although the newsletter is really advertising books for sale, you can learn a lot about the topics covered in a publication. This week I mentioned the difference between:
-- naturalizations
-- denizations

This was provided in GENEALOGY POINTERS 2/14/2006 in the description of Lloyd Bockstruck's book DENIZATIONS AND NATURALIZATIONS in the British Colonies in America, 1607-1775.

1. Go to
2. Click the "SEARCH TIPS" tab.
3. Then scroll down to click on the box that says:

Special Offer
Sign up for our newsletter today.
Tips & Features.

When you click on the box, a smaller window will open with a place for you to type your email address and click to submit your request.

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

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Family History Library closes at 6pm due to snow


Ol' Myrt is working at the FHL in Salt Lake City, Utah. The library is closing at 6pm today due to the snow. The announcer also explained that the local KSL television station has advised that I-15 north of Bountiful is closed due to the same snow storm.

HEAVENS, I was just zeroing in on William WARNER'S will in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania circa 1703.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy
Old book provides insight to legal terms

Last evening's release of DearMYRTLE's FAMILY HISTORY HOUR includes an interview with ArchiveCDBooksUSA's Bob Velke. He explained that the 1891 edition of BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY contains archaic legal terms, some of which had changed in usage by the 1910 edition. Both editions are included on the CD Bob sent me.

Please note that the CORRECT URL is: http://archivecdbooksusa.com/

If we want to understand the legal documents created about or signed by our ancestors, we need to become familiar with the legal terms of the period, not clouding our understanding by imposing our 21-century mindset on the task.

The BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY on CD from ArchiveCDBooksUSA.com is easy to use, and doesn't require an installation on your computer's hard drive. After placing the CD in your drive, you simply click through the pages to discover the meaning of obscure terms such these found in the 1891 edition on page 298:
-- Covert (and feme covert)
-- Covert Baron
-- Coverture

Donn Divine, CG, CGI explains "Editions of Black's Law Dictionary more recent than the Fourth are much less useful to genealogists than earlier ones. To make room for new material, more modern editions have dropped the very words the genealogist may need to interpret old documents--the archaic and obsolete terms that haven't been used for a century or more." See: http://www.archivecdbooksusa.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=ACDB&Product_Code=US0211

ArchiveCDBooksUSA.com also carries CDs with the scanned images of other rare books including an interesting dictionary of medical science known as "Dunglison's Medical Dictionary." Ol' Myrt found titles that will help two of her research buddies:
-- Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia by Bishop [William] Meade
-- The Loyalists of Massachusetts and the Other Side of the American Revolution by James H. Stark

From the website we read "The Archive CD Books Project exists to make digital reproductions of old books available to the public, to donate original publications to libraries and other institutions, and to cooperate with these repositories to preserve their existing collections for future generations.

The project began in the UK in March 2000, and now has participating partner companies in several countries worldwide. Archive CD Books USA was formed in mid 2005."

ArchiveCDBooksUSA.com is on the right track -- preserving these rare, one-of-a-kind books and making them available to genealogists as scanned images. Thus our research into the past is facilitated without damage to the fragile publications we must review.

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour 14 Feb 2006

This week's show is dedicated to Myrt's first online genealogy mentor Russ Kyger.

-- RootsMagic's Bruce Buzbee joins Myrt to discuss the "Share CD"and other unique options of his program.

-- Myrt interviews Bob Velke about the importance of legal terms in the historical context of our ancestors' lives using Black's Law Dictionary. The 1891 & 1910 edition are available on CD from his website ArchivesCDBooksUSA.com.

-- Maggie Stewart from the USGenWeb Archives Newsletter spotlights the work of one Kentucky GenWeb volunteer - Mike Meinhart of Boyd County.

-- The MightyMouse Tour takes in several stops including an 1882 Austrian map site, the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors writing contest, and purchasing books from Genealogical.com (the case in point explains the difference between naturalizations and denizations.)

Also Myrt asks listeners if they would like to hear more of her regular columns as short podcasts.

LINKS WE MENTION are found on the show page at:

1. Open your iTunes or other podcasting software, and allow it to update to bring in this most recent show.


2. Simply click to listen once you get to the show page:

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

ACROSS MY DESK: Colorful Charting Companions from Progeny Software

NOTE: The following was just received from our friends at Progeny Software. All inquiries should be addressed to them at: info@progenysoftware.com

From: Progeny Software
Sent: Tuesday, February 14, 2006 1:32 PM
Press Release ~ Colorful Charting Companions from Progeny Software
For Immediate Release
February 15, 2006

Colorful Charting Companions Now Available for Legacy, PAF and Family Tree Maker

Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada, February 15, 2006 - Legacy, PAF and
Family Tree Maker users can now view and print colorful family tree
charts with Progeny Software's new line of Charting Companion products.
Legacy Charting Companion version 2.0, just announced, along with PAF
Companion 5.2 and Charting Companion for Family Tree Maker all feature
over 16-million colors and three color styles to display family lines
by gender, generation or lineage.

Progeny's Chief Technology Officer Pierre Cloutier explains, "The colors
add so much more depth and excitement to genealogy charts. You can
select our default colors or customize your own to display your family
tree in a wide range of color schemes and styles. It's a whole new way
of seeing your family tree."

Other features added to these new releases include a gradient color
option to provide an extra special effect and customizable line widths
for printing charts of varying sizes. All three products also include
complimentary User Guide and Wall Chart Printing Tips manuals available
from weblinks found on the top navigation bar.

Legacy Charting Companion includes some additional enhancements so users
- customize font styles for individual charts and reports
- display the Descendant Chart from top-to-bottom or left-to-right
- limit the height of photos
- save screen images as a JPG, GIF, PNG or BMP files
- Edit book reports using all popular word processing software programs,
including the new Open Office Writer.

These new Charting Companion products are described in more detail at
http://www.progenysoftware.com/chartingcompanion.html. Click on the
product of choice to read a description of the features and learn how to
order. Be sure to click on the Sample Charts and Reports to see examples
of the new colorful charts.

No data entry and no GEDCOM are required. These Charting Companion
products read Legacy, PAF and Family Tree Maker files directly. And
they're very easy to use - just select a person in your genealogy
database, choose a chart type and presto - the chart is created.

Choose from a wide variety of charts and reports, including Ancestor,
Descendant, Fan, Hourglass, Pedigree, Bow Tie, Outline Descendant,
Kinship, Family Group Record, Standard Family Group Record, Ancestor
Book Report (also known as Ahnentafel) and Descendant Book Report (also
known as Register).

Browse through generations of your family tree using onscreen tree views.
An extensive search capability will help you find elusive information
you may have stored in your genealogy file.

Charts can be fully customized by choosing the number of generations,
the events to include, date format, photos, etc. Charts can be printed
in any size, including a large wall chart format by tiling pages together
or printing to a plotter. The print preview is helpful before printing
your chart and you can publish your charts using PDF so you can email
them to family and friends.

Legacy Charting Companion is available at
and sold by both Progeny Software and Millennia Corporation, makes of
Legacy Family Tree. Legacy Charting Companion is designed specifically
for Legacy Family Tree versions 3, 4, 5 and 6. A download edition is
available for $19.95US and Progeny also offers a CD edition for $24.95US
plus shipping.

Charting Companion for Family Tree Maker is bundled with Family Tree Maker
2006 and also sold on its own by Ancestry.com at
for customers who already own Family Tree Maker version 9, 10, 11 or 2005.
Price listed when this news release was published was $24.95US.

PAF Companion is bundled in a CD set with Personal Ancestral File and sold
by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for $8.25US (includes
shipping & handling). Call The Church's Distribution Services at
1-800-537-5971 to place your order.

A free evaluation version of PAF Companion is also available for download
at The Church's genealogy website
www.familysearch.org. This trial version
limits the number of generations that can be viewed or printed. Users can
then purchase the full version for $6.75US by calling 1-800-537-5971 to
obtain an unlock key code from The Church's Distribution Services.

READERS' FEEDBACK: Preservation, Attributes & Valentines

-- 2006 St. George Jamboree
-- Document Preservation
-- Great expectations: Not a worthwhile genealogy attribute
-- Never give up
-- Unreliable records
-- Valentine Dittman
-- Valentine Hollingsworth

RE: http://www.dearmyrtle.com/06/0213.htm
From: Art Lassagne GOLDBUG@aol.com
It was a pleasure seeing you again, however briefly. Most of us vendors were so busy that there was little time to visit. -- I have to agree that the Jamboree was a great success. Most of the planning and execution was the work of four women: Holly Hansen, Bridget Cook, Janie Anderson, and Kimberly Savage. I can't say enough about what an amazing job they did.

THANK-YOU for reminding ol' Myrt to use her manners and thank our hostesses. Indeed the MyAncestorsFound.com women did a marvelous job pulling this huge seminar together. They are planning one in the fall in Cheyenne, Wyoming, too!

For my readers who would like to find our about Art Lassange's super-fantastic AniMap, visit his website: http://www.goldbug.com/
Gold Bug Historic Maps and Software
P.O. Box 588 Alamo CA 9450
(925) 838-6277 Fax (925) 314-9332 goldbug@aol.com

RE: http://www.dearmyrtle.com/06/0206.htm
From: Karen Stuart
Lots of good information here: http://www.loc.gov/preserv/

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Not a worthwhile genealogy attribute
From: .... valentine53179
Regarding the dump of diary names -- it could be that the person asking is a seller as in EBAY seller and would rather mover the book to family before selling it to another location where it could be hidden again for a billion jazillion years.

I could spend the day, every day, posting the eBay info that sellers have found and attach to their sales but limit myself only to those areas where I am on a list. And I do clip and send the info and the link whenever possible. At least then someone in the future could see that:
-- one, such a book /thing existed
-- and two some of the information that was contained therein

I myself would be thrilled to find just a single one of these tidbits, but I trust now, since I have looked for so long to no avail, that I will not.

I just don't think that [the Vermont list poster] is looking for the research to be done and is instead, putting out beacons. Now, where they are putting it might be questionable, but at least they are PUTTING it somewhere that is searchable.

From: RMcfa45544@aol.com
After 50 years I have not given up. I am finding everything I need on the kids, but I can not find the two sets of grandparents I have been looking for. Fred.

RE: http://www.dearmyrtle.com/06/0120.htm
From: CJK1043@aol.com
CENSUS - I have seen on a census where a step child is listed as the children of the step-father. I came across this on 1920 census for my father-in-law. He was listed as son of his step-father (even had his last name the same as his step-father) But then in 1930 my father-in-law is found with his real last name. This census shows him [correctly] as the step son.

DEATH CERTIFICATE - From the death certificate of my great-grandfather, it lists him as born in New York. There is nothing in regards as to who gave the information, but all other records state he was born in SC.

BIBLE RECORDS - I have seen mistakes in old bible records as well.

Sad to say , but there are very few records that can be reliable. My own birth record is not correct, as far as the spelling of my 1st name.

From: Dittmar, Frederick M.
I’m playing catch up with your radio programs. http://www.dearmyrtle.com/listen.htm I listened to the Nov 22 program yesterday about Pilmouth Plantation. Brought back a lot of memories as I’m from Plymouth and my mother made costumes for years (1940s – 1950s) for those in the old homes, the lecturers at the Rock and on the Mayflower. She became involved in 1921. See my home page for a photo: http://frederick.dittmar.org One of those white stones up the hill is a Valentine DITTMAN one of several spellings with Elisebeth DITMER his mother that came through Castle Garden.

I see by scrolling down on your home page that a 1921 "PILGRIM PROGRESS" photo taken at Plymouth, Massachusetts shows a lady in light color dress. She is your mother Beatrice Edwina Canning Dittmar. So you see, Fred, documenting the lives of ancestors is in your genes!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY. I am a descendant of another Valentine -- the Pennsylvania Quaker known as Valentine Hollingsworth.

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

Monday, February 13, 2006

Russ Kyger - RIP

From The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Saturday, November 19, 2005, p. B 7-- (Burial posted at Findagrave.com)

"KYGER, RUSSELL ARCHIE (Age 53) - Of McGaheysville, VA, died on Friday, November 18, 2005 at his home from cancer. Born November 27, 1951 in Harrisonburg, son of Beatrice Virginia Shifflett Kyger of McGaheysville and the late Joseph Reid Kyger. Mr. Kyger grew up in the Washington, DC and Maryland area. He helped Quantum Link (Q-Link) get started in 1984 which later turned into AOL. He worked for the Capital Center where he set up for games and concerts. Russell was a talented guitar player who wrote and composed his own music and pursued genealogy. On November 21, 1980, he married Mary Marie Dove Kyger, who survives. Also surviving are a daughter, Michelle Elvanda Virginia Kyger, at home, and one brother, Daniel Michael Kyger of New Carrollton, MD. Funeral services will be conducted 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon at the KYGER FUNERAL HOME in Elkton, VA. Burial will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. The family will receive friends this evening (Saturday) from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home."

His screen name was "RussKyger" and he will be lovingly remembered as the driving force behind the grandparent of AOL's Genealogy Forum - Q-Link's YOUR FAMILY TREE. This online site was for Commodore Computer Users. I signed on with a Commodore 64 machine, and soon he "hired" me on as a chat hostess and the rest is history. He was the Q-Link genealogy forum leader before Apple-Link was developed. Later Q-Link and A-Link merged into AOL. This was in the days before the internet was available to everyone with a computer.

Russ' vision of using technology to teach people how to do genealogical research has inspired most of us early online genealogists.

The first time I met Russ in person we agreed to meet at the Library of Congress (LOC) in the Local History & Genealogy Reading Room. He was a tall, very long-haired man; someone who at first glance you'd would think would be more at home on a Harley or playing his electric guitar. To my knowledge, Russ didn't have a Harley, but he sure could play a mean guitar. HE was a great musician. Yet this giant of a man patiently showed me the several card catalogs and the then newly developed in-house computerized catalog. He taught me how to order books from the back stacks at the LOC, and copied the pertinent pages for me using one of those new-fangled hand-held scanners with its own print-out capability.

Several times my daughter Carrie and I visited Russ and Mary in their apartment in PG County, Maryland. They kept all sorts of little critters such as gerbils and even a ferret. I know Russ missed the country, and that's why he kept them. I soon overcame my fears about ferrets.

He and his wife Mary came to dinner one time when another chatter "Romary" came to town. I cut his hair, he taught me MS-DOS and tons more. His love of family was clearly shown in the fall of 1989, when I flew up from Florida to attend his father's funeral in Rockingham County, Virginia. After the burial, he had us all trek up Skyline Drive, to a small family cemetery off one of the main bends in the road. Russ got choked up every time he spoke of ancestors.

When last we spoke (via email as usual) Russ knew the cancer had pretty much spread everywhere in his body. He knew his time was near. He wished us the best, and told me to keep on working to solve those family relationship mysteries.

Thank-you Russ. And may you now rest from your very valiant battle. I look forward to seeing you again, old buddy. By the way, can you please get Dolly Yockey to tell me who her parents are? I forgot to ask before you left.

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

Report of 2006 Jamboree in St. George

Just got back late last night from a wonderful genealogy weekend in the much warmer climate of St. George, Utah. Here are a few of the highlights:

DICK EASTMAN looked into his crystal ball and presented a thought-provoking speech at the Friday night dinner. His premise: The role of family historians increases in importance as caretaker of not only the family genealogy but as caretaker of the actual health & well-being of future generations. He cited advances in DNA research that improve our understanding of inherited tendencies for disease.

1,000 PEOPLE ATTENDED. The pronominal success of this large-scale genealogy conference should send a message to others. It isn't necessary to charge $200+ for people to attend a multi-day, multi-track genealogy conference. Also, the keynote address and the vendor areas were open to the general public without requiring the very minimal $25 per day entrance fee. This encouraged newbies to find out about the conference before registering for classes.

VENDORS REPORTED RECORD SALES. Maybe folks had money to spend since they weren't paying a high price to get in the door? Not sure why this is happening, but for two years in a row, vendors have reported record sales from this single venue in particular compared to two other national conferences.

MANY READERS & LISTENERS STOPPED BY OL' MYRT'S DESK. WOW, I sure was amazed to meet so many of you in person. I particularly remember a trucker husband and wife team. He listens to DearMYRTLE's FAMILY HISTORY HOUR on his PocketPC, and she listens on her iPod. Ol' Myrt has neither implement, so I just listen on my computer with the speakers turned on of course!

HUNDREDS COMMIT TO COMPLETING ONE GENEALOGY TASK THIS COMING YEAR. During the keynote address, ol' Myrt asked 13 volunteers come forward and read their "mission impossible" statements. Each took the challenge, but had the chance to exchange with one of the other 13. Hopefully one of these ideas will strike YOUR fancy, or you'll come up with one of your own.

1. Document the story behind a family heirloom, such as a quilt, old hat, pair of gloves, shop tool like a hammer, binoculars or family bible. Also take a picture of the heirloom and share this with everyone in your family.

2. Ensure that every document you’ve collected is listed as a source in your genealogy software program for each ancestor mentioned in the document. Be sure to use proper bibliographic citations, and link to every individual mentioned in the document.

3. Recall a family story told at your last family reunion, family funeral or wedding, telephone call, or visit with a distant cousin and write a report on the conversation.

4. Take one photo for each ancestor and descendant and digitize it. Then attach it as a multi-media file to that individual in your genealogy software program.

5. Work on preserving the original items in your collection. Take photocopies of originals and use copies in your work. Place originals in acid-free archival quality sheet protectors, tissues, boxes, etc.

6. Within the next 6 months set up an interview with 2 other family members. Ask them what they remember about earlier times.

7. Review five generations on your pedigree chart to determine if you have used too much "hearsay" evidence? If so, look again for evidence, focusing on primary, original records (perhaps on microfilm) whenever possible.

8. Take time to gather ALL your genealogy papers, documents, photos, books, outlines and put them in some sort of filing system. NOTE: the "Shoe Box" method doesn’t count!

9. Promise yourself that when doing research this year you’ll make photocopies of the title page, in addition to the pages in the book/microfilm where your ancestor is mentioned. Within 2 weeks of the research trip you’ll transcribe and or scan the information and attach it to the appropriate ancestor’s records in your genealogy software program. AND, you’ll file the document.

10. You’ll create a shadow box using the artifacts for an ancestor, coupled with a scanned image of an original photo. This might include a pair of spectacles, some pearls, opera tickets, or a marriage license and scraps of quilt fabric.

11. Teach a grandchild, niece or nephew to cook something that has become a tradition in your family. Watermelon pickles? Apricot jam or turkey gravy?

12. Make a 2007 calendar with photos of family members, listing important dates for the living as well as deceased ancestors on your family tree and distribute copies for holiday gifts in December.

13. Learn how to create a web site! Include info from non-living grandparents and older relatives. Include scanned images of pertinent source documents. (TNG might help you there!)

The idea here is NOT to become overwhelmed by the challenges of genealogical research. This is a JOY.

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

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Ol' Myrt is pleased to announce that her newest book (a really BIG one this time) is finally going to press. It is an answer to her brother-in-law Paul's questions:

• Where do you start with family history?
• Why isn’t there a chart outlining what to do step-by-step?
• Which websites are worth "joining" and are the free sites any good?
• What part does the Family History Library in Salt Lake play?
• What can I do when no one remembers anyone before the great-grandparents?
• Are you saying we have to travel to each and every church or courthouse where our ancestors lived in the 1800s?
• What do I do with all this genealogy stuff I’m accumulating?

Throughout these 11 years of writing DearMYRTLE’s genealogy columns, I realize genealogists throughout the world are faced by these same questions day in and day out. New ones are joining in the search each day.

This all came rushing back to me when I attended a genealogy seminar last fall. There were 8-10 classes per hour, with two morning sessions and two afternoon sessions. Those 40 some-odd classes provided details on how to research census, land, probate, church and foreign record office documents.

Just before the 2nd hour classes, I ran across a lady who was simply overwhelmed – and "underwhelmed" as well. She felt there should be a simple outline of steps to follow to get the family tree climbing stuff done, step-by-step like following a recipe. All these classes were well and good, but they weren’t meeting her need to see the process and the path to follow.

Unfortunately the path isn’t the same for everyone. This book guides the beginner or intermediate family historian through research possibilities with actual examples of source documents proving family relationships.

  • What to do before you go on the net
  • Choosing software
  • Reliable websites
  • Evaluating evidence
  • Courthouse, archives & library research
  • Getting it all together (blog, book, CD)
  • 200+ pages 8 1/2” by 11” format

Chock full of real-life proof documents from Myrt's personal
research to help you see what's out there to prove family relationships.

Regular price $29.95 plus $6.95 shipping & handling.
FREE SHIPPING & $5 off for pre-orders
Offer expires 1 April 2006

Expect 3-4 weeks for shipping & handling once the book has been released. If this link does not work in your email, simply go to: www.DearMYRTLE.com/bookshelf
ACROSS MY DESK: Coping with Destruction of Bremen Passenger Lists

NOTE: This is just in from the folks at Genealogical.com. Inquiries should be addressed to: info@genealogical.com

Myrt recommends subscribing to the free "GENEALOGY POINTERS" as this information came from the 02-07-2006 issue. The text is not saved on Genealogical.com's website, so without this cross-posting this info would be lost. Sign up at: http://www.genealogical.com/adv_search.asp?afid=1684

COPING WITH DESTRUCTION of Bremen Passenger Lists

The port of Bremen, Germany, was a major point of embarkation for emigrants during the 19th and 20th centuries. This was true not only for German nationals but also for millions of inhabitants of Austria, Hungary, and other Central European nations seeking opportunities or refuge in the New World. Moreover, twice as many passengers departed from Bremen as from Germany's second busiest port for emigration, Hamburg.

One of the great losses in genealogical history, therefore, is the nearly complete destruction of the Bremen passenger records. From 1832, Bremen port officials kept meticulous records on their ships' passengers. Then, in 1874, the authorities, citing a lack of space, destroyed all Bremen passenger records except for those of the current year and the two previous years. This practice was followed until 1909, when customs officials resumed the earlier pattern of preserving the original copies of all emigration lists. Unfortunately, the original lists for 1909 and beyond were destroyed in an Allied bombing raid on October 6, 1944. Except for the discovery of transcripts of Bremen lists for the years 1907-1908 and 1913-1914 at the German State Archives in Koblentz, no copies of the Bremen passenger lists have ever come to light.

Given the loss of the Bremen departure lists, researchers in search of embarkees from that port must fall back on arrival lists. In the case of emigrants to the U.S., that next-best source is the U.S. Customs Passenger Lists.

Authorized by a federal statute enacted in March, 1819, whose stated purpose was to reduce overcrowding on passenger vessels, the resulting Customs Passenger Lists span these years for these ports: 1820-1891for Baltimore, 1820-1897 for New York, 1820-1899 for Boston and Philadelphia, and 1820-1902 for New Orleans. These lists identify each immigrant by name, age, sex, occupation, country of origin, country of destination, and sometimes the individual's local place of residence. (For a detailed discussion of Customs Passenger Lists, see AMERICAN

One problem that stymied research in the Customs Passenger Lists for Bremen emigrants was the lack of a comprehensive name index to their contents after 1846. (The Works Projects Administration had prepared an index for the port of New York from 1820 through 1846.) Researchers continued to be daunted by the need to sift through millions of names in order to find an immigrant ancestor from Bremen--until genealogists Gary Zimmerman and Marion Wolfert arrived at a partial solution.

Focusing on the port of New York, Zimmerman and Wolfert chose not to index every Bremen passenger; instead, they limited their extractions only to those immigrants for whom a local place of origin was given--about 21% of the passengers. Eventually, they produced four volumes, spanning the period 1847-1871, identifying over 130,000 passengers from Bremen. For each individual, Zimmerman and Wolfert provide the surname, given name, age, place of residence in Germany, year of passage, and a code for the list where additional information (i.e. occupation) may be found.

Published originally between 1985 and 1993 but out of print for a number of years, the Zimmerman/Wolfert series, "German Immigrants: Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York," is now available in a paperback reprint edition from Clearfield Company. If your German ancestor(s) entered by way of the port of New York during the middle of the 19th century, chances are one in five that he/she will be named in one of these volumes, which are described in more detail below:

GERMAN IMMIGRANTS. Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York, 1847-1854, With Places of Origin [Volume I] About 35,000 German immigrants are listed for the years 1847-1854. The immigrants' names are arranged in alphabetical order, and family members are grouped together, usually under the head of household. Details concerning age, date of arrival, and name of the ship are provided, as are specific citations to the original source material.

GERMAN IMMIGRANTS. Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York, 1855-1862, With Places of Origin [Volume II] The second volume provides information on about 35,000 German immigrants for the years 1855-1862. The names and all other information are arranged in the same manner as in Volume I.

GERMAN IMMIGRANTS. Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York, 1863-1867, With Places of Origin [Volume III] The third volume lists about 35,000 German passengers for the years 1863-September 1867 and is similar in arrangement to its companion volumes, #6580, #6581 and #6583.

GERMAN IMMIGRANTS. Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York, 1868-1871, With Places of Origin [Volume IV] Similar in all respects to the companion volumes in the series (#6580, #6581, and #6582), this fourth volume identifies 32,000 German passengers and spans the years 1868-1871.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Myrt's Calendar and "TOP 25" announcement


Ol' Myrt here has been a busy gal:

-- revising DearMYRTLE's LITTLE BOOK: Internet Genealogy Top 25 favorite things to do.

-- updating her web store to include some Canadian sales offers

YES, you remember correctly, "Internet Genealogy: Top 25 favorite things to do" USED to be the "top 20" now it is the "top 25." There is just that much in the way of "must view" resources out there on the 'net.

ALSO ol' Myrt is preparing for her trip to St. George to speak at the Genealogy & Family History Jamboree sponsored by http://www.myancestorsfound.com . This coming Friday evening, it will be my honor to introduce Dick Eastman at his "Dinner with Dick". Two of my three daughters are coming to help mind my vendor tables. And I am personally looking forward to a decided LACK OF SNOW in this region of southern Utah.

I sure hope to see many of you there. With over 101 classes and a great mix of experienced instructors, this is THE genealogy place to be this weekend. The Keynote and vendors' area are free to the public, but if you want to take in various classes, you'll have to sign up for $50 total at the door for the 2-day event.

-- Keynote: Genealogy Research 2006: Why THIS Will Be Your Breakthrough Year
-- Women are From Venus: Finding Female Ancestors
-- Medical Practices of the US Revolutionary and Civil Wars
-- RootsMagic: Have Your Genealogy & Share it Too

My column and podcast should resume next week, if ol' Myrt's voice holds out.
Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE, your friend in genealogy

Heritage Creations & our dear friend Leland

We just received notice from publisher and owner Leland Meitzler that Heritage Creations is filing for Chapter 7 Bankrupcy. These are the folks that do the wonderful HERITAGE QUEST MAGAZINE. Leland wrote yesterday morning in his blog:

This is a blog I never expected to ever write, but circumstances have dictated that I do so today.
Put in simple terms – I’m broke and am in the process of filing for Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy.

As most of you folks know, I bought back Heritage Quest Magazine, and much of the Heritage Quest retail operations from ProQuest three years ago. It was offered to me by ProQuest as a "silver lining" to the fact that Patty and I were both being laid off, after 10 years with AGLL, Sierra, and ProQuest. Although I knew that the operation was losing a lot of money, in my arrogance, I thought that I could turn it around and make it profitable. I had little money, but I had substantial credit available to me. I didn’t want to see Heritage Quest Magazine go away. Having founded the magazine 17 years previously, my life was wrapped up in its publication. So I set off on the journey that ultimately cost us everything we owned. The operation lost money every month until we downsized in October. Since then, Patty and I have been working unbelievable hours in conditions that I’m sure no sane person would ever put up with. Doing this, I thought I’d found the key to making it profitable – and I may have, only at that point the hole I’d dug was too deep to climb out of.

We sold our home in November, using the proceeds to finance that quarter’s projects. We moved into a motorhome, parked in a local trailer park. In January, we were looking at not only magazine publication expenses, but also a fair amount of taxes due. On the 31st, I was prepared to spend my last dime on magazine publishing expenses when it finally hit home that there was no way that I could make it through February. I was about a half million dollars in debt, with debt service alone eating up cash flow. That afternoon I met with my accountant as well as a bankruptcy attorney.

I’ve hurt a lot of people in attempting to operate this business as I have – and a large number of those folks have been personal friends – some for over 20 years. There are very few within the genealogical community that I don’t owe in some way. I owe dozens of suppliers for product not paid for. I owe authors for articles written and not paid for. I owe subscribers for magazine subscriptions, both Heritage Quest, as well as Genealogy Bulletin. My friends have defended my integrity when times have been rough before. Now I’m letting everyone down, including those friends. I wish I could apologize to each of you personally, but that isn’t humanly possible. At this point, all I can do is say that I’m sorry – and I know that isn’t enough.

On a slightly brighter note, I’m quite sure that Heritage Quest Magazine and Genealogy Bulletin will find a new home, and the subscribers will get what they paid for. The subscriber-base of these two publications is substantial. This will have to be done with the blessing of the courts and ProQuest, who according to contract, gets all this back if I default. How long that may take I have no idea.

I will continue to blog, although my personal blogs may be a little thin for a few weeks. Joe will probably be doing a better job at that than I do anyway. I have a ton of paperwork to do, and that will continue to eat up all my time for a bit. My commercial websites will be coming down shortly. I have no idea what I’m going to do to earn a living. But maybe I’ll go back to research – which I love. I also plan to continue to operate a "Christmas Tour" to Salt Lake City – as I have for over 20 years.

Please don’t think too poorly of me, although I don’t blame you if you do. I feel I gave it my best – and that wasn’t good enough.
Leland K. Meitzler
Heritage Creations

So, to our dear friend Leland, and his wife Patty we wish you God speed. You have been and I pray always will be a force for good in the fascinating world of genealogy.

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

Genealogy & History Podcasts: A Growing List

If you want to learn more about our favorite topics, GENEALOGY & HISTORY, you simply MUST download the free iTunes from
http://www.itunes.com and subscribe to some of the podcasts available at this time. You don't need an iPod to listen, just your computer, with the speakers turned on.

Once you have iTunes on your computer (for MAC or Windows) you merely need to subscribe to the podcast's feed by opening iTunes and:
-- clicking ADVANCED
-- then copy/paste the following mRSS code for the desired podcast (from the listing below)
-- clicking the OK button

To insert in your podcast software such as iTunes
The mRSS codes for podcast feeds are as follows:
-- DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour (new podcast every Tuesday night)

-- Genealogy Guys Podcast (new podcast every Sunday night)

-- History According to Bob

-- HistoryPodcast

-- Nuestra Familia Unida(new podcast periodically)

-- Port of Entry

-- Sparkletack

-- Talking History

YOU ONLY HAVE TO ENTER THE CODE ONCE. From then on, when you open iTunes, click the update button to automatically see what new podcasts have been added recently by any of these three podcast groups! Its easy, and you may listen to the podcasts as many times as you wish 24/7.

I sure hope more folks get into producing these genealogy and history .mp3 audio files. What a wonderful learning tool! If you'd like to learn more about the producers of these podcasts see

-- DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour Podcast
-- Genealogy Guys Podcast
-- History According to Bob
-- HistoryPodcast
-- Military History Podcast
-- Nuestra Familia Unida
-- Port of Entry
-- Sparkletack (History of San Francisco)
-- Talking History

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

Friday, February 03, 2006

FindUSA database dropped from libraries

NOTE: This notice was posted to the Godfrey_News by director Richard Black.
All inquires should be addressed to him at:

From: Richard@godfrey.org
Sent: Friday, February 03, 2006 8:37 AM
Subject: [Godfrey_News] FindUSA

Attached below is a copy of a communication that I received yesterday from the president of infoUSA. I believe that the letter is self explanatory.

Dear Richard:
It was nice talking with you again this morning, but I am sorry to have to relay this news. As we discussed this morning, we have made a business decision to discontinue the FindUSA database service to libraries effective immediately. As such, your library's service will be terminated as of noon today. I have issued a refund check to your library in the amount of $X,XXX.XX for the remainder of your subscription, and have put it in an express package so you should have it tomorrow. I hope you can understand our decision to discontinue this product in light of consumer concerns about privacy issues.

Again, Richard, thank you for being a ReferenceUSA customer. I hope we will have an opportunity to do business again in the future. And please don't hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance to you.

Sincerely -- Doug.

[Godfrey Director Richard Black continues:]
We are saddened by the loss of this very popular site. We recognize the disappointment that many of you will feel by its loss. As far as we can determine there is only one other site that provides material such as this, unfortunately that product is owned by a company that is in competition with Godfrey and it is not available to us. We continue to look for other sites that may provide similar content.

As you are likely aware, Godfrey Memorial Library is a non-profit public library that does not receive any public funds. Programs like the Godfrey Scholar Program help provide the funds so that we might be able to continue to serve our patrons.

We appreciate your continued support.

Richard E. Black
Director, Godfrey Memorial Library
134 Newfield Street
Middletown CT 06457
(860) 346-4375

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Document preservation

From: Happy happy@rcn.com
I need to know how to safely store my documents which are already in plastic sheet protectors. Specifically, do I need to purchase one to those so-called acid-free albums and binders, or is it safe to use a binder that I have (cardboard cover?) if I place a protective sheet, to serve as a buffer, between binder and document collection in the front and back of the binder? I will appreciate your advice.

Well, the best answer is to store everything in optimum conditions. But since we don't live in museums, resolve to protect original documents and photos in the best acid-free albums you can purchase. I wouldn't worry as much about photocopies of original documents.

Ol' Myrt here does not recommend using anything with newsprint, construction paper, or cardboard, as these are very low-quality high-acid products that will deteriorate in just a matter of a few years. I've noticed this with my old yellow legal tablets from the 1980s, which isn't that long ago. Ordinary photocopy paper is higher quality, and I use it to take notes when visiting libraries and archives.

Using a protective sheet as a buffer between your low quality binder and your acid free sheet protectors isn’t a good idea. Fumes can migrate, and the edges of documents and surrounding books will be damaged if you don't. Just use another binder.

Remember to scan the documents and photos as another preservation method. This also facilitates sharing with family members. YES, I know my readers will want ol' Myrt to remind you that we don't know how long our hard drives, CDs or flash drives will last. But just like the 8mm movies once needed to be transferred to video tape and now DVD, so shall we be sure to keep up with technology until we pass the genealogy torch to someone else in the family during our later years.

My best recommendation for finding out about archival materials to protect photos, original documents, uniforms, quilts, tea cups, buttons and other family heirlooms is:


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

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Hawaiian Adoption

From: DGrau40568@aol.com
My daughter adopted a baby whose mother is half Hawaiian. She would like to know how she can get information on her heritage. Can you help us?

Preparing the baby to understand her blood line heritage is just as important as the values and influences of her adopted family heritage. Her parents will make decisions concerning openness. Contact with the birth mother requires preparation and care.

As a party to the legal adoption process, your daughter should be able to contact the adoption agency, and work through the legal issues where contacting the birth parents are concerned. I recommend viewing the Adoption Triad's page on HAWAII laws/reform located at: http://www.adoptiontriad.org/lawsbystate/hi.html

Some useful websites:

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

Happy Camper: I just got my new HANDYBOOK

Ol' Myrt here finally received her copy of Everton's HANDYBOOK FOR GENEALOGISTS 11th Edition, direct from the desk of the editor Holly T. Hansen, President of MyAncestorsFound.com. Previous editions have been published since 1947, and are known as a standard work when it comes to genealogical reference books. When traveling throughout the country, I make it a point to check the genealogy departments of the local public libraries. Even the smallest ones, with perhaps only 5-10 genealogy books, will have the HANDYBOOK as part of their collections. Larger libraries have multiple copies of the HANDYBOOK including one at the reference desk. I've seen it on the librarian's desk in the Library of Congress' Local History & Genealogy Reading Room. Yes, the HANDYBOOK is that important!

Course, now I'll need to purchase one of those dictionary stands, this book is that big.

Its hard to tell if the book or my 6-month-old grandson weighs more!

The HANDYBOOK provides information on:
UNITED STATES - general reference works for "all US topics" including:

  • Federal resources (census, immigration & military)
  • Societies & repositories
  • National Archives & Records Administration Centers

The bibliography for the US includes:

  • Archives & Libraries
  • Bible records
  • Biography
  • Cemeteries
  • Census records
  • Church records
  • Court records
  • Directories
  • Emigration, immigration, Migration & naturalization
  • Gazetteers
  • Genealogy
  • Handbooks & Guidebooks
  • Historical geography
  • History
  • Land & property
  • Maps & atlases
  • Military records
  • Minorities - African American, Hispanic, Jewish
  • Names
  • Native races
  • Naturalization & citizenship
  • Newspapers
  • Obituaries
  • Online Sources
  • Periodicals - genealogy
  • Sources & indexes
  • Postal & shipping guides
  • Probate records
  • Vital records

STATES IN ALPHA ORDER with information provided
on the following topics:

  • Brief history
  • Addresses for relevant state offices
  • Societies & repositories addresses, with phone or web addresses
  • Bibliography & record sources
  • Atlases, Maps & Gazetteers
  • Censuses (including US federal, state & territorial)
  • Court Records, probate & wills
  • Emigration, immigration, migration & naturalization
  • Land & property
  • Military
  • Vital & cemetery records
These pages are followed by an alpha-listing for every known county that was or is now part of the particular state in question, including such information as name, place on state map, date created, parent county or territory from which organized as well as contact information. Details include specific record groups by name and dates.

SAMPLE ENTRY FROM THE HANDYBOOK 11th edition, page 559:
"DUPLIN COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA was created in 1750 from New Hanover County
118 Duplin Street
Kenansville, NC 28349
The registrar of Deeds has birth and death records from 1913, Marriage records from 1749, maps and land records from 1749 & business records from 1899; Clerk Superior Court has probate and court records."

This is useful where you know the county but not the state where an event occurred for an ancestor. For instance, if a reference for your ancestor mentions the "days back in Covington" you can see that there are the following current counties:
Covington County, Alabama
Covington County, Mississippi
Covington (independent city), Virginia

This at least narrows it down to a few haystacks. But be sure to check back in the state section of the HANDYBOOK to determine the parent counties as well, to find the records for the time period when your ancestor was there.

For instance, it may have been Covington County, Mississippi when your 3rd great-grandfather died in late 1819 and his estate went through probate. However, Covington's parent counties were Lawrence and Wayne counties. So if he purchased land during his lifetime, you might have to check Lawrence and Wayne counties for his land and tax records.

CAN YOU SEE how you'd be dead in the water without the HANDYBOOK to help you understand which state/county had jurisdiction at various times throughout history?

These appear on pages M1-M54 in full color, showing the current county boundaries.

These appear on pages M55-M62 with related maps appearing on pages M-63-M72. Everton's has long been known for excellence in presenting migration trails maps. As you follow the reverse migration along such trails, you might find where your ancestors lived before arriving in say, Kentucky or Ohio.

The .pdf format makes it easy to print out pages about the state where you are currently researching. Ol' Myrt here also recommends printing out the map and relevant migration trail maps to insert in your research notebook. This helps you picture the territory where your ancestors once lived.

All I can say, DearREADERS,
is ol' Myrt is one happy camper.
I've been without my old 10th edition for three months, while away from home visiting with my daughter's family. Its pretty hard to do research without referring to this book once or twice a week at the least. You need a copy of this book, and so does your public library. See to it that your genealogy society provides this latest edition for the library's genealogy department.

The HANDYBOOK is, needless to say, QUITE handy when it comes to getting you oriented to the place where your ancestor once lived, which records have survived and how to contact various record office IF the record isn't yet on microfilm through your local LDS Family History Center.

11th Edition Handybook for Genealogists
(Limited number of books also available with a word searchable CD.)
Phone: 801-829-3295

(Tell them DearMYRTLE sent you!)

$50.00 (book only)
$60.00 (book plus searchable CD)

Editor Holly T. Hansen says "At least 80% of all vital records are held at the county level. The HANDYBOOK tells you how to access this information and lets you know what's available in each county."

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