Monday, April 30, 2007

ACROSS MY DESK: Some displeased by fewer questions on 2010 Census form

By Haya El Nasser, USA TODAY

The 2010 Census won't begin for another three years, but advocacy groups already are jockeying to have issues they care about included in the questionnaire that will be sent to every American household.

Child welfare groups are fighting the government's decision to drop foster care from the choices listed to describe the relationships of people living under one roof. Ethnic advocacy groups, led by the Arab American Institute, are lobbying to add a question about ancestry.

In addition to providing a demographic portrait of an increasingly diverse nation, the Census is used to apportion seats in Congress, redraw political districts and allocate federal funds.

Census data also are crucial to special-interest groups. Knowing how many people that they represent and where they live helps them gain clout and money. "All the stakeholders who work with the Census Bureau have been negotiating real estate on the form," says Helen Samhan of the Arab American Institute. "We want to reach out to many Americans for whom race alone is not a sufficient or meaningful identity."

The wrangling over which Census questions to add or delete heats up around this time every 10 years when the agency submits its plans to Congress for approval.

Tension is higher this decade because big changes are coming in the 2010 Census. For the first time since 1930, there will be no "long form." The lengthier survey previously has gone to one in every six households and asked about everything from property taxes and indoor plumbing to education, ancestry and commuting patterns.

Instead of using the long form, the Census Bureau is asking the same detailed questions every year through the new American Community Survey. The survey goes to fewer people at one time — about 3 million households a year. Smaller ethnic groups, including Arab-Americans, say that survey can't document their populations as accurately as the long form did.

Every household in 2010 will get a shorter Census form, as required by the Constitution. This "short form" asks all members of every household their gender, age, race, ethnicity, relationship to the head of household and whether the home is owned or rented.

The government wants to keep the "short form" as short as possible. It dropped the foster care category in favor of asking whether anyone in the household sometimes lives elsewhere — children away at college, for example.

That means there won't be a way to know whether the financial status of more than 500,000 children in foster care is improving, says William O'Hare, senior fellow at the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Kids Count program. "That's the big issue for us."

Advocacy groups will keep pressing their concerns. "Our concern is basically to make sure that the 2010 short form Census is the most inclusive," Samhan says.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Family history destroyed

Tom Kemp, from forwarded this story, which will bring tears to the eyes of any family historian:
By Pranava K Chaudhary
SAURATH (MADHUBANI): Maithil Brahmins, who have a rich cultural legacy,
still fix marriages of their children after getting a nod from "panjikars"

In fact, in India any one can trace the ancestral background of Maithil Brahmins by scanning genealogical records (hereditary tree) of the community. But many will now find it difficult to do so.

The reason: Lakhs of rare "talpatras" (palm leaves) with ancestral details of thousands of Maithil Brahmins have allegedly been sold by a local middleman to a US agency.

"A middleman of a nearby Mangrauni village has sold almost all my records of last 10 generations, numbering about 70,000 pages, of Maithil Brahmin families to an American on the pretext of documenting them, said an octogenarian "panjikar", Hare Krishna Jha.

"All my records have been lost for ever. Now, I am not in a position to reassemble them because of hearing problem," he said.

Jha said a local gang is engaged in the business of selling historical records to a US agency. "I am not the only victim, the same person had also taken away priceless collection of generation old palm leaf records of other known "panjikars" like Khurkhur Mishra, Vishwa Mohan Mishra and Bishni Mishra," Jha said.

"The middleman gave me Rs 4,000, at the rate of 10 paise per leaf, to get my all records printed. After sometime, he dumped the records in gunny bags at my home, without handing over the printed version. Later, I found many pages were torn and hundreds of them missing," he alleged.

For the rest of the story see:
DearREADERS, this story points out the necessity of preserving our family heritage including photos, old documents and our compiled family history. Since you all have computers, you've got the tools necessary to get the job done. Have you got enough GUMPTION? Let's begin anew to get those documents scanned, so that damage to the originals won't leave us empty-handed like Jha in this sad story above.

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

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The importance of labeling photographs

NOTE: This column will NO LONGER broadcast via DearMYRTLE-L beginning 1 May 2007. Please switch to BLOG format, using or any other RSS feed reader. To sign up for email delivery through RSS, Ol' Myrt now recommends going to:

Enclosed is a photo I took of my father with his sister and brother. Ol' Myrt remembers everything about this picture, since the get-together was only a few short weeks ago. AAACK. I actually have to look at the calendar to remember the exact date. Now my children may be able to recognize their Grampa Glen, seated in the wheelchair. But what happens when my grandchildren look at the photo? They will only know Great-Grampa Glen from their early childhood days. It is unlikely they would know anything about the other individuals in thephoto UNLESS I TELL THEM, right?

I am sure you have lots of old photos hanging around. Why not go ahead and LABEL them now, and perhaps add details as I've added below, while you can remember them? Our memories fade faster than the old photos. Let's work on getting those photos labeled.

Left to right:
Siblings Jack Player, Glen Player (seated) and Beverly (Muir) Player
April 2007
This photo was taken in front of the fireplace at the Medina, Washington home of Glen Player. Both Glen and Bev have enjoyed playing the large organ in the background. Glen is recently widowed, but note his wife Blanche (Jackson) Player's circa 1968 photo sitting on the organ in the background. She and Bev were very close friends. Jack lives in Tuscon, Arizona and Lacey, Washington, Bev lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Also attending this mini family reunion were Jack's wife Laura, Glen's daughter Pat Richley and Bev's daughter Carol Tobey.

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

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

READER'S FEEDBACK: FamilySearchIndexing

From: Arlene
I took your advice and have signed on for volunteering with the indexing of records at It is easy to do. My stake advisor dropped by and gave me some neat clues to use. I done 100 names in a couple of hours after I learned how to properly input. I plan on trying to do 50-100 names each day. Thanks for the encouragement to do it. Arlene - Bountiful, Utah.


THANKS to you and other DearMYRTLE readers who've joined the ranks of genealogists willing to donate time to produce an index of scanned images. There are printable “help” guidelines for each type of record (census, death, etc.) so you don’t have to wait for a supervisor to stop by and help you out. You could live in Timbuktu, and not speak to a soul, but still contribute to a great cause donating just a few hours a month.

Ol’ Myrt just dove in and did her best. Remember 2 people do the indexing for each page, unbenounced to each other, so the results of FamilySearchIndexing are considered highly reliable.

Here’s a sample screen shot so you can see how easy it is to do the indexing. Ol’ Myrt had previously downloaded FHL Film #4118709 batch 650, Sheet A-20 lines 1-50, New Britain Town, Hartford, Connecticut 1900 US Federal Census.

Notice in the screen shot above how the scanned image from microfilm is in the top half of the screen, while the form for Ol’ Myrt to type an abstract is in the bottom half of the screen.

Point “a” is the region of the digitized census microfilm where I am in the process of typing at point “b” the given name “Carrie L” for James Cole’s wife. Note the light blue highlight in the name field which FamilySearch Indexing superimposes on the digital version of the microfilm. This serves to help my tired old eyes easily reference where I am on the census page. After typing the wife’s name, if I press “enter” or “tab” twice on my keyboard, my cursor moves to the relationship field, where I will then type “wife”. Context sensitive help is provided at point “c” and that info changes, relative to the currently highlighted field.

OK – IN PLAIN ENGLISH. It’s easy to:
· zoom in and out on a page
· change to reverse mode (white letters on black background)
· type even parts of a word, like “w” for “wife” if it was the last used word in that column
· type ?? in place of 2 unreadable letters in a name
· mark "u" unreadable, if an item is totally undecipherable
· mark "b" if an essential column item is blank on the original page

PLEASE, sign up, and do at least 50 names a month. On average, a typical indexer submits about 833 names per month. But if each of the 80,000 subscribers/visitors of/to DearMYRTLE’s website, mailing list, message board and blog indexed 50 names each month that would be 4 million names a month. WOW. (I hope my math was correct – it is usually about as bad as my typing/spelling.)

COME ON GANG! Help index. This is more fun and a lot more productive than playing Spider Solitaire.


• DearMYRTLE’s BLOG. Are you indexing your share?

• DearMYRTLE's BLOG. FamilySearchIndexing - 250 names completed & Linux

• DearMYRTLE's BLOG. How to sign up for FamilySearchIndexing

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

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

1819/1820 U.S. Passenger List now online

Click to find out more about

Ol' Myrt here received news from our friend Tom Kemp that has put a digital copy of the complete 1819-1820 U.S. Passenger List, free and online at: . You may have heard about it, if you subscribe Dick Eastman's column. But Ol' Myrt has decided to try and show real examples of documents in the majority of her columns. Those of you who now subscribe to DearMYRTLE's BLOG will be able to see several examples from this passenger list in your email. Others will need to click to view the graphic in question, as indicated below.

BACKGROUND: US researchers will recall that Customs Passenger Lists weren't required prior to 1820, because the federal government wasn't organized and didn't impose the guideline. This makes research on pre-1820 arrivals tricky. Some ports were very organized, and kept their own records. In some ports and for various time periods, all that have survived are baggage claim lists and other odd documents listing passengers on board ships.

ABOUT THIS PASSENGER LIST: 1819/1820 U.S. Passenger List now online at is an exact digital copy of the original document that was published by the US federal government. The document is actually a letter from the Secretary of State, with a transcript of the list of passengers who arrived in the United States from the 1st of October, 1819, to the 30th September, 1820. The list was printed on 18 February 1821, by order of the Senate of the United States. When you find an ancestor in this collection, this would be the source citation:

Washington, DC: U.S. Congress. Senate, 1821. Serial Set Vol. No. 45, Session Vol. No.4. 16th Congress, 2nd Session. S.Doc. 118. 288p.

PORTS OF ARRIVAL: At, we read this important record covers arrivals at 35 ports in 14 States and the District of Columbia.
Connecticut: Fairfield; New Haven; New London
District of Columbia
Georgia: Savannah
Maine: Belfast; Kennebunk; Portland; Waldoboro; Wiscasset
Maryland: Baltimore
Massachusetts: Barnstable; Boston; Dighton; Edgartown; Nantucket; Newbury
New York: New York City
North Carolina: Edenton; New Bern; Plymouth
Ohio: Sandusky
Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
Rhode Island: Bristol; Newport; Providence
South Carolina: Beaufort; Charleston
Virginia: Alexandria; Norfolk; Petersburg; Portsmouth; Richmond

COLUMN HEADINGS: A typical entry provides info such as:
-- passenger’s name
-- age
-- sex
-- where they were coming from
-- destination
-- the name of the ship
-- ship’s captain
-- the port
Some entries also include additional notes.

IMMIGRANTS & TRAVELING US CITIZENS: This published passenger list gives the names of all passengers arriving in the US between October 1819 and September 1820. It includes not only immigrants coming to the U.S. but also a large number of U.S. citizens who were traveling by ship from one part of the country to another. For example:

-- Alfred Spooner, age 32, a farmer from Vermont D. McCall, age 33, a merchant from North Carolina were both listed as traveling on the Brig Forest that was going to Mississippi.
-- Robert Crookshanks age 60, a merchant from St. John, New Brunswick is listed as “on a visit” to Portland, Maine coming over on the Schooner Recover.
-- Francis Mitchell, age 28, a West Indies planter from St. Croix is listed as going to Ireland on the Schooner Edward and stopping at the port of New York.

-- Eugenia Virginia Stark and Charles Julius Wittell were two German children born at sea.
-- Christiana Yauch is recorded as having died at sea while coming to America from Germany.

1. Log in (for free) at , and notice you will then be able to view a split screen. Do not type your ancestor's name in the search boxes on the left. Notice that on the right side of the screen, you'll find clickable links:
-- Part 1: October 1819 - 31 March 1820, 24 pages
-- Part 2: 31 March 1820 - 30 June 1820, 26 pages
-- Part 3: 30 June 1820 - 30 June 1820, 26 pages
-- Part 4: 30 June 1820 - 30 September 1820, 26 pages
-- Part 5: 30 September 1820 – continued, 26 pages
-- Part 6: 30 September 1820 – continued, 26 pages
-- Part 7: 30 September 1820 – continued, 9 pages
Each link opens a portion of the 1819/1820 U.S. Passenger List in Adobe PDF file format. If you cannot view the page, there is a link to download the free Acrobat Reader.

2. Then it is a matter of scrolling down the typewritten document to find a listing for your ancestor.
3. Be sure to print out the page for your ancestor.
4. Make note of the page number, which is the one NOT included in square brackets. In the example above it is page 150, not [118], as shown below:

5. Also print the original document's title page, which is page 2 of Part 1.
6. Write on the title page: Viewed at
7. Be sure to include the date you were able to access the document, as shown below:

ABOUT GENEALOGY BANK: Tom Kemp writes "GenealogyBank is pleased to provide this free and valuable research tool to genealogists. It is an excellent example of the types of genealogical records preserved at GenealogyBank that you can use to fill in the details of your family tree. There is more in a passenger list than just a list of names. And there is a lot more in, too. It is packed with all types of genealogical records. For example there are more than 1,300 newspapers covering four centuries and all 50 States; digital copies of every page, all searchable. There are more than 103 Million obituaries and death records; over 114,000 government reports and books like this passenger list. All of this material is online and searchable right now."

-- Click on over to
-- Try it out and see what records it has on your ancestors.
-- You will be able to see a snippet of the original record that shows the name that you searched on the page.
-- If you would like to see the entire record, get a membership to GenealogyBank.

From all the notices Ol' Myrt receives, GenealogyBank is adding new content every day.

How about trying it right now at:

NOTE: This column will NOT broadcast via DearMYRTLE-L beginning 1 May 2007. Please switch to BLOG format, using or any other RSS feed reader. To sign up for email delivery through RSS, Ol' Myrt now recommends going to:

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

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

Friday, April 27, 2007

British Empire Slave Register Collection 1812-1834

British Empire Slave Register Collection 1812-1834

NOTE: This column will NOT broadcast via DearMYRTLE-L beginning 1 May 2007. Please switch to BLOG format, using or any other RSS feed reader. To sign up for email delivery through RSS, Ol' Myrt now recommends going to:

This is just in from the folks at All inquiries should be addressed to:

HISTORICAL RECORDS OF SLAVES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE LAUNCH ONLINE launches the names of 100,000 Barbados slaves - Former Colonial Dependencies Slave Register Collection, 1812-1834 uk today launched its black history collection with the Barbados Slave Register for 1834, which contains the names of 100,000 slaves and their owners working in the former colonial dependency, one of the busiest slave trade ‘hubs’ in the 18th and 19th Centuries, the height of the British Empire.

In the near future, the entire Former Colonial Dependencies’ Slave Register Collection, 1812 -1834, the definitive and only collection of slave registers kept by 23 colonial dependencies and overseas British territories which used slaves, will launch on uk. When complete, the names of an estimated three million slaves will be included.

The requirement for plantation owners to complete a slave register every three years from 1812 - or later for some colonial dependencies was due to the Abolition of Slave Trade Act, passed in 1807, which made trading slaves from Africa to the British colonies and territories illegal.

The Act required that British colonies and territories keep tri-yearly registers – by registering both slaves and their owners, the British Government was able to monitor slave ownership and stamp out illegal slave trading. No slave could be bought, sold, conveyed, imported, exported or inherited without first being registered.

The registers were submitted to the Office for the Registry of Colonial Slaves in London and now reside at The National Archives.

Containing around 186,000 pages of names in total, the registers were lodged between 1815 and 1834 however their regularity and accuracy depended on the willingness of plantation owners to cooperate and the effectiveness of local colonial rule in enforcing the law.

The 1834 Barbados Slave Register, just one of the series to be launched on, will be followed by those of other colonial dependencies and overseas British territories which used slaves.

Included will be Jamaica, The Bahamas, South Africa, Ceylon and others, creating the largest fully-indexed online database of slavery records pertaining to the British Empire available on the Internet.

Also released today is the English Settlers in Barbados,1637-1800 collection, containing the church records – baptisms, marriages and wills, for approximately 200,000 British settlers and their descendents living in at the height of the British Empire .

This collection will compliment the complete Former Colonial Dependencies’ Slave Register Collection by providing additional information and clues on the families who owned slaves.

About the Slave Registers …

The use of slaves in the Caribbean, much of which was colonized by the British in the early 16th Century, helped to meet huge demand for sugar across the Empire and in Europe and secured England’s position as the wealthiest nation in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

Barbados, one of the most ‘British’ islands in the Caribbean and therefore most effectively governed, returned detailed, accurate registers with greater regularity than others.

The 1834 Barbados Slave Register contains the names of 99,349 slaves and 5,206 slave owners – an average of 19 slaves to every owner, although the full collection does include several owning up to 400 slaves.

Of the 99,349 slaves listed, 46,347 were male and 52,982 female. A total of 26,787 were aged 10 or under. Slaves are listed firstly by parish, owner and then name of the slave, approximate age and in some instances birthplace. The lists illustrate how most slaves were given Christian names and took their owners’ surnames.

There are more than half a million people of black Caribbean origin* currently living in the UK : the majority of this group will have slave ancestors.

Famous living Brits with Barbadian ancestry include singers Des’ree and former All-Saints member Shaznay Lewis, footballers Ashley Cole and Theo Walcott, newsreader Moira Stewart and journalist Gary Younge.

Famous Barbadian Brits in history include John Harper, the first person of Barbadian / African descent to be elected to public office in Britain , whose grandfather was a freed slave, and Walter Tull, the first black British infantry officer and one of the first black professional footballers. spokesperson Simon Harper comments: “As few records exist which document the lives of individual slaves, the Former British Colonial Dependencies’ Slave Register Collection, 1812-1834 will for many be the only record of their ancestor ever having existed and so represents a vital resource for everyone with or interested in researching slave ancestry.

“With few relevant collections online, it has not been easy for those with ancestors from former British colonies or territories to research their black family history however uk ’s new collection will help bridge major historical gaps for many people.” uk founder Mia Morris comments: "It is terrific that k is making these slave registers and records available online for the first time. They provide a much needed piece in the puzzle for those of us wanting to find the truth about our ancestors."

*According to the Office of National Statistics, there were 565,876 people of black-Caribbean origin living in the at the time of the 2001 Census.

Union Civil War pension file update

Yesterday's column explained the necessity of obtaining a copy of the COMPLETE (not selected) Union Civil War pension file for an ancestor. Today Ol' Myrt spotlights one document (show above in the blog version of this column) that she and her daughters photocopied from William Gist FROMAN's entire pension file while visiting the National Archives in Washington, DC in 1989. This document was the first in the soldier's 2-inch thick folder and proved to be one of the most interesting genealogically. A transciption follows:
Certificate Number: 8221237
Name: Wm G. Froman

Bureau of Pensions
Washington DC, Jan 15, 1898

In forwarding to the pension agent the executed voucher for your next quarterly payment please favor me by returning this circular to him with replies to the questions enumerated below.

Very Respectfully,
M Clay Grant,

[Note, elements of the form will appear here in ALL CAPS, and handwritten responses will be typed in upper/lower case.]

Grayson, May 4th 1898
Clinton County
State of Missouri

ANSWER. Yes. Louise M. Higgins now Froman

ANSWER. Grayson, Missouri by C J Armstrong

ANSWER. License recorded in Recorders office in Clinton County, Mo.

ANSWER. Yes. Mary Sherard 1893 St. Joseph Missouri

ANSWER. Yes. L J Froman July 1862, G William Froman April
1861 Elmer Froman June 1866 Eugene Froman 1873

[signed] W G Froman
4 May 1898

From this you can see that a few items are still missing. My ancestor omitted to state the date of his wedding to my great-grandmother Louise M Higgins. However, the pension file had additional papers to prove the date to Ol' Myrt's satisfaction. More tomorrow.

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

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Accessing Union Civil War Service & Pension files

Accessing Union Civil War Service & Pension files

From: John Burnett
I am having trouble finding info on one of my ancestors, one Frank (Francis Burnett) Burnett. I believe he was from Canada, but came to the States ( Vermont) to join the Union Army. Seven days prior to his enlistment he married one Elisa Martin. I'm not sure if she was from Vt. or Canada. At the time of his death, 1913, Charlestown VT, he appears to be married to one Calista Burnett, who filed to receive his veteran benefits. Frank and Calista had a son, Francis William Burnett (1862-1939) Frank's parents were from Canada. The father's name was Francis and the wife was Zoah or Zewa Balba or Balla.


Unfortunately all the Canadian Border Crossings are too late to document your ancestor's migration from Canada to Vermont. You have completed some research on your Union Civil War ancestor, but Ol' Myrt recommends the following:

Obtain a copy of his COMPLETE (not selected) Union pension file. Among the information requested on the pension applications throughout the years, each serviceman must detail:
-- where and when he was born
-- where and when (and to whom) he married
-- whether that marriage ended in divorce or death of the spouse
-- list all children by name and birth date

To obtain photocopies of Frank (Francis) Burnett's original file the National Archives and Records Administration must be contacted, as only the selected records are on microfilm. For more information, see: If you live near Washington, DC, you can view the file in person. You will need identifying information such as his unit name and period of service in order to distinguish him from other Frank or Francis Burnetts who served.

From this website we read " Most Union army soldiers or their widows or minor children later applied for a pension. In some cases, a dependent father or mother applied for a pension. The pension files are indexed by NARA microfilm publication T288, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 (544 rolls) which is also available online at (for a fee)."

CIVIL WAR SERVICE RECORDS I found the following individuals in's database:

Frank Burnett D 25 N. Y. Cavalry. Private Private Union
Frank Burnett E 16 Illinois Infantry. Private Private Union
Frank Burnett A 64 U. S. Col'd Infantry. Private Union
Frank F. Burnett E 13 N. Y. Cavalry. Private Private Union
Frank J. Burnett H 2 Wisconsin Infantry. Private Private Union
Frank M. Burnett H 4 Ohio Cavalry. Corporal Private Union
****Francis Burnett C 5 Vermont Infantry. Private Private Union
NOTE: Could this be your ancestor?

Francis Burnett 1 Ind. Batt'y, N. Y. Lt. Art'y. Private Private Union
Francis Burnett C 178 N. Y. Infantry. Private Private Union
Francis Burnett L 3 N. Y. Provisional Cavalry. Private Private Union
Francis Burnett M 2 N. Y. Mounted Rifles. Private Private Union
Francis G. Burnett I 30 Illinois Infantry. 2 Lieutenant Captain Union
Francis J. Burnett 13 Indpt. Batt'y, Michigan Light Art'y. Private Private Union
Francis M. Burnett J 2 Arkansas Cavalry. Private Private Union
Francis M. Burnett D 30 Kentucky Infantry. Private Private Union
Francis M. Burnett A 9 Missouri Cavalry. Private Private Union
Francis M. Burnett F 18 Missouri Infantry. Private Private Union
Francis M. Burnett H 26 Missouri Infantry. Private Private Union
Francis M. Burnett B 27 Missouri Mtd. Infantry. Private Private Union
Francis T. Burnett 13 Indpt. Batt'y, Michigan L. Art'y. Private Private Union

CIVIL WAR PENSION FILE INDEX - I found the following individual in's database:

****Frank Burnett Celista A. Burnett North Carolina
NOTE: This looks like your ancestor,
since it lists his wife Celista as you've determined from other sources. Did you know that the North Carolina was the state where his widow filed for benefits and not Vermont? Ol' Myrt has reproduced the index card, which you will need to reference when ordering up your Francis Burnett's file at the National Archives.

"You may do research in Civil War military service and pension files in person at the National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408-0001. Begin your research in Room 400, the Microfilm Reading Room. Staff is available there to answer your questions. [...] Requests for records that have not been microfilmed, such as the pension files and most Union CMSRs, must be submitted on appropriate forms between 8:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The request forms and the microfilmed indexes are all available in Room 400. Pension files and other original records are not "pulled" from the stacks after 3:30 p.m. or on Saturday, but can be viewed during all regular research hours if the pull request was submitted during the weekday hours noted in the previous sentence."

If you require paper copies of the Frank's US Civil War Union pension file, see: Please be aware that prices for this are going up in late spring, so there is probably quite a backlog from individuals who wish to beat the price-hike deadline.

PLACE OF ORIGIN. The main reason you are looking at Frank's pension file is to find his birth date and birth place. Once you determine the place of origin, study the history of the town in question to locate surviving records. Hopefully essential records are available on microfilm through your local LDS Family History Center. Consult the FHLC Family History Library Catalog online at:

CANADIAN RECORDS. When looking at a record collection for the first time, it will be necessary for you to become familiar with the scope and limitations of those records. Be sure to read the Family History Library's Canada Research Outline, located on the web at:
From this you will learn about record keeping practices and availability of records.

Realize that the Family History Library has also published research outlines for individual provinces in Canada, with specifics about record collection availability and peculiarities about record groups in the province, whether or not the FHL holds the records in question. To find these online, go to: and then click the appropriate letter of the alphabet for the province you wish to learn more about. Then scroll down the list until you find an interesting title, and click to open the research outline. I like to print these out wherever possible. Ol' Myrt still prefers to underline and highlight important points in any guidebook when studying a new locality for research.

CANADIAN CENSUS. Be sure to read the Family History Library's "Census Records Before 1871" research help.

1851 CENSUS (Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia)
-- "The digital images within this database are copies of the original microfilm records held by Library and Archives Canada."
-- "This tool allows researchers to search by geographic location only. As this is not a nominally-indexed database, it is not searchable by family name."
-- " Please note, parts of the 1851 census did not survive and therefore no digital images exist." (subscription required) Searchable by name
-- 1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia 1,487,802
-- Wellington County, Ontario Canada 1851 Census 17,349 individuals
-- Addington County, Ontario Canada 1851 Census 12,038 individuals
-- Lennox County, Ontario Canada 1851 Census 6,999 individuals
-- 1861 Durham County, Ontario Census 38,922 individuals
-- 1861 Brighton, Ontario Census 3,713 individuals

-- Canada GenWeb
- specify Canada
-- Burnett Surname Mailing List -
-- Burnett in Canada Surname Mailing List -

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

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Soggy Revolutionary War documents & antiquities

Soggy Revolutionary War documents & antiquities:
Volunteers told no help was needed

Hard to believe this sort of thing is still happening in this day and age. The Steuben House in Bergen, New Jersey suffered damage with 28 inches of water from a storm 15 April 2007. Joseph Ax, staff writer for the local newspaper, The Record, reports:
"State legislators and members of the Bergen County Historical Society, which
owns the collection, are blaming the department's Division of Parks and Forestry, which operates the house and is responsible for securing its items during a storm.

Amy Cradic, assistant commissioner of natural and historic resources with the DEP, said the on-site employee, Andrew Anderson, spent two days moving furniture and other artifacts to the second floor and the attic. "We took appropriate action based on our experience with past floods and the information available about the storm," she said. "It was an extraordinary weather event."

But Tim Adriance of the historical society said that the first-floor collection has always been moved to the second floor during severe storms, and he claimed that nearly 1,000 items suffered damage, of which only a handful are big enough to make moving them difficult or impossible. Those items, he said, should have been placed on tables. Many of the smaller items were housed inside cabinets. "There were plenty of volunteers available," he said. Members of the historical society offered to help April 15 during the storm and were told that no assistance was necessary, he

"It's just so aggravating," said state Assemblywoman Charlotte Vandervalk, R-Westwood, who visited the damaged house at New Bridge Landing last week. "Heads should roll."
For the full story see:

Ol' Myrt couldn't agree more. Haven't our friends in power in the state of New Jersey learned anything from those of us who have suffered through the hurricanes these past last several years? Certainly since the late 1700s, something could be devised to preserve such documents and antiquities. As registered voters, we must instruct our state legislators to ensure that this sort of thing does not happen in our ancestors' home states.

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

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Why your genealogy society should blog

DearMYRTLE, your friend in genealogy


If getting the word out is what you need to do, then encourage your local genealogy society to start its own blog.

1. Go to and sign up for free blog space.
2. Assume the default blog format, and make postings about society events, favorite links, etc.
3. Be sure to include words like:
-- Name of your society
-- Full dates, times of calendar events
-- City & state
-- genealogy, family history, roots, ancestry

Since Google owns Blogger, within 5 minutes of your blog posting Google picks up on the posting.
This means that when anyone uses Google to search for word or phrase you've mentioned in your blog, a link to your blog posting will come up with a high-level match.

1. Customize your blogger by choosing another design template.
2. Decide if you want to accept posting from others or not.
3. Provide a link to the blog on thesociety's website.
4. Explain how to susbcribe to the new blog using FeedBlitz, (rated a snap by DearMYRTLE readers) at the society's next meeting and on the society's website.

PS - Google Alert, mentioned in DearMYRTLE's blog earlier this month will send out an alert within 5 minutes or so of a posting. You can see that BLOGGING is a great way to spread the word about your society's genealogical activities.

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

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

Ancestry users add 1 million photos, 257 million names, link 18 million historical records

ACROSS MY DESK: Ancestry users add 1 million photos, 257 million names, link 18 million historical records

NOTE: The following is just in from All inquiries should be addressed to Sees Second Major Surge in User-Uploaded Content, More Than 1 Million Family Photos Added to Family Trees

Revolutionary Online Family Tree-Building Fuels Massive User Uploads and Sharing; During the Past Ten Months More Than 1.7 Million Family Trees Created, 257 Million Names Added and 18 Million Historical Records Linked

PROVO, Utah, April 23 /PRNewswire/ --, the world's largest online family history resource, today announced that more than 1 million family photos have been uploaded since the site's new tree-building and sharing features launched in July 2006. In fact, users are now uploading photos at a rate of 10,000 per day. Over this same period, users have also created more than 1.7 million new family trees, added an estimated 257 million names to their trees, sent 316,000 invitations to share their family tree and attached 18 million family history documents directly from's 24,000 historical records collections.

(Photo:'s tree-building tools enable family members to build multimedia family trees together whether living next-door or across continents. Families can upload photos, write stories, enter life events and names on a shared family tree -- all for free.

"The new features on are gaining incredible momentum, and our users are uploading photos at an unbelievable rate, demonstrating the power of online family history collaboration," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network, parent company of "We couldn't be more pleased that so many people are preserving and safeguarding these priceless, personal records by uploading and sharing them through While we continue to grow the world's largest online collection of family history documents by acquiring, digitizing and indexing original source documents, we're even more excited by the scope and potential of the personal content now coming from individual families all over the world. Every single one of these 1 million photographs is a precious memory now preserved for future generations and sharable with invited family members, as well as distant cousins yet to be discovered through"

These visual portraits of history are organized into specific categories on the site for easy searching including, Portrait/Family Photo, Place, Object, Historical Event, Headstone, Document/Certificate, Map, and Transportation.

The site's easy-to-use tools, combined with an increasing interest in family history, are bringing together a worldwide audience in a secure and family-friendly environment. With sites in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Australia,'s users from across the globe are working together in creating and sharing their family trees with's advanced collaborative tools.

Improved tree-building tools, designed for enhanced searching, storing and sharing, allow subscribers to discover their past with the site's extensive databases of more than 5 billion searchable names, including the entire digitized and indexed U.S. Federal Census collection from 1790 to 1930, all readily available U.S. ship passenger list records from 1820 to 1960 and other historical records collections.

To view a sample of these one million unique family photos added to go to

With 24,000 searchable databases and titles, is the No. 1 online source for family history information. Since its launch in 1997, has been the premier resource for family history, simplifying genealogical research for millions of people by providing them with many easy-to-use tools and resources to build their own unique family trees. is part of The Generations Network, Inc., a leading network of family-focused interactive properties, including,, and Family Tree Maker. In total, The Generations Network properties receive 9.6 million unique visitors worldwide and over 380 million page views a month ((C) comScore Media Metrix, February, 2007)).


Sunday, April 22, 2007

READERS FEEDBACK: Downsizing and junk of papers

READER'S FEEDBACK: Downsizing and junk of papers


As Ol' Myrt reviews email responses for ideas on the topic of what to do with your accumulated genealogy "stuff" before you pass away, the term PLETHORA comes to mind.

Pronunciation [pleth-er-uh
–noun 1. overabundance; excess: a plethora of advice and a paucity of assistance.

Plethora applies to our accumulation of stuff, as well as to the number and variety of my DearREADERS' responses. Here is a smattering (smat·ter·ing Pronunciation[smat-er-ing] –noun 1. a slight, superficial, or introductory knowledge of something: a smattering of Latin. IBID.)

If I was at the point where I had to figure out what to do with all the info I had gathered on my family history and my husband's I would first send a note to all living people related, regardless of how distant, to see if they wanted the info on at least their line. Then I would contact the city that the first immigrant went to to see if they wanted the information on that line and lastly I would will it to the local genealogy society and let them worry with it.
Fortunately, I don't have to worry about it as my daughter wants everything I have and then some.

I have "a lot" of old deeds, newspaper clippings etc. I am giving them to the Perry Historians from Perry Co. PA. That is where they were originally from. I have one son who is interested in genealogy and he will get my family records. My information that I received from online, I am organizing that in a notebook for his information. After he is done with it, I have asked him to also donate it also to the Perry Historians, as he has no children to pass it on to. I still have a lot of organization to do, which I hope to get accomplished within a short time as we do not know how long our time will be and I want to be prepared as to my genealogy information. I have an still am having a great time researching all my families. Thank you for all your information, I appreciate all the time you put into the newsletter. Thanks again. Sandy Nesbitt Reeder.

Myrt, Love your articles, keep up the wonderful work..

As far as my down sizing, I don't know if any of my kids have the interest in continuing my work of finding and keeping track of all (Yes all ) of the "LOFQUIST's" in the world. Currently about 4000. (Dead and Alive). I have already started scanning the 20 plus two inch binders and storing them on Zip Disks. If something happens to me (I'm 73) the family has instructions to give it all to the Connecticut Genealogy Society. They have a program for storing items like this. My source materials (from web sites) are already digitized.

This kind of thinking saddens me. Will anyone want to continue my tree or will it just be thrown away with the trash? I don't look at it as junk papers. Who will take care of the family cemetery? When I found it in the 1970s it was so over grown you couldn't tell it was a cemetery. Guess it will fall into decay.

From: Patricia

Since we have always lived in a very small house, and one which has a very wet basement, we have not been able to store "papers" safely. [For over] thirty-five years of genealogical research I have stored nearly no papers at all, only data which I put into our computer database program. Now that I have acknowledged the pain of no physical papers to back up the facts on my computer, I have started digitally photographing sources and inserting them into our computer database. The few papers that we have acquired, we have also scanned and added to the computer. It is not ideal, of course, because you can't really touch the originals, but the information is there viewable in its original. It works for us. We have just come into a trunkful of my family's diaries, photographs, letters, etc. Once the laborious process of scanning them in completed, I will offer the originals to family members who have more room in their homes, then donate the leftovers to the local historical society.

I feel silly responding to give advice on paper management, since it isn't something I am good at, but I do have some ideas about genealogical papers, although I haven't implemented all of them. I would like to have my genealogical files in a state that is always ready for my death. This means I make sure that my computer genealogy program has all the information that I have about the family. I add all the information to my file as soon as I get home, in full transcription form, so the file is always as up to date as possible. That also means that filing should be done promptly and neatly. Keeping organized everyday is surely easier than a big organizing project once in a while.

All original documents should be kept in a special folder, probably in a safety deposit box, that specifically says "Do Not Throw Away". This would include interview tapes and transcriptions, and anything else that isn't available somewhere else. These can be sent to a genealogy or historical society if my heirs don't want them.

The rest of the documents, technically can be thrown away by my heirs, because they are photocopies of records that I found somewhere else, and other people can find these records themselves, from the same place I found them, based on my citations. I would prefer, however, that they not be thrown away. I think the best use of these copies is to send them to somebody else who is researching the family line, to help them further their research. I think that if these were properly filed in family folders, the front of the each folder can have a list of names and address of other people who are researching the family. The files can be sent to one of these individuals when I die.

There are things that can be thrown away, and should regularly be thrown away by me:

-- Once my handwritten notes have been inputted on a program and verified for accuracy, with the proper source citation to wherever I got the information, the handwritten notes can be thrown away. There are times when I just hand write the information rather than photocopying it because the information is too sparse to bother getting up to photocopy it. City directories come to mind.

-- Old printouts of the family history can be thrown away, provided that all handwritten notes on it have been put into the program, and the program has been sufficiently backed up. I do like to printout my family file once in a while and have it copied and bound, both as a backup for the computer program, and to provide a tangible family history for my heirs. This also helps me look over the information in print, and find formatting problems, and errors in the file. This also preserves photocopies of documents that are especially interesting or relevant to the family history, such as fancy marriage certificates, or plot maps.

Great Question! I would think that if the material is original source, keep it at all costs. If it is secondary, digitize it.

Regarding "downsizing" one's genealogical research - I have about reached that stage in my life, after I complete my memoir to hand down to my children and grandchildren. Presently I am blessed with 3 great grandchildren, ages 5, 4, and 1 month. Maybe my immediate family will have enough information to satisfy their curiosity about their ancestry, however, someone in the future may be interested in learning about their heritage, and my research may be of help. I have traced several lineages back to 1600s and have been of help to several researchers in the past. I will discard any duplications of my accumulation, and then donate the research and documents or documentation to Newberry Library, since I live in the Chicago area.If not Newberry, there are several libraries with genealogical departments - LDS is an excellent resource.

From: Jo Ann & Bill
I don't know what some can do about old family tree that no one wants, but I plan to do several books and donate them to several family history libraries, especially in the regions where most of my ancestors resided. Hopefully some niece or nephew down the line will find them.


Most towns have genealogy sections in their libraries. If you donate to a library, it's a good idea to have the papers organized in some way. They'll get put on the shelf - or wherever - faster that way. Historical societies are also interested in papers that reveal something about life in the past. The obvious thing is to ask the closest genealogical society what they suggest you do with your papers. Whatever you decide to do, you need to put it in writing, in your will, or someplace that those taking care of your things after your death will find your instructions. Otherwise, they'll probably be thrown out.

From: Ann Carrington
My recommendation is to keep information as organized as possible but to cut back to the basics by keeping only primary documents and summaries. Submit the summaries to any interested family members and submit them to the FHL if at all suitable. Try to find somebody who might keep the basic documents until an interested party turns up who wants to continue with this. Perhaps, keep info in notebooks that might be easier to store but certainly don't think anybody will keep it in the form it now presents itself because nobody would consider that they have room to keep it unless they plan to use it right away!

I haven't given this a great deal of thought - not as much as I should! - but the first thing I think of is this: Is there any way that documents, papers, notes, pictures, etc., can be scanned in and saved to DVD? That way no matter what is decided as far as where the papers will go, the information could be saved in a much smaller amount of space as well as shared. Of course, there is the challenge that as technology changes, it would need to be saved and updated to new formats. I will say it would be very difficult if not impossible for me to downsize my "junk of papers!"

Hello, my first reaction to this query is, Don't Throw Anything Away!!

- Categorize the papers by location, surnames, etc.

- Donate the papers that are in the Location Stack to the locations library, archives, historical society, genealogy society

- Donate the Surname papers to the proper library, archives, historical society, genealogy society (By "proper" I mean the place where the ancestors lived their lives or had their roots) Most libraries or archives have veridical files for family names and will gladly accept these type of materials.

Those are my suggestions.
Melissa Barker
Genealogy Document Retrieval and Researcher for Tennessee


I have a number of suggestions. If and when I would have to downsize I wouldn't want to lose the ability to have with me what I have worked so hard for.

I am starting to scan every document I have - this lets me have the ability to see & send this document to whom every might want it in the future, as well as helps with organization. Burning all these scans onto DVD takes up alot less room, they also serve as backup incase of disasters. You could also make copies of these DVD to ask someone else to hold on to. If one is not able to do this on there own there are service companies that will do this for you.

One could then place the documents with:

1. A Document storage facility
There are many document store facilities across the county and they are a much less expensive alternative to a storage unit. Document storage facilities are what many offices & doctors use to store their documents. Storing here also makes a way for you to get a document when needed in the future, they are climate controlled and have fire protection as well.
2. Have microfilmed
Loan the materials to the FHL in Salt Lake City and have the items mirco-film so that others can gleam from your research. They may also accept them as a donation but before giving the items to them, I would first want to have them mirco-film the records and then consider
donating them to another location to further spread the access to the records in the future.

3. Donate the materials to:
a. Local Historical Society
b. Local Genealogical Society
c. State Historical Library or a Genealogical Library
- The New England Historical Genealogical Society is usually very willing to take a donation of family records.
- The Daughters of the American Revolution is very willing to take donations of family records, this can be done in a number of ways some directly through Washington and some through local DAR chapters.

As President of Western Wayne County Genealogical Society we work on projects such as this. I am also Regent of the John Sackett Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Michigan and we also work on projects such as this. I would be happy to answer any questions in regards to this and also to help this lady further in making sure that her work is preserved for future generations.


I don't have the answer but this is a problem I have thought about ALOT. When I first started to clean out my stuff, I discovered that alot of what I had was copies of family group sheets and pedigree charts. Of course they were mostly out dated because I had updated info in the computer but not on all the paper copies. I threw all the paper copies away!! It was refreshing. Then I realized I had alot of paper backups of documents, that I should have scanned and documented on the FGS. So I did that. Now I am scanning everything, such as orginal documents, papers that I got info from. I haven't completed my project so I hope that I am doing everything right. In my dreams I will move to a beachside condo, so I must purge. But I can't get rid of thirty years of work. However, 30 years ago it was alot different, now we have computers. I think I will put everything on disc, on the internet, and maybe a book and donate it around the country. Then it won't be lost forever.

I am very anxious to see what other readers will have.

From: Kathleen
I don't have years of collection but what I have started is to restore an old blanket chest (not cedar, the oil ruins paper) so that it is a nice piece of furniture (on rollers). It will also be easy to place in a room. The things to go in it are old papers, photos, mementos and main family records that will be on archival paper. Whoever wants the blanket chest must also take the geneological material and keep it in the chest. I am 100% sure my children will honor this and hopefully will pass it on to the grandchildren in the same way. In the small town I grew up in the old church has been turned into a museum. Some may go there. The problem is small budgets for the care and upkeep of archival material. This should be a good discussion. I look forward to hearing what others are doing. Probably some company will come up with an expensive answer!!!!!

From another list, the Association of Professional Genealogists - On Behalf Of Shirley Wilcox
Donation for NGS
I administer the Bible project at National Genealogical Society and have contacted Laura and the gentleman with the question. You are correct, NGS does not have storage area for actual bibles. What we solicit are photocopies of the title page and the family record pages. Transcripts or indexes are also helpful. Sometimes people familiar with the names in the bible can read the handwriting with ease, whereas we might struggle to interpret the names correctly. If others on this list would like to submit bible records, NGS would be happy to receive them, either through the mail, or as scans. We put them up on the web as pdf files. In addition to scans of the pages, we make an index that is posted on the first page and it is entered into the master search engine. If the bible is in a foreign language, translations are helpful. Right now we have a number of bibles in German that need translating. If there is someone on this list that could help us with a few of these, please contact me. The whole project is strictly a volunteer effort and it preserves records and makes them available.

From: Renee Zamora
Arlene Eakle will take the pile of junk. I wrote about her Genealogy Library Center, Inc. on Renee's Genealogy Blog" title "Who wants Grandpa's Papers". It's the second article that day.

NOTE: Arlene H. Eakle, Ph.D. is the president and founder of The Genealogical Institute, Inc. and has been a practising professional genealogist since 1962. See:

AS EASY AS 1-2-3
My method of determing the keeper of my "junk" after I pass, will probably be:

1. First ask ALL family members. I've found distant cousins interested more in my research that current family members. We must realize that the time to determine our bequest is now, not during the crisis of cleaning out a home after a death or move to a retirement home. We must also realize that some people may be shy and hesitant to "ask" for anything...especially "things" that may mean a lot to us. We/you must initiate the conversation.

2. Next, check with my current research buddies. Most I've corresponded with for a number of years and find them legitimate.

3. I'd check with my local genealogy society then library.

Can't wait to read the responses from other readers.

So, DearREADERS, to this Ol' Myrt could only add, be sure to make a specific bequest in your will to cover the mailing charges for placing your important genealogy papers with the preferred authorities. Our local Family History Center sat on a compiled genealogy book for several months, quite simply because there was no budget for snail-mailing the book to Salt Lake's Family History Library.

OK, one more thing. When you do donate something to any library or archive, provide a clearly written cover letter with permission to microfilm, scan, and present on the internet any information on deceased individuals. There is a specific form for the Family History Library, but a carefully worded cover letter should suffice.

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

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Living history hospital volunteers

ACROSS MY DESK: Living history hospital volunteers

Trading patients’ medical histories for life stories
A new volunteer program at the Yale-New Haven Hospital bridges patient-doctor divide. From the Yale Herald
"In a shared room at the Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH), Gordon Williams—81,
born in Dublin, Thomas A. Thacher Professor of Latin, and repeat patient—sits wrapped in a soft white blanket. He is remembering his childhood during World War II; he speaks of Chamberlain, Hitler, Franco as if he had known them personally. JoAnn Kupiec is perched on the foot of his bed, scribbling furiously. Kupiec, who wears a hot pink hospital coat, is a Living History volunteer: Every Thursday, she visits willing patients here to record their life histories. The Living History program, established at YNHH last year, allows patients to share their lives. “It is a living, breathing chronicle of a patient’s non-medical history,” reads the program brochure."
For more about this exciting program, see:

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

Friday, April 20, 2007

Discount research retreat in SLC

Discount research retreat in SLC

Ol' Myrt just got off the phone with Holly Hansen from Her April 2007 research retreat has a few openings. Even Ol' Myrt got excited when Holly extended this offer to you, my dear readers:

The first 5 callers that mention this notice in DearMYRTLE's blog receive a $100 off the $299 retreat price.

WHAT: April 2007 MyAncestorsFound genealogy research retreat

WHERE: Classes to be held at the Plaza Hotel with daily research in the adjacent Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
* Individualized, professional classes, guided tours and getting to know the international Family History Library system and catalogue, inside and out.
* Daily research time at the Family History Library (Tues. - Sat.).
* Seasoned professionals available eight hours a day to work with you in one-on-one sessions to guide you in your research.
* Assistance throughout the day to help you stay on track and make your projects do-able and exciting.
* Complimentary Capture the Memories interview book.
* Fun, new friends who love genealogy like you do!
(Travel, lodging, and meal expenses are not included)

WHEN: April 30th-May 5th, 2007

WHY: If we were expert genealogy researchers, our work would be done by now.

WHO: In addition to My Ancestors Found staffers with over 1,000 hours research experience at the Family History Library, the following guest professionals are :

-- Arlene H. Eakle is president and founder of The Genealogical Institute, Inc. Dr. Eakle is a professional genealogist with more than 30 years experience in research, as a consultant, a seminar presenter, and author. She is an expert in tracing Southern ancestors including those of Native American background.

-- Jimmy B. Parker has been conducting genealogy and family history research for over 38 years. He is a former manager of the Main Library Operations, at the LDS Family History Library, at Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mr. Parker specializes in Native American research.

-- Judith E. Wight AG was born in Los Angeles, California and graduated from Brigham Young University (history major, English minor). She is an accredited genealogist specializing in Irish, Scottish and Australian research; British Reference Consultant at the Family History Library from 1990-2001; Director of the Sandy, East Stake Family History Center from 1997-2000.

HOW: Call Holly Hansen at 1-801-829-3295 to register for the retreat. To receive your discount, be sure to tell her "DearMYRTLE sent me."

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

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

Are you indexing your share?

Are you indexing your share?


When Ol' Myrt signs in to do her share of indexing at, there is a little comment area where the folks in Salt Lake have recently made this posting:
"Dear FamilySearch Indexing Patrons:
You are terrific! You have indexed almost 29 and a half million names during the first quarter of 2007. We currently have about 33 thousand indexers and over one hundred people are joining the workforce every day. The enthusiasm for this work is phenomenal. Thank you so much for all you are doing, and keep up the great work."
Are you 1 in 100? Join the indexing project today! Find out more at:

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

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Why web pages shouldn't move

Enclosed please find excerpts from my email to a research historian at the US Army Military History Institute (MHI), who kindly responded to one of yesterday's DearMYRTLE blogs about difficulting finding the Civil War photo database on the radically revised MHI website. See:

Dear sir,

Thank-you for your prompt reply to my previous email.

Yes, after much research on your website, I was successful in determining the new location of the Civil War photo database.

Kind sir, my advice is to refrain from making such major changes of web addresses, as there are people actually using the database who have bookmarked specific items for future reference. Those old links no longer apply because of the radical revision of the MHI website.

With all due respect, I understand that web page design isn’t part of training for reference historians. But since you are someone with influence on the presentation of MHI resources, may I beg of you to consider the problem in future revisions of the MHI website?

How can I better describe the problem? A good analogy would be for your library to catalog the books under the Dewey Decimal System, but after a few years, replace every book on the shelf in strict alphabetical order by title, regardless of category. Serious researchers provide proper bibliographic citations, and web addresses are to be no exception. Where a researcher has made note of a particular photo from the Civil War photo database, the citation now does not work. It is very hard for those that follow to find the sources referenced by previous researchers.

Having the ability to retrace steps of previous researchers is an important element in determining reliability of a compiled work in any field of study.

As the web becomes the preeminent method for archiving public documents and presenting information, responsible web page designers must maintain the location of pages, folders and databases, thereby facilitating effective retrieval of previously cited resources. Such efforts do not impede sweeping changes in artistic design.

Let me close by saying I am thankful for your fine library and appreciate the helpfulness of the staff. Of particular interest were the personal write-ups found intermingled among units histories. Delving into your facility’s rich resources made it possible for me to discover where my ancestors served and what experiences they encountered. Unlike some “quick fix” genealogists of the world, I look for official unit reports in addition to the NARA’s files of original service, pension & widow’s files to document the lives of my three Union Civil War ancestors.

Thank-you for your time.

Pat (Player) Richley
Snail Mail Address:
227 Bellevue Way NE PMB 544
Bellevue, WA 98004

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

Ancestral leg takes quite a journey

From Journal RegisterSpringfield, Illinois
By Dave Bakke

" Henry Wenneborg made lemonade bloom where he was planted - or however that
saying goes. Henry was a colorful bit of Springfield history that is not known by many people outside of his family. Let's change that.

He was 16 years old in about 1893 when he happened to be late getting somewhere across Springfield. The reason he was late and getting later was because a train was blocking his way. The train had stopped, so Henry, who was walking, crawled beneath it to get to the other side.

Unfortunately for him, the train lurched into motion while he was under it. His foot was severed. But things got worse."
For the rest of the story, see:

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

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

US Military History Institute (MHI)

From: Diane
I wanted to check something at the MHI site, but it's changed. I spent an unbelievable amount of time trying to figure out how to access the Civil War photo database. I got to some civil war photos, but couldn't find anything - even items I had found previously. Perhaps you could do an article or something on how to navigate the new site. The page/link I had bookmarked is:


Oh, would that web page designers would realize they should try to maintain the same URLs. Changing web addresses when updating a website wrecks havoc for long-time online researchers. Looking at the old pages through will NOT help with a growing collection such as the US Civil War photo collection you've mentioned.

Here are some of the things Ol' Myrt has learned:

1. Part of the US Army Military History Institute's website has changed to:
US Army Heritage Collection Online

-- online catalog of library holdings
-- resource guides & finding aids
-- digital documents online - manuscripts
-- digital documents online - photos (including US Civil War)
-- digital documents online - artifacts
-- digital documents online - military publications

CAUTION, the default search option on the bottom of this website's home page is only to search a portion of online materials. If you wish to search ALL the digital documents, click the SEARCH DIGITAL MATERIAL button near the bottom.

2. Another part of the US Army Military History Institute's website has changed to:
US Army Heritage & Education Center (AHEC)

It would appear that this site discusses educational events. Of particular interest to potential attendees is the page explaining how to get to Carlisle Barracks and the AHEC.

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

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.

What surprised me today

Using one alias or another, Ol' Myrt has been around since the pre-Internet days of FIDOnet and BBS (Bulletin Board Services), yet I never cease to be amazed at how genealogists use online tools to help each other out.

WHAT SURPRISED ME TODAY is the response that a DearMYRTLE reader made to a previously published blog inquiry about "What does the code 189 mean on a West Virginia death record?"


From: Shell NJ
There is a brief explanation of the ICDA-9 codes on the West Virginia Vital Statistics webpage entitled Health Statistics Center "1998 Vital", where they provide the following explanation:
Cause of Death Classification
"The cause of death is coded from information contained in the medical certification section of the death certificate. This portion of the certificate is completed by the attending physician. In the case of unattended death, the medical examiner is responsible for investigation and certification. As a general rule, data preceding 1949 cannot be accurately compared with those of later years due to the extensive
revision of the coding rules made at that time; however, large causal categories
can be compared. See Appendix B, "Groupings of ICDA Codes," for a listing of the
selected causes."


A quick review of this website provides the answer:

"CAUSE OF DEATH - The underlying cause of death, or that condition giving rise
to the chain of events leading to death.

[codes] 179-189 -- Genitourinary Organs."

Simply amazing! If it takes a village to raise a child, how many researchers does it take to compile a family history?

We all get by with a little help from our friends.

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

(c) 2007 All Rights Reserved.