Thursday, June 28, 2007

Training ourselves up in the way we should go

The following is my response to a private genealogy mailing list posting about how FHC (Family History Center) workers need training. Many of you have written to Ol' Myrt over the years expressing gratitude for the tireless efforts of your local FHC volunteers. Others report they considered themselves lucky that the janitor unlocked the door to the FHC. Listen in podcast format.

It is my personal responsibility as FHC worker to take the initiative and learn about the FHC and how to do family history research. One simply cannot shift the bulk of that responsibility to others. While we may learn from others, it is our responsibility to seek out a variety of learning opportunities; then process that info by experimentation, trial and error, practice and implementation, until the new info becomes familiar.

The same sense of responsibility is a desirable trait for family historians. That would cure those who bop in to a FHC just before their afternoon tennis match only to say “I hear you have compiled a book on my SMITH family. I’d like to pick it up now.”

Historians have always felt genealogists are not sincere, capable researchers. Indeed there are many family historians whose work is “superficial” at best. Such short-sighted genealogists simply do not understand the scientific process of forming a theory and testing to evaluate its truthfulness. Scholars will oust a scientist who forces his data to meet his pre-conceived notions. Yet many a genealogist has blindly accepted a printed family history complete with names and dates, but not a single source citation.

In our case, the genealogical scientific process dictates careful evaluation of source documentation and diligent searches for additional sources with clues to our ancestral heritage. Because each ancestor’s locality and time period will likely have a different set of surviving record groups, the task includes a thorough review of previous research, compiled indices, but more importantly, original documents research.

Although access to such documents has been facilitated by microfilm and scanned image preservation, this does not mean the absence of those preserved images in a particular library or archive should stifle our quest for records.

I’ve actually heard a so-called genealogist say “I spent 2 afternoons at the local FHC, but they don’t have anything to help me with my Virginia ancestors.” The researcher simply did not take the time to understand two principles:

  • FHCs have “lending library” privileges in that the FHL (Family History Library) loans microfilm to local centers as patrons submit film order requests. At a typical small FHC, with 20 patrons per week, likelihood of having 2 researchers interested in precisely the same locality and time period would be small.
  • The FHL does not have it all.

In the case of Virginia, one must become familiar with records available at the Virginia State Library, and the Virginia Historical Society, to name but two essential resources.

Would that we all could take our FHC volunteer work as studiously as our counterparts at the reference desk in the local public library.

Life is a process – hopefully one never stops learning.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. Officially Launches & Reveals first-hand accounts of birth of America

Original Records Include Rarely Seen Hand Written Letters From George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Other Founding Fathers

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following info was just received from All inquiries should be addressed to

Lindon, Utah – June 28, 2007 – Today announced the official launch of the company and its Web 2.0 historical social networking site.

As part of the launch, is making a significant portion of their millions of original Revolutionary War documents available for free from today until the end of July. Included in these records are secret journals, intercepted letters from the British military and letters written by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and other founding fathers. Click here to see samples of these Revolutionary War documents.

With the ability to view these original records on the web, people are now discovering a new side of history few have seen before. For example, the 4th of July has always been considered as the day we celebrate our nation's independence. However, in a letter to his wife, John Adams wrote that July 2nd would be "the most memorable epoch in the history of America... it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival."

"Many people may know the high level details of American history, however, information about specific events and the heroic individuals involved are often overlooked " said Roger Bell, President of "Documents included in our Revolutionary War collection provide valuable insights about our nation's history that appeal to professional historians while making history fun for anyone with even a casual interest"

In addition to providing historical records, provides tools such as Story Pages and Spotlights that let users upload and share their own insights and discoveries. The future of history is on To view these records please visit the web site

About Footnote, Inc.
Founded in 1997 as iArchives, Inc., Footnote is a subscription based website that features
searchable original documents that provide users with an unaltered view of the events , places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At all are invited to come to share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

ACROSS MY DESK: 27 June 2007

Thoughtful, genealogy-related postings worth reading include:

  • Renee Zamora’s “Shrinking Pools” blog entry includes musings about whether or not Family History Centers will become obsolete.
  • Tom Kemp’s “Do you really know where you were born?” with examples from old newspapers where babies were born on a train and where the birth should be recorded.
  • Jennifer’s “REMEMBER ME blog entry” includes a YouTube video collage of family photos by cyberlucy and music performed by Josh Groban and Tanja Tzarovska titled “Remember Me.”
  • Dick Eastman’s video Interview with Beau Sharbrough, Senior Director of Content Strategy and Acquisition at
  • The Genetic Genealogist explains “Non Paternal Events”.
  • Julia Smith’s “Where are the Records?” syscinctly describes where to look for ancestral clues and the concept of creating a locality file.
  • Dick Eastman’s cross-posting of a comic strip gives computer owners something they can relate to: “Computer Frustration”.
  • Browse postings to a new genealogy mailing list at RootsWeb - WIKI-GENPAGES were listers are discussing the pros and cons of various genealogy-related Wiki sites. Thanks to Beth Gay for volunteering to administer this list.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Expanded Ancestry Sites include France and Italy

ACROSS MY DESK: The Generations Network Expands Ancestry Sites to France and Italy With Launch of and

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from PRNewswire. All inquiries should be addressed to either (French) or (Italian). Listen in podcast format.

Jun 27, 2007 08:08 ET
Growing Global Interest in Family History Spurs New French and Italian-Language Websites; Number of Ancestry Sites Climbs to Seven

PROVO, Utah, June 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Generations Network, parent company of, the world's largest online family history resource, today announced two new additions to the Ancestry network of sites in France and Italy -- and
At launch, and will offer access to Ancestry's unrivaled global collection of more than 5 billion names and 24,000 databases and titles. The new sites will also provide a networking platform for users to collaborate and connect with other site users globally, build an online family tree and upload irreplaceable content from personal archives such as photographs, stories and shoebox keepsakes.

"We're pleased to expand our global vision to connect families and drive family collaboration worldwide with the launch of and," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network, parent company of "The new sites and the addition of more international content on are a significant step forward in connecting families across continents. We're continually mining the globe for key record-sets to digitize and make easily accessible and searchable online. As more international content becomes available, users will be able to break through dead-ends and take their family histories beyond borders."

The launch of and brings the tally of the Ancestry suite of sites owned by The Generations Network to seven. Other international sites include:
  • in the United Kingdom, which features the only complete online collection of England, Wales and Scotland census records (1841-1901); and England and Wales birth, marriage, and death records(1837-2005)
  • in Canada, which recently announced a deal with the Library
    and Archives Canada (LAC) to digitize Canadian passenger lists from
    1865-1935, and hosts the complete Drouin collection of French-Canadian
    vital records (1621-1940s) and Canada census records from 1851, 1901,
    1906 and 1911
  • in Germany, which features Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-
    1934 and the Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census, 1867
  • in Australia, which just launched New South Wales Sands
    Directories, 1861-1933 and The Anzac Memorial, 1914-1918

On average, Ancestry site users create more than 80,000 family trees and upload some 65,000 photographs each week. With more than 15.7 million Americans claiming Italian heritage and some 8.3 million with French roots, the combination of user-uploaded content and historical records available on the new sites will be particularly relevant to's U.S. subscribers, the company's largest user base.

"Ancestry's expansion is a major development for French and Italian people and descendents everywhere interested in researching their roots," said Josh Hanna, Managing Director, Ancestry Europe. "France and Italy have always celebrated and explored their rich histories through art, food and culture. Now, by bringing previously hard-to-access records online, they will be able to weave in their own personal stories to better understand the role their families played in shaping this storied legacy."

The Generations Network has been working with archives in Italy and is looking forward to building similar relationships with archives in France to bring historical records from repositories in both countries online. Currently, the company is digitizing pre-1930's civil registration records from throughout Italy with the first of these records expected to be available online later this summer.

"As far as we've come over the past decade with the digitization of key U.S. historical documents such as census, military and passenger list records, only now have we started to really do more than scratch the surface in terms of digitizing international content," said Curt Witcher, Manager, Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library. "There are countless untold stories yet to be uncovered and with Europe's rich history, deep treasure troves of historical records can now see the light of day. Bringing these amazing pieces of our past online will unlock a tremendous opportunity for many researchers to make new discoveries."

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. The site is home to the only complete online U.S. Federal Census collection, 1790-1930; the largest online collection of U.S. military records dating back from the 1600s through Vietnam; and the most comprehensive online collection of readily available U.S. ship passenger list records featuring more than 100 million names from 1820-1960. 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 10.4 million unique visitors worldwide and over 450 million page views a month ((C) comScore Media Metrix, March 2007).

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour 26 June 2007

New things are happening all this time in the world of genealogy research. Today’s DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour genealogy podcast reflects some of those changes.

Listen to the podcast with your computer or download it automatically via iTunes. has the complete list of current podcasts.


  • “Five important things about MAPS for genealogy” with Holly Hansen, President,
  • “Look at microfilm online at FamilySearch TODAY” MightyMouse Segment
  • “Update for Personal Historian” with Michael Booth, software developer


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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Browse unindexed microfilm online TODAY

FamilySearch is doing its level best to get things out to genealogists as soon as possible


Last Thursday in Ol’ Myrt described the process of registering to use the FamilySearch - Record Search Pilot test site in her blog entry titled “
View microfilm before it's indexed”. I received access at 8:36pm on Saturday, and immediately began exploring the site.
I have been dying to tell you all about it, but was restricted by a short confidentiality clause in the acceptance email.

By Monday afternoon three genealogy bloggers had freely offered opinions about how the site works, so Ol’ Myrt emailed the “powers that be” to ask if the confidentiality clause had been lifted. The answer is YES -- sort of.

While the FamilySearch - Record Search Pilot site isn’t open “officially” and has been confidential this past month, I have been authorized to go forth with blogs on the topic. “While your blog may receive a much higher readership than I was hoping to get right now…” an unnamed highly-placed FamilySearchLab source gave DearMYRTLE the go-ahead to speak.

Hopefully, FamilySearchLabs can learn how much traffic the system will support.

Caution is wise – Remember when first went live? For a few days servers were maxed out, and getting into the site was a challenge. No one could anticipate the overwhelming response.

Once the word gets out about FamilySearch - Record Search Pilot to view scanned microfilm images on the web, the place will be inundated, particularly as the collection grows.
But, site administrators can control full access by not granting permission to many individual researchers at one time.

Although some of items in this collection are searchable free elsewhere, remember this is a test site for looking at scanned images of microfilm. They have to start somewhere. At this point, it does not appear that all collections are linked in the
Family History Library Catalog. So during this testing period, the only place to find these FamilySearch - Record Search Pilot images is by going to:

  • 1880 United States census
  • 1900 United States census
  • 1930 Mexico census
  • New York Passenger Arrival Lists (1892-1924)
  • World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
  • Freedman Bank Records 1865-1874
  • England, Diocese of Durham Bishops' Transcripts ca. 1700-1900
  • Ohio Deaths 1908-1953
  • Ontario Deaths, 1930-1932
  • Texas Death Index 1964-1998
  • U.S. Social Security Death Index
  • Utah Death Certificates 1904-1956

If you participate as a “tester” you’ll be given challenges to find a specific individual in a specific collection. There are FEEDBACK buttons on the top of every page. Eventually, when the kinks have been worked out, this may be the actual method we’ll use to view online many of the 2-3 million rolls of microfilm that comprise the Family History Library collection, cataloged at .

Unlike the prototype “film strip” method of navigation suggested in a talk titled “Sneak Peak” presented at the 2005 FGS Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference, the FamilySearch - Record Search Pilot works on a MENU SYSTEM to get you to a specific part of a 1,400 page collection of scanned images from microfilm. For instance in the following “images only” collection one is able to get to a smaller portion of the images as follows:

1. Login at:

2. Choose
England, Diocese of Durham Bishops’ Transcripts ca 1700-1900.

3. Choose Durham (61,658 images) from a list of counties (equivalent of a US State) that includes:

  • Cumberland
  • Durham
  • North Durham
  • Northumberland
  • Unknown
  • York

NOTE: this page explains the records are “Church of England Parish Registers and Bishops’ Transcripts ca 1700-1900.” Additional guidance is provided on this page with topics headings of how to use the record, why the record was created, record history, record description, record coverage, record content [what to expect] & record reliability.

4. Choose South Shields (5,494 images) for the parish, the ecclesiastical subdivision of the Church of England) from among an extensive list of other parishes in the county.

5. Choose 1763-1805 (991 images) the year range.

Note the parish list shows two chapels (Holy and South) beginning in 1840, and a third (St Hilda) showing up in the parish by 1866. The segments
of this collection are divided thusly:

  • 1763-1805 (991 images)
  • 1805-1816 (718 images)
  • 1816-1825 (739 images)
  • 1818-1866 (683 images)
  • 1825-1833 (704 images)
  • 1833-1840 (227 images)
  • 1840-1848 Holy (213 images)
  • 1840-1848 South (6 images)
  • 1864-1867 Holy (42 images)
  • 1866-1883 St Hilda (682 images)
  • 1883-1891 St Hilda (489 images)

NOTE: Since some of these time periods overlap, researchers may end up reading every section of this collection to find references to an ancestor. This is no more difficult than waiting for your microfilm to arrive through the local LDS Family History Center and cranking the reel through the reader. Looking at the images through FamilySearch - Record Search Pilot is a significant improvement over the microfilm version because the FHL Catalog doesn’t necessarily provide this sort of overview. It should also be noted that each image in this collection represents a page from a church book, where 5-20 individual christenings, marriages or burials may be listed.

6. To quickly navigate through a large collection of images, forget the NEXT button. Type in a page number to jump ahead, by estimating where you might find an ancestor who was christened in 1775. I typed in 50, and clicked the GO button. That took me to 1772. Typing in 63 got me to January 1774, so I used the NEXT button to navigate over to image 70, where I located the January 1775 christenings.

Some of the smaller parishes have loose papers, which were either filed or microfilmed in seemingly random order. Ol’ Myrt remembers the advice of my friend Barb who says “read every page” of the census for an ancestor’s county. I think this applies to any surviving record group, such as these parish records of christenings, marriages and burials from a specific locality in South Shields, Durham, even if it is 991 images. We DO want to know about our family’s origin don’t we?

When you click to select a specific image collection, the page shows an image like this:Sample showing % complete on Family Search Record Viewer.

In this case the 1930 Mexico Census has 0% of records indexed, but 100% of images are available for immediate review at this site.

Sample showing “mini-viewer map” on Family Search Record Viewer.

When viewing an image using the FamilySearch - Record Search Pilot viewer, one can merely use the mouse pointer (which turns into a hand icon) to drag and drop a large image around the viewer frame. Alternately, a “mini-viewer map” in the bottom right portion of the FamilySearch - Record Search Pilot screen indicates the portion of the document you are currently viewing. Dragging and dropping the mini-map’s yellow highlight window to a different position causes the larger viewing area to reflect your preference.

VIEWER LOADS IMAGES QUICKLY. Once you’ve selected a specific collection, it is a quick click to progress to the next or previous page and compares favorably with other viewers. I am accustomed to routinely accessing scanned images with this DSL connection at, HeritageQuestOnline,,, Scotland’s People, Library of Congress, etc., using both a Windows XP and a Windows Vista computer.

HELPFUL INFO IS AVAILABLE. I liked the informative descriptions of collections and the .pdf form of a sample document, and how to use it. This is from the Utah death certificate collection:

Sample showing helpful description of parts of a typical Utah death certificate on Family Search Record Viewer.

A PRINT OF THE IMAGE DOES NOT INCLUDE A SOURCE CITATION FOOTNOTE. Nearly every page on the web does this in the header/footer area. Maybe this is an option that will be activated when this testing phase is complete?

SOURCE CITATIONS TAKE EXTRA EFFORT TO MAKE. While it is easy to print and save a specific document image, it is difficult to copy/paste indexed text to notes for an ancestor. This is will cause researchers to skip a vital step in providing a proper source citation when they find an image with the FamilySearch - Record Search Pilot viewer.

Note in the screen shot below, I could not select more than 1 field’s contents, in this case the GSU (FHL) Film number: 2259764.

Note inability to select more than the content in one field for bibliographic citation on Family Search Record Viewer.

I should be able to select everything in this abstract page from the word NAME to the actual death CERTIFICATE NUMBER on the bottom, copy it to my computer’s clipboard, and paste it in notes or sources for my ancestor Alma Oades [sic] Player. All but the most diligent researchers will pass up the chance to copy/paste anything more than film number.

CAN’T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MULTIPLE ABSTRACTORS’ WORK IN THE INDEXING PROCESS. Remember that each FamilySearch - Record Search Pilot image eventually goes through the process, where volunteer person A and volunteer person B type what they see on a page. A computer compares the results & an arbitrator is called in to resolve typos and handwriting challenges. The final typed abstract of the original document is remarkably more reliable than anything I might type.

Since at least two typists and perhaps an arbitrator have abstracted the info from my ancestor’s original death record, this makes the information their work should become part of an ancestor’s notes. This will save time and prevent the inevitable typos if I were to abstract the same info on my own.

But alas, this inability to copy/paste more than one field at a time makes this a nearly impossible task. Contrast this with Alma Oades [sic] Player’s entry in the public version of in the Utah Death Index at the Utah State government website. Here I can freely copy the abstracted field labels and data in order to paste that info in my ancestor’s file in my genealogy management program.

I have a routine that includes copy/paste of source citation, including URL to notes at the same time I attach a saved copy of the document to my ancestor’s file. In this manner, when someone asks me about him, I’ll have all relevant data and images ready to share with the inquiring cousin.

The folks at FamilySearch are doing a marvelous job with the FamilySearch - Record Search Pilot viewer. If this is the final viewing mechanism, researchers will be very happy to see the images online instead of ordering microfilm through local Family History Centers. If the problem of copying and pasting abstracted data and source citation is fixed, we will be thrilled.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

USF Africana Heritage Project and to Collaborate on Groundbreaking Slave Genealogy Research

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from Toni Carrier of the USF Africana Heritage Project. All inquiries should be addressed to her at:

Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Toni Carrier
USF Africana Heritage Project

Dallan Quass
President, Foundation for On-Line Genealogy
(801) 319-1770

USF Africana Heritage Project and to Collaborate on Groundbreaking Slave Genealogy Research

Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - The USF Africana Heritage Project and announced today that they will collaborate on groundbreaking historical research sponsored by the Magnolia Plantation Foundation of Charleston, SC. In the first-ever project of its kind, Magnolia Plantation is funding genealogical research in the plantation journals of the Drayton family of Charleston. The USF Africana Heritage Project will reconstruct the lineages of enslaved communities on Drayton family plantations, and build family files which anyone may access for free on the Internet.

WeRelate, the world's largest genealogy wiki, will host the family tree files, provide technical support and share expertise to make the research results easily accessible and user-friendly. "We feel strongly that WeRelate's collaboration in this project will bring talent and expertise to the effort, and will make the work product truly special," said Toni Carrier, Founding Director of the USF Africana Heritage Project. "The folks at WeRelate have poured an enormous amount of time and technical skill into making an innovative, free website where genealogists and scholars may collaborate on research. We look forward to collaborating with them on this historic research."

A "wiki" is a new type of website that makes it easy for people to collaborate on research projects. Anyone can edit pages and build upon others' work. A history of changes is kept so that information is not lost and people can see who changed what. "Wiki's like Wikipedia and WeRelate demonstrate the effectiveness of wiki technology in helping people share information. We are excited to participate in this important and historic effort to reconstruct slave family lineages and make them freely available online," said Dallan Quass, President of the Foundation for On-Line Genealogy, the sponsor of WeRelate.

The USF Africana Heritage Project is an all-volunteer research project sponsored by the Africana Studies department at the University of South Florida. Their research mission is to rediscover records that document the names and lives of slaves, freedpersons and their descendants, and share those records on the free Internet site For more information about Magnolia Plantation's sponsorship of this historic research, please follow the link Magnolia Plantation Foundation to Sponsor Internet Archive of Plantation, Slave Records. For more information about the USF Africana Heritage Project please follow the link USF Africana Heritage Project Press Kit.

WeRelate is a free public-service wiki for genealogy sponsored by the
Foundation for On-Line Genealogy, Inc. in partnership with the Allen County Public Library. It is the world's largest genealogy wiki with pages for over 400,000 people and growing. Their goal is to be the number one community website for genealogy. At WeRelate you can connect with other researchers and cooperatively work on web pages for your ancestors. Your research can be documented completely online. You can upload GEDCOM files, upload and annotate scanned documents and photos, include family stories and biographies, and generate maps of your ancestors' life events. WeRelate is currently in beta and is funded by tax-deductible donations. For more information please visit or follow the link WeRelate video tour.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Personal Historian Update 25 June 2007

Have you looked at the Personal Historian website? There is a new update, dated TODAY at:

25 Jun 2007

* New Features
o Change the font styles of each project
o Export the topic list to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or a text file
* Improvements
o File dialogs are updated under Windows Vista
o Import text data from Microsoft Excel spreadsheets
o User must type "YES" to permanently delete a project
o Direct on-line error reporting
o When using the Search for Files feature, if a drive is not ready, it is skipped over
o Directly opening a backup file now restores the backup to its original file
* Bug Fixes
o Fixed a registry error that sometimes occurred in Windows Vista
o Live spell checking would sometimes not start automatically

My interview with Michael Booth will appear on tomorrow's DearMYRTLE's FAMILY HISTORY HOUR podcast at:

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Ancestry Launches 150 Years of Native American Family History, Online for the First Time

Discover More than 7.5 Million Names in the U.S. Indian Censuses; The Best Resource for Tracing American Indian Family History Available at a Click of Your Mouse


June 25, 2007, Provo, Utah –, the world’s leading online family history resource, today launched more than 7.5 million names in U.S. Indian Censuses, the largest online collection of Native American family history records. Taken by the Bureau of Indian affairs, the censuses document some 150 years of Native American family history. These censuses create an intimate portrait of individuals living on all registered Indian reservations between 1885 and the 1940s.

The U.S. Indian Censuses are among the most important documents for tracing Native American family history – as well as the place to for anyone with Native American ancestry to begin searching for their heritage. Representing more than 250 tribes from some 275 reservations, schools and hospitals across the United States, the censuses typically recorded names, including Indian names, ages, birthdates, tribe, reservation and most importantly the Allotment/Annuity/ID number, otherwise known as the Census number. Some earlier rolls even listed the member clans, a very important relationship identifier.

Details of children born in the 1940s combined with information about individuals born in the early 1800s enable researchers to find parents and grandparents as children in 20th century censuses and trace their family to earlier generations. Clues in the census show where ancestors lived and how families changed over the years.

“The stories contained in these censuses will help Native Americans preserve their tradition-rich personal and cultural identity,” says Megan Smolenyak, chief family historian for “Crossing tribal and reservation boundaries, these censuses tell personal stories of Native Americans living on reservations across the United States. In them we find influential Native Americans who led their people along side those whose stories are still waiting to be told.”

Among the well-known names in the Native American censuses include:
  • Celebrated Iwo Jima flag raiser Ira Hayes was counted on Arizona’s Gila River reservation in censuses from 1930 to 1936.
  • Legendary Jim Thorpe appears 15 times in the censuses – first as a three-year-old named Jimmie living in Indian Territory, finally as a 50 year old in 1937.

The census also tells countless personal stories, such as:

  • Jesse Cornplanter of New York’s Cattaraugus reservation appears in 16 censuses – first as a child with his parents, then as a father with a wife and child
  • Gabe Gobin, a logger on the Tulalip Reservation in Washington, who appears in 33 years of censuses.
  • Seminole Mary Parker appears as a young teenage in three censuses taken in the 1930s.

Because the Native American censuses were taken so often, they are among the best censuses worldwide for tracing family history. The U.S. federal census is taken only once every ten years. In addition, because Native Americans were not granted full U.S. citizenship until 1924, the U.S. federal censuses before 1930 are sporadic at best for counting Native Americans. The yearly counts and updates reflected in the Indian censuses offer Native American family historians a more complete and accurate picture of their ancestors than the federal census.

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. The site is home to the only complete online U.S. Federal Census collection, 1790-1930, as well as the world’s largest online collection of U.S. ship passenger list records featuring more than 100 million names, 1820-1960. 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 10.4 million unique visitors worldwide and over 450 million page views a month (© comScore Media Metrix, March 2007).

NPR interview with Megan Smolenyak on DNA

Gosh, Ol’ Myrt prides herself in being on top of the news. However, I completely overlooked last week’s interview with one of genealogy’s favorite speakers.

Fortunately, we can thank
Genetic Genealogist blogger Blaine Bettinger, Ph. D. for this note:
“If you missed Ira Flatow’s interview with Megan Smolenyak on NPR’s Science Friday, you can download the podcast in a number of different formats at NPR. The interview is the result of this week’s big announcement that is teaming up with Sorenson Genomics to offer DNA testing. Great job Megan!”

Now PODCASTS (audio recording), dear readers, and VIDCASTS (audio/video recording) are becoming main stream information distribution methods in the world of online genealogy.

Generally speaking, you don’t need a high-speed internet connection to participate, because streaming technology facilitates listening to the beginning of the podcast or vidcast while the “rest of the story” is downloading to your computer.

If your computer is even a few years old, it already has the software to listen to podcasts and to view vidcasts.

One prominent genealogy podcaster tells me that vidcasts are a lot more fun to do. Who knows what the future holds? Technology marches on and it is interesting to note how helpful that technology has become to genealogists.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Got New England Ancestors?

Classes at the Family History Library this Saturday

If your ancestors hail from New England AND you are going to be in Salt Lake City on Saturday, you'll be happy to note this morning’s Salt Lake Tribune suggests attending “Classes on New England research. The Family History Library at Temple Square is offering an all-day series of classes on New England research. Topics include collections, land and tax records and military records. The free event is Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Space is limited. Call 801-240-4950 or visit”

To find out more, Ol’ Myrt went to the website, clicked the LIBRARY tab, and clicked EDUCATION. Among the offerings are these events:

Upcoming Saturday Research Series
(Subject to change. Send e-mail to before making plans.)
See the monthly calendars and series posters, as available, for more details.



30 June

New England States Research Series

7 July

Family Fun with Family History Day

14 July

Midwestern States Research Series; Family History Consultant Training

21 July

Norway Research Series; France Research Series

28 July

LDS Research Series

4 August

Multi-Media Family History Series

11 August

Hands-on Personal Ancestral File Series

18 August

Dutch Research Series

25 August

Italian Research Series

8 September

Colonial U.S. Research Series

15 September

Published Family History Series

22 September

Swedish Research Series

6 October

Finding your Immigrant Ancestors Research Series

13 October

Wales Research Series

20 October

Hispanic Conference (October 19-20)

27 October

Germany Research Series

10 November

Getting Started with Research Series; Family History Consultant Training

17 November

American Indian Research Series; Military Family History Day

1 December

Holiday Traditions Series

8 December

Hands-on Personal Ancestral File Series

(updated: 4 Jun 2007)

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

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Swedish podcast spotlights summer traditions

I am happy to see that you have published a new episode of your podcast 19 June 2007. I have listened to most of it and thought it interesting. The part about the software that could merge genealogical data was interesting. I personally never merge my files directly with anyone others research but write everything in by hand to be able to check things out if they are correct.

The part about African American genealogy was good, too. It reminds me about how lucky I am with my own Swedish ancestors and all the well kept Swedish records.

I have published a new episode of my own podcast. It is not very long. In this episode I do not speak directly about genealogy but about Swedish traditions and holidays during summer time. You are welcome to listen to it at:

Bye for now fromAnna-Karin Schander


GLAD you are feeling better after your appendicitis. THANK-YOU for a delightful podcast, posted 20 June 2007.

Ol' Myrt thinks your podcast about traditions was VERY GENEALOGY oriented.

Click to find out more about the book YOUR SWEDISH ROOTS.Hearing about holidays and traditions serves to help us understand the day-to-day life of our ancestors. They become more than names and dates on our family tree when we can place them into historical context, and learn about customs and traditions such as those you've described about people who live in Sweden.

While I don't have any known Swedes at this point, it is interesting that in the 1950s here in Seattle, Washington we danced around the maypole. I didn't realize it was a Swedish tradition. On May Day (1 May) we did this during school as elementary (under age 12) students. Our teachers affixed colorful streamers around our tether poles, and taught us to dance around, weaving in and out of others who were dancing in the opposite direction. It was considered an honor to be chosen to do this.

Our teachers also helped us make little "May Day Baskets” out of pastel-colored construction paper. These were cone-shaped, with a long strip of paper curved over with both ends stapled to the cone as a handle of sorts. We were to then pick flowers from our mothers' gardens (with permission of course) and leave these little flowery gifts on the door knob of an elderly or widowed person to cheer them up. The trick was to ring the bell and run away quickly so as not to be discovered. This was my first lesson that gifts given without thought of recognition are perhaps the most sincere.

Although my children didn’t have either of these May Day practices in school (1978-1985), I did help them make the little May Day baskets after school on 1 May. We spent the week before deciding on the special paper, and what flowers they were going to include. Sometimes they remembered to match a favorite color flower to one of the ladies we would visit. In this manner we could so our love to the elderly people in our neighborhood.

I wonder what spring and summertime traditions our readers and listeners learned from their parents and grandparents, and have shared with their children and grandchildren.

(We're talking 5 generations right there!)

-- Midsummer Eve in Sweden (with picture of an elaborate maypole)

-- Your Swedish Roots: A Step by Step Handbook by Per Clemenssson

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Non-genealogy websites worth visiting

Among the 2007 winners of’s Web2 awards are the following websites that may prove useful to family historians:
  • 43 THINGS This is the ultimate for those who like to make lists. Mark your progress and get ideas from others.
  • BE GREEN I have a sister-in-law that is into recycling, but being a responsible inhabitant of the planet earth involves more than taking care of our garbage waste. It’s also about consumption. This website offers suggestions.
  • BIBLIO This is where Myrt located an out-of-print book.
  • CRAIG’S LIST The “want ads” of the internet for those wishing to buy, sell, find just about anything. You can find a car, make a date, find an apartment to rent, etc.
  • FACEBOOK Myrt has blogged about this one last month after hearing about it through Paul Allen - The Lesser’s Blog. See Myrt’s comments: To FACEBOOK or not to FACEBOOK
  • FLICKR My nephew’s new girlfriend uses this photo filing and printing service. She shared digital photos via na email link to her Flickr site within ten minutes of arriving home from last Sunday's Father's Day luncheon.
  • GOOGLE MAPS Online maps are nothing new, but Google was the first to come out with the satellite images of the place in question. Now they are adding street views, starting with NYC.
  • iGOOGLE During the beta-testing, Myrt signed up for Gmail, and then was offered Google’s customizable “home page” but I only did about five things on the first page, concerning movies, calendars and weather in the cities where my grandchildren live. Thanks to the GenealogyGemsPodcast #15 Lisa explained about using widgets and creating additional homepages. I notice if I sign off iGoogle on my genealogy tab that is the one that it “on top” when I log in the next time. My current tabs are: main, family, genealogy and history.
  • JUDY’S BOOK Great place to find the best deals both online and in brick & mortar stores. My smart shopping daughter will love this site.
  • LIBRARYTHING This is where Myrt has begun to catalog her books, at the suggestion of The Genealogy Guys Podcast. But this is also where you can search for the title, and then automatically fill in the ISBN numbers, etc. for a more complete book listing. Compare and share lists with other researchers. See Myrt’s partial list of books owned as a sample page: . These are just the books I have here with me at Dad's house while I am careviging.

    Eventually, when I move to Salt Lake and can open those 75 boxes of books, I’ll work though getting them listed on this page. This also makes it easy for me to check at a bookstore to be sure I don’t already have a specific title, since this info does not live on my hard drive, but is part of the internet. It might also be a good resource for insurance purposes.
  • LULU - Print on demand publisher. This is where Myrt has published DearMYRTLE’s Joy of Genealogy.
  • MEEBO - Log in to AIM, Yahoo, MSN messenger or Google Talk, even if the computer you are using doesn’t have the software.
  • YAHOO LOCAL AOL once had something like this, but this is the more popular listing of local restaurants, shops, etc.
  • YOU TUBE No longer just the domain of free Pamela Anderson videos, this is a great place to put short subject video/audio clips.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.'s Booksmart Software

Here's a screen shot


If you are curious about the software mentioned in my previous blog entry for book publishing here is a screen shot showing the basic elements the free Booksmart software.

Click to find out more about

Basically you work through the pages in the film-strip area across the bottom of the screen. Click on a page in the film-strip to make that page show up in the largest portion of the Booksmart screen. This is where one edits a page. Note that I have chosen to black for the background color on each page.

Pictures I've pre-selected appear on the lower left half of the screen in the "My Imported Pictures" though I may certainly elect to gather more photos to this list.

Changing the layout of a page is made by choosing options above the picture list in the "Apply Page Layout" area.

Ol' Myrt is VERY excited about this project, particularly since I have seen the results in that book at my doctor's office.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

DOROT Journal of the Jewish Genealogical Society

This past week, Ol’ Myrt received the two wonderful copies of DOROT, The Journal of the Jewish Genealogical Society. This is a marvelous printed resource for family historians with Jewish ancestry. You can find out more at the society’s website:

I was particularly interested in the Spring 2007 “President’s Letter” where Linda Cantor thankfully began to “expand my family tree beyond my immediate and distant relatives, and started to interview more distant family members, I began to hear the stories of those who perished in the Holocaust.” Linda notes her great-grandparents came to America with all their children, so there was no need to create a Page of Testimony for them. Thankfully her extended research gives voice to those siblings, nieces and nephews of her great-grandparents who were not as fortunate.

No one should be forgotten.

Ol' Myrt here is sending DOROT editor Joy Rich (((hugs))) for a job well done. Serving as editor is hard enough without wearing the second and third hats of design and production as she does. I think that pictures of members in a society publication increase interest, don’t you? I also appreciate when local societies publish references to other genealogical and historical societies in the area, as per the JGS Friends page in DOROT. For people new to the area or new to the research, a reference page like this serves to show them the ropes.

The Society also publishes some online databases including:

Click to find out more about Genealogical Resources in New York by Estelle M Guzik.As long as we're focusing on the resources of the Jewish Genealogical Society, Ol' Myrt may as well remind you of the well-regarded book by Estelle M. Guzik titled Genealogical Resources in New York: The most comprehensive guide to genealogical and biographical resources in New York City and Albany published in 1998. Your ancestors didn't have to be Jewish for you to benefit from the study of Estelle's book.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. for book publishing

Using free software to create 4-color books

Ol' Myrt was browsing YouTube yesterday and stumbled across this video about the book creating & publishing company called If you’d like to come up with high-quality color print publication for a 50th anniversary or the next family reunion, check out the video presented by WebPro News: Using Technology for Traditional Media
produced by WebPro News
No matter how you slice it, digital content will never replace print. In a world where we buy music & movies online and even virtual land goes for big bucks, a page in the hand is still worth a thousand ebooks. In a pleasant break from the norm, some online businesses are embracing this philosophy. Some print photos for family albums from digital sources, some screenprint garage bands' t-shirts from uploaded designs... and some print
entire books.

Blurb is among this breed of new publisher. Yet, unlike traditional publishers, Blurb doesn't sign contracts with authors or otherwise chase talent... they open their doors to everyone. By simply downloading a desktop application (for Windows or Mac), prospective authors and artists can follow simple templates and publish a real book, dust jacket and all.

CEO and founder, Eileen Gittins implies that technology is ripe for such advancements. "If I were starting this business five years ago, it would have been daunting... starting this business now, in 2006... we're able to leverage a lot of technologies that have come before. We're like the grandchild of desktop publishing."'s book-creating process is the method our family physician used to complete a short book of about 20 pages on her family's recent humanitarian trip to South Africa. The Windows version of the software provided by is a 20MB download. It looks a lot like MSPublisher, in that there are layouts with space-holders for pictures and text. The author can copy/paste or type info as desired. I was able to click around to find photos I took during the reunion, in addition to ancestral photos I keep with my genealogy files. Then I merely dragged and dropped the pictures to the place-holders on the page, and the photo was automatically resized to fit the space. It wasn't a problem when I decided to switch layouts in mid-stream. I'd rate the software as "easy for beginners".

My goal now is to make a "coffee table" book about my Dad's April 2007 reunion with his siblings Beverly and Jack, and to share copies with all three of them.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved

Thursday, June 21, 2007

View microfilm before it's indexed

Scanned images freely offered to genealogists

Ol' Myrt has been wondering how will release the scanned images of its nearly 3 million rolls of microfilm. Would they wait until the records are fully processed through before making things available on the web? I surely hope not, because the ability to browse a microfilm page by page using a home computer would be convenient.

Until yesterday, my only option was to order the microfilm through my local LDS Family History Center. In fact, I just ordered everything I could find in the Family History Library Catalog for the locality of Wilmar, Minnesota. Now I’ll wait for the films to arrive from Salt Lake.

FamilySearchLabs made an interesting announcement via their blog:
Feed: FamilySearch Labs Blog
Posted on: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 1:09 PM
Author: Bill Mangum
Subject: Record Search

The Record Search Pilot is the newest tool for you to use at FamilySearch Labs.Three things you are able to do with this new tool:

1) Search for records that have been indexed and view the transcribed information
-- Social Security Death Index
-- US 1880 Census
-- Texas State Death
-- Ontario Death
-- ...

2) Search for records that have been indexed and view the original image and the transcribed information
-- US 1900 Census (AL, AZ, ID, UT)
-- Ohio State Death
-- Utah State Death
-- Ellis Island
-- ….

3) Find and view images that have not yet been indexed
-- 1930 Mexico Census
-- World War II Draft Cards
-- Durham Bishop Transcripts
-- US 1900 Census (states not yet indexed)

You will need to register before using Record Search and it can take a day or more to be activated once you have registered. Please remember to use Feedback in the product to tell us what works and what does not.

WHAT IS FamilySearchLabs?
Check 'em out at These are the creative folks that bring us Read their blog to find out what they are working on at the moment.
I have registered, but have not received my confirmation. Believe me, I will keep my DearREADERS informed.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.