Saturday, September 29, 2007

Preservation knowledge base PRONOM

Database of technical information on over 600 file formats and 250 software tools.

The biggest problem facing archivists is HOW to effectively preserve our old documents in the digital age.

Maybe the PRONOM database of solutions to archiving will help provide answers. It is described as "The online registry of technical information. PRONOM is a resource for anyone requiring impartial and definitive information about the file formats, software products and other technical components required to support long-term access to electronic records and other digital objects of cultural, historical or business value."

Ol' Myrt here found out about the knowledge base by reading that The National Archives (UK) has received the digital preservation award at the Conservation Awards 2007.

Knowledge base? Folks who tinker with computers know this is a term to describe a searchable, online collection of how-to info provided by a software or hardware company for its products. My first knowledge base experience was probably with an early version of Microsoft Windows. Free software "repair" patches weren't given in automatic updates in those days. Instead, we had to go to software giant Microsoft's knowledge base for Windows x.xx to find a solution to the problem and download the fix.

The knowledge base at The National Archives (UK) is different, in that it is providing info on a variety of sofotware programs, where the commonality is the goal of preservation of documents.


"The National Archives is celebrating its victory at the Conservation Awards 2007, winning the award for digital preservation. The award, presented on 27 September, recognises leadership and practical advancement in the new and challenging field of digital preservation. The prize was given to The National Archives for its work on active preservation through the development of two tools: the PRONOM Technical Registry and Digital Record Object Identification (DROID) file format identification.

Almost all the records created in government and an increasing number of those arriving at The National Archives, are now electronic. As technologies change and inevitably become obsolete, the information in these documents risks becoming inaccessible, providing one of the most fundamental challenges of digital preservation. A major challenge for The National Archives has been to develop the capability to preserve digital records in accessible form, across time and evolving technology.

The National Archives' PRONOM Technical Registry answers this challenge. PRONOM is an online knowledge base providing a simple interface to allow users to query a database of technical information on over 600 file formats and 250
software tools. In conjunction with this tool, The National Archives has also developed a standalone format identification tool called DROID, which identifies and reports the specific file format versions of digital files. Freely available to download under an Open Source licence and written in platform-independent Java, DROID supports batch processing of large numbers of files."

DearMYRTLE's readers will note that knowledge base PRONOM is located at:

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Family Tree Maker blog

Phenomenal! The Family Tree Maker genealogy software program now has a blog that has debuted this week at Ancestry. They’ve even provided a customer support telephone number. Good idea. This is a real first for this program. I hope they keep it up.

“Welcome to the new Family Tree Maker blog! As the Family Tree Maker Brand
Manager, I’m excited to now have a platform to communicate updates, improvements and information about our strategic direction to the community as quickly as possible. Of course I welcome comments and discussion. I would also like to make sure everyone knows about our Family Tree Maker
feedback form. We receive a regular report from this feedback form and although we can’t respond to every inquiry, we will respond periodically to the most frequently asked questions and comments via this Family Tree Maker blog.

Our Member Services agents are also available to receive customer support questions. They can be reached at 1-877-FTM-2008 (1-877-386-2008).”

Read the Welcome to the new Family Tree Maker blog! entry of 28 Sept 2007 posted by Benjamin Nettesheim, to make note of a few enhancements they are working on for mid-October delivery via online program update.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Friday, September 28, 2007

My father has passed away

My father, Glen Shirl Player, M. D. passed away quietly in his sleep at home this morning following an extended illness. He was surounded at his bedside by loving his family. All is well. All is well.

My blog entries will be sporadic, as attention to family matters will take precedence at this time.

Thank-you, DearREADERS for your continued support.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Online family history fair 29 Sept 2007

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following announcement has been distributed by our friends at All inquiries should be addressed to: offers free genealogy classes

Theme: My Immigrant Ancestors

29 September 2007
8:00 am MDT to 4:00 pm MDT.

This fair is for the general public and will discuss family history research for foreign ancestors. If you would like to attend this fair, please become a member through this website. Membership is FREE. Once you sign up as a member, you will receive instructions how to download the necessary software (which is also free). We ask that you join by Wednesday, September 26, to allow time for you to receive software download instructions and the necessary Content ID and Access Codes.

Click Here to download the FAIR SYLLABUS.

8:00 AM - Welcome Gena Philibert Ortega, CA,USA
8:10 AM - Getting Organized Amy Anderson, CO,USA
8:45 AM - Swedish Podcast Anna Karin, Sweden
9:00 AM - English Records before 1837 Peter Berrie, England
9:55 AM - Break 10:00 AM - An Intro. to Online Scottish Research Peter Berrie, England
10:55 AM - Break 11:00 AM - Swedish Research Janet Hovorka, UT, USA
12:00 PM - Lunch and Discussion

1:00 PM - Welcome Gena Philibert Ortega, CA, USA
1:05 PM - Hamburg Passenger Lists Sandra Raymond Jarvis, UT,USA
2:00 PM - Break 2:05 PM - Researching German Records "when you don't speak German" Jean Wilcox Hibben,MA,CG CA,USA
3:00 PM - Roots Magic
3:15 PM - Genealogy Jam Session Gena Philibert Ortega, CA,USA
4:00 PM - End of Fair

NOTE: If you plan to attend the Family History Fair on September 29, starting at 8am MDT, you must first download content or you will not be able to log in. (We recommend you download content the day before the fair, especially if you have dial-up.)

PLEASE NOTE: The content ID code has been changed to fhlo.fair29

To download content:
· Connect to the internet
· Open the ReGL viewer (if you have not yet installed the viewer, go to and follow the instructions)
· Click on the “UPDATE ReGL” button
· Click on the “UPDATE CONTENT” button
· Type in the field: fhlo.fair29 then click next
· Click on “Install”

To log-on to the fair:
· Connect to the internet
· Open the ReGL viewer
· Enter your name, type of internet connection (cable, dialup, etc.) and your location (state or country) i.e.: Lynne.cable.UT
· Enter the session code: fhlo.fair

Remember: there is a content ID code and a LOG-ON session code; different for each code.

If you have difficulties, please send an email to or call 801-643-0414. Enjoy the fair!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Essential Virginia database online a WVR

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just announced by All inquires should be addressed to:

The Wonderbase of the Week at World Vital Records, Inc. contains more than one-half million records from Virginia (552, 119 records to be exact).

Each of the 15 databases containing records from Virginia will be free to access at until October 4, 2007.Here is a list of the new databases (with record counts to the right):
  • A History of Shenandoah, Virginia 79,000+
  • Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and Their Descendants: A History of Frederick County, Virginia (Illustrated) From its Formation in 1738 to 1908 72,461
  • The Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia, 1768 - 1795 38,706
  • Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, 1775 - 1783 71,605
  • Bulletin of the Virginia State Library, 1916 29,375
  • History of Augusta County, Virginia 36,180
  • A History of Colonial Virginia, the First Permanent Colony in America 11,502
  • The Planters of Colonial Virginia 18,293
  • An Old Virginia Court: Being a Transcript of the Records of the First Court of Franklin County, Virginia, 1786 - 1789 19, 867
  • The Old Parish Churches of Virginia 2,376
  • Old King William Homes and Families: An Account of Some of the Homesteads and Families of King William County, Virginia, From its Earliest Settlement 16, 096
  • List of the Revolutionary Soldiers of Virginia: Special Report of the Department of Archives and History for 1911, Part 1 35,385
  • List of the Revolutionary Soldiers of Virginia: Special Report of the Department of Archives and History for 1911, Part 2 28,116
  • Virginia Valley Records: Genealogical and Historical Materials of Rockingham County, Virginia and Related Regions 43,331
  • A History of Rockbridge County, Virginia 49,826

UK Inbound Passengers 1878-1960

80 Years of UK Immigration Records to launch online

The records of 18 million UK immigrants to ber made available online for the first time - today announced that The National Archives has awarded it a license to digitise, index and host online the UK Inbound Passenger Lists, 1878 to 1960.

Launching on in mid-2008, it is the first time that this important collection, known also as the Board of Trade Passenger Lists, Inwards 1878 to 1960 or BT26, will be available online.

The UK Inbound Passenger Lists contains the names of 18 million immigrants and tourists who arrived in the United Kingdom over the course of almost a century from destinations outside Europe and the Mediterranean, providing a unique insight into immigration patterns at a time of great change and decline in the life of the British Empire.

The one million pages that comprise the UK Inbound Passenger Lists are organised by port of arrival and may include information such as name, age, occupation and intended address in the UK. Also included may be the purpose of the journey, the name of the ship, its owner and port of origin.

A number of famous voyages are contained in the UK Inbound Passenger Lists, including that of the S.S. Empire Windrush, which arrivedin June 1948 carrying the first large group of West Indian immigrants to the UK. Its arrival became an important historical landmark heralding the true beginning of the UK’s multi-cultural society as from 1948 and 1960 hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the Caribbean arrived in the UK.

The UK Inbound Passenger Lists will complement Ancestry’s already comprehensive international collection of passenger lists, which includes the names of 100 million UK and European immigrants who travelled to America between 1820 and 1960, and also a variety of immigration and emigration records for Canada, Australia and Germany. Managing Director Simon Harper comments: “As the subject of immigration has long been of interest, the UK Inbound Passenger Lists will provide both family and social history researchers with an opportunity to explore important records which reflect an exciting period of change.

“ is delighted to have the opportunity to continue its partnership with The National Archives to extend our ever-growing historical record collection and provide online access to yet another fantastic TNA collection.”

The National Archives’ head of business development Dan Jones comments: “Migration records can provide a fascinating insight into not just family history, but also the development of the Nation during a period of intense social change. Working with to make this collection searchable by name, ship and place of origin will unlock this potential and represents another significant step in our mission to provide access to our most popular records online.

“We will look for further opportunities to work with and other commercial partners in the future to enable more people to gain access to the wealth of information that exists with The National Archives.”

For source information please contact the Press Office on 0208 846 3638.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Too many genealogy bloggers - NOT

Looking at genea-blogging lately you'd think the world is over-run with folks who like to talk about how to do genealogy.

When mentioning some new genealogical concept, one high-profile blogger said something to the effect that 'everyone and their brother has commented on this...' so she wouldn't. I know how she feels. There are a lot of wonderful bloggers out there and it is sometimes daunting to wade through all the neat postings. I cannot even view the list of incoming RSS feeds TITLES without scrolling down about half again the screen height. Some bloggers write more than one blog entry a day. But don't despair.

Blogging is just the new tool. Before that it was mailing lists and message boards. Before that it was BBS and Fido-net. Before that it was society newsletters, a missing ancestor ad in Everton's Genealogical Helper Magazine and US snail mail. Before that it was the Pony Express. Before that it was smoke signals inviting the neighbors to hear the elders speak of the ancient ones at the next fireside pow-wow. Before that it papyrus scrolls and hieroglyphics.

All are tools for genealogists to get the word out about their ancestors, their research struggles and breakthroughs.

Getting excited about family history isn't a new concept.

One thing I've noticed is that the current crop of genealogy bloggers is kind enough to mention other bloggers by name if that is where they got the idea for a new blog entry of their own.

I personally feel the more the merrier. If Ol' Myrt here cannot turn on that genealogical "light bulb" for her dear readers, perhaps another genea-blogger can inspire you to keep climbing that family tree in spite of the challenges. No one person can "know it all" when it comes to the diversity of our ancestral heritage. We all get by with a little help from our friends.

Genealogy friends provide ideas for additional research to augment the encouragement our association provides. Besides -- if you listen to my genealogy break-through story, you can be sure I'll have to listen to yours.

First I have to find Dolly Yockey's parents.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

World Vital Records, Inc.’s CEO Awarded Prestigious Utah Genealogical Association Fellow Award

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just posted at World Vital Records. All inquiries should be addressed to

World Vital Records, Inc.’s CEO Awarded Prestigious Utah Genealogical Association Fellow Award

PROVO, UT, September 24, 2007 — World Vital Records, Inc.’s CEO, Paul Allen, recently received the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) Fellow award at the 2007 UGA Annual Genealogical Conference held in Salt Lake City.

“UGA is pleased to present its highest award to Paul Allen. We recognize Allen’s long-time interest in trying to make genealogical information available to the public,” said Neal Southwick, UGA Award Committee Chair. “We applaud Allen’s leadership in the field of making genealogical resources more available on the Internet which affects genealogical enthusiasts worldwide.”

The UGA Fellow award is given annually to one or two living individuals in recognition of their contributions and on-going commitment to the field of genealogy that are major in scope. This may be evidenced by any combination of publications, teaching and speaking, or leadership. This may be evidenced by any combination of publications, teaching and speaking, or leadership.
Allen has made substantial contributions to the field of genealogy. He co-founded in 1997 and was its first CEO. He also served in several major roles before leaving the company in 2002.

Allen is currently the CEO of World Vital Records, Inc., with a goal to provide access to billions of high quality records from all around the world to people who are doing genealogy and family history research. World Vital Records, Inc. also recently launched a free, social network for genealogists and families.

“I feel very humbled by the UGA award. This honor was made possible by the wonderfully talented team at World Vital Records, many of whom were with me in the early years at Ancestry. We really want to make a difference in the genealogy and family history space,” said Paul Allen, CEO, World Vital Records, Inc.

UGA Fellows have the privilege of using the post-nominals F.U.G.A., following their name. Paul will be numbered with a prestigious group of individuals that have FUGA status, such as Barbara Dodson Walker, President Emerita of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Kory L. Meyerink, AG,, and Kip Sperry, CG, AG, Associate Professor of family history at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

“I am very pleased that Paul’s major contributions to genealogy have been recognized with this award. Having known him for a dozen years, I’ve appreciated the drive and passion he brings to his family history endeavors. It is particularly good to know that he won’t be stopping; Paul will continue to make genealogy easier and faster to do for years to come,” said Kory Meyerink, BS, MLS, AG, FUGA,

Software and New FamilySearch

New FamilySearch is rolling out gradually first to LDS Temple districts, then eventually to the genealogy world at large. The concept is to have a single, free, online genealogy database to avoid duplication of temple work (for Mormons).

Genealogists who are not members of the LDS faith will eventually have access to the New FamilySearch, and will likely see it as a one-stop place for:
  • dovetailing family trees with other researchers
  • finding links to scanned documents proving relationships
  • finding links to other resources that might have relevent documents
There have been many heated discussions about which genealogy programs are best suited to interface with the New FamilySearch.

Please read Renee Zamora’s blog about the various software programs that are compatible with New FamilySearch. She attended several sessions at the Northern Utah Genealogy & Family History Jamboree on 15 Sept 2007 in Ogden, as she reports:

“I first attended Gordon Clarke’s presentation on Third-Party Products and New
FamilySearch. Clarke is the FamilySearch Developer Services Manager. He is
coordinating the efforts to have developers’ existing and new software products
work in conjunction with New FamilySearch Application Program Interface (API)
and web services.

We received official word on what genealogy software applications are working with FamilySearch in getting their products to interface with New FamilySearch. It’s been a year and ½ in the works but now we know:

• Ancestral Quest
• Generation Maps
• PAF Companion (Progeny)
• Legacy
• RootsMagic
• Ohana Software (Family Insight)

…will work with NFS. Now you might of notices several things:

A. PAF [Personal Ancestral File] is not on the list.

Yes, they confirmed that PAF is a dead animal. They understand that some will still use it, so they will still support it. BUT, if you want to have you genealogy database interact and sync with NFS then you need to move over to a commercial product to do so.”

For more of the blog entry, including info about FTM and TMG, see:

Renee has some important additional points for you all to consider, often quoting Gordon Clarke directly.

Please don't waste time worrying any more about PAF. It is off the charts now.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

SLC research retreat Nov 26-Dec 1 2007

Glenna Hard wins Salt Lake Retreat Trip with genealogy research specialists

One of the wonderful things that happened at last weekend's Northern Utah Genealogy & Family Heritage Jamboree in Ogden, Utah was attendee Glenna Hard winning a research trip to Salt Lake City. I inquired of the folks at (MAF) about the timing of the event and the specialists providing on-on-one research assistance. Here's what Ol' Myrt here discovered:

When: November 26th-December 1st, 2007

Where: Classes to be held at the Plaza Hotel with daily research in the adjacent Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"Our professionals know and love the FHL, they have had more than 1000 hours of research time in this facility and they really do know how to access and utilize the collection effectively, says MyAncestorsFound Vice President Kim Savage. "Don’t miss a unique opportunity to explore the world’s largest Family History Library in the company of other researchers (soon-to-be friends) and caring professionals who want to help you connect with your ancestors."

Now Ol' Myrt has been in the Family History Library when Kim and others were working with retreat members. They were so involved, there was only time for a quick smile and a few hellos out of these fine research advisors.

Retreat Highlights:
  • Meet the group at our "Icebreaker Social" Monday evening (when the FHL is closed)
  • Participate in classes designed to increase your ability to understand and find the records holding information on your ancestors
  • Daily research time at the Family History Library (Tues-Sat)
  • Individual research consultations with seasoned professionals available eight hours a day to work with you in one-on-one sessions to guide you in your research throughout the day and all week long
  • Additional help available on the computer and at the microfilm readers will help you stay on track and make your projects do-able and exciting
  • Let MAF help you scan documents to your flash drive
  • Syllabus containing all class handouts for future reference
  • Complimentary Capture the Memories interview book
  • Tour of historic Temple Square - Utah's most visited attraction
  • Enjoy listening to the 'Tabernacle Choir' practice
  • Dine alone or enjoy dinner with the group each evening (optional)
  • Mini Gen Store for your shopping pleasure
  • Door Prizes and exciting research rewards
  • Fun, new friends who love genealogy like you do!

Professional researchers for this event include:

  • Arlene H. Eakle, Ph.D. 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. She is also skilled in tracing ancestors from the British Isles, Switzerland, and parts of Germany. She claims a 96% success rate. She has addressed more than 500 workshops and seminars in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. She is the author of more than 90 books, newsletters, scholarly articles, and family histories. Recently she formed a non-profit Genealogy Library Center, Inc. to accept and preserve genealogy manuscript collections that might otherwise be destroyed. Collections donated qualify for a tax deduction.

    Classes taught by Arlene:
    Why Church Records Are Important for Genealogical Research
    • Special Church Records Collections at the Family History Library
    • Church Records in the United States and Canada–the Religious Belief Dictates the Records Kept and Preserved
    • Church Records in the British Isles
    • European Church Records

  • Jimmy B. Parker, AG has been conducting genealogy and family history research for over 38 years and 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. He has studied records at various National Archives, identifying and examining the various collections kept for the Native American population by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. His work includes all those NARA branches in Atlanta, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, San Bruno, and Los Angeles. In addition to usual archives, Mr. Parker has actually conducted research on-site at several reservations, including those of the Rosebud Sioux, Nez Perce, Cherokee, Northern Ute, and Navajo.

    Classes taught by Jimmy:
    Approaches to the Family History Library Catalog
    • There Is A Method to Our Madness!
    • What have I Found and How Does It Relate to What I Thought I Knew?
    • Where Did I Put That?

  • 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.

    Mrs. Wright has lectured at numerous historical and genealogical conferences throughout the U.S. and in Canada and England. When not working or writing, enjoys spending time with her family, remodeling their home and a mountain cabin retreat, traveling, reading, and listening to music. She is founder, past president and forever board member of Ulster Project-Utah, an ecumenical peacemaking organization that brings Catholic and Protestant teens from Northern Ireland to various established centers in the U.S.

    Classes taught by Judy:
    • British Isles Church Records
    • British Isles Census Returns
    • British Isles Civil Registration of Birth, Marriage and Death
    • British Isles Probate Records
Five, count 'em, 5 full days of research assistance for only $299.00

Kimberly A. Savage, BS
Vice President - My Ancestors Found
PO Box 187
Morgan, UT 84050

Visit for further information

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Military oral history & bios space free at

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just posted on's official blog 24/7 Family History Circle. All inquiries should be addressed to

Online Family History Web Site Enables Families to Record Oral Histories and Create Personal Biographies of Military Ancestors for Free

PROVO, UTAH – September 21, 2007 – As the highly anticipated Ken Burns documentary “The War” premieres,, the world’s largest online resource for family history, encourages Americans to honor the legacies of their family members or loved ones who served in WWII by preserving their unique stories online. For the 81 percent of Americans who say they have had a family member or loved one serve in the military*, provides a wide range of services to archive and explore their family’s military history, such as recording oral histories with its new audio storytelling service.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, America loses approximately 1,000 WWII veterans every day. Their vanishing legacies have sparked a growing consciousness to capture their stories, even as Ken Burns and PBS showcase the “everyday WWII American heroes” in the upcoming 14-hour long documentary “The War.” is the perfect venue for honoring these everyday heroes and preserving their extraordinary stories.
On, individuals can create family trees with biographical profiles dedicated to remembering the personal experiences of their ancestors, including those who served in the military. As part of these profiles, users can upload photos, create a timeline of life events, write stories and add scanned images such as letters written from the battlefront, service awards and other precious documents. Now, users can initiate audio recording directly from their family tree, recording conversations over the telephone or through a computer microphone. The new audio tool provides a free, easy method to create and preserve family oral histories. With a webcam, an individual can also record and archive video.

“World War II impacted more lives than any previous conflict. It’s time to honor the generation of Americans who took up this cause,” said Tim Sullivan, president and CEO of The Generations Network, parent company of “We urge people to talk to their families, gather information about their WWII loved ones and archive their experiences before it’s too late.”
For those interested in delving deeper into their military roots, hosts the largest collection of U.S. military records available and searchable online, featuring more than 90 million names that span the 1600s through Vietnam. This week, added two new collections pertaining specifically to WWII, including:
  • WWII Military Personnel (MIA/Lost at Sea) – More than 90,000 records of WWII service men who were missing in action or lost at sea from 1941 to 1946.
  • WWII “Stars and Stripes” Newspaper – More than 145,000 digitized pages from this military newspaper published during WWII in the European theater. This week, added 50,000 images to this collection.

Other WWII databases found on include:

  • U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records – Records for more than 8 million individuals who enlisted in the army between 1938 and 1946.
  • U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards – “Old man’s draft” records include more than 6 million records filled out by men between the ages of 42 and 64 in 1942.
  • United Newsreel Motion Pictures (1942–1945) – Only complete online collection of rare WWII counter-propaganda newsreels.
  • Young American Patriots Military Yearbooks – A series of commemorative yearbooks featuring photos and short bios of approximately 60,000 soldiers who served in WWII.

* Based on an August 2007 MarketTools, Zsample survey.

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).

Tuscaloosa County Courthouse Records

Progress is slow but sure, and the local volunteers are on task

Courthouse apparently makes a 180 degree change in preservation policy

From: Warren
This article was submitted to the Tuscaloosa News on Monday evening. Possibly genealogists outside their reading audience might be interested in this.

"Tuscaloosa is blessed with a prized set of records for historians and genealogists. The records on the seventh floor of the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse date back to the time when Alabama first became a state. That they still exist today speaks well for the dedication and commitment of our elected officials.

Everyone agrees the bound volumes stored on the seventh floor need better care. They must be organized, cleaned, and catalogued. The seventh floor is a poor environment for these rare books. In the long term these volumes must be housed in a better environment.

However bad these present conditions might be, there seems to be a misconception in the community that these records are about to be destroyed. I have been assured by the Clerk of the Circuit Court that these records will not be destroyed. Routinely, certain public documents are discarded, but only if legally scheduled for destruction. Each agency has a retention schedule governing the public records they produce.

However, the bound volumes on the seventh floor are excluded from this process.

Volunteers from the Tuscaloosa Genealogical Society, both morning and night groups, have been transcribing, indexing and publishing records in the County Courthouse for more than twenty years. The website for the Night Group (NGTGS) has a list of these publications.

The Tuscaloosa County Loose Records Project has consumed the efforts of the night group during the past three years. This project included all divorce records housed at the courthouse up to the year 1950 and 130 estate records. It was a cooperative endeavor by the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH), the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU), Tuscaloosa County governmental officials and local volunteers. Mark Scogin, a local attorney and member of the NGTGS, provided legal advice throughout the project. Professor Richard Carroll assisted with the database and report design. Jan Hutchison served as project coordinator. The success of the project resulted from her dedication and perseverance. The 45 volunteers who participated in the project donated over 2,350 hours. Tuscaloosa volunteers created an index that will be of great value to anyone looking for family members in Tuscaloosa County. The index to these records has been submitted to the Alabama Genealogical Society's LRP web index project team. This Loose Records Project index is scheduled to go online some time this fall and the Tuscaloosa County's index may appear at this time.

A copy of all the films will be delivered to the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse
sometime in the near future. The films already appear in the Family History
Catalog at .

With the Loose Records Project completed, the NGTGS has turned its attention to the Nineteenth Century bound volumes on the seventh floor. [emphasis added] A standing committee, made up of a dedicated, committed, and enthusiastic group of volunteers is in place. Its members possess the skills to make this project successful. Jim Crowder chairs this committee. It includes Jan Hutchison and Charlotte Tucker, two seasoned genealogists, who were so instrumental in the Loose Records Project. It has two librarians, Joyce Lamont and Janet McElroy, who together have extensive knowledge of rare books and library information systems. Ann Fulmer, an expert genealogist, also serves and will act as liaison with the Clerk of the Circuit Court. Work space for the project has been identified and final negotiations for it are being wrapped up. The standards and procedures for the project are just about completed. Development of the training process for volunteers also is underway. A call for volunteers has gone out with a very positive response.

A permanent archive still must be found. [emphasis added] Your ideas are solicited. It is our hope to have a new home for the volumes before we finish cleaning, indexing and cataloguing them.

We are on our way to solving this issue for which a solution is long overdue. This will not happen overnight. This project will take countless hours. During this time, we ask for your patience and support. "

Warren Spruill, PhD
The Night Group of the Tuscaloosa Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 02802
Tuscaloosa, AL 35402-0802

This is WONDERFUL. Thanks for a thoughtful and well-written synopsis of your assessment of the situation. And thank-you for your continued preservation efforts. I only wish that others were doing this in some of the distant counties where my ancestors once lived.

Ol' Myrt here does have one problem with your comment that "there seems to be a misconception in the community that these records are about to be destroyed. I have been assured by the Clerk of the Circuit Court that these records will not be destroyed. " Indeed it is interesting that the Clerk of the Circuit Court has changed her stance, which was first noted in DearMYRTLE's blog on 24th July 2007 as follows:
"According to a newspaper report posted online yesterday, Circuit Clerk Magaria Bobo explains Tuscaloosa County [Alabama] court documents will be scanned and destroyed, citing the delicate nature of old files."

There is an obvious difference between what was printed as an official quote in your local newspaper the Tuscaloosa News on 23rd of July 2007 and what has been reported to be verbal assurances to you by the same Tuscaloosa County Court officials less than 2 months later.

Ol' Myrt here realizes, Warren, that you are walking a political-correctness tightrope. But let us not confuse the original written stance on preservation by the Tuscaloosa courthouse with the unwritten current view. Verbal agreements seldom hold up in court.

It is thrilling to hear that a new policy is in the offing. But please make note of the 180 degree change in position of your local courthouse clerk. Indeed, congratulate that office publicly for waking up to the importance of preserving old documents, even after they have been properly archived via microfilm and digitization.

If those records are destroyed there is no turning back in the case of a blurred image on the microfilm.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Podcasts hosted by DearMYRTLE

From: Shirley
I did not find any of your podcasts at iTunes. I searched on DearMYRTLE, nothing came up. What am I doing wrong?


THANK-YOU for expressing an interest in the DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour genealogy podcasts. I don't think you are doing anything incorrectly, this is just a new thing for you. Ol' Myrt here will give you a few alternatives for listening via computer anytime 24/7 -- of course at no cost to you. Believe me, once you get the hang of listening to podcasts, you'll be amazed at how much is out there to listen to and learn from.

LISTEN WITH YOUR COMPUTER (just turn on those speakers!) It isn't necessary to use an iPod or any other portable .mp3 player to listen to DearMYRTLE podcasts.

The first hits on a search for "DearMYRTLE podcasts" (without quote marks) include:

There is no need to search, since the top & bottom of nearly 3,000 pages at, provide a link that reads: Listen to Podcast. If clicked, the hyperlink takes one directly to:

First, go to and download the free software. Then open up the software and

1. Go online.
2. Click on "Store" on the left side of the screen.
3. Type DearMYRTLE in the search box which is currently in the upper right portion of the screen.
4. Note that the podcast is free.
5. Click the "subscribe" button just below DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour.
6. Note the link to DearMYRTLE's Media is for my old-style podcasts.
7. Confirm your intention to subscribe when the iTunes software gives you the message that reads something like this:

"Are you sure you want to subscribe to DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour? You are about to subscribe to this podcast which will download the most recent episode and all future episodes."

ITunes will also give you a list of previously published DearMYRTLE podcasts. If the topics look tempting, then click the "get" button next to each desired podcast episode on the DearMYRTLE list. Then just give iTunes a chance to download the audio files.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. adds 1871 census, outbound passenger lists

City of London Burials Index, 1871 census and outbound passenger lists are all expanded, the UK family history website, has added a number of new data records to its existing online collection, bringing the total number on the site to well over 500 million records.

Firstly, burial records from 75 more parishes have been added to the City of London Burials Index, which now contains 350,000 records of burials within the Square Mile of London, many pre-dating civil registration in 1837. The earliest record is dated 1742, while the majority cover the period 1788 to 1855.

Two more counties have also been added to the 1871 census on findmypast - Yorkshire and Suffolk. There are now 13 complete counties on the website's 1871 census - Cornwall, Devonshire, Dorsetshire, Glamorganshire, London, Middlesex, Norfolk, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Yorkshire. Like all the censuses on, the new counties can be searched by name of person or by address, and also by a number of different fields, such as occupation or age.

In addition, a new decade - 1930 to 1939 - has been added to the outbound passenger lists at These records now extend from 1890 to 1939 and contain details of passengers travelling on outbound voyages from all British ports to long-distance destinations. As well as potentially helping customers knock down their own family history research brick walls, the new decade also contains many records of broader historical interest. For example, within the new decade is a record of one Professor Albert Einstein travelling on 7 October 1933 from Southampton to New York.

Paul Yates, Head of Product & Services at, commented: "We're really pleased to be adding three new sets of data to our site this month. Now our customers have even more opportunities to find their ancestors at By using the cross-database search facility on the home page, they can instantly search all these exciting new records, as well as the original collection, and getting a list of search results for your ancestor is still free at"

About (formerly was the first company to make the complete birth, marriage and death indexes for England & Wales available online in April 2003.

Following the transcription, scanning and indexing of over two million images, the company launched the first website to allow the public easy and fast access to the indexes, which until then had only been available on microfiche film in specialist archives and libraries. The launch was instrumental in creating the widespread and growing interest in genealogy seen in the UK today.

In April 2007 findmypast's holding company Title Research Group received the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2007 in recognition of their achievement in digitising and making available the UK birth, marriage and death indexes.

Findmypast has subsequently digitised many more family history records and now offers access to over 500 million records dating as far back as 1664. This allows family historians and novice genealogists to search for their ancestors among comprehensive collections of military records, census, migration, occupation directories, and current electoral roll data, as well as the original comprehensive birth, marriage and death records.

As well as providing access to historical records, findmypast is also developing a range of online tools to help people discover and share their family history more easily, beginning with the launch of Family Tree Explorer in July 2007.

Over 1.7 million people in the UK have researched their family trees and has over 800,000 active registered users, revealing the mass appeal of genealogy and's position as the leading family history website based in the UK.

Debra Chatfield
Marketing Manager -
24 Britton Street, London, EC1M 5UA, United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7549 0990 Fax: 020 7549 0949

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Patient Genealogists #6

From here to eternity: Internet research for patient genealogists


Patient Genealogists Do study how-to advice from experts.
Since you can search previous online columns and blog entries aytime, Ol' Myrt suggests visiting:

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Patient Genealogists #5

From here to eternity: Internet research for patient genealogists

Patient Genealogists Do make safe cousin connections to avoid the riffraff.

  • Set up a free Yahoo Email or Gmail account, just for your genealogy correspondence
  • Consider a PO Box to receive snail mail safely.

Patient genealogists understand it is wise to go to the effort of obtaining a PO box, and never give out phone numbers or true street address of private residences. This might mean it will take a while for the receipt of a package of photocopies from a newly-discovered distant cousin, but the peace of mind in the safety department more than compensates for the time spent.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Patient Genealogists #4

From here to eternity: Internet research for patient genealogists


Patient Genealogists Do visit trusted non-genealogy websites.

Although these sites may index other sites of questionable origin, these mega-sites themselves are considered useful to online research:

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Patient Genealogists #3

From here to eternity: Internet research for patient genealogists

Patient Genealogists Do visit trusted genealogy websites.

If you are unsure about a website, write to Ol' Myrt at and she will look into it for you. Another resource might be to ask members of your local genealogy society.

These are just a few of the sites patient genealogists will eventually learn to use on a regular basis.

Patient genealogists realize there is a learning curve to doing anything, including family history research. Following the advice of more experienced online researchers will save the heartache of getting pulled in on a bad deal at an unscrupulous website.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Patient Genealogists #2

From here to eternity: Internet research for patient genealogists

Patient Genealogists Do keep anti-virus & spyware software up to date.

This is going to take some time and effort to see that the updates are downloaded and installed. For those with hi-speed connections, this won't be much of a problem, because the update can be accomplished in the background. But for those with dial-up connections, this is going to take a lot of patience.

Having up-to-date protection for your computer is so important that most ISP (Internet Service Providers) also provide free anti-virus software with your membership. There are many reliable software programs out there. Currently Myrt uses:

We do not know when in a day or week, how many times our anti-virus software will offer updates. It depends on how agressive the computer viruses have become, and how soon the techies working for your anti-virus software program developer find a fix.

For these reasons, dial-up computer owners must be prepared to sit through the search for an update every time you go on the internet. If there IS an update, they'll have to be patient and do something else while your computer downloads and installs the latest protection.

This will perhaps be the main reason why dial-up computer genealogists will have more meticulous filing habits, because they'll need to do SOMETHING to while away the time when the antivirus software is updating.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour 4 Sept 2007

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Some of the hyperlinks have been corrected 20 Sept 2007.

DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour 4 Sept 2007 genealogy podcast is available for listening via computer or transferred to your .mp3 player if you choose to download the file. An alternative would be to download the file automatically via iTunes.

For a complete list of current DearMYRTLE podcasts visit: .

Schelly Talalay Dardashti
of Tracing the Tribe, joins Myrt to discuss Jewish genealogy, including pilot projects are being undertaken to reconstruct genealogically entire villages decimated in the Holocaust. Schelly, a Native New Yorker who has also lived in such places as Teheran, Iran (for 8 years, pre-Revolution) and now lives in Tel Aviv.

A journalist, Schelly has focused on genealogy since 1999, and wrote the "It's All Relative" Jewish genealogy column for the Jerusalem Post 1999-2005. She has written for the JTA, The Forward, Reform Judaism, Outlook, Avotaynu and other genealogy newsletters, journals and US newspapers. She also speaks internationally for Jewish genealogy societies and general and Jewish genealogy conferences.

Tracing the Tribe , under the JTA umbrella, went live in time for the (July 2006, NY) 26th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy and she blogged from there for the first time. Blogging has been an interesting learning curve for her as far as technology goes as she is NOT a techie, but is slowly learning about widgets and such. As the only focused Jewish genealogy blog, Tracing the Tribe provides information on specialized new resources, technology, publications, conferences and personalities and readers come from around the world. Schelly is a member of the American Jewish Press Association and the Association of Professional Genealogists.

MightyMouse Tour
Discover why Myrt thinks Google Books is the next big research tool for online family historians, without infringing on copyright restrictions.


Titles of DearMYRTLE’s blogs since the previous podcast, which were not discussed in this podcast:
§ National Archives Oct 2007 events schedule
§ Feedback about radio interview
§ NARA seeks feedback for digitizing plan 2007-2016
§ Dumelle's suggestions: Illinois prisoner records
§ Northern Utah Jamboree 15 Sept 2007
§ Confucius' Family Tree Being Compiled
§ Famillion announces Gedcom Files Importing
§ ABC KGO 810am Radio San Francisco to Seattle - Dea...
§ Olden days of computers
§ The Value of State and Local Histories
§ Alabama preservation efforts remain unclear
§ Jamboree, naturalizations in newspapers & RootsTV
§ READERS’ FEEDBACK: Photo ID, Census & FTM 2008
§ RootsMagic teams with WVR
§ LISTENERS’ FEEDBACK: Photo ID software & more

Please note DearMYRTLE will resume her blog postings & genealogy podcasts in two weeks following some much needed R&R, and a trip to Ogden, Utah to participate as a presenter in the Northern Utah Genealogy and Family Heritage Jamboree co-sponsored by the Ogden Regional Family History Center and

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

LDS Resources Online

If you discover early LDS Church members on your family tree, perhaps these databases will help you find out more about those ancestors.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

National Archives Oct 2007 events schedule

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following info was release today through the National Archives Public Affairs staff. All inquiries should be addressed to:

September 12, 2007


Washington, DC. . .

In October, in celebration of National Genealogy Month, Filipino-American Heritage Month, and National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the National Archives will feature a series of programs highlighting related records from National Archives holdings.

All programs are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted and will be held in the National Archives Building and at Archives II at College Park, Maryland. Both facilities are fully accessible. To request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) for a public program, please email or call (202) 357-5000 at least two weeks prior to the event to ensure proper arrangements are secured.

Please note: For programs at the National Archives Building, the public must use the building's Pennsylvania Avenue entrance, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW, Washington, DC. The National Archives at College Park, MD is located at 8601 Adelphi Road. For directions to both locations,

Tuesday, October 2, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, National Archives Building Research Center Governing the Philippines: Records of the Department of the Interior, 1898-1971 National Archives Branch Chief Kenneth Heger will provide an overview of the records of the two Federal agencies that administered the Philippines -- the Bureau of Insular Affairs and the Office of Territories -- focusing on their value to local historians. (This lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in Lecture Room B, on Thursday, October 4, at 11 a.m.)

Tuesday, October 9, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, R National Archives Building Research Center What's New in NARA's Archival Research Catalog (ARC)? Archives Specialists Rebecca Warlow and Jill James will review general records of genealogical interest described in ARC and will present new ARC descriptions of and web pages related to the Philippine Archives Collection. (This lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in Lecture Room B, on Thursday, October 11, at 11

Tuesday, October 16, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, National Archives Building Research Center Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act The General Counsel's Access Staff is responsible for processing FOIA and Privacy Act requests for National Archives operational records (records the agency creates or receives in carrying out its mission). FOIA and Privacy Act Officer Ramona Branch Oliver will discuss her office's activities and give information and advice on access issues. (This lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in Lecture Room B, on Thursday, October 18, at 11 a.m.)

Wednesday, October 17, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, National Archives Building Research Center From the Records Book Group The book group will discuss The Secret in Building 26: the Untold Story of America's Ultra War against the U-boat Enigma Codes, by Jim DeBrosse and Colin Burke. Before the discussion, the film Dayton Codebreakers will be shown. Please check the Archives Shop (202-357-5271) for book availability and a 15% discount for book group participants. NOTE: The book group will meet on the second Wednesday of November (November 14) to discuss Death of a Generation: How the Assassinations of Diem and JFK Prolonged the Vietnam War, by Howard Jones.

Tuesday, October 23, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, National Archives Building Research Center War Relocation Authority Camp Newspapers Archives Genealogy Specialist Rebecca Sharp will examine War Relocation Authority camp newspapers that shed light on the experiences of Japanese internees during World War II. (This lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in Lecture Room B, on Thursday, October 25, at 11 a.m.)

Tuesday, October 30, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, National Archives Building Research Center Records Relating to the B & O Railroad in the National Archives: A Photographic Journey Archivist David Pfeiffer will discuss the records of the B & O Railroad, consisting of photographs of railroad stations found in the International Commerce Commission's valuation records. (This lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in Lecture Room B, on Thursday, November 1, at 11 a.m.)

To verify the date and times of the programs, the public should call
(202) 357-5333, or view the Calendar of Events on the web at:

To contact the National Archives, please call 1-866-272-6272 or 1-86-NARA-NARA; (TDD) (301) 837-0482.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Patient genealogists #1

From here to eternity: Internet research for patient genealogists

Years ago when Ol' Myrt here first developed this presentation, patience was called into play because of the lengthy time it took for a web page to load. Online genealogists could knit sweaters and queen-sized afghans for most of our nation’s elderly while waiting to view some of those early web pages, particularly those with many graphics. Now, an increasing number of family historians have cable service packages that include high-speed internet connections. To quote the big, bad wolf of Red Riding Hood fame “All the better to see things with, my dear.”

In 2007, the notion of patience should infer that online genealogists must not expect a well documented 20-generation pedigree chart on that remote family line to be available in a mouse-click or two. Why? Because there are wolves in sheep’s clothing out there on the net.

Patient Genealogists Don’t jump to hasty conclusions
To deftly walk the fine line between family lore and concrete evidence about ancestors, we must consider the source. For this Myrt refers her blog readers and podcast listeners to the recent works of Elizabeth Shown Mills, available online through her publisher:
  • Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. ISBN: 9780806317816
  • QuickSheet: Citing Online Historical Resources Evidence! Style. ISBN: 9780806317762
  • Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian. ISBN: 9780806315430

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mississippi State and Territorial Census Collection

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just posted at Ancestry's official news blog 24/7 Family History Circle. All inquiries should be directed to

"This week Ancestry posted the Mississippi State and Territorial Census Collection to its growing collection of databases. This database contains indexes and images of state and territorial censuses for Mississippi for various years between 1792 and 1866. For a complete list of the counties and years included in this database click
. Information available in this database includes:

  • Name
  • Place of enumeration
  • Census date
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Birthplace

Additional information about an individual may be found by viewing the corresponding image.Click here for more information and to search this database.

Similar collections at Ancestry:
Colorado State Census, 1885
Florida State Census, 1885
Iowa State Census Collection, 1836-1925
Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1915
Minnesota Territorial and State Censuses, 1849-1905
Washington State and Territorial Censuses, 1857-1892
Wisconsin State Censuses, 1895 and 1905

Click here to browse more census records at Ancestry, or search the Ancestry Card Catalog. "