Friday, October 26, 2007

Myrt interviewed by Genealogy Gems

One of the great things about going to genealogy conferences is the chance to meet folks “in person” instead of relying on email, blogs & podcasts for communication. It was recently Ol' Myrt’s pleasure to meet Genealogy Gems Podcast hostess Lisa Louise Cooke. Being “big” talkers by nature, it was a delight to be interviewed by Lisa on various topics including the future of genealogy. If you’d like to tune, here is the link to the direct download of Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode_27B.mp3, where Lisa discusses:
  • Attending out-of-town conferences
  • MPRC (Military Public Records Center) feedback from a listener
  • World Vital Records
  • The “Find’ option on your web browser
  • Info about donating CDs of Lisa’s podcast to local genealogy societies
  • Info about sharing excerpts from Lisa’s free monthly newsletter with society newsletters.
  • Feedback on Lisa’s delightful “Socks to America: An Immigration Story” video (a parody of Ken Burns’ work). NOTE from Myrt: You must share this with everyone. It is a kick!
  • The DearMYRTLE interview starts at 18:25 minutes into the podcast where we discuss Jams, weddings, internet streaming, podcasts, Facebook and other social networking websites, keeping documents online, scanned images of documents online for improved research, necessity of high speed internet access & where Myrt wants to be in the genealogy scheme of things in the future. We also discuss how to involve other family

Ol' Myrt is quite sure you’ll want to make it easier on yourself by using iTunes to regularly receive new podcast entries. You don’t need an iPod to listen, just a computer (with the speakers turned on). iTunes does make it easier to receive the podcasts on a regular basis.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Georgia death certificates 1919-1927 now viewable online

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following announcement was posted by our friends at For original text, see:

Some 275,000 certificates from 1919 to 1927 linked with index and images

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—FamilySearch and the Georgia Archives announced today [15 Oct 2007] that Georgia’s death index from 1919 to 1927 can be accessed for free online. The online index is linked to digital images of the original death certificates. This free database will open doors to additional information for family historians and genealogists with Georgia ties. The index and images can be searched and viewed at (Virtual Vault link) or

The names of Georgia’s deceased from 1919 to 1927 are now very much alive, searchable, and viewable online—and for free. The online index to some 275,000 Georgia deaths is the result of a cooperative effort between FamilySearch Record Services, the Georgia Archives, and the Georgia State Office of Vital Records and Statistics.

FamilySearch digitized the records, and volunteers from both FamilySearch and the Archives used FamilySearch indexing technology to create a searchable online index from the digital images of the original historic documents. “These death records are obviously a gold mine for genealogists and historians. Certificates include age, county of death, parents names, occupation, gender, race and cause of death; these documents open all kinds of possibilities to researchers,” said Georgia Archives director, David Carmicheal.

The deceased person’s name, birth and death dates, sex, spouse and parents’ names and location of death were extracted from each certificate for the searchable database. The linked image of the original death certificate can reveal additional interesting facts and clues for the family historian─like the names and birth places of the deceased person’s parents, place and date of the decedent’s birth, marital status, occupation, permanent residence, and place and date of burial and cause of death.

Before making the certificates viewable online, Carmicheal said patrons had to order copies through the mail for a fee or visit the state archive’s office in person. The new online database will make it quicker and easier for patrons to get the information they are seeking.

“It is always exciting for family historians when they can freely search a vital record index online like the Georgia death records. The link to the original death certificate is an added bonus—it saves you time, money, and provides rich genealogy data,” said Paul Nauta, manager of public affairs for FamilySearch. The users just type in an ancestor’s name that died in Georgia between 1919 and 1927. They will see a brief summary of information from the ancestor’s death certificate with a link to also view the original image. Additional state indexes are currently in production.

The Genealogical Society of Utah, doing business as FamilySearch, is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources accessed through, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark licensed to the Genealogical Society of Utah and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

10 DNA Testing Myths Busted by Bettinger

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following blog entry was originally posted by Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D. and is herein used by his expressed written permission. Myrt suggests subscribing to Dr. Bettinger’s blog The Genetic Genealogist, if you’d like to follow news and information about DNA & genealogy. He obtained a B.S. in Biology from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York in 1998; then earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from SUNY Upstate Medical University in August 2006 (See a list of his publications here). He is now a second-year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. Dr. Bettinger is also the project manager for the Bettinger Surname Project. His blog is located at

10 DNA Testing Myths Busted
Posted by Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D.
(c) 25 October 2007

1. Genetic genealogy is only for hardcore genealogists. Wrong! If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of your DNA, or about your direct paternal or maternal ancestral line, then genetic genealogy might be an interesting way to learn more. Although DNA testing of a single line, such as through an mtDNA test, will only examine one ancestor out of 1024 potential ancestors at 10 generations ago, this is a 100% improvement over 0 ancestors out of 1024. If you add your father’s Y-DNA, this is a 200% improvement. Now add your mother’s mtDNA, and so on. However, with this in mind, please note the next myth:

2. I’m going to send in my DNA sample and get back my entire family tree. Sorry. DNA alone cannot tell a person who their great-grandmother was, or what Italian village their great-great grandfather came from. Genetic genealogy can be an informative and exciting addition to traditional research, and can sometimes be used to answer specific genealogical mysteries.

3. I would like to try genetic genealogy, but I’m terrified of needles. Good news! Genetic genealogy firms don’t use blood samples to collect cells for DNA testing. Instead, these companies send swabs or other means to gently obtain cells from the cheek and saliva.

4. I would like to test my ancestor’s DNA, but they died years ago. You don’t always need your ancestor’s DNA to get useful information from a genetic genealogy test. If you are male, you contain the Y-chromosome (Y-DNA) that was given to you by your father, who received it from his father, and so on. Both males and females have mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which was passed on to them by their mother, who received it from her mother, and so on. Everyone of us contains DNA (Y-DNA and/or mtDNA) from our ancestors that can be studied by genetic genealogy.

5. I want to test my mother’s father’s Y-DNA, but since he didn’t pass on his Y-chromosome to my mother, I’m out of luck. Wrong! There is a very good chance that there is another source of that same Y-DNA. For instance, does your mother have a brother (your uncle) who inherited the Y-DNA from his father? Or does your mother’s father have a brother (your great-uncle) who would be willing to submit DNA for the test? Sometimes there might not be an obvious source of “lost” Y-DNA, or no one in the family is willing to take a DNA test. The secret to solving this problem is to do what every good genealogist does – use traditional genealogical research (paper records, census information, etc) to “trace the DNA”. Follow the line back while tracing descendants in order to find someone who is interested in learning more about their Y-DNA. This applies to finding a source of mtDNA as well.

6. Only men can submit DNA for genetic genealogy tests, since women do not have the Y-chromosome. Wrong! Most genetic genealogy testing companies also offer mtDNA testing. Both men and women have mtDNA in their cells and can submit that DNA for testing. In addition, women can test their father’s, brother’s, or some other male relative’s Y-DNA to learn more about their paternal ancestral line, even though they did not inherit the Y-chromosome.

7. My genetic genealogy test will also reveal my propensity for diseases associated with the Y-chromosome and mtDNA. Wrong, thank goodness. Most of the information obtained by genetic genealogy tests has no known medical relevancy, and these firms are not actively looking for medical information. It is important to note, however, that some medical information (such as infertility detected by DYS464 testing or other diseases detectable by a full mtDNA sequence) might inadvertently be revealed by a genetic genealogy test.

8. I don’t like the thought of a company having my DNA on file or my losing control over my DNA sample. This is, of course, an understandable concern. However, most testing firms give a client two options: the DNA is either immediately destroyed once the tests are run, or it is securely stored for future testing. If the DNA is stored, the firm will typically destroy the DNA upon request. If the long-term storage of DNA is a concern, be sure to research the company’s policy before sending in a sample.

9. If my test reveals Native American ancestry, I plan to join a particular Native American affiliation group. Although genetic genealogy can potentially reveal Native American ancestry (for instance, my mtDNA belongs to the Native American haplogroup A2), it is incredibly unlikely that this information will be sufficient to positively identify the specific source of the lineage (such as a tribe) or allow membership in a particular Native American affiliation.

10. My DNA is so boring that genetic genealogy would be a waste of time and money. Very wrong! A person’s DNA is a very special possession – although everyone has DNA, everyone’s DNA is different (okay, except identical twins – if your identical twin has been tested, you should think twice about buying the same test!). As humans settled the world, Y-DNA and mtDNA spread and mixed randomly. As a result, it is impossible to guess with 100% assurance that a person’s Y-DNA or mtDNA belongs to a particular haplogroup (a related family of DNA sequences) without DNA testing.

BONUS MYTH: My genetic genealogy test says that my mtDNA belongs to Haplogroup A2. Juanita the Ice Maiden, a frozen mummy discovered in the Andes Mountains in Peru also has Haplogroup A2 mtDNA. Therefore, she must be my ancestor!

Unfortunately, although genetic genealogy can reveal that a person is RELATED to an ancient DNA source, it cannot prove that a person is a DESCENDANT of an ancient DNA source. For instance, perhaps you are descended from Juanita’s sister, or her 5th cousin. Thus, although Juanita might be your great-great-great-great…great-grandmother, she might instead be your great-great-great-great…great-aunt. And since Juanita died when she was just 12 to 14, it is unlikely she has any descendants.

If you understand the risks associated with genetic genealogy (such as the detection of non-paternal events and other risks) and are ready and willing to embrace the results to learn more about your genetic ancestry, then genetic genealogy might be for you. I recommend that you read archived posts here at The Genetic Genealogist, and do some online research through one of the many companies that offer genetic genealogy testing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sorenson Molecular Genealogy & GeneTree social networking site

ZDNET is just now reporting the beta version of a new social networking site that plans to use DNA and not just video clips to bring people together. Visit, where you’ll find the invitation to “Join Now and discover your world family through DNA, connect with others to share and preserve family memories.”

“The social-networking site melds the offerings of Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, a nonprofit organization that operates one of the world's largest DNA and genealogy information databases, with Sorenson Media, creator of Sorenson Squeeze and Squish.” From GeneTree sprouts genealogy branches by Dawn Kawamoto,, published on ZDNet News,Oct 24, 2007 4:00:00 AM.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A variety of questions - Part 2

Locating Alternate Sources
HOW to find WHICH records should be searched in an ancestor’s DISTANT LOCALITY

The original DearMYRTLE blog entry titled A variety of questions - Part 1 includes comments from an overwhelmed researcher who states:

"I need to figure out how to find ancestry in places like Pennsylvania [...]. I also have Qs about how to find records in different lands whether for Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, and perhaps other countries as well once I clear up all the conundrums I'm still experiencing in tracing all the branches of my family in America. Last but not least, I know that some of the original records of my family were destroyed due to fires, like the Great Earthquake & Fire of San Francisco, California in 1905, or the US Federal Census of 1890, or home fires where important correspondence and other documentation were stored from the 1880s onward. How do I recreate these wheels from just a scrap of a letter [circa] 1900 to find the records that were gathered and lost in the fire?"

To this Ol' Myrt here replies:
What seems like a lost cause isn’t – you just haven’t uncovered a solution YET.

Researchers must acknowledge several common misconceptions:

  • You can find anything you want on the web. (It isn’t all there yet.)
  • The Family History Library has filmed everything. (It hasn’t.)
  • The Library of Congress owns a copy of every book that was ever printed in the US. (It doesn’t.)

One great exception to this “whole” approach is a project of benefit to researchers with ancestors in Scotland. The government of Scotland made a decision to provide indexes and scanned images of the following records, mostly on a pay-per view basis:

Scotland census (1841-1901), church (1553-1854 births, baptisms, banns and marriages), vital records (birth 1855-1906, marriages 1855-1931, deaths 1855-1956), wills and testaments (1513-1901 free)


The rules are different there. Researchers are most likely familiar with the court system and vital records offices in their own localities, but rules vary from place to place. One cannot assume that because the state of Washington keeps older records in regional records centers that the same will be true when looking for earlier generations in the state of Montana or the Dakotas.

Each state in the US has different record groups, based on requirements imposed by the state legislature, the court system, and the division of jurisdiction. For instance, New England states have counties, but detailed birth, marriage & death records are typically kept on the town level. Virginia has several cities including Alexandria that are not part of a county. Instead of counties, Louisiana has parishes.

Diversity among record collections is further complicated by the passage of time, the requirements of the governing body and definitions of words at the time the record was created. There were the original 13 colonies before they became states. So-called western states were territories before they became states. Territorial records proved useful when researching my Caucasian British & Danish immigrant ancestors in Utah, but many territorial records in Oklahoma concern Native Americans.

Laws change over time. Immigration law has changed through the years, permitting wives to be automatically naturalized with their husbands, and later requiring them to file separately. In this case, even the name of the federal agency governing immigration has changed from the once familiar Immigration & Naturalization Service to the US Citizenship & Immigration Services. For a synopsis, see the USCIS' Legislation from 1790-1900, a 5-page .pdf document.

In the US, federal law enacted by Congress granted certain rights to war veterans, and later to widows. An ancestor may have served in the War of 1812, but legislation providing pension benefits for one of my friend Barb’s ancestors wasn’t brought about until 1878.

Errors in deductive reasoning cloud research, particularly when using a heretofore unfamiliar record group for the first time. A newbie researcher Ol' Myrt worked with was discouraged when he did not find an ancestor in War of 1812 pension files despite a strong family tradition of service. Further study proved the matter quite simply reflects the fact that the gentleman in question died before pension benefits were provided. Pension files are not comprehensive lists of all who served, but merely those who survived and chose to make application.

Church records pre-date the keeping of public vital records in most localities throughout the world. Some churches were great record keepers, others were not. Survival of old parish records from tiny towns in Lincolnshire, England depended on freedom from natural disasters and financial resources to fix leaky roofs and the like. For some of my research I’ve had to rely on the secondary records known as BTS or Bishop’s Transcripts which were the annual reports that were hand-copied and submitted by the local priest. These have survived quite simply because they were housed in the distant diocese office.

I have also made mistakes in church record research, being unaware of the variety of churches from various denominations in the area at the time my ancestor was living. While it seemed logical to search Church of England and Society of Friends records, I didn’t make progress until I looked at Methodist records that included the following sub-groups in my research: Primitive Methodist, Wesleyan Methodist, Methodist New Connexion and United Methodist Church. Also in the area in 1847 was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Who knew? Well, Ol' Myrt sure should have known and I do now. If you wish to make progress climbing your family tree, YOU will become an expert on the area where your ancestor once lived.

RESOURCES TO BRING YOU UP TO SPEED on what is available in that distant locality. Basically, study the work of expert researchers in guidelines printed at the state archive or library,’s Research Outlines (One for each US State, US Military, Tracing Immigrant Ancestors, each Canadian province, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Germany, France and virtually all major countries throughout the world. Includes the best advice from experienced researchers for the locality where your ancestor lived, mentioning essential record collections even if the Family History Library doesn't own it.)

Family History Library Catalog (Search by place, surname, keyword, etc. & borrow microfilm/fiche through your local LDS Family History Center, or find clickable links to the item in digital format viewable on the internet. They don't have everything, but it is a start. Of particular interest are inventories of registers and catalogs describing record collections available in a specific place. )

Cyndi's List (scroll down to the locality in question -- She doesn't have everything, but it is a start.)

WorldCat (Search over 1 billion items in more than 10,000 libraries worldwide, available in multiple language formats.)

Google Search (Use the advanced mode to include & exclude text to narrow your search.)

USGenWeb & WorldGenWeb (Experienced local coordinators typically list resources on and off the web.)

To become effective, genealogy researchers must become experts on the history and culture of the time and place where an ancestor lived, taking care to systematically broaden understanding of the variety of government, church, public & private records that have survived.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

National Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU) Announce Digitizing Partnership

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just released by the NARA Public Affairs office. Please address all inquiries to .

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and Wayne Metcalfe, vice president of the Genealogical Society of Utah, today announced a five-year partnership agreement to digitize case files of approved pension applications of widows of Civil War Union soldiers from the National Archives. GSU has many years of experience microfilming historical records at the National Archives and throughout the world and in recent years has moved to providing digital capture and publishing services. Digitization makes possible unprecedented access to the unique historic documents in the custody of the National Archives.

This partnership will begin with a pilot project to digitize, index, and make available the first 3,150 of the pension files. Upon successful completion of the pilot, GSU, doing business as FamilySearch, in conjunction with, intends to digitize and index all 1,280,000 Civil War and later widows' files in the series. These records, of great interest to genealogists and others, are currently available only at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. The widows' pension application files, a rich source of information about ordinary American citizens of the time, include supporting documents such as affidavits, depositions of witnesses, marriage certificates, birth records, death certificates, and pages from family bibles.

"For a number of years we have had a very productive relationship with FamilySearch," said Professor Allen Weinstein. "This agreement expands our relationship to enable online access to some of the most popular and voluminous records in our holdings. It is an exciting step forward for our institutions and for the American people," he added.

"There is an unbelievable treasure trove of genealogical information housed in the records of the National Archives; the vast majority of which genealogy enthusiasts have never seen," said Wayne Metcalfe. "The growing digital collection and indices that will stem from this relationship will be a priceless resource for countless family historians and researchers."

FamilySearch will make the digitized materials available for free through and in 4500 family history centers worldwide, or on a subscription based website operated by a third party, subject to National Archives approval. They will also be available at no charge in National Archives' research rooms in Washington, DC, and regional facilities across the country. In addition, FamilySearch will donate to the National Archives a copy of all the digital images and the associated indexes and other metadata that they create.

This agreement is one of a series of agreements that the National Archives has reached or will reach with partners to digitize portions of its holdings.

Source: National Archives

CONTACT: National Archives Public Affairs staff, +1-202-357-5300

Monday, October 22, 2007

National Personnel Records Center Opens more than Six Million New Military Personnel Files

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just released by the NARA Public Affairs office. Please address all inquiries to or contact Bryan McGraw, Director of Archival Programs at NPRC, at 314-801-9132.

October 22, 2007
National Personnel Records Center Opens more than Six Million New Military Personnel Files
St. Louis, MO

* The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) will open for the first time all of the individual Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) of Army, Army Air Corps, Army Air Forces, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard military personnel who served and were discharged, retired or died while in the service, prior to 1946.

Collectively, these files comprise more than six million records. This is the second step in the progressive opening ofthe entire paper and microfiche OMPF collection of over 57 million individual files. Additional military personnel records will be made available to the public each year through 2067 until the entire collection is opened.

These archived files are treasured by family members, historians, researchers, and genealogists. Contained in a typical OMPF are documents outlining all elements of military service, including assignments, evaluations, awards and decorations, education and training, demographic information, some medical information and documented disciplinary actions. Some records also contain photographs of the individual and official correspondence concerning military service.

To view an original record, individuals may visit the NPRC Archival Research Room in St. Louis, MO. Telephone is 314-801-0850. Research room hours are10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Central Time Tuesday through Friday. Visitors are strongly encouraged to call ahead to make reservations.

* To obtain copies of records, customers may write to NPRC at 9700Page Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63132, fax a request to 314-801-9195, or submit a request through or on a Standard Form 180.

Information about records available at NPRC is also posted on the National Personnel Records Center Homepage at

Archived, public records are subject to the National Archives and Records Administration's published fee schedule. Copy fees for archived OMPFs are waived for veterans or primary next-of-kin (surviving spouse or children of the veteran) if the records are needed to validate a benefit or entitlement. The fee schedule for OMPFs is as follows:
  1. OMPFs 5 pages or less: $15
  2. OMPFs 6 pages or more: $50 (most OMPFs fall in this category)
  3. OMPFs of Persons of Exceptional Prominence (PEP): $.75 per page
    *(PEP records include the OMPFs of famous individuals such as former Presidents, famous military leaders, decorated military heroes, celebrities,entertainers, and professional athletes who left military service and havebeen deceased for at least 10 years).

Archived records are subject to a limited privacy exemption under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. As such, all records are reviewed prior to release and social security numbers are redacted.

For more information, contact Bryan McGraw, Director of Archival Programs at NPRC, at 314-801-9132.

A variety of questions - Part 1

Tackling real-life research challenges

I am a beginning genealogy researcher trying to "reinvent" the genealogy wheel of my entire family from Europe to America.

At this point, I have over 1,500 names in the Master Family Tree (I'm using Family Tree Maker V. 16) and know that this is just under half of what probably is the total number of people & generations in my branches of the tree.

I've found mention in part of my family's notes that we go back on my mother's side to Brittany, France in 1249, but am missing the names of the next 17-18 generations from then to about the late 16th century in France to find those three hundred years of people in my mother's lineage.

When I came across your articles a few minutes ago looking up how to convert a PAF file to a PDF, or GEDCOM file format, that is how I discovered your beginning genealogy articles which look great. I hope that I will be able to further researching my Family. I need to tell you, which you already may know, that they are not all printing out

I need to figure out how to find ancestry in places like Pennsylvania for my great-great-grandfather & great-great-grandmother to determine who his parents were, where in Ireland he came from or when he immigrated to America. [I also need to know] what my great-great- grandmother's maiden name was, and where they married, had their first two children, etc.

I also have Qs about how to find records in different lands whether for Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, and perhaps other countries as well once I clear up all the conundrums I'm still experiencing in tracing all the branches of my family in America.

Last but not least, I know that some of the original records of my family were destroyed due to fires, like the Great Earthquake & Fire of San Francisco, California in 1905, or the US Federal Census of 1890, or home fires where important correspondence and other documentation were stored from the 1880s onward.

How do I recreate these wheels from just a scrap of a letter [circa] 1900 to find the records that were gathered and lost in the fire?

I've hired genealogy researchers in different states to help me find lineage information on spouses of the family that cousins of mine are connected to, including Kentucky and Indiana. [I] have contacted the Kentucky Historical Society as well as the state archives and library area of the government to find records for relatives. [This is] not to mention [contacting] county libraries to see if they have any information on these generations from 1780 to 1862.

In any case, these are just some of the many things that I'm struggling with -- not only finding records, but documenting my research. I'm also not clear on what is a definitive source record versus what I'm finding written up in history books on my ancestors in different state history books -- and how to use these stories of my ancestors.

Please let me know if you can help me with my general "feeling overwhelmed" situation.

Yours is just the kind of email Ol' Myrt here loves to receive. You have plainly discussed where you are in your research, and identified areas of concern. Lacking are your 2nd great-grandparents' names and other identifying information so I may do a little tinkering around to see what I can find. Before we get started, I am compelled to explain:

NO ONE'S INHERITED FAMILY HISTORY IS 100% ACCURATE. Particularly suspect are the family notations dating back to 1249. This is most likely something copied from a book of old royal houses of Europe. BUT you did a great job recognizing you need to fill in the intervening 17-18 generations to your known ancestors.

To begin with that 13th century couple and attempt to decipher which child is yours in each generation would be impossible. Assuming each generation had 4 children that lived to bear children, and each adult child had 4 children that lived to parenthood, you can quickly see that:
  • Between 1249 and 2007, there are approximately 30 generations, at 25 years per generation.
  • The "original" circa 1249 couple could easily have over 1,024 descendants in just the first 5 generations.

Now those numbers WOULD BE overwhelming, until you realize as a genealogist, you must follow the paper trail from your parents backwards in time. There are indeed work-arounds.

Sometimes an entire line's ancestry is obscured from view for decades despite our best efforts. It is during those dry spells that we have time to compose our personal histories and organize family reunions.

Reply to Ol' Myrt here with the exact names, dates, places, spouses, and children of the those 2nd-great-grandparents mentioned in your query. Please also share details (author & title, publication date and call number) of sources already reviewed so I won't duplicate your work, but can spot-check for accuracy. This is precisely what any researcher would do if he stumbled across your compiled genealogy.

This also give Ol' Myrt here a chance to see how you are currently documenting your sources -- so I may cheer you on and perhaps provide ideas for improving citation and analysis.

Remember our immediate goal is to secure evidence in US sources to:

  • Find the town of origin in Ireland of your 2nd great-grandfather.
  • Determine the maiden name of his wife, your 2nd great-grandmother.

Please look for Part 2 in this series tomorrow. It is about "alternate sources".

Release of subsequent articles in the series will depend on feedback from you and Myrt's DearREADERS. We just need more information to be of assistance with your research challenges.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

10,000 Volunteers Sought to Put Mexican and Other Latin American Records on Web

Massive effort will provide online access to millions of Latin American genealogical records

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: This project was announced last week. Although were still packing up our parents household items, this is too important to miss telling my DearREADERS about. If youd like to participate, merely sign up at

If you are already doing indexing work, you dont need to sign up again. When you download the next batch to index, merely choose a Spanish Language batch from the drop down menu that appears when you click the Download From button on the menu bar of the FamilySearchIndexing software.

11 October 2007
SALT LAKE CITY — FamilySearch — the world’s largest repository of genealogical records — is calling for 10,000 volunteers who can read both English and Spanish to help index Mexican, Argentine and other Latin American records for the Internet.

FamilySearch is embarking on a massive initiative to digitally preserve and index millions of Latin American records that are now difficult to access because they are located on microfilm or in an archive.

The first target is the Mexican census of 1930. People interested in finding their ancestors in that census now have to hunt among 506 rolls of microfilm at a special library. When the project is finished within about one year from now, people with Mexican ancestry will be able to search for relatives easily from their computers at home.

The project is being launched in cooperation with the National Archives of Mexico.

Paul Nauta, manager of public affairs for FamilySearch, said the volunteers could spend as little as 30 minutes a week indexing records from their home computers. Volunteers should register at, which will allow them to download one batch (one census page) at a time. Volunteers simply type in the information highlighted on the digital image. Each batch should take about 30 minutes.

The completed product will be a free, fully searchable online index of the 1930 Mexico Census, and it will be linked to the original images at Digital images of the original census can be viewed currently at

“The 1930 census project will be the first fully indexed census for Mexico,” Nauta said. “When finished, the database will be a tremendous asset to family historians with Mexican roots.”

Nauta said that census records are especially valuable because they include a large portion of the population and can provide details about individuals which may not be available on some church and civil records.

“The 1930 Mexico Census is priceless to genealogists because it is the most recent, publicly accessible census for Mexico. It can provide an ancestor’s age, birth year, religion, birthplace and occupation, explain an individual’s relationship to family members and provide other family information,” Nauta added.

The 10,000 bilingual indexers will be added to a growing army of volunteers that will soon top 100,000, well ahead of year-end targets.

Over the past months, FamilySearch has been preparing digital images of the various census pages and many other records for placement on the Internet. However, without an index for the material, family-tree enthusiasts would still have to go through the pages one-by-one looking for their ancestors.

“Once indexed, the records are searchable in seconds, just like looking up a name in a phone book — except quicker, easier and online,” Nauta said.

The 1930 Mexico Census marks the first Latin American project for the Web-based FamilySearch Indexing program. In addition, FamilySearch indexers just completed the Argentina census of 1895 and will soon start on that country’s 1855 census.

A four-year project to digitize historical land and property documents and wills in Paraguay has just begun, and civil records in Nicaragua will become part of the indexing program within 30 days.

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members consider it a religious obligation to identify their families. FamilySearch maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources, accessible through, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries.

Source: 10,000 Volunteers Sought

For a copy of this press release in Spanish, please click here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

15 Oct 2007

Well, Saturday was the memorial service for our parents. Yesterday, while we were all still together, the six of us children went through the house. This has got to be the hardest thing, to pour through the memories and decide what to do with everything.

I am struck by the tenderness shown by my siblings.

I am preparing to move to Salt Lake City on the 12th of November.

It will probably still be another few days before I can start writing again.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Family History Consultants Training Fair, Tuesday 9 Oct 2007

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at All inquiries about this training fair, employing real-time audio & visual internet technology, should be addressed to

Family History Consultants are those called by LDS Church authorities to serve as genealogy specialists at a local Family History Center, or to work one-on-one with individuals seeking to document their ancestry. To find a Family History Center near you, visit

ANNOUNCING: A Family History Consultants Training Fair on Tuesday, October 9, 2007, presented by Family History Live Online. Check our website: for agenda/times.

If you plan to attend, you must first download content or you will not be able to log in. We recommend you download the content the day before the fair. However, if you attended the last Family History Consultants Fair, you do NOT need to download the content again.

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
  • In the field provided, type in the content ID code: fhlo.fhct
  • Then click next
  • Click on “Install”

To log-on to the fair:

  • Connect to the internet
  • Open the ReGl viewer
  • Click “CLICK TO LOG ON”
  • Click “JOIN A SESSION”
  • Enter your name, type of internet connection (cable, dialup, etc) and location (state or country) i.e.: Lynne.cable.UT
  • Enter the session code: fhlo.fair

Remember: the content ID code and the session LOG-ON code are two separate codes.

Lynne Crawford
Family History Live Online

Friday, October 05, 2007

Not Sure Which Genealogy Management Software to Use?

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was sent out by our friends at All inquiries should be addressed to:

Not Sure Which Genealogy Management Software to Use?
Select vendors allow free use of products through local Family History Centers.

For Immediate Release
October 4, 2007

FamilySearch announced that many popular desktop genealogy products can now be used for free in its family history centers in North America . Patrons who already own or use any of the products to manage their personal family histories at home will be able to conveniently update personal files through flash drives while working at the research centers. FamilySearch’s popular genealogy management software (Personal Ancestral File) is available as a free download at

FamilySearch’s family history centers are frequented by millions of genealogy enthusiasts. Patrons use the centers’ computers, Internet, and microfilm readers to do genealogy research. “Once you start moving beyond your parents and grandparents in your personal research, I cannot imagine keeping track of your family tree and research efforts completely by hand or in paper files anymore,” said Paul Nauta, manager of Public Affairs for FamilySearch. “Great software programs are available that make it easy to build, organize, manage, share, and view your family history,” Nauta added.

The challenge is deciding which software programs might be best for the user’s needs. People who want to purchase a commercial program for home use can sample software applications in centers to help decide which to purchase for home use. FamilySearch is working with software developers to make relevant desktop applications available for free for use in family history centers. Some of the products are genealogy management software, while others provide advanced tools for editing and searching personal or online databases, or expanded options for printing or viewing family tree data.

Center patrons that use any of the featured products at home will now have the convenience of using the same product in their local family history center. FamilySearch also offers its own genealogy management software (Personal Ancestral File 5.2) for free through

Following are the new products available for use in centers:

Genealogy Management Software

  • Ancestral Quest 12 (By Incline Software)
  • Roots Magic (formerly Family Origins, by RootsMagic, Inc.)
  • Legacy Family Tree (By Milennia Corporation)

Family History Software Utilities

  • Personal Historian (RootsMagic, Inc.). Writes and preserves personal life stories.
  • PAFWiz 2.0 (Incline Software). Add-on tools and report utility for PAF 5.2.
  • PAF Insight (Ohana Software). Performs advanced functions for LDS patrons. Provides improved merging, place editing, and other data cleanup tools.
  • PAF Companion 5.2 (Progeny Software). Add-on utility that prints a variety of quality charts and reports in different formats.
  • Family Atlas (RootsMagic, Inc.). Creates and publishes custom maps directly from personal genealogy data.
  • Pedigree Analysis (Generation Maps). Patrons can submit any genealogy computer file for a free pedigree analysis.
  • Genelines (Progeny Software). Depicts an ancestor's life in the context of time by bringing together elements of time, history, and family relationships on visual time line charts.
  • Map My Family Tree (Progeny Software). Automatically “geocodes” a family tree from any popular genealogy file format and illustrates where ancestors were born, were married, and died on a navigable geographic map. It also prints customized maps.

Paul Nauta
Manager of Public Affairs
Family & Church History Department
FamilySearch (TM)

Thursday, October 04, 2007's Sept 2007 additions

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just announced by our friends at All inquiries should be addressed to

The following data was added to the collection in September 2007:

Aurora Borealis
Historical Newspapers

Alabama Intelligencer & State Rights Expositor
Historical Newspapers

Daily Alabama Journal
Historical Newspapers

Durango Herald
America's Obituaries

Sentinel and Witness
Historical Newspapers

New Haven
New Haven Register
Historical Newspapers

Daily Globe
Historical Newspapers

Evening Union
Historical Newspapers

Madisonian for the Country
Historical Newspapers

Delaware Gazette and State Journal
Historical Newspapers

Bonita Springs
Bonita Daily News
America's Obituaries

Miami Herald Record
Historical Newspapers

Orlando Weekly
America's Obituaries

Augusta Chronicle and Georgia Advertiser
Historical Newspapers

Southern Centinel
Historical Newspapers

Columbus Daily Enquirer
Historical Newspapers

Savannah Republican
Historical Newspapers

Historical Newspapers

Sioux City
Sioux City Journal
Historical Newspapers

Idaho Statesman
Historical Newspapers

Silver City
Owyhee Avalanche
Historical Newspapers

Weekly Champion and Press
Historical Newspapers

Lexington Herald
Historical Newspapers

New Orleans
Louisiana Advertiser
Historical Newspapers

Boston Cultivator
Historical Newspapers

Emancipator and Republican
Historical Newspapers

Independent Whig
Historical Newspapers

Berkshire County Eagle
Historical Newspapers

Pittsfield Sun
Historical Newspapers

Berkshire Star
Historical Newspapers

Federal Republican
Historical Newspapers

Historical Newspapers

Republican Advocate
Historical Newspapers

Lake Superior Miner
Historical Newspapers

Duluth News-Tribune
Historical Newspapers

Duluth News-Tribune
Historical Newspapers

Kansas City
Kansas City Star
Historical Newspapers

Daily Herald
Historical Newspapers

Helena Independent
Historical Newspapers

North-Carolina Journal
Historical Newspapers

Historical Newspapers

Bismarck Tribune
Historical Newspapers

New Hampshire Sentinel
Historical Newspapers

New Jersey Journal
Historical Newspapers

Trenton State Gazette
Historical Newspapers

Cayuga Patriot
Historical Newspapers

Chino Hills
Weekly News
America's Obituaries

Fresh Meadows
Queen's Tribune
America's Obituaries

Historical Newspapers

Hudson Gazette
Historical Newspapers

New York
Copway's American Indian
Historical Newspapers

New York
New York American
Historical Newspapers

New York
New York Herald
Historical Newspapers

New York
Weekly Herald
Historical Newspapers

Historical Newspapers

Daily Ohio Statesman
Historical Newspapers

Historical Newspapers

Historical Newspapers

Philadelphia Inquirer
Historical Newspapers

Providence Patriot
Historical Newspapers

Aberdeen American
Historical Newspapers

Aberdeen Daily News
Historical Newspapers

Chattanooga Daily Rebel
Historical Newspapers

Memphis Daily Avalanche
Historical Newspapers

Fort Worth
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Historical Newspapers

Victoria Advocate
Historical Newspapers

Salt Lake City
Salt Lake Daily Telegraph
Historical Newspapers

Richmond Daily Whig
Historical Newspapers

Wisconsin State Journal
Historical Newspapers

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Founder of the Archive CD Books Project retires

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from Bob Velke. All inquiries should be addressed to him at:

Rod Neep, Founder of the Archive CD Books Project, Retires
International digitizing project continues through other partner companies

The International Archive CD Books Project
-- 1 October 2007 --
Effective immediately, Rod Neep, the founder of the Archive CD Books project, is retiring and closing the doors of "Archive CD Books, Ltd.," the British partner company in the international digitization project. The remaining partner companies in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the United States carry on with the project, however, and will continue to add to the project's large inventory of digital reproductions of old and rare books that are of interest to family historians.

Mr. Neep started the Archive CD Books Project in 2000 as a result of recognizing a need to make certain old and rare documents more readily available to genealogy researchers and family historians. The growth of his business was explosive and within three years he had made more than 1,500 valuable titles available through his company web site. At about the same time, he was instrumental in setting up two new independent partner companies in Australia and Canada. Since then he has added two more companies in the USA and Ireland. Thus the International Archive CD Books Project took shape and continues to develop its inventory of valuable reproductions.

As always, each of the partner companies will continue to provide access to the Archive CD Books international inventory through its own web site while focusing on the digitization of additional works that were originally published in the local country. Each remaining partner company also has plans to make digital reproductions of some material that was originally published in Great Britain, continuing the good work of the project's founder.

Rod Neep said "I am really happy that the concept of the Archive CD Books project will be continuing in the safe hands of the international partners, and I wish them all the best of success in the future".

"We wish Rod every happiness and success as he moves on to take up new interests, many of which we understand will involve a golf course," said a spokesman for the other partner companies. "We are already in the process of making sure that Rod's customers will be looked after and we have plans for some exciting announcements in the near future," he said.

The principals in the remaining partner companies are Alan & Stephen Phillips (Australia), Chris and Malcolm Moody (Canada), Brian Donovan (Ireland), and Bob Velke (USA).

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

Archive CD Books Australia -
Archive CD Books Canada -
Archive CD Books Ireland -
Archive CD Books USA -

Monday, October 01, 2007

Glen S. Player, MD - rest in peace dear father-dad

Glen S. Player, MD 89, died 28 September 2007 at his home in Medina, WA surrounded by family. Born 15 Sept 1918 to Shirley & Myrtle (Weiser) Player in Salt Lake City, Utah, Glen was a great-grandson of original Mormon pioneer settlers of the valley. He moved with his family to Seattle on Queen Anne Hill at eight years of age. As a youth he remembers sailing across Lake Washington to the Kirkland area where there were only one or two small homes. Hiking up Coal Creek in the 1920s didn't involve a multi-lane parkway, and in those days camping at Lake Sammamish was considered wilderness backpacking.

A proud graduate of West Queen Anne Elementary class of 1932 and Queen Anne High School 1936; Glen organized and supported class reunions for over 70 years. Following undergraduate studies at University of Washington (1936-1940) Glen received his medical degree in 1943 from the University of Oregon Medical School, now called the Oregon Health Sciences University. He completed post-graduate studies with the School of Neuropsychiatry at New York University 1944-1945 and took related classes at Cornell. During World War II, Glen served in the US Army as a neurology consultant, England General Hospital 1945-1946; and Halloran General Hospital 1946.

At the close of the war, Glen returned to Seattle and set up his office at 1623 Queen Anne Ave North as a General Practitioner and Surgeon. He was a member of the King County Medical Society, and was a past national civil defense chair for the American Medical Association. When Glen retired he had served as a physician for 50 years, caring for the grandchildren of some of his original patients.

As early as the 1950s, Glen showed a keen interest in genealogy. He left a written personal history and recollections of his parents and grandparents, so his posterity would know about their roots. His life spanned a time of great technological advances which he embraced. He participated in the computerized indexing of Ellis Island passenger arrival records.

Glen talked of visits in his youth to his grandmother’s home in Twin Falls, Idaho, when it was necessary to hand crank the car’s windshield wipers on a rainy day, and water from puddles would stream up through the floor boards drenching the car’s inhabitants during the journey. He said they thought nothing of sleeping together on bare wood floors, all for the adventure of being on Grandma Eliza’s farm.

His extensive workshop included welding and woodworking tools that he used to create interesting and useful items for his home and office. He could fix anything. Next to the tea house, he designed and installed a pool enclosure with a retractable roof, extending the use of the pool into the cooler months of the year.

Closest to Glen's heart was his love of family and he jumped at the chance for any type of get-together. He finally shared his secret recipe for barbecued Salmon. As we think about our loving father, we remember him as a firm task-master and a devoted mentor. He was a hunter, water-skier, boater and inventor. Our family trips to Orcas Island are legendary, so it was a particularly choice experience to have him with us one last time this past summer eating at Bilbo’s and readying for float-boating on Cascade Lake. Glen played the organ masterfully, and encouraged the study of musical instruments in his grandchildren. He would take that huge organ over to the cultural hall at church on a little trailer he rigged up, so he could play for dinner dances and other activities.

Glen was preceded in death by his dear wife the former Blanche Myrtle Jackson. Together they shared a full life of family, church and civic activities. They sang in the Leonard Moore chorale and dedicated nearly 40 years to the choir at the Bellevue 1st Ward of the LDS Church. Glen & Blanche actively supported the Bellevue Philharmonic Orchestra, serving in the BPO League in various capacities. Blanche died on Christmas Day 2006, just a few months shy of their 44th wedding anniversary.

Glen & Blanche combined children from their previous marriages including Mary Clements, Dave (Lilette) Player, Pat Richley, Mike (Becky) Player, Sharon (Steve) Wagner, Daniel (Catherine) Bennett, and James (Nancy) Bennett. Their family has grown to include 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Glen is also survived by his sister Beverly Muir and brother Jack (Laura) Player.

The family wishes to thank friends, caregivers, physicians & Providence Hospice for thoughtful assistance during the past few years of their parents’ illnesses. A joint memorial service honoring Glen and Blanche will be held at 11 am on Saturday, 13 Oct 2007 at the LDS Church 10675 NE 20th St, Bellevue, WA. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to charity.