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Sunday, December 30, 2007

What I did for Christmas vacation

You mean, Ol' Myrt here did something BESIDES genealogy during the past 14 days? Yes, I hiked in 3 feet of snow at Temple Rock Quarry with my eldest grandson Tracen, attended my daughter's Sandy City Orchestra Christmas Concert, frosted sugar cookies with Braden & Aubrey, attended church with both sets of grandchildren, got my youngest grandson to giggle even before I reach out to tickle him, played “Guitar Hero” on the X-box with my grandson TJ, played “cars” with grandson Tannon, got the Envoy some new tires for all of this Utah SNOW, and printed 20 color-laser copies of the official 2008 family calendar with birthdays and anniversaries.

Ok, the calendar making IS a genealogy project.

Genealogically-speaking, I did a lot of work on the syllabus for’s upcoming Family History Expo which is scheduled for the 8-9 February 2008 at the Dixie Center; 1835 Convention Center Drive; St. George, Utah. DearMYRTLE be sponsoring a Q & A Booth, with visiting guest speakers from among the Expo’s presenters. Attendees will be able to choose from the following classes on FRIDAY the 8th. There is an equally useful and varied lineup for Saturday the 9th. Find out more and pre-register by visiting
  • 08:00 AM #1 KEYNOTE: Pirates of the Pedigree with Beau Sharbrough from
  • 10:00 AM #9 PAF Insight, Family Insight, and the New FamilySearch with John Vilburn
  • 10:00 AM #8 PAF Users Love Ancestral Quest and the New FamilySearch with Gaylon Findlay
  • 10:00 AM #7 Finding and Using On-line Published Family Histories at the Harold B. Lee Library with Jessica Pears
  • 10:00 AM #6 The Godfrey Scholar Program for Family History Center Users with Richard Black
  • 10:00 AM #5 Now That You've Found Them . . . Go Visit with Dale Bartlett
  • 10:00 AM #4 The New FamilySearch and Its Family Tree with Timothy G. Cross
  • 10:00 AM #3 HOW to find out WHERE to look with DearMYRTLE
  • 10:00 AM #2 Innovative Family Tools to Connect Families with David Lifferth
  • 11:30 AM #10 New to Research? How to Use Your 24/7 Personal Research Assistant with Geoff Rasmussen
  • 11:30 AM #11 Trace Your Roots with DNA with Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak
  • 11:30 AM #18 Using New FamilySearch with RootsMagic 4 with Bruce Buzbee
  • 11:30 AM #17 Using Charting Companion to Make Your Family Tree Data More Interesting with Dennis Meldrum, MLS
  • 11:30 AM #16 City Directories - More Than Just a Phone Book with Mindi Stevens
  • 11:30 AM #15 Genealogy on Wheels: Doing Family History Research in an RV with Jean Wilcox Hibben, MA, CG
  • 11:30 AM #14 Why Property Records Are Important in Tracing Hard-to-Find Ancestors with Arlene H. Eakle, Ph.D.
  • 11:30 AM #12 Researching Our Nation's Records with DearMYRTLE
  • 11:30 AM #13 Bringing LDS Ancestors to Life: Little-known Sources at the LDS Church History Library with Jay Burrup
  • 12:40 PM #19 with David Lifferth
  • 01:30 PM #27 Personal Historian: Bringing Life to Your Life Stories with Michael Booth
  • 01:30 PM #26 What's New in Legacy Family Tree v7? with Geoff Rasmussen
  • 01:30 PM #25 Italian Research for Beginners with Paola Manfredi, AG
  • 01:30 PM #24 Locating Record Keeping Jurisdictions: Effective Use of Scandinavian Gazetteers & Maps with Ruth Ellen Maness, AG
  • 01:30 PM #23 Why Bounty Land Records are Essential for Early Virginia Research with Arlene H. Eakle, Ph.D.
  • 01:30 PM #22 The FamilySearch Research Wiki with Jim Greene
  • 01:30 PM #21 German Research on the Internet with Baerbel K. Johnson, AG
  • 01:30 PM #20 Tracking Your Ancestors on the Internet: Maps & Gazetteers with Kathryn Lake Hogan, UE, BA
  • 02:40 PM #28 Source Writer: Entering Sources Easily with Geoff Rasmussen
  • 03:00 PM #34 Reading Italian Civil Registration Records with Paola Manfredi, AG
  • 03:00 PM #35 Help!! There's a Hispanic in my Family History Center (or Ward) who needs Help with Jonathan Walker
  • 03:00 PM #36 Mapping Your Family History with Family Atlas with Bruce Buzbee
  • 03:00 PM #33 The Chicken Walked Here: Principles & Procedures For Learning to Read Germanic & Scandinavian Gothic Script with Ruth Ellen Maness, AG
  • 03:00 PM #32 The Power of DNA: Discovering Lost and Hidden Relationships with Anna Swayne
  • 03:00 PM #31 Researching Your Revolutionary War Ancestor with Craig Roberts Scott, MA, CG
  • 03:00 PM #30 Using German Church Records with Baerbel K. Johnson, AG
  • 03:00 PM #29 Digital Photography for the Genealogist with Barry J. Ewell
  • 04:10 PM #37 We're Related with Jason McGowan
  • 04:30 PM #45 PAF Insight, Family Insight, and the New FamilySearch with John Vilburn
  • 04:30 PM #44 Google: A Goldmine of Genealogy Gems with Lisa L. Cooke
  • 04:30 PM #43 Women Without Shadows: Gone Without a Trace with Betty Lou Malesky
  • 04:30 PM #42 The Witness with Leland K. Meitzler
  • 04:30 PM #41 New England States Research with Kip Sperry
  • 04:30 PM #40 FamilySearch Indexing: The Next Revolution in Providing Access to Records with Stephen J. Valentine
  • 04:30 PM #39 How Genealogy Charts Can Help Your Research with Janet Hovorka, BA
  • 04:30 PM #38 I Found His Will! Now What? Developing a Research Plan with Stefani Evans, CG
  • 06:30 PM BANQUET (#101)"Come Away With Me": Time Travel Set to Music with Jean Wilcox Hibben, MA, CG

During December, Ol' Myrt here has also been reading and reviewing some new and old genealogy books. The next few blog entries will feature my discoveries.

We also observed the 1 year anniversary of the death of our mom (& step-mom). A tender time.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, researchers.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

The Master Genealogist v7.0 released

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at All inquiries should be addressed to: Elizabeth Vinci

** For Immediate Release **

The Master Genealogist v7.0 has been released.

Wholly Genes, Inc., of Columbia, Maryland, is proud to announce the release of The Master Genealogist v7.0, the most comprehensive family history software on the market. For more than 14 years, The Master Genealogist ("TMG") has been the choice of professional genealogists and casual researchers alike because of its innovative features, extreme flexibility, attention to real-life research issues (like "witnesses" and their secondary roles in events), and support for the highest scholarly standards.

Despite the program's long-standing reputation as "the one that does it all," the new Version 7 incorporates more than 50 exciting new features. The program continues to innovate with features like a new "Associates Window" which lists in one place all of the people connected to the focus person (e.g., as witnesses to the same events), customizable pop-up reminders which encourage consistent data entry, and the ability to make color "highlights" or annotations on scanned images. The image highlighting actually happens on a transparent layer above the image so the original image isn't modified -- an important characteristic to family researchers.

A variety of powerful new features to control sentence output supplement those which, in previous versions, have helped researchers win awards for their published narratives. Among other enhancements, it is now easier to generate sentences which span more than one event (e.g., "He died in Tazewell, Virginia and was buried three days later in the town cemetery") with mid-sentence source citations. A real-time sentence preview now also makes it easier to see the effect of customizing those sentences.

"We're sure that researchers will appreciate the powerful new features in this release because they helped to design them," said Bob Velke, President of Wholly Genes Software. "Many of TMG's best features started with suggestions from users," said Velke, "and Version 7 is no exception." As examples of popular features that are already in that category, he cited the program's GenBridge direct-import technology, integrated historical timelines, customizable screen layouts, and the display of names in different colors to represent user-defined characteristics (e.g., red for people who were born in Tennessee and green for those who were born in Virginia).

Other new features in Version 7 include multi-level sorts, relationship calculation through spouses (e.g., wife of his third cousin), the ability to share your source list and output templates with other researchers through import/export, and the ability to check for duplicates while adding new people. A number of new filtering and reporting options are expected to be very popular and a long list of interface changes make the program easier to use, especially for novice researchers.

The Master Genealogist v7.0 is native to Windows Vista but is also designed for Windows 2000 or XP. More information is available from

About Wholly Genes
Wholly Genes Software is a privately held corporation founded in 1993 with the goal of providing professional-caliber software tools to family historians. Its flagship product, The Master Genealogist, is among the highest rated family history project managers and is in use in more than 30 countries around the world.

Elizabeth Vinci
9110 Red Branch Road, STE O
Columbia, Maryland 21044
410-715-2260 x132

Friday, December 21, 2007

Which libraries have the best genealogy collections?

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received by our friends at Family Tree Magazine. Please address all inquiries to

Family Tree Magazine Seeks Great Genealogy Libraries
To learn more about libraries' resources and collections, the editors of Family Tree Magazine are trying to survey as many genealogical libraries as we can reach. Any type of genealogical library is eligible to participate: public or private, large or small, etc. as long as it has a genealogical collection the public can use (for free or by paying an admission fee).

If you’re involved with a genealogy library or know someone who is, visit to download the questionnaire and learn how we plan to use the information in the magazine.

The deadline for responses is Jan. 14, 2008.

Please help us spread the word!
Direct any questions to

Thursday, December 20, 2007

NGS 2008 Special Beginners Workshop

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just announced by our friends at the NGS National Genealogical Society. All inquiries should be addressed to:

From: Jeanne Lund
Thursday, December 20, 2007 11:03

Arlington, VA. 20 December 2007

National Genealogical Society announces its 2008 Annual Conference Special Beginners Workshop

May 14-17, 2008 will mark the 30th Annual Conference in the States and Family History Fair of the National Genealogical Society. The 2008 conference will be held in conjunction with local hosts – Missouri State Genealogical Association, Mid-Continent Public Library, Northland Genealogy Society, APG Heartland Chapter, and Johnson County, Kansas, Genealogical Society.

The 2008 conference will feature a special Beginner’s Workshop, to be held on Saturday 17 May at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. Anybody is welcome to attend this Beginner’s Workshop - which will cover beginning aspects of genealogical/family history research. The workshop will teach how to organize what you know, and search for what you do not know. Participants will record family data on basic forms and learn about sources (with and without a computer) that will help them extend their family history. The workshop is limited to 50 participants and the fee is $30. This will be a 3 hour intensive workshop, starting at 8am and concluding at 11am.

No prior genealogical experience is needed for this workshop.

The Beginner’s Workshop will be led by qualified genealogists, Connie Lenzen, CG – President of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), and Lynda Suffridge.

Anybody interested in family history/genealogical research is welcome to attend. At the same time attendees of the workshop can plan to visit the Family History Fair genealogical exhibits after the workshop ends – which will feature exhibits and sales of genealogy-related books, CDs, magazines, software, gift and fun items and more.

Interested workshop participants may also be interested in signing up for the full NGS 2008 Kansas City Conference, which commences on Wednesday 14 May and concludes on Saturday 17 May, 2008. The full conference program and registration links can be found on our website at:

The 2008 conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center hotel downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The conference will feature 4 days of educational sessions for the beginner to the more experienced family history researcher. In addition the Family History Fair will feature over 150 exhibitors of genealogical goods and services, including genealogical software companies, book sellers, genealogical and historical societies, gifts, maps, and more.

The exhibit hall is attached to the main conference center and is open to conference attendees and the general public at no charge. There is a major shopping complex attached to the hotel by a glass enclosed walkway.

Hallmark Cards headquarters is also attached to the complex. Midwest research, homesteading records, military records, National Archives records, writing lectures, Research in the States, methodology, computer topics, a BCG Skillbuilding track, adoption research, African American research, land records, German research are among the many topics covered in the over 150 sessions. A DNA track and several computer labs as well as other workshops are among the many special presentations.

The National Genealogical Society was founded in 1903, and is the premier national society for everyone from the beginner to the most advanced family historian. The NGS serves its members by providing genealogical skill development through education, information, publications, research assistance, and networking opportunities.

Further information on the NGS Conference in the States & Family History Fair can be found at the NGS website at:

Jeanne Lund
(703) 525-0050, ext. 112
(703) 525-0052 (Fax)

Ancestry to close down outdated Online Family Tree:

Newer technology of "Ancestry World Tree" provides additional features.

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following announcement was made by our friends at late yesterday afternoon bypassing the radar of most genealogy bloggers. This requires the URGENT attention of those of us who created Online Family Trees at Ancestry many years ago using the old system which will be replaced "about March 2008" according to Ancestry's official blog. All inquiries should be made to .

Online Family Tree Announcement
Posted by kfreestone
December 19, 2007 (3:16pm)
Since 1999, our Online Family Tree system has helped almost 2 million people build family trees, upload GEDCOM files and add their trees to Ancestry World Tree. We’ve maintained this system for some time, but the it’s finally become outdated and will soon be replaced with the Ancestry Member Tree system introduced in July 2006. We realize this is a bitter disappointment for some of you who have worked in our Online Family Tree system for years.

This is an important step for us that lets us focus all our ability on creating one great system for everyone to use. At nearly 8 years old, Online Family Tree is an ancient product (in internet years anyway), and we feel it is important to move everyone to the new system while this one is still running. If we prolonged this, it would be much more difficult to do this while the OFT system is on life-support.

What does this mean for you?
For those that have a file in the old Online Family Tree system, you’ll be able to access your tree in that system through about March 2008. Between now and then you can easily transition your family tree file to the Ancestry Member Tree system and get used to it before the Online Family Tree system expires. [Color emphasis added.]

We know how much time and energy you’ve put into your tree and we’ve done our best to make sure you don’t lose a bit of it as you change systems. There are basically two phases to this transition period for Online Family Tree:

Phase 1 — Trial and transition.
Between now and March 2008 you can move your family tree file to the Ancestry Member Tree system and get familiar with it. Your file in the old Online Family Tree system will remain intact so you can double-check everything. However, once you’ve transitioned your tree to the Ancestry Member Tree system, any new information added or edits made will not be reflected in your Online Family Tree file. Do nothing during this timeframe and nothing will change in your Online Family Tree file. If you make changes to your Online Family Tree file after you’ve transitioned to Ancestry Member Trees, you’ll have the option to send the updated file to the new system once again.

Phase 2 — Tree expiration.
At the end of March 2008 we’ll send you another reminder to transition your tree. At this point, your tree will no longer be accessible in the Online Family Tree system, but the file itself WILL remain on our servers and in the system for as long as we can maintain it. When you come to view your Online Family Tree file, you’ll see only a link to move your family tree file to the Ancestry Member Tree system.

After March 2008 we plan to remove the old feature set surrounding your file. This means that all Online Family Tree files previously submitted to Ancestry World Tree will remain there permanently, unless you take steps to remove it.

About Ancestry Member Trees
The Ancestry Member Tree system will give you most of the same features as the Online Family Tree system. That includes integrated record search, the ability to invite family members to edit and contribute, GEDCOM import and export and much more. The Ancestry Member Tree system will also offer many new and exciting features.

[See the original Online Family Tree Announcement for a comparison chart to show which features from the Online Family Tree system are available in the Ancestry Member Trees system.]

We believe you will find much to enjoy about Ancestry Member Trees, and we hope to continue to add features and make you excited about the product. Already more than 3 million people have created trees using the Ancestry Member Tree system, and we’ve been amazed at the work that has been done:

  • 4.2 million family trees created
  • 378 million names added
  • 937,000 family members invited
  • 48 million Ancestry Hints™ accepted
  • 4 million photos uploaded

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Restoration of Ancestry access at FHL + a few Centers

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: This breakthrough in negotiations restores access to at the Family History Library and a few local Family History Centers. All inquires should be addressed to:

From: Suzanne Russo Adams
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2007 2:07 PM



FamilySearch and The Generations Network Agreement Give Patrons Access to More than 24,000 Databases and Titles

Provo, UT – December 19, 2007 – FamilySearch and The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of, today announced an agreement that provides free access of to patrons of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and the 13 largest regional family history centers effective today.

With this new agreement, full access will be provided to more than 24,000 databases and titles and 5 billion names in family history records. In addition to the Family History Library, the following 13 regional family history centers have been licensed to receive access to

• Mesa, Arizona
• Los Angeles, California
• Oakland, California
• Orange, California
• Sacramento, California
• San Diego, California
• Idaho Falls, Idaho
• Pocatello, Idaho
• Las Vegas, Nevada
• Logan, Utah
• Ogden, Utah
• St. George, Utah
• Hyde Park, London, England

“We’re excited for our patrons to receive online access to an expanded collection of family history records on,” said Don Anderson, director of FamilySearch Support. “’s indexes and digital images of census, immigration, vital, military and other records, combined with the excellent resources of FamilySearch, will increase the likelihood of success for patrons researching their family history.”

The Generations Network and FamilySearch hope to expand access to other family history centers in the future.

FamilySearch patrons at the designated facilities will have access to’s completely indexed U.S. Federal Census Collection, 1790-1930, and more than 100 million names in passenger lists from 1820-1960, among other U.S. and international record collections. Throughout the past year, has added indexes to Scotland censuses from 1841-1901, created the largest online collection of military and African American records, and reached more than 4 million user-submitted family trees.

Free access is also available at Brigham Young University Provo, Idaho, and Hawaii campuses, and LDS Business College patrons through a separate agreement with The Generations Network.

“FamilySearch’s Family History Library in Salt Lake City is one of the most important physical centers for family history research in the world, and we are happy that patrons to the Library and these major regional centers will have access to,” said Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of “We’ve enjoyed a ten-year working relationship with FamilySearch, and we look forward to continued collaboration on a number of family history projects.”

About – Visit us at
With 24,000 searchable databases and titles and more than 2.5 million active users, 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 8.7 million unique visitors worldwide and more than 416 million page views a month (© comScore Media Metrix, October 2007).

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

Media Contacts
Paul Nauta
FamilySearch Manager of Public Affairs

Mike Ward
Public Relations Director

Professional Services Desk/Conference Manager
The Generations Network
801 705 7996
360 W 4800 N
Provo, UT 84604

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

His father died 10 months prior to birth – its possible

As if Bill Dollarhide hasn’t been busy enough compiling his US census substitutes series mentioned in Ol' Myrt’s blog over the weekend, now he has published a solution to a problem we run into with early American ancestry.
Bill writes “… if you have evidence that a man had died 10 months before a certain child was born, it would seem to exclude that man as the father of that child. But, if the calendar dates changed during the man's lifetime, you must be very precise in determining the exact date of death--and he may qualify as the father after all. Therefore, an understanding of the change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar is important to genealogists.”

Be sure to read the article The 1752 Calendar Change in North America by William Dollarhide. Once the page opens, scroll down about ½ way through the 11 Dec 2007 issue of the Genealogy Pointers Newsletter from our friends at GPC Genealogical Publishing to read Bill’s comments about:
  • 1582 changes
  • George Washington’s real birthday
  • 1752 change
  • Double dating
  • Exceptions in North America
  • Quaker dates (these are really challenging!)

BRAVO to Bill for this concise calendar change explanation, helping genealogists overcome the challenge of deciphering cryptically-worded dates in Colonial American documents.

And BRAVO to GPC for providing relevant how-to info and independent product reviews in the Genealogy Pointers newsletter, in addition to detailed descriptions of book and CD offerings. Sure GPC wants you to visit their site, but honestly, there’s great stuff in each issue! If you’d like to receive an email copy of GPC's weekly, see Subscribe to Genealogy Pointers. To read previous issues, see the Genealogy Pointers Archives.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Recognizing Excellence in family history writing

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at ISFHWE The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors. All inquiries should be addressed to competition coordinator Yolanda Campbell Lifter

The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors is sponsoring its annual "Excellence in Writing" competition to recognize excellence in genealogical columns and articles.

The contest is open to all members of ISFHWE, both published and unpublished authors.

Contest entrants must be members of ISFHWE. (Entrants may join ISFHWE at the time they submit their competition entries.) The contest is judged by professionals in the fields of genealogy and journalism. The contest has four categories:
  • Category I - Newspaper Columns. This is for newspaper columns published on a regular basis, published in 2007. Entries must be shorter than 1,000 words.
  • Category II - Articles. These articles must have been published in 2007 in a journal, magazine, newsletter, or web site. Entries cannot exceed 5,000 words.
  • Category III - Genealogy Research Story. This category is for original, unpublished articles between 1,000 and 3,000 words. The articles should focus on the telling the story of genealogical research using one of these topics: "The Search for [ancestor's]," "Sorting Out the Entangled Roots of..." or " Encounters with a Family Skeleton."
  • Category IV - Want-to-be Writer/Columnist. Entrants in this category aspire to be writers or columnists in the field of genealogy/family or local history. The submissions in this category are original and unpublished, between 500 and 1,000 words.

Ancestry Magazine has again agreed to consider publishing the first-place winner in Category III.

Winners in each category will be awarded a cash prize and a certificate. The awards presentation will take place at the Gala ISFHWE Awards Banquet to be held at the National Genealogical Society conference in Kansas City, Missouri, 14 May 2008. (Those unable to attend will receive their awards after the conference.)

Rules, information and entry form are available at:

This year's contest coordinator and judges are ineligible, as are last year's first-place winners in their winning category. Employees and current contract writers for or its parent company, The Generations Network, are ineligible to submit to Category III.

Entries must be RECEIVED by the coordinator no later than 15 February 2008. Entries must be mailed in time to make this deadline. Send entries (along with your check for the appropriate entry fee(s) and membership dues) to:

Yolanda Campbell Lifter
ISFHWE Competition Coordinator
1920 Eva Lane
Malabar, FL 32950-3219

Saturday, December 08, 2007

News from around the ‘net

Sunday's blog entry tonight, so I can go to church & play in the "big snow" of Dec 2007 with my grandchildren.

GET-WELL wishes go out to Dick Eastman, noted genealogy technology guru whose busy schedule of late has landed him in the hospital with blurred vision, and a diagnosis of adult-onset diabetes.

THANKS to Genealoge blogger Hugh W who reports in Programming - News - BBC orders more 'Waterloo', 'Who Do?' - Digital Spy that "… the BBC has extended its 2008 order for Who Do You Think You Are? from eight to ten hours and booked another eight hours for 2009.”

TODAY Ol' Myrt here lunched with Tom Kemp and board members of the UGA (Utah Genealogical Association) despite the 6-8 inches of snow here in Salt Lake. Tom is the “father” of GenealogyBank and happily reports, “GenealogyBank had another great month in November adding more than 1.5 Million records and documents. The Historical Newspapers section was expanded with additional content from 53 titles gathered from 30 States. GenealogyBank now has 211,058,570 documents which is up from 209,556,376 last month. Historical Newspapers (1690-1977) Over 3,700 titles; 104+ Million articles - updated monthly.” Others at the lunch table raved about how these historical newspapers assisted in pre-1860 Philadelphia, New York City and Baltimore area ancestor searches.

SPEAKING of the UGA, they are sponsoring their 2008 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 7-11 January 2008 -- a great opportunity to combine learning with time before or after doing research at the world famous Family History Library.

JUST BUMPED INTO Leiland Meitzler, editor of Everton’s Genealogical Helper and author of the Genealogy Blog who is just wrapping up his annual Christmas Tour of the FHL Family History Library. I met him in the elevator of the Plaza (aka Luxe) Hotel right next to the FHL. This Santa gifted me with a copy of the brand-new, hot-off-the-presses Census Substitutes & State Census Records (in 2 volumes) by William Dollarhide.

Genealogists are perhaps familiar with Bill’s map work in Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 with William Thorndale.

GENEA-MUSINGS’ blogger Randy Seaver wrote in How do I access this book? providing a thoughtful reply to a reader in search of a book on the shelf at the Family History Library. Since the FHL does not circulate books, Randy discusses four great alternatives for locating a copy of the book. Failing these other suggestion, might Ol' Myrt here add there is the option of using the Request for Photocopies – (…Books…) form. Due to copyright, the entire book cannot be copied, but after requesting a copy of the index mentioning an ancestor using the form, one can then submit a second request for the content pages referenced in the index.

ABOUT NEW YORK From the Association of Professional Genealogists public mailing list, Dick Hillenbrand writes “If you are interested in good maps, or plan on doing any land research anywhere in New York State, then you will likely want to read my review of one of the very best New York State Atlases available. You will find the article on the Upstate New York Genealogy blog site.” Now Ol' Myrt here is no expert on New York research, but this posting keeps popping back into my mind, which means someone out there needs this info. Thanks Dick!

VIA EMAIL my friend Jay Speyerer of Legacy Road Communications introduced me to a wonderful gal, Margaret Randall. Their new joint project is This is of great importance to family historians. Coming up with writing topics is really a problem.

Ol' Myrt here supports anything to encourage the writing and transcription of first-hand reports of the “life & times of…”

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

READERS’ FEEDBACK: Genealogy Management Software

RE: Genealogy-specific software makes it easier


One Windows program that you failed to mention and which is outstanding (I know -- I used to teach genealogy software classes and have used about 8 different programs including FTM, TMG, RootsMagic, Legacy, Cumberland Family Tree, Kith & Kin, Brothers Keeper, and others) is GENBOX. I find it very annoying that genealogy "authorities" simply overlook (either intentionally or unconsciously) this wonderful program.

You may remember I have written to you in the past. I read your recent article Genealogy-specific software makes it easier and I agree with you throughout the entire article. There are two points I would recommend to readers. Firstly, that they should still take backups of their online data pools as a safety precaution and in order to pass on to other interested parties if they wish. Secondly, and in my opinion, more importantly is that Linux has an extremely and powerful genealogy program called GRAMPS

This software differs from your all your other recommendations because:
  • It is totally free, all of the software you have suggested have significant commercial sides to them.
  • Anyone can be involved in the software development. You can be involved in shaping the software, discussing directly with the developers instead of it being left behind closed doors.
  • This software can been transferred to run on the platforms of MS Windows and Mac, interestingly none of those in your article can so easily be run on other platforms.

I was using FTM, PAF, and to store my findings but it was the professionalism of GRAMPS that made me decide not only to solely use it for my records, by I also decided to migrate to Linux completely.

Just felt it could help balance the recommended software. Thanks for listening :)

Thank-you for your prompt replies.
Ol' Myrt's previous blog entry was not meant to slight anyone, nor was it intended to include every genealogy database program on the market (freebie or otherwise.) I think the gist of my comments was that one should choose the program "the majority of the members of your local genealogy society are already accustomed to using.” That was strictly from a “we get by with a little help from our friends” point of view.

I am aware that the Windows-compatible RootsMagic works beautifully on a MAC using Parallels, since I installed it for my friend Wendy and helped her begin entering data from her gobs of paper genealogy files. Theoretically, any Windows-compatible program can work on a MAC in that manner. However, all this information about cross-platform use is a bit more technical than I wished to be in the original blog entry.

Ol' Myrt here did fail to mention the necessity of making a series of backups on a regular basis. We need it not only because of possible hard drive failure, but because of human failure. What? Never made a big mistake in data entry and wished you could get back to how things were last week, before you created a snafu in your database? Well, take it from an experienced snafu creator, make backups as follows:

  • One every time you enter more than 2 names or correct entries for 2 ancestors in your database.
  • Place one copy of the backup on a flash drive.
  • Place another copy of the backup file on a rewritable CD or secondary hard drive if you have one.
  • Be sure to include the DATE as part of the name of the backup file such as:
    Richley 2007 March 1
    Richley 2007 June 15 after reunion
    Richley 2007 Nov 25
    Richley 2007 Dec 1

    NOTE: By typing the YEAR before the month and day, all backups made in 2007 will be grouped together in the default name-sorted list of files in your computer’s document folder, and there will be no need to take an extra step to sort the files by date created.

There are backup services where one can securely store data in a password-protected environment for a small monthly fee. See Dick Eastman’s blog entry of 22 April 2007 titled One Last (?) Word About Backups concerning hard drive failure, and his entry of 11 Sept 2007 Loss of backups where he discusses the need for multiple copies of backups.

This is different from the backing up (to your local computer) of one's online genealogy database. Again, this is a more advanced topic I didn't wish to burden a newbie with on his first time out of the "genealogical database management" starting gate.


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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Friday, December 07, 2007

WHERE to find good genealogy books

People are always asking me WHERE to find genealogy books for their personal collections or holiday gift giving. Unfortunately the brick & mortar bookstores have only a handful of titles. Whenever there is a genealogy conference, we usually pour over the booksellers' wares to find relevant titles. As I discovered when shopping a few years back at a conference in Nashville with my friend Audrey, it helps to bring along a suitcase with wheels!

Ol' Myrt just received word that our friends at HERITAGE BOOKS are making your holiday shopping a little bit easier. Owner Craig R. Scott, CG writes "Heritage Books announces it annual Starlight Shopping Sale. 20% off all in stock inventory at The sale as started, do not miss this opportunity to purchase your genealogy books. If there is a book that you are looking for from a major genealogy publisher check with us by phone at 800 876-6103 to see if we have it in stock. We just might. With over 6,000 titles in stock, over 2,800 published by Heritage Books it is likely that there will be something of interest for everyone."

Heritage Books is unquestionably one of the top three genealogy book publishers in the country. You'll get a chance to view many Heritage Books titles and hear from Craig Scott speak about "Locating your Revolutionary War Ancestor" at's St. George 2008 Genealogy & Family History Expo sponsored by FamilySearch,,,,,, Generation Maps, DearMYRTLE, and
Craig R. Scott, MA, CG is the author of The ‘Lost Pensions’: Settled Accounts of the Act of 6 April 1838 and Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury, Inventory 14 (Revised). He has co-authored several books relating to records in Northern Virginia. He has authored articles in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and Family Chronicle and many other genealogical publications. A professional genealogical and historical researcher for more than twenty-three years, he specializes in the records of the National Archives, especially those that relate to the military. He was the Clan Scott Genealogist (1985 – 2000). He is a member of the Company of Military Historians, recently a Governor-at- Large of the Virginia Genealogical Society, on the editorial board of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, and a Director of the Association of Professional Genealogists. A faculty member for several years of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, Samford University he was the coordinator of the 2007 Advanced Military Records Course about the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

But, look through Craig's Heritage Book titles this week and take advantage of the 20% savings offer.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Genealogy-specific software makes it easier

As you may know, I've been researching my ancestors in France and have been working with a genealogist from the APG in France. It turns out that the ancestry that branches of the family did in 1900 is incorrect!

I sent you all of the references of material that they had looked at back in 1900 or so, and had the genealogist look over the reports that they looked at back then. His response was entirely different than what the branches of our family had assumed was the case back then, not knowing the French system of reports and how documents were filed and what they implied.

It was evident that [previous researchers] had come up with some false assumptions based on the mistakes they made back them.

To give an example: one of the researchers tried to assert that a certain noble family was of our background due to similarity of events in both families backgrounds (back in 1900, from what I've been told, this was quite common for people to try to link themselves up to a "noble" family, crests, etc., and it was certainly true with a few of our branches
in the family from back them as well.)

The problem though became apparent almost immediately in today's terms, as the noble family that they tried to assert we belonged to, was childless, thus we couldn't be from their lineage in the couple's case that they were asserting we came from. Also, it turns out that noble families were not allowed to have trades per se, except in very rare cases where the trade was of such a rarified trade, like stain glass making for churches, that nobles were indeed allowed to study that and carry on that trade. [However] being a merchant, or a furniture maker, wasn't allowed for noble families from what I've gathered.

That was a major roadblock and couldn't be denied in our ancestors backgrounds, since our ancestors did indeed have trades and were very well established. It most likely [they] weren’t a "noble" family per se, but records are few and far between for the time period, so nothing at this point is cut in stone, so to speak.

In any case, I've eliminated the "noble" family from our family tree, and have inserted the merchants that these latest documents prove (up to a point) are our ancestors in the 17th century. I am still having research done and I should have more information, if records are found, to clarify relationships more than where they stand right now. I hope that I'll have
more news for researching records next week on this family history conundrum.

In terms of what to do with the documentation, I have the baptisms for some of the family back then and a marriage record in a zip file on my computer. How do I attach these records to the branches of the tree where they belong? That is where I'm struggling due to the different scanned formats some of the documents are in. Some are .jpg pictures; some are
not, but are documents and all of the text isn't coming through in the scanned images.

I'm not sure what to do about converting these records in a doable format that is readable and printable for attaching to the tree branches. Please advise on this if you would be so kind.

Happy Holidays to You & Yours.

Thank-you for attaching many of the compiled details on your family tree in Word, .pdf and .zip format.

You are justified in requesting readable scanned images of original documents from that APG (Association of Professional Genealogists) researcher. Having said that, it is entirely possible that the photocopy from microfilm of the original record is difficult to read, and that the “fuzzy” image plus a word-for-word transcription from your professional researcher may have to suffice.

To solve the problem of how to pull things together, Ol' Myrt here is going to ask you to obtain a new software program – one designed specifically for family history. Contrast this with the word-processing program you are using where it is indeed hard to “attach” identifying documents, and keep track of all family relationships. Genealogy-specific software makes it easier to record the accumulated info.

Do it because I asked you to! OK, the real reason family history researchers use them is that genealogy programs are designed for tracking individuals in family groups and arranging things in pedigree format. This visual representation of families also makes it easier to navigate through your compiled genealogy while adding to and amending the database. You’ll type the information in ONE time, and then print a variety of reports including name lists, locality-sorted event lists, books and sharable CDs, to name a few. There are options for including different ancestral lines including blood, adopted and disputed lines. Most 21st century software allows for foreign language characters.

The ability to retain info on the disputed lines makes it easier for you to explain the problem to another researcher who may follow in your footsteps. Yet keeping track of the disputed lines does not affect your ability to print “clean” (read that accurate) pedigree charts, family group sheets and books on your proven blood line.

Once you have transcribed the accumulated information into your genealogy software (starting with yourself, adding parents, siblings, spouse and children) you can work back through the paperwork you’ve shown me to document each generation with the basics such as birth, christening, marriage, death and burial info. Cite your sources using the source option for each event. Additional events can be added when necessary. Ol' Myrt adds biographical information in notes. When viewing an ancestor’s individual edit screen, there is an option in each of the mainstream genealogy software programs to add multi-media files, which can include photos and scanned images of the documents you’ve collected about that person. Alternately, those scanned images of source documents can be attached to the source citation for each event in a person’s life listed in your genealogy software program.

The simple answer is use the program that the majority of the members of your local genealogy society are already accustomed to using. That way you will have a large pool of near-by advisors if you have questions. However, most genealogy programs are quite intuitive, unlike the earlier versions released in the mid-to-late 1980s.

Another requirement for genealogy software is that it must be able to create and import GEDCOM files. Don’t worry about that technical term right now. Suffice it to say that a GEDCOM file is a generic file format that allows researchers with different genealogy programs share data fairly seamlessly.

Here is a partial list of genealogy management software for your consideration:

Windows PCs

  • Ancestral Quest
  • Legacy Family Tree
  • RootsMagic
  • The Master Genealogist
  • At this point in time, I do not recommend Family Tree Maker because notes are sometimes lost, when restoring from backup or when creating a GEDCOM file. Even in Ol' Myrt’s experience among friends, this has proven an unfortunate problem. There are other issues the users of the current version are quite vocal about.


Please note that Ol' Myrt here is not expecting you to keep your data online. Eventually this may be the way of things for all our documents, be they word processing, photos or genealogy data. For readers with more experience, consideration should be made using such options as:

  • TNG The Next Generation of Site Building (a neat program assisting you in the transfer of your compiled data to your own website.)
  • (Where you rely on the web to maintain (and not lose) your genealogy files and search for new connections using Ancestry’s extensive databases, a particularly nice option.)
  • (Where you create a great place and maintain your genealogy.)
  • WeRelate (An intuiative place on the web where you search for connections and share your data.)

Newbies will be quite busy getting the accumulated genealogy typed into their newly-acquired genealogy management program. I do not recommend placing genealogy data online unless one is particularly well-versed in using genealogy software at home, are accustomed to the use of the internet, and are able to assure the privacy of living individuals. Perhaps having established a PO Box or other private mailbox should also be a prerequisite for security’s sake.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved. World War II photos on the web

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at Please address all inquiries to: launches the largest collection of World War II photos on the web

-Tens of thousands of photos and documents are made available for the first time on the web for historians, genealogists and the general public-

Lindon, UT - December 6, 2007 today announced the addition of thousands of US Air Force photos to their digital World War II collection. This release coincides with the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing, and contains tens of thousands of original World War II photos and documents from the National Archives. Among this collection are missing air crew reports, documents from allied military conferences and photos of Japanese air targets.

“They say that a picture is worth a thousand words,” says Russell Wilding, CEO of “What’s exciting about this collection of photos is they also include captions that tell stories of the people and events in the photos.” has added these new pictures and documents as part of a much larger, ongoing effort to preserve the heroic memories and stories of the brave men and women that served in World War II and other wars.

“We are providing priceless content from our archives and libraries that is only a part of a much larger picture,” continued Wilding, “While this is an extensive collection of history, we understand that many people out there have valuable pieces of history in their personal record collections within their own homes. We encourage everyone to upload their own photos, letters and documents contained in their old shoeboxes.” is leading the movement to preserve the documents and stories about World War II and invites everyone to join in this effort. Uploading photos and documents and creating memorial pages is completely free on To view samples of these photos and other World War II documents, visit

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

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Where DOES one put those research reports?

Regarding my previous blog entry Reporting findings & NON findings, Ol' Myrt has received several inquiries such as:

"Just where do you post those notes of items you have already searched when looking for an ancestor?"

"Does your annotated bibliography go in notes or in your research binder?"

"What if you are looking for an entire family?"


1. Immediately after viewing an item, I make notes of my findings (or non-findings) on the related printout from the Family History Library Catalog (or whatever library catalog I used to obtain the idea for looking at a book, fiche or microfilm.)

2. Toward the end of my research day, I leave time to send myself a summary email, working through each printout, being careful to transcribe the author, title, copyright, facility name, call number, and results of findings. This helps me review my "thinking" and assures me that I did not forget to look at a specific resource before I leave the facility. This is particulaly important when traveling to distant research facilities, where I won't have the luxury of coming back the next day to continue research.

3. Next, before leaving the facility, I file the printouts with a copy of the summary email in the temporary research folder for the surname I am searching. Ol' Myrt here has folders in her research briefcase labeled:
  • Barb's Isaac MOORE Research
  • SEVERINSON Research
  • Dolly (YOCKEY) Weiser Research
4. While taking the train home, I review my printouts and summary to be sure I didn't miss anything. Sometimes new ideas will come to me during this final review.

5. Once home, I retreive my email summary report, taking care to copy/paste it to the NOTES portion of each applicable ancestor's file in my genealogy management program. This way, if it takes a long time to get back to research, or someone asks me about a particular ancestor in the mean time, I can copy/paste what I have previously searched in an email reply.

6. Ideally, I carry no more than a few research folders to a research facility. Typically the folders contain the following documents to keep me oriented to the research assignment I'm working on at the moment. (I give myself several research assignments on each trip to the Library, often with the help of GenSmarts.)
  • Family group sheets
  • Pedigree chart
  • only copies of pertinent documents
If I decide to work another line, the SEVERINSON research folder can be slipped into the SEVERINSON family notebook on my library shelf. That way all info on a specific surname is in the appropriate surname notebook, with the exception of 2-3 research folders in my research briefcase. (OK, we're not talking about the 2-foot stack of photocopies sitting on the corner of my computer desk, yet to be scanned and filed. Nobody is perfect. I like to scan all new source documents and attach them to the appropriate ancestor's file in my genealogy management program.)

That last paragraph brings up a good point -- What is one to do with a new-found record that DOES mention an ancestor? Well, you have the document listed in the ancestors NOTES in your genealogy program, if you successfully copied/pasted it from your email summary report. Then it is merely a matter of scanning the document, attaching it to the apropriate ancestor, slipping your photocopy into a top-loading sheet protector, and filing it in the appropriate research notebook, right after the specific family group sheet mentioning the ancestor. You may elect to "attach the document to an ancestor" as follows:
  • (newer) As a source, with appropriate bibliographic citation as prompted by the genealogy software.
  • (older) As a multi-media file, where the caption is sort, but the "info" about the media file can provide the bibliographic details not necessarily prompted by the genealogy software.
I've been doing genealogy for so long, that I must admit I use the second method, as the newer source options weren't available in earlier versions of genealogy software.

Some research facilities provide equipment than scans from book or microfilm, so you won't have to worry about filing the document in the research notebook. However, I like to see all the accumulated documents in paper format filed after each applicable fmaily group sheet. Also, it is usually cheaper to print your own copy at home (about 4 cents per page compared to 25 cents or so at typical research facilities.)

Is everything scanned? Nope. It is all I can do to work through the current workload of research. SOMEDAY, I'll get around to going through my 63 research binders to scan & attach the older documents. The documents are cited in NOTES for each ancestor.

While it is true that a laptop might prove useful at the library, it is just plain heavy, and there is always the worry about theft, despite the wired lock-down mechanism. In case I need to look at another family in my database, I keep a PAF copy of my current database on a flash drive. I can view it at the Family History Library or any of its computerized Centers because I know they have a current copy of PAF on at least one computer. I've only rarely needed to do this, as my research folders are usually packed with enough assignments.

I do not transcribe directly to notes on my laptop (prefering the email interface) because I am trying to provide several check-points to review my work before committing the work to my hopefully reliable genealogy database. More often than not, Ol' Myrt has discovered that she needs to expand the bibliographic citation before it is placed in an ancestor's notes as mentioned in item #2 above.

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

(c) 2007 Pat Richley, All Rights Reserved.