Thursday, January 31, 2008 Celebrates Its First Anniversary

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: BusinessWire just reported the following about one of our favorite online resources. Please address all inquiries to: Takes History to a New Level by Combining Original Historical Documents with Social Networking

LINDON, Utah--(BUSINESS WIRE)--One year ago this month, partnered with the National Archives to digitize and make available records accessible for the first time on the internet. Since that time, has become the social networking site for history buffs and genealogists.

“When we think of social networking sites, we typically think of MySpace and Facebook,” said Russell Wilding, CEO of “Now we see a trend shifting towards sites, such as, that have integrated social networking tools with unique content.”
In its first year, has added over 25 million images of original historical documents, including records from the American Revolution, the Lincoln Assassination, FBI Case Files, and even UFO reports from Project Bluebook.

“We want to be more than just another record repository on the Web,” says Wilding. “We are building a social environment where people can share, collaborate, and discuss their discoveries with family, friends, and others with similar interests.”

Members on are encouraged to create their own web pages, collaborate with other members, and upload their own content for free. With millions of pages viewed every month and tens of thousands of members actively participating on the site, is barely hitting the tip of the iceberg.

“We have found that the majority of the visitors to the site are Baby Boomers and internet users over 60, commonly referred to as ‘Silver Surfers’,” explains Justin Schroepfer, Marketing Director at “This audience has a strong interest in history and has the time to engage in this type of activity.”

With an active audience and adding millions of new documents to the site every month, is certainly changing the way we think about and interact with the events and people of our past.

About Footnote, Inc. is a subscription website that features searchable original documents. It provides 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

Ancestry's California voter registration lists 1900-1914

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just broadcast through PRNewswire. For a practical review with many sample documents from the scanned image collection, see Ancestry's blog entry titled "New California Voter Registrations Reveal Celebrity Party Lines". Uncovers California's Political Persuasions With More Than 30 Million Names in Voter Registration Lists, 1900-1944

A Modern-Day California Gold Mine for Family History Research, 20th-Century Voter Lists Reveal Party Loyalties of California Residents and Celebrities

PROVO, Utah, Jan. 31 /PRNewswire/
--, the largest online resource for family history, today announced the launch of California Voter Registration Lists documenting more than 30 million names of Californians who registered to vote between 1900 and 1944. The collection, now searchable for the first time online, comes just prior to Super Tuesday, one of the most significant milestones in the 2008 race to the White House.

The unique collection reveals the political persuasions of California residents -- including famous celebrities who registered to vote during the first half of the 1900s. The collection also documents the voter's name, occupation, gender, age, street address, voting district, and city and county of residence. Many of the earliest voter registrations include detailed physical descriptions of the register and even naturalization information. Because the lists were updated every two years, the collection enables users to track their ancestors through time and serves as a valuable replacement for census records since California did not take state censuses.

"Peeking into the political preferences of our ancestors and celebrities is fascinating," said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for "Very few historical records actually reveal the opinions of our ancestors. With this collection of voter registrations, someone with California family ties can discover the political black sheep in the family or which ancestor changed their family's party affiliation forever."

Several California celebrities and political figures are found inside the collection, including: --
  • Actor and future U.S. President Ronald Reagan was registered to vote in 1942 as a Democrat and remained a registered party member until at least 1954. According to Reagan's 1958 voter registration, he and wife Nancy Reagan changed their party affiliation to Republican.
  • Lucille Ball is found in the collection registered as a Communist in 1936 and 1938, and was later asked to testify before Congress during McCarthy's Communist witch hunts.
  • According to the 1944 records, Ozzy and Harriett Nelson are both registered as Republicans. Harriett was employed as an "actress," and Ozzy as an "orchestra leader."
  • In a 1924 voter registration list, Walt Disney is found alongside brothers Robert and Roy. Walt and Robert were registered as Republicans, while Roy chose to "decline statement." In 1940, Walt's wife Lillian changed her party affiliation to Democrat, while Walt remained Republican.

"These records give evidence of a changing and growing America," said Smolenyak. "Every American with California roots can appreciate this collection and what it tells them about how their own family evolved over the years."

About -- Visit us at
With 25,000 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). For more information, visit The Generations Network media room at

View images of selected celebrities' voter registration lists at

CONTACT: Julia Burgon, +1-212-221-1616, ext. 124, , or Jetmira Karanxha, +1-212-221-1616, ext. 125, , both of Coltrin & Associates, for

Web site:

Family History Library closed 2 Feb 2008

Things are very busy in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah -- so much so that the Family History Library will be closed on Saturday in memory of LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley's death. This will impact researchers who plan to be in town late this week.

According to today's Deseret News, thousands are planning to attend the viewing. "The number of visitors paying their respects at the viewing today and Friday is expected to top 60,000 each day, but people waiting in line will be able to use the Conference Center's 21,000-seat auditorium instead of braving the cold outside."

Funeral services for President Hinckley, who passed away on the evening of January 27, 2008 will be held Saturday, February 2. For the latest official information, visit the Newsroom. For a listing of worldwide broadcast times and options (including Church satellite, television, and Internet), see the broadcast schedule.

Those not familiar with the Mormon faith may be interested in reading his obituary. "Hinckley, a grandson of Mormon pioneers, was president for nearly 13 years. He took over as president and prophet on March 12, 1995 and oversaw one of the greatest periods of expansion in church history. The number of temples worldwide more than doubled, from 49 to more than 120 and church membership grew from about 9 million to more than 12 million."

I've reserved my personal comments until now. President Hinckley was a kindly man with a sense of humor. These attributes combined with spiritual strength were particularly delightful to me. His human side shone through on many occasions as he traveled the globe visiting with people from all walks of life. He loved the youth of our church, as evidenced by his praise and words of encouragement for them. He wasn't afraid to show emotions, particularly over the death of his wife. In recalling her, he would say in a quiet voice that he knew what loneliness was. That speaks volumes about his capacity for love and devotion.

It is during the time of Gordon B. Hinckley's presidency that FamilySearch and FamilySearchIndexing have become household words among genealogists. One of his associates, Marlin K. Jensen explained that President Hinckley wanted the newFamilySearch (still in its infancy) to be easy enough for a little old lady in sneakers from Blackfoot, Idaho to be able to readily use it. The Family History Library's digital microfilm scanning and internet presentation of genealogically-significant source documents also begun during Hinckley's tenure.

For my grandchildren, President Hinckley is the only President of the Church they have known. This is truly the passing of an era.

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

© 2008 Pat Richley, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dachau Records One-Step

From: "Joy Rich"
Steve Morse and Peter Landé have just created a One-Step search application for the 160,000 people who were at Dachau Concentration Camp. Unlike many of Steve Morse other tools in which the search is done in the data stored on a different website, these records are on his site. The One-Step is in the Holocaust and Eastern Europe section.


Thank-you for letting me know about the Dachau Concentration Camp Records database.

When I traveled to Germany, France & Austria in 1995 for genealogy research, I visited Dachau with a good librarian friend, Diane. Of this heart-wrenching experience, I wrote:

"Although we have no known ancestors who were forced to Dachau, Diane & I felt it necessary to visit out of respect for the lives impacted by such terrible places during the Holocaust. The first of many concentration camps, Dachau (1933-1945) was unusual in that it held intellectuals, vagabonds and others who were considered a threat to the Nazi regime, not just people of Jewish faith.

Walking down "camp road" between the remaining foundations of bunk houses, the utter silence was deafening as it hit me each 2-inch stone placed within a bunkhouse foundation represents for me the life of a prisoner. (I remember Schindler's list, and the tradition of placing a stone on a tombstone.)

Each step I took drew me closer to the crematorium. I could not help but be reduced to tears by the contrast with my easy life in the late 20th century United States. Standing in the showers, with benefit of clothing and open doors, brought an unbelievable feeling of helpless despair at man's inhumanity to man. The triteness of that phrase was quickly replaced by the shock of the full-size photographs of people and shoes heaped in 5 foot piles like last week's trash, as the taken by the American liberators to show the townspeople what they had allowed to develop in their village. How these neighbors could ignore the particulate in the smoke from the ovens, I'll never know.

There are still ashes in the ovens."

From the Introduction to Dachau, Steve explains: "The extent of records for concentration camps varies widely, with the most extensive files available for camps located in Germany (Buchenwald, Dachau, Flossenbürg, Neuengamme, Ravensbrück and Sachsenhausen), France (Natzweiler), the Czech Republic (Theresienstadt) and Austria (Mauthausen), with partial records for such Polish camps as Stutthof, Auschwitz, Gross Rosen and Majdanek. Some of these records are available on the web thanks to the efforts of Jewishgen, but access to most remains restricted to major museums or memorial sites at camp locations. As noted above, there are virtually no records for the death camps such as Sobibor and Chelmno and extermination sites in Lithuania and the former Soviet Union.

The purpose of making this Dachau collection available was to illustrate the vast diversity of persons who became victims of the Nazi system. Dachau was the oldest concentration camp (see below) but it was chosen less for its historical interest than because its records are available without restriction, having been located at the United States National Archives and Records Administration and the United States Holocaust Museum. [...]

This database was initially developed by Jewishgen volunteers and then edited and revised by Peter Landé. Volunteers were working with the often poor legibility of Dachau records. An effort has been made to correct some of the errors which crept in, and this database will continue to be revised and supplemented periodically as this effort continues."

Here's how to use the Dachau Database:
1. Go to:
2. Type in some part of identifying information on one's ancestor.
3. Review this hit list for the most likely entry.
4. Click to view details, such as:

BIRTH DATE: Mar 11, 1888
RESIDENCE (town): Kölnhausen
RESIDENCE (street): Brachstr. 12

Research need not end here. Steve Morse recommends contacting his co-creator Peter Landé at, who will search other databases, if available, to supplement or correct what appears in the Dachau Database.

  • Virtual Dachau Tour (English) NOTE: I am surprised at how wide the street appears between the bunkhouses. Just figure that about 200,000+ people passed through the gates, some to be transferred, many to die -- only 30,000 liberated in 1945.

Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

© 2008 Pat Richley, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Master Genealogist

As I travel to speak with genealogists here and there, I always ask the group one question :

Which genealogy program are you using?

If you are considering The Master Genealogist, then you'll be encouraged by this notice from the Wholly Genes Newsletter, 28 January 2008, Issue 2008, Number 2:

"Effectively immediately, The Master Genealogist (TMG) Gold Edition will no longer be distributed with a printed Users Guide. As always, the Users Guide is included on the CD-ROM and is downloadable from The most extensive coverage of features and up-to-date changes are always available from the built-in Help file. It also offers the substantial benefit of being context-sensitive and every-word searchable so you can always find what you need.

Accordingly, the retail price of TMG Gold Edition has been reduced by $10.00 to just $69.95. Of course, users will also benefit by substantially lower shipping costs."

Among the offerings of TMG companion products, spotlights:

For the full list of companion products, please visit the Wholly Genes Community forum and click on "Companion Products."

Bravo to developer Bob Velke for taking advantage of internet downloading capability -- now a viable option since many online genealogists have switched to high-speed connections. There will always be newcomers to the world of genealogy, but with multiple computers being the norm for the average US household, potential TMG users are more than likely familiar with the keyboard, installation of a program & the location of help files within the program.

To participate in an online chat with TMG experts and users, visit The TMG newsletter explains "the Wholly Genes chat room is available to you at any time. Just go to and click on Public Chat in the Support menu. When you see the security warning, click on or . Then be patient because it could take 30 seconds or more (especially on a dial-up connection) to load the necessary chat tools. When prompted, simply enter a chat nickname and then click on Connect. " They've got a special chat scheduled for Saturday, 1 March 2008, at 2pm EST and again at 11pm Eastern Time. This is your opportunity to "talk" online with Wholly Genes representatives, as well as with other TMG users around the world.

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

© 2008 Pat Richley, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

BEST of the Internet for Genealogists 27 Jan 2008

"And the winner is..."

Well, with the award season coming up for Hollywood, Ol' Myrt here has decided to resurrect a old feature of her column's Sunday postings -- namely DearMYRTLE's BEST OF THE INTERNET FOR GENEALOGISTS AWARD. I think I'll redo the logo, since it was designed in 1995. Once I get to my home computer, I'll whip out the new logo, and send it along to this week's winners.

When I was first began giving out these awards there were no such things as podcasts or internet videos. We were just happy that we could finally share email with people who were on other service providers. (They weren't called ISPs yet!) Amazing how technology has facilitated exchange of genealogy information.

Please note that this week's award winners may have published the spotlighted content earlier, it is just that this week Ol' Myrt here stumbled across them and wishes to honor excellent work.

The BEST of the Internet for Genealogists (27 Jan 2008) awards go to:

1. BLOG: Brave Stephen K. Danko's "Goodbye to the Family Home" where he and his siblings found "Kodak’s Brownie Hawkeye Camera", "Towels in the Attic" & his mother's Polish Catechism for the Catholic Parochial Schools of the United States. Many of us have had to face closing up the family home one last time. Steve had the courage to document parquet floors and the radiator where they hung their Christmas stockings.

2. INSTRUCTION: Informative BYU/PBS Ancestors Series #211's Probate Records hosted by Scott Wilson on 24 minutes.

3. DATABASE SITE:'s 1880 US Federal Census Index. Expertly indexed using a double blind data entry method predating the revolutionary FamilySearchIndexing project. Includes links to's scanned images and references to both National Archives & Family History Library film numbers.

4. SCANNED IMAGE SITE:'s Pennsylvania Archives from the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. The Pennsylvania State Archives published 10 series of historical records in 135 volumes, covering the initial colonial settlement through the Civil War. 95% complete. NOTE from Footnote: "Don't confuse the Pennsylvania Archives, included here on the Footnote site, with the repository in Harrisburg where official colonial and state records are kept. These are the published Pennsylvania Archives, a well-known collection of early government records printed by the Commonwealth and relied upon by scholars, genealogists, and historians for valuable historical information for over a century."

5: PODCAST: Thoughtful Shamele Jordon's "Pedigree Analysis: Back to the Basics" Genealogy On Demand Podcast, 26 Feb 2007.

6. VIDEO: Zany Lisa Louise Cooke's Socks to America This documentary spoof chronicles the immigration of the fictitious "Sockish" people (aka Sock Puppets). Quotes from Mrs. Gertrude Kneehigh, and others who describe the voyage to the new world was lonesome because "no one seemed to speak sock." 2007.

7: COMMENTARY: "Finding living relatives" 40th edition Carnival of Genealogy, compiled & hosted by one very talented Jasia of Creative Gene. 2008.

8. INNOVATION: Everyman's practical genealogist Geoff Rasmussen's "Get More Done With Two Monitors" from the Legacy News blog, 2008. The technology has been around for years, but I don't recall any genealogists writing about it. There is a link for figuring out how to set this up. Ol' Myrt has discovered her own 22" monitor isn't big enough, so this is something I plan to do, using my old 19 inch monitor for my email & IM screen.

9. MOST INTERESTING THREAD: Always up on the news Dick Hillenbrand's "Wife of Google co-founder wants to test DNA of 98 per cent of the World!", 2008. While this was reported elsewhere, I appreciate the comment from a lineage society member who worries about disqualifying members based on DNA.

If you have suggestions for winning genealogy content be sure to drop me a line. After all, we get by with a little help from our friends.

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

© 2008 Pat Richley, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

If you could have dinner with four of your ancestors who would they be and why?

Ol' Myrt here wouldn't be so vainglorious as to assume her ancestors would prefer visiting the current time period for our family's GENEALOGICAL GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER. Besides, I'd like to experience eating hard tack in a makeshift fox hole, talk by moonlight and gaze at the stars on the open plains, aid my ancestor resting after injury on the 3rd day of battle at Gettysburg, or experience sailing across the Atlantic in the early 1700s.

I'm not all that brave, I'd just like to experience each ancestor's life as they knew it.

That would be an easy thing to do. Armed with with the knowledge that I could return to the comfort and convenience of my 21st century lifestyle, I could probably endure any discomfort for a few hours in exchange for the opportunity to look into an ancestor's eyes and listen to the voice of experience from an earlier time and place.

INTERESTING POSSIBILITIES for my guest list would be the following ancestors:

MOST RECENT - My parents, to see how they are doing and to find out if things really are like what we imagined as we talked during the last weeks before they passed away.

MOST MYSTERIOUS - Dolly Yockey (born 8 Jan 1824 of Franklin, PA) , since I'd like to know if she really left her husband Daniel Weiser & kids to join the circus, and how that worked out for her.

MOST ELUSIVE - Dolly Yockey's parents are as yet unknown to us, for we've only heard she was born in Pennsylvania. Her marriage certificate in Scotio, Ohio was no help; and pre-1850 US federal census records list several Yockey households with females the appropriate age with (unfortunately) only the names of heads of households. Wills & land records have not provided clues. But if they came to dinner, it would open a whole line of new research possibilities. I could send the invitation addressed "to whom it may concern" and trust the angels for appropriate delivery.

MOST COURAGEOUS - This is a tough category to define when one considers that living life without electricity, indoor plumbing, modern modes of transportation, medical technology, and a reliable food & water supply system was courageous for all of our pre-1900 ancestors. However, these sub-categories come to mind:
  • Civil War soldiers: William Gist Froman, Talburt Higgins & William Henry A. Phillips. The latter went by the name Henry at some times and William at other times. If it weren't for an affidavit from his wife Permelia Warren, this naming scheme would have confused me for another twenty years.
  • Mormon Pioneer Ancestors: David Dutton Yearsley, who died at Winter Quarters (Nebraska), and his wife Mary Ann Hoopes who went on to settle Ogden, Utah with their young children. I cannot imagine traveling by wagon, actually walking most of the way when one was accustomed to living in the only 3-story brick house in Nauvoo, Illinois.
  • Early Mormon Missionary: William Brockerman Wright (1836-1913) who went in a mission in the 1850s to the "Sandwich Islands" and took his wife and children with him. That means over the Sierra Nevada's by wagon train, then a slow boat to Hawaii. Gosh.
  • Early Welsh Quaker Ancestors - Well, it would be hard to narrow it down, but I'd like to visit the Radnor meeting in the late 17th century, just to see how things were run. I understand Quaker women had a more prominent role than in other religions of the time.
    MOST NOTORIOUS - This would be my maternal great-grandmother Louisa Mae Higgins who lived openly with a series of men while her much older US Civil War Union soldier husband William Gist Froman wasted away in the old soldier's home at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

MOST FAMOUS - A 1709 emigrant from Württemberg, Germany, Conrad Weiser, who as a teenager left his father & step-mother's camp in Weiserdorf, New York to live with the Indians. This experience served him well in later life as an Indian interpreter for the provincial government of Pennsylvania, and a Colonel during the French & Indian War. He later joined the cloister at Ephrata and served as a magistrate in Reading. His restored homestead still stands in Womelsdorf, PA.

OLDEST ORIGINAL RESEARCH - It was quite an accomplishment for Ol' Myrt here to unearth ancient documents linking six generations and developing the understanding that Charles Player and his wife Ann are the parents of our known original immigrant William Warner Player who was christened 3 March 1793 in Chelsea, Middlesex, England, and died 23 Feb 1873 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

AS WITH ALL DINNERS at Ol' Myrt's house, there is always room for one or two more. That would have to be the case for this ancestral dining feast. I simply cannot narrow it down to four.

At least one other genealogy blogger has already weighed in on this topic, which will become part of the 41st Carnival of Genealogy:

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

© 2008 Pat Richley, All Rights Reserved.

Give it your all

My daughters are into crafting beaded jewelery. It's more than a hobby -- it's an obsession. They know every type of spacer, glass & focus bead and have accumulated an impressive collection of findings (I just call them clasps). They have an inventory of chains, head pins and wire in sterling, 14k gold, gun metal, copper, and pewter. They understand which projects would best be done using silk thread or "fire-something" fishing line. Now that they are selling their creations, they've learned where to get the best prices from national wholesale distributors. They recently found a buyer who travels overseas, and have commissioned him to bring certain unusual items from Asia and India.

Contrast that with Ol' Myrt here who loves to purchase jewelery. I know I am a platinum and diamond sort of girl with conservative taste (and an even more conservative budget). Yet, I know how to plunk down my plastic to make that latest bauble my own.

Why should genealogists be any different than my daughters who are giving it their all?

Shouldn't you look past the quick-fix PURCHASE of your family history?

My daughters didn't know all the answers when they started, and neither do good genealogists. It takes time to become conversant with the tools of the trade.

Most hobbiest totally immerse themselves in the culture of their craft (stamp collecting and model trains come to mind). Why do people doing genealogy think they can get it all done back to the 1500s with just a few mouse clicks?

DearREADERS, this is going to be the year you get it all together. I KNOW you are willing or you wouldn't keep reading my blog. But, you won't get brownie points with your ancestors just for reading this column -- you must take action.

So it is time to get off the pot and become real genealogists. Quit spinning your wheels.
  1. Get that computer system working -- no more limping along. Dell has some great models, and they've partnered with Walmart for even better price breaks. Consider a Mac, Dick Eastman caved, and it didn't take much convincing.
  2. Upgrade to high speed if necessary. (I am hereby giving you official permission.)
  3. If that scanner hasn't worked for 3 years, it is time to get a new one. You'll be scanning those paper copies of proof documents before long.
  4. Find the best genealogy management program to meet your needs.
  5. Update supplies including fresh boxes of acid-free top-loading sheet protectors, file folders, etc.
  6. Pick up that 1GIG Flash drive. Better yet, how about a 4GIG, so you can carry your data, and record scanned images of source documents next time you visit your local Family History Centers.
  7. Speaking of Family History Centers, remember volunteers need your praise for keeping the doors open. The volunteer on shift when you arrive might not know how to help with your outer Mongolian research, but FHCs are an easy access point to over 3 million rolls of microfilm from 120 countries throughout the world.
  8. Schedule participation in at least three regional or national genealogical conferences this year. Suggestions for US & Canada residents include:
    Brigham Young University - Genealogy Major
    BYU Independent Study - Distance Education Courses - Online Learning
    BYU Conferences and Workshops - Family History and Genealogy
    FGS - Federation of Genealogical Societies
    local genealogical & historical society annual seminars
    MyAncestorsFound Expos
    NARA Regional Workshops
    NARA Know Your Records Series
    NGS - National Genealogical Society
    National Institute for Genealogical Studies (correspondence)
    New England Historic Genealogical Society
    Salt Lake Institute (UGA)
    Sam ford University - Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research
    UW Extension - Genealogy and Family History Certificate Program
  9. Study research outlines produced by the Family History Library for the places where your ancestors once lived. (You'll spend 30% of your time here.)
  10. Expand your software library to include:
    GenSmarts (to help figure out which resources to turn to next)
    Gene Lines or other timeline software.
    Mapping software like Ani-Map, Map Your Family Tree, & Family Atlas
    Medical family history software like GeneWeaver
    Better photo editing software like Adobe Photo Shop or Paint Shop Pro. You've got the old photos to repair, in addition to keeping up with the current generations.
  11. Calendar 1 week each month to peruse free access to the following reputable online genealogy resources before deciding to purchase membership: (British Isles) (Swedish)
  12. Join like-minded researchers by subscribing to several RootsWeb genealogy mailing lists for the surname or locality where your ancestors once lived. (They're free.)
  13. Write 15 minutes each week to painlessly compile your personal history using software like Personal Historian or Life Journal.
  14. Document family heirlooms (monocle, roll top desk, lace collar, family bible, teacup, broach, pickle crock) by taking a digital photo and typing up the history. Include this info in an email report to all known family members. Be sure to update your genealogy software to include the info by attaching it to the appropriate ancestor.
  15. Share your heirloom & ancestor stories with and/or
  16. Obtain catalogs & register for email flyers from genealogy book publishers like Ancestry, Avotaynu (Jewish), Genealogical Publishing, Heritage Books, Higginson Books & Southern Historical Press
  17. Figure out how to use movie editing software or slide-show software to produce family history CDs to share with your siblings & cousins.


A friend likes to point out there is a difference between merely "doing genealogy" and "being a genealogist". In my book, it is a matter of organization and dedication.

Family history isn't just throwing together a book you put on the coffee table to look at on Sunday afternoon. It is a quest to prove family relationships with the added bonus of putting each ancestor's life in historical perspective. I love getting to know the life & times of that US Civil War widow or Lincolnshire serf on my family tree.

Don't you?

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

© 2008 Pat Richley, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

St. George Family History EXPO Feb 8-9, 2008

Of course, I am participating -- but wouldn't you like to get out of the cold and snow and talk with like-minded genealogy nuts? Drew told me that it was 20 degrees in Tampa earlier this month! Dick Eastman told me that he is coming to the event, even though he isn't a presenter this year -- that's how impressed HE is about the St. George events sponsored by our friends at

From yesterday's email from, we read:

Just what you’ve been waiting for!
A two-day EXPO designed to
supercharge your ancestral quest.

WHAT: The St. George Family History EXPO
WHERE: Dixie Convention Center
1835 Convention Center Drive
St. George, UT
WHEN: 8 am to 6 pm ~ February 8 & 9, 2008
THEME: Pirates of the Pedigree

20 jam-packed hours of genealogy!

This year’s keynote theme “Pirates of the Pedigree” is all about saving our genealogical gems from the pirates of time, war, weather, and the ravages of misinterpretation. Come learn how to build your true family tree!

We’re honored to have Beau Sharbrough give the keynote address. He is the Vice President of Content at the historical documents website, Beau is a popular writer and lecturer on technical topics in genealogy, but has a humorous approach to getting the job done. He is a former president of GENTECH, the founder of the FGS Federation of Genealogical Societies and GENTECH websites, and formerly worked on tree products at

CLASSES has gathered the Creamof the Crop when it comes to knowledgeable and creative family history instructors. With this amazing group of teachers lined up you will have more than 101 fantastic classes to choose from including the latest about Swedish, Scandinavian, German, Hispanic, Italian, immigrant and US ancestry, and what to do about digital copies of documents in your library and on the net at FamilySearch,,,,,, Generation Maps, Family Tree Magazine, Roots Television and more. Find out how to decipher handwriting, write personal histories, document your sources, get organized, surf the web, and use the latest genealogy software programs. Learn about the records centers in our region that are chock full of information to help genealogists climb their family trees.

Mark your calendars for Friday night’s special banquet, "Come Away with Me": Time Travel Set to Music and dinner with Jean Wilcox Hibben!

A musical look at events that shaped America and the newly arrived immigrants. This presentation touches on some key moments in United States history that affected both the current residents and their future generations (us). Songs of Colonial times, the Civil War, Prohibition, Westward Migration, etc., along with songs about various phenomena that shaped the future for everyone, including the building of railroads, working in the mines, settling new areas, etc., create a musical picture of what our ancestors endured and enjoyed. This program suitable for all ages is sponsored by the Godfrey Memorial Library of Middletown, CT. All attendees will receive a complimentary Red Scholar 12 month membership to the website (valued at $35). Those nterested will want to sign up quickly, as reservations for this event are limited. Register today at

  • Jam-packed with over 60 displays and vendors
  • Test drive software programs
  • Browse books
  • Bargain hunt among preservation treasures
  • Demo the latest internet technologies
  • Have Pedigree Wall Charts printed onsite (Bring your digital file)

Thousands of dollars in fabulous prizes will be given out both days to registered attendees! Some of the prizes that will be given out are:

And the list goes on and on including software, books, family history
supplies and more.

Be prepared for a select group of instructors who will be on hand to answer your personal research questions. The value of a one-on-one consultation with a professional genealogist far exceeds the cost of admittance to this event. Professional answers will open your mind to new research strategies.


DearMYRTLE is so excited to help attendees discover missing pirates and honorable pioneers on their pedigree charts and says, “I’m bringing my clipboard so that I can focus on writing out actual genealogy prescriptions for what to do next!”

No need to put it off any longer! The Holiday’s are over, and the kids are back in school, so now is the time to focus on your genealogy and family history with help from ‘Pirates of the Pedigree’ a super great genealogy conference.

Register online at Or call 801.829.3295

Visit for further information 801.829.3295

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

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

New Blog -

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just posted by our friends at, a genealogy book publishing company of excellent repute. Myrt had a little challenge adding the RSS feed code to her RSS aggregator. Use the code:
(Remember this is an RSS feed code, to copy and paste to your RSS reader.)

Our New Blog -

Dear Genealogy Pointers Subscriber,
We are writing to tell you about our new blog, We hope you will check it out soon.

So why another genealogy blog, you may already be asking? Our purpose is to showcase our authors and their books/CDs and encourage you to contribute your own ideas and comments--it's that simple. As we say in our mission statement, "With 50 years of experience in the field, will use its blog to inform researchers at all levels and to promote dialog about a variety of topics including resources, techniques, and items of current interest. We’ll provide an inside look into the world of genealogical publishing through interviews with authors and dialogs with senior members of our publishing companies. We’ll also post excerpts from our publications ..., so there will always be something for you to read about."

The first blog article entitled “The Small World of the 17th Century" is now up running. We hope to post new articles approximately once a week. You will also find postings for upcoming speaking engagements by our authors, links to other blogs, and more items as time and space dictate.

We hope that you will become a regular visitor and invite you to participate with us freely and frequently. To access the blog, follow this link:

Your friends at

CONTACT US is the online home of Genealogical Publishing Company and its affiliate, Clearfield Company. For general information about ourcompanies and their products, e-mail us at To order on-line, you may e-mail us at To order other than online, you can:
1. Order by mail: 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260 - Baltimore, Maryland21211-1953
2. Fax your order to 1-410-752-8492
3. Call toll-free to our sales department at 1-800-296-6687

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Top 10 genealogy blogs & podcasts of 2007

A big thanks to Mark Tucker of ThinkGenealogy, who honored many of us in his blog posting earlier this month, which reads in part:

“Some of the best resources for learning about genealogy are blogs and
podcasts. Here are my picks for the
Top 10 Genealogy Blogs and Podcasts of 2007:

  1. Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter - Dick Eastman
  2. The Genealogy Guys Podcast - George G. Morgan & Drew Smith
  3. Genealogy Gems Podcast - Lisa Louise Cooke
  4. DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour - Pat Richley
  5. Family Roots Radio Genealogy Hour - Kory L. Meyerink
  6. The Genealogue - Chris Dunham
  7. Genealogy Blog - Joe Edmon, Leland Meitzler, et. al.
  8. Along Those Lines - George G. Morgan
  9. Genea-Musings - Randy Seaver
  10. The Genealogy Tech Podcast - Bill Puller”
I think this fellow Mark is a thinking man’s genealogist. Ol' Myrt here wants to spend time talking with him personally about innovation and communication in the world of genealogy. Get him together in a room with Paul Allen, Dick Eastman, Beau Sharbrough; then throw in a few CGs & AGs and – wow! What we could dream up!

Please take the time to add your comments to Mark’s posting What Do You Wish Genealogy Software Did?

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

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Chester County PA revisited

YUP! OlMyrt made a mistake. It was a simple, easy-to-make mistake, but one that prevented me from finding all the results I’d like to share with a newbie Chester County, PA researcher. Such short-sightedness on my part also prevented me from learning about a newer book containing info on some of my major family lines in that locality. [sigh].

You’ll probably make the same mistake as well, one of these days, so this blog is about how to avoid it.

[I should mention parenthetically that I know better. Don’t know why I didn’t use my noggin the first time around.]

In the DearMYRTLE blog entry titled "Locating Chester County, PA will indexes" I used the example of searching by typing the text:

“Chester County Will” (without the quote marks)

Sure, I came up with some great book titles and posted them with links in that original blog, but I missed several resources, because the titles weren’t worded in the same manner as my search phrase. After all, a search engine is just a software program on a computer -- and it thinks logically not creatively or intuitively like people do. Hopefully, even Ol' Myrt here will begin thinking more creatively when it comes to using search engines of any type.

OlMyrt inadvertently narrowed her search by specifying a modifier of “Chester County”. I did it by adding the word “will” to my search criteria, i.e. "Chester County will".

Had I searched for the phrase “Chester County” (without the word "will") several overlooked books would have come to my attention to share in my blog with that fellow researcher.

Today, being careful to search using the broader term "Chester County" as the search criteria, I discovered that Heritage Books has indeed another title concerning Chester County wills. Publisher Craig Scott pointed this out in an email reply to my earlier posting.

Sure, one must click the “next” button to get past listings for Chester County in other states, but the benefit is seeing other titles offered by that would likely round out Chester County research, most notably:

  • History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, with Genealogical and Biographical Sketches by J. Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope. Officially created by William Penn on November 25, 1682, along with Philadelphia and Bucks County, Chester County was one of the first established counties in the Pennsylvania Province. The first section of the book is a general history of the county dealing with such topics as: religion, education, agriculture, masons, mills, banks, judges, county officials, lawyers, doctors, etc. The second section of the book provides over three hundred pages of brief genealogical and biographical sketches of county residents. (1881), 2007, 8½x11, paper, index, 2 vols. plus CD, 1082 pp. $107.00 + shipping. F0206 ISBN: 0788402064. [I recall using an original copy of this book when researching on site in PA. It was quite bulky and heavy; and it contained clues about inter-relationships among several of my family lines, but I digress.]
  • Abstracts of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Land Records: Volume 1, 1681-1730 by Carol Bryant. One of the original three counties of Pennsylvania from which Lancaster (1729) and Delaware (1789) Counties were formed. Thus, these volumes cover a three-county area. Included are deeds, mortgages, bonds, leases/releases, and land patented in 1681 (recorded as deeds in 1688). Recorded dates begin in 1688 with apparent gaps in 1714 (only 2 entries) and 1715 (none). Numerous entries give clues to relationships and British origins. (1997), 2006, 5½x8½, paper, index, 272 pp. $23.50 + shipping. B0442 ISBN: 1585494429 [See also Vol 2-5)
  • First Families of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Volume 1 L0015 by John Pitts Launey. Introductory material includes data on who settled where and when in early Chester County, Pennsylvania; as well as information on early churches and meeting places. A wide variety of sources was used to create this volume of first families. Those families covered in this volume include the following: Allen, Baldwin, Bonsall, Green, Hibberd, Marshall, Mendenhall, Newlin, Palmer, Pyle, Roman, Sharpless, Townsend, Trimble and Vernon. (1999), 2003, 5½x8½, paper, index, 195 pp. $17.50 + shipping. L0015 ISBN: 1585490156
  • First Families of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Volume 2 by John Pitts Launey. This volume continues the series by providing data on who settled where and when in early Chester County, Pennsylvania; as well as information on early churches and meeting places. A wide variety of sources were used to create this volume of first families. Those families covered in this volume include the following: Ashbridge, Bail(e)y, Bennett, Cloud, Garrett, Gilpin, Harvey, Hollingsworth, Hoopes, Meredith, Painter, Peirce, Way, Woodward, and Yarnall. (2000), 2005, 5½x8½, paper, index, maps, 230 pp. $23.00 + shipping L0581 ISBN: 1585495816.

Now that last book I haven't heard about before and yet it contains info on the Hollingsworth, Hoopes, Wood(w)ard, Yarnall and Ashbridge families -- all familiar names in my research. Several were mentioned in my original bog -- but I missed them on the first overly-complicated "Chester County wills" search. Arrrgh!

OK, suppose that Chester County isn’t part of the title of a book. That is no problem, because the search engine at also looks at the description of each item.

But because I was too specific originally searching only for "Chester County wills" I totally missed a CD offering information about my friend’s ancestor, John Alexander. When I searched for "Chester County" this came up. Note the title is italicized.

I have Chester County Pennsylvania Welsh Quakers, and do not know if I would benefit from reading about Scottish or Scots/Irish immigrants to the area 66 years after the most recent arrival of my Welsh Quakers. My ancestors were still in the area when the Scots/Irish arrived. But I do know better than to make the mistake of saying I definitely don’t have any Scottish ancestors! Those are also famous last words for genealogists. Never say never, and all that, eh?

So, DearREADERS, this is a case of let's ALL improve on Ol' Myrt’s search techniques of last week, by typing in a variety of phrases for your search strings when doing any sort of web searches -- at or otherwise. Taking the time to do five or six searches rather than one might just bring a valuable tidbit of information to your computer desktop.

They say if you cannot spell the name Smith 20 different ways, you aren't trying hard enough.

We ARE looking for needles in haystacks, aren’t we?

To learn more about search techniques that work at most websites, see Google's page describing the basics of accomplishing advanced searches. For more indepth concepts see Advanced Search Tips.

And don't fret -- we all make mistakes. Fortunately we all get by with a little help from our friends. My thanks to for pointing out the additional Chester County, PA will book. And let this be a lesson -- that we should be talking about our family history research with others, since a fresh set of eyes can do wonders.

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

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

James L. Sorenson - Inventor - DNA Pioneer has died

James L. Sorenson, a pioneer in DNA research has died. A self-made billionaire, he used his wealth in many causes.

Genealogists in particular are aware of his efforts with DNA and genealogy. In 1999 he started the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. The group has collected more than 70,000 DNA samples, together with four-generation pedigree charts, from volunteers in more than 100 countries around the world.

I included the lengthy obituary article in my posting at:


Thanks for sharing this information. In addition to his DNA research, Mr. Sorenson has had a profound impact on our world in general - imagine life before heart monitors or even disposable paper surgical masks.

My heartfelt prayers are extended to his wife, children and other family members. I know what a tender, precious time this is for them. Perhaps they can take some comfort in knowing how literally millions of people were blessed by his inventiveness and generosity.

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

BGC Workshop ot NGS 2008 May (Kansas City)

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was distributed late yesterday by our friends at the National Genealogical Society. Please address all inquiries to: Jeanne Lund

Arlington, VA.
22 January 2008

Board for Certification of Genealogists’ Education Fund Workshop at the National Genealogical Society 2008 Annual Conference and Family History Fair in Kansas City, Missouri.

May 14-17, 2008, will mark the 30th Annual National Genealogical Society Conference in the States and Family History Fair. 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.

Family historians and genealogists who would like to further their personal education and experience in genealogy should consider attending the BCG Education Fund Workshop – which will be held on Tuesday, 13 May 2008, at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. The workshop will be run by Barbara Matthews, CG, and Thomas W. Jones, CG, CGL, FASG.

The workshop, entitled Putting Skills to Work: Evaluation and Documentation, is all all-day workshop that is open to all genealogists. There is a fee of $90 for the workshop, which includes lunch and the workshop syllabus. The workshop will provide hands-on practice in two important genealogical skills: evaluating evidence and documenting genealogical research. All attendees will participate in sessions about both topics. Each session will include lecture time to review the pertinent standards, hands-on practice time, a review of the practice sessions, and a final wrap-up. Barbara Mathews, Chair of the BCG Education Fund, will lead the sessions on evaluation and Thomas Jones will lead the sessions on documentation.

Attendance is limited to 60 people, so those interested are encouraged to sign up early. Further information on this workshop and BCG certification can be found on the BCG website at:

The main NGS Conference will be held Wednesday, 14 May, through Saturday, 17 May, at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center hotel downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The conference features 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.

Midwest research, homesteading records, military records, National Archives records, writing, state research sources, 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.

Numerous social events will be held throughout the conference including a Show Me Missouri Wines reception; reception at Mid-Continent Public Library; reception at the National World War I Museum; ISFHWE dinner and NGS banquet. There will also be several luncheons by participating genealogical organizations each day of the conference. (Charges for social events vary; see the brochure for details.)

The full program is available online at Online registration is now open. A full conference brochure PDF can be downloaded at the NGS website.

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)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Scotlands People & FindMyPast to merge

In an article, "Scotland Online buys family history website" by Mark Smith, Deputy Business Editor of The Herald we find an announcement of the purchase of by Scotland Online which already owns

FindMyPast has extensive United Kingdom records in index and scanned image format including complete birth, marriage & death indexes; census; passenger lists; family trees, the National Burial Index; civil service evidence of age 1752-1948; GRW shareholders 1835-1910, a variety of military records.

The Scotland’s People website is the result of a partnership between General Register Office for Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon enabled by Scotland Online. Offerings include indexes and scanned images of old parish registers (1553-1854), census, wills & testaments in addition to birth, marriage & death records.

Both sites are considered among the top tier genealogy research sites for their localities, and are “pay per view” membership sites.

It would seem the consolidation of efforts should save money on site development and maintenance, freeing up dollars to digitizing records. This may provide et al with healthier competition. Hopefully this will translate to keeping costs down for subscribers of all services.

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

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Myrt to speak - BYU 14-15 March 2008

Ol’ Myrt is pleased to announce her upcoming participation in the BYU Computerized Family History and Genealogy Conference. From the conference web page we read:

“The eleventh annual Computerized Genealogy Conference at Brigham Young University is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, March 14 and 15, 2008. This conference is designed to be a how-to guide for everyone—beginning, intermediate, and advanced researchers. The focus of the conference is to help everyone learn how new computer programs and advancements in existing programs can mprove family history and genealogy work.

Some of the main presenters for this conference include Paul Allen, CEO of World Vital Records; Alan Mann, IT manager, Family History Library, Salt Lake City; Kory Meyerink, family history professor at BYU and vice president, ProGenealogist; Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry; Rick Crume, author and family history presenter; and Pat Richley, creator of DearMYRTLE.

In addition, representatives from the Family and Church History Department will be discussing how to effectively use LDS Church family history programs. Also this year will be new classes by vendors of products that aid family history work. The conference is sponsored by the BYU Center for Family History and Genealogy, LDS Family History Library, and BYU’s Division of Continuing Education. Anyone with an interest in family history or genealogy is invited to attend and meet with fellow genealogists and computer enthusiasts.”

For pricing, schedules, or additional program and registration information, visit the BYU web site at:

BYU Conferences and Workshops
136 Harman Continuing Education Building
Provo, UT 84602-1516
(801) 422-4853

DearMYRTLE's presentations include:

  • Finding Digital Items in the Family History Library Catalog
  • Listening to Podcasts: Learn while jogging
  • Making Podcasts: Getting the word out
  • Blogging: An Alternative for Family & Society Newsletters (2 presentations)

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

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Locating Chester County, PA will indexes

See also: Chester County PA revisited

From: Karen P
Why is it that there are only a handful of general-purpose genealogy books for sale at our local bookstore, even though it is part of a national chain? I've heard about a book that has abstracts of Chester County, Pennsylvania wills for the early to mid-1700s. Can you help me identify the book? Just where do you get the books you are always telling us about? I am at a loss.

Genealogy books are typically sold online through genealogy publishers' websites and at major genealogy conferences and seminars by publishers and genealogy book vendors. Ol' Myrt will answer your question in 4 parts:
  • Titles from Heritage Books
  • How OCLC & ILL can help
  • Family History Library's Microform
  • Family History Library's Request for Photocopies Form

Titles from Heritage Books
I recently visited with the owner of Willow Bend Books & Heritage Books the largest genealogy book publisher with about 3,000 titles in print. Craig Scott, MA, CG explained that new titles are published at a rate of 20-30 or so a month. I never realized this amount of work was being accomplished. Many of his books are reprints of old county histories, others are items enhanced by new indices to make them easier to use.

Being a Chester County researcher, (with all my Welsh Quaker ancestors) Ol' Myrt here recalls a will book was re-released in December 2007 by Heritage Books. I searched the website and discovered the following offerings. If your research goes like mine, you will quickly learn that you have other family lines in the area. Having the book on your shelf, or gifiting the local library with your copy, assures access for future research. We might even prove to be cousins, if you have Malin, Valentine, Worral, Hoopes, Yearsley, and Dutton.

  • Wills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1713-1748 - Based on the Work of Jacob Martin. Names of testator, heirs, trustees, guardians, executors, and other persons named in the will; dates will was written and proved. (1993), 2007, 5½x8½ paper, index, 192 pp. $17.50 + shipping. M0261 ISBN: 1585492612

  • Wills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1766-1778 - Jacob Martin. Basic information on the records of administration was included in Martin's work along with data gathered by him from deeds and other court records, all of which has been included here. Abstracts give names of testator, heirs, trustees, guardians, executors, and other persons named in the will; dates proved, etc. (1995), 2007, 5½x8½, paper, index, 166 pp. $18.00 + shipping M0309 ISBN: 1585493090

  • The Wills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1778-1800 - Jacob Martin. Names of testator, heirs, trustees, guardians, executors, and other persons named in the will; dates will was written and proved. (1998), 2007, 5½x8½, paper, index, 358 pp. $30.50 + shipping ISBN: 1585490016

  • Wills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1801-1825 - Jacob Martin. Names of testator, heirs, trustees, guardians, executors, and other persons named in the will; dates will was written and proved. (1998), 2000, 5½x8½, paper, index, 524 pp. $42.00 + shipping M0465 ISBN: 1585494658

How OCLC's WorldCat & ILL can help
Obviously, the Family History Library does not have a copy of every genealogy book ever written. Neither does the Library of Congress, for that matter. But OCLC's WorldCat can help you find a title quickly. Wikipedia explains "More than 60,000 libraries in 112 countries and territories around the world use OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalog, lend and preserve library materials." That is a lot of libraries!

Follow Ol' Myrt steps using OCLC's WorldCat to locate other indices of Chester County, PA wills:

1. Go to:

2. Type "Chester County Wills" in the search box (without quotes) and press the search button.

3. Browse through the hit list (notice there are some for Chester County, South Carolina.)

4. Click a title that appears interesting. For instance, I found the other will index book that I used with on site research. I noticed that between the Lapp collection (listed below), and the Martin series (listed above) there were differences. Neither listed exactly what the other had included. Some names were missing from each that were found in one or two of the others.

I felt that a complete study of Chester County, PA wills wasn't complete without consulting all three indices, and then looking at the original wills in question.

Once you've clicked on a title in WorldCat, you can:

  • Cite the item
  • Export it to EndNote or RefWorks
  • Purchase it
  • Save the page
  • Share the page
  • Add it to your list at Facebook, Google, Digg, Reddit, YahooMyWeb, StumbleUpon, Furl, Ask, Favorites,, Technorati and more.
  • Read details about the book
  • Read reviews
  • Create a review
  • Find the book at a library near you

That is where ILL may come in to play. ILL means "inter-library loan, which is described at Wikipedia as a process where "sometimes for a small fee, or possibly for no cost, a library that has the item will loan or copy it, and the item is transported to the requestor's library to be checked out or used only within the library."

Family History Library's Microforms
You may find the book you need is not available through ILL. This happens all too frequently since genealogy books are usually part of the reference section of a library. If the Family History Library (FHL) has the book in question, they won't loan it to you, but the title may be available on microfilm or microfiche, particularly if it is out of copyright.

Here's the process for finding the records you seek through the FHL:

1. Go to the Family History Library Catalog at

2. Click for a "place" search.

3. Type "Chester" as part of "Pennsylvania" (no quotes and no abbreviations).

4. Of the list of Pennsylvania places with Chester in the name, choose: "Pennsylvania, Chester"

5. Scroll down and click on "Probate records - Indexes" to find the following entries. The smaller text is from the detailed entries for each item.

Family History Library's "Requests for Photocopies" form
For the sake of argument, let's pretend the last entry is only available in book format, which the FHL will not lend. A FHL volunteer can copy a few pages from the index (with your family's surname) and the second a second request for the pages cited in the index. Since you've already found the item in the FHLCatalog (listed above) its only a matter of:

  • Go to the Request for Photocopies form. There is an interactive online form, that you can complete, then print out and send to the Photoduplication Unit, whose address appears at the top of the form.
  • Indicate method of payment - VISA/MC, check, money order
  • Scroll down to the "Books" portion of the multiple-use form and type the:
    -- FHL Book Number: 974.813 P22
    -- Title: Index to Chester County, Pennsylvania, wills and intestate records, 1713-1850
    -- Author: Anderson, Bart.
    -- Name of individual: Malin
    -- Page numbers: index & title page

    (I copied and pasted the info from the FHLCatalog entry to the form. Click the graphic to view a larger version.)

  • Review photocopies once received, then complete a second form indicating desired pages of text from the body of the book.

You'll have to be desperate for a look at the book, since each photocopy is $4. So if there are 4 pages, it is $16. But if this is the only way you can access the book, then it is cheaper than plane fare to Salt Lake and room and board once you get there. But then I cannot meet you in person if we were to meet at the Family History Library.

So, DearKAREN, with a little effort, you can discover many resources about early-to-mid 18th century Chester County, Pennsylvania wills, and use this format for other searches in your research plan.

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

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.