Tuesday, May 27, 2008

DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour genealogy podcast

It has been a busy month with Ol' Myrt here out of town to attend the NGS Conference in Kansas City, and to do a little cemetery hopping on the way back. Finally, DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour 27 May 2008 genealogy podcast is available for listening via computer or transferred to any .mp3 player if you choose to download the file. An alternative would be to download the file automatically via iTunes. You don’t need an iPod to listen. For a complete list of current DearMYRTLE podcasts visit:
http://podcasts.dearmyrtle.com .


Lisa Alzo, M. F. A. to discuss the 2008 Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies. Lisa serves the Federation as 2nd Vice President. She is also a freelance writer, instructor, and lecturer and the author of six books and numerous magazine articles. She also teaches for Genclass.com. Lisa can be reached at www.lisaalzo.com.

FEEFHS International Conference
August 1-3, 2008Registration Form (
PDF)(Word)PayPal (Form)Conference Information (PDF)(Word)Pittsburgh Airport Marriott Hotel (Web site)Speaker List (PDF)(Word)Preliminary Program (PDF)(Word)Vendor Information (PDF)(Word)

See also the FEEFHS Journal in addition to the eJournal produced by this organization.

BACKING UP! DO IT NOW OR REGRET IT LATER is the focus of the interview with Elizabeth Powel Crowe, author of Genealogy Online 8th edition, hot of the presses! You'll find blog Crowe's Nest at www.epcrowe.com. We cannot overlook the importance of backing up your important documents, and email address book in addition to your genealogy data and scanned images. See also Elizabeth's blog entry titled Back up a bit.

Myrt will also discuss a few impressions of the 2008 National Genealogical Society Conference held last week in Kansas City.

MightyMouse TOUR
DearMYRTLE's BEST of the Internet for Genealogists Award 25 May 2008 list is the first to include the "plus 1" category for items that don't fit the norm. Mention here is an indication from Ol' Myrt here that the following websites are certainly worth your effort to explore.

From the BookShelf


  • Second Life (Once you've joined, and it's free, search for Clarise Beaumont or DearMYRTLE Writer.)
  • Family History Library Catalog at www.FamilySearch.org
  • GenSmarts
  • Milseán Chocolate Shoppe(Myrt's nephew's in-laws have created a wonderful chocolate bark of either white or dark chocolate with almonds and/or cranberries.) Milseán (meel-shawn), in Gaelic (Ireland's ancestral language) means "Sweet Things". Visit the retail shoppe at the renovated Aldergrove Fire Hall, at 2900 272nd Street, in Aldergrove, BC or order online.
  • I Have A Song For You Set from BriteMusic.comBrite Music has great kids' music, songs & activity books. The music is also available in .mp3 format for your iPod.
    During the podcast you'll hear "I love my Grandpa-pa". Ol' Myrt here particularly likes "I know my number, my telephone number" from the Safety Kids CD.


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

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Whistle while you work

Remember that old time Disney tune “Whistle While You Work” of Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs fame? Our mothers taught us to sing a little while getting those unpleasant jobs DONE!

Well, if your aging singing voice is anything like mine, it might be best for those in your immediate environment if you take a slightly different course of action, with a decidedly 21st century slant.

So why not listen to podcasts while you work?

Technology of iPods and other MP3 players permit each listener an opportunity to customize the lineup to meet the exact interests and specifications.

Bella Inglewood met with me this morning in Second Life’s Just Genealogy area, and told me she got her son’s room cleaned up and most of the laundry folded yesterday while listening to The Genealogy Guys, Genealogy Gems and DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour genealogy podcasts.

LaDonna is thinking along the same line.

At the NGS Conference in Kansas City last week, I met certified genealogist LaDonna Gardner in Bob McLearen’s Genealogy Pub and she told me “I listen to your DearMYRTLE podcasts and Drew & George’s Genealogy Guys podcasts as well on Sundays while I’m catching up on organizing my files. It sure does make a few hours of filing less of a chore.”

Now THAT is one way to find time to file all those genealogy photocopies of proof documents!

So here’s a new set of words for that old familiar tune:


(to the tune of Whistle While You Work)

Listen while you work
Don’t be a messy jerk
Learn the latest research tricks
Just listen while you work.

My apologies to the true poets in the audience.

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

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com.
Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

BEST of the Internet for Genealogists Award 25 May 2008

Sundays find me happy to post DearMYRTLE's BEST of the Internet for Genealogists Award Winners. Its always a game of catch-up when coming home from 12 days of travel, but here we go:

DearMYRTLE's Best of the Internet for Genealogists Award 25 May 2008 is the first list to include the "plus 1" category for items that don't fit the norm. Mention here is an indication from Ol' Myrt here that the following websites are certainly worth your effort to explore.

BLOG: Enumerate Me!...and him...and her...and her... posted 23 May 2008 at Genealogy Gems News. Thanks to Lisa Louise Cooke for a whimsical look at entries in US federal census records. Sure enough, she has documented evidence that DearMYRTLE is a real person, not just a figment of my overactive imagination.

INSTRUCTION: At the risk of being self-serving, it is my joy to announce the debut of the brand new Teach Genealogy Blog & related website with links for Family History Consultants and genealogy instructors. I created this online resource to chronicle adventures with my little genealogy research group here in Salt Lake City, and to provide an online place for folks to find copies of handouts and resource material we discuss during our pow-wows. NOTE: We're meeting at the 90th South Trax station for a field trip to the Family History Library June 7th. Hope some more will join our merry band.

DATABASE SITE: The JewishGen Communities Database and JewishGen ShtetlSeeker. When you discover the name of the town of origin in the old world, it can be frustrating because of changes brought on bylanguage differences. It may even be that the town no longer exists. Use this site to locate an ancestral town. Fortunately if you are a little off on the spelling, the site lists optional sound-alike spellings for your consideration.

SCANNED IMAGE SITE: Births & Baptisms 1553-1854 posted at ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk.

VIDEO: RootsTelevision interview with Elaine Hirtle UDC .Though tomorrow is Memorial Day, and we traditionally think of soldiers and sailors who fought valiantly for the US cause. However, as thoughtful genealogists, we realize that civil war and strife among peoples of a nation cause heartache for all families involved. The story here in the US with the War Between the States is no exception.

COMMENTARY: Growing an ancestor Garden posted 27 May 2008 at TheChartChick.com was short and sweet, but it brought tears to my eyes. It is amazing how color and textures, and specific types of flowers, tomatoes and shrubs remind us of home.

INNOVATION: MyAncestorsFound.com's method of providing low-cost genealogy expos to thousands of attendees is indeed innovative. President Holly Hansen's group was the first to offer the syllabus in .pdf format on CD, cutting costs significantly. She doesn't pay her speakers and that keeps her costs down, though it is surprising how much it costs to rent a big place like the Dixie Center in St. George. The next MAF expo will be held in Mesa, Arizona in November 2008.

MOST INTERESTING THREAD: Dick Eastman's blog entry I have a complaint concerning many genealogists posted 22 May 2008 at www.eogn.com. I agree with Dick 100%. There is simply no free lunch, and eventually we must pay the piper. Good genealogy websites are no exception.

ETHNIC STUDIES: RootsWeb's Palatine site. Many early arriving German groups are mentioned in this collection.

PLUS ONE: Going Home posted at footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog. This is the story of the "girl with the pears" photo unearthed in an antique shop, and thankfully reunited with the family in question.

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

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

This and previous blog entries are fully searchable by going to
http://blog.DearMYRTLE.com. Myrt welcomes queries and research challenges, but regrets she is unable to answer each personally.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dating Old Military Photos Project

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Thanks to Craig Scott, MA, CG for forwarding this information about a new Family Chronicle publication. Please address all inquiries to militaryphotos@moorshead.com.

"Family Chronicle, in conjunction with our sister publications Internet Genealogy and Discovering Family History, is looking for old military uniform photographs of your ancestors for a tentative book (similar to our bestselling Dating Old Photographs series).

If you have photos you would like to submit, and they were taken between the Mexican-American War and the end of World War One, we want to hear from you!

  • Please do not send images from World War Two.
  • Please note: The picture doesn't have to depict an American soldier.
  • Please note: Include as much pertinent data as possible: subject’s name, regiment, unit, conflict, etc.
  • We are unable to date/identify unknown subjects and these will not be used.

We will credit all photos used and send two copies of the publication to each person whose photos we use.

  • Do not send images where the date, conflict, regiment or army has to be guessed or is unknown.
  • Please do not send us original photos, as they will not be returned.
  • Copies made on a color photocopier are okay.
  • If you have access to a scanner, you can send us a CD/disk (PC format) or attach an image file (JPEG, 200 dpi or higher, no more than three attachments) via e-mail (preferred).
  • More than one e-mail is acceptable.

Please include complete name and address of sender with e-mail or mail-in submissions. E-mail photos to militaryphotos@moorshead.com.

Alternately, mail photos to:
Family Chronicle
PO Box 194
Niagara Falls, NY 14304


Family Chronicle
505 Consumers Road
Suite 500
Toronto, ON M2J 4V8

We regret that we cannot accept original photos as these will not be returned."

SOURCE: http://familychronicle.com/militaryphotos.htm

FindMyPast adds Yorkshire burial records

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at FindMyPast.com. Please address all inquiries to info@findmypast.com.


Parish records from Yorkshire online nowLeading UK family history website findmypast.com has today announced that it has added to its online collection of over 10 million National Burial Index records, which go back to 1538.

Working in partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS), findmypast.com has published online burial index records from the parish of Selby. These comprise over 10,000 records from Selby cemetery in the West Riding of Yorkshire, as well as over 800 records from Bubwith All Saints in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

These parish records are crucial for any family historian as they predate the start of civil registration in England and Wales in 1837 - a seemingly insurmountable brick wall for many. The index gives the date and place of burial as well as age at death.

The records can be searched as part of an Explorer subscription to the findmypast website, or with pay-per-view units.More parish records will be added to the website over the coming months.

About findmypast.com
Leading UK family history website findmypast.com (formerly 1837online.com) was the first company to make the complete birth, marriage and death indexes for England & Wales available online in April 2003. Following the transcription, scanning and indexing of over two million images, the company launched the first website to allow the public easy and fast access to the complete indexes, which until then had only been available on microfiche film in specialist archives and libraries. The launch was instrumental in creating the widespread and growing interest in genealogy seen in the UK today.

Findmypast has subsequently digitised many more family history records and now offers access to over 500 million records dating as far back as 1538. This allows family historians and novice genealogists to search for their ancestors among comprehensive collections of military records, census, migration, occupation directories, and current electoral roll data, as well as the original comprehensive birth, marriage and death records.

In November 2006 findmypast launched the ancestorsonboard.com microsite in association with The National Archives to publish outbound passenger lists for long-distance voyages departing all British ports between 1890 and 1960.As well as providing access to historical records, findmypast is also developing a range of online tools to help people discover and share their family history more easily, beginning with the launch of Family Tree Explorer in July 2007.

Over 1.7 million people in the UK have researched their family trees and findmypast.com has over 800,000 active registered users, revealing the mass appeal of genealogy and findmypast.com's position as the leading family history website based in the UK. In April 2007 findmypast's then parent company Title Research Group received the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2007 in recognition of their achievement.

Findmypast.com was acquired in December 2007 by Scotland Online, the company which won The National Archives' tender to publish online the 1911 census.

Pilot RecordSearch collection at FamilySearch

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at FamilySearch.org. This is part of the Family History Libary's transition from microfilm to digital images - a very exciting prospect for genealogists. Providing feedback within the RecordSearch area will give the FamilySearch programmers the information needed to improve reader interface. So, please take the time to describe your search experience so they can tweak the process.

Subject: FamilySearch Update: New collections added to the Pilot RecordSearch collection

From Paul Nauta,
The following unindexed digital image or indexed record collections were recently added to the FamilySearch Record Search test site.

Patrons can search these new records and millions of others for free at at http://pilot.familysearch.org/. The pilot site is testing new search engine technologies or applications that will ultimately be used on FamilySearch.org.

User feedback is encouraged by using the Feedback utility on the test site.

Collection Name
Indexed Record Count
Unindexed Digital Image Count

1870 United States Census

1880 United States Census
Updated with add'l authorities

1900 United States Census
Updated with add'l relationships

Germany Baptisms 1700-1900

Germany Marriages 1700-1900

Mexico Baptisms 1700-1900

Mexico Marriages 1700-1900

Michigan Births 1867-1902

Michigan Deaths 1867-1897

Michigan Marriages 1868-1925

West Virginia Births 1853-1930

West Virginia Deaths 1853-1970
Updated with add'l data

West Virginia Marriages 1853-1970


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Geni.com facilitates GEDCOM imports

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: I learned about this enhancement of the social netowrking site Geni.com website to include the uploading of GEDCOM files while attending the 2008 NGS Conference in the States in Kansas City last week. I guess you could say I am finally catching up with my blogging. Please address all Genie questions to joanne@geni.com

Geni Enables Genealogy Community to Build Family Trees From GEDCOM Files in Bid to Become #1 Family Networking Site

Top rated genealogy and family networking site Geni.com announced today that genealogists can now import their family history into Geni using the popular GEDCOM format. The launch of this features makes it easy to move their research into Geni to easily share it with their family.

Los Angeles, Calif. (PRWEB) May 12, 2008 -- Geni (www.geni.com), the popular social network with a genealogy twist, today gave genealogists the ability to upload their family history from other programs to the Geni site using the industry standard GEDCOM file format. GEDCOM is an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunication and is used to exchange data between genealogy applications.

David Sacks, CEO of Geni, stated, "Genealogists have been asking for the ability to import their GEDCOM files to Geni and now they can." He added "Genealogists who have extensive files representing years of research have been waiting for this feature to launch. Now they don't need to duplicate the work they had done previously." He continued, "Sharing their research with their family in a simple-to-understand Geni tree encourages others in the family to join in the fun and collaboratively build a scrapbook of the family for future generations."

Since Geni's launch in January 2007 as a simple tool to create a family tree, Geni has continued adding features and enhancements. Among these additions are enhanced privacy settings, unlimited photo sharing and tagging, birthday reminders, personal and family timelines, family discussion, virtual gifts, map and calendar.

Geni was a winner of the 2007 Webware 100 Awards, which named it one of the top 100 sites on the internet and one of the top 10 reference sites. It is by far the youngest site to receive this honor. It was nominated again in 2008 in the social (networking) category.

About Geni.com
Geni.com is a privately held company headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Geni was founded by former executives and early employees of PayPal, Yahoo! Groups, Ebay, and Tribe. It is backed by venture capital firms Founders Fund and Charles River Ventures. For more information visit the company's web site at www.geni.com.

JoAnne Rockower
Director, Community and Media Outreach
Geni, Inc. www.geni.com

DNA, GenTree & The Osmonds

Last week Ol’ Myrt here blogged about DNA, BYU & GeneTree and how those of us who previously participated in the Brigham Young University DNA blood test draw could now “convert” our BYU data to the GeneTree site for accessing our mtDNA results.

Fortunately, a reader noticed the link is missing for completing the transfer, so here it is: http://www.genetree.com/dna/unlock_smgf

You might learn a bit more about this firm from a recent press release posted at http://tinyurl.com/6nysbj

GeneTree to Join Osmond Family 50th Anniversary Worldwide Concert Tour
Osmonds Seek “Lost Family Members;” Major Concert Tour Will Highlight the
Importance of Family and the Osmond Family’s Collaboration with GeneTree to
Discover Previously Unknown Osmond Relatives in the U.S., Great Britain,
Ireland, Scotland and Australia; Other Tour Locations Will Include Taiwan,
Philippines and Malaysia

DNA-enabled family history-sharing Web site, today announced that the company
will be joining the Osmonds, one of the world’s best-known entertainment
families, on its 50th Anniversary worldwide concert tour.

GeneTree is currently collaborating with the Osmonds to promote the concept of extended family, and will work with the family to find and connect with unknown relatives living throughout the world.

“Family is one of the most powerful positive influences in each of our lives,” said Alan Osmond, the oldest performing member of the Osmond family. “We are delighted to collaborate with GeneTree to promote the importance of family connections and to emphasize the close genetic connection we all share as members of a single human family.”

The Osmond family homepage, www.Osmond.com, features a prominent link to Osmonds.GeneTree.com, under the heading, “Hi Cousin! Are You An Osmond?” The Osmonds GeneTree link encourages people throughout the world to learn more about their genetic heritage by registering for a free GeneTree membership account, and ordering and submitting a cost-effective GeneTree DNA test kit. GeneTree members can use the site to find and contact previously unknown relatives in more than 170 countries, utilizing the world’s most diverse collection of DNA samples. In addition, GeneTree is publishing the Osmond family tree and family photos on the site and sending out an exclusive 50th Anniversary keepsake photo of the Osmonds with every DNA kit order.

A GeneTree banner illustrating Osmonds.GeneTree.com will also be placed at venues throughout the Osmond 50th Anniversary tour, and a GeneTree brochure inviting
people to join GeneTree and learn whether they are related to the Osmonds will be included in each of the concert programs.

During the course of the tour, the Osmonds and GeneTree will meet with newly discovered relatives who learned of their family connection through Osmonds.GeneTree.com .

The tour kicked off May 18 with a performance in Belfast, Ireland, followed
by performances in Glasgow, Scotland (May 20); Newcastle (May 22), Sheffield
(May 23), Manchester (May 24), Birmingham (May 26), Cardiff (May 27 and May 28), London Wembley Arena (May 30) and London 02 Arena (June 1) in Great Britain; Perth, Australia (June 5); Taipei, Taiwan (June 8); Manila, Philippines (June
14); Singapore (June 17); and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (June 21).

“It is a genuine honor to work with the Osmonds in broadening and deepening family
connections for people throughout the world,” said John Winger, vice president of marketing for GeneTree. “It’s difficult to imagine a group of entertainers who represent the ideals and reality of family better than the Osmonds.”

The Osmond family is one of the world’s best-known and most popular entertainment families. The Osmonds – originally consisting of performing brothers Alan, Wayne, Merrill and Jay – entered the world music stage with a breakout performance at Disneyland, followed by regular appearances on the Andy Williams Show in the early 1960s. The group later added brothers Donny and Jimmy and the family’s only sister, Marie, to the mix. Older brothers George Jr. and Thomas are both legally deaf and do not sing with the family, although they have appeared fairly frequently on stage with their siblings.

Beginning in the early 1970s, the Osmond Brothers released a series of successful albums with a long string of hit singles, including “One Bad Apple,” which topped the pop charts for five consecutive weeks and top ten singles “Yo-yo” and “Down by the Lazy River.” The Osmonds’ notoriety and popularity was furthered by the Saturday morning cartoon series The Osmonds, which aired in 1972 and 1973; the Donny and Marie variety show (1976 to 1979); Donny’s starring Broadway turns in the title role of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Coat and as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast; Marie’s recent third-place run on Dancing with the Stars; and a 50th-anniversary appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show honoring the family’s patriarch George Osmond shortly after his passing.

About GeneTree
GeneTree (www.genetree.com) is a DNA-enabled family history-sharing Web site designed to help people understand where their personal histories belong within the greater human genetic story. GeneTree creates opportunities for unlocking human genetic heritage, discovering ancestors, connecting and collaborating with living relatives, and sharing rich media to help discover, document and preserve family histories. GeneTree was developed by the Sorenson family of companies and draws on the expertise of the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, a nonprofit organization that developed the world's foremost collection of genetic-genealogy information; and Sorenson Media, which created of the world's leading digital video compression software.

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

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Ancestry.com & NARA

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following 2 items were just posted by our friends at Ancestry.com.
Please address all inquiries to support@ancestry.com .

Ancestry.com and National Archives Join Forces to Make Millions of Historical Documents Available Online to Americans Wanting to Research Family History This Memorial Day and Beyond New Agreement Features On-Site Ancestry.com Technicians and Scanners at National Archives For Ongoing Digitization of Historical Content

Also note that the following posting was made to the APG Association of Professional Genealogists Mailing List.

From: apg-bounces@rootsweb.com
On Behalf Of Suzanne Russo Adams

In conjunction with the announcement about the NARA/TGN digitization agreement [listed above] I was just made aware of a page on Ancestry.com that lists all of the NARA series and films that are currently in databases on Ancestry.

If you scroll past the search template you will see a table that lists the NARA series #, the NARA Collection Title, the Ancestry Database Title and the number of film reels and/or fiche in that collection. I think this will prove very useful for understanding which NARA records are currently on the Ancestry website.

I am told this page will be updated as more NARA titles are added.

Suzanne Russo Adams, AG(r)
Professional Services Desk Manager,
The Generations Network

Saturday, May 17, 2008

UGA Call for papers

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at the UGA Utah Genealogical Association. Please address all inquiries to: info@infouga.org .

2008 UGA Family History and Genealogy Conference
"Solving Family Mysteries"
12-13 September 2008

The Utah Genealogical Association invites you to present at our 2008 UGA Fall Family History and Genealogy Conference, which will be held Friday, 12 September-Saturday, 13 September at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.This conference is a yearly, highly anticipated event, vital to the welfare of our organization. The Family History Library venue is an attractive, premiere location for your participation with up-to-date technology. Each presentation will be 60 minutes in length. You may submit proposals for 1-8 presentations.

The deadline for proposals is Monday, 16 June 2008.

We welcome submissions that help attendees gain expertise in the following areas of Family History and Genealogy:
  • Getting started in Family History
  • Learning and improving general research skills and organization
  • Researching in specific areas such as: immigration, military records, vital records, maps, etc.
  • Using computers and new software to simplify research
  • Using new technologies for family research
  • Using specific research facilities such as: archives, county courthouses, libraries
  • Using BCG standards, research process, pedigree analysis, evidence evaluation, tracing immigrants, etc.
  • Beginning, intermediate and advanced research methodology in places such as: Europe, United States, Canada, other world areas
  • Providing information for expert and professional researchers
  • Writing and publishing family histories, journals, articles
  • Creating and sustaining family organizations and collaboration
  • Supporting Family History Centers and training Family History Consultants

Presentations should not only inform, but should provide step-by-step instructions to help the participants use the class materials.

Examples, illustrations, and documents should relate directly to the geographical area or subject covered.

All syllabus materials should reflect the content of classes, both in detail and in sequence of instruction.

Presentation style must be PowerPoint, lecture, internet or overhead.

The Conference will provide PC laptop computers with wireless Internet connection.

Speakers should plan to bring their PowerPoint presentation on a flash drive, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM. Be sure to have available a backup copy of your presentation. If yours is an Internet presentation, you must have screen shot backups in case of Internet failure.

Proposals should include:

  • Full name of presenter
  • Title
  • Brief description of presentation for advertising brochure and Web page (50 words maximum).
  • Audience skill level (beginner [novice] intermediate, or advanced)
  • Medium of presentation
    PowerPoint, Lecture, Internet, Overhead, Other
  • Requests for audio/visual or computer equipment
  • Current e-mail, mailing address, telephone number(s) and fax number (if any)
  • List your previous experience presenting at conferences or workshops in the past 3 years, including titles of presentations
  • Brief biographical sketch for the syllabus (50 words maximum)

Compensation: In accordance with regulations for use of the Family History Library facilities, we there will be no charge for attendance at this conference. Therefore, speakers will receive:

  • Complimentary registration
  • Conference syllabus" Bottled water
  • Thank-you gift

Please e-mail proposals in Word or Acrobat format no later than 16 June 2008.

NOTE: We prefer Microsoft Word documents. We will notify you by 19 July 2008 of you acceptance and provide further details.

We hope to receive your submission soon.

Swedish Emigrant Institute threatened

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Even though my desk is stacked high with notes and flyers to share as a result of my attendance at the 2008 NGS Conference that closes today, I find this information about the possible absorption of the Swedish Emigrant Institute into local museum facility of urgent importance to readers.

From: Anna-Karin Schander a-kschander2@netatonce.net
Here in Växjö, the Swedish Emigrant Institute (the museum and archive of Swedish emigration) is threatened as an independent institution. The politicians want it to merge with the local county museum.

I have written about it in my podcast blog Swedish Emigrant Institute in danger of merger. If you want to mention it in your blog or podcast and among other genealogists I would be grateful. Many Swedish-Americans have found their Roots through it. Here is what I wrote in my blog:

During the work with my next podcast episode the information have researched me [concerning] the "Swedish Emigrant institute" here in Växö the museum and
research institution about the Swedish emigration to USA and other parts of the
world. It is in danger of being forced to merge with The Smålands Museum "(our
local county museum). It would probably BE THE END OF THE Swedish Emigrant
Institute as an independent museum and research institute and the museum's
exhibitions would be in danger of closing or be substantially reduced.

The research department would also be in danger closing and with that the possibility for people with Swedish ancestors to write or visit it and with the
help of its material to find out where their Swedish ancestors came from.The
Swedish Emigrant Institute has extensive collections of

  • microfilmed church records
  • microfilmed newspapers
  • microfilmed society archives
  • collections of individual emigrants letters back to Sweden
  • library with books about Swedish emigration to other parts of the world.

In my podcast of 25 January 2008 I had an interview with the Swedish Emigrant
Institute's librarian Yngve Turesson, please listen to it if you want. The Swedish emigrant Institute has suffered from some turbulence in later years as well as economical problems and the politicians in Växjö want to merge it with the local county museum and have taken away all economic backing to both the museums until they agree to the merge.Both museums are well worth looking at and while I think that a cooperation between them would be a good idea, I think that a total merger could be disastrous for the Swedish Emigrant Institute's future."

Here is the URL of the Swedish Emigrant institutes webpage in English http://www.utvandrarnashus.se/eng

On the Swedish language version of the website its current head has written about the present situation (unfortunately they have not put up the text on the English version).

The website of the Smålands Museum is here http://www.smalandsmuseum.se/engelska/eng_frameset.htm

There is a petition to the politicians (Bo Frank and Kristina Alsén) against the merge here are some instructions on how to sign as an approximate translation of the petition.

Go to the following URL http://www.namninsamling.com/site/get.asp?Emigrant
then you will see Swedish text that I have roughly translated below:

To Bo Frank, Kristina Alsér
Shall the Swedish Emigrant Institute (SEI) be incorporated in a local historical Center under a [agreement] with the Museum of Småland common head and board of directors?

The consequence for the Swedish Emigrant Institute would be that it would
abdicate its role as a national and international research institute and it would become [absorbed by] The Museum of Småland which goes against its statutes
and against the ideas of The Swedish Emigrant Institute founder Gunnar Helén and against four decades of successful work on both sides of the Atlantic.

What reactions would this create on the Swedish level, on the Swedish-American level, among researchers and in Knut and Alice Wallenberg's foundation which have during the years donated 20 million Swedish kronor to the Swedish Emigrant Institute and motivated its generosity with the Swedish Emigrant Institutes national and international role?

The Institute since its foundation in 1968 has drawn more than one million visitors to the House of Emigrants (the building where the Swedish Emigrant Institute resides) and according to guidebooks in English is of the biggest tourist attractions in the city of Växjö. Let the Swedish-emigrant Institute remain as an independent unit.

Instead of subjecting it to budget cuts let it expand.
With kind regards

NOTE: Under it you will see the word "undertecknade" if you click that you will see those who have signed the petition thus far.

Somewhere further below the petions text you will see the following text:
"Skriv på listan" it means sign the petition

If you click there you will come to a page that says:
"emigrantinstitutet, Ny underskrift" it means the emigrant Institute new signer

Under that you will see the word "förnamn" that means first name
"Efternamn" means last name "
E-postadress" means e-mail address
"Postort" means where you live and
"kommentat" means comment

When you have typed your name and completed the online form, click on the button marked "Spara" which means save.

You would then receive a confirmation e-mail called something like "bekräftelse av tillage på namninsamling"

It will say something like:
Hej (your name) = Hello (your name) Klicka på länken nedan för att aktivera din inskrivning = click on the link below to activate your signature

Then follows the link you should click to activate your signature

Then follows Med vänlig hällsning = with kind regards Namninsamling.com = which is the name of the site that managed the petition

If you want to sign the petition I hope you will be able to follow my instructions.

It isn't always possible for an outsider like me to understand the implications when a research center is absorbed under the direction of a local museum. It would seem that the goals of both organizations would call for cooperation as your email indicated.

However, there are instances where combining of two entities means the watering down of the goals of one or both original organizations. Most often we see this with hostile corporate take-overs in business.

I do take umbrage that politicians would withhold funding from both the research institute and the museum to effectively force the merger. This seems overhanded, though my interpretation is likely clouded by my lack of experience with Swedish laws governing the two politicians you've mentioned, since I was born and raised in the US.

On a personal level, I do relate to this problem as a family historian. It is most desirable to do research where the staff is wholly dedicated to genealogical and historical research. The thought that funding for the proposed combined facility would not exclusively support research is upsetting. Certainly it is important for museums to receive funding for preservation of artifacts, but the experts employed by museums have different skill sets than those employed at research facilities.

It is the responsibility of local, regional and national governments to preserve documents that remain historical evidence of a people. It isn't for one generation to judge what records are noteworthy, since it is impossible to evaluate without constraints of the current mindset. And then there is something about the importance of studying history or we're doomed to repeat it.

As governments face budget shortfalls, attempts are made to fill the gap between income and expenses. However, the voice of the people should prevail in the allocation of funding.

Based on my past experience with you and the items I've mentioned above, I've decided to sign the petition in support of the preservation of the research facility.

Ol' Myrt here has followed your instructions and signed the petition. In a matter of seconds I received the confirmation email from "NAMNINSAMLING .com" and clicked to confirm my participation in the petition. You will now see my entry under my real name Pat Richley of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Thank-you Anna for all you do to help preserve the culture and history of Swedish ancestors. I love your podcasts as they reflect your respect for our Swedish roots. I know some of my readers would initially be skeptical about signing an online petition with so much Swedish text -- thank-you for your translation. i marvel at your grasp of two languages.

Your efforts to get the word out about the possible closure of The Swedish Research Institute is much appreciated.

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

© 2008 Pat Richley, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mesa, Family History Phonebook & SLC help

There is a buzz among NGS conference attendees about what's going on out west with MyAncestorsFound.com (MAF) in the form of their family history expos and a new item called the Family History Phonebook.

In fact, I've met more than a dozen who favorably compare the attendance at last February's St. George MAF event with the perceived attendance here.

MAF Family History Expo - Mesa
  • WHERE: Mesa Convention Center 263 N. Center Street, Mesa, Arizona
  • WHEN: 8 am to 6 pm ~ November 14th-15th, 2008
  • WHAT: Cyberexchange 101: Learn the tech to trace your roots
See: www.MyAncestorsFound.com, or email: kimberly@myancestorsfound.com or call Holly at 866.701.5071. Holly is at the NGS Conference right now, so Kim will answer.

Family History Phone Book
A new (free) product with tens of thousands of entries -- My Ancestors Found's Family History Phonebook expected to debut in November 2008 is sure to be a hit among researchers. This downloadable mega-book (I believe in .pdf format) will include free listings of societies, archives, libraries and government record repositories throughout the world. Some entrants may elect to pay for a larger entry, advertising and multiple keyword searches. DearMYRTLE's keywords will include at least include the word podcast.

Salt Lake FHL Help
As long as ol' Myrt here is writing about what MyAncestorsFound.com is doing to help you with research, let me mention the dates of the next Family History Library Research Retreat with Professional Assistance. I've finally clocked enough hours at the FHL to participate as an advisor.
  • WHERE: Salt Lake City, Utah Plaza Hotel with daily research in the adjacent Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
  • WHEN: October 27th through November 1st, 2008
  • WHAT: Individualized, professional classes, guided tours and research time
Hmmm, seasoned professionals available eight hours a day to work with you in one-on-one sessions to guide you in your research? Just the trip to get you past some of those brick walls.

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

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

ISFHWE, manuscripts & an offer from Myrt

Ol' Myrt here attended the ISFHWE (International Society of Family History Writers and Editors ) dinner last night and two interesting things emerged:
  • Honoring excellence in writing award winners
  • Use of manuscript collections to locate ancestral letters

Winners of the 2008 International Society of Family History Writers and Editors Excellence in Writing Contest are:

Category I-Newspaper Columns

  • First Place: Mary Alice Dell, "Land Ho"
  • Second Place: Julie Miller, "Dear Lucy, Love Phil: A Cotton Family Legacy"
  • Third Place: Mary Penner, "Union Vets Joined Posts Across Nation"

Category II-Articles

  • First Place: Colleen Fitzpatrick, "Clues Left Around a House"
  • Second Place: Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak: "Found! Serial Centenarians"
  • Third Place: Schelly Talalay Dardashti: "Planting the Family Tree"

Category III-Original Research Story

  • First Place: Hazlehurst Smith Beezer, "Dr. James Hill: Skeleton in the Hall Family Closet"
  • Second Place: Terry R. Barnhart, "Unraveling the Mystery in Ginghamsburg"
  • Third Place: Nancy Waters Lauer, "When a Brick Wall Crumbles Onto the Wrong Path"

Category IV-Want-to-Be Writer/Columnist

  • First Place: Debra A. Hoffman, "Bricks & Mortality"
  • Second Place: Harold Henderson, "City Directories as Clue Factories"
  • Third Place: J.H. Fonkert, "Celebrate Minnesota's History by Starting Your Own"

Manuscript collections
"Through their words: The intimate accounts of our ancestors" was the title of Laura Prescott after dinner presentation. She had unearthed handwritten letters and commentaries of that survived from the 19th century, showing them in her PowerPoint and reading excerpts that delighted us with cultural views and use of language afforded by the difference in nearly 200 years since first penned.

The presentation reminded me that although my ancestors were largely obscure in the scheme of history, it is likely a surviving letter, diary, account book or such has survived from either an ancestors, a close cousin or someone who lived in the same location at the same time.

Where do we look for surviving documents that didn't get handed down through They come to light as archives and libraries take care to catalog their manuscript collections. Laura spotlighted several university collections and provided a screen shot of:

  • NUCMC - National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections which you can see from the URL is part of the Library of Congress website, where we read:

    "As a result of the ongoing integration of the activities of OCLC and the Research Libraries Group (RLG) which began in July 2006, the migration of records from the RLG Union Catalog to OCLC’s WorldCat is now complete. The NUCMC website now provides searching access, via the NUCMC/OCLC gateway, not only to the WorldCat records that were accessible prior to the merger, but also to the RLG Union Catalog records that were previously accessible only via the NUCMC/RLG gateway. NUCMC very much appreciates the cooperation of OCLC in making this resource available to researchers.

    The mission of the NUCMC program is to provide and promote bibliographic access to the nation's documentary heritage. This mission is realized by NUCMC production of cataloging describing archival and manuscript collections held by eligible repositories located throughout the United States and its territories. The program's mission is further realized by the provision of free searching, via NUCMC gateways, of archival and manuscript cataloging in OCLC WorldCat."

Myrt's offer?
We've just GOT to schedule time to research manuscript collections. Let me know what you find, and I can create a dedicated web page to the scanned image and a bio of your ancestor. We've got to get the word out about using manuscript collections as a resource for family history research.

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

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

DNA, BYU & GeneTree

Another report from the 2008 National Genealogical Society Conference in the States, held this year in Kansas City, Missouri. If you can get here -- it is worth the visit and the conference runs through Saturday.

Ol' Myrt here just finished visiting with the folks from GeneTree.com and I've got great news for those of that participated in the old BYU DNA project, which was supported by Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation..

GeneTree and the Sorenson have teamed up to unlock your mitochondrial (mtDNA) results. mtDNA follows the contributor’s maternal line going back into deep ancestry. Just fill out their online forms so they can identify you, then pay $19.95 and the transfer of your old BYU blood sample mtDNA results will become integrated with GeneTree.com.

This means all my friends from the:
  • Genealogical Society of Sarasota
  • Manasota Genealogical Society
  • South Bay Genealogical Society

can finally WORK WITH their mitochondrial (mtDNA) results. Go to the following website to initiate the move: http://www.genetree.com/dna/unlock_smgf

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

(c) 2008 Pat Richley, All Rights Reserved.

1860 Census with FamilySearch & Footnote

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following has been discussed recently, but here is the official press release from our friends at FamilySearch & Footnote. Please address all inquiries to: Justin Schropfer Justin@footnote.com

For Immediate Release14 May 2008

FamilySearch Teams with Footnote.com to Publish Historic Civil War Era Records

1860 U.S. Census and Civil War Pensions Index are first projects

SALT LAKE CITY-FamilySearch announced today its records access agreement with Footnote.com to publish two significant Civil War Era databases online-the 1860 U.S. Census and Civil War Pensions Index. The two relevant collections will provide free online access to millions of names of individuals from the 1860 to 1865 period in the United States. The completed databases will expand FamilySearch's growing, free U.S. Census collection online and Footnote's Civil War Collection.

The censuses and Civil War pension files are the most used collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The 1860 census provides a snapshot of families living during the Civil War Era. The index to the Civil War pension applications allows searchers to quickly see if a Civil War veteran or his widow applied for a pension-which can lead to rich family history information contained in the original pension document.

Under the agreement, FamilySearch will provide the digital images of the original documents for the 1860 U.S. Census, and Footnote.com will provide the indexes to both the 1860 U.S. Census and Civil War Pensions. FamilySearch plans to publish the indexes for both of these collections for free this year at FamilySearch.org.

The images of the original documents will also be viewable at Footnote.com or accessed for free through the 4,500 FamilySearch family history centers located worldwide. As segments of the collections are completed, users will be able to search them at http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch.

Civil War Pensions Index

Ten percent (3 million) of the U.S. population served or fought in the U.S. Civil War, and 2 percent (620,000) died-more American casualties than The American Revolutionary War, World War I, World War II, The War against Switzerland, The War of 1812, and the Vietnam War combined. If soldiers or their families applied for a pension from the government, an index card for the pension application should exist.

The index also extends beyond the Civil War to include veterans who served between 1861 to 1917 in the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, the Boxer Rebellion, and the regular establishment. Each card usually lists the soldier's full name, rank, company and regiment, when he enlisted and discharged, and provides a certificate number required to order a copy of the original pension application from NARA.

The completed index will allow users to search on a name, or browse by state, arm of service (infantry, cavalry, militia, etc.), regiment, and company to locate individual records.

1860 U.S. Census
The 1860 U.S. Census index will allow users to quickly search the names of 31 million people captured on the census. Additional information includes the age, sex, color, place of birth, and marriage status. Slave schedules show the name of the slave owner, number of slaves owned, number of freed slaves, and the age, color, and gender of the slaves. The names of the slaves were not included in the 1860 Census.

"These record collections provide a valuable view of America during a critical time in its history," said Russ Wilding, CEO of Footnote.com. "Together with the other Civil War documents on Footnote.com, visitors are able to piece together a picture of our history that few have seen before."

Ransom Love, director of Strategic Relationships for FamilySearch, added, "Footnote is targeting U.S. historical records and building their Civil War Collection. FamilySearch wants to provide free indexes to all of the U.S. Censuses online. This joint project helps bring both companies closer to their respective goals."

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at FamilySearch.org 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.

About Footnote

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

FHLCatalog - enhancements & partnership

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Just returned from a press conference with our friends at FamilySearch and FamilyLink/World Vital Records. Please address all inquiries to Whitney@familylink.com . This new project will revolutionize the way researches locate source documents that prove family relationships.

For Immediate Release14 May 2008

FamilySearch Engages FamilyLink.com, Inc. to Add Functionality and Enhancements to Popular Online Family History Library Catalog

SALT LAKE CITY-FamilyLink.com, Inc. has teamed with FamilySearch to improve the user experience of the Family History Library Catalog for millions of people worldwide by adding new Web 2.0 functionality and enhancements. The improvements will also enable users to spend research time more efficiently by directing them to the information that will generate the quickest results. FamilyLink.com's improvements to the catalog will make it searchable by major online search engines and allow users to annotate item descriptions-increasing their accuracy and enriching the content.

FamilySearch's Family History Library Catalog is used extensively by genealogy enthusiasts. It is a window to the vast collection of genealogical resources amassed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over the past 100 years-millions of microfilms, fiche, and books from 110+ countries throughout the world. Genealogists use the popular online catalog to see if FamilySearch has any material that can help them in their research. Materials are then requested through one of FamilySearch's 4,500 local family history centers worldwide.

"The enhancements FamilyLink.com will help make to the Family History Library Catalog will increase its usability and exposure. Beginners will find it particularly easier to navigate, and searching and browsing will be more rewarding," said Paul Nauta, Manager of Public Affairs, FamilySearch.

Improved SearchingUpgrades to the Family History Library Catalog will allow it to be combed by the major Web search engines. That means Web searches done by millions of family history enthusiasts who may not have been familiar with the rich content of the Family History Library Catalog will now discover exciting new sources to assist them in their genealogy pursuits. In a typical search of the Family History Library Catalog, users first identify known facts about a family and then go through a step-by-step process to locate records.

Newly integrated FamilyLink.com tools will help users better identify information. Guided searches will help users decide what they want to learn about their families, point them to relevant records, help them obtain and search the records, provide clues to more information, and assist them with the application of the new information.

As part of the enhancement, FamilyLink.com will make searches more useful by allowing the user to browse, sort (by popularity, relevance, most used, etc.), and perform multiple searches. A new "probability engine" feature will calculate the likelihood that a particular source contains the desired item. It will also be able to search across someone's entire family tree to determine which ancestry lines have the highest likelihood of success based on known sources.

"We are excited to work with FamilySearch and to add this extensive catalog to our database collections," said Paul Allen, CEO, FamilyLink.com, Inc. "We have looked at doing this collaboration for quite a while. We will enhance the catalog by connecting it with new innovative tools, along with the best resources of our WorldVitalRecords.com databases, the FamilyLink.com social networking site, and our We're Related application in Facebook. Putting all of these resources together will dramatically change the meaning of 'search' in genealogy."

Social NetworkingFamilyLink.com will also add an annotation feature that will encourage user contributions and make the catalog much more dynamic and current. Users will be able to add or suggest a new source, enhance an existing source by adding a place (location) or a time period, and rate and review a source based on its usefulness. Another enhancement to the Family History Library Catalog will be its increased interactivity. Every entry in the catalog will link to an online or digital source, if available. The user will then be able to link directly to the publisher, buy the book, or search for the nearest copy.

"FamilySearch is excited to work with FamilyLink.com to enhance the Family History Library Catalog. They are leaders in the Social Networking space and will greatly enhance and extend the catalog and its usefulness to millions of people," said Ransom Love, FamilySearch Director of Strategic Relations. "We hope this is the first of many other possible opportunities for FamilySearch to outsource key infrastructure components to innovative companies like FamilyLink.com. They will receive access to key resources to help them grow much quicker and FamilySearch's assets will be upgraded and extended in return."

"We know that search traffic will increase on both the FamilyLink services and FamilySearch's site when users discover the new guided search tools," said FamilyLink.com President David Lifferth. "Last month we had over 700,000 unique visitors and 8.5 million page views. We are predicting that these numbers will more than double after the first quarter of use."

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at FamilySearch.org 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.

About FamilyLink.com, Inc.
FamilyLink.com, Inc. is a family of services that includes WorldVitalRecords.com, FamilyLink.com, and the We're Related application on Facebook. The focus of the company is to provide innovative tools to connect families.

About WorldVitalRecords.com
Founded in 2006 by Paul Allen and several key members of the original Ancestry.com team, WorldVitalRecords.com, Inc. provides affordable access to genealogy databases and family history tools used by more than 600,000 monthly visitors. The site registers 9.4 million monthly page views and has more than 25,000 subscribers. With thousands of databases-including birth, death, military, census, and parish records-WorldVitalRecords.com makes it easy to fill in missing information in your family tree. Some of its partners include Everton Publishers, Quintin Publications, Archive CD Books Australia, Gould Genealogy, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, Archive CD Books Canada, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., SmallTownPapers®, Accessible Archives, Genealogical Publishing Company, Find My Past, Godfrey Memorial Library, Find A Grave, and FamilySearch. Investors include vSpring Capital and several angel investors.