Monday, December 22, 2008

ACROSS MY DESK: 22 Dec 2009

With a plethora of office parties, neighborhood get-togethers, family dinners and such, our time with LIVING RELATIVES should take precedence over our ancestral quests at this time of year. Genealogy DOES bring living family together.

During a Second Life voice chat, several participants shared the link to the article Lifetime, no see, featuring a reunion of two adopted-out octogenarian brothers who live a few blocks from each other and never knew the other existed.

Another Second Life voice chat brought the news of Two sides of the Ocean about a trip to the ancestral homeland – something we’d all like to try.

Happy Chanukah to friends including Schelly Talalay Dardashti who blogged that the Festival of Lights begins Sunday. “Jews around the world will celebrate the first night of Chanukah on Sunday evening, December 21. This eight-day holiday - also known as the Festival of Lights - with its bright candles reminds us of events that took place more than 2,300 years ago in the ancient land of Judea, now Israel.”

So Schelly, as your family was gathering to celebrate, I, too, had gathered my family near, to celebrate our Christmas Dinner a few days early. Most of my immediate family are going to the in-laws for Christmas this year.

How blessed we are to have strong traditions in our families. What a joy to share our faith and tradition with the younger generation. Isn’t that one of our main jobs as the family historians in the family?

Here are some other tidbits for your review:
  1. Got SNOW? Well, footnoteMaven has written about it, others have “Facebooked” about it. Now Tom Kemp, our friend at chimes in with his posting about an old newspaper entry. See Did you get snow? Bet it was nothing like the snow of 1898.
  2. Ready for a trip? Jean-Yves Baxter reports Norwegian TV Producers Seek Norwegian-Americans. Oh, that’s right – Norway has a lot of snow, too.
  3. With all the hype about the switch to digital television broadcasting in February 2009, here is a neat tip from our friends at with Gina Trapinni’s Ditch Satellite TV for Online Alternatives and Save. You know you want a better computer, and you also need to justify the hi-speed connection for viewing graphic-intensive pages at Ancestry, Footnote, GenealogyBank, and FamilySearch. Diversify by adding TV to your computer’s capabilities and manage to save $93 monthly to boot.
  4. What about Identifying an Unknown Parent Using Genetic Genealogy? Thanks for your thoughts, Blaine Bettinger.
  5. See our favorite NBC Today show hosts (including former host Katie Couric) with Bennett Greenspan, of Family Tree DNA and Dr. Spencer Wells in a video about the genographic project. They call it “deep ancestry.”
  6. For those who are into graphics ala television’s favorite game show – Concentration, check out Mark Tucker’s ThinkGenealogy Rebus #1.
  7. Ol’ Myrt thinks there are only about 10 of you out there that don’t subscribe to the Plus Edition of Eastman’s Online Genealogy News. Dick Eastman has provided free access to his 15 Dec Plus Edition. This is your chance for the ten of you to see what you’ve been missing. So sign up, already!
  8. If you are already Plus Edition subscriber, you already know the details of Dick’s article titled Help! Someone is publishing My Family’s Information!
  9. Former WVR President, David Differth just created Genealogy Metrics, a website to track busy genealogy websites. DearMYRTLE is listed in the “blog” category, although the stats refer only to my website, which has only pre-2007 articles posted. This prompts me to commit to posting everything in both my blog (for ease of distribution) and my website (for archiving & searching) starting in 2009. If I am really organized, I’ll cross-post the last two years of blog entries in the archive at my website. My readers report it is much easier to search for old articles at my site than at my blog (powered by
  10. RootsTelevision will be commercial free for a while. That will make it easier for those with slower internet connections to wade in to viewing the actual genealogy content.
  11. Thanks to DJPoint for mentioning Ol’ Myrt here among other genea-bloggers in the creative poem ‘Twas just days before Christmas – clearly a fun take on the Night Before Christmas.
  12. If you’d like to know more about the real “Night Before Christmas” see this offering from the Library of Congress’ American Memory Project: .
  13. If you receive a copy of Legacy Family Tree 7 for Christmas, be sure to read the blog entry describing Legacy 7 Videos – Download to CD. The videos are free, and Geoff explains “Until now, these videos were only available to view from our web site, which meant that you had to be online to watch them."
  14. Genealogy podcasting is really the way to go, if you'd like to extend your genealogy learning experience beyond the keyboard. Try out your new iPod (or other .mp3 player) and subscribe to DearMYRTLE’s Family History Hour genealogy podcast, Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems, Family History Expos Genealogy Podcasts (with host DearMYRTLE), The Genealogy Guys George Morgan and Drew Smith, and Irish Roots Cafe. The latter podcast reports “Be sure to check out our new podcast provider page on iTunes ! This is a special page that lists all 5 of our podcasts. Click on any one of our podcasts there, take a listen, and if you can, go ahead and leave us feedback on iTunes.” You may also listen with a free copy of iTunes on your computer – just turn up those speakers.
  15. More from Lisa Louise Cook: She posted a good item about New Languages at Google Translate. They’ve probably got your ancestral language covered.
  16. How do you feel about the building of a Wal-Mart near the Wilderness Battlefield? From the website for National Trust for Historic Preservation:“More than 2,700 acres of the battlefield are preserved as part of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, a key destination along the newly designated Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. There are many potential sites for Wal-Mart, but only one Wilderness Battlefield.” You may wish to register your feeling by going to: go to: Thanks to Linda Smith of the Mary Todd Lincoln Tent #10 (Florida) for sending Ol’ Myrt this info.
  17. When it comes to spending money for genealogy research (either with photocopies or online access to public records), folks are all over the board including some who are quite angry about paying for access to public records. Take note of Elizabeth Shown Mills’ comments posting 17 Dec 2008 on the public APG Mailing List titled Chicago Marriage Records and other LDS databases. The subject line doesn’t really do Elizabeth’s comments justice. Trust me, you WANT to read this posting for a fresh look at realistic expenses to be expected as described by this high-profile genealogy expert who characterizes herself as having lived out in the “boonies”.
  18. Elizabeth deftly answers the questionIs Evidence (1997) still correct?’ indicating whether or not Evidence! Citation and Analysis (1997) has been superseded by Evidence Explained (2007, reprint 2008).
  19. Speaking of how we spend our genealogy research dollars, see how Randy Seaver obtained a second Ancestry Trial Offer.
  20. We’ve heard that we should use good manners when sending emails – and here is the historical equivalent described by Susan A. Kitchens in Burn that letter I sent”—83 years later, I’m glad she disobeyed.
  21. Even if you don't have Polish roots, we all may learn from a new project undertaking by Joseph Martin and Ceil Jensen. The task: document the Polish community of Calumet, Michigan. They received a travel grant to work in the archives of Michigan Tech this past June. Ceil describes this as atypical research, since most Polish communities were founded in urban centers. They continue to find more descendants of these miners who share family stories, photos and documents. Others who wish to document a community will benefit from the example of this project located at
  22. Great last minute gift: Dan Lynch's Google Your Family Tree. Ol' Myrt has underlined and posted sticky notes all through her personal copy. Dan's got great ideas for making the most of more than Google search. You'd be surprised at the other Google tools of interest to family historians.
  23. Highlight for next year: The National Archives (US) will honor the Lincoln Bicentennial with a film and lecture series in honor of the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth January 17 & 22nd 2009. (Gosh that is hard to type 2009!)

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


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