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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Are we forgetting to buy tomatoes?

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Due to popular demand, Myrt grants the reprint of this copyrighted column in local and regional genealogy society newsletters in paper format, provided it includes the contact and copyright info below her signature.

If the milk in our refrigerator has gone beyond it’s expiration date, we throw it out and buy more.

So why do people look at a genealogy website once and never return?

When the bag of lettuce and a few tomatoes have out-lived their freshness in our vegetable bins, we don’t quit eating salads. We just pick up more veggies the next time we go to the grocery store.

Ol’ Myrt here just cannot understand why many family historians don’t likewise -- revisiting the “genealogy store” for fresh info about ancestors.

Rather than any particular website, Myrt’s definition of the “genealogy store” is that it is a group of records providing clues about family relationships.

The resource may or may not include a fee to view. Websites and some private libraries require a fee to “enter”. Other records may be available on microfilm for a small “rental” fee at your local LDS Family History Center.

Items on the “store” shelves include but are not limited to:

  • Printed family histories
  • Printed local histories
  • Family bibles
  • Family letters
  • Family photos
  • Family heirlooms
  • Biographies
  • Courthouse records
  • Church records
  • Census records
  • Inventory of records in a collection
  • Funeral cards
  • Land records
  • Manuscript collections
  • Military records
  • Naturalization records
  • Newspapers
  • Passenger records
  • Tax records
  • Vital records


  • National archives
  • National libraries
  • Regional archives
  • State and provincial archives
  • Online genealogy database sites (,,,,, GenealogyBank,,,, etc.)
  • Genealogy “how-to” blogs, columns and articles
  • Google Alerts (set them up for unusual family names, keyword, etc.)
  • Google Books
  • Google Search
  • Family History Centers (4,500+ throughout the world with access to microfilm using the Family History Library Catalog .)
  • Libraries – public (New York Public, Dallas Public, Library of Congress to name but three.)
  • Libraries – private (Family History Library, DAR Library, New England Historical Genealogical Society to name but three.)
  • Mailing lists
  • Message boards
  • Genealogy Podcasts
  • USGenWeb
  • WorldGenWeb

I have friends in Second Life who say they posted messages on RootsWeb mailing lists a few years ago. Sad, but true. Sometimes you have to wait for a fish to bite, but there ARE ways of sweetening the pot. And it is necessary to play with the line to attract attention. (That perhaps translates to revisiting the post, and adding additional info.)

Well, just how long can we go without fresh veggies?


Additional ancient documents (over 50 years old) are coming to light every week, both online and off-line.

More microfilm and digital images are being gathered each day.

Millions of names are being indexed at each month.

Ol' Myrt's best advice? BUY FRESH TOMATOES EVERY WEEK.

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


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© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

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.