Monday, December 28, 2009

Census "view maps" links no good,

A little "view map" option on this census summary page (index page?) caught Ol' Myrt's eye just before I clicked to view the 1930 Wenatchee, Chelan, Washington census enumeration featuring my mother as a toddler in the household of her parents, reported in Case Study: McDonnell Part V- 1930 US federal census.

But there is a BIG PROBLEM with the "view map" option provided by There IS a possible FIX, but let's read on...

Viewing Current Maps for historical entries?
Don't get me wrong -- it is always interesting to attempt to plot an ancestor's location on a current map provided you understand this isn't the historical context we're all seeking.

IF you are lucky, and IF maps at street view at Google Maps (or a future version of Maps), may show the EXACT HOME indicated in a US Federal Census (1790-1930) still exists for your ancestor in 2009. Even if there IS a home with the same address, you'd have to do a lot of research to determine it is the same one that has been there for decades since your ancestor took up residence.

Even if NOT, a current day map may still be a good idea to get the lay of the land for rivers, mountains and the like.

But a more likely scenario is that during the 80-130 years since your ancestor lived someplace, the town has changed a bit. Rivers do change their courses, and interstate highway systems cross-cross the nation where once only wagon ruts marked the lone prairies.

The BIG problem with the "view map" option provided by (with a link to maps) -- is that it unfortunately points to the county as if it were the town.

From the website indexing my mom's entry in the 1930 census index:

"SOURCE: 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls. Specifically: Wenatchee, Chelan, Washington; Roll 2485; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 46; Image: 207.0. "
viewed 12 December 2009.

So when computers provided a request to search in it's map collection, it sent the text :

Wenatcheee, Chelan, Washington

To even novice US genealogy researchers, this means:
Wenatchee (town)
Chelan (county)
Washington (state)

But sees this as:
Wenatchee (part of a street name)
Chelan (town)
Washington (state)
And this is what you get - Chelan, Washington not Wenatchee,Washington.

The problem became more evident, when I noticed the foot of Lake Chelan heading N/NW from the city. I knew the topography of the area, and that a river extended N/NE of Wenatchee. It was this inside knowledge that brought the problem to my attention. What about people who DON'T know the topography of this part of Washington State?

Merely resend the request manually at Google Maps (currently better than Bing Maps), omitting the county. In fact, look closely at the census enumeration, and pull the street and house number when provided.

Certainly coders can create a subroutine for each census to specify that only the city & state text string be sent in the request to a map site.

In the mean time, beware of the "view maps" option over at's census collection.

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Open Access: through 12/28

NOTE From DearMYRTLE: If you keep up with the genea-blogs, perhaps you already know about this offer from our friends at World Vital Records, posted about 20 minutes ago. This is your chance to go in, search for ancestors and perhaps decide to join for continued research in the coming year.

FROM: Whitney
Happy Holidays from WorldVitalRecords
WorldVitalRecords is celebrating the Holidays by providing free access until December 28th.

To enjoy free access just click here

Monday, December 21, 2009

Case Study: McDonnell Part V- 1930 US federal census

If you've been following the story of Ol' Myrt's maternal grandmother's research you'll know that we've found documents with different birth years. Walking through this process is typical of research challenges most researchers face when compiling our family history.

Frances Irene (Goering) Froman McDonnell's year of birth is listed as 1908 on her funeral card and the 1905 birth date listed in the Social Security Death Index. Her death shows up in the Washington State Death Index, but I have yet to receive a copy of this, or her SS-5 ordered last month, for indications of birth year. Then there is my posting last week, where Gramma Frances' birth year is listed as 1905 from the Goering Family Bible in my possession.

When searching for my mom in the 1930 US federal census, we find the following detail, highlighted for clarity & indicating a birth year for her mother Frances. Often when looking for information about one ancestor, we run across unexpected information about a different ancestor -- and this is a good reason to search for every surviving document about each ancestor.

In this case, I was looking for my 18-month-old mom and found info on her mom.

SOURCE: 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls. Specifically: Wenatchee, Chelan, Washington; Roll 2485; Page: 15A;
Enumeration District: 46; Image: 207.0. viewed 12 December 2009.

1930 minus 24 years in the census = 1906 estimated birth year for my maternal grandmother, Frances I., wife of head of household, Lowell S. Froman.

Census records can be off a year or two IF the birth year is reported correctly, quite simply because of "census day" in relationship to the respondent's birthday that year. In this case, my grandmother's birthday 22 August is too late to adversely affect the birth year shown on the 17 April 1930 enumeration date indicated by Goldie Eller on the census form. This means we have found yet ANOTHER birth year to deal with.

So in WHAT year WAS my maternal grandmother born?

1905 (from the Social Security Death Index & Goering Family Bible)
1906 (from the 1930 US federal census)
1908 (from the funeral card)

We're still working on this one, and more documents must be unearthed.

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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'll be home for Christmas - Rascal Flatts

Here is Ol' Myrt's entry in this year's Genea-Bloggers' Christmas Carols:

Love the harmony! The sentiment of being together with family and friends is near to our hearts.

Merry Christmas everyone from Ol' Myrt and Rascal Flatts.

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

Genealogy dreams -

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mundia? Oh no! strikes again

There has been a buzz lately about Ancestry's new Mundia website, but Ol' Myrt here definitely will not join thanks to Bill West who explained on Facebook that he was going to join Mundia until he read the Terms of Use.

Most of us skip over terms of service screens as they are somewhat generic. But thankfully, Bill took the time and discovered's stated intentions:

The Website may contain areas where you can post content, such as text, images, photographs, data, files and other materials. For purposes of clarity, as between you and us, you retain ownership of any content that you post, subject to the following paragraph.

For each item of content that you post, you grant to us and our affiliates a world-wide, royalty free, fully paid-up, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, transferable, and fully sublicensable (including to other Website users) license, without additional consideration to you or any third party, to: (i) reproduce, distribute, make available, transmit, communicate to the public, perform and display (publicly or otherwise), edit, modify, adapt, create derivative works from and otherwise use such content, in any format or media now known or later developed; (ii) exercise all trademark, publicity and other proprietary rights with regard to such content; (iii) use your name, photograph, portrait, picture, voice, likeness and biographical information as provided by you in connection with your content for the Service, in each case, in connection with your content. For example, after your registration or subscription has ended, we may continue to use and display any content that you previously posted, and other users may continue may access, change, edit, add to, subtract from or otherwise amend such content. If you do not want to grant us the rights set out in these Terms of Use, please do not post any content on the Website. [Emphasis is as it appears in the original.]

To the extent permitted by applicable law, you agree to waive all moral rights in any content that you post or send whilst using the Website, including the right to be identified as the author of such content.

Source: Ancestry's viewed 12/14/2009 9:17am Mountain Daylight time.

Call me silly, but it appears that in paragraph #1 at grants you full ownership of your uploaded content, but then paragraphs #2 & #3 effectively remove typical, standard ownership rights.

... a member trees website that includes a map-based interface. It is a creation of that is in a "beta" testing stage right now. The concept isn't new -- that of encouraging interface with other researchers whose ancestors are in the same geographic area as yours . Good idea,

That wishes to own everything you post and can re-purpose your content in any venue it chooses is also, unfortunately, not a new concept. Bad idea,

This ill conceived project is just shades of the old Internet Biographical Collection. See:

The only difference with Mundia is that Ancestry isn't culling the internet for external content to copy and place in the paid subscription area at This time is inviting folks (who don't read the terms of use) to submit content so can effectively own said content.

Please note that Ol' Myrt has benefitted by placing a version of her personal database online at to allow computers to find possible record matches and like-ancestored fellow researchers. But at, unlike Mundia, members who upload info have the option to select public or private use.

If I find my content is considered owned by, Ol' Myrt here will just give up on that site like I have Mundia. One researcher has observed "it would appear the lawyers have taken over again" and left common sense behind -- effectively "waiving all moral rights".

The legal team is messing up the good work being done by the programmers on the Mundia project.

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

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Genea-Bloggers' 2009 Holiday Cookbook is published

Here's the link to the Genea-Bloggers 2009 Holiday Cookbook, including Ol' Myrt's submission for Almond Brittle.

THANKS to my fellow genea-bloggers for taking the time to share recipes and photos of traditional (and oft heart-wrenching) family stories associated with these foods.

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

One blink or two?

An imaginative look into Google Books & Magazines

How about checking out two new trends over at Google Books that are destined to benefit family historians?

#1 - Google Book's Magazine section
It didn't occur to me to look for magazines at Google Books, but an Inside Google Books blog posting titled List of all magazines now available in Google Books by Jeffrey Peng, caught Ol' Myrt's eye and reads in part:

I'm a software engineer on Google Books. One of my main projects is adding magazine content and features to the site. In September we were excited to announce the availability of over 1,860 issues of the iconic LIFE magazine on Google Books. One of the feature requests that I got from friends and family was to add a way to browse all the magazines available. Someone even created a Facebook group called Get Google Magazine Search to provide a list of indexed titles. The group has 45 members and growing, so before it reached millions of members and there were protests in front of my house, I decided that I better act fast. I'm happy to announce that last week I coded up a page on Google Books that lets you browse the available magazine titles. You can view the page here.

Now Life Magazine would be great for adding historical context to the compiled genealogies of our 20th century ancestors.

But then Ol' Myrt here got busy and checked. YES, Ancestry Magazine is found on Google Books. One may read the Jan-Feb 2009 issue online, browse all issues, add an issue to your Google Books Library and subscribe. Not so with Family Chronicle or Family Tree Magazine that rely on the paper format model.

#2 EPUB vs PDF

Make note of last summer's Google Books announcement of the "free downloads of [...] more than one million more public domain books in an additional format, EPUB. By adding support for EPUB downloads, we're hoping to make these books more accessible by helping people around the world to find and read them in more places. More people are turning to new reading devices to access digital books, and many such phones, netbooks, and e-ink readers have smaller screens that don't readily render image-based PDF versions of the books we've scanned. EPUB is a lightweight text-based digital book format that allows the text to automatically conform (or "reflow") to these smaller screens."

In the future, we'll all be reading books, magazines and newspapers via a Kindle, a Sony or some other e-book (electronic book) reading machines. Some cell phones have this capability now, but this exception will become the rule before long.

Maybe in my lifetime, if not by the time my 2nd great-grandchildren become avid readers, some will laugh that we consider e-book readers ultra-modern methods of information distribution. Perhaps by then my descendants will have brain implants that project the headlines of a newspaper or a magazine's table of contents on the inside of their right eyes. Would that be one blink or two to expand on a title?

[As always, Ol' Myrt here intends to be the first in line for a spell-check brain implant chip. Those surely would come out first, but I digress.]

Does this mean that on stormy days in the late 21st century we will have to give up curling up with a quilt, too? Ol' Myrt here certainly hopes not.

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

FamilySearch Indexing - update 11 Dec 2009

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Last week's indexing projects report from FamilySearch shows diversity in language and record types. Please do your part to continue this massive indexing project by visiting

From: Paul Nauta,
10 December 2009

More projects were added this week for Argentina, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Perú, and the U.S. (See New Projects below for details.) New state censuses were added for Minnesota, Rhode Island and South Dakota. FamilySearch patrons are finding the indexes for state censuses very helpful because the state censuses can help fill in the gaps between the Federal censuses where applicable.

Volunteers can help 24/7 by registering and downloading a project of interest at Completed projects and digital image collections can be searched at

New Projects
  • Argentina, Balvanera—Registros Parroquiales, 1833–1934
  • Argentina, Santa Fe—Registros Parroquiales, 1634–1926
  • Canada, British Columbia—Deaths, 1872–1986 [Part 3]
  • Chile, Concepción—Registros Civiles, 1885–1903 [Parte 2]
  • Chile, Concepción—Registros Civiles, 1885–1903 [Parte 3]
  • Mexico, DF—Registros Parroquiales, 1898–1933 [Parte 3]
  • Mexico, Michoacan—1930 Federal Censo
  • Mexico, Nuevo Leon—1930 Federal Censo
  • Perú, Lima—Registros Civiles, 1910–1930 [Parte 4]
  • U.S., Indiana, Clark County—Marriages, 1811–1959
  • U.S., Minnesota—1875 State Census
  • U.S., Rhode Island—1905 State Census [Part 2]
  • U.S., South Dakota—1935 State Census [Part 2]

Recently Completed Projects
(Note: Recently completed projects have been removed from the available online indexing batches and will now go through a final completion check process in preparation for future publication.)

  • Canada, British Columbia—Deaths, 1872–1986 [Part 2]
  • Italy, Trento—Baptisms, 1784–1924 [Part 1]
  • Mexico, DF—Registros Parroquiales, 1898–1933 [Parte 2]
  • Mexico, Mexico—1930 Federal Censo
  • U.S., Arkansas—County Marriages, 1837–1957 [VII]
  • U.S., Georgia—Deaths, 1928–1929
  • U.S., Indiana, Allen County—Marriages, 1811–1959
  • U.S., Indiana, Boone County—Marriages, 1811–1959
  • U.S., Indiana, Brown County—Marriages, 1811–1959
  • U.S., Louisiana—1920 Federal Census
  • U.S., New York—1920 Federal Census
  • U.S., North Carolina—1920 Federal Census
  • U.S., Rhode Island—1905 State Census [Part 1]
  • U.S., South Dakota—1920 Federal Census

Current FamilySearch Indexing Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion

  • Argentina, Balvanera—Registros Parroquiales, 1833–1934, Spanish, 3%
  • Argentina, Cordoba—Matrimonios, 1642–1931, Spanish, 79%
  • Argentina, Santa Fe—Registros Parroquiales, 1634–1926, Spanish, 2%
  • Belgium, Antwerp—Foreigners Index, 1840–1930, English, 73%
  • Canada, British Columbia—Deaths, 1872–1986 [Part 3], English, (New)
  • Canada, Québec, Montreal—Régistres Paroissiaux, 1800–1900, French, 9%
  • Česká republika, Litoměřice – Matriky 1552-1905 [část 1]
  • (Tschechien, Litomerice—Kirchenbücher [Teil 1]), German, 19%
  • Chile, Concepción—Registros Civiles, 1885–1903 [Parte 2], Spanish, 5%
  • Chile, Concepción—Registros Civiles, 1885–1903 [Parte 3], Spanish, 1%
  • Colombia, Marinilla—Registros Parroquiales, 1815–1959, Spanish, 4%
  • Deutschland, Brandenburg—Kirchenbücher, 1789–1875, German, 87%*
  • Deutschland, Mecklenburg—Volkszählung, 1890 [Div 39–69], German, 14%
  • España, Avila, Madrigal y Garganta—Registros Parroquiales, 1530–1935, Spanish, 16%
  • España, Avila, Navalmoral—Registros Parroquiales, 1530–1935, Spanish, 34%
  • España, Lugo—Registros Parroquiales, 1530–1930 [Parte 1], Spanish, 28%
  • France, Cherbourg—Registres Paroissiaux, 1802–1907, French,8%
  • France, Coutances—Registres Paroissiaux 1802–1907, French, 4%
  • France, Coutances, Paroisses de la Manche, 1792–1906, French, 90%
  • France, Paris—Registres Protestants, 1612–1906 [Partie 2], French, 78%
  • France, Saint-Lo—Registres Paroissiaux, 1802–1907, French,21%
  • Guatemala, Huehuetenango y San Marcos—Registros Civiles, 1877–1900, Spanish, 10%
  • Italia, Napoli, Castellammare di Stabia—Atti di Morte, 1809–1936, Italian,10%
  • Italy, Trento—Baptisms, 1784–1924 [Part 2], Italian, 80%
  • Jamaica, Clarendon—Births, 1878–1930, English, 36%
  • Mexico, DF—Registros Parroquiales, 1898–1933 [Parte 3], Spanish, (New)
  • Mexico, Hidalgo—1930 Federal Censo, Spanish, 52%
  • Mexico, Jalisco—1930 Federal Censo, Spanish, 30%
  • Mexico, Michoacan—1930 Federal Censo, Spanish, (New)
  • Mexico, Nuevo Leon—1930 Federal Censo, Spanish, (New)
  • New Zealand—Passenger Lists, 1871–1915, English, 61%
  • Nicaragua, Managua—Registros Civiles, 1879–1984 [Parte 1], Spanish, 30%
  • Russland, Sankt Petersburg—Kirchenbuchduplikat, 1833–1885, German, 1%
  • South Africa, Cape Province—Church Records, 1660–1970, English, 16%
  • Sverige, Södermanland—Kyrkoböcker, till 1860 [Del 1], Swedish, 5%
  • Sverige, Uppsala—Kyrkoböcker, till 1860 [Del 1], Swedish, 14%
  • Sverige, Örebro—Kyrkoböcker, till 1860 [Del 1], Swedish, 1%
  • U.K., Cheshire—Parish Records, 1538–1850 [Part 2], English/Old English, 54%
  • U.K., Essex—Parish Registers, 1538–1900 [Part 1], English, 1%
  • U.K., Warwickshire—Parish Registers, 1754-1900 [Part 2], English, 80%
  • U.S., Indiana, Clark County—Marriages, 1811–1959, English, (New)
  • U.S., Indiana, Dubois County—Marriages, 1811–1959, English, 32%
  • U.S., Indiana, Harrison County—Marriages, 1811–1959, English, 41%
  • U.S., Indiana, Marshall County—Marriages, 1811–1959, English, 18%
  • U.S., Minnesota—1875 State Census, English, (New)
  • U.S., Rhode Island—1905 State Census [Part 2], English, (New)
  • U.S., Rhode Island—1935 State Census, English, 71%
  • U.S., South Dakota—1935 State Census [Part 1], English, 94%
  • U.S., South Dakota—1935 State Census [Part 2], English, (New)
  • Venezuela, Mérida—Registros Parroquiales, 1654–1992 [Parte 1], Spanish, 93%
  • Venezuela, Mérida—Registros Parroquiales, 1654–1992 [Parte 2], Spanish, 1%
  • Österreich, Wiener Meldezettel, 1890–1925, German, 5%
  • Украина, Киев—Метрические Книги, 1840–1842, Russian, 53%
(*Percentage refers to a specific portion of a larger project.)

Current FamilySearch Partner Projects, Record Language, and Percent Completion
  • Australia, Victoria—Probate Records, 1853–1989, English, 80%
  • België, Mechelen—Overlijdens Registers, 1851-1900, Dutch, Flemish, 62%
  • Belgique—Registres Des Décès—En Français, 1796–1910, French,

NARA changes: Congressional & public hearings

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received over the weekend from our friend Harold of the Mount Vernon Genealogical Society. He continues to be ever vigilant when it comes to open records access at the National Archives.

From: Harold McClendon]
Sent: Friday, December 11, 2009 12:35 PM
To: Genealogical Society Members
Subject: Two Genealogy Meetings

Dear Genealogist,

There are two meeting scheduled for next week that I strongly urge you to attend. One meeting is a hearing in the House of Representatives and the other is a public meeting at the National Archives. I have received the following information about the two meetings:

Regarding the congressional hearing next week:

1. The title of the hearing is "History Museum or Records Access Agency? Defining and Fulfilling the Mission of the National Archives and Records Administration."

2. The President of the National Genealogical Society has been asked to testify at this hearing.

The congressional committee that oversees NARA is looking into the appropriate balance between "museum space/exhibits for tourists" and dedicated resources for research space and services. This is a major concern of many researchers in the face of renovation proposals to convert research space into "exhibit" space for tourists. This is our chance to urge Congress to protect researcher services and space as the top priority of NARA.

I have also been informed that the new Archivist of the National Archives, David S. Ferriero, will testify at the Congressional Hearing and will also attend the National Archives public meeting the following day.

Perhaps the most significant action you can take is to plan on attending these two meetings. It is not necessary that you ask any questions or make any remarks. Reservations are not required. Just by your presence at these two meetings, you make a strong statement that you care about the records at the National Archives and their availability to the general public.

If you can only attend one of the meetings, I believe the House hearing is the most important. Can you imagine the impact on the Congressmen and NARA if there are 100 researchers sitting in the hearing room. However, if you can possibly attend both meetings, your presence will have an impact.

The details on the two meetings are as follows:

1. Congressional Hearing is on Wednesday, December 16th at 2:00 pm
At the Information Policy, Census, and National Archives Subcommittee of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building

Here is a link to a map of the Capitol.

The easiest way to reach the Rayburn building is by Metro. The nearest stop is Capitol South. You can reach this stop on either the Blue line or the Orange line.

2. Archives Public Meeting is on Thursday, December 17th at 1:00 pm at the National Archives. When you enter the building, ask the security guards for directions to the meeting.

The easiest way to reach the National Archives is by Metro. The nearest stop is Archives/Navy Memorial that is just across the street from the building. You can reach this stop on either the Yellow line or the Green line.

I look forward to seeing you at these meetings.

Harold McClendon
Mount Vernon Genealogical Society

Friday, December 11, 2009

NARA space changes 17 Dec meeting

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at the National Archives (US). Please address all inquiries to

National Archives Hosts Public Forum to Discuss Research Area Changes at AI

December 17 forum to address researcher ideas and concerns

Washington, DC. . . On Thursday, December 17, at 1:00 p.m., the National Archives will hold an open public forum to discuss changes under consideration for public research areas in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Genealogists, scholars, Government agency offices, and all other researchers who use the services and facilities of the National Archives are invited to share their needs and concerns.

The meeting will take place in the Robert Warner Research Center of the National Archives Building, located at 700 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC. Attendees should use the Pennsylvania Ave. NW Research Entrance.

In recent years, microfilm usage by researchers has dropped significantly. Given this decreased demand for the numerous and bulky microfilm reader machines, the National Archives now has an opportunity to reallocate space in the building. By reducing the size of the microfilm reading room to the number of stations actually in demand by researchers, the National Archives can expand much-needed office space for staff and public program spaces for visitors, while both maintaining and strengthening researcher services.

There have been discussions this fall between researcher representatives and National Archives staff on ways to design and equip proposed new research areas. The National Archives now invites the general public to participate in this discussion. National Archives staff will explain the reasons for undertaking a space plan, its objectives, and the planning process, and will invite comments and answer questions. Alternative proposals will be described and considered at this public forum. The goal is to reallocate space and update equipment and systems so that researchers receive the most value from every square foot of space.

Reservations are not required. Those who cannot attend are invited to send written comments to:

2010 Salt Lake Institute has a few openings

If you are looking for a premier education experience including 20 hours of intensive classroom instruction, join us 11-15th January for the 2010 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy produced by the Utah Genealogical Association. Here's the latest on what's available:

Ol' Myrt here will be working as the AV tech again this year, making it easier for our talented instructors and course coordinators to spend their energy focusing on helping you take your research up a few notches.

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

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why I love my local genealogy society meetings

Admittedly, we have the Family History Library for our meeting room, but Ol' Myrt here is sure you'll want to find out WHAT happened, and the impact the following entry in the Family History Library Catalog had on a researcher attending last night's Utah Genealogical Association's Salt Lake Chapter - DearMYRTLE's Study Group meeting.

Among the topics discussed were:
  • Computer printouts (as found in the catalog)
  • Parish registers
  • Bishop's Transcripts
  • Item numbers
We also learned a little about the changes in the photocopy room on the International Floor at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

See the full report over at the Teach Genealogy Blog Why meet at the FHL?

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

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Honors: The Genea-Speak Award

Thanks to Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings for bestowing the Genea-Speak Award to Ol' Myrt here.

The award was created by texican wife of the Mountain Genealogists blog and is given "for excellence in writing, speaking, and the promoting of good genealogical practices."

The first recipient was Thomas McEntee of the Destination Austin Family , Grandma Austin's Diaries, Bootcamp for Genea-Bloggers, And I Helped!, Lowville Obituaries, Lowville Long Ago, The Grave Yard Rabbit of New York Rural Cemeteries, and A Catskill Christmas .

The only requirement is that award recipients pass on the award to two others.

Thomas awarded Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings and Miriam Robbins Midkiff of Ancestories: Stories About My Ancestors and the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society Blog.

In addition to Ol' Myrt here, Randy also honored Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak of Roots Television: Megan's Roots World and the Megan Smolenyak blog on The Huffington Post.

Following along in this tradition of adding two -- Ol' Myrt hereby recommends:

Mark Tucker of ThinkGenealogy, hailed by many as genealogy's newest bright star in particular for his development of the Genealogy Research Process Map. Mark has used SlideShare to provide an interactive review of Navigating Research with the GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard). Though Mark doesn't write as frequently as some bloggers, when he does make a post -- it is sure to get us THINKING about better ways to accomplish our research.

The Ancestry Insider whose groundbreaking work in discussing a "genealogical Maturity Model" falls on the heels of his detailed description of the NewFamilySearch roll out, along with insightful and prodding entries about how specific websites might improve usability for typical genealogical researchers like you and me.

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

Monday, December 07, 2009 Pearl Harbor Memorial & WWII COllection open to all

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at Please address all inquiries to


Lindon, UT – December 7, 2009 – In honor of Pearl Harbor Day, announced today that they will make the largest interactive WWII collection on the web including the Interactive USS Arizona Memorial free to the public during December. Featuring over 10 million records, documents and photos from the National Archives, this collection helps family members and historians better understand the people and events of WWII.

Included in this exclusive collection is the Interactive USS Arizona Memorial. This online version allows people to view the actual wall of names and search for those they know. An interactive box for each name on the wall features additional information about each veteran and includes a place where anyone can contribute photos and stories. View the Captain of the USS Arizona, Franklin Van Valkenburgh, on the interactive wall.

It’s estimated that a little over 2 million WWII veterans are still alive in the United States today. However, thousands of veterans are passing away every month taking with them many of the stories from WWII. is making an effort to help preserve these stories by digitizing documents from the National Archives and providing interactive tools to help people connect with each other.

Christina Knoedler from Pennsylvania used the Missing Air Crew Reports on to discover information about her father-in-law, who is a WWII veteran. “The other night, I showed him what I had found,” explains Christina. “He couldn’t believe that these papers existed. They had not only his name but also his buddies’ names. He started to reminisce and it was quite an evening. This will allow me to go back and document many more events in our family’s history for the generations to come.”

The Missing Air Crew Reports are just one of the record collections found on Other WWII collections on include:

“People are making fascinating discoveries in these records,” says Russell Wilding, CEO of “Reading some of the first-hand accounts helps you develop a different view and appreciation of our WWII heroes and what they went through.”

To experience the Interactive USS Arizona Memorial and the World War II visit

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Sunday, December 06, 2009

GENEii Family History Writing Contest - Deadline 31 Dec 09

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at the Southern California Genealogical Society. Please address all inquiries to

The Southern California Genealogical Society sponsors one of the very few writing contests designed specifically for family historians that is open to the general public. Membership in SCGS is not required to participate in the contest.

The GENEii Family History Writers Contest, now in its tenth year, offers cash prizes in two categories:

Category 1: Family or local history articles of 1,000-2,000 words in length, published or unpublished. If previously published, entries must be accompanied by the written permission of the publisher allowing article to be reprinted by SCGS.


1st Place, $200

2nd Place, $100

3rd Place, $50

Honorable Mentions, certificate

Finalists, certificate

Category 2: Family or local history articles of 1,000 words or less, published or unpublished. If previously published, entries must be accompanied by the written permission of the publisher allowing article to be reprinted by SCGS.


1st Place, $100

2nd Place, $50

3rd Place, $25

Honorable Mentions, certificate

Finalists, certificate

The deadline for submissions for the 2009 contest is December 31, 2009.

All of the details and contest rules can be found on the SCGS Website at The FAQs can be found at

You can read examples of some of the entries on the website as well. Look on the left-hand side of the screen for "Writing Contest" and click on that link.

In November, 2005, Heritage Books, Inc. published an anthology of some of the most memorable entries to our contest in the contest’s first five years. The anthology is called Celebrating Family History, and is available for $25 plus shipping and handling through the SCGS website.