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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tom Jones :quick notes from his presentations today

Today, in all the excitement of attending the Fairfax Genealogical Society's fall conference featuring Thomas W. Jones, Ph. D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA Ol' Myrt here learned a great deal. His three presentations were titled:
  • Inferential Genealogy:Deducing Ancestors' Identities Indirectly
  • Going Beyond the Bare Bones:Reconstructing Your Ancestors' Lives
  • Methods of Proving Parentage
This last presentation provided 15 combinations of relevant sources and potential parents. Dr. Jones encouraged us to think outside the realm of the usual and customary types of evidence when attempting to prove parentage.

Snippets of info -- which could have become Tweets if I could figure out how to do Twitter better:
  • TOM JONES: (answers) Most premarital agreements are found in deed books. Sometimes they are called "mixed" record books that also include wills.

  • TOM JONES: Uses Microsoft Word rather than a genealogy management program. He uses a Word macro numbering system for when additional family members are added.

  • TOM JONES: The definition of INFER - arriving at a conclusion from evidence collected. (He recommends writing your proof argument, to pull all the info together.)

  • TOM JONES: The principle of COVERTURE - English law considering a married couple as a single entity, where the husband is empowered to conduct business. This makes it difficult to trace women in legal records.
This was a thought provoking day.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy. Entire US census now available

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at Please note Ol' Myrt's added emphasis with the red text below. Please address all inquiries to:

ENTIRE U.S. CENSUS GOES INTERACTIVE WITH FOOTNOTE.COM to feature original documents from every publicly available

U.S. Federal Census from 1790 to 1930

Lindon, UT – October 29, 2009 – Today ( announced it will digitize and create a searchable database for all publicly available U.S. Federal Censuses ranging from the first U.S. Census taken in 1790 to the most current public census from 1930.

Through its partnership with The National Archives, will add more than 9.5 million images featuring over a half a billion names to its extensive online record collection.

“The census is the most heavily used body of records from the National Archives,” explains Cynthia Fox, Deputy Director at the National Archives. “In addition to names and ages, they are used to obtain dates for naturalizations and the year of immigration. This information can then be used to locate additional records.”

With over 60 million historical records already online, will use the U.S. Census records to tie content together, creating a pathway to discover additional records that previously have been difficult to find.

“We see the census as a highway leading back to the 18th century,” explains Russ Wilding, CEO of “This Census Highway provides off-ramps leading to additional records on the site such as naturalization records, historical newspapers, military records and more. Going forward, will continue to add valuable and unique collections that will enhance the census collection.”

To date, has already completed census collections from two key decades: 1930 and 1860. As more census decades are added to the site, visitors to can view the status for each decade and sign up for an email notification when more records are added to the site for a particular year.

View the Census Progress Page on

In addition to making these records more accessible, is advancing the way people use the census by creating an interactive experience. Footnote Members can enrich the census records by adding their own contributions. For any person found in the census, users can:

  • Add comments and insights about that person
  • Upload and attach scanned photos or documents related to that person
  • Generate a Footnote Page for any individual that features stories, a photo gallery, timeline and map
  • Identify relatives found in the census by clicking the I’m Related button

See the 1930 Interactive Census record for Jimmy Stewart.

“The most popular feature of our Interactive Census is the I’m Related button,” states Roger Bell, Senior Vice President of Product Development at “This provides an easy way for people to show relations and actually use the census records to make connections with others that may be related to the same person.” works with the National Archives and other organizations to add at least a million new documents and photos a month to the site. Since launching the site in January 2007, has digitized and added over 60 million original source records to the site, including records pertaining to the Holocaust, American Wars, Historical Newspapers and more.

“We will continue to move aggressively to add records to the site, specifically those that are requested by our members and others that are not otherwise available on the Internet,” said Wilding.

Visit to see how the census on can truly be an interactive experience.

Additional Resources

Follow us on Twitter –

Join us on Facebook –

About Footnote, Inc. 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, all are invited to come share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit

NARA space changes

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Ol' Myrt here visited the National Archives yesterday and noted there were 3 researchers using the microfilm reading room. One research was concerned because the microfilm readers are not in good repair. Ol' Myrt wishes to keep her DearREADERS informed, but doesn't wish to get in the middle of the fight.

From: Harold
The National Archives is going ahead with its plans to cut the space available to researchers in half, reduce the number of microfilm readers, move the consultants into the Library, and make it very difficult to conduct research at the National Archives. These changes will start within the next couple of weeks unless you act now.

The Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives which is under the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the House of Representatives is interested in hearing from researchers as to their feelings about the changes that the National Archives is planning to make in the near future.

You can provide the committee with your thought by clicking on the following link. It will take you to a page where you provide your name and address and your comments. It is very quick and will only take you a few minutes. It is important to keep your comments brief and specific about your concerns over how these changes will impact on individuals who research at the National Archives.

Just click on this link. It will only take you a few minutes to submit your input.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


From: Marie Varrelman Melchiori, CG, CGL
I'd like to post my response to the NARA statement on improving services on your page.

The NARA Press release made it sound like the A-2 Consultant's Office/Finding Aids room was in the library. It's not. It's in the 2nd floor Textual Research Room. It's a separate glass enclosed room.

A description from another researcher:
The consultants area of Archives II is quite nice. It's in an enclosed glass room along a wall in the main research room. It's just a few steps to walk from where you sit when you look at records to their room talk to them and turn in your requests, and they're adjacent to the desk where you pick up your records. There are several tables in there and the walls are lined with books and finding aids. I would not have said it's been in place for several years, just two at the most, and I don't recall any adjacent offices where the consultants can go to do other work (but I could be wrong about that). It's certainly better now than it used to be -- having to ask a staff member to take you through a secure door off the back of the research room. The only complaint I can imagine is that there might be more researchers in there now because the consultants are more conveniently located.

It has changed positions in the Research Room. Used to be as you walked in now it's in the back. They had the "Preliminary Inventories" as well as the locator books, those are the ones that give you the location in the stack area where the records you want to look at are stored. At A-1 the staff fills in the location, at A-2 you fill in the location.

Yes, she's right that for years you were escorted through locked doors to a specific Archivists Office/Finding Aids room [either Civil or Military]. They had more specific Finding Aids in their space than was found in the textual room.


Marie Varrelman Melchiori, CG, CGL
Melchiori Research Services, L.L.C.
CG, Certified Genealogist and CGL, Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by Board-certified associates after periodic competency evaluations.

Monday, October 26, 2009


From: Donna

RE: Winter Quarters: circa 1846-1849 ancestral gleanings

There is a wonderful museum in Corydon, Iowa about the Mormon Trail and the writing of the song "Come, Come, Ye Saints". It is the Prairie Trails Museum of Wayne County, Iowa and the web address is Click on "Mormon Trail Exhibit" to see photos. Put together by the Wayne County Historical Society, the exhibit puts you in the shoes of those early pioneers of 1846, struggling through the knee-deep mud and tall prairie grasses to seek religious freedom.

The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail is marked across Iowa by over 100 signs, and described at on the National Park Service web site.

The pioneer story is also well told at by clicking on A-Z Index in the top tool bar, and then on "Pioneer Story" in the P's.

THANKS for sharing these websites with Ol' Myrt and her readers. While on my honeymoon in September of this year, Gordon and I visited many of the historical trail markers along the Mormon Trail between Nauvoo and Salt Lake City. Some are more memorable than others -- Chimney Rock and Scotts' Bluff in Nebraska come to mind. But each bore a silent testimony to those who had gone on before.

Many will appreciate the last phrase of the hymn you mention by William Clayton -- "All is well, All is well".

That has been a comforting tune for me to sing when rocking my little ones to sooth their fevered brows, after the doctor's had provided the best Rx for an earache or some such malady. Having penicillin is a miracle of modern days, isn't it?

Thinking back on the problems I had as a young mother, I at least had a comfortable roof over my head and food on the table. My most distressing thought about housekeeping might have been when the automatic clothes washer broke down while doing a load of those old-fashioned cloth diapers that pre-date the current disposable style.

That was nothing, compared to giving birth on the windswept plains or washing clothing at the riverside on rocks.

PS - Keep those emails coming about your ancestors and SOD HOUSES. It is amazing what my DearREADERS have come up with already. I'll be posting a follow-up article shortly.

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

Sunday, October 25, 2009


RE: NARA statement on improving services

From: Harold McClendon Jr (via Facebook)
I suggest you read the press release again. We are still losing half of the space to exhibits and a gift shop. We still lose the lecture room G-24. It is to be replaced by another room at some location that has yet to be identified. The consultants will be moved into the Library in the open space. It is not like Archives 2 because the consultants on the second floor, at least with the military record, have a separate room in the research area.

Have you ever tried to work with a consultant in that room? There is no privacy at all. As you are sitting at the table trying to talk to the consultant, there is another individual sitting beside you waiting for an opening to get the consultant's attention.

The only battle we have won is that we get to keep the microfilm for the time being. If the number of people researching at the Archives does not increase, we will loose all of the first floor.

THANKS for an insider's view of the change of space challenges at the National Archives.

How I wish more people would use the National Archives (US) for on site research. Newbies tend to think that everything is online, but
that simply isn't true for those of us who've progressed in our research beyond the federal census enumerations and a few military records . What's available in scanned image format is a drop in the bucket compared to the valuable documents that detail the history of our country, and the part our ancestors played in the process.

Thanks, Harold, for speaking up. I bow to your experience and thoughts on this controversy.

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

NEGHS: Key positions filled

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following is just in from our friends at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Please address all inquiries as listed below:


Boston, MA, October 22, 2009 - The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) is pleased to announce the appointment of three new staff positions:

Ryan J. Woods was promoted to a newly created position, Director of the Web site, where he'll lead the Society's strategic work in its online presence, including content, features, resources, and performance. Home to more than 110 million names in 2,400 databases, the award-winning site is currently undergoing a major rebuild, with an expected launch sometime in the first half of 2010. Ryan can be reached at

D. Joshua Taylor is the new Director of Education and Programs at NEHGS, responsible for planning and overseeing more than 120 lectures, tours, programs, and other talks throughout the year. Josh joined NEHGS in 2006, and is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and researcher. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Federation of Genealogical Societies. You can reach Josh at

Rhonda R. McClure will take over as the new Director of Research Services at NEHGS. Her 20 years of experience give her a well-rounded background in all aspects of family history. She has compiled more than 120 celebrity family trees, and was a contributing writer to several national publications, including The History Channel Magazine. In addition to numerous articles and papers, she is author of eleven books, including the award-winning, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, now in its second edition, as well as Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors, and Digitizing Your Family History. Rhonda can be reached at

D. Brenton Simons, NEHGS President and CEO, said, "We're very excited to fill these important roles with our existing staff. NEHGS is in the midst of great success and growth, and being able to promote from within the organization speaks well to the entire staff at NEHGS."

Founded in 1845, New England Historic Genealogical Society is the country's oldest and largest non-profit genealogical organization. NEHGS collects, preserves, and interprets materials that help make accessible the histories of families in America. The NEHGS research center, located at 99 Newbury Street, Boston, one of the most respected genealogical libraries in the field, is home to millions of books, journals, manuscripts, photographs, microfilms, documents, records, and other artifacts that date back more than four centuries. The award-winning web site offers access to more than 110 million names in 2,400 searchable databases. NEHGS has more than 23,000 members nationally. NEHGS staff includes some of the leading expert genealogists in the country, specializing in early New England and American, Irish, English, Italian, Scottish, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, and Jewish genealogy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

NARA: Statement on improving services

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Looks like all the confusion about changes at NARA in Washington DC will be cleared up by this notice from our friends at the National Archives (US). Please address all inquiries to

Press Release
October 22, 2009
National Archives Statement on Improving Services to Researchers at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC

Washington, DC…The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) continually looks at ways to improve and increase our services to visitors and researchers. We conduct this review to ensure that we continue to provide the highest level of services to our regular clientele and to extend our services to potential users with different backgrounds and expectations.

It’s come to our attention that our researcher community may have received erroneous information about our plans for some adjustments to the Archives I research rooms. The following information is an outline of what we are considering.

Are you reducing the size of the Finding Aids/Consultation Room?
No. Current plans would more than double that space.

The current room on the ground floor of the National Archives Building (Room G-28) serves as the finding aids room, the consultation area, and as office space for three staff members. The area available in this space for consultation with the public is approximately 450 square feet and has three consultation tables. We are proposing to move the consultation area from G-28 to the adjacent area which is currently the National Archives Library, G-30. We will use approximately 1100 square feet of what is now Library space for this consultation area. The space will have eight tables for consultation. So, we will more than double the area and number of tables for researchers to consult with staff and use the finding aids. The three staff members who currently have their workspace in G-28 will have new workstations adjacent to the research room that they can use to do other work when they are not providing direct consultation service.

This plan is based on the successful model that has been in place for several years for consultants at Archives II in College Park.

Are you eliminating the Microfilm Reading Room?
No. Over the last few years use of our microfilm holdings has decreased by 70%. In fiscal year 2000 we had 53,000 microfilm researcher visits; in fiscal year 2009 we had 16,000 microfilm research visits. When our microfilm reading room was first designed and built we estimated the need for 100 microfilm readers. Because of digitization and other factors, there no longer is the need for so many microfilm readers. So we are considering reducing the number of microfilm machines to 30 and increasing the number of public access computers to meet the demand for the old and the new technology. We will maintain the number of microfilm machines at a level that is needed by those researchers who continue to have the need for microfilm.

Are you eliminating self-service microfilm?
No. For the convenience of both researchers and staff, the National Archives maintains a policy of allowing researchers to browse our microfilm cabinets and select their own microfilm. We will continue with this policy as long as research demand warrants it. We may, however, relocate the microfilm to another public area adjacent to the microfilm reading room.

Are you eliminating the Lecture Room?
No. Our current lecture room on the ground floor (G-24) is used daily for programs such as our very popular “Know Your Records” seminars. Any renovation of the ground floor research area will include a lecture room so our researchers, visitors, and NARA staff can continue to use it for critical outreach and other activities.

What are you doing with the Orientation and Registration Area?
While we may eventually re-locate those areas physically, we have no immediate plans to do so. We of course would not eliminate this critical function, and will ensure it is located appropriately.

These changes to the National Archives Building should improve the services we provide to researchers. No functions or services are being eliminated or reduced.

To ensure that the changes meet the needs of researchers, we intend to continue to have our quarterly meetings with our Archives I user group to keep users informed and solicit their comments.


Nebraska Sod House?

Window to the past

In sorting through pics taken during our honeymoon last month, Ol' Myrt found these three taken of a replica sod house in Nebraska at a spot called Windlass Hill Pioneer Homestead. If someone doesn't re-mud the walls, this window into the past will go to the wayside. I can only imagine the lifestyle of the inhabitants of such homes. A winter day would take on all sorts of chilly and isolated connotations if living in such a place.
Do you have an ancestor who lived in a sod house in Nebraska?
Do you have pics of real sod houses? I'd like to feature such pictures in follow-up blog entries, complete with a paragraph or two about the ancestors you discovered living in these interesting domiciles. From what I've read, later models were considered much more luxurious with the addition of movable shutters and whitewashed exterior walls.
After traveling back and forth across Nebraska, I can see why the typical building method in the 1800s was this form of sod and mud. Trees were not plentiful. In fact, I have an ancestor born "under Lone Tree, on the plains of Nebraska".
Do write to Ol' Myrt, and enclose a pic of the sod houses that are part of your family history. Together we can create a tribute to your pioneering ancestors.

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Winter Quarters: circa 1846-1849 ancestral gleanings

Many of you know, Ol' Myrt here has early LDS Church members on her Dad's side of the family, while her mom's side typically is found in the same places, and are rumored to tar and feather those of the then unusual "new" religious group.

On our trip back to Virginia this week, Gordon and I made a point of stopping at the Mormon Trail Centre at historic Winter Quarters (Omaha, Nebraska), the graveyard and temple. I took the picture above from the parking lot of the visitors' center looking west to the graveyard on the hill behind the iron fence.

Winter Quarters is where my pioneer ancestor David Dutton Yearsley (born 3 Mar 1808 at Thornbury, Chester County, Pennsylvania) passed away in 1849. His widow Mary Ann (Hoopes) Yearsley and children were then faced with traveling to the Salt Lake Valley on their own.They were part of the Benjamin Hawkins Company, departing 5 June 1850, arriving 9 September 1850 in a band of some 150 wagons that were in the company when it began its journey from the outfitting post just across the Missouri River at Kanesville, Iowa.

I had previously studied the history of the westward migration of early LDS Church members, and knew of the difficulties of the temporary housing at Winter Quarters. I also knew that Yearsley's grave was unmarked, as were many who lost their lives during this difficult time in early Church history. There were just too many to bury in a short period of time, and too few methods for marking the graves when wood was needed to keep the home fires burning.

Thinking only of the Yearsley side of the family, imagine my surprise to note the very first display in the Winter Quarters visitors' center features a quote from my not-very-famous William Warner PLAYER, a stone setter immigrant from England who worked on the temple at Nauvoo, Illinois from June 1840 until the Church members were forced to leave the city during the icy cold month of Feb 1846.

William's feelings about being forced to abandon the beautiful temple built to honor our Father in Heaven are certainly reflected in his words quoted on the banner next to the bas relief of the temple in the picture below:

Subsequent study in the library of the visitors' center yielded the book An intimate chronicle; the journals of William Clayton edited by George D. Smith. Clayton detailed some of William Warner Player's stone work, carvings and placement of the unusually large east window. It must have been heart -breaking to leave Nauvoo, knowing that mobs had forced their way into the stone temple desecrating the interior and burning what could catch fire. It is only in recent years that a new temple has been erected on the same site.

Regardless of one's religious orientation, it is enlightening to understand the motivations of an ancestor's life. Indeed, William was able to fulfill his dream "My heart was to build another house for the Lord." Although he was quite elderly, and his son Charles was much more active in building the Salt Lake Temple, William did manage to put some time into it's construction.

Temples have a special meaning to members of the LDS Church. My sister and I still carry on the traditions set forth by our Yearsley and Player ancestors.

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

FamilyLink reaches 55 million users

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

FamilyLink Turns Profitable; Grows Monthly Active Users 400% in 2009

PROVO, UTAH (October 20, 2009)—FamilyLink, a top provider of the family social experience with more than 55 million users, has built the leading way for families to connect. Families have declared FamilyLink as the preferred service to find relatives, communicate with family members and build Social Trees™ with both ancestors and living relatives. As part of its continuous process to excel at innovation and drive adoption, FamilyLink announced that Cydni Tetro has joined as Chief Marketing Officer. As CMO she directs the sales and marketing efforts.

“We know that families want to find their relatives and get connected with them. Our company shows that this is an important market to address,” said Paul Allen, CEO of “All of the services we have developed in the last three years have centered on connecting families in one way or another. With Tetro on our team, we plan to integrate our brands to create an even better user experience for families.”

FamilyLink has grown 400% over the last 12 months and now reaches more than 55 million users. FamilyLink has the fourth most popular Facebook application, We’re Related, with 20 million monthly active users. FamilyLink has also been profitable this year.

“We will continue to build a great user experience for families on Facebook," said Jason McGowan, Chief Social Officer. "More than a million new users join our Facebook application each week. Because FamilyLink is built on Facebook Connect, our FamilyLink users will be able to interact with their relatives on and on our upcoming mobile apps."

Tetro joins FamilyLink from NextPage, where she helped successfully sell a search product to FAST, now Microsoft, and build a leading information risk management company. She also founded a podcast distribution company, Rocky Mountain Voices. Tetro is the Executive Director of the Women Tech Council that she co-founded in 2007. For the last six years she has been recognized by vSpring Capitial as a top 100 Venture Entrepreneur. She was a 2008 finalist in the American Business Awards for Women and is a Utah Business 30 Women to Watch.

FamilyLink provides the platform for the family social experience. Family members can create family generated content, preserve interactions, add historical content and communicate across a number of mediums. FamilyLink's flagship application We're Related launched in 2007 and today has more than 50 million users making it a top five Facebook application and a two-year top ten Facebook application.

Corporate Office: 4778 N. 300 W. Suite 230 Provo, UT 84604

More than 20 million users use the product on a monthly basis. FamilyLink also leverages its content relationships to provide valuable historical family content. Families can search over 1.2 billion names to find, tag and integrate ancestors. To learn more about FamilyLink go to .

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ancestry to FB: Follow up

From: Anastasia (at
I saw your post about Share and looked into it yesterday. Right now the Share-to-Facebook option is only available on the record page (the page with only the index information).

It's currently not available from the image page (where you can view the image and the index). I followed the link in your post, and it seemed that perhaps you may have been trying to share the record from the image page. You should be able to share that census from the record page.

Thank-you very much for your prompt reply. I tried the "SHARE" option as you suggested, and find it works just fine. I wonder how I managed to stumble on the correct option initially?

Perhaps "SHARE" should work the same on both the index detail and the image page, so as to not confuse poor old white-haired genealogists like Ol' Myrt here?

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


NOTE from DearMYRTLE: It is with anxious anticipation that we've looked forward to this news item as there are references to Second Life notecards. Please address all inquiries to

Announcing the New Second Edition of Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, by Elizabeth Shown Mills
originally posted in Genealogy Pointers (10-20-09)

Following its enthusiastic reception in 2007, we are pleased to announce a new edition of what is now the definitive guide to the citation and analysis of historical sources, a guide so thorough that it leaves nothing to chance, whether you want to cite a podcast or a census record. The new second edition of Evidence Explained includes updates to numerous websites, new models for electronic sources such as blogs and online forums, and new model citations to traditional and non-traditional genealogical sources, thus continuing its role as the single-most comprehensive style manual for genealogical writing and publishing.

Evidence Explained has two principal uses: it provides citation models for most historical sources-especially original materials not covered by classic citation guides such as The Chicago Manual of Style. Beyond that it can help us understand each type of record and identify each in such detail that we and our readers will know not only where to go to find our source, but, equally important, the nature of that source so that the evidence can be better interpreted and the accuracy of our conclusions properly appraised.

Evidence Explained was the winner of the National Genealogical Society's 2008 Award of Excellent, and it was named a "Best Reference 2007" by the prestigious magazine Library Journal. Following are some highlights of this superb reference work
  • Covers all contemporary and electronic sources not discussed in traditional style manuals, including digital, audio, and video sources
  • Explains citation principles and includes more than 1,000 citation models for virtually every source type
  • Shows readers where to go to find their sources and how to describe them and evaluate them
  • Teaches readers to separate facts from assertions and theory from proof in the evaluation of evidence

Reviews of the First Edition

"The definitive guide for how to cite every conceivable kind of source a historian might use, from traditional archival materials to digital media to the most arcane sources imaginable."-John B. Boles, Editor, Journal of Southern History

"Meant not only as a style guide for the types of source citations used by genealogists and historians, this book also discusses why analysis of information within the total context of a source is imperative to understanding the nature of a 'fact.' Citations not only tell where the source was found, but also can indicate a level of confidence to knowledgeable researchers."-Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly (December 2007)

". . . pays special attention to the proper citation of multimedia materials and online resources and to understanding their role as evidence in historical research. . . .[T]his 14-chapter guide could scarcely be more comprehensive or thorough. It outlines foundational issues of evidence and citation analysis and then details the citation of specific types of materials."-Choice (March 2008)

"The heart of the book . . . presents more than one thousand citation models. . . . Most valuable are models for contemporary sources (Web sites, digital books and journals, DVDs, CDs, audio files, podcasts, e-zines, and others) and genealogical sources not covered elsewhere (artifacts, family group sheets, FHL preservation film, lineage society applications, genetic testing reports, grave markers, blogs, online forums, and such). . . . In standardizing a family history style, Mills has advanced the discipline. She has given genealogical researchers, writers, editors, and publishers invaluable new tools to bring quality and consistency to their work and distinction to the field."- National Genealogical Society Quarterly (September 2007)

"You no longer have to guess how to cite your sources-there is an example for everything imaginable. . . . [U]sers will find comfort in knowing nothing has been left to chance-anyone will be able to follow the trail back to the source used."- The Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter (October 2007)

"Carry it around and look up the correct citation of any source you come across. Keep it at your side to help you identify sources and use it to evaluate digital and internet sources."-Bluegrass Roots (Fall 2007)

"Evidence Explained . . . is more than a mere expansion of Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian. As a transition, it is the next generation of genealogical and historical documentation style guide and will likely remain so for years to come. It should be on every genealogist's shelf to be consulted often."-New Mexico Genealogist (March 2008)
"Separate citation examples for print, film, and electronic formats are included when applicable. . . . This is an essential resource for family historians; highly recommended for all libraries."-Library Journal (November 2007)

About the Author
Elizabeth Shown Mills is a historical writer with decades of research experience in public and private records. Published widely in academic and popular presses, Mills edited a national-level scholarly journal for sixteen years, taught for thirteen years at a National Archives-based institute for archival records and, for twenty years, has headed a university-based program in advanced research methodology. She is the author, among other books, of Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian (1997) and the editor of Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians (2001).

For more information about (or to order a copy of) the new 2nd edition of Evidence Explained, please click on the following link:

Monday, October 19, 2009 to FB or not to FB

THAT is the question!


A week ago Thursday, and touted their FB (Facebook) compatibility at the annual Fall Conference of the Utah Genealogical Association UGA. Naturally I wished to share the option with my DearMYRTLE's Study Group/Salt Lake Chapter UGA meeting this past Wednesday evening, so I tested it out.

Just to make sure Ol' Myrt here understood the Ancestry-to-FB process, I located my ancestor Henry Goering and his wife Dorothy in the 1860 US Federal census record at I clicked "Share" above the image of the census, and selected FB from the list of sharing possibilities that also included email and Twitter.

Up popped a dialog box where I was able to describe the entry including the additional text "All the children are as we know them -- and it is in the known Dallas, Marion County, Iowa where they settled. [...] I then clicked to send the document to my Facebook account.

Sure enough, a link to the census image is listed with a mini-graphic of the page in question on my FB page, viewable only by my friends and family.

Few of my family are members, so I logged out of to see what the experience would be if, for instance, my brother Mike clicked the hyperlink on my FB page.

To my surprise, Mike would have FULL ACCESS to the census image at, with the ability to scroll, magnify and save the image without joining as a paid member. He wouldn't be required to log in or sign up for unless he attempted to view the previous or next page of the census enumeration or any other paid portion of the website.

Ol' Myrt was SO excited to share this new Ancestry-to-FB option that I decided to do a live demonstration later that evening during my study group meeting in the main classroom at the Family History Library. As always, when demonstrating something on the web during such meetings, I used a participant's ancestor GIDEON LUPTON who was enumerated in Warren, Jefferson County, Ohio in the 1820 Census. UNFORTUNATELY, the only "SHARE" option available was email.

At that point, I wondered if there was a hidden requirement that one attach the document to an ancestor on one's tree before sending it to FB. So to test it out, I went back to the entry for HENRY GOERING and found that email was again the only option. WEIRD. I couldn't send an image of my Alma Oades Player of Salt Lake City, either.

Did close down the option because of server overload?

I next thought there may be a restriction to sharing one item per day. Apparently this has been disproved because each day since then, I've attempted to go back to GIDEON LUPTON to share through my FB account -- each time to be faced only with the email option to share. Apparently THIS isn't a hidden requirement either, since to date, only email has come up as an option for sharing.

Ol' Myrt here is hopeful that the powers that be at Ancestry can define the rules about the "SHARE" option and explain why it isn't working as described in the Ancestry blog entry titled Share Historical Record Discoveries via Facebook, Twitter and Email posted by kehulet
October 15, 2009. There is a sentence that says "You can share daily finds from the record page by clicking on the “Share this record” link in the Page Tools section."

Is the keyword there DAILY?

Why isn't this working for Ol' Myrt?

I'm sure there is a glitch that can be worked out shortly, Kendal?

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

Thursday, October 15, 2009

National Institutes for Genealogical Studies: 10th Anniversary

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Please address all inquiries to

A very large number of phone calls and e-mails have been received requesting information regarding the '10% discount' for registration fees in celebration of our 10th Anniversary of providing Genealogy Education Online. This was announced on October 4 and was to end tonight, October 14th. We are extending the registration fee discount of 10% until end of day on Wednesday(October 21) to enable us to complete all requests, to speak with those who could not reach us during the holiday weekend, or any other situation. Again, if you wish, you may call us toll free at 1-800-580-0165, or send an e-mail to:

Below, you will find a copy of the e-mail sent out last week... If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us...

Louise St Denis

National Institute for Genealogical Studies


Today, Sunday October 4th we are celebrating! It's our 10th anniversary... 10 years ago today on Monday, October 4th, 1999 we started our first online course, 'Methodology-Part 1: Getting Started', for the first time. Tomorrow, it will start for the 121st time! WOW! How time flies...

We now offer approximately 150 online courses prepared by over 50 instructors. Over 50,000 registrations have been received from all over the world.

We would like to thank all our Program Directors, our Instructors and our Consultants for preparing such valuable and informative educational materials; thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge.

Thank you to our staff and volunteers, both present and past. Many from 10 years ago are still with us! Your hard work and your commitment has made our course delivery systems and our student support services the best they could be.

Thank you to the University of Toronto, Faculty of Information, Professional Learning Centre who, years ago, had the confidence to partner with us in providing this program. For its second decade, our program has now moved to a a different faculty within the U of T: our affiliation is now with the Continuing Education department of the University of St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto.

And finally, thanks to all our students and our supporters --- you have made all the hard work worthwhile. You have been there through the good times and through the growing pains (terrible spam and e-mail problems is the first that comes to mind!). Meeting you in person at conferences and at graduations has been terrific. Your commitment to your studies has always given us the encouragement and the confidence to continue finding new topics to offer...



All registrations received from today, October 4th for 10 days through October 14th will receive 10% off. This includes all packages of courses as well as single courses. Remember, for all registrations, single courses or packages, you choose the date you will start the course(s).

To received this 10% discount, process your registration online at for the regular registration fee. You will receive a receipt from MiraPay for your payment. Please forward the e-mail to us requesting your 10% discount ( We will refund your credit card for the 10%.

If you do not receive the confirmation e-mail or prefer to register by telephone, please call us toll free at 1-800-580-0165.

If you were considering completing your Certificate program, this would be a great time to call our office to see what would be the most economical combination of packages to achieve your objectives. For those who are finding their financial situation a little tight these days, speak to us about our 'No Interest, No Service Charge', payment plan.


Throughout the year, we will have numerous promotions for products and draws.

DRAW OCTOBER 31 for a free course (for past or current students):

From all e-mails received. Let us know how the courses have helped you in your research. Your comments will be added to our 10th Anniversary Memories Book.

DRAW OCTOBER 31 for a free course (for someone who has not taken a course):

From all e-mails received. Let us know how you believe our program has helped provide genealogy education OR let us know which course you believe would be the most useful for you in your research and why.

MONTHLY DRAWS for a package of 6 courses (Value $500) From all registrations received each month a lucky winner will received a package of 6 courses. If you register a package of courses, your name will be entered in the draw for each course in that package (a package of 9 courses gives you 9 chances to win).

OCTOBER 4, 2010 DRAW for a Certificate package of 40 course (value approximate $4,000) From all registrations received from October 4, 2009 to October 4, 2010. If during this period you register a package of courses, your name will be entered in the draw for each course in that package. If you have registered more than 10 courses during this period, you will receive the cash value towards previously registered courses.


Are you a member of a society? Work or volunteer in a library? Write an article for your Society or Library's newsletter about the National Institute for Genealogical Studies (or ask us to provide the article!). Send the published newsletter to us at The National Institute, 92 Ashbury Blvd, Ajax Ontario L1Z 1N1. We will send your Society or Library a Gift Certificate for a package of 6 courses (Value $500) to use as they wish. We would suggest it be used as a fund raiser --- sell tickets for draw overlapping several monthly meetings or events and hold the draw at a special function!

Offer to give a 45 minutes to an hour presentation for your Society members or Library patrons. We will even provide the PowerPoint presentation. Each attendee will receive a free Methodology-Part 1: Getting Started course!


As indicated earlier, we will be celebrating our 10th anniversary throughout this year. We will also have special promotions on other products. To start this off, we have packaged 3 products that genealogists should carry with them to properly cite their sources:

From now to October 14th (now 21st) we are packaging three items together for $25.95US or $29.95Cnd (a savings of 20% if purchased individually):


Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian

QuickSheet: Citing Online Historical Resources

QuickSheet: Citing Databases & Images all by Elizabeth Shown Mills


Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace for $39.95US or $45.95Cnd (also a savings of 20%).

These four items are excellent tools to ensure you are citing all your sources properly

To order these items, go to our store (, under the menu Other Products, click on INSTITUTE MATERIALS, click on ELECTIVE COURSES, click on SUPPLIES: OPTIONAL. Next choose the appropriate product above and complete the order. If you have any difficulties call us, toll free, at 1-800-580-0165.



Thank you to all those who have responded to our request of interest in our guided research trips. We will shortly be letting you know the schedule for next year's Research Academies. If someone has not responded yet, here is the message sent out earlier. You still have time to have your voice heard.

In the last several years, we have had Research Academy Programs in various cities. To ensure quality time with our instructor(s) during the Research Academy, a small group of individuals is required, therefore space is limited. We are planning our activities for the for 2010. If you are interested in joining our instructors on a guided research trip, please let us know where you would like to go. This could be to Salt Lake City, Washington, Ottawa, Toronto, Fort Wayne or any other city where important repositories are found, or it could be to another country such as Ireland, England, Germany, etc. Simply send us an e-mail to to let us know where you would like a guided research program. If we have a sufficient number of students, your suggestion may find itself on the schedule! (No obligations naturally on your part.)



Many new courses are planned to start in 2009/2010. We are concentrating on very specialized courses to help you with the Analysis and SkillBuilding aspects of your research. Look for announcements as we get closer to offering these courses.

If you have an interest in a topic we do not offer, please let us know. If you are an instructor with a specific area of expertise we do not covered, please contact us. Our toll free number is 1-800-580-0165.


Louise St Denis

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies