Monday, November 30, 2009

Life During the Civil War

As luck would have it, the day before Ol' Myrt received a .pdf copy of this book, her husband came home excited to show off a new book on his favorite subject!

Life During the Civil War is the latest offering from our friends at and, and author David A. Norris is one of Ol' Myrt's personal favorites.

Anxious to expand on my study of US Civil War medical practices, I turned to pages 55-61 and found a fair synopsis of how our ancestors endured injury and illness because of meager supplies, inadequate staffing and and the prevailing lack of medical knowledge incident to the time period. Just when I was wondering why there was no mention of the impact the US Sanitary Commission had on improving conditions, the very next chapter tackled the topic. The layout and ratio of photos to text is similar to the publisher's magazines -- enough to keep you interested and lead you through the text without overwhelming the need for details.

A quick review of the table of contents shows the breadth of content:
  • From Abatis to Zouaves: A Civil War Dictionary
  • Home Away From Home: Hotels of the Civil War
  • Soundtrack to a Conflict: Music of the Civil War
  • Starvation Parties and Confederate Candles?
  • Slumgullion, Salt Horse and Hell-Fired Stew
  • Relief From Reality: Civil War Humor
  • Shinplasters and Greenbacks: Money During the Civil War
  • Zouaves: New York Firemen and Louisiana Tigers
  • Man's Best Friends: Pets in the Army
  • Johnnie Reb and Billy Yank: Life in the Armies
  • Fighting for Freedom: The US Colored Troops
  • Sutler Shops: Convenience Stores for Soldiers
  • Life on Soap Suds Row: Army Laundresses
  • Taking the Cars: Rail Travel During the Civil War
  • What the Doctor Ordered: Hospitals and Medicine
  • Common Civil War Remedies
  • Fundraising Fairs: The US Sanitary Commission
  • Picturing the Civil War: War Artists
  • From the Frontlines to the Homefront: Newspapers
  • Telegrams: At the Speed of Lightening
  • Worth a Thousand Words: Photography in the Civil War
  • "I Hain't Got Any Stamps": Confederate and Union Mail
  • The Civil War Navies: Cottonclads and Blockages
  • The New Naval Warfare: Life on Ironclads
  • Missed It By That Much!
Since this is a basic primer on the historical aspects of the war, there is no information on how to discover more about an ancestor rumored to have served for either the North or the South. Also missing is a bibliography of suggested reading materials either on or off the net. However the publisher explains that David is:
"the author of over 250 published magazine and encyclopedia articles. David A. Norris has written extensively for History Magazine, Family Chronicle, Internet Genealogy and Discovering Family History. Norris' articles have also been published by American Heritage,, America's Civil War, Civil War Times, American History, the North Carolina Historical Review, True West and Mental Floss. His first book, Potter's Raid: The Union Cavalry's Boldest Expedition in Eastern North Carolina was published by Dram Tree Books. In addition he has contributed articles to the Encyclopedia of the American Civil War, the Encyclopedia of North Carolina History and the upcoming Mississippi Encyclopedia."

Sounds like David knows what he's talking about, doesn't it? I'll just bet your resident US Civil War history buff would appreciate this as a holiday gift.

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


From: Kim O (a member of DearMYRTLE's Salt Lake Study Group)
One thing not mentioned in the readers' comments regarding the picture of you in the paper was to look on the other side for clues regarding the locale in which the paper was published. I don't know of any papers that did not print on both sides of the sheet.

An excellent idea!

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

Case Study: McDonnell Part II - SSDI

The Social Security Death Index listing for my maternal grandmother provides her last known residence -- but that still doesn't mean she died in Washington, does it?

BIRTH 1905 or 1908?

The birth year 1905 in the SSDI is different from the 1908 birth year listed on my grandmother's funeral card.

Remember, when applying for a Social Security number, one has to present proof of birth. So is the birth year a typo in the SSDI? Was my grandmother's birth date incorrectly stated on the funeral card?

Regardless of the cause, this is difference must be accounted for and requires additional research.

Fortunately, most modern genealogy management programs allow for additional events. In the case of the different birth date, Ol' Myrt here added a second birth event to accommodate the 1905 date, listing the SSDI as the source. See how this shows up in RootsMagic (click to view larger version of this image.)


Although a secondary source of death information, the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is considered more reliable than my grandmother's funeral card, because one had to present a copy of the official death certificate to the Social Security office when reporting the death. I did this just a few years ago when my step-mother passed away. Information provided by GenealogyBank about the SSDI includes:
"The Social Security Deathfile Index (SSDI), is the index prepared by the Social Security Administration to track the deaths of persons who held a Social Security card or had a Railroad pension. In the beginning the agency relied on the families of the deceased to report a person's death, but, now death certificates require the recording of the Social Security number. This information is automatically sent by each state to the Social Security Administration, providing a nearly comprehensive list of all deaths in the U.S. and for American citizens who died abroad."
However, the SSDI isn't without its problems. Not all deaths are reported to the Social Security. And some of the earlier deaths that were reported may not be found in this index. Keep in mind that one did not have to receive Social Security benefits to have one's death reported and appearing in the SSDI.

For Further Reading

Ol' Myrt has gone to the Social Security website to order a copy of my grandmother's application for her original Social Security number. The online order form indicated the cost will be $27 since I can provide her SS#. I also typed in all known names for my grandmother, provided the name of her parents, and included my contact info, phone and email. After entering my credit card info, I received the following confirmation of my purchase request:

Request for Deceased Individual's Social Security Record

20 days! WOW! I'll report to my DearREADERS on the actual turn-around time for the receipt of this document.

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

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Are digital images only for LDS?

Thanks to our friend AI (Ancestry Insider) for a detailed description of New FamilySearch, FamilySearch Indexing and the digitization project currently underway by our friends at See Digitized Records Not Just for Mormons published 23 Nov 2009 at the Ancestry Insider blog.

Your readers have come to trust your advice and instruction. Just add Ol' Myrt to your list of loyal followers.

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

Case Study: Frances I (Goering) Froman McDonnell

To flesh out the concepts introduced in Building a Case, we'll first use this scanned image from my maternal grandmother's funeral card.

Funeral cards are often the first family-held document encountered by beginning genealogists. From this we can begin to flesh out essential elements of an ancestor's life. More importantly, this funeral card suggests additional documents that mention, in this case, my grandmother.


HER NAME? Well, yes, partially. In our genealogy management programs, women are known by their maiden names. From this funeral card, do we know this woman was even married, had children, etc? No we don't. But her maiden name is not indicated on the funeral card. So from this document, we type is "Frances I" (without quote marks) in the first name field in our genealogy management program, and then McDonnell in the surname (or last name) field. At this point, this is all we know about France's name. Unfortunately, if McDonnell isn't her maiden name, we would be looking for her father by the name of McDonnell.

The notation of "Frances I. McDonnell" will also appear in the word-for-word transcription of the funeral card with is an available field when attaching the scanned image of the funeral card my grandmother in my genealogy program.

From "family tradition" I know my mom's mom as Frances Irene (Goering) Froman McDonnell.

Goering is my grandmother's maiden name, indicated in paragraph and photo labeling format by the parentheses. However, when we type names into our genealogy programs, we don't use them.

Froman is my grandmother's first married name, which will be evident when we type information about her marriage into my genealogy management program.

McDonnell is my grandmother's second married name.

But from the funeral card itself, we know nothing more than Frances I. McDonnell.

We can type the birth date of 22 Aug 1908. We have no listed locality, so that is as far as we can go. Note that genealogy programs default to the DD MON YEAR date format, rather than August 22, 1908.

We use all four digits for the year because
could be 2009, 1909, 1809, etc. Believe me, this will make a difference when you find repeating family names on your family tree. Birth dates are one of the distinguishing items.

We separate the numerals for the day from those of the year otherwise the handwritten

May 18 08
could be construed to be May 1808.

We also avoid the use of the slashes, because this can be problematic with other dates such as:

is it 5 Feb 1900
2 May 1900?

In the US we think of it as 5 Feb, but in Europe, the use of slashes would have researchers believe the date is 2 May.

We can type in the death date 12 Jan 1974. Clearly we have a death date, but the place is up for grabs. Why? Because the death place is not stated. No jumping to conclusions that the death place is in Renton, Washington. For all we know, my grandmother could have died while away on vacation, and was transported home for the funeral service and subsequent cremation.

Funeral cards seem like official documents, but they aren't. They are simply a program for the funeral itself, listing a few short bits of info on the deceased. Even if the funeral card was created by the church, it is not the same as an official parish book entry of burial, which would be considered more reliable. Funeral cards are not official government documents and are not as reliable for the death date as a death certificate signed by the attending physician.

The following items come to mind:
  • Obituary (newspaper online or on micofilm)
  • Family bible records
  • Social Security Death Index (online)
  • Census records

Stay tuned for additional installments on this research process.

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

Builing a case

Working with beginning researchers of late, it occurs to Ol' Myrt here that a review of the genealogical research process is in order. Seldom do we take the time to explain just how we arrive at a particular assumption about an ancestor.

Just when do we actually type something into a data field in our genealogy management program? As we unearth additional documents mentioning our ancestrors, what do we do about conflicting evidence?

Disparate - (adj) Distinct in kind, essentially different, dissimilar. Synonyms: separate, divergent, incommensurable, unlike.

Researchers often encounter seemingly disparate pieces of the genealogical puzzle. When describing the life and times of an ancestor, genealogists must explain every item -- quite unlike the well-studied development of defense arguments for a courtroom battle. Unfortunately, a jury may never know certain evidence has been excluded, due to peculiarities of law. Failure to consider all evidence can result in a skewed conclusion in the courtroom as well as in family trees. In either case, partial evidence simply doesn't represent the full picture.

If our goal as genealogists is to describe each ancestor in the clearest possible light, we must:
  • handle every bit of evidence
  • evaluate reliability
  • clearly state conclusions
  • leave a big audit trail supporting full disclosure for present and future discussion.

Stay tuned for a case study illustrating this research process.

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

Friday, November 20, 2009

READERS' FEEDBACK: Docu-Challenge #1

Pictured above: 2801 Perkins Lane, Seattle, Washington. Image from .

Thank-you for your thoughtful responses when asked to work with
the newspaper clipping originally posted in yesterday's blog entry. Here's a smattering for your review. Those of my DearREADERS who didn't submit a reply can compare their thoughts with those expressed by others below:
From: From: C. Waldhauser
Like so many of the "old"news clippings we find in our searches -- NO -- date -- Where ? -- and what paper it came from? Keeps us searching more ? Well maybe, at least this keeps us out of trouble. haha
Cindy Drage
I would describe this document as an undated newspaper clipping. What is missing is the title of the newspaper, where it was published and the date of publication. What it does give you is confirmation of your parents and an address.

Next steps for research would be finding the missing information. You could possibly find this through, Newspaper Archives or other sources. If you know or are able to find the city where they lived, a City Directory should be checked. Since the father is a Dr. (although you may not know if he is a medical doctor or not), a directory of Physcians in the area may reveal some information. Other research steps may be to search for a deed and to search church records in the churches nearest to the address given for a baptism for the child.
From: Merryann

Gee - this looks like my Grandmother's scrapbook! I would describe it in the caption or description text as: "Undated newspaper clipping, showing Patti Player, age 3, in the front seat of the family car."
If the girl in the picture is known to me (as it would be if it was myself), I might word it like this: “Undated newspaper clipping, circa 1954, probably from Big Rapids, Michigan, showing Patti Player, age 3 (daughter of Glen S. Player and wife), in the front seat of the family car.
First, what does the clipping tell me?
· The little girl is Patti Player, age 3
· Her father is Glen S. Player
· They live at 2801 Perkins Lane
· The car appears to be an early 1950's sedan
· Time of year is cool enough for a coat, but apparently not too cold.
What is missing?
· The date
· The name of the newspaper, which would give the city of publication.
· The name of the mother.
· The city the address is in.
What might this clipping lead me to consult for further information?
· The newspaper archives or microfilm for the year in which it appears that the article was printed. I would start with mid-fall to early winter and then go to late winter, early spring. Actual choice of search range would depend on just where the photo was taken and the general weather for the area.
· The city directory for the town the family lived in at the time. This would cement the date range due to the address, and likely give the name of the mother, and any other residents of the house. It may also tell me the type of doctor the father was - an MD as opposed to a DVM. It could also indicate if the residence was owned or rented. Also, the office address of the father's medical office may be found in the business section of the directory.
· Land records for the property would show (if the family owned) how long the family was at the residence, the name of the wife, and who owned the property prior to and after this family. This is of interest in the event that the property was purchased from or by, or inherited from, a family member.
· Since Patti is usually a nickname, a newspaper search for birth announcements during the time period of her indicated birth year may provide information on her actual birth date, full name, and possibly the maiden name of the mother. Depending on the prominence of the family, information may also provide information or clues on the grandparents, and any siblings.
· If I did not know the marriage date of the parents, this could also lead me to examine marriage indexes for them prior to the birth of this child, as well as microfilm records for marriage announcements.
It's amazing what a simple clipping will lead you to, isn't it!!
From: Earline Bradt

RE: If you ran across this document in your family history research, I think this is a great idea.
I would describe it as a newspaper article. I can tell that you are supposed to be sitting in the back seat and are impatient and curious about what's going on outside of the car. Besides the obvious car-seat, seat-belt and adult supervision, the name of the town is missing along with the name of the newspaper and date of the picture. I would do a search of where your father went to University, when he got his degree, any published papers in Medical Journals, where he practiced, any further newspaper articles about him. I would look into the property records for the address, was it a rental or did he own it.
Thanks for the challenge.
From: Lynn
*How would I describe it...Well preserved family photo.
*What can you tell about Ol' Myrt...She was a very cute little girl! You're wearing a nice, warm coat. Your father was a doctor and owned a car.
* What is missing?...the name of the newspaper, city and state and date it was published.
* Additional records...Father's Army Enlistment Records, family census records, obituary & burial information, property records, birth and death records.
I also searched for "2801 Perkins Lane" and found that 2801 Perkins Lane W. is considered an “environmentally critical area” by Seattle Department of Planning (31 Aug 2009).
RE: If you ran across this document in your family history research:

How would you describe it? Newspaper clipping with ‘Ol’ Myrt’ at age 3.
What can you tell about Ol' Myrt (yes, this is ME at age 3!) from the information provided? Cute. Known as Patti. Parent’s name and address. Age confirmation. Father was a doctor(specialty unknown). Parents presumably both living at the time.
What is missing? City and state. Name and date of newspaper.
Which additional records might this lead you to review? Assuming there is other evidence of age available, the year, at least, of publication of the paper, and possibly the location. A search of cities with a ‘Perkins Lane’ might yield the city and state. From these, I would try to locate the paper in which the picture appeared, as it possibly contains additional helpful information. A city directory might include more information (relatives, etc), if one is available. A medical association annual or directory might contain much valuable information regarding your father and his education and parents and siblings. State records should containing medical licensing information. Census records could determine the range of time you lived in this location. A review of the newspaper during this time span might yield much additional information regarding the family, particularly if it was from a small town, as a doctor would probably be included in much of the social news in such a place.
It’s amazing what a little photo can trigger!
FROM: Betty Jean Fritts

Arriving at Grandparents house! There is something exciting out there, cute picture!
From: John Newmark

Here are my responses:
How would you describe it? Patti [Player?], age 3, photo and caption, unknown newspaper, unknown date. (and then a transcription of caption).
What can you tell about Ol' Myrt (yes, this is ME at age 3!) from the information provided? When you were three years old, your father was someone with a Ph.D. (Whether this was your biological father is uncertain. What that Ph.D. was in is uncertain.) This father's name was Glen Player. You were called Patti. The Player home was at 2801 Perkins Lane. City and state unknown. It's a fair assumption the car, whatever model and make, was the property of Dr. and Mrs. Glen Player. Though this is an assumption, and isn't certain. Nothing can really be determined for certain about hair/skin color as it is a faded black and white photograph.
What is missing? The most important details missing are: The name and date of the newspaper. The location where the photograph was taken. The date the photograph was taken. The first name of the mother.
Which additional records might this lead you to review? I'd review my records on any individuals named Glen Player. If I know where they lived, I would use Google Maps to ascertain whether that city contains a "2801 Perkins Lane." If I don't have any Glen Players, I would review my records on all my Player surnames. Do any of them have a middle initial "G"?
Thanks for the challenge
John Newmark
From: Laurie Hogan
My replies inserted below.
How would you describe it? It appears to be cut from a newspaper. A photo of not recent vintage, based on the car, clothing of the child. Based on those factors, I'd say time frame is late 1930s-late 1940s (& would probably narrow to late 1940s) that being said due to the rationing during WWII.
What can you tell about Ol' Myrt (yes, this is ME at age 3!) from the information provided? Her father's full name (missing the complete middle name, though), his profession, the fact that the father's wife (assumed mother) is living, the street address. Based on the outer clothing, I'd think it was taken during colder weather.
What is missing? The child's full name (is Patti a nickname or her real name? If a nickname, is it a shortening of her real name?), the city & state, the newspaper name & location, the date, the page of the newspaper (for an appropriate citation).
Which additional records might this lead you to review? Google for the street address.

I will assume that certain information is known (i.e., the approximate time frame for the pic, the location or a general location) which would narrow down the search parameters to either a state or a general area of the country.
Once the address is identified & the newspaper is identified, then birth records can be checked (in newspaper or churches), the father's information can be checked.
The father's occupation can be used to locate the family. If i'm right, the AMA (American Medical Association) has a directory that can be searched.
Again, once location is determined, the courthouse records can be checked (marriage records, land records, business license, other legal documentation). The city directory, if available, is an option. Would school records be available? If so, other siblings might be discovered.
From: Kathryn Lester
I would label it: Unnamed newspaper clipping, where found, who owns and address, when found.
What can you tell: The child's name, age, parents, and street address. It looks like she is wearing a heavier coat, so it could be during a colder time period, and in the region of the country that does get cooler (I wouldn't necessarily search in Texas, Florida, etc..) You can possibly get a time period from the clothing and the car style. Someone may even be able to identify what type of vehicle she is in.
What is missing: The name, date, page and column number of the newspaper, and is there more to the story?
Which additional records might this lead you to review: What is intriguing is that her father is a doctor. I would suggest looking up the license information for doctors at the state level. This could give you leads on where his schooling took place, and may give you the town he practiced in. When you know what town or county they lived in, you could try looking in the papers during the year that Patti is 3 years old. Depending on where they lived, it looks like she is dressed in a coat, so it could be during the regions cooler time period. You could try looking for an index of names in the local paper (I've been very fortunate in using Access Newspaper Archive). I would look in the city directories, local historical and genealogical society holdings also. You might look up local hospitals to find which one he was affiliated with also.
From: Glenda Holmes

This picture is a cute one of a young (probable) girl. The car has a vent window which could be helpful to date the picture, if the person, in this case, you, was not known. The caption lists her parents, but not her name. An address is listed which gives a location, if you know the town of the newspaper.
The picture also gives a sense of the happy, outgoing nature of the child. No other children are shown, which might indicate she is an only child. Her father is a doctor which would lead you to medical association’s records of that time. If the location was not known, a Google search of the address itself might help locate the newspaper.
From my monitor, I cannot tell much about her clothing, which can give clues to the affluence of the family.
I do note that the child is in the front seat, which is now outlawed.
The child's haircut seems, to me, to be from the 1950s, which is another avenue of research for dating the era (again, assuming you do not know the family).
I am sure I am missing other clues.
You were a cute kid!
From: Melissa Barker

Here are my responses to the Docu-Challenge #1:
How would you describe it? A newspaper clipping showing a photo of 3-year old Patti Player, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Glen S. Player, in the front passenger seat of a vehicle. Patti lives at 2801 Perkins Lane.
What can you tell about Ol'Myrt? She is in a car in the front passenger seat. She enjoys riding in the car and especially in the front seat. She is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Glen S. Player and lives at 2801 Perkins Lane. She has a very pretty smile!
What is missing?
-The name of the newspaper this was published.
-The date, page number and column this was published.
-The location that this newspaper is circulated (State, County, City).
Which additional records might this lead you to review?
-Birth records for Patti Player (this would give you a place of birth and a start on where Patti could have been living at the time of the newspaper clipping)
-City Directories for Dr. and Mrs. Glen S. Player and also listings for Dr. Glen Player's medical practice
-Deed records for Dr. and Mrs. Glen S. Player to establish when they obtained the property at 2801 Perkins Lane
Melissa Barker
Professional Genealogist for Tennessee and Kentucky
Visit My Website:
It is a clipping from a newspaper.
The paper has space for local-interest items. The name of the child and her parents are given. Their address is given. The child's name is given. She is a white child, probably middle class, lively and friendly.
The newspaper's name, its locaton and the date are missing.
The name of the town or city is not given.
I've met you,so I know your approximate age. Your parents may or may not appear in the 1930 Census. I looked on Ancestry and found a Glen S. Player, in Seattle, age 11, which means he was born about 1919. This is a good match since I know that your elderly parents recently died in Bellevue, WA.
I'd check the SSDI (Social Security Death Index) Seattle and Bellevue papers for an obituary. I'd double check in some of the Seattle City Directories for the 1950s for his name at that address.
That's a start.

Ol' Myrt here will give you the rest of the story, in true Paul Harvey style.
This picture of me in yesterday's blog entry was taken in the front seat of my mother Barbara’s car and was published in one of the Seattle newspapers, perhaps the Seattle Times or the Seattle Post Intelligencer. Since I was born in 1951,that would put the publication date at sometime after January 1954. My parents were still married at the time. I remember vividly the red corduroy coat and the big buttons. My mother cut my bangs.This picture was apparently before she gave me a Tony Home Permanent on the outside south steps of our home, built by my father Glen Shirl Player, MD on property he purchased for about $10,000 shortly after I was born. Not pictured is my brother Michael, born in December 1952. I remember when we lived in this house (we didn't move away when I was ready for 1st grade) that one time, when winding down to Perkins Lane, the passenger side car door opened, and Mike nearly slipped out, except that I was able to catch him and hold on until my mother stopped the car.
Ph. D or MD?
It never occured to me that "Dr. & Mrs." would lead someone to consider my father had a Ph. D. in something, since I've only known him as a physician and surgeon. This is a classic example of how my own experience clouds my description of something. This is something all researchers should avoid.

Since two of you thought to Google for the address, I thought I'd do it for ya. The responses did NOT list our true address at the time
7801 Perkins Lane, Seattle, Washington which was guessed at correctly by Lynn. (Did you recall I have spoken of Seattle many times in past columns?) Google Maps only thought about:
WOW, I had forgotten about the special page dedicated to my father at Its at the top of the list of hits for Glen S. Player:
That second one is Ol' Myrt's blog entry including Dad's obituary.

That last entry surprised me. Ol' Myrt here hadn't heard of the BGMI. When I clicked, I found the following description of the collection: "This database is a compiled index to millions of Americans who have been profiled in collective biography volumes such as Who's Who in America, Women of Science, Who's Who of American Women, National Cyclopedia to American Biography, Directory of American Scholars, and American Black Writers. It includes information first published in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In addition to providing the individual's name, birth, and death dates (where available), the reference to the source document is included." The BGMI index entry for my Dad reads:
  • Name: Glen Shirley Player
    Birth - Death: 1918-
    Source Citation: Who's Who in the West. 14th edition, 1974-1975. Wilmette, IL: Marquis Who's Who, 1974. (WhoWest 14)

Now, I do know that my Dad was listed in Who's Who in the West, and indeed, I have a copy of this publication.
The 4GB Flash Drive goes to
Merryann Merryann, if you would email mail me privately with your snail mail address, I'll have send one out to you immediately. Congrats!
Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Docu-Challenge #1

If you ran across this document in your family history research:

  • How would you describe it?
  • What can you tell about Ol' Myrt (yes, this is ME at age 3!) from the information provided?
  • What is missing?
  • Which additional records might this lead you to review?

Write to Ol' Myrt, and give me your suggestions. A RANDOM pick from respondents will win a 4 GB flash drive. Send replies to .

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

DAR: Online databases now available

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at the NSDAR (National Society Daughters of the American Revolution). Please address all inquiries to Eric Grundset as indicated below:

From: Eric Grundset
Date: 1 Nov 2009
To: A public email list for Librarians Serving Genealogists

"After nearly a decade of scanning, indexing, and other behind-the-scenes work by DAR members and employees, the Daughters of the American Revolution is pleased to announce the availability of the DAR Genealogical Research System on our public website. Here are the direct links: or (and click on the Library button at the top, then the second tab in the left-hand column).

The GRS is a growing collection of databases that provide access to many materials collected by the DAR over the past 119 years. Included in this collection of databases is the GRC National Index which has been available to researchers for the past few years. There are still some kinks we’re working out here and there.

When you go to the link above, you will find several tabs that will enable searching in the various databases:

Ancestor – established DAR Revolutionary War Ancestors and basic information about them with listings of the applications submitted by descendants who joined the DAR [updated daily]

Member – limited access to information on deceased/former DAR members – not current members.

Descendants – index of generations in applications between the DAR member and the Revolutionary War ancestor. There is much eighteenth and nineteenth-century information here. [ongoing indexing project]

GRC – everyname index to 20,000 typescript volumes (some still being indexed) of genealogical records such as cemeteries, Bibles, etc. This index is not limited to the period of the American Revolution at all.

Resources [In particular, the digitized DAR Library Revolutionary Pension Extract Card Index and the Analytical Index Cards. Other information sources will be coming in the near future, mostly relating to Revolutionary War service, bibliographies, Forgotten Patriots (updates), etc. Read the introductions to these to learn why these are both important genealogical indexes. For example, the Rev. War pension index includes the names of people mentioned in those pensions that were abstracted (not just the pensioner or widow)!!!!]

Library Catalog – our book, periodical, and manuscript holdings

Each of these has interrelated content, and a description of each is given more fully on the website. You will notice restricted information in many search results. This is the result of a concerted effort to protect the identity of our members while providing historical genealogical information to researchers.

The national numbers of members (without the names of living members) given in the search results are needed to order copies of applications and supplemental applications. They do not lead online researchers to any other information about the member.

Please pass this information on to your researchers.

Eric G. Grundset
Library Director
DAR Library
National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
1776 D Street, N. W.
Washington, DC 20006-5303

RootsMagic Releases Free Genealogy Software for New FamilySearch

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

RootsMagic Releases Free Genealogy Software for New FamilySearch

"RootsMagic Essentials" Becomes Only Free FamilySearch Certified Desktop Genealogy Software

. — November 18, 2009 — RootsMagic, Inc. announced the immediate availability of RootsMagic Essentials, free desktop genealogy software based on their award-winning RootsMagic 4 system. RootsMagic Essentials contains many core features found in its namesake and is the only completely free desktop genealogy software certified to work with the New FamilySearch system.

Essential Features for Everyone
“Many of our users have told us that they have friends and family members who are interested in getting started in family history but aren’t ready to invest in a more comprehensive package like RootsMagic,” said Bruce Buzbee, president. “RootsMagic Essentials gives them the features they need to start researching and recording their family tree at a price that can’t be beat—free!”

RootsMagic Essentials shares many of the same features with the full RootsMagic software including clean and friendly screens, the ability to add an unlimited number of people and events, pictures and media management, the SourceWizard to write your source citations for you, powerful merging and clean-up tools, dozens of reports and charts, support for international character sets, FamilySearch integration, and the ability to share data with other people and software programs. The full version of RootsMagic is available for purchase and includes features not available in RootsMagic Essentials.

New FamilySearch Made Easy
As a FamilySearch certified application, RootsMagic Essentials bridges the gap between your personal family history data and the New FamilySearch internet site. It can seamlessly share your family tree with others through New FamilySearch as well as retrieve the information that you don't have. It also simplifies cleaning up, combining, and correcting information.RootsMagic is the first software certified to reserve and request LDS temple ordinances. It identifies persons that need ordinances, checks for duplicate ordinances, and reserves ordinances for you to complete. When you are ready, RootsMagic will even print an ordinance request at home that can be taken directly to the temple to print the actual ordinance cards.

Perfect Upgrade for PAF
Users of the PAF genealogy software will discover that their software is unable to directly work with New FamilySearch. RootsMagic Essentials has all of the fundamental features of PAF combined with New FamilySearch integration and much more. It also makes the transition painless by directly reading all of your information from PAF.

Free and Available NowRootsMagic Essentials is available now for free at Users of other genealogy software products will find it easy to experiment with RootsMagic Essentials using their own data. RootsMagic Essentials can directly import data from PAF, Family Tree Maker (through 2006), Family Origins, and Legacy Family Tree. It can also read and write data using the popular GEDCOM format.

"We're excited to make RootsMagic Essentials available to the community," said Michael Booth, vice-president. "Our mission is to provide 'software to unite families' and our hope is that RootsMagic Essentials will encourage more people to record their family trees and connect with their family histories".

About RootsMagic, Inc.
For over 20 years, RootsMagic, Inc. has been creating computer software with a special purpose—to unite families. One of our earliest products- the popular "Family Origins" software, introduced thousands of people to the joy and excitement of family history.

That tradition continues today with "RootsMagic", our award-winning genealogy software which makes researching, organizing, and sharing your family history fun and easy. "Personal Historian" will help you easily write and preserve your life stories. "Family Reunion Organizer" takes the headaches out of planning those important get-togethers. And "Family Atlas" creates beautiful and educational geographic maps of your family history.For more information, visit RootsMagic, Inc.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

APG welcomes new President: Laura Prescott

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from offices of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

WESTMINSTER, Colo., November 13 – Laura G. Prescott [pictured above] of Brookline, New Hampshire, has been elected president of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the world’s leading professional organization of family history and related professionals. Prescott is genealogist for the Nickerson Family Association and a consultant for She will succeed Jake Gehring of Salt Lake City, Utah.

Prescott, reflecting on her upcoming tenure, said “I’m very excited about the next two years. We have a diverse and enthusiastic group of people on the board. This enthusiasm, coupled with the momentum from the current administration, will surely bring benefits to our members.

Chapters will continue to play a vital role in reaching members and genealogists on a local level, while we try innovative ways, nationally and internationally, to educate and inform the membership, as well as aspiring genealogists. As professionals, we have a responsibility to set an example and support each other in making positive contributions to the entire genealogical community and to the profession.” APG members also elected three members of the board’s executive committee to two-year terms, eleven of its nineteen regional directors, and two members to one-year terms on the nominating committee.

Kenyatta D. Berry of Santa Monica, California, a genealogist, entrepreneur, and lawyer with more than 12 years of experience in genealogy research and writing was elected vice president of the nearly 2,000 member organization.

Andrew M. “Drew” Smith, MLS, of Odessa, Florida, president of the Florida Genealogical Society of Tampa, and co-host of the Genealogy Guys Podcast was elected secretary.

Current APG treasurer, Gordon Gray of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was re-elected. He owns GrayLine Group, a genealogical/family history research business and is the president of the International Society for British Genealogy & Family History.

Eleven regional director positions will be filled by:

West Region:

  • Suzanne Russo Adams, AG, of Utah, specialist in Italian research and employee of
  • James Ison, AG, CG, of Utah, president of the APG Salt Lake Chapter and manager of Strategy and Planning for the Family History Library.

Midwest Region:

  • Mary Clement Douglass, Salina, Kansas, former museum curator and co-founder of the APG Heartland Chapter.
  • Jay Fonkert, CG, St. Paul, Minnesota, genealogical educator and writer, and president of the Minnesota Genealogical Society.

Southeast Region:

  • Alvie L. Davidson, CG, a Florida-based Private Investigator and Circuit Court qualified expert.
  • Craig Roberts Scott, CG, President and CEO of Heritage Books, Inc.
  • Melanie D. Holtz, of North Carolina, specialist in Italian research.

Northeast Region:

  • Debra Braverman, New York, national speaker and forensic genealogist who regularly testifies as an expert witness.
  • Pamela S. Eagleson, CG, Maine, researcher, writer, and teacher focusing on New England, the mid-Atlantic, and Midwest.

International Regions:

  • Michael Goldstein of Israel, traces roots worldwide, specializing in family reunification, heir searches, and holocaust research.
  • Carole Riley, a professional genealogist based in Sydney, Australia with a background in computer applications.

David McDonald, CG, of Wisconsin, currently serving as a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and a director of the National Genealogical Society; and Donna M. Moughty, Florida, speaker and writer were elected to one-year terms on the nominations committee.

The Association of Professional Genealogists (, established in 1979, represents nearly 2,000 genealogists, librarians, writers, editors, historians, instructors, booksellers, publishers, and others involved in genealogy-related businesses. APG encourages genealogical excellence, ethical practice, mentoring, and education. The organization also supports the preservation and accessibility of records useful to the fields of genealogy, local, and social history. Its members represent all fifty states, Canada, and thirty other countries.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Eisenhower Quilts of Valor Challenge

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from the Eisenhower Presidential Library. Please address all inquiries to

Eisenhower Quilts of Valor Challenge
13 Nov 2009

ABILENE, Kan. - The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum is pleased to announce its first ever Annual Veterans Day Quilts of Valor Challenge. Participants will have nearly a year to work on their quilts for submission. Quilts will be collected and put on display in time for Veterans Day 2010.

In partnership with the Quilts of Valor Foundation and the Kansas Quilts of Valor, the quilts will be distributed to wounded service men and women. Distribution points will include military and VA hospitals, CVN-69 USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and other veteran organizations.

This challenge is being organized by Jan Hottman, staff member at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. "Not only were quilts and blankets made on the home front for troops during WWII, but support and concern for the troops was paramount to Eisenhower. This is one more way for us to carry on the legacy of the 5-star General and 34th President of the United States," states Hottman. "The Eisenhower boys helped their mother, Ida Stover Eisenhower, make quilts for the family while growing up in Abilene. He would understand the comfort and love of something made by hand."

The QOV organization provides heirloom quality quilts for men and women who have been injured serving our country. They deserve to have a quilt that will be handed down in their families. Think of the quilt as a special hug from you to them. The quilts may be pieced, quilted, and labeled by a single person, group, or school. If you are not able to complete the quilting, you may submit the top with backing and label to be completed by volunteers.

Quilt entries should be a minimum size of 50" by 60" and maximum is 72" by 96" and include matching binding and backing. The backing should be a surplus of 4" on all four sides of the top. Standard/twin size pillowcases made from extra material should also be included. These pillowcases can later be used for storing the QOV.

Additional details may be found on the web site at

The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum, a nonpartisan federal institution, is part of the Presidential Libraries network operated by the National Archives and Records Administration working to promote understanding of the presidency and the American experience. We preserve and provide access to historical materials, support research, and create interactive programs and exhibits that educate and inspire. An admission fee is charged for the Museum only.

Footnote: Details of the Holocaust Collection

Thank-you to Justin Schroepfer for providing valuable information about the National Archives (US) Holocaust Collection available at
"Originally, we planned to have these records open to the public for only the month of October. However, due to the popularity of this collection, we have decided to keep the records open free to the public through the rest of this year. This will enable more people to search and explore the original records from the National Archives. On January 1, 2010 these records will become part of the paid subscription on These records, however, will remain free to access through any of the National Archives physical locations. [...] The url for the microsite where these records can be accessed is: ."
Ol' Myrt here did a little research and discovered that the collection includes:
  • Ardelia Hall Collection -- intelligence reports, interrogation reports, captured documents, and general information regarding Nazi looting.
  • War Crimes Collection -- The documents are transcripts, in German, of trial testimony, clemency petitions, affidavits, prosecution exhibits, photographs of concentration camps, etc., as well as original German documents used as evidence in the prosecution of the numerous war crimes cases.
  • Captured German Records -- The majority of this collection consists of concentration camp records, including releases, transfers and deaths lists. There are daily reports of changes, as well as some administrative material from the camps.
  • Dachau Concentration Camp Entry Registers -- The first Nazi camp created for political prisoners, Jews, and other so-called undesirables. Records feature information including prisoner names and number, birth date, birth place, etc.
  • Flossenburg Concentration Camp Entry Registers -- Original records from the camp for political prisoners, criminals, and “asocial” individuals.
  • Mauthausen Death Books -- Lists of those held at what some consider the most physically brutal concentration camp of the Nazi regime.
  • WWII Nuremburg Interrogation Records -- Pre-trial interrogation transcripts as well as summaries and other pertinent records for nearly 200 individuals who were questioned by the Interrogation Division.

Note there is a caveat above the search box on the Holocaust Collection that reads "We are continuing to add records to our search database. If you didn’t find what you were looking for, come back soon and check again." Anxious to make individual records available as soon as possible, Footnote has decided to put indexes and images up on the website as soon as they are available, even if the collection isn't yet complete. (Wonderful!)

For example: Click to search an individual collection, the Dachau Entry Registers. The researcher is presented with a page containing more details about the registers themselves, in addition to the search box for that collection. There are also two useful options to keep you informed about the completeness of the collection, circled in the screen shot below:

Close review indicates that this morning the collection includes 573 pages and is estimated to be 57% complete, as shown below:

By clicking the "WATCH" button, a researcher may add the collection to his personal "watch list" and receive email when images or member discoveries are added to this specific collection. One may also "UNWATCH" the collection when research is complete.
Ol' Myrt here wouldn't advise "UNWATCHING" a particular collection, though you may be inclined to do so once you've located a document concerning your ancestor. Quite simply, you want to know when other researchers contribute to the collection.
That other researcher may be a here-to-fore unknown distant cousin. That other researcher may elect to attach a picture of the ancestor or the scanned image of a unique document handed down through his family. Most likely, additional information the other researcher has to share will prove valuable to your understanding of the common ancestor. Why not let the computers keep track of all this, so you don't have to go back and check each collection individually every few days?
This "WATCH" service is free, and is a win-win for researchers and alike. You stay on top of newly added content for the databases you are interested in reviewing, and has a legitimate reason to invite you back to their website.
As part of the digitization agreement with Footnote and other websites, the National Archives maintains free access to these digital images and indexes at all National Archives branches for researchers who wish to visit those locations in person. However, most of us find access through our home computers to membership sites, such as, a much better use of our research dollars. In my case, savings earned will go in the "travel kitty" so I can visit in person those places on the globe where my ancestors once lived but records are still buried in dusty government or church archives. In this day and age, any way to save money is well appreciated.

If you have any questions about the Holocaust Collection at, contact

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