Sunday, March 28, 2010

Maryland State Archives

Thanks to Chuck Mason, Jr. CG for practical research guidance in his Mid-Atlantic track at the Fairfax Genealogical Society's annual conference. He provided a reminder that the Maryland Archives website includes published volumes of Archives of Maryland. Baltimore Historical Society: 1883-1972. Note from the description that:

The ongoing Maryland State Archives publication series, Archives of Maryland Online, currently provides access to over 471,000 historical documents that form the constitutional, legal, legislative, judicial, and administrative basis of Maryland's government. Online access enables users to research such topics as Maryland's constitutions and constitutional conventions' proceedings, session laws, proceedings of the General Assembly, governors' papers, and military records. This project allows the Archives to place into electronic form and preserve for future generations records that are scattered among a number of repositories and that often exist only on rapidly disintegrating paper.

Since Ol' Myrt's current personal research includes English parish records, I've been forgetting to blog about other valuable online genealogical resources.

When visiting a new website, take care to:

  • Read everything on the home page, as frequently new and popular databases or sections of the website are listed right up front without a search. For instance, I initially revisited this website to see the Archives of Maryland series, but spotted the Underground Railroad Database Search to share with one of my study group friends.
  • Sign up for free blogs to obtain new and update info. In the case of this website, I couldn't locate an RSS blog feed, but there is an "online publications" link.
Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Great Lectures on the Cheap

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: This is just in from our friends via a press release from the Southern California Genealogical Society where it will be Ol' Myrt's honor to present a webinar. Its EASY to do this kind of VIRTUAL appearance with your local society, opening up all sorts of possibilities for sponsoring a lecture with Q & A from a distant genealogy speaker. SAVE society budgets when not having to pay to fly the speaker in, put him up in a hotel, etc. Here are some of the details from the annual Jamboree website.

Dear Genealogical Society Leaders, Program Chairs, and Members:

You are cordially invited to the Southern California Genealogical Society's Genealogy Jamboree on Saturday, June 12, 2010 --
and you don't even have to set foot in Burbank.

We would like everyone to be able to attend Jamboree, but we know that's just not possible. We have created several ways that you and your society can have a presence at the conference without actually being with us.

North America FlagsWith our geographic focus on Canada, Mexico, and
all 50 U.S. states, you will be sure to connect with potential members at Jamboree. Our attendees are researching in all 50 states and many foreign countries. Don't miss this opportunity to promote your society's activities and resources.

Read on to learn all of the ways that you can join us
at the 2010 Southern California Genealogy Jamboree without packing a suitcase.

FREE: Great Lectures on the Cheap

Jamboree traditionally devotes Saturday's breakfast session to an Effective Society Management event. This year, we are taking advantage of technology to offer the session to genealogical society leaders and members throughout the US and Canada. Log on from the comfort of your own home or from your genealogical society meeting's site and learn how to bring lecturers to your society at a fraction of the usual cost.

Popular genealogy speaker, podcaster and blogger, DearMYRTLE, will demonstrate how to use GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar to bring top-notch speakers to your society at an affordable cost. While MYRT is addressing the room full of in-person attendees, hundreds of other participants will be logging on to GoToWebinar to watch and hear her presentation.

Unfortunately we have to leave the orange juice and croissants up to you; webinar attendees get everything but the calories.

The Webinar is free but advance registration is required. Click HERE to get all the details and to register for the Webinar.

Saturday, June 12, 2010
7:20 a.m. PDT 9:20 a.m. CDT
8:20 a.m. MDT 10:20 a.m. EDT

RootsMagic 4: Update 26 March 2010

If you use RootsMagic 4, you'll probably open the program today and realize there is an update available provided you haven't turned off the option for the RootsMagic News & Updates. (Ol' Myrt here prefers to leave it on and keep up with the latest info.)

RootsMagic 4 (version has some fixes, listed in the update announcement.

You can also click "HELP" on the RootsMagic menu bar, and select "CHECK FOR UPDATES" to gain access to the 17MB download. Once you download the file, double click on the file to initiate installation. This may also be a good time to download the "PLACE DATABASE" for geocoding and gazetteer (68MB) if you missed doing this the first time you installed RM 4. You will be presented with the opportunity to do this during the installation of RM

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

British History Online


My first session at the Fairfax Genealogical Society's annual conference today was given by Audrey Collins of The National Archives (UK) titled "Researching England from the US". Among her suggestions was a fascinating website:

British History Online

Audrey brought this to our attention as a resource for volumes of county histories and indeed, I did find these of particular interest for personal research:

But there are also time lines, research guides, and all sorts of useful information to get me oriented to the localities where my ancestors once lived. Here are links to two sizes of the Ordnance Survey Maps.
Intermediate and advanced researchers agree with Audrey's comment:
"Don't just look for the name, look for the place."
From a description of Bisham, Berks we read:
"The River Thames divides the counties of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire and forms the northern boundary of Bisham. The land near the river is from 90 ft. to 100 ft. above the ordnance datum. It rises abruptly to the south-east, where the average level is 300 ft. The district is richly wooded, the principal plantations being known as the Quarry Wood, Bradnam, Goulding's Wood, Fultnes Wood, Carpenter's Wood, Inkydown Wood, High Wood, Park Wood and Dungrovehill Wood. There are a few chalk and clay-pits in the parish."


There are distinctions, but do sign up for the free version at the very least. Then you have authority to save search results to your personal "bookshelf" at the website, noted in the bottom right portion of the catalog description, shown below. Note that this catalog entry appear above each page as one views the county history, in this case A History of the County of Berkshire: Volume 3.

Note the ability to "edit" your keywords and notes for each item saved to your "bookshelf" at this website. This would be a great place to leave yourself reminders about what else to do with a particular item. For instance, you may elect to note the last page read of a county history, so the next time you visit the website, you can easily start up right where you left off.

Also sign up for the any of several blogs
-- basically designed to tell you more about what's new on the website.

British History Online deserves more detailed review, so for those DearREADERS with British roots -- get cracking, and let me know what you find that helps you fathom the life and times of your ancestors.

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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Alaska: 17 April 2010 Myrt will be there


Looks like April will find Ol' Myrt here up in Anchorage, Alaska at the Anchorage Genealogical Society's Annual Seminar. So load up y our laptop and hop on the dog sled. Whatever it takes so we can get together 17 April 17, 2010 at the ZJ Loussac Library (corner of 36th and Denali), Lower Level in the Wilda Marston Theatre from 9am to 4pm. My topics include:

  • The Time Machine: Offbeat Resources for Family Historians
    Based on years of feedback from readers & class participants.
  • Major Migration Patterns of Germans to America
    Significant numbers of current US citizens trace their ancestry to the Germanic states.
  • A Tale of Two Cities: Immigration and Naturalization
    Find out about the US colonial, pre-1907 and post-1907 naturalization practices.
  • Seven Habits of Effective Genealogists
    Equip yourself with these research guidelines closely aligned with the GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard)
Registration forms :

Online: Fill in and submit

Printable version

Click Here for PDF version

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

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Behind the Scenes: WDYTYA? Emmitt Smith

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: This is just in from our friends over at, one of the sponsors of Who Do You Think You Are? currently broadcasting on Friday nights 8pm Eastern, 7 Central.

Behind the Scenes of Who Do You Think You Are? - Emmitt Smith

Seasoned researchers know that discovering the slavery roots in a family tree can be time consuming and difficult – perhaps even seemingly impossible. But, as Emmitt Smith’s story shows on this week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, African Americans can discover their heritage. The genealogy team who worked on Emmitt’s tree shares a behind-the-scenes look at how they made the jump from post-1870 records to pre-Civil War records as they documented Emmitt’s enslaved ancestors.

Post-1870 Research

Vital records, census records and other primary sources allowed the research team to document Emmitt’s family tree back to great-great-grandparents – William Watson and Victoria Puryear. A 1900 U.S. Federal Census record from Monroe County, Alabama, indicated William and Victoria were both born in Alabama during the Civil War. These facts suggested that William and Victoria could have been born slaves, and perhaps their parents as well.

Since Victoria and William were born in the early 1860s, it was likely that records created post-1870 could shed some light on their parents. Vital records were especially helpful here; Victoria’s death certificate included the names of her parents, Prince Puryear and Annie McMillian.

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census added clues: Prince Puryear and his family (including young Victoria) were listed in Monroe County, Alabama. Additional Puryear households were also found on the same census page. The ages for the heads of the Puryear households made them potential brothers of Prince. These heads of households also had the same racial designation as Prince – Mulatto. Finally, one of the households listed a 55-year-old Mulatto woman born in Virginia named Mariah Puryear. “Our first thought was ‘Could Mariah be Prince’s mother?’” says genealogist Joseph Shumway, AG, of ProGenealogists. If the answer was yes, if Mariah was Prince’s mother, then Mariah would be Emmitt’s 4th great-grandmother.

Pre-Civil War Documentation

The research team needed to establish whether Mariah Puryear from the 1870 census was Prince Puryear’s mother. Slave research involves looking at records pertaining to the slave-holding families. Vital records were not kept for slaves, however slaves may be mentioned in records created when the slave owner dies and in records pertaining to deeded transactions. So the research team first had to determine the identity of the slave-holding family. Once found, the family’s records could reveal further information about Prince Puryear’s family and his potential connection to the woman named Mariah.

Emancipated slaves, in general, didn’t stray too far from their most recent owner’s property. In addition, many former slaves retained the surname of the former slave holders. So the researchers turned back to the 1870 census, looking for white families in the same vicinity as Emmitt’s Puryear ancestors. Interestingly enough, there was a white Puryear family living in Monroe County, Alabama. This family, potentially, could have been the slave-holding family.

The Puryears, like many slave owners, had extensive real estate, so the team looked for the family’s land records, deeds, and probate records. In the Monroe County probate records (on microfilm at the Family History Library), the researchers found probate records pertaining to the 1850-51 estate of Mary Puryear. The inventory of Mary’s property was a key document. In it she listed Mariah and her children, by name: “Mariah and children Henry, Mary, McTom, Victoria and Prince Albert.” Henry and Thomas were the names of two potential Puryear brothers who appeared on the same 1870 census page with Prince and Mariah. The inventory “matched the information we’d found in the census,” says Joseph. “With the combination of names and location, there was no doubt.”

Further records showed that Mary Puryear was the widow of slave owner Alexander Puryear and helped to solidify the connection between Prince, Mariah and the Puryear slave-holding family. “There are records out there,” Joseph concludes. “Just be persistent.”

You won’t want to miss next week’s episode. Lisa Kudrow sets out to learn the hard truth about what really happened to her Jewish ancestors during World War II. Despite the cold details of how the Holocaust impacted her family, Lisa’s episode ends with a silver lining. You can view a preview featuring Lisa Kudrow, and tune into NBC for the full episode on Friday, March 19, at 8/7c.

Friday, March 12, 2010

British Institute: 4-8 Oct 2010 SLC

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Long overdue is the cross-posting of this press release from our friends at the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History. Please address all inquiries through the website mentioned below.

For immediate release

The International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH) is delighted to announce the British Institute (BI). The BI will be held in Salt Lake City from Monday, 4 October through Friday, 8 October 2010.

Instructors for this year's BI will be Barbara Baker, AG, David Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA and Darris Williams, AG.

Ms. Baker will be teaching Pre-1800 Scottish Records -This course will explore lesser known records and address ways to help you break down brick walls.

Mr. Rencher's class is a first for him. Making the Transition from Irish Church Records to Irish Land Records will be of help in extending a pedigree prior to church records.

Mr. Williams' class Strategies for Discovering Welsh Ancestors will highlight methods for solving research questions and learning successful strategies that will provide you with ways to become a better Welsh researcher.

All classes will be taught in the morning with afternoons in the Family History Library. Instructors will be available for consultation and help.

To register or for more information, go to the Society's Web site ; telephone 815.419.5715 or contact ISBGFH at PO Box 350459, Westminster CO 80035-0459.

Kathleen W. Hinckley, CG
Business Manager
PO Box 350459
Westminster, CO 80035-0459

Who Do You Think You Are? TONIGHT

Got things lined up, popcorn ready, and we're poised to queue up again to watch the US version of Who Do You Think You Are? at 8pm Eastern US time TONIGHT. Yes, we're back in Virginia for a month.

This week features Emmitt Smith's challenge discovering his roots. From the advertising this week during other NBC prime time shows, we've heard there is a strange coincidence between his the #22 of his football jersey and something of ancestral significance. Here's a preview:

NOW is the time to make your broadcast wishes known to the powers that be at NBC.
  • Set your DVR or TIVO to record this the second of seven weekly, Friday night broadcasts, at 8pm Eastern, 7 Central. You KNOW you'll want to view this again and again!
  • View the full episode 1 featuring Sarah Jessica Parker, available for free online until 18 Sept 2010.
  • Check out the video previews of future episodes at
  • Send out Tweets using @nbcwdytya and #genealogy

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

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More on Immigration Family History Expo next week

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: This just in with details as about 50 of my DearREADERS have requested about the upcoming Immigration Family History Expo to be held next week in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Let Your Light Shine on Immigration!
Thursday, March 18th, 2010. 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
At the door registration begins at: 8:00 a.m. Thursday morning

Historic Masonic Temple
650 East South Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84102

Ample Free Parking
Enter from 6th East or 7th East
Registration (Includes Lunch): $45

The spirit of migration is alive and well. The past, present, and future of international migration will come together in one location on March 18, in Salt Lake City at an unprecedented Immigration Family History Expo. To register for the Immigration Expo, please see our website at

World Trade Center Utah President and CEO Lew Cramer will join the Center's Executive Vice President and COO, Elizabeth Goryunova in an opening address at the event to be held at Historic Masonic Temple, 650 E. South Temple. At the door registration begins at 8 a.m., the day's session will begin at 8:30 a.m. Cramer and Goryunova will focus on the importance of migration, immigration, and emigration today and in the future.

Lew Cramer is president and CEO of World Trade Center Utah. He has a unique perspective on modern immigration. Mr. Cramer served the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, and as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for International Trade; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Science and Electronics; and White House Fellow with the U.S. Trade Representative for the Reagan and Bush I administrations.

Elizabeth Goryunova is executive vice president and COO of World Trade Center Utah, and Director of International Relations for the Salt Lake Chamber. Her Russian roots and in-depth experience in international relations give her a unique perspective on modern-day migration. Goryunova was recognized by the US Senate affiliated organization Peace Links as one of 10 outstanding Russian women-professionals.

"I love tracking the movement of peoples throughout the world it is a thrilling and invigorating experience," Holly T. Hansen, president and founder of Family History Expos, Inc. said. "It's also a necessary process for those who want to come to a deep understanding of their ancestors and themselves."

The Immigration Family History Expo, hosted by Family History Expos, Inc., will feature notable speakers throughout the day. The event will culminate with author, producer, and director Lorie Conway's in-depth look in to the history of immigration to America. Her presentation will include a special screening of Forgotten Ellis Island: The Extraordinary Story of America's Immigrant Hospital.

Lorie Conway is author, producer and director of the moving documentary, "Forgotten Ellis Island: The Extraordinary Story of America's Immigrant Hospital." Conway has been the recipient of several national broadcast awards, including the Peabody and Cable Ace Award, and Columbia University duPont Award. She has produced numerous short films and videos for Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard and various non-profit organizations.

Other notable speakers include:

Brigham Young University Professor Fred E. Woods. Woods has held a Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding since 2005. Woods has also been a visiting professor at several universities and has lectured at many academic institutions in the United States and internationally. Professor Woods is the author or co-author of seven books and many articles, including three dozen on the topic of Mormon immigration/emigration in the 19th century. He is the editor and compiler of the Mormon Immigration Index CD released by the LDS Church in 2000. Dr. Woods will release his Mormon Migration website this year from the BYU Harold B. Lee Library.

Arlene Eakle, PhD, president and founder of The Genealogical Institute, Inc. Eakle is a consultant, lecturer, author and researcher specializing in the geographic areas of New York, Southern U.S., British Isles, Switzerland, and parts of Germany.

Kory L. Meyerink, MLS, AG, FUGA, vice-president of ProGenealogists, Inc. in Salt Lake City. Meyerink has worked with Ancestry and the Salt Lake City Family History Library. He is past president of the Utah Genealogical Association and founder of the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Meyerink is a nationally-known speaker, editor of Printed Sources, and adjunct faculty for BYU and San Jose State University.

Holly T. Hansen, Family History Expos, Inc. Founder and President, is a lifelong resident of Croydon, Utah. She has been a family history educator for more than 15 years. Although she sponsors elaborate events, she also enjoys helping people one-on-one as they learn how to make technology work for them. An author, lecturer, and editor, Hansen devotes time every day to education.

Exhibitors will be at the event to offer hands-on demonstrations and techniques and technology to help researchers trace their roots.

Extend Your Visit
Many researchers are planning to spend two extra days at the renowned Family History Library to apply all they have learned at the Immigration Family History Expo. Extend your stay and join us for this informal gathering at special rates negotiated by Family History Expos, Inc. for you at these Salt Lake hotels:

Salt Lake Plaza Hotel at Temple Square
122 West South Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

Crystal Inn Hotel- Suites
230 W 500 S
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

Shilo Inn - Salt Lake City
206 South West Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

Red Lion Hotel
161 W 600 S
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

Marriott Hotel Downtown Salt Lake City
75 South West Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Baymont Inn & Suites
2080 West North Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84116

For more information, see our website at

Family History Expos, Inc.
PO Box 187
Morgan, UT 84050
Main Office: 801-829-3295

Twitters about & Census

A number of genea-bloggers and researchers have posted tweets about a offer to open the doors to free access of US federal census records. Acting as a casual online genealogy researcher, Ol' Myrt decided to visit to check it out.

No where is there mention on the site of the special short-term offer of free access to some US federal census records.

Unfortunately the latest posting in the Press Room was entered 26 Mar 2009, titled Releases Great Depression Collection.

There was a reference back on the home page to a 7-day free access of the website offer, spotlighted on that page using this modified Rosie the Riviter WWII era graphic:

One may not rely on the website in question, but trust genea-blog Twitter & Facebook postings to get the inside scoop on special offer announcements. Here are three to help you out:

Good luck to the online genea-newbies who haven't yet found such genea-bloggers/tweeters.

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

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Good news just received from our friends at Please address all inquiries to Megan as indicated below.

Dear Viewer,

OK, you convinced me! After getting inundated with emails, tweets, and Facebook postings and messages about the closing of (RTV), I've decided to keep it going. I honestly had no clue how valued it was by the genealogical community, and I agree with the many of you who pointed out that it serves a somewhat different purpose than the prime time programming that's on TV at present (much as I've been enjoying that!). At the same time, I think many had not realized that RTV is a one-person company, but one that's not inexpensive to provide.

Thanks very much to all you who reached out to share your thoughts and experiences. Although I haven't been able to respond to all of you, I hope you realize that your comments made all the difference in the world. Thanks also to the more than 20 individuals, organizations and companies that contacted me to explore the notion of adopting RTV. It's refreshing to know how many were willing to step in and help. I also need to thank Brightcove, the video platform used by RTV, for working with me to find viable solutions.

I should probably clarify one point of confusion. Many were under the impression that even if closed down, the video archive would remain. Quite a few also wrote asking me to send DVDs of the videos, but with more than 700 videos on the site, popping them on a DVD is not an alternative. Hosting and streaming this wide array of videos is one of the most costly aspects, and there are rights issues involved as well, so if RTV had gone, so would have all the videos.

That's why I surveyed genealogists on Twitter and Facebook, asking whether you would be willing to tolerate commercials if it would help preserve I was beyond relieved how lopsided the response was! So please be aware that I will be adding commercials to help pay the bills. Unfortunately, I don't have the resources to customize them, but I'll experiment with ways to make them as painless as possible. I'd also greatly appreciate it if you let me know of any people, companies or organizations that would be interested in running banners ads on RTV. Boston University and Family Tree DNA have both helped support RTV in the past by sponsoring ads, and more of the same would help ensure that the doors of RTV stay open in the future!

Og and I are going to do a little tinkering under the hood at RTV, so you'll see fewer new videos for a while, but please use that time to explore the hundreds of videos that are already there. Please also consider uploading your own videos (podcasters welcome!) through RootsTube ( and let us know of any great genealogical videos you come across in your online travels. If we see something we like, we'll do our best to secure permission to share the video on, so you can have the widest, high quality viewing selection possible all in one place.

And finally, I would ask that you spread the word to your friends, relatives, libraries, and genealogical societies that the lights are still on at! The more viewers, the better - so watch often!

Thanks again,
P.S. Be sure to follow us online for new videos, announcements and special events:
Megan on Twitter -
Megan on Facebook -
RTV on Twitter -
RTV on Facebook -

David McCullough at NGS 2010 (SLC)

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at

Salt Lake City Prepares for Week of Family History Celebration
Events to include free performance by David McCullough and Mormon Tabernacle Choir

SALT LAKE CITY - Family history will take center stage in Salt Lake City during the week of April 26, 2010, with four genealogy conferences taking place simultaneously. Over 200 genealogy workshops are scheduled through May 1, giving everyone from novices to advanced researchers access to unprecedented learning opportunities.

Conference organizers decided to offer attendees the rare chance to attend more than one of the conferences by conveniently holding them all in one week in Salt Lake City. The marquee event will be the National Genealogical Society's Annual Conference. This premier conference is returning to Salt Lake City for only the second time in 25 years. Also scheduled for that week are BYU's Conference on Computerized Family History and Genealogy, BYU's Family History Technology Workshop, and FamilySearch's Developers Conference for software developers.

A wide range of U.S. and international research topics will be covered and participants are encouraged to bring and work on their personal family research projects. Conferences will also feature technology sessions and exhibitors spotlighting technologies that offer solutions to genealogy challenges.

Another highlight of the week will be a free program, "A Celebration of Family History," presented by David McCullough, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Orchestra at Temple Square. Free tickets will be available at starting March 23, 2010.

A variety of free events are scheduled throughout the week:

  • Family History Consultant Training Seminar. Participants will receive the latest training at the LDS Conference Center Little Theater. Tuesday, April 27, 2010, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon or 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Open admission. Limited seating.
  • Family History Consultant Fireside. Elder Allan F. Packer of the First Quorum of the Seventy and an executive director of FamilySearch will address family history consultants in this special setting. Tuesday, April 27, at 7:00 p.m. at the Tabernacle on Temple Square. Open admission. Limited seating.
  • Church History Library Open House. LDS pioneer ancestry research assistance, along with fascinating demonstrations of state-of-the-art conservation methods for photographs, audio recordings, and books. Wednesday, April 28, 2010, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Located at 15 East North Temple Street.
  • FamilySearch and Genealogy Technology Exhibit Hall. Hundreds of vendors and product demonstrations starting Wednesday, April 28 through Saturday, May 1, at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Open admission.
  • Mormon Tabernacle Choir with David McCullough and Henry B. Eyring. Do not miss this unique, multimedia tribute to family history and a mini concert. Thursday, April 29, 2010, 7:00 p.m., LDS Conference Center. Free tickets will be available online starting March 23 at
  • Genealogy Kids Camp. Grades 4 through 12. Fun classes, games, storytelling. Also includes classes to help Boy Scouts achieve their Genealogy Merit Badge. Saturday, May 1, 2010, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Space is limited. Register early at
  • Free Research Consultation. The Family History Library hours are extended to 11:00 p.m. during the week. Extra staff will be available to provide personal research assistance. (Note: The library will close 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Thursday, April 29, for the Family History Celebration performance at the LDS Conference Center).

More information, including how to register, is available at


FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries, including the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

African American Webinar TODAY

This just in via Twitter from GeorgeGeder

"Tony Burroughs, 1 of world’s foremost genealogists, “Avoid Traps in African American Genealogy.” webinar today!
The link George provides is to the registration form at where you can also find out more about the topic and the presenter. There is also assistance if you haven't attended an webinar before. You must have javascript and cookies enabled to complete registration. Click here for Help.

Here's your chance to learn from one of the best:

Speaker: Tony Burroughs, FUGA
Tony Burroughs is an internationally known genealogist, author and former adjunct genealogy professor at Chicago State University. He lectures throughout the United States and Canada on all aspects of genealogy. Tony was a guest expert on Oprah’s Roots (PBS 2007) and African American Lives with Henry Louis Gates (PBS 2006). He has received many honors including the Distinguished Service Award from the National Genealogical Society and Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association.

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

Reconnect with Family History Expos TODAY

Our good friends at are weathering a disaster with their web services company. If you were previously on the e-zine mailing list, you'll need to resubscribe. Remember, these are the folks that bring you the immensely popular Mesa, Arizona and the St. George, Utah Family History Expos.

Here's the most recent note from Family History Expos President, Holly Hansen:

On February 20th our web hosting provider experienced a fire suppression accident that destroyed our newsletter subscriber data. While we still have your name and email we are not able to tell who was subscribed and who was not.

Please accept this invitation to re-subscribe to our "E-news and Tips." It is easy to do, just go to our website at, and look at the "My Account" box on the right hand side of the page. Click on Register and get signed up so that you won't miss a single issue. We are sending a free digital copy of our very popular interview book Life in Your Town to all new subscribers this week so don't miss out on this great opportunity to have an additional tool to help you with your family history research.

We also wanted to remind you that the Immigration Family History Expo [Salt Lake City] is coming soon! March 18th is just around the corner we hope to see you there. For agenda and registration information please view details online, click here . We expect the available registrations to fill up quickly. So, we would like to offer you the opportunity to reserve your spot today! To RSVP, click here .

Thank you for helping us serve you better and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

So, DearREADERS, if you wish to keep on top of the news from Family History Expos folks, respond shortly.

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

Are FB & Twitter more useful than blogging?

During periods of confinement, using one's physical resources wisely is important. Actually the same is true for all of us, regardless of health. Many things vie for one's attention in this busy 21st century world in which we live. Recent personal concerns have precluded my blogging, but somehow short, quick Facebook (FB)and Twitter postings last week seemed appropriate.

Does this mean FB/Twitter have replaced blogging in Ol' Myrt's eyes?

Case in Point
Last Friday night's NBC broadcast of Who Do You Think You Are was enough to get me excited to promote it with online friends. One commented that Facebooking and Twittering, at will, while viewing the show, made it feel like we were all in the same room together. Here are about 90% of my FB postings and tweets on the topic. Note: Neither responses nor original on-topic posts from others have been included.

@NBCWDYTYA - denotes who the post was written for or to, in this case NBC's Who Do You Think You Are

#genealogy - is like a key phrase; easy for Twitter to categorize by topic when the word doesn't fall within the basic text of the tweet.

  • Poised to FB, Tweet & post to the Who Do You Think You Are message board at the premier starts in 15 minutes!
  • WDYTYA on Sarah is doing her own research, consulting professional, not just having it handed to her on a silver platter!#genealogy -- Census records are a great starting point
  • Natalie and Josh have been wonderful -- showing reference to docs created at the time the ancestor lived.
  • @nbcwdtyta MIGRATION and placing one's ancestor into historical context.
  • @nbcwdytya AWESOME show -- got so excited to see sound research principles employed (use old docs for evidence of ancestry)
  • @nbcwdytya Only 1 add thus far? #genealogy
  • @nbcwdytya Professionals Natalie and Josh have been wonderful -- showing reference to docs created at the time the ancestor lived #genealogy
  • @nbcwdytya original 300 year old complaint against Sarah's Salem ancestor at the library. KEWL! #genealogy
  • @nbcwdytya Good thing they had a commercial break, so I can catch up on my Tweets!
  • @nbcwdytya is that Josh's voice as narrator? #genealogy
  • @nbcwdytya GREAT they aren't skipping around among among celebrities like they do on Faces, we're sticking with Sarah's roots #genealogy
  • @nbcwdytya Walking where an ancestor once walked - awesome! #genealogy
  • @nbcwdytya Sarah: "I have belonging" sums it up! #genealogy
  • @nbcwdytya Sharing ancestral gleanings with living family is the BEST part #genealogy

YES and NO
While I don't intend to give up on blogging, the immediacy of communicating with 600+ of my closest friends via FB and Twitter has its appeal. These two forms of social media are how Ol' Myrt discovered:

  • One friend's uploading of iPhone photos included a priceless one of my sweetheart.
  • Another friend is beginning to recover from back surgery.
  • One friend's father died.
  • Another friend's mother died.
  • Tributes to now deceased family members appear on their FB pages. (Apparently virtual reality ensures our Facebook account will outlive each of us.)
  • Several friends had research breakthroughs.
  • Many bloggers use the "Networked Blogs" Facebook application to have their blogs automatically cross-post to their Facebook page.
You will see that Ol' Myrt doesn't play "Farmland" or drop Easter Eggs, though I am actively engaged in a series of "Wordscraper" games with a friend from back East.

There is something to be said for sending a private note to someone on Facebook, since by default a copy is also sent to that person's email address of record. Sort of "2 birds with one stone approach", eh? I'm sure to get through either via email or FB with such a post.

Relying on short tweets (limit 140 characters, not 140 words!) makes it hard for wordy people like Ol' Myrt to get the point across.

One limits one's audience if posting only on Facebook, since posts are only viewable by friends, unless one opens everything up and avoids the default privacy settings.

Google pickps up on every word in a blog entry and sends me an alert within 5-7 minutes of posting.

One cannot add graphics to FB/Tweets per se, as proves useful when discussing a document mentioning an ancestor.

Blogging is free and easy.

Blogging remains the communication format of choice until something more interesting comes down the pike. If you want to get started on blogging, Ol' Myrt here heartily recommends:

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

Genealogy Tourism

Thanks to Diane Giannini who wrote "I don't blog but I know a lot of folks read yours and thought you might want to use this there or post it on fb. My husband found an article in today's Science Daily entitled, Genealogical Tourism Redefining Leisure Travel Market, Professor Say."

Ol' Myrt here couldn't agree with theme of the article more fervently:

"The increase in popularity of genealogical tourism reflects contemporary tourists' preference for authentic, lived experiences over the bubble-like environment of an all-inclusive resort or a pleasure cruise, says U. of I[llinois]. recreation, sport and tourism professor Carla Santos."

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

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

SoCal Genealogy Jamboree: Myrt's topics

Previously, Ol' Myrt explained I'd be traveling again to the Southern California Genealogical Society's annual Jamboree to be held the 11-13 June 2010. Now I've got some of the details about my scheduled presentations:

  • Friday, 4:30-5:30pm - The Time Machine: Offbeat Resources for Family Historians. Perplexed by where to turn next in your research? Get out of the rut and explore new avenues of research. (Beginners)
  • Saturday, 7-8:30am - breakfast Great Lectures on the Cheap using Save travel time & expense by using technology to bring lecturers to your society.
  • * Sunday, 12:30-1:30pm - Women Are From Venus: Finding Female Ancestors. Case studies for locating those elusive maiden names. (Beginners)

Ol' Myrt will also be leading a hands-on workshop on Second Life & how to navigate to genealogy sites within that virtual world. The group is limited to 18 participants in a mini-lab. The society's website will have all the details for registration.

Where in the world is DearMYRTLE? Hope you get a kick out of this short video from last year's Jamboree. (You'll find me if you hang on for most of the video!)

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

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Behind the Scenes WDYTYA? - Sarah

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from Anastasia of, one of the supporters of the Who Do You Think You Are? television series on NBC friday nights at 8pm Eastern, 7pm Central.

Behind the Scenes of "Who Do You Think You Are?" - Sarah

An hour doesn’t offer much time to delve into the research processes that genealogists used as they traced the family history of actress Sarah Jessica Parker for this week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? We sat down with the research team who worked on Sarah Jessica’s family tree to talk about what it took to find her elusive gold miner ancestor. I’ve recapped that conversation here:

First Steps First

Similar to Sarah Jessica Parker’s own assumptions at the beginning of the show, research on the tree began with vague ideas that her family was comprised of recent immigrants. The team first developed a skeleton of Sarah Jessica’s family history. “We documented every connection and every life event for her ancestors,” says Natalie Cottrill of ProGenealogists, who appeared with Sarah Jessica in the episode, “finding information about Sarah Jessica’s family in court records, newspaper articles, books, and personal letters published in books.” And that’s how they found John S. Hodge.

The First Nugget

The first clue about John S. Hodge’s life came from his son’s obituary, which stated that John S. Hodge died in 1849 on his way to California from Ohio. Since the death date came from an obituary written decades after John S. Hodge died, the team looked for primary sources recorded during or around the anticipated lifespan for John S. Hodge. For starters, the team wanted to determine why the ancestral John S. Hodge was going to California, as the son’s obituary stated. Considering the time period – 1849 – it seemed probable that John S. Hodge could have been heading to the California gold fields.

The Right John?

The search led to a John Hodge, who was the right age to be Sarah Jessica’s ancestor, listed as a miner in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census for El Dorado County, California. This record shifted research to determining whether the California John Hodge was the ancestral John S. Hodge, and the researchers turned to records associated with the 49ers. “We found a letter written by someone in Ohio to John S. Hodge, which had been published in a book,” says Natalie. “One of my colleagues tracked down the original set of letters, which provided more details, including information about John S. Hodge’s 1950 death.” Estate and other documents further confirmed that the ancestral John S. Hodge and the California miner John Hodge was the same individual.

If you missed the Sarah Jessica Parker episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, you can watch full episodes online at And you won't want to miss former NFL football player Emmitt Smith set out to discover his slavery roots this Friday, March 12, at 8/7c on NBC. Lisa Kudrow said his episode is the most compelling of the seven (and, personally, I have to agree). Check out the teaser to the episode featuring Emmitt.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

NGS 2010 Conference: early-bird registration deadline

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at NGS. Please address inquires through the website mentioned below. See you in Salt Lake City!

The National Genealogical Society's 32nd Family History Conference, "Follow Your Ancestral Trail," will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, from 28 April to 1 May 2010.

Register for the conference today! The early-bird registration discount ends on Monday, 8 March 2010. In addition to enjoying a $35 discount, only early birds have the opportunity to order a printed syllabus. (Everyone will receive a syllabus on CD.) NGS members get even deeper discounts, so this is a great time to join.

The opening session at this year's conference will be held on Wednesday morning, 28 April 2010, at 8:00 AM. The keynote address is the premier of a video tour that provides a behind-the-scenes look at the world-famous Granite Mountain Records Vault. FamilySearch stores microfilmed and digital genealogical information at this archival facility located in the mountains outside Salt Lake City. This secure facility was designed to protect the collection of genealogical records from decay, natural disasters, and manmade calamities. The vault includes 65,000 square feet of space carved 700 feet into the side of a solid granite mountain. The climate in the facility is carefully controlled to maintain optimal storage conditions for the records, which represent 100 countries and 170 different languages. The Granite Mountain Records Vault currently stores approximately 3.5 billion images on 2.4 million rolls of microfilm, plus nearly a petabyte of digital data. And there is still room for growth as FamilySearch continues to preserve and share the records of the world. The vault is not open to the public, so conference attendees will be treated to something they cannot see in person.

Following the video, Jay L. Verkler, president and CEO of FamilySearch and managing director of the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, will continue the tour with an exploration of trends and resources that will enable these and other records to be viewed worldwide.

All full-conference registrants will be entered in a drawing to win a seven-night stay at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel at Temple Square, courtesy of the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, which is located right next door to the Family History Library. Be sure to attend the opening session to find out if you are the winner. The winner must be present at the opening session to claim the prize.

Registration details and the conference program can be found online at

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

WDYTYA: 5-day countdown

For once, some GREAT news! Now that the 2010 Olympics have concluded, NBC is offering a new line-up of several great television series including the much-anticipated Who Do You Think You Are? Perhaps you caught some of the great ads during the last month.

NOW is the time to make your broadcast wishes known.
  • Set your DVR or TIVO to record the seven, weekly, Friday night broadcasts, beginning 5 March 2010 at 8pm Eastern, 7 Central.
  • Share Who Do You Think You Are video clips with friends and family via email, Facebook & Twitter.
  • Make a posting under each online video clip you view, telling NBC how you feel about this type of broadcast content.
  • Stock up on munchies for your family get-together on Friday to view Episode #1. This could be the start of periodic get-togethers to share old-time family history stories and pictures.
  • Finally learn how to tweet (using so you can post reactions during the show. NBC marketing people will be monitoring Twitter, Facebook & other social media for your reactions. They won't be able to pick up on your feedback if it is in a private email to your family or friends.
  • If you have a blog (genea-blog or not), make a posting spreading the word about Who Do You Think You Are?
Things are looking up -- Jay's back on the Tonight Show, and FAMILY HISTORY is the topic of the prime-time Friday night NBC lineup! Awesome!

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

Monday, March 01, 2010

Fab 40: Thank-you, DearREADERS

Ol' Myrt here just logged in to my computer to see what's up and there was an announcement from Family Tree Magazine that my DearREADERS have voted to include DearMYRTLE in the top 40 genealogy blogs.

Congrats to the other 39 winners.

I am humbled and honored.

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