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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

FTM should sync info with Ancestry Trees

Ol' Myrt here keeps an eye on Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings blog when he talks about Family Tree Maker. The same is true for Russ Worthington's Blog and his GenealogyWise page. I knew that after today's announcement of the release of Family Tree Maker 2011, these two gentlemen would be sure to make comments. Ol' Myrt was not disappointed. See:
 You'll see I also posted a comment as I've expanded in the following
Hiya Randy! I agree 100% with the problem of "syncing" one ancestor's updated info between Trees and an FTM database. I thought at first I was missing something when I first started using the online Ancestry tree.

I still put my data up at Ancestry Trees to find the "quick & easy" record groups with the "shaking leaf" option.
I also advise my readers to look every other month for each ancestor from the individual screen shown below, which does a more thorough contextual search. However, the new data must be typed in and cannot be updated automatically.

To get to the contextual search option, view your Ancestry Tree in pedigree format. Then roll your mouse over an ancestor's info box, as Ol' Myrt here has done for her great-grandfather Alma Oades Player. Up pops a box with more details, and the more detailed search option is available as shown above.

What FTM needs to do with the is similar to what's happening with programs that truly sync with (Read that "not just view".)

As the old website goes away, and everyone has access to what is now in in early 2011, then this sort of "sync-both-ways" feature will become the norm.

Geesh, I need to make a blog entry about this.

Thanks for writing "I'll wait on FTM 2011."

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

Family Tree Maker 2011 released

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



No. 1 Selling Family Tree Software Offers Simplicity and Depth for Recording Family Histories

PROVO, Utah, August 31, today announced the release of Family Tree Maker® 2011, an improved version of the world’s No. 1 selling family history software.

For the last 20 years, Family Tree Maker has provided tools that make it easy to build family trees, record memories and organize family photos. Family Tree Maker also enables users to capture stories, and attach videos and audio clips in a way that will help them easily capture and share the story of their ancestors both on-and offline.

“Family Tree Maker 2011 delivers significant improvements on many fronts.  By incorporating changes recommended by a diverse base of novice and experienced family researchers, we have arrived at what we believe to be our best release yet,” said Eric Shoup, Senior Vice President of Product at “With the recent surge in interest in family history, and Family Tree Maker have an important role to play in creating new family historians.”

Without leaving Family Tree Maker, users can search the robust collection of family history records on and simply incorporate matching results directly into their tree. Family Tree Maker 2011 automatically searches for historical documents about the individuals in the user’s family tree when connected to the Internet. Family Tree Maker 2011 comes with either a free trial or subscription to Family Tree Maker makes it easier than ever to discover your family story, preserve your legacy and share your unique heritage. Of the more than one hundred enhancements added to the software, the following are some of the new and improved features found in Family Tree Maker 2011:

·         Smart Stories™ – Ready to start on an ancestor’s story? The Smart Story editor makes it easy to drag and drop text and photos from your tree into story pages that will update automatically when you make changes to your tree.
·         More Complete and Relevant Timelines – Find and add more events to your ancestors' lives. Add, edit and delete your own historical events and apply historical events by time and geography.
·         New and Improved Charts – Enjoy four new fan chart styles. Enhance charts with backgrounds, borders and embellishments. And use fonts you can change based on fact type.
·         Improved Integration with has millions of members all over the world. Now you can find out if any of them are searching for your ancestors by viewing Member Connect activity on your home page, plus links to related message boards and new messages in your inbox. You'll also enjoy faster uploading and downloading of your tree.
·         New Media Management Tools - Drag and drop, cut and paste, and even categorize multiple items at the same time. You'll also find a new tool that will help you locate missing media files.
·         Enhanced Reports – Enhanced ancestor and descendant reports, added a surname report and allowed you to sort custom reports, plus you can now save and reuse report settings.

Family Tree Maker 2011 will include either a printed or electronic Companion Guide to help users quickly master the simple and even advanced tasks. The Companion Guide will come with easy-to-understand screenshots of the software.

Family Tree Maker 2011 is now available to purchase online at starting at $39.95. The program is also set to be released in select retail stores.

Internet access required for all Web integration. Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than one million paying subscribers. The company has digitized and put online more than 5 billion records over the past 13 years. Ancestry users have created over 18 million family trees containing nearly 1.8 billion profiles. has local Web sites directed at nine countries, including its flagship Web site at

MUST Read: FamilySearch in a Corner

FamilySearch continues to be a driving force in the world of genealogy. Where once we had microform and a network of local Family History Centers to borrow and view film, things have progressed significantly to include online indexing and presentation of scanned images of microfilm and original records.

It is imperative that you read fellow genea-blogger Ancestry Insider's most recent post FamilySearch in a corner, where we learn about a timeline for release of 600 million records, and the revamp of the FamilySearch website. Most notable is information about the new version of the Family History Library Catalog (long overdue, and a big "missed opportunity" by former partner World Vital Records.)

It is now time for the non-LDS readers to register for FamilySearch, so that when the new, expanded website is available, you'll receive notice, and be able to participate.

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

Monday, August 30, 2010

NARA Prologue: No Pensions for Ex-Slaves

Check out the Summer 2010 copy of the National Archives (US) Prologue magazine where you'll find an online article No Pensions for Ex-Slaves: How Federal Agencies Suppressed Movement to Aid Freedpeople by Miranda Booker Perry.

Click to read the full article at NARA website.

From Ms. Perry's bio, we learn she is an archivist trainee in the Textual Archives Division at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. She has worked on a number of military records projects and has delivered presentations on the ex-slave pension movement. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in history at Howard University.

With that impressive background, we then turn to study Ms. Perry's source material which include among other items:
  • National Archives Microfilm Publication M2110 reproduces the series Correspondence and Case Files Pertaining to the Ex-Slave Pension Movement, Law Division, Bureau of Pensions, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group (RG) 15.
  • Special Field Orders, No. 15, Headquarters Military Division of the Mississippi, January 16, 1865, is found in Orders & Circulars, ser. 44, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780's–1917, RG 94
  • General Records of the Department of Justice, RG 60
  • Records of District Courts of the United States, RG 21; Records of the U.S. Senate, RG 46
  • Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, RG 233.
Historians review surviving documents, attempting to piece together an understanding of how things were  based on facts asserted in those documents. Genealogists tend to forget looking at a variety of sources and all-to-frequently jump to conclusions.

Let us take follow the example of historians and take a more scholarly approach to our research.

Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Interviewing Elsie: friends come to call

Yesterday was wonderful. In the morning we worked through one of Elsie's binders on our new Epson copier/scanner/printer/fax/CD maker at Barbara and Johnny's house, then we headed out to see Elsie at Freedom Village. Elsie was happy as ever to see us, and had arranged for two of our mutual friends to stop by a little bit later in the day.

Mr. Myrt set up the Epson in a meeting area near Elsie's room, and we got right to work on her Korea binder. Within a few minutes, Bob Jones and his wife Maryann came by for a visit. Bob and Maryann live in an apartment in an adjacent building at Freedom Village and don't require the care that Elsie needs. (Each of us has our health challenges, I guess.) I was so thrilled to see Bob & his wife. They are great friends from the old Manasota PAF Users Group days, and as such, they were very interested in our book project about Elsie's life during WWII. They didn't mind our continuing to photocopy and scan during their visit.

(c) 1947 Elsie (Barks) Naylor,
Used with permission.
As we asked the Jones about their family, Bob reminded me of a project he did to bridge the generations and have his grandchildren think in terms of their early Tennessee ancestors. Bob gathered an 1804 half penny for each of his grandchildren and mounted them in a small individual shadow box. Then he printed out a little blurb to mount below the coin that said something like "Your great-great grandfather arrived in Tennessee  in 1804 with a mere half penny in his pocket. Could this have been the coin he held?" Bob always does cool things with his grandchildren. Isn't this a great idea?!!

In addition to sharing, Bob and Maryann were a great support to Elsie who would occasionally say, "I cannot believe these two kids are doing all this copying." Bob and I would invariably say "These letters and photos are history ~ people need to know about it."

Indeed, we found telegrams (who sends those anymore?), more letters, descriptions of  Elsie's travel by ship from Honolulu to Pusan, an official report of a robbery, and this 1947 picture of Elsie as she met this Korean mother and sleeping child.

As we'd run across a letter with a sketch of the room, or something, Bob and Elsie would pour over it and decipher the schematic, like this one showing how Elsie's bed was arranged at the side of her room in Korea. Hmm, I'll have to ask her about those Saki jugs. 

(c) 1947 Elsie (Barks) Naylor, used with permission.

You can see that Ol' Myrt here has more than enough  material to tell the story of the story of Elsie's Red Cross service & WWII. There are so many more treasures, I can hardly wait to do more blogging over at Elsie says... and bring Elsie's book to print.

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

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Interviewing Elsie: plan c

(c) Elsie (Barks) Naylor, used with permission.
Working at Office Depot's self-service copy center was less than satisfactory yesterday. The machines were slo-o-ow (read that very slow). And as we thought about the image quality of the scanners at Walmart, we made a decision to purchase a scanner/copier/printer to do the job ourselves. We got one that is mid-sized, barely portable, but fast enough to do the job and do it well.

We've now copied the letters and scanned the photos from three of Elsie's Red Cross WWII binders.

But something happened yesterday I hadn't counted on. After we left Elsie, I realized what we did was important.

Our conversation wasn't one sided anymore. It was so relaxed, just like old times. Our friendship came shining through, despite the years apart. What a blessing. What a joy.

While we girls were sharing and giggling, Mr. Myrt was photocopying on our newly purchased all-in-one in the other room. He is a gem.

That's Ol' Myrt's Dad in those suspenders! 4 July2007.
Elsie asked me lots of questions about my daughters and grandchildren. I got on the internet, thanks to Mr. Myrt's Verizon wireless card, and showed her photos from my Facebook album, and those of my daughters. Elsie noticed how much like Carrie her children look and we giggled about some of my old-timey pictures I've been uploading of late. Looking at my sister's favorite picture of Dad prompted Elsie to recall when Dad and Blanche had visited our local PAF Users Group. She remarked how proud he was of my volunteer work there.

I had been so busy figuring out how to interview Elsie, but she in her gracious way turned the tables and interviewed me. It was a wonderful day!

Aren't conversations better than putting Elsie under a microscope and dissecting her life?

One of the good things about this visit is that I've come to appreciate my time with Elsie.

I also appreciate our friends Barbara and Johnny, who are supportive in every way.

I've also come to appreciate how much effort Elsie put into these binders years ago. It is making my job so much easier.

More later.

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

Friday, August 27, 2010

Interviewing Elsie: revised plan

Visiting with my 92-year-old friend Elsie is indeed a tender time, but I've got my bearings now with a revised plan for our interviews. Asking too many questions is out, but pouring through her photos really jogs her memories.

Also the concept of developing a time line is out - stream of consciousness is in.

Working on a time line was just too much for Elsie. She wanted to help, but her memory froze. Mine would too, I'd say.

Fortunately Elsie's 3-ring binders are in order, and each has a "table of contents" so-to-speak, with a time line for the events she reports in her letters & photos found in that binder. Thank heavens, we've been planning this book for so many years because Elsie got these notebooks in order before her memory faded, providing a strong foundation from which to work.

So while my DearREADERS may face similar interview challenges, I doubt the subject of your interview has 20 running feet of shelves full of notebooks like Elsie has collected. (I was lucky to have a few photo albums and two boxes of memorabilia from my Dad.) 

Still, we can learn by sharing our experiences about interviewing our loved ones, so I'll plug along with this blog entry.

1. Photocopy each of Elsie's binders at Office Depot.
She has no qualms about loaning her binders to me. This will be tons faster than using the digital camera, with over 100 pages per notebook. There are seven or eight that she created, placing letters and some photos in chronological order.

I still relate to the tangible page, and can study late into the night while resting in bed. A laptop on my tummy with digital images of those notebook pages is just too cumbersome.

2. Scan her photo albums.
I've done this before at Wal-Mart, placing multiple photos on the scanner, speeding up the process. The entire project can then be placed on disc, and I can pull apart the individual photos using my photo editing software on my PC at my leisure.

3. Study the binders at night.
She's got several 3-ring binders with her letters in page protectors, chronicling her time in the Red Cross serving in England, France and Japan during WWII, and then later as a civilian employee of the US Army in Korea during that conflict.

4. Attempt to correlate the photo album pages with the tomorrow's "binder of the day."

5. Decide on one binder, with correlated photos, to discuss during the next visit.

6. Take notes and pictures as Elsie spontaneously shares her thoughts. I could use a digital voice recorder, but since our visits are short, and Elsie speaks haltingly, I think I can keep up.

7. Make a blog with an entry for each of the seemingly disparate stories, not worrying about chronological order. This plan for the "stream of consciousness" commentary eases my mind, so Elsie and I can just talk. Additional plans for the Elsie Says... blog include
  • Don't worry about the length of each blog entry. I can always go back and edit later.
  • Don't worry about locating related photos.
  • Just take notes during the story telling, and take pics of Elsie whenever possible.
  • Blog that night, while the experience is fresh in my mind.
8. Consider additional benefits of the blog. Much will have to be left out of the book, but the blog can "have it all." It's also possible someone will Google and find our blog, and begin to share info about his or her mother who may have served with Elsie.

I've set up the blog, and have made it public so that my DearREADERS can follow my progress. It's called Elsie Says...

Here's what I did last night after visiting with Elsie:
  • Went to & clicked "Create" for the new blog.
  • Gave the blog a banner title "Elsie Says..." (without quote marks)
  • Followed the easy Blogger screen prompts to create the blog address
  • Selected a layout template. (later revised)
  • Removed the Blogger search banner.
  • Added the Google Search widget which is more reliable and context sensitive.
  • Uploaded Elsie's WWII Red Cross uniform picture for the side bar of the blog.
  • Added the Print Friendly button.
  • Added the Facebook & Twitter options.
  • Added the subscribing widget.
Ol' Myrt here then created the first blog entry:
  • Titled it "Climbing Mt. Fuji".
  • Uploaded the picture of Elsie & her commemorative walking stick taken earlier that day during our visit.
  • Searched the web for several links to the "walking stick" phenomenon & included them in the blog.
  • Found a WikiPedia "creative commons" pic of Mt. Fuji.
  • Added another view of Elsie's walking stick. 
  • Added captions. (The newest version of Blogger permits photo captions.)
  • Clicked to publish the blog.
    The photo Gordon took of Elsie as we spoke yesterday.

This morning when I woke up, I realized that the title for each blog entry of Elsie Says... must be a quote from a letter or the interview I'm reporting. So I'll have to make a point of this in future blog entries. The Mt. Fuji blog entry could have then been titled as in red below:

  • Elsie says... Mt. Fuji ate my shoes
  • Elsie says... Hiking Fuji was a piece of cake
Thank-you to Dolly in Maryland who wrote "Myrt, you are showing your love by just being there and talking with Elsie; your time is the most precious gift you can give her. Cheers."

You are so wise, Dolly. Asking a lot of questions isn't the point. Being together, giggling, and sharing experiences when the time is right is what friendship is all about.

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

Another push for indexing

When you think of the genealogy break-throughs you've experienced throughout the years, what is the most common element?

How about the use of an INDEX? Indexes provide insight to record groups that would take too much time to search page by page.

If you have ever benefited from the use of an INDEX, then it's time to step up to the plate and volunteer to index records. Ol' Myrt's suggestion is to work through, as the indexes created there will always remain free to everyone.

Sign up at

Our friends at FamilySearchIndexing explain "EVERY PERSON MATTERS. Perhaps it is this feeling that prompts millions to seek out their family history. For most, records of their ancestors provide key links to their past. An army of volunteers from around the world is now helping to save and make these records available. Using our online system, they are able to easily extract data from valuable records and provide free searchable indexes—all from the convenience of their homes."
Think of it -- indexing
  • on your schedule (5 minutes here and there will make a big difference)
  • the record group you choose (there are foreign language record groups if you are multi-lingual)
  • while sitting at your home computer (while dinner is in the crock pot and that last load of laundry is in the wash)
Many hands make light work!

Do you best -- and trust that:
  • a second person will index the same documents.
  • a computer will compare your indexes, keystroke for keystroke.
  • variances will come to the attention of an arbitrator for resolution.
That double data entry indexing system is very reliable.

So, it is pay-back time ~ let's get indexing!

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

Thursday, August 26, 2010

FamilySearch: 200 million new records from 18 countries

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: In all the excitement of the FGS Conference last week, I overlooked this announcement from our friends at FamilySearch. Please address all inquiries to

200 Million More Historic Records See the Light of Day
New collections feed growing appetite of family history buffs

SALT LAKE CITY  - As the nation’s genealogical societies gather in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference this week to share tips and tricks for finding one’s elusive ancestors, there will certainly be some clamoring over an unexpected gift from FamilySearch, a world leader in historic records preservation and access. FamilySearch announced the addition of over 200 million new searchable historic records online representing 18 countries. The new records were added to the hundreds of millions FamilySearch published earlier this year at a similar event in Salt Lake City, Utah. The total number of records on the pilot site totals 700 million.

The latest deluge of records includes 53 new or updated collections from the United States, and over 100 million new records from Europe, Scandinavia, and Mexico. The United States collections include the 1910 U.S. Census, and states’ birth, marriage, and death records. There are 10 million new records for New Jersey and Michigan respectively, 4 million from Tennessee, an amazing 41 million from Massachusetts, and much more from other states.

“Some time ago, FamilySearch committed to creating access to the world’s genealogical records online in a big way. Today’s updates are part of an ongoing effort to make good on those commitments,” said Paul Nauta, FamilySearch public affairs manager. “We have only just begun,” Nauta concluded.

In the U.S., FamilySearch is focusing currently on digitizing and publishing online federal and state censuses, and state birth, marriage, and death records. When complete, the initiative will provide a definitive collection of U.S. genealogical resources for family history researchers.

In addition to the new U.S. collections, over 100 million records were added to FamilySearch’s international collections online—making it most likely the largest international genealogy collection online. The new international databases come from birth, marriage, and death records, and from municipal records. (Go to, then click Search Records, then click Records Search pilot) to see a full list of the free collections. The records will soon be available also at

“What makes today’s announcement even more impressive is that FamilySearch uses predominantly a growing corps of volunteers to accomplish the task of digitizing and indexing the records for online publication.  That’s also in large part how we can do it for free, how it can be done at no cost to the patron,” said Nauta. Currently, 350,000 volunteers worldwide log on to and use FamilySearch’s proprietary software to view digital images of historic documents of personal interest and type in the desired information. FamilySearch then creates a free, searchable index of the historic collections online for the public to use.

NARA: Nuremberg Laws received from Huntington Library

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

Special Note: Video and images are available online at:

SAN MARINO, Calif. -In a transfer ceremony at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens today, Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero accepted on behalf of the U.S. Government the original Nuremberg Laws presented by Steven S. Koblik, Huntington president. Gen. George S. Patton Jr. deposited the documents at the Library for safekeeping at the end of World War II. He died in December of 1945 in an automobile crash before he could discuss their final disposition.

In presenting the Laws to Mr. Ferriero, Dr. Koblik said, "These documents should have been part of the National Archives, had Gen. Patton followed instructions from his commander-in-chief in Europe, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower directed that all documents related to the persecution of the Jews should be sent to a common collection point in Germany that was preparing for the Nuremberg War Crime Trials. These materials eventually were deposited at the National Archives. The Huntington felt strongly that it wanted the Nuremberg Laws to be placed with the other original documentation of war crimes against Jews during World War II. We are pleased that we are able to present these documents to the Archivist of the United States today so that the collection is now complete."

"I am pleased and honored to accept these originals of the Nuremberg Laws on behalf of the National Archives and Records Administration and the Government of the United States," said Mr. Ferriero.

September 15, just a few weeks away, will mark the 75th anniversary of the signing of these laws by Adolf Hitler, which he used as the legal underpinning for the persecution of Jews in Germany, culminating in the Holocaust. We are very grateful that the Huntington Library is now providing these historically important documents to the National Archives, where they will join other original documents relating to horrors of the Third Reich, he continued.

The National Archives also released today a 3:49 minute video short from its series Inside the Vaults, highlighting the background of the Nuremberg Laws. The video, which includes historic footage and interviews with National Archives expert Greg Bradsher and Huntington president Steven Koblik, is hosted online on the National Archives YouTube Channel Archives/ and the National Archives website, This video is in the public domain and not subject to any copyright restrictions. The National Archives encourages its free distribution.

The Laws, which were signed by Hitler in 1935, are considered to be the official blueprint of racial policies against Jews in Germany. Individuals were defined as Jews if three or four of their grandparents were Jewish. They were stripped of their German citizenship and prohibited from marrying German citizens.

The Nuremberg Laws will join millions of other documents in the National Archives World War II holdings relating to the Third Reich, the Holocaust, and the trials at Nuremberg. They include transcripts of proceedings, prosecution and defense exhibits, interrogation records, document books and court papers. They also include other items such as the war diaries of Joseph Goebbels and Gen. Alfred Jodl, as well as registers from concentration camps.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Interviewing Elsie: tender times

This is a particularly tender time ~ visiting here in Bradenton, Florida with my friend Elsie who now lives in an assisted living facility. This afternoon Barb, Mr. Myrt and I met with Elsie and it is obvious I've got to switch gears when it comes to doing our book about Elsie's Red Cross and civilian US Army employment during WWII.

At 92, Elsie has some memory loss, as do many folks her age. Though our visit was obviously tiring for her, Elsie was as ever, supportive and positive.

To say today's visit was emotional for me would be an understatement.

Thinking about this during the drive back to our friend Jody's condo, it occurs to me that many of my DearREADERS are facing just such challenges. Attempting to follow the advice to interview your eldest living relatives can get complicated can't it? Elsie is like family to me. Good friends are like that.

Where once we could work quickly together on a project, things have slowed down and there is no rushing the process with wonderful, elderly folks like Elsie. Advice from Kimberly Powell of is found in 50 Questions for Family History Interviews. Indeed, Ol' Myrt here has written many times on the topic. But this interview process is real and personal, and I find myself at a bit of a loss as to where to begin without pushing Elsie to the limits of her memory.

And the emotion of recognizing how short our time together for the project, really brings me to tears.

I'm resolved to create a timeline of Elsie's life when we visit tomorrow. Much can be gleaned from the spines of her notebooks, which are clearly labeled England 1944-1945, France, Japan & Korea. If that is all I can accomplish tomorrow, so be it.

Tenderness will be my watchword.

As experienced as Ol' Myrt here may think she is when it comes to talking with anyone about anything, this visit with my dear friend Elsie is a tender challenge.

How did my DearREADERs manage such tender interviews?

Am I just getting to be an old sap?

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

Who Do You Think You Are? Season 2

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at Please refer all inquires to


World's Largest Family History Web Site Continues Sponsorship of Critically Acclaimed TV Series That Takes a Personal Look at Celebrity Family Histories

PROVO, Utah, August 25, is pleased to announce it has extended its relationship with NBC for the second season of the “Who Do You Think You Are?” television series. worked with NBC on the first season of “Who Do You Think You Are?” that debuted in March 2010. The company provided important family history research for the show, including tracing the roots of the seven celebrities featured, and collaborated with NBC to promote the series. Each episode took one celebrity on an emotional, and often times soul-searching journey to discover the lives of family members who came before them.

“It is remarkable to work on this series with the leader in the online family history category,,” said Paul Telegdy, Executive Vice President of Alternative Programming & Production at NBC Universal. “A show of this caliber takes a lot of research and ground work to make the celebrities stories come to life. With the valued collaboration of, we’ve been able to tell seven amazing stories in the first season, and look forward to even greater family history discoveries to be uncovered in season two.”

 “We are excited to continue working with NBC on this series,” said Josh Hanna, Executive Vice President and Head of Global Marketing for “The first season of the show has truly elevated awareness around the family history category and we couldn’t be more pleased to be an integral part of a television series that brings excitement to the discoveries people can make when researching their ancestral roots.”

“Who Do You Think You Are?” is produced by Wall to Wall Entertainment in collaboration with Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky for their production company, Is or Isn’t Entertainment. NBC has announced the show will air in the 2010-11 season. Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than one million paying subscribers. More than 5 billion records have been added to the site in the past 13 years. Ancestry users have created more than 18 million family trees containing over 1.8 billion profiles. has local Web sites directed at nine countries, including its flagship Web site at

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Association of Professional Genealogists Awards

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: In addition to adding 2 new chapters (one in Second Life), our friends at the APG Association of Professional Genealogists announced awards presented during the Federation of Genealogical Society's 2010 Conference in Knoxville, TN last week. Please address all inquiries to

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., and WESTMINSTER, Colo., August 20, 2010  − Today at the 2010 Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference in Knoxville, Tenn., the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) honored five of its members for their outstanding achievements in the field of genealogy. APG President Laura Prescott presented the awards at today’s luncheon, which featured Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FNGS, FASG, FUGA, who presented, “Writing Genealogy: Are You a Saint, Sinner, or Bumfuzzled Soul?”

Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG, received the APG Professional Achievement Award. The award, created in 2007, recognizes exceptional professional achievement and ethical behavior with contributions to the field of genealogy. Rose has more than three decades of experience in serving genealogical organizations and societies as a researcher, lecturer, author, columnist and volunteer. She has served on the faculty of the National Institute of Genealogical Research (NIGR) in Washington, D.C., and on the faculty of The Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University, as both an instructor and coordinator. Rose is the author of several genealogy books including, “Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures” and “Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case.”

APG also awarded Alvie L. Davidson, CG, the Grahame T. Smallwood Jr. Award of Merit, an award honoring personal commitment and outstanding service to the APG. A professional genealogist and private investigator, Davidson served on the APG Board of Directors from 2003−2008, and was elected again in 2010. He has served on numerous committees and is currently booth chair, organizing member volunteers to answer questions at the APG booth during conferences.

Diana Crisman Smith received the APGQ Excellence Award, which recognizes exceptional articles submitted to the organization’s quarterly magazine. Smith provided an article on writing for each issue in 2009, including “Ready for Prime Time? Tips for Making Your Writing Fit for Print” and “How is Your Writing? Enter a Writing Contest and Find Out.”

Certificates of appreciation were also presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to APG, by a member or a non-member. Angela Packer McGhie was recognized for her leadership as president of the APG National Capital Area Chapter, as well as for her educational efforts in coordinating the ProGen Study Groups, directing her local Family History Center and in initiating a workshop featuring Thomas Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG.

Polly Kimmitt, CG, received a certificate of appreciation for her activities as president of the New England Chapter of APG in 2009. During her tenure, Kimmitt was responsible for spurring an increase in meeting attendance and chapter memberships and motivated the organization to design a chapter logo, brochure and new interactive website. Under her leadership, the chapter created a booth and presence at the New England Regional Genealogical Conference and its featured Ancestors Road Show. The chapter credits Kimmitt’s energy and guidance in helping it be named “Golden Chapter” at the APG Gathering of the Chapters at the 2009 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“We congratulate today’s award recipients,” said APG President Laura Prescott. “As the world’s leading professional organization of family history and related professionals, the APG celebrates excellence and ethics in the genealogy profession. These recipients have distinguished themselves in many ways and have strengthened APG as a result. They are models for what it means to be a professional genealogist.”

About the Association of Professional Genealogists
The Association of Professional Genealogists (, established in 1979, represents more than 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.

Fairfax VA: Fall Fair 30 Oct 2010 features Lou Szucs

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

The Fairfax (Virginia) Genealogical Society (FxGS) announces the opening of registration for their 7th Annual Fall Fair.  The featured speaker at this year’s Fair is Loretto Dennis Szucs.

New this year, registration is available online making it easier and quicker to register.  Simply click the link below to view complete details about the Fair and register.  Also, an online ONLY Early Bird registration price is being offered.  Non-members can save up to $15 by registering online by September 24th.

FxGS 7th Annual Fall Fair, October 30th, 2010, Springfield, Virginia featuring Loretto Dennis Szucs

Loretto ("Lou") is co-editor of The Source; author of Chicago and Cook County: A Guide to Research; They Became Americans: Finding Naturalization Records and Ethnic Origins; and several other books. She has served on a number of genealogical society boards and is presently serving on the Federation of Genealogical Societies Board. Previously employed by the National Archives, she is vice president of publications for 

What’s New at
More than 5 billion historical records, more than 17 million family trees, and more than 35 million photographs make one of the most popular stops on the Internet. New databases, new tools and new technologies are continually improving the experience for visitors. Come learn what’s new at and how to get the most out of what you find there.

Hidden Sources
For those who have searched “everywhere,” here are dozens of new places to look for clues and stories. This presentation discusses and shows examples of such topics as almshouse records, apprenticeships, artifacts, little-known archives collections, obscure court records, company and organization records, and passports. From A-Z, there are records waiting to be discovered.

Dead Men Do Tell Tales
Once you have an idea of when and where an individual lived, you’ll find that there is an amazing array of death-related records capable of providing incredible details about his or her life. Beyond the commonly-used death certificates and cemetery there’s an often-hidden treasure trove of information to be investigated. This presentation is designed to explore dozens of them.

The Ancestry World Archives Project (AWAP)
The Ancestry World Archives Partner Program is a new approach to digitizing and indexing content in a more cost effective and cooperative way so that important historical collections can be made more accessible to more people. It’s so easy to participate in saving our nation’s personal history. By joining in, you can index interesting records in the comfort of your home and your society will benefit from your work. Come and see what fun it is and what a valuable contribution you can make!

For more information and registration see: 

Kennesaw Mountain and then some...

Guide to the Atlanta Campaign: Rocky Face Ridge to Kennesaw Mountain (U.S. Army War College Guides to Civil War Battles)Yesterday, on our way from Knoxville, TN to Sarasota, FL, Mr. Myrt and I stopped at Kennesaw Mountain. His Union Civil War ancestor was in an Iowa infantry on the extreme left flank (west) not specifically engaged in the earlier battle at Pigeon Hill.

As a wife, mother and grandmother, I am compelled to hold all war in contempt, for the damage it does to family is devastating. Walking amid the Confederate breastworks at the top of Kennesaw Mountain was very emotional. What little protection was offered among the mud and muck of the undergrowth.

Amid the displays at the visitors' center was a medal of honor given by the state posthumously to a Confederate soldier who grabbed the barrel of a rifle and jerked it away from the intended target, thereby saving his friend's life. The hero suffered severe injury to his own hand and arm, eventually dying of his wounds.

As we looked south to Atlanta, I could only imagine the desperation among the soldiers to protect home and hearth and defend that city, as they were pushed farther south again and again. The Confederate determination was matched by that of the Union soldiers to preserve the Union.

We came south, around Atlanta on 285 and stopped in MacDonough for the night, I was struck by the apparent progress in the area. Where once there were just a few businesses, now the place is flourishing, with strip malls and chain restaurants replacing the one hotel and several gas stations I remember from 15 years ago.

Today we'll make it to Sarasota, so Ol' Myrt can begin visiting with her friend Elsie. She was in England, France and Korea during WWII as a civilian employee of the US Army. We've longed to do a book based on her recollections of that war, using her photos and letters home. Now Elsie is in an assisted living facility, and in her 90s, so we've got to get going.

Copy her notebooks, so I can do a series of recorded interviews via phone several times a week ~ each time turning a page to assist me in posing questions to awaken Elsie's recollections before it is too late. I'll make a book and a blog out of the project, with a few podcast entries to boot.

What Elsie & her family experienced during WWII is quite telling. Her brother was a mortally-wounded navigator, who charted a safe course for his crew's B-24 across the English Channel back to England. His plane was so damaged, they had to jettison all extra weight just to clear the trees. Hence, Second Lieutenant Arthur E. Barks, Army Air Forces, United States Army was buried at sea quite unceremoniously.

There is much genealogy news to share with my DearREADERS, gleaned while attending the FGS Conference at Knoxville last week. I just need to stay in one place to get the job done.

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

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

#FGS10: Luncheon features National Archivist (US)

Today's Federation of Genealogical Society's luncheon featured the Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferrier. He spoke of the long standing cooperation between NARA and FGS, specifically the FGS Malcolm H. Stern-NARA Gift Fund supporting digitization and preservation of records. He spotlighted the current objective, to digitize the 1812 Pension files, mentioned in an earlier blog entry today. Among others things I recall from his speech:

Visit the Collector in Chief's BLOG
  • The 1940 US federal census will become available to the public, free of charge on 2 April 2012. Among the unusual questions are: Where did you live in 1935? Who in the household provided the information? Was anyone in the household working as part of the WPA, CCC or the Youth Conservation Corps? NARA is digitizing this record group 'in house' because of right to privacy laws.
  • As part of President Obama's "open records" initiative, the National Archives is moving forward with social networking sites with blogs (6 at this time!), Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Twitter and most recently the wiki. See:
  • "Citizen Archivists" is a term Mr. Ferrier used to describe the collaboration with individual researchers who bring hidden documents from deep within the files. A citizen archivist discovered the diary of a Revolutionary War soldier in a US Senate file box. Mr. Ferrier encouraged several attending the luncheon who had original WWII military papers on their ancestors to submit copies to St. Louis, where the staff is attempting to work around the fact that two floors of military records for this time period were destroyed in a fire years ago.

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

#FGS2010 War of 1812 Pension Preservation

Previously Ol' Myrt here reported on the Federation of Genealogical Society's War of 1812 Pension Digitization initiative. Now more info has come forth. Tuesday night the FGS Board approved an enhancement to the existing digital camera provided by FGS for this project. From the FGS website we read:

The Federation of Genealogical Societies, the National Archives, and the genealogical community have started a project to digitize the War of 1812 pension files - a fitting beginning to the bicentennial commemoration of this important war. Many know how information-rich military pension files can be, with comrades and family members providing service, family and personal data. Here are three samples:
Jehu Evans of Mississippi
Porter Howe of Vermont

Henry Lightner of Pennsylvania
This initiative seeks to raise $3.7 million. Preserve the Pensions! seeks to raise the bulk of the funds before the bicentennial of the start of the war and finish digitization before the bicentennial of the war's end in 2015. With 7.2 million images in 180,000 files, there is much digitization to do.
A $25 donation will digitize 50 images -- a $500 donation will digitize 1,000 images!

"1812" is a popular topic here at annual FGS Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee this week. FGS Board members are hosting the War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebration Reception on Friday, 20 August, 7:00 pm -8:30 pm at the Knoxville Convention Center Ballroom, sponsored by FamilySearch. Everyone is invited! Light refreshments will be served. Grand prize drawing for a week-long trip for two to Salt Lake City — airfare, hotel, food and Family History Library print card included!

New media resources to assist societies in building interest for contributing to this massive digitization effort were distributed on CD to FGS Board members at a meeting last night. As soon as the brochure and PowerPoint slides are available on the FGS website, Ol' Myrt here will link to them.

MAKE 1812 a theme for your genealogy society this year.

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

UK: 22,000 Dorset BMDs added

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


Leading family history website has added 22,000 baptism, marriage and burial records to its Dorset parish record collection as follows:
  • 12,325 baptism records covering the years 1549 – 1812
  • 8,368 marriage records covering the years 1560 – 1839
  • 1,307 burial records covering the years 1651 – 1795

These records, which have been provided by the Dorset Family History Society, bring the total number of Dorset parish records available at up to almost 450,000.

Now that the records are available online, has been able to unearth some unusual names in the collection. These include a marriage between Martha Loaring and Samuel Single on 14 October 1750 in Bettiscombe, making Martha a married Single.

The Dorset baptisms also offer some amusing entries, including a record for ‘Love Dear Bedloe’ who was baptised on 27 August 1745 in Dorchester. ‘Fruit Carter’ can also be found in the parish records, baptised on 17 May 1807 in Chickerell.

The Dorset burial records contain a slightly more sinister discovery: an ‘unknown’ person buried on 8 April 1815 in Abbotsbury. The notes state that the unknown person was ‘found on shore’.

Debra Chatfield, Marketing Manager at, said, “The Dorset parish record collection is an important resource for family historians with roots in Dorset. While compulsory registration of births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales began in 1837, local parish records of baptisms, marriages and burials exist from as early as 1538. Parish records therefore provide a way for family historians to dig even deeper and trace pre-Victorian ancestors.”

Leading UK family history website (formerly was the first company to make the complete birth, marriage and death indexes for England & Wales available online in April 2003.

Following the transcription, scanning and indexing of over two million images, the company launched the first website to allow the public easy and fast access to the complete indexes, which until then had only been available on microfiche film in specialist archives and libraries. The launch was instrumental in creating the widespread and growing interest in genealogy seen in the UK today. has subsequently digitised many more family history records and now offers access to over 750 million records dating as far back as 1538. This allows family historians and novice genealogists to search for their ancestors among comprehensive collections of military records, census, migration, occupation directories, and current electoral roll data, as well as the original comprehensive birth, marriage and death records.

In November 2006 launched the microsite in association with The National Archives to publish outbound passenger lists for long-distance voyages departing all British ports between 1890 and 1960.

As well as providing access to historical records, is also developing a range of online tools to help people discover and share their family history more easily, beginning with the launch of Family Tree Explorer in July 2007.

In April 2007,’s then parent company Title Research Group received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2007 in recognition of their achievement. was acquired in December 2007 by brightsolid, the company who were awarded The National Archives’ contract to publish online the 1911 census, which it launched in January 2009.

FGS: Relaunches Society Hall

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies). Please address all inquiries to

August 18, 2011
Knoxville, TN

The Federation of Genealogical Societies, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation headquartered in Austin, Texas, announces the re-launch today of the popular Society Hall at its website at  

Society Hall is an informational database accessible on the Internet that can be used to locate FGS member organizations in the U.S. and abroad. This includes genealogical societies, historical societies, family associations, libraries, archives, and genealogical vendors serving the genealogical community. Thousands of people searching for information about these organizations visit Society Hall each month.

Every FGS Member society has a Society Hall listing at that it can edit and maintain.  With the re-launching of the service, FGS has updated Society Hall listings with details from its member database. There are many fields that can be used to promote information about your organization. In addition to name, address, telephone and email, a link can be added to the organization’s website. Membership benefits and dues can be listed, as can periodicals and publications, a calendar of events, services, and pioneer/certification programs.

Member societies can access the site to edit their listing’s content using an ID and password. FGS will be sending these to all Member Societies in good standing via email immediately following the conclusion of its 2010 Conference being held this week in Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition, the ID and password will become the access key to the Members Only area of the FGS website and other content there. FGS has developed the single ID and password scheme in response to members’ requests. previously hosted Society Hall at its site. FGS has now taken over hosting responsibilities for Society Hall at its own website.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Docu-Challenge: William Warner Player baptismal record

Well, it's that time again. Are you up for another Docu-Challenge from Ol' Myrt here? Study the records of baptism for 1793 and note the entry for March 30th on my oldest known Player ancestor.

Click the image for a larger view of this document from the author's personal research.

  • How would you describe the document itself?
  • What, if anything, is missing from this digital image?
  • What could be implied by this image?
  • What information can be drawn from this document about William?
  • What else might this document lead researchers to do?

Crash Course in Family HistoryTHE WINNER
ALL RESPONSES are to be posted as comments to this blog entry, and NOT sent via email to Ol' Myrt here. Entries will be judged 10 Sept 2010 after midnight, so be sure your entries are posted before that time.  Even though a previous comment may sound good to you, remember the judges choose randomly from among great replies. The judges reserves the right to reject entries, and the decision of the judges is final. The winner must be willing to give his/her mailing address to Ol' Myrt to receive the prize.

The winner of the "Docu-Challenge: William Warner Player baptismal record" will receive a copy of  Crash Course in Family History 4th Edition (2010) for his or her personal library. The book will be shipped on or about 15 September 2010 from Ol' Myrt's "satellite offices" at to a US address only.

So, DearREADERS, go forth and dissect the baptismal certificate. Let's see what you come up with.

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