Friday, December 23, 2011

WEBINAR Muskogee County Genealogical Society

Those of you in the Muskogee, Oklahoma area are invited to attend the Muskogee County Genealogical Society's meeting on Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 6pm in the Grant Foreman Room, Muskogee Public Library, 801 W Okmulgee Ave, Muskogee, OK 74401.

Ol' Myrt here will be appearing "virtually" and presenting 7 Habits of Highly Effective Genealogists. This is a fun presentation, one that is sure to get attendees committed to upgrading their research and organization skills. (Now if I could just practice what I preach!)

The Muskogee County Genealogical Society was established in 1983 to provide education and support to those interested in family history research. The society contributes to the Local History and Genealogy collection at the Muskogee Public Library and other genealogy and history related projects and is a member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

Muskogee County Genealogical Society's website:

Muskogee Public Library - Genealogy

View Larger Map

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

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lazy blogger wins 2011 GeneaBlog Award

After the excitement of RootsTech 2011 last winter, we saw a sharp increase in genealogy webinars, and Ol' Myrt here experienced a similar spike in email requests about where to find these webinars - hers or just about anyone else's. So out of laziness, I created GeneaWebinars as the central place for genealogy webinar hosts to post in calendar and blog format. Thankfully, as GeneaWebinars gained popularity, my email box requests for information gradually declined.

Today's email brings news of an award from the not-too-easily impressed Tamura Jones.

He likes the GeneaWebinars blog enough to give it one of his four 2011 GeneaBlog Awards . He writes "One fun thing about the Genealogy Blog Awards is that it does not have fixed categories. Every year I look for blogs to highlight, and then create a fitting category just for them. There is no fixed number of awards either. This year, the Genealogy Blog Awards highlights just four genealogy blogs, but they sure are four worthy ones."

So the GeneaWebinars blog located at is one of Tamura's four to honor this year! Thank-you. In Ol' Myrt's opinion the award belongs to all of the contributors. I may have set up the blog and calendar, but it is those webinar organizers who contribute to the calendar and create the posts. Their content drives the popularity of the blog. They use webinar technology to provide software support, research methodology advice, and analysis of a variety of surviving record groups, in addition to how to organize and preserve this information for future generations.

So you could say that the GeneaWebinars Blog is a win-win for both the webinar organizers and the online genealogists who wish to learn more about their craft.

Best New Community Blog: GeneaWebinars
There are so many genealogy webinars nowadays, that it's hard to keep track of them.
In February, Pat Richley-Erickson, better known as DearMYRTLE, introduced GeneaWebinars to address that issue, and it's been an immediate hit. The trick to its runaway success is that GeneaWebinars is a community blog; DearMYRTLE gave webinar organisers permission to post their announcements directly to the blog.
The result is that practically every genealogy webinar is listed on GeneaWebinars.

To find out about the other three amazing 2011 GeneaBlog Award winners see Tamura's original blog award post: Congrats to Kerry Scott, Nathan Maling, and Judy Webster for their amazing and now award-winning work!


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

Elizabeth has gone .com

It is a great day in the world of genealogy when Elizabeth Shown Mills debuts a website generously sharing a sizable number of her research methodology articles, complete with "how to cite" directions. Today's that day!

Right away I could see a practical application for this site among my friends. Our genealogy study group over in Second Life will thrive with new content to discuss around the Just Genealogy fire pit. We plan to use an article each month.  

How about doing the same with your local genealogy society? Meet via a Google+ Huddle and discuss the specifics of an article, how your current research compares, and what steps you'd take to follow Elizabeth's example.

Visit  and check out the offerings.

iPad users will overlook the flash media issue on the home page in favor of the rich content of such articles as:

"Applying the Preponderance-of-the-Evidence Principle to a Southern Frontier Problem"

"In Search of ‘Mr. Ball’: An Exercise in Finding Fathers"

"Roundabout Research: Pursuing Collateral Lines"

We understand a busy person like Elizabeth doesn't have time to answer every email inquiry. This website goes a long way toward getting her work out of old published journals on dusty library shelves and into the hands of modern-day genealogists who wish to hone their historical research skills.

Thank-you, Elizabeth for sharing your experience with us.

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

Thursday, December 15, 2011

RootsTech admits mistake

By now you've read accounts of RootsTech 2012 reversing it's position on book vendors in the exhibit hall. (That's the power of blogging!) The announcement below was posted on the RootsTech Facebook page:

RootsTech 2012 Update:  Book Vendors in the Exhibit Hall
We greatly appreciate all the recent comments and concerns related to book vendors being present at RootsTech. We’ve been listening. One of our top goals has been to help introduce a very different kind of family history conference, which certainly requires a balancing act—bringing technologists together with genealogists to inspire important technology solutions for the industry.
It has become clear that there is indeed demand from the community to have book vendors at RootsTech, and we are pleased to extend book vendors an invitation to exhibit at the conference.

Thanks again to the community for all the great feedback. We look forward to seeing you in February!
Alls well that ends well.

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


MyHeritage has an App

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received across the news wires from our friends at My Heritage.

World’s largest family network introduces new mobile experience for connecting families to their past and sharing special moments in the present


PROVO, Utah & LONDON & TEL AVIV, Israel--(BUSINESS WIRE)--MyHeritage, the most popular family network on the web, announced today the release of version 1.0 of its new mobile app that enables families to access their family tree and share special moments on-the-go. Available for free on iPhone, iPad and Android, the MyHeritage family tree app combines advanced touch-screen features and unique social aspects to help bring memories to life for the entire family.

Take your family tree with you
As the trusted home on the web for families wishing to explore their family history and keep in touch, so far more than 21 million family trees containing 900 million profiles have been created on MyHeritage. The new MyHeritage app enables family members to access their family tree on-the-go, offering the most advanced smart phone and tablet capabilities for an intuitive user experience. For example, the Pinch Zoom feature enables easy viewing of detailed information about ancestors and relatives, and touch-screen panning can be used to visit any area of interest on the tree. The app shows up to seven generations with photos in stunning graphics, and displays a rich profile for each individual as well. One year in the making, the app was built from the ground up using the most cutting edge HTML5 technologies.

A tool for family communication
The MyHeritage app transforms the family tree into a useful tool for family communication: users can call or email relatives in just one tap and upcoming birthdays and anniversaries are highlighted within the tree. The app also enables users to capture and share family photos instantly – ensuring special moments will never be missed regardless of how far apart family members live. Using sophisticated face recognition technology, the app automatically identifies family members taken in the photo and suggests sharing the photo with them in one easy tap.

Ideal for family get-togethers
With beautiful graphics and all the latest touch-screen features, the MyHeritage mobile app is ideal for people to impress their relatives with their family tree and photos at family gatherings. The MyHeritage app automatically syncs all data, including photos taken at family reunions, weddings and other family events, to users' family sites on MyHeritage - ensuring that all special memories can be shared and preserved for the future. Families can also enjoy the app's fun celebrity look-alike feature based on MyHeritage's face recognition abilities.

“We recognize the growing importance that families place on tablets and smart phones for entertainment and keeping in touch. Our new MyHeritage app shows our commitment to creating the best possible experience for families on mobile devices”, says MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet. “The app is a natural extension of our consumer offering and supports our mission of enabling families to connect to their past and to each other. Version 1.0 is just the tip of the iceberg – we look forward to adding significant new features in the near future.”

The MyHeritage mobile app is available for free on the App Store and the Android Market. To get started, download the app and log in to your MyHeritage account. New users can sign up for free on, build their family tree and begin an exciting journey into their family history. Version 1.0 supports 14 languages and additional languages will be added in subsequent releases. Further development on a more advanced version, including the ability to edit the tree and sign up to MyHeritage from within the app, has already begun.

About MyHeritage
MyHeritage is the most popular family network on the web. Millions of families around the world enjoy having a private and free place for their families to keep in touch and to showcase their roots. MyHeritage’s Smart Matching™ technology empowers users with an exciting and innovative way to find relatives and explore their family history. With all family information stored in a secure site, MyHeritage is the ideal place to share family photos and preserve special family moments. The site is available in 38 languages. So far more than 60 million people have signed up to MyHeritage. The company is backed by Accel Partners and Index Ventures, the investors of Facebook and Skype. For more information visit

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Booksellers banned from RootsTech2012: No Way

Ol Myrt here is dumbfounded to read Book Venders Banned from the RootsTech Exhibit Hall  posted today by Leland Meitzler. FamilySearch has made a huge blunder here, painfully hitting these vendors quite literally in the wallet. I'd even characterize this as an unfair business practice.

Mr. Myrt and I felt it was so important that Martha Mercer of Mia's Books also vend at RootsTech 2012 that we offered her space in our downtown time-share condo to compensate for her coming all the way from her Ohio base of operations.

Leland, Martha and other book and magazine vendors have already beefed up their inventories in anticipation of high sales volume from what we all calculate to be the single largest conference in our field this year, if last year's RootsTech debut is any  indication. This capricious RootsTech decision to exclude booksellers leaves these vendors with high inventories and no place to vend.

For FamilySearch to have actively recruited Leland's RootsTech 2012 participation as recently as the September 2011 FGS Conference and now renege on the deal three months later is unthinkable.

There was room last year in the RootsTech vendor hall for a large Microsoft display with ping pong, foosball and pool tables. What does that have to do with genealogy and/or technology? Were the Microsoft video games more relevant to genealogists than offerings by book, magazine and genealogy tee-shirt vendors? I think not.

If I am wrong then perhaps we are to scan and immediately destroy our first edition Book of Mormon, along with the three family bibles from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. I think not.

Last year we excused away a lot of logistical problems, but into year two, RootsTech should definitely have it's act together.

I can only anticipate an immediate apology from FamilySearch, and a move forward to include any genealogy, history or preservation vendor.

FamilySearch - the ball is in your court. Let's play nice.

PS - I am currently listed as an "Official RootsTech 2012 Blogger" but this blog post may place that status in jeopardy. Even so, I remain in support of all genealogy product vendors.

Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Pearl Harbor 70th Anniversary

This day brings tender memories for patriotic US citizens and our friends across the globe as we remember those who suffered or died in the attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago."December 7th 1941 a date which will live in infamy" was President Roosevelt's description as he addressed a joint session of Congress the following day.  During a local news radio talk show this morning, others expressed feelings of respect and admiration for the strength and fortitude of fathers and grandparents, most of whom have since passed away. 

Whether they served during WWII overseas or on the home front, we tend this day to honor all of the Greatest Generation and appreciate their sacrifice and service. "The Greatest Generation" is a term coined by journalist Tom Brokaw to describe the generation who grew up in the United States during the deprivation of the Great Depression, and then went on to fight in World War II, as well as those whose productivity within the war's home front made a decisive material contribution to the war effort."

I once asked my Dad how he heard about Pearl Harbor; he was in medical school in Portland, Oregon at the time. He said everyone was glued to their radio sets listening for any tidbit of news. He said the impact of the attack served to galvanize the country as we faced entry into the Second World War. It was a short while later that one of his fellow students, a Japanese American, was taken to an internment camp, though this classmate's family had lived as responsible citizens in the US for two generations. Dad told me that the Army needed doctors so badly that they stepped up the studies suspending spring and summer breaks just to get the physicians graduated and into the service.

The Today Show reported a Pearl Harbor veteran who recalled bewilderment of the attack. "For Gore, a resident of Seattle, this week marks his first visit to Hawaii since the 1960s, and his first opportunity to personally show his two sons, his daughter and a granddaughter where he was on the morning of the attack."

WikiPedia explains "The attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following day (December 8) the United States declared war on Japan."

The following was received from our friends at
Pearl Harbor attack photo courtesy  of
Today is the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, we are featuring a video produced for FamilySearch about this historic day on our YouTube channel: Even though it is only a couple of minutes long, the video does an excellent job of illustrating family connections across generations. It also conveys the deeply personal and meaningful aspects of heritage. This inspiring depiction of the enduring importance of family and heritage is set against one of the seminal moments in world history.

We do have one remaining WWII vet in our family ~ Uncle Jack served at Guadalcanal. 


Thank-you for your service.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SOURCES: Research logs are not proof arguments


Over the past few days, Suzi has been working hard on developing her research log, but there is a difference between a research log and the final proof argument.

Research Log - lists everything you've done to find info about an ancestor. You'll perhaps start with an ancestor interview and a compiled genealogy, then move on to abstracts or indexes of original records. If you are wise you'll then locate the original records on paper, film or fiche. A few documents may be available in scanned image format on the web. Some records may only be available in derivative form such as the published Pennsylvania Archives, where many of the original documents cited from the colonial period no longer exist. If the research log is kept in digital format it may be created in chronological order but can also be sorted by name, date, record type, etc.

Proof Argument - is the conclusion you write after a reasonably exhaustive search of extant records for the localities where your ancestor lived. We learned in the online Inferential Genealogy Course with Tom Jones, CG that sometimes we have to look at records over a 150 year period to find information providing evidence of kinship or identity.

Composing a proof argument is the process of inferential genealogy where you piece together documents to make kinship determinations, particularly where no single document has the information you require.

YES, write it out, just like you are explaining things to Ol' Myrt here.

You will be surprised at what your writing uncovers about the "completeness" of your research plan.

Even if you only place the proof argument in notes for the ancestor or family, it must be clearly written to demonstrate careful consideration of all sources of information in the kinship determination. See: BCG's Genealogical Proof Standard.

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

Monday, November 21, 2011

SOURCES: Did you view it personally


Keep in mind, if your cousin cites a source you haven't viewed personally, you can only cite your cousin's report about the source, not the original source. You are telling your reader that you trust your cousin's analysis of the documents in question. You cannot claim that analysis as your own.

Think of it this way:
Your cousin cites an ancestor's will and probate record that you don't have a copies of at point A in your research. Initially, you can only cite your cousin's statement about the will and probate record, reminding yourself to look for at the court of jurisdiction with book, page numbers and file numbers as reported by your cousin. Your cousin's work is a derivative (abstract, extract or transcript) of the original. We do list your cousin's work on the research log since this is the source of the information you have at this point.

At point B when you have obtained copies of the records in question, you can transcribe the documents and accurately extract pertinent information, citing the image copies of the original court records on your research log. Be sure to analyze the document, listing what questions it answers and what new questions are brought to light.

Point C is where you would analyze and compare the  information in the will and probate packet within the  context of a broader record group search to evaluate the evidence and resolve conflicts that may arise.

When you believe you have completed a reasonably exhaustive search, you can move on to point D, creating the "proof argument". More on that tomorrow.


SOURCES: Who provided the info - Part I

SOURCES: Who provided the info - Part II

SOURCES: Who provided the info - Part III

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

SOURCES: Who provided the info - Part III


Now let's view all this from a different angle.


Sometimes multiple copies of information that come to our attention are a matter of the author amending his previous publication due to additional research breakthroughs.
found in Snippet view at Google Books. I am careful to mention they should consult the edition published in 1969 not the 1958 version. Worldcat lists the earlier version Christopher Gist of Maryland and some of his descendants, 1679-1957 also compiled by Jean Muir Dorsey and Maxwell Jay Dorsey and published in Chicago at the J. S. Swift Company.
Careful review of both editions of the book will highlight changes in kinship determinations and constitute a small segment of a broadening search for info about Gist, Cromwell and Howard family lines.

Sometimes multiple copies of information that come to our attention about an ancestor are a matter of copying and expanding the info based on new technology. Check out this 21 Oct 2011 posting on the Meridian Magazine website Capturing a Life: Remembering Mom by Carol Kostakos Petranek.

Carol describes creating a memory book Our Story for her parent's 50th wedding anniversary in 1996. Carol says "In 2009, I took her to the Oral History Room at the Washington DC Family History Center and recorded her reminisces about childhood and other favorite topics." Since her mother's passing in October 2011, Carol is now scanning more photos and compiling an updated version of Our Story to honor her parents using online storage and publishing resources not available for the earlier publication. In this case, there are three versions of the information from the same source, Carol's mom. Each publication requires its own citation on Carol's research log.

When composing the "proof argument" or conclusion about our ancestor's life and kin, we must carefully consider the provider of the information in the historical documents we've collected.

Isn't this fun?

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

Sunday, November 20, 2011

SOURCES: Who provided the info - Part II

Yesterday's blog post included suggestions for Suzi when citing multiple locations of published or manuscript info about an ancestor. One example she mentioned duplicated information initially provided by a cousin. Now, Ol' Myrt here would like us to consider...

Beginning researchers may not realize the provider of information in multiple  records may be the same person. For instance, isn't it logical that the person providing the family info on a death certificate is the same person who handles funeral home details and orders the tombstone?

We don't want the accumulation of data provided by one witness published in many places to weigh too heavily, compared to other sources of information about the ancestor.

Mr. Myrt reminds me "Who is the source of the source?"
Alma Oades Player born 1862-1929 SLC, Utah
Family photo in author's possession.

Let's look at the information provided on a death certificate and the tombstone for my great-grandfather Alma Oades Player who was born in 1862 in Salt Lake City. He died there in 1929 and was interred at the Salt Lake City Cemetery up in the Aves, as the locals call that neck of the woods.  Alma was preceded in death by his wife Mary Elizabeth (Wright) Player in 1903.
Note Acel Richardson is listed as informant on Alma's death certificate. He is Alma's son-in-law. I knew Acel having visited with him and Nora in their home several times. Acel was a take-charge man. Did he also provide the information for the tombstone? I tend to think so for these reasons:

In conservative Utah, men tended to take the lead in the 1800 and 1900s. When Alma died in 1929, women in the US had enjoyed the right to vote for only nine years. Alma's sons Warner (from California) and Shirl (from Washington) had to travel great distances via train for the funeral and were not on hand to make the funeral and burial arrangements. Daughters of Alma included Bertha, who died young in 1897, Lucile, Eth, Mable and Nora. Acel Richardson was Nora's husband. They lived on the west side in Salt Lake City, very close to Alma's home.
Department of Health. Office of Vital Records and Statistics
    Death certificates (Series 81448)  Entry 12487--PLAYER, ALMA ODDS - 1929

Who provided the information for the tombstone? I'd have to look at sexton and gravestone company records to come to an accurate conclusion, but it is logical at this point to think the informant was Alma's son-in-law Acel Richardson.
Original photo taken by author.
I've limited this discussion to just two of the items collected on Alma Oades Player. Information from additional record groups over the lifetime of this man must be gathered to gain a better picture of who he was and how he interacted with other members of the Player family.

SOURCES: Who provided the info - Part I
SOURCES: Who provided the info - Part III
SOURCES: Did you view it personally

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

SOURCES: Who provided the info - Part I

From: Sue McCormick
Maybe I should post this at the Second Life Facebook page, since it is a follow-up on last night's Evidence Explained discussion. 

Background: 3-1/2 years ago (when I was VERY green) a distant cousin sent me a decendancy report with lots of citations and notes. He sent it as a way of helping me learn what I should do. At that time I just used it to explore how to do in Reunion what he had done in Family Tree Maker. I saved the entire email correspondence and went on to the next thing.

Since working with the Greenwood book, Researchers Guide to American Genealogy, I have been creating the logs I should have done then. A death listing which was on "" when Mike compiled this report is NOW on "". I am building my source citation now. I am not sure if this reference to the material supplied by Mike should include the location where he found the information or not. If so, do I also cite the new location? Or does all this that I'm outlining here go into the Search Log?

The basic question is: which approach will give the best information to someone wishing to follow my research?
I am making a screen capture of the website and saving it to my files. I always do that since the web tends to evaporate.

Explaining the journey we take in our ancestral quest is very important, and your research log is a great way to keep track of things. Yes, cite every instance of information you find about your ancestor whether email, online, or off line.

Compiling an accurate research log permits folks to see what sources you considered when compiling info about each ancestor. In comments on your research log, note the source of death info on IndianaGenWeb site appears to be same as provided to you via email years earlier. 

If the information on now on IndianaGenWeb's site  is merely a new web address for the same page, then list both, and the approximate dates you consulted each site. This has happened to a lot of USGenWeb sites that formerly had their own sub-domains at RootsWeb, but chose not to have their work incorporated into properties after Ancestry purchased RootsWeb.

I do have a follow-up blog post with some additional ideas for dealing with "who provided the info". 

SOURCES: Who provided the info - Part II
SOURCES: Who provided the info - Part III
SOURCES: Did you view it personally
Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

FamilySearch announces new CEO Dennis C. Brimhall

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from Please address all inquiries to

SALT LAKE CITY— FamilySearch International announced today a change in its chief executive officer. Effective January 2, 2012, Dennis C. Brimhall will succeed Jay L. Verkler as CEO of FamilySearch.  Mr. Verkler will continue in a consulting capacity for a few months to ensure a smooth transition.

It is the business culture and practice of FamilySearch, as an organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to regularly rotate its senior leaders. This pattern assures the forward momentum of its core programs.

Over the past decade under Mr. Verkler’s leadership, FamilySearch has shifted its vast stores of genealogical records and resources to a digital, worldwide, internet-based focus.  FamilySearch has developed partnerships with many genealogy and technology industry organizations, helping form a broad and deep industry community including companies, societies, and archives.

FamilySearch has helped make the world’s historic records easier to access online, publishing over 2.4 billion names in historic records at, including 870 collections from over 50 countries indexed by over 250,000 volunteers. During this period, FamilySearch has also created an unprecedented, free global service organization that engages over 70,000 volunteers who provide needed local and online support to research patrons and the genealogical community.  FamilySearch has pioneered genealogical search, record linkage, imaging, crowd-sourcing, and digital preservation technologies.

“It has been a career highlight for me to work in such a significant and meaningful effort,” said Jay L. Verkler regarding his time at FamilySearch’s helm. “I have had the privilege to work with countless great individuals, organizations, and companies, all striving to provide the best of user experiences.”

Mr. Brimhall comes to FamilySearch with a deep background in management.  He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He recently served for 17 years as president and CEO of the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver from 1988 until 2005.  Since then Mr. Brimhall has held positions of increasing responsibility in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I am very excited to help lead the work of FamilySearch, to continue the great things that have been done and move forward in new directions as appropriate,” said Brimhall.  “FamilySearch provides services to millions of people worldwide. We really need to understand our customers’ needs and satisfy them. Our focus will be to ensure that FamilySearch’s customer experiences are really first rate.”

FamilySearch looks forward to further strengthening its commitment to the global genealogical community, to publishing and digitizing the world’s records, and encouraging all people to discover, preserve, and share their family histories. 

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer–driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessor organizations have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Slowly but surely

Well, how did you do on your assignment to set up Google Reader while Ol' Myrt here was out on medical leave? Some have written to exclaim they wished I had pushed them into this sooner, for it streamlines one's inbox and places all those posts at an easy-to-access website.


Mirian Pierre-Louis' blog post My Genealogy Software Upheaval posted at Marian's Roots and Rambles prompted many comments worth your review.

A man I met at the Atlanta Family History Expo this past weekend raved about the My Canvas books he created for three members of his family. Though two of the books had issues with faulty binding three months later, was quick to replace all three. He said he liked the variety of layout templates and noted the difference between a printout of the book pages and the final product was simply stunning. WTG Ancestry!

Ol' Myrt purchased FamilyTree Maker 2012 strictly for the "sync" capability. It doesn't work reliably. I initially synced to my Ancestry Member Tree, but the second time I went to view it in Family Tree Maker, I couldn't open the file. I uninstalled, and reinstalled, but it won't let me work with that tree whatsoever. No wonder the Family Tree Maker 2012 beta test message board has been  removed. Talking with attendees at the Atlanta Family History Expo Nov 11th & 12th and at the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania's conference Nov 5th, all but one had similar experiences. My advice - wait for a FTM 2012 update or AncestorSync, whichever comes first.

If you are interested in attending an online genealogy class, be sure to see what those from throughout the genealogy community are offering. Visit the universal GeneaWebinars calendar and blog.

You can bet now that Myrt is slowly but surely feeling better, I'll get back to doing regular DearMYRTLE Workshop Webinars.

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

OpenGen appears inactive

From: Chris Whitten
Regarding yesterday's DearMYRTLE BetterGEDCOM Statement, do you have any opinions on that you'd be willing to share?

A quick visit to the website this morning indicates the site was last updated in Feb 2011, and that the last planned meeting was March 2011. BetterGEDCOM and OpenGen had similar listings of "members" which is quite different from active participants.

OpenGen was a "BetterGEDCOM-like" group with similar intentions, except that it was managed by a web developer, Scott Mueller of AppleTree. It made sense that Scott should attempt to involve the community to develop a standard GEDCOM alternative, since accepting GEDCOM files can be problematic for his website.

Unfortunately OpenGen promised periodic meetings but there was little attendance. The group used BaseCamp for their development, so the project wasn't transparent enough to suit my tastes, i.e. it couldn't be independently reviewed without joining the project.

If was from OpenGen's problems that I realized a GEDCOM alternative had to be arrived at from a so-called "non-partisan" point of view to be accepted by all vendors.

In addition to the volume of discussions on the BetterGEDCOM wiki and a few quality postings on our blog, BetterGEDCOM participants including folks from the US, Germany, the Netherlands and occasionally Finland, met regularly once or twice most weeks during this past year. Unfortunately, BetterGEDCOM just couldn't come to a consensus of opinion and put a product out there that could be readily assimilated by software and web developers.

If FamilySearch returns with a GEDCOM-X alternative, they will have skeptics who are concerned that the product won't be supported, as the current GEDCOM has suffered through 15 years of no updates by FamilySearch's parent organization. To their credit, FamilySearch now has an extensive Developers Network, and due to the sheer size it's influence in the international genealogical community, FamilySearch may push forth with a GEDCOM-like alternative.

What concerns me is that I don't want a genealogy website brokering file sharing with my cousin. I just don't know what info will be aggregated or incorrectly interpreted by that website, particularly if my cousin creates custom fields not matching the "skin" of data fields the website permits.

A new vendor on the scene, AncestorSync, has come up with a viable data transfer utility that will be a breakthrough in the industry once it is released. The test runs I've viewed are incredible. But the service won't be setting data standards -- and it may no longer be necessary.
Don't get me wrong -- I still believe in genealogy data standards on the front side (read that "user input"). That is a matter of educating researchers to comply with recommendations in the Genealogical Proof Standard AND getting those researchers to use the data fields for the purpose intended by the developers of their software programs of choice.
If a service like AncestorSync can transfer data between programs by understanding definitions of tags as defined by each genealogy software program, AND do that transferring to multiple formats simultaneously, then, heck, Ol' Myrt here doesn't mind paying that service $19 per year for the technology.

So Chris, I sure do hope this answers your questions.

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

Monday, November 14, 2011

BetterGEDCOM statement

Today Ol' Myrt attended the BetterGEDCOM Developers Meeting to deliver the following statement:

Today I meet with you to announce I am stepping aside as moderator of the BetterGEDCOM Project to concentrate on other genealogy pursuits.  My goal today is to provide for a smooth transition and to applaud the phenomenal efforts of BetterGEDCOM participants. Here I have met talented people who have contributed worthwhile thought and a tremendous amount of time at BetterGEDCOM.

I have chosen to appoint Andy Hatchett as interim admin for BetterGEDCOM to give time for any remaining participants to reorganize as they wish. I will work with Andy tomorrow to provide for the transfer of BetterGEDCOM web properties.

Four of us set out to establish BetterGEDCOM on Nov 10th last year with the stated goal to develop an internationally-accepted standard for genealogy data archiving and transfer, and until January we were on a fact-finding mission to see who was up for the project. The subsequent organization of page moderators, development of a requirements catalog and a time line for creating a product and the institution of a sub-group project at SourceTemplates also provided ample space for bitter dispute among certain participants.

The concept of asking a volunteer organization to develop updated and forward-thinking standards for genealogy data storage and transfer was a noble one, perhaps doomed from the start. Creation of a standard and encouraging implementation by software and web developers just isn’t happening. Vendors must concentrate on meeting current customer needs.

At the very least, the BetterGEDCOM Project served to spotlight the issues with outdated genealogy file transfer protocols and lit a fire under several developers to ensure the data family historians collect about each ancestor isn’t lost as we share data with other researchers.

I wish BetterGEDCOM success as an influence in the industry, and feel fortunate to have become better acquainted with many of the members through our association this past year.

Respectfully submitted,

Pat Richley-Erickson,

Saturday, November 12, 2011

RIP Bridgette Schneider of RAOGK

Just received the sad news of Bridgett Schneider's passing. I agree with Lauren and other posters on Facebook that as founder of Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness, Bridgett helped thousands of people with their family history research. Our loss is heaven's gain.

Prayers go out to her family.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Notable military research sites and one awesome book

With Veterans Day here in the US and Remembrance Day elsewhere in the world, it seems the genealogy websites are stepping up to the plate to share their collections with us on a free basis.

Fold3 - Provides free access now through the 20th reminds us: "Armistice Day also known as Remembrance Day is on November 11 and commemorates the armistice signed between the Allied Forces and Germany for the cessation of hostilities on the western Front which took place at eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918."
In honor of Veterans Day, discover the stories of brave family members who served in conflicts ranging from the American Revolution through WWII at Be sure to download the military records guide.

You might also consider this WWII Memorial book by my friend Duane A. Lempke. I've written about his  book in the past.
I cannot wait until Memorial Day to tell you about TRIBUTE, a thoughtful photo journey through the National WWII Memorial by Duane A. Lempke, because I am quite sure you'll want to obtain a copy in advance to share with your loved ones.
Pictured above is Duane with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of the 9th Congressional District, Ohio. She endorsed TRIBUTE last year. The reason for the meeting was to see the final results of a TRIBUTE print now.
Newbie DearREADERS should know that Duane is retired military, and is now a professional photographer. His award-winning book about the World War II Memorial in Washington DC first caught Ol Myrt's eye this past winter.
This photo was taken by professional photographer Duane Lempke. Ol' Myrt and Mr. Myrt are standing just above the inscription for D-Day. 

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

GeneReunited: New Military Records in honor of Remembrance Day

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at Genes Reunited. Please address all inquiries to that website. 

To coincide with Remembrance Day, UK family history site Genes Reunited have added to their growing number of military records.
From today people interested in tracing their ancestors with military backgrounds can visit  The new release includes The National Roll of the Great War 1914 -1918 which has brief biographies of soldiers who survived the Great War and also information on those who supported the War, such as nurses and civilians, who rarely feature in other WW1 Records.
The complete list of the new military records added to is below.
1861 Worldwide Army Index
Paddington Rifles 1860-1912
Royal Fusiliers Collection 1863-1905
Surrey Recruitment Registers 1908-1933
Army Roll of Honour 1939-1945
De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour
Distinguished Conduct Medals
National Roll of the Great War
Royal Marine Medal Roll
The 1861 Worldwide Army Index includes soldiers who served across the World in Queen Victoria’s empire states.   The index is also useful for members to identify men missing from the 1861 census.
The newly added military records are available online at and can be viewed on a pay per view basis or Platinum members can choose to add on one or more of the record sets to their package at a low cost.
Rhoda Breakell, Head of Genes Reunited comments: "We are proud to be adding to our growing number of military records on Genes Reunited especially on such an important and symbolic day".