Saturday, April 30, 2011

GoToWebinar for iPads and anticipated upgrade

Today brings a notice from Citrix about the required automatic update to be released early next month for their GoToWebinar product. Many of the webinar hosts at use GoToWebinar as method for producing their webinars. I am particularly excited to see that the iPad  will now partially supported  (except for polls and Q & A) as noted below from this copy/paste of my email notice:

In order to ensure that you receive the highest levels of service, we need you to upgrade to the latest version of GoToWebinar® in approximately seven days. 

What to Expect on or after May 6, 2011

You will automatically be prompted to download the newer version of the GoToWebinar software. Because the one-time download and upgrade process may take a while for some customers on slower connections, we recommend that you and your attendees log in a few minutes early to your first meeting or webinar.

What You Should Know about the Upgraded Version

  • Anyone can now register for and attend GoToWebinar sessions via the free app for iPad®. (Polls and Q & A not yet supported for iPad users).
  • To help those using Integrated Toll-Free audio better control their audio costs, the call will now end immediately when the organizer ends the meeting, webinar or training. Participants will be disconnected with a message that the organizer has ended the call.
  • The upgrade will not affect any of your scheduled online meetings, webinars or trainings. Your meeting IDs, access codes and URLs will remain the same.
  • Some users with software firewalls will need to give permission to the GoToWebinar program to operate. For more information, visit:
Questions? Feel free to visit our online Frequenly Asked Questions. We hope you will enjoy using the latest version of GoToWebinar. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or issues. 
Ol' Myrt's recommendation? Just log in to your favorite GeneaWebinar event a minute or two earlier, so your free version of GoToWebinar can be updated.

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

Thursday, April 28, 2011

NARA: Next Researcher Meeting changes to 23rd May 2011

Those researchers living in the greater Washington, DC area make note that the NARA "users" meeting has been changed and will feature David Ferriero, the Archivist himself per the following NARAtions blog post:

We hope you will be able to join us at the next DC-area researcher meeting when we will also be joined by David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States.

The meeting will be on Monday, May 23rd at 1 PM at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland in lecture rooms B/C.  Please note that the date has been changed to May 23rd from the original May meeting date of May 20th.

If you have any questions or items for the agenda for the meeting, please contact Susan Cummings at  We will post the agenda for meeting here on NARAtions shortly before the meeting.

You may view the latest NARA posts at:

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

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Scavenger Hunt:

Genealogists in Second Life took virtual reality to a new level last night as we met in the Secret Garden at Just Genealogy. Perhaps you'd like to participate in the same scavenger hunt? Here's how I set it up last night:

We're going on a different type of scavenger hunt tonight, where your avatar will  STAY HERE in Second Life.
We're going to open our web browsers to explore a website that I'll be blogging about tomorrow... The post is scheduled to go live immediately after the DearMYRTLE Workshop Webinar (c). The website I'm blogging about is
This latest issue of the magazine, Spring 2011,  just arrived today announcing the revamping of their website. (I practically had to tear it out of Mr. Myrt's grip!)
I was SURPRISED that all 60 years of issues (sans maps and other graphics) are available free online.
and go exploring....

I'd like to explain WHY I am having you do this...
We often attend lectures where websites are mentioned but we never get a chance to visit them during the discussion without losing our place in the presentation.
Periodically I send us out on these "scavenger hunts" to find info from websites.
Sometimes I don't specify which site to use, but tonight we'll use this one:

Make a Second Life Notecard or keep your word processor open so you can make notes and be prepared to share your findings with the group.
You will have 15 minutes to visit the site in search of answers that satisfy these goals:

A. FIND INFO about a specific HISTORIC PLACE at,  give us the URL for it, and two tidbits of information....

B. FIND INFO about an EVENT IN HISTORY at, give us the URL for it, and two tidbits of information...

C. List one of the TOP TEN GOALS of the "National Portal to Historic Collections" a service provided by American Heritage and American Association for State and Local History.

These are several items Ol' Myrt discovered on this site.

There is a PONY EXPRESS section on the American Heritage Website: with a map showing various points on the road. I was interested in this because our RL home in Utah is along the Pony Express Route. Also, Leonard and I have visited the Pony Express Station at Gothenburg, Nebraska, which is linked from the American Heritage website: .

In an Article from the American Heritage Magazine titled “The Trial Of General Homma: Was he the Beast of Bataan, or was his true war crime defeating Douglas MacArthur? A troubling look at the problems of military justice” author  explains war crime criminals are usually tried in the country where the crime took place. Yet in General Homma’s case, “in mid-September 1945, shortly after the Japanese surrender, American forces apprehended Homma in Japan and flew him in secrecy to Manila to stand trial.”
Widely referred to as the Beast of Bataan, Homma was the man thought responsible for the deaths of nearly 10,000 starving American and Filipino prisoners who were marched in sweltering heat from Bataan to squalid concentration camps in central Luzon. This catastrophic relocation of POWs had become universally known as the Bataan Death March.”

Top 10 Goals For The National Portal

"There is widespread agreement in the American museum community that there should be greater online access to historical collections. Only about 2% of history museums have their collections online, and data in most of these systems cannot be seen by search engines."
This morning I received communication from one of last night's attendees who writes:

"Tuesday's activity with American Heritage magazine has been nagging me. 
  • How do we assess this source's reliability and usefulness? 
  • My comments about WHO published the magazine, was there a peer review process, etc. were going in that direction but the session ended before I could clarify my thoughts.

I looked again this morning at the very, very interesting article I used
about Ethan Allen:

No notes. No sources cited. I looked up the author bio, no evaluative information there either. So, this article would be a horrible source for me to use in my research because I have no way to determine whether it's fact or fiction without trying to figure out what sources support the author's statements. Seems not to be a good way to spend my time and energy.

This step of evaluating a source's reliability is critical, applying to ALL sources that we seek and use in our research."
Ol' Myrt's question for her DearREADERS becomes --
Is there no room for lighter reading in our world as genealogists or does a publication such as American Heritage put our foot on the path to discovering more about historic times and places?

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

National Portal to Historic Collections from

Mr. Myrt finally gave me a crack at the Spring 2011 Issue of American Heritage magazine, which arrived in the mail today. I tend to read the web version of magazines whenever possible, and I am particularly attuned to mentions of websites within a print publication.

The American Heritage magazine's new website holds 60 years of articles (sans maps and graphics), something my friend Barb in Florida will certainly love. It's much easier to search an online database of articles than to pull each issue off the shelf looking for an article. I guess the advantage of a print subscription is earlier arrival off the next issue, as one may note the website's most recent issue is the Winter 2011.

Mr. Myrt and I have been doing research about Ft. Sumter in advance of our going to Charleston early next month for the NGS Conference, and there is much at this website to augment our learning.

The National Portal to Historic Connections (sm) , a cooperative venture with the American Association for State and Local History. Basically these two offer a web service to archives, libraries and museums that don't want to provide or maintain their own website. Interesting concept.
"Begun in 2007, the National Portal is a massive, multiyear project to provide information on 4,000 historical sites, including easily searchable online access to digital images and descriptions of millions of artifacts housed in the collections of American museums, historical societies, National Parks, and other institutions across the country.
The objects being added to this national “clearinghouse” include documents, photographs, paintings and artifacts, and run the gamut from military artifacts to artworks to the tools and mementos of everyday life.
The Portal has been called a “transformative event” for the history community. At present, an extraordinarily large percentage of America’s preserved memory is hidden. In fact, 98% of history museums provide no Internet access whatsoever to their collections, and the few that do often include only a small percent of their holdings and use systems whose content cannot be read by search engines."
Ol' Myrt here has only begun exploring these two websites. Perhaps my DearREADERS will find them useful when gathering info to put an ancestor into historical perspective?

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

Need assistance with Civil War Records Research?

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: While Ol' Myrt has lately been focusing on  learning more about federal land records, Mr. Myrt's focus is military history and records research. This year we're both taking the military track at Samford coordinated by Craig R. Scott, CG. We also look forward to taking this more specific Civil War course described in today's press release from the National Genealogical Society. I assume its release at NGS will be made in the exhibit hall at the NGS Booth.
Civil War Records Course
Arlington, VA, 25 APRIL 2011:  The National Genealogical Society proudly announces the release of its newest educational course, Introduction to Civil War Records, developed by renowned military expert Craig Robert Scott, cg. It will debut at its thirty-third Family History Conference in Charleston in South Carolina, 11 - 14 May 2011.

Craig Robert Scott is a nationally-recognized lecturer, educator, genealogical and historical researcher with more than thirty years experience. He is a member of the Company of Military Historians and specializes in the diverse military records at the National Archives.

Besides being CEO and President of Heritage Books, Inc., a genealogical publishing firm, Craig coordinates the Military tracks at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and Samford University Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Birmingham, Alabama. He has authored The “Lost Pensions”: Settled Accounts of the Act of 6 April 1838 and Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury, Inventory 14 (Revised).

Now Craig brings his military expertise to NGS with the Introduction to Civil War Records. In this course, he focuses on current genealogical practices of research. In this six chapter course, he will teach you strategies to identify and locate information on an ancestor living at the time of the Civil War. You will learn about numerous records created for, during, and after the war like compiled service records, prisoners of war record, pension files and indexes and post-war records to name a few.

This NGS American Genealogy Studies course is available on CD-ROM as a PDF file for $35.00 for NGS’ members. Craig will make a personal appearance on Saturday 14 May from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for questions and autographs.

The NGS American Genealogy Studies courses are designed for people who want to complete a short course on a specific topic and put the resultant knowledge to work right away. Courses offer the convenience of completing a genealogy study course at their own pace in their home. Courses are reasonably priced, and NGS members receive a discount.

The National Genealogical Society was organized in Washington, D.C. in 1903.  NGS’ mission is to serve and grow the genealogical community by providing education and training, fostering increased quality and standards, and promoting access to and preservation of genealogical records.

Follow NGS

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why I won't pull the NARA file myself

It occurs to me that I should explain why I won't rush over to the National Archives & Records Administration and retrieve the homestead-stock raising land record file mentioned in today's earlier blog post titled BLM federal land questions. My DearREADERs will recall I am curious about the "stock raising" part of this homestead, and suspect there will be different forms in this file than I've encountered in my past work with plain "homestead" federal land record files.

They say curiosity kills the cat, but in this case, I don't want to kill Diane's chances of viewing her husband's ancestor's file.

Simply put - I don't want the file stuck in "to be filed" when Diane goes to the archives next week.

I am not saying the folks at the National Archives aren't busy filing things away, but several times files Ol' Myrt here has ordered were returned as "not found" or "out" for perhaps another researcher's review or to complete a digitizing request for a distant patron.

I don't want to interfere with the opportunity Diane has to access to the record.

Ideally, NARA employees refile once a box or envelope has been released by a textural researcher who signs off on the order form that the documents are no longer required.

Researchers may order files, and keep them on hold for up to 3 days normally, and longer if requested.

But what if for some unknown reason, the file isn't returned promptly to its NARA storage spot? Maybe the file gets placed on the wrong cart? This is not an indictment of NARA employees. We're all human.

Diane has assured me she will share the contents of the file once she copies it personally, so Ol' Myrt's curiosity will await her reply after her research trip.

NOTE: Cat photo courtesy of Bing.

SUPPLEMENTAL NOTE: Most of the homestead, donation and desert land claim files I viewed during the past month had apparently never been copied (per several NARA employees) as they were still firmly bound with huge 4-inch brads, several oval-type staples and a variety of straight pins. All these had to be removed by NARA employees before I could copy the files. 

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

BLM federal land questions

From: Diane

I read with interest your recent post on the trip you made to the National Archives to get more info about ancestors land records. I discovered via the BLM website my husband’s grandfather made a purchase of land in California. My question is this, since I have what seems to be similar to what you posted on your website does that mean if I were to make a trip to the National Archives in Wash DC I would find paper documents with more info than was on the BLM site? Along with this Land Patent Details file I downloaded two Land Patent Documents. If there is more than this at NARA I’d love to make a trip. I never thought I’d find anyone on my family or husbands family that might make a trip worthwhile. I live in Yorktown, VA so it is not that difficult to get there.

I just started researching my husband’s family before Christmas and have found so much information and am eager to continue. I enjoy reading your blog (and others) and have been a sponge absorbing information from tons of online webinars, blogs and websites. Thanks for any assistance you can provide.

The final patents found at the Bureau of Land Management website are  pretty, but they don't begin to tell the whole story.

I checked -- and YES you want to get the complete files over at NARA 1 in Washington, DC. Unlike "cash" entry sales (where there is typically only a receipt for cash payment) your husband's grandfather's federal land purchases are "homestead" entries. Expect these to have many pages, including details about the ancestor, his family and his home.

This is the information you'll need to retrieve the first file you mentioned.
  • Accession Nr:868984  
  • Document Nr: 029941
  • Land Office: Los Angeles, California
  • Homestead Entry Original
  • Issued 6/21/1922
  • George Oswald
  • Record Group: 49
Since this is a homestead, you can expect a large file with annual reports from the applicant (Oswald) as well as witnesses as they discuss the development of the land to satisfy the homestead requirements.
There is another California land entry for George Oswald that you haven't mentioned. Could this also be your husband's grandfather? See: 920506

This is the information you'll need to retrieve the second file you mentioned:
  • Accession Nr:979045
  • Document Nr: 056998
  • Land Office: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Serial Patent
  • Homestead Entry - Stock Raising
  • Issued 5/12/1926
  • George Oswald
  • Record Group: 49
This is also a homestead entry, however I've never seen one that was under the authority of the Homestead-Entry - Stock Raising [emphasis added] Statute of 29 Dec 1916. Perhaps you can share the contents with me, for a future blog entry?
NOTE: There are several other George Oswald entries at the Bureau of Land Management GLO (Government Land Office) website. Search this time for "Any State" and "Any County" plus George Oswald. Here is the hit list I received.
You definitely want to go to the Archives to retrieve these files. Take your digital camera to reduce copy costs. Remember to:
  • Copy everything, front and back, unless the back side is blank.
  • Worry about analysis once you are home.
  • Pay close attention to witnesses, as they may be extended family members.
This is why I wrote the original blog post -- so folks will delve deeper into the documents that surround these land transactions. Glad somebody was listening.

There are also the tract books, but I haven't done research with them yet, so I cannot advise here.

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

Monday, April 25, 2011

NGS Family History Conference, 11-14 May 2011, Charleston, South Carolina.

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: You can bet Mr. Myrt and I will be in Charleston, SC for this conference. Hope to see you at my GeneaWebinars booth. I'll also have GeneaQuilters ribbons and key chains in addition to Second life ribbons.

Countdown to the NGS 2011 Family History Conference - only 15 more days!

There are over 186 lecture sessions at the NGS conference ranging in topic from technology skills; to military records; to ethnic research; to methodology and skillbuilding! Read more.

There will be nearly 90 different exhibitors in this year's exhibit hall -- just about anything you want or need to help you with your genealogical research. Read more.


Charleston, South Carolina has a very interesting history. Did you know that Charleston's cobble stone streets were built built from the ballast (stone weights) of ships? Did you know that the Western Hemisphere's longest cable-stayed bridge, the Arthur J. Ravenel Jr bridge, spans the Charleston Harbor? The bridge connects Charleston and Mount Pleasant. Visit Charleston in May and share your love of family history with over 2,000 other family historians.


Pre-registration for the NGS 2011 Family History Conference ends 26 April 2011. So be sure you register today! You can also register on-site at the North Charleston Convention Center beginning 10 May 2011. Location details and hours are listed below.

Attendee Check-In and On-Site Registration Hours

The NGS 2011 Family History Conference will be located at the North Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Dr., North Charleston, South Carolina. Even though you have registered for the conference, you are expected to check-in and pick up your conference bag, program and syllabus on CD (Printed syllabus, if pre-ordered before early bird deadline). Please bring you ID to check-in.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011
12:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011
7:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Thursday, 12 May 2011
7:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Friday, 13 May 2011
7:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Saturday, 14 May 2011
7:00 a.m.–12 p.m.

NGS Family History Conference, 11-14 May 2011, Charleston, South Carolina.

Follow NGS

Education Plans

As the next assignment for our ProGen12 Study Group, Ol' Myrt here is reporting on her plans for the coming months.

Assessment of Professional Preparedness
I am prepared to write and speak about research experiences and point followers to authorities in areas where I have little expertise. My genealogical education has been a combination of Family History Center staff training, SLIG, society meetings, NGS & FGS conferences, APG Professional Management Conferences and APG Round Table Discussions.

Education Plan
I’ve identified these areas of focus in the coming months:

Time Frame
Peer study
Participate in ProGen12 study group
 Thru 9/2012
NARA Federal Land Records research
Contact Pat Tyler regarding % of GLO scanned
NGS 2011 Conference, Charleston, SC
May 2011
$250 + travel
Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research – Military Track
June 2011
$445 + travel
Onsite Research
Ft. Sumter – Tour & read online and books about this part of the Civil War.
May 2011
FGS 2011 Conference, Springfield, IL
Sept 2011
$250 + travel
UGA’s Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) – Advanced Research Tools: Land Records with Rick Sayre, CG and Pam Sayre CG, CGL
Jan 2011
RootsTech 2012 – Participate in BetterGEDCOM discussions and other un-conferencing topics
Feb 2012
Attend 2 genealogy webinars each month
Through Dec 2011
Learn to archive GoToWebinar files by researching available web resources, costs.
Through Dec 2011

What are your plans to hone genealogy research skills? 

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

Week in review with NARA Fair gleanings

Last night in Second Life we met at the Family History Centre to talk about our favorite topic -- family history. For future meeting announcements, check out the Genealogists in Second Life group over on Facebook, where our friend Genie Weezles is cross-posting our "in-world" weekly genealogy newsletter.

Here are a few highlights, and some of the PowerPoint slides from last night's meeting.

(ABOVE) Congratulations to the Federation of Genealogical Societies with it's brand-new "My Society" BlogTalk Radio Show. Saturday's offering, now in archive mode featured host Thomas MacEntee and guest Curt B. Witcher, former NGS and former FGS President. Their topic: "Bringing Societies into the 21st Century." Curt mentioned my favorite society suggestion -- making society publications available on the web. This "expands the reach" the hard work your society members are doing. Curt mentioned the revenue stream changed for one of his societies, as members become donors to support the work rather than just joining to receive a newsletter.

And speaking of BlogTalk [Internet] Radio, Thomas' GeneaBloggers Show on Friday featured Latino genealogy specialists. Listening to the archived version of the show is almost as good as listening live, where you would have had the chance to call-in with your questions.

NARA - The National Archives & Records Administration held it's 7th Annual Genealogy Fair this past Wednesday and Thursday at Archives 1. Vendor displays were set up on the front patio on the 700 Pennsylvania Avenue side of the building under big event tents. Three classrooms were set up inside the building in Washington, DC (at the Navy Memorial Metro stop). NARA'S URL:
Ol' Myrt here attended day two, and spent much time talking with the social media reps and website designers. Yes, NARA has a Social Media Policy, and is reaching out to to the public through blogs, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook. (NARA's interface with genealogy bloggers is still in it's infancy, but then no one is perfect, eh?) 
When I brought up the subject of Jean Wilcox Hibbin's recent series on NARA Regional Archives at Riverside, California record group access, things got pretty exciting. Seems NARA is looking for "Citizen Archivists" who report on their research experiences at NARA. It happened that the designer I was talking with is the one who updates the Pacific regional archives pages. Plans are to link directly to Jean's NARA blog postings from the Riverside NARA website. [Way to go, cuz Jean!] While I was there, a researcher came up to tell the story of her ancestor's Union Civil War Pension file. She was invited to send info via email, as she doesn't have a blog to link to. Seems demonstrating how to access records is a focus. (In my book, it is a lot more interesting to hear about the experience from another genealogists. The technical stuff can be provided by staffers, but I like the sizzle.)

(ABOVE) I've followed the NARA - Today's Document Mobile App on my iPad for a few weeks. It also works on Androids and iPhone. What a fun way to learn about different record groups at NARA.
BTW, Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree isn't about to be out-done. They just released their own app chock full of kewl things like speaker topics, bios, maps, etc. for ther upcoming annual June event to be held in Burbank, California. See: 

(ABOVE) So are you still holding out on doing a BLOG? Well, even The Archivist of the US, David Ferriero has a blog! See: His is one of several offered by NARA.

Ol' Myrt here took the class on the the 2 April 2012 release of the 1940 US federal census enumeration on the NARA website. Someone asked if at 12:01am we can check-in, and the answer was "We haven't set the time of the release on that date." Talking points included:
  • While the enumeration schedules are being released, other 1940 census schedules such as the descriptions of domiciles were destroyed after statistical analysis was made by the census bureau in the 1940s. It would have been interesting to note what type of home (brick, wood frame, multi-family...) our ancestors lived in, and whether or not there was indoor plumbing.
  • There was some talk among the team presenting in this class as to whether or not our ancestors were honest about reporting income from CCC or WPA employment. What's new? Genealogists always take census information with a few grains of salt.
  • Hard copy handouts included the NARA - 1940 Census extraction Form
  • Searching by state and enumeration district will be our task initially, as there will be no name index for about 6-9 months after the release of the images. NARA doesn't have staffing or funding to do the work, and 
Among NARA's 1940 Census Research Strategies is the suggestion researchers study 1930 through 1940 city directories to determine the address of each ancestor, then use Stephen Morse's 1920, 1930 to 1940 Enumeration District Converter. (Yes, they recommended his converter from the podium.) Other handouts of note included NARA - 1940 Census Symbols and NARA - 1940 Census Questions. Myrt also suggests looking at:
While I missed  the Federal Land Records class given by Claire Bettag, CG (sm), you can bet Ol' Myrt here has a particular interest in the handouts located here. In fact, you may find all available 2011 handouts online at NARA GENEALOGY FAIR 20-21 April 2011 - Handouts.
Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

HOW Cousins Connect segments of Workshop Webinar on Wednesday

Last night during the last 15 minutes of Geneablogger's BlogTalk Radio Show, host and master of ceremonies Thomas MacEntee asked me about this coming week's DearMYRTLE's webinar -- and I explained its going to be a double-header.

My friend Russ Worthington and I have been cooking up a great interactive demonstration of "How Cousins Connect" to showcase during Wednesday's DearMYRTLE's Trees Workshop Webinar© .

Russ is a Family Tree Maker power-user who'll demonstrate interfacing between FTM and trees, and I'll be demonstrating how I get my tree info from RootsMagic to trees. The webinar is free -- and it's not just about PowerPoints anymore!

DearMYRTLE’s Trees Workshop Webinar©
Live demo of why Myrt thinks beginning researchers with US roots benefit from uploading their GEDCOM file to Ancestry Trees. Includes an overview of GEDCOM file creation using RootsMagic and a discussion about privacy levels offered by Emphasis on attaching scanned images of original documents to each ancestor, but includes information about networking with other researchers. This is a great deal more effective than message boards.
27 April 2011
2:00 PM Eastern (U.S.)
1:00 PM Central
12:00 PM Mountain
11:00 AM Pacific
7:00 PM GMT
Space limited to the first 100 who click to attend on the 27th. 

Russ and I have a blast whenever we collaborate on a project. So come join the fun this Wednesday.

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