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.


  1. Dear Myrtle,

    Sorry I missed the Scavenger Hunt last night. But, I had a tough choice between hearing about MyHeritage, presented by our friend Daniel Horiwitz, or SL. Don't get too many times to hear Daniel.

    As to the posted question:

    How do we assess this source's reliability and usefulness?

    I think that you provided some help in determining the article.

    To me, any newspaper or website information IS the Source. Any information that we might us from that article, would have a Citation with more information about the website, article, and perhaps what information that I may have found useful in my research.

    Like many websites, newspaper articles, Online Tree's, published Family histories, I would not put them into a Primary Source category, Secondary Source perhaps. BUT, they may lead me to the "next place" to look, to get to a firm Secondary Source, or perhaps a Primary Source.

    The Scavenger Hunt is another research "Tool", that I'll put into my research tool kit.

    Thank you,


  2. I'm SO with you on this one, Myrt. More than I could ever express.

    ~Caroline Pointer
    For Your Family Story

  3. Thanks for sharing. I am going to give it a try. Thinking I have been there, but too much going on in the little brain cavity.

  4. Without sources how do we know that said "lighter reading" is leading us to true discoveries about said places and history?

  5. I wax nostalgic as I look back at the archival issues from the sixties. My grandparents best friends got American Heritage. I remember as a child visiting their home and diving into the American Heritage "books." I loved the photographs and stories. They made history a story which is probably why I eventually became interested in genealogy. I think folks may not realize that American Heritage was a hardcover publication. I'm not sure when they went to the traditional magazine format.