Saturday, July 09, 2011

Are you privy to comments?

From personal emails via Facebook, Ol' Myrt here is now aware that several readers have subscribed to the DearMYRTLE "blog" but have not yet subscribed to "comments". This is problematic if you want to keep up on the conversations (feedback) to blog posts. I think "comments" is where the real learning happens. Bloggers may introduce a topic, but it is discussed among readers in "comments".

Last month I posted Finding the date of last Thursday and six other challenges that demonstrated what I did after finding an obituary for my great-grandmother at for one of her SIX (hint, hint!) children, and calculated her death date based on the date of obit publication. My closing paragraph included a request as follows:
Can my DearREADERS mention at least six additional things Ol' Myrt should do with that obituary (hint, hint) before I move on to the next project? Post your suggestions in comments to this blog entry. I'll keep checking back throughout the next few days to see what you come up with for me to do. Maybe you'll think of something I've missed entirely.
The key words here are "six additional things [...] with the obituary."

You would have learned a lot by reading comments from other readers, summarized below:

Elizabeth described the challenge of digital file naming practices.

TennLady inquired if my RootsMagic has a perpetual calendar tool and added that she uses "Transcript" to transcribe her obits and other docs. (I hadn't thought to look.)

Randy Seaver took a deep breath and suggested obtaining birth, marriage and death records for all involved; getting a photo of the gravestone; checking out the Seattle address for land records and a pic if the old house is still standing; contacting descendants and exploring the San Diego connection. (A ton of pertinent suggestions!)

Michelle Goodrum suggested entering the move from San Diego to Seattle as a fact or event in the genealogy management program, making it easier to develop a timeline. WOW! She also said "PS Louise lived less than a mile from my grandparents." (Small world isn't it?)

Tessa saw this blog post as a "crash course" in entering an obituary into a database program.

Ginger Smith left a lengthy comment including the idea to save two copies of the obituary (including a full page of the newspaper and one of just the obit itself); inserting the shortened citation on the face of the cropped obit; using Word to transcribe the obit and placing the transcript in "notes" for a person in case sources get scrambled. She agreed with Ol' Myrt's idea to include the Washington State Death Index info in my genealogy management program, appropriately sourced and not wait until I receive the death certificate. (Sometimes an index is all we have as we sit out the weeks or months it sometimes takes to to receive a certificate via snail mail.)

D Lee said "Thanks for posting your information and then asking others what you (they) should do next. I definitely learned a lot from this post and the reader's comments."

Finally, I replied:
The six things Ol' Myrt was looking for was to attach the image of the obituary to each of the six named children in my genealogy database program, complete with the transcription and citation info. Obituaries are often our first clue about children, the married daughter's names and current city of residence for surviving relatives.

Sometimes the obvious answer is overlooked ~ but my DearREADERS suggested valuable research alternatives.

With the plethora of "blog reading" alternatives, let me merely point out the "All Comments" subscribe button on the left navigation bar at my blog. Options include:
- Google (iGoogle or Google Reader)
- netvibes
- newsgator
- My Yahoo (I don't recommend since blog postings are sometimes delayed a day or more before they show up on MyYahoo)
- Atom (This is the Comments RSS feed code, for you techies out there.)

Ol' Myrt here happens to use Google Reader to "pull in" blog and comment feeds for my favorite genealogy, techie and quilting blogs. I think you will like using Google Reader as well.

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


  1. Gee, Myrt, I think that's only one thing and to ME would be redundant to add the image to each child. Possibly I might consider adding it as a family image - which you can do in Rootsmagic - why add it 6 times?

  2. I don't consider it redundant. Genealogy software can easily handle attaching an image, citation and transcription to multiple individuals.

    If I were to make a connection to another researcher, it most likely is through a SIBLING of my ancestor. As such, I'd want to have that sibling in my database so I could initially determine the relationship.

    Naturally, I'd want to have every item that mentions that individual attached to him, so I could easily report this to a new-found cousin.

  3. Hi Myrt,
    I've been meaning to ask you. I do not have a GenealogyBank subscription, but have received items from it from family members. Is a PDF the only available output to save files to? And if so, how do you save the source information to the scanned image? I know that the PDF is a full-page scan, but it often does not include the name of the newspaper, date, and the page number is often missing from the scan, although provided in the information about the page; as well as the article title or section title. My example, for reference is Elijah Godwin, Indiana Democrat, April 30, 1831. Thanks

    PS I agree with the redundancy and it is absolutely necessary. You never know when you may need to pull a sibling or a child out of that family unit and create a report about them and send to someone in which case you would be missing a huge chunk of information if you didn't include it.

  4. Hiya Ginger,
    We ought to just talk with each other on the phone, we seem to converse so frequently. But I guess here in comments more people can benefit, eh?

    YES,'s only option is to save as a .pdf file.

    But once viewing the .pdf file, you can do a screen capture of the zoomed in page and modify the image in your favorite photo editing software. (I use Microsoft Paint, and Corel Paint Shop Pro, but many folks like PhotoShop and Photoshop Elements.)

    You are also correct, it seems frequently the newspaper page in question does not include the title and publication date for the newspaper. That information is included OUTSIDE the scanned image when viewing it at As such, I copy and paste that citation text from the website.

    If you look at the original blog entry, located at you can see where I compared the citation with the text on the actual scanned image to be sure they matched.

    It is too bad if your family members didn't send that for you.

    At this point, if you cite the source, you'll have to name your family member as the compiler of the information including the scanned image. This is similar to citing a source in a genealogy book where the author cites a will or land record that you haven't actually seen.

    In your case you've seen the scanned image, but you haven't seen the item in context at Genealogy Bank where you could also confirm the citation for the newspaper that family member found at along with the publication date and page/column number.

  5. Hi Myrt, oh not to worry I didn't let it go at that. I asked my cousin to send me all that information and in case that fell through, I had my trusty friend Liz from My Tapley Tree look them up in GenealogyBank and take screenshots for me :-)

  6. AWESOME, Liz is a great researcher who understands the challenges you face in citing sources.

  7. Thanks for the tip about the Subscribe Comments button. If it were a snake it would have bit me!

    I have also struggled with the redundancy issue of adding the same item to multiple people. Part of me feels like I am being too detailed and the other part says it's more thorough to go ahead and add them. Ultimately, I agree with you and Ginger. You need all of the information about one person with that person. Good discussion.