Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On hiatus, but giving you an assignment

Ol' Myrt here is taking some two weeks off for medical reasons. Not to worry, these aren't major compared to what some of my DearREADERS have been going through, but enough of a hassle for me to require medication that jumbles my sentences.

You've already had to deal with my typos for years, so there is no point in putting you through more torture. In the mean time, be sure to watch and to keep up with the latest news.

Since you'll have a little extra time on your hands, let me suggest this is the time to figure out how to use Google Reader. You can do it, yes you can! Then all your favorite bloggers' posts can be found in one place, on the net, not cluttering up your email box (or getting lost on the way there!) Even more important, if you have a computer crash, all your blogs will still be available through any computer with internet access, including your new one once it arrives.

Once you are logged in at Google Reader, just click the "ADD A SUBSCRIPTION" button as illustrated below. Then one by one add the URL for the blogs you love to follow and grow your "list of blogs". The blog posts themselves will appear in "newest on top" order. The only reason you'd need to go to a blog site itself is to post a comment on a particular post.

Here are four URLs to copy & paste to get you started with your list of blogs:

OK - here's the 4th one:

What do you think of the new look of the DearMYRTLE blog site? It will hopefully be easier for those of us with bi-focals or tri-focals.

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

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Noticeably lacking: Ancestry & FamilySearch collaboration

Noticeably lacking from collaboration with the new Open source community: model for improved citations at are two big players in the online database and scanned images world, namely and

From my point of view, FamilySearch appears to have a better track record than Ancestry for working with other genealogy vendors, so I anticipate there are only a few more concrete steps to be taken before FamilySearch will join the collaboration. This will be a worthwhile alternative to FamilySearch's current citation model -- a "fully-editable by-anyone" wiki. (Just typing that makes Ol' Myrt here cringe!) See GeneJ Composer's comments on this travesty in her blog post Please, let's not Wiki FamilySearch Historical Record Collection Sources.

As genealogists become accustomed to using with their desktop genealogy software, and I predict we'll see a ground-swell of members clamoring for an - collaboration. didn't invent GPS, but they use it. didn't invent good source citations, but let's hope they use when it becomes available.

brightsolid (,,, (Norwegian church records), Staten-Archivers (Denmark), and other online foreign-language document archives will join the ranks, I have no doubt. Just as US-based genealogists are reaching out to learn more about our immigrant ancestors' homelands, so too must the archives and libraries holding applicable record groups reach out in a global initiative to make records not only available but easily and accurately "citable".

Online tree sites such as Geni, WeRelate, WikiTree, MyHeritage and others will readily accept the model due to ease of adopting it into their sites. Members of those sites will be happy to see the citation work is practically done for them.

In the end, genealogists the world over will benefit from, the open source citation model initiative.

Key to the success of
The model will be easy for web and software programmers to incorporate into their products.

I think of it as a "plug-in" but that's just Ol' Myrt talking.

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

Friday, October 07, 2011

Open source community: model for improved citations

FINALLY there are plans to do something about the citation problems we experience with genealogy websites and genealogy software. You may have picked up on a press release sent out this week titled a new Open Source Community. The press release includes this comment from the BetterGEDCOM group where I serve as moderator:
"BetterGEDCOM is an independent group of end users and software developers working toward the next generation of open standards for communicating genealogy information electronically.  We also welcome to the effort to develop a widely supported international model for source citations.”
It took two BetterGEDCOM developer meeting sessions to style this statement, indicating our interest in participating in the joint effort at 

WikiPedia states "Open-source software is software whose source code is published and made available to the public, enabling anyone to copy, modify and redistribute the source code without paying royalties or fees. Open source code evolves through community cooperation. These communities are composed of individual programmers as well as very large companies." Familiar examples of open-source software cited in the WikiPedia article include Mozilla Firefox (web browser), Mozilla Thunderbird (e-mail client) and Linux (family of Unix-like operating systems).

You'll most likely find that the source citations are what get scrambled during the transfer process when sharing genealogy data with a cousin using a different genealogy program. For examples of this unfortunate phenonemon, see postings from the past 10 months at the BetterGEDCOM Project Blog.

Randy Seaver responded to the SourceTemplates press release by saying "Currently, if a user creates a source citation using a source template in one of the software programs, and tries to use GEDCOM to import their genealogy data file into another program, or to an online tree, the source citations sometimes get mangled. Free-form source citations (which use a limited number of fields) do better than source citations created by the Evidence! Explained source templates because each program uses a different set of GEDCOM tags."

Just as modern genealogy software can access a remote database when calculating GPS locations where our ancestors lived, so will serve as a central site for genealogy programs to make improved source citations. The programmers won't have to spend time creating citation samples for each database they produce, but can choose them from will initially incorporate the 1,400 templates donated by Legacy Family Tree, based largely on Elizabeth Shown Mill's Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. Second Edition.

Tamura Jones explains in his article The SourceTemplates Initiative "SourceTemplates isn't a single rigid format, nor just a collection of templates either. SourceTemplates is a citation template system. The SourceTemplate system is not entirely fixed either, but will be tweaked as additional needs become apparent."

Initially working with the known set of Elizabeth Shown Mills' citations and the largely US-based genealogy software will serve to train a core group of advisory and administrative associates at Eventually less familiar OCLC, NARA, TNG and other sites' bibliographic info will be incorporated into The work will then begin to encompass a diverse set of associates from countries throughout the world. 

Diversity among language and cultures is an essential component of One thing I've learned -- just because we cite things one way in the US, doesn't mean that fits the acceptable criteria for citations in another country. Developing a standard that shares elements from all disciplines will bring our genealogy community together. This is important to me as a researcher, because in climbing my family tree, I quickly move from US to German, Welsh, Irish, Scottish and Danish ancestry. And I am quickly learning about Norwegian and Swedish genealogy record groups that mention Mr. Myrt's ancestors.

End-users like Ol' Myrt here will be able to use my genealogy program of choice with enabled. Like a plug-in, I'd be in my genealogy program, but be able to pull up a citation sample that matches my document. I'd probably only have to add the page number for a census record, for instance. Alternately (though probably rarely) I'll be able to create a custom citation at an advanced version of the website.

WHEN will this initiative have something concrete to offer the genealogy community? I don't know. I do know that the login protocols and admin level definitions are being designed as we speak, as I have been party to that design collaboration.

You can expect more from Ol' Myrt on this topic as the iniative rolls out.

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

National Genealogical Society October Video Releases

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from the National Genealogical Society. Please address all inquiries to

Arlington, VA, 7 October 2011: The National Genealogical Society has released two new videos in the month of October. Both videos are produced by Kate Geis and Allen Moore.

Available to the Public on the NGS Website and Available to the Public on YouTube:
The National Genealogical Society online interview series and the NGSGenealogy channel on YouTube present NGS & The Board for Certification of Genealogists, with Laura DeGrazia, CG, past president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists and co-editor of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Laura reflects on how the National Genealogical Society and the Board for Certification of Genealogists support genealogists in their efforts to produce quality genealogies. The video is available for viewing on the videos page of the National Genealogical Society website at

Available to NGS Members on the NGS Website:
The October video offering for members from the National Genealogical Society, is Finding My Genealogy Family with Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL. In this video Pam discusses the joy of belonging to the genealogical community. This video is for viewing by National Genealogical Society members at the NGS website. Log in at, click on the Members Only tab, and then click on NGS Videos in the sidebar menu. Members who missed earlier releases can also enjoy conversations with Thomas Adams, Jan Alpert, Leslie Anderson, Laura DeGrazia, Helen Leary, Elizabeth Shown Mills, Thomas Shawker, David Rencher, Thomas W. Jones, and Will White in the members’ area.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records.  The Arlington, VA-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists.

APG: PMC and RootsTech registration

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from the Association of Professional Genealogists. Please address all inquiries to

Registrations are now open for the APG Professional Management Conference to be held Wednesday, February 1, 2012, at the Salt Lake City Radisson Hotel Downtown. The opening session will be J. Mark Lowe presenting "Developing Advanced Research Plans While Staying on Track in a Modern World." See for full program and registration information.

Registration is also open for RootsTech, February 2-4 (following the APG PMC). See for more information.

Kathleen W. Hinckley, CG
Executive Director
Association of Professional Genealogists

NARA: New archives facility at St. Louis

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

New National Archives at St. Louis Holds “Star Quality” Records
Files of the rich, famous, musical, and athletic included in new facility’s holdings

St. Louis, MO… What do Alex Haley, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Jackie Robinson, and George Patton have in common?  All served in the United States military, and all have military personnel files that are open to the public at the new National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) facility in St. Louis, MO. 

Several of these original files will be available during a press tour of the new facility on Thursday, October 13, 2011, at 10 a.m.

Old military records are not often associated with glitz, glamour, and intrigue.  However, the opening of this new facility offers a chance to spotlight such holdings, including the military records of movie stars, professional athletes, musicians, and writers who served their country in uniform from the late 1800s through the end of the 20th century. 

As the nation’s repository for official military personnel records, the National Archives at St. Louis’ NPRC holds more than 56 million military personnel files, including the open files of 500 “Persons of Exceptional Prominence” who served in the military and have been deceased for at least 10 years.  This special grouping includes not only celebrated military leaders, Medal of Honor recipients, and U.S. Presidents, but also entertainers, scientists, artists, and athletes—individuals noted for personal accomplishments as well as persons known for their infamous activities.

In 2005, archivists opened the records of 150 individuals who achieved fame or infamy during their lifetimes. Since then, an additional 350 veteran files have been added to this illustrious collection which includes astronauts, sports figures, musicians, Medal of Honor recipients, and individuals at the forefront of social change.

Among these files are some celebrity surprises, including the files of Glenn Miller, Marvin Gaye, Desi Arnaz, Beatrice Arthur, Joe Louis, Charles Lindbergh, Edward R. Murrow, Humphrey Bogart, John William Coltrane, Frank Capra, Hank Greenberg, William Randolph Hearst, Steve McQueen, Jack Swigert, Clark Gable, and Jack Kerouac.  (For a complete list see 

Jackie Robinson is also featured in Documented Rights, a special exhibition at this new facility focusing on the struggle for freedom and civil rights.  Documented Rights opens Monday, October 3, 2011, and runs through March 2, 2012.  The exhibit is free and open to the public.  See

Military personnel records
Military personnel records are this nation’s most requested records.  NPRC staff members respond to 5,000 reference requests a day, more than 1.3 million annually, representing 94 percent of total written requests to the National Archives. The volume is staggering, but access to these records is crucial. Veterans and family members rely on these records to prove service, obtain benefits and to complete family histories. 

About the new National Personnel Records Center
The new NPRC includes a modern research room, public meeting spaces, and the storage capacity to hold more than 2.3 million cubic feet of records.  The facility holds all Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF), Organizational and Auxiliary files and Official Personnel Folders (OPF) of former civilian Federal personnel who separated prior to 1973. The new facility will also be home to over 600 NPRC staff and over a dozen other Federal agencies. It includes a state-of-the-art preservation laboratory for records conservation, two large public research rooms and a multi-purpose room for meetings and public outreach.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Play it again, Sam

Even today, GoToWebinar has provided only spotty reception, but we'll attempt to hold DearMYRTLE's TYPE IT ONCE Workshop Webinar next Monday. Hopefully the issues that reported the website "down" most of yesterday will be cleared up so we can get together and talk about our favorite topic: Genealogy!

Join Ol' Myrt here for a webinar on October 10

We'll discuss BEGINNING GENEALOGY TOPICS to include an overview of the importance of using genealogy software to organize what you've learned from documents mentioning your ancestors. Myrt will mention the names and URLs of other Windows and Mac programs available.

To calculate the time in your area, see the Time Zone Converter at:

9pm Eastern US
8pm Central US
7pm Mountain US
6pm Pacific US

Remember the first 100 people in the room at the time of the event are permitted to attend. Arrive 15 minutes early for the "pre-webinar warm-up".

Title:     DearMYRTLE's TYPE IT ONCE Workshop Webinar
Date:     Monday, October 10, 2011
Time:     9:00 PM - 10:00 PM EDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

Space is limited.

Where's the Shrimp?

Forrest Gump has nothing on my maternal grandfather Lowell Froman if this 1920 report from the Denver Post is any indication. As a young man, Lowell hiked across the country decades before the fictitious Forrest Gump started his long walk after influencing the Nixon presidency as reported in the movie of the same name.

From page 19 of the the Denver Post on 18 June 1920 archived at GenealogyBank I found this article about Grandpa that reads:

"Youth Walks Here
From GenealogyBank.
From Kansas City
Lowell Froman, 20, Nature
Hiker, Takes 16 days
for Journey

Lowell Froman, 30-year-old, [20-year-old] Kansas City, Mo., loves nature so intensely that he is walking across country from the Missouri metropolis to the Pacific coast.

He arrived in Denver Thursday, after sixteen days of hiking over good, bad and indifferent roads, and left Friday for Estes park, to visit with Enos Mills, famous naturalist.

Before leaving Kansas City, Froman lived for six years at the Boy's hotel, an institution maintained by the Juvenile Improvement club for homeless working boys. He carries letters from E. E. Porterfield, judge of the circuit court of Kansas City, who is president of the Improvement club, and from other prominent Kansas City, men."

This newspaper post begins to explain where my grandfather lived in his youth. Previously I had several photos of my grandfather where he'd written on the back "Boys from the Boys' hotel", but I knew nothing of the location of the hotel or more details about Lowell since he and my grandmother divorced after my mother was born in 1928.

Original photo from author's private collection. No one is named,
but the back says "Boys hotel boys" and was among papers
including my grandpa's fishing license.
Try comparing the photo below known to be Lowell, with the Boys hotel photo above to see if you can spot Lowell. If he is not one of those boys, he may be the one behind the camera. I think he is the boy in the middle of the back row above.
Lowell, sitting on a draftsman's table, among the
inherited pictures I treasure.

Below, here's a picture of the same type and apparent age as the "Boys hotel" photo above showing a little bear cub on top of a dire damaged tree stump. Somewhere I've got another picture of the cub as it was attracted to a line of freshly caught fish laid out on a nearby log. I can only imagine the adventures these young outdoorsmen experienced.
Original photo in author's possession.

 The back of the bear photo bears this inscription, apparently written by my Grandpa Lowel:

"Cub #2
8 24
On the road back
from fishing
35 m. SE of St. Maries"
[The photo includes the imprint of 8 24 - perhaps
the photo development date of August 1924?]

A Google search for "St. Maries" provided a link to St. Maries, Idaho.

Enos Mills' life and work was more public, since "aided by groups such as the Sierra Club and the Daughters of the American Revolution, Mills succeeded and Congress established Rocky Mountain National Park in 1915." (WikiPedia)

I'll may never know if grandpa was able to confer with Enos Mills before Enos died in 1922, but the love of the outdoors was clearly experienced by both men.

Apparently, Lowell's love of the outdoors extended into his late 20s.

Here's the Idaho State Fishing License for L. S. Froman, describing him as male, age 26, height 6 feet 1 1/2 Inch, 170 pounds, dark complexion, dark hair, grey eyes. resident of Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri, dated June 26, 1936 C. D. Alene [Coeur d'Alene] Idaho. 

  • DearMYRTLE. Finding the date of last Thursday and six other challenges where I describe using when locating Lowell Froman's mother's obituary. Includes info about using a screen capture and photo editing software to save just a portion of a newspaper page, when GenealogyBank offers only full page .PDF file saves.
  • DearMYRTLE. A marriage license isn't a marriage return where the marriage license for my grandparents Lowell and Frances (Goering) Froman is discussed along with the importance of a broader search of records to locate evidence this couple actually married. Included is a link to the 1930 US federal census for Wenatchee, Chelan, Washington where Lower [Lowell] is listed as a 30-year-old draftsman, is married to my grandmother Frances and my mother Barbara appears as his 18-month-old daughter.


All to frequently, newspaper research is confined to locating an obituary posted a few days after an ancestor's death. With the ability to search digitized newspaper collections online, we are more likely to run across odd articles like Grandpa Lowell's found on the same page with the fish and game report. Learning more about  about Lowell's love of nature is inspiring.

Perhaps inheriting "nature loving" DNA explains why Mr. Myrt and I love to traverse our country stopping at all national parks, every roadside historical marker in addition to seeking out ancestral cemeteries and homesteads? Thankfully we get to use modern 21st century modes of transportation.

What sorts of articles have my DearREADERS run across in online newspaper collections?

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

Monday, October 03, 2011

Tonight's Webinar CANCELLED

Since the webinar website service Ol' Myrt uses has not been working dependably on and off all day, tonight's Type it ONCE Workshop Webinar is canceled and as soon as the site is up again, I'll rescheduled this fun webinar for next Monday.


1. I went to
2. Typed in the website in question:
3. Pressed "enter" on my keyboard

4. Received the message:

It's not just you! looks down from here. 

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