Wednesday, February 29, 2012

1940 Census: Become the poster child

It's time to get the word out in your community about the upcoming release of the 1940 US federal census. How about using materials from the (54MB zipped) "starter kit" created by the folks at when composing an article for your local newspaper? Yes, YOU!

This is your year to become the poster child for the 1940 census, even if you weren't enumerated in it!
  • Contact your local genealogical and historical societies and offer to chair a joint task force, with your first meeting in early March.
  • Print a large version of the 1940 US Census Project sign shown above, mounting it on 2x3 foot foam core. Obtain permission to post the sign near the entrance of your local public library. Before printing, be sure to add the URL across the bottom.
  • Stand by a second copy of the sign just inside the door at your society meetings to encourage volunteer indexers and answer questions.
  • Write an article about the 1940 census for your local newspaper using graphics and text from the " "starter kit".
  • Post a series of 1/4 page "ads" in the newsletter of both organizations. (The ads can be a smaller copy of the banner shown above, for brand recognition.)
  • Spearhead a campaign to register members of both organizations as indexing volunteers at by demonstrating the simple signup process.
  • Encourage participation at training webinars found at and cross-posted in the GeneaWebinars Calendar.
  • Ensure that the organizations create a joint press release to the local newspaper using graphics and suggested newsletter and newspaper text from the "starter kit".
  • Print copies of Ancestry's 1940 census extraction form (2 sided) and share with your society members. US 1940 Census Part 1 and  US 1940 Census Part 2
  • Mount a large copy of the extraction form on foam core to display at society meetings.
  • Show Valerie Craft's blog post titled How I'm Looking for Grandmama in the 1940 Census
  • from the Begin with 'Craft' blog. Valerie illustrates how to use Steve Morse's ED Finder and maps to locate where she can expect to find Betty in the census images.
  • Print and share copies of the 1940 Enumerator Instructions, including the abbreviation codes.
  • Write a newsletter article focusing on the 1940 abbreviation codes. 
  • Print and laminate a name tag for each member in your society who has signed up as a 1940 Census Project Volunteer, using the circular badge in the upper right. I've created a Word document to get you started and have stored it online in my Google Docs.
These ideas outta get ya started!

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

Monday, February 27, 2012

Webinar: DearMYRTLE's Land Records Research

Tonight Ol' Myrt here will share practical advice in land records research at NARA, based on her recent personal research. While the trip to the National Archives may seem daunting, looking at the paperwork at NARA that is the ground work for the certificates listed at the Bureau of Land Management General Land Office website is well worth the effort.

Space is limited. Register by visiting: 

Ol' Myrt reports on her on-site experiences pulling land records from the National Archives including homestead, cash entry, desert land claim and bounty land grants.

9pm Eastern US 
8pm Central US 
7pm Mountain US 
6pm Pacific US 
If you need a time zone converter, there is a great one located here: 

Title: Land Record Research at NARA 
Date: Monday, February 27, 2012 
Time: 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM PST 

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

IPad users may download the GoToMeeting App in the app store.

As usual, the pre-webinar warm-up will start 15 minutes before the appointed hour. This is a great time to test sound settings on your headset or mic and speakers.

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

Webinas: Preparing for the 1940 Census Project

Our friends at are hosting series of webinars over the next few months. The goal is to train volunteers to index, arbitrate as individuals; and to train leaders to administer a society-sponsored indexing group. All webinars begin at 6pm Mountain time. If you need a time zone converter, there is a great one located here:

First-time users should run the Browser Test to verify they can participate in a web meeting. Space is limited, please join early.

INTRO TO INDEXING - See also Indexing Online Tutorial
  • Meeting ID: 6310
  • Click to start Webinar
    1. Tuesday – February 28, 2012
    2. Tuesday – March 6, 2012
    3. Tuesday – March 13, 2012
    4. Tuesday – March 20, 2012
    5. Tuesday – March 27, 2012
  • Meeting ID: 8496
  • Click to start Webinar
    1. Wednesday – April 18, 2012
    2. Wednesday – April 25, 2012
    3. Wednesday – May 2, 2012 

ARBITRATION - HOW TO ARBITRATE See also Arbitration Online Tutorial
  1. Wednesday – March 28, 2012 (Meeting ID: 1746, Webinar)
  2. Saturday – April 14, 2012 (Meeting ID: 3716, Webinar)
  3. Tuesday – April 17, 2012 (Meeting ID: 3716, Webinar)
  4. Tuesday – May 1, 2012 (Meeting ID: 3716, Webinar)

Group Administration Training Online Tutorial
    1. Thursday – February 16, 2012 (Meeting ID: 9894, Webinar)
    2. Thursday – March 1 and 8, 2012 (Meeting ID: 5276, Webinar)
Would that all volunteer organizations provided such a wide variety of training materials to enlist the help of others.

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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

1940 Census: Calling all presenters to add these slides

Ol' Myrt here woke up this morning thinking I'd create a few 1940 census PowerPoint slides and ask every genealogy lecturer I know to add a slide or two to their presentations, even when the lecture topic isn't about the census. No one will mind a little free advertising when it is for such a good cause and your attendees will appreciate that you are on top of the latest info!
The folks at have done a great job compiling a large (54MB zipped) "starter kit" to get the ball rolling. Included in this kit (in the Society_Meeting folder) is a 6-slide PowerPoint titled Getting Started with the 1940 US Census Community Project,designed to encourage society group indexing projects. It is suggested that societies encourage indexing volunteerism by showing those slides at the beginning of each meeting until the indexing project is complete?

If you are a genealogy lecturer you won't want to be spearheading the society's indexing project, so I've got two alternatives. 

Myrt took the first slide Getting Started with the 1940 US Census Community Project, and modified it to include the URL for the project for those presenters who want to add just a single slide to any of their upcoming genealogy presentations.

TOGETHER we can make the complete the 1940 census index in no time at all.

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

Friday, February 24, 2012

FamilySearch: 2.8 million new records this week

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: Our friends at FamilySearch have been busy according to this recent communication. Please address all inquiries to

Oh Canada! And England, Hungary, Italy, Russia, and US 

Mountain of free historic records online keeps growing weekly

FamilySearch added 2.8 million new, free records online this past week for Canada, England, Hungary, Italy, Russia, and the U.S. Got Hungarian roots? Check out the new 900,000 Hungary Reformed Church Christenings records. You might be surprised to know that FamilySearch now has over 2.5 billion free searchable records online now in its historic record collections. Find your ancestors now for free at

Searchable historic records on are made possible by thousands of volunteers from around the world who transcribe (index) the information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the amount of digital images being published online at Learn more about how to personally help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records as a volunteer indexer at

 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 has 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.
Collection Indexed Records Digital Images Comments
Canada, Lower Canada Census, 1831 91,908 0 Added indexed records to existing collection.
Canada, Lower Canada Census, 1842 46,467 7,674 New Index and browsable image collection.
Canada, New Brunswick, Late Registration of Births, 1810-1899 0 24,015 New browsable image collection.
England, Dorset, Parish Registers, 1538-1910 332,615 0 New index collection.
Hungary Reformed Church Christenings, 1624-1895 914,441 0 Added indexed records to existing collection.
Italy, Torino, Torino, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1866-1899 48,155 0 New index collection.
Russia, Tver Confession Lists, 1728-1913 0 953,146 New browsable image collection.
U.S., North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663-1964 9,675 250,339 Added indexed records and browsable images to existing collection.
United States, Index to Indian Wars Pension Files, 1892-1926 0 52,315 New browsable image collection.
United States, Remarried Widows Index to Pension Applications, 1887-1942 0 6,749 New browsable image collection.
United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 (HI) 33,914 71,648 Added index records and browsable images to existing collection.

  Follow FamilySearch on Twitter | "Like" FamilySearch on Facebook

Friday night highlights: TV. radio and hugs

Friday nights are always special when NBC hosts a new episode of Who Do You Think You Are? Tonight one of my favorites, Blair Underwood, will explore his roots. When he made his visit on the Today show this morning, he expressed surprise at learning of a great-grandfather, a free person of color living in Virginia, who owned two slaves.

RADIO isn't to be left behind, as Thomas MacEntee hosts another episode of GeneaBloggers Radio, right here on the internet, airing at 9pm Eastern, 8pm Central, 7pm Mountain and 6pm Pacific. Thomas explains "This week our show is entitled African-American Genealogy Resources with co-host Robin Foster of Saving Stories. Our special guests will include: Tim Pinnick, Family Tree University instructor and a recognized specialist in Black newspaper research who’ll discuss where to find newspapers and how to use them for your research; Shelley Murphy of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Chapter of Central Virginia, whose current project is a book about the “free colored” families who homesteaded in Benzie and Manistee counties in Michigan; and Drusilla Pair, of the Find Your Folks blog, will update us on her recent “Sunday Crowns” presentation and the role of hats and churches in African-American genealogy."

SO WHAT ABOUT THE HUGS? Well, it seems baby Hannah will come to visit again and will spend the night. You can imagine how this sweet little gal warms this grandma's heart. This photo was taken at her parents' home when she was five and a half months old.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy. Rev. War Patriots of Color Database

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from and it speaks of another worthwhile partnership. Partners with W.E.B. DuBois Institute to Publish the Patriots of Color Database

Exclusive data collection highlights the contributions of black Americans in the Revolutionary War

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Feb. 24, 2012 -- In honor of Black History Month,, a website devoted to making family history simple and affordable, today announced the launch of the Patriots of Color Database. is bringing this collection online for the first time, compiling years of research facilitated by the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.  These records unveil new and invaluable information about some of the men and women of color who fought for American independence in such roles as soldiers, skilled craftsmen, and servants. This new collection, of critical importance to historians, academics, and the general public, is now available for free at

Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute notes, “I was filming ‘African American Lives’ for PBS when historical researcher Jane Ailes shared a discovery that my fourth great-grandfather John Redman served in the Light Dragoons of the Continental Army from 1778-1784. I was astonished and delighted, and it drove me to want to learn more about other men and women of color who fought to win America’s independence.”

People of African descent were often not well documented in census records and traditional sources, making African family history research uniquely challenging. This Patriots of Color Database is a first large step in bringing to life the stories of early Americans of color and the contributions they’ve made to American history. Over two years of research has focused on verifying the service and complexion of patriots from each of the 13 colonies using primarily original records such as pension and bounty land application files, muster and pay rolls, lists of troops, court records, legislative records, census records, and more.

“ is proud to publish this valuable historical information and make it freely available to family historians and historical researchers,” said Director of Product Joe Godfrey. “This is ultimately just the beginning of a much more extensive project, and we’re excited to encourage more research and exploration of this relatively unknown and underappreciated group of patriots.”

Funding for this project has been generously provided by David Roux, Richard Gilder and the Gilder Lehrman Foundation, Joseph Dooley and the Sons of the American Revolution, and the W. E. B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Jane Ailes has acted as the primary researcher.  The database is a summary of a portion of the information so far collected for each Patriot. This is the beginning of an extensive project, and these data are being made available at an early stage to encourage more research and scholarship, with further information to be published in the future. The Patriots of Color database is free for anyone to search and explore at

About Archives is a leading family history website that makes discovering family history simple and affordable. The company has assembled more than 2 billion historical records in a single location, and makes them available at a price that's up to 80 percent less than the leading competitor. Archives also partners with other leading family history websites to provide integrated record collections, discounted memberships, official certificates and other special promotions. is free to try for seven days, allowing anyone to explore the benefits of membership without risk or obligation. is owned and operated by Inflection, a fast-growing data commerce company. Find more information at

Big Brothers Big Sisters Gains Support

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following is a most interesting use of resources offered by, honoring also Blair Underwood's interest in Big Brothers Big Sisters. While I don't like's term "high-profile celebrity customer", this is a good cause. "Customer" just sounds so overly commercial in the worlds of genealogy and social causes. Teams Up with Actor Blair Underwood
to Support Big Brothers Big Sisters

Philadelphia, PA (February 24, 2012) --, the world’s largest online family history resource, has teamed up with one of its high-profile celebrity customers to support a national non-profit organization that helps youth overcome what are too often generational cycles of adversity.

Actor Blair Underwood will appear in a commercial promoting’s support of Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest mentoring network, proven to help children overcome adversity to achieve in school and succeed in life.

In the commercial, scheduled to air February 24, Underwood says discovering his family history on gave him a greater understanding of himself.  He goes onto say that while it’s incredible to know where you came from, it’s also important to know where you are going.

“That’s why I’m joining with to support Big Brothers Big Sisters, an organization that helps kids reach their full potential,” states Underwood.

Big Brothers Big Sisters provides one-to-one mentoring services to children of single, low-income or incarcerated parents as well as sons and daughters of military personnel or those who face other forms of adversity.  The new TV commercial airs February 24 on the heels of the announcement of the Big Brothers Big Sisters 2011 Youth Outcomes Survey Report, which shows statistically significant improvements for youth throughout the first year of enrollment.  The improvements are in three areas – educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors and socio-emotional competency, measures that researchers link to long-term outcomes, such as high school graduation, avoidance of juvenile delinquency, and college or job readiness. has worked with Underwood on a network TV show that airs on Friday nights. The company provided important family history research for the show, including tracing the roots of the featured celebrities including Underwood. Each episode takes one celebrity on an emotional, and often times soul-searching journey to discover the lives of family members who came before them. is donating 20 percent of proceeds of all new subscriptions donated through from February 24-29, 2012 to Big Brothers Big Sisters.  Funding is used by Big Brothers Big Sisters to carefully screen volunteer mentors and match them with youth in long-term, staff monitored and supported friendships.

To view the commercial and to support Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit

About Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, holds itself accountable for children in its program to achieve measurable outcomes, such as educational success; avoidance risky behaviors; and higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships.  Partnering with parents/guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children (“Littles”) with screened volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) and monitors and supports these one-to-one mentoring matches throughout their course.  The first-ever Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Summary, released in 2012, substantiates that its mentoring programs have proven, positive academic, socio-emotional and behavioral outcomes for youth, areas linked to high school graduation, avoidance of juvenile delinquency and college or job readiness.

Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity, often those of single or low-income households or families where a parent is incarcerated or serving in the military, with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.  This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization’s 100-year history.  With about 360 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves nearly 630,000 children, volunteers and families. Learn how you can positively impact a child’s life, donate or volunteer at

About Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than 1.7 million paying subscribers. More than 8 billion records have been added to the site in the past 15 years. Ancestry users have created more than 31 million family trees containing over 4 billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site, offers several localized Web sites designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

FindMyPast: 4 Million Hertfordshire BMD records

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

  • Project announced to increase access to up to 4 million baptism, marriage and burial records dating back to 1538
  • First time that images of the original parish records from Hertfordshire will appear online

Leading UK family history website has today announced at the Who Do You Think You Are Live Show at London's Olympia that it has been awarded a digitisation contract by Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies. This significant new project will lead to the publication online for the very first time of between 3.5 and 4 million historic records from the Archives. The records are expected to launch later this year and will become fully searchable, only at

Spanning the years 1538 to 1990 (1910 for baptisms and 1928 for marriages), the records cover parish churches and bishops' transcripts from the whole of Hertfordshire, including:

. historic Hatfield, childhood home of Elizabeth I and the birthplace of the jet airliner
. the garden cities of Letchworth and Welwyn
. Ayot St Lawrence, home of writer Sir George Bernard Shaw
. Hemel Hempstead, Watford, Cheshunt and Barnet

Guy Strachan, Digitisation Manager at, said: "The addition of these historic records from Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies to will be keenly anticipated by family and local historians alike, and will undoubtedly reinforce the website's position as the place to go for UK parish records."

Susan Flood, County Archivist at Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, added: "This is a fantastic step forward for us to have our parish registers available on the web for all to access easily."

The joint announcement by and Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies was one of a number made by the rapidly expanding family history website at the 3 day Who Do You Think You Are Live Show, where it has a major presence. There they will be showcasing the many record collections on the site, including parish records from Manchester Archives, Cheshire Archives and over 40 million parish records from family history societies throughout the UK, in partnership with the Federation of Family History Societies.

Anyone wishing to be notified when the Hertfordshire Collection becomes available can register online at to receive a newsletter.

NARA: March genealogy programs and April Fair

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at the NARA. Please address all inquiries to

National Archives Holds Genealogy-related Programs in March 2012
Get ready for the opening of the 1940 Census!

Washington, DC. . . In March, the National Archives presents genealogy-related programs highlighting records from its holdings ranging African American Union Army records to the upcoming release of the 1940 Census.  All programs are free and open to the public, and will be held in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.  Please note that three of the programs will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland.  

Visitors to all programs in the National Archives Building Research Center (Room G-24) should use the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW.  The National Archives at College Park, MD, is located at 8601 Adelphi Road.  For directions to both locations, see: 

Tuesday, March 6, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center
Agricultural Extension Service Annual Reports, 1909–68
Archivist Claire Prechtel-Kluskens reveals how county agents’ reports give information about specific individuals and insight into agricultural life in the early 20th century. (The lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in Lecture Room B, Thursday, March 8, at 11 a.m.)

Wednesday, March 7, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center
Introduction to Genealogy
Archives staff present a lecture on basic genealogical research in Federal records on the first Wednesday of the month.  The March program focus is military records.

Tuesday, March 13, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center
Access to Archival Databases (AAD) for Genealogists
Archives specialist Daniel Law will demonstrate how to search for genealogy-related electronic records in the National Archives Access to Archival Databases (AAD) online resource.  (The lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in Lecture Room B, Thursday, March 15, at 11 a.m.)

Wednesday, March 14, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center
The Aging of African-American Union Army Veterans
Professor Dora L. Costa (UCLA) will discuss the Early Indicators of Later Work Levels, Disease, and Death project. This project is currently digitizing the life histories of 27,000 African-American Union Army veterans from records in the National Archives.  These records are a source of information on the aging of black Americans in late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Saturday, March 17, at 10 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center
Beyond the Basics: 1940 Census
Archives staff teach “beyond the basics” archival research skills on the third Saturday of the month.  The 1940 Census will become available on April 2, 2012.  Archivist Claire Prechtel-Kluskens discusses this soon-to-be-available genealogical treasure.

Saturday, March 17, noon–4 p.m., Room G-24, Research Center
“Help! I'm Stuck”
Not sure where to begin? Has a genealogical problem stumped you? An archivist is available from noon to 4 p.m. to answer your questions. Sign up for a 20-minute appointment at the Microfilm Research desk in room G-26 on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 21, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center
Beyond the Basics: 1940 Census
Archives staff teach “beyond the basics” archival research skills on the third Wednesday of the month. This month will focus on the 1940 Census, which will be released on April 2, 2012.

Tuesday, March 27, at 11 a.m., Room G-24, Research Center
1940 Census
Archivist Constance Potter and archives specialist Diane Petro discuss the 1940 Census, which will be released on April 2, 2012. (The lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in Lecture Room D, Thursday, March 29, at 11 a.m.)

Save the dateS! – 8th Annual Genealogy Fair April 18-19, 2012
Branching Out, Exploring Your Family Tree
Pennsylvania Avenue Plaza of the National Archives Building

This two-day program showcases how to use Federal records in family history research for experienced professionals and novices alike. Speakers and exhibitors include National Archives staff, historians, and genealogy professionals. Reservations are not required. The fair is free and open to the public, and presented in partnership with the Foundation for the National Archives and with support from  Visit for more information

The National Archives Building and the National Archives at College Park are fully accessible.  To request an accommodation (e.g., sign language interpreter) for a public program, please email or call 202-357-5000 prior to the event.  To verify the date and times of the programs, the public should call 202-357-5000, or view the Calendar of Events on the web at: 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fold3: Index to Compiled Union Service Records

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following image collection at Fold3 is particularly useful if you have ancestors who served in units raised by the states of Ohio (30% complete), New York (30% complete), Massachusetts (15% complete) and Pennsylvania (8% complete). Remember,  your ancestor need not be a resident of the state to enlist.

Index to Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers

We are excited to announce the expansion of the Civil War Collection by adding the Index to Compiled Service Records of Union Soldiers. The first four states available in this collection are Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
Each index card gives the name of a soldier, his rank, and the unit in which he served. Anyone looking for a Union soldier in the Civil War will find these cards useful in identifying the state and regiment in which a man served and how his name appears in the military records. You can then locate his records to learn about his service in the war and the battles in which his regiment fought.
Beginning in 1890, Capt. Fred C. Ainsworth, head of the Record and Pension Division of the War Department, spearheaded an effort to create card abstracts of information from muster rolls, regimental returns, descriptive books, and other military records to build a compiled service record for each Union soldier. The index cards reference the resulting Civil War Service Records, many of which are also available on Fold3. As an example, the index card for Timothy Canty tells us that he served as a private and an artificer in Company A of the 1st New York Engineers. We can then find Canty's service record as the 1st New York Engineers is one of regiments digitized on Fold3.
This new index, viewed as card images on Fold3, may be familiar to some. The National Park Service transcribed these cards, referred to as "General Index Cards," and placed the data online in its Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System. When searching for a soldier there, you are provided with a transcription, while Fold3's images allow users to view the original card as well as determine the accuracy of the transcription. Once you find the soldier you're looking for, you can connect his index card to his service record on Fold3, or contact NARA for copies of his documents.

FindMyPast: 19th Century Merchant Navy Records

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at FindMyPast. Please address all inquiries to Debra Chatfield

* First time that 19th century merchant navy records are available online
* UK merchant seamen records from two centuries now searchable at


Leading family history website has today released online for the first time Merchant Seamen records from the 19th century in association with The National Archives of the United Kingdom.

359,000 records of individuals covering the years 1835-1857 have now been added to the website. Details contained within the records can vary, but can include name, age, place of birth, physical description, ship names and dates of voyages. Often this information can be given in the form of coded entries which can easily be deciphered using downloadable finding aids from The National Archives.

The records are taken from volumes held at The National Archives in series BT112, BT113, BT114, BT115, BT116 and BT120 and were created by central government to regulate the merchant shipping industry. As the series spans two decades, some individuals may appear in multiple series, making it possible for maritime historians or those with ancestors in the merchant navy, to trace a seaman's service over time.

Janet Dempsey, Maritime Expert at The National Archives commented:

"These records are as significant to the social historian as they are to the family historian. No other group of working class men and women had the freedom of movement and ability to see the world as these 19th century mariners.

"This was the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen's earliest attempts at keeping individuals records and resulted in four different registers over twenty two years. Although more of a challenge to work with than other family history sources, it can be very satisfying to decipher the codes and have your investigative efforts rewarded with sometimes surprisingly rich detail."

In 2011 published Merchant Navy Seamen records from 1918-1941 in association with The National Archives, some of which include photographs.

Debra Chatfield, family historian at added: "The Merchant Navy Seamen records will be of great interest to family historians worldwide, as so many of us have generations of ancestors, who made their living at sea. These records will add more detail to our mental picture of their lives."

All the Merchant Navy Seamen records at can be searched for free from the Education & Work section of the website. Transcripts and images can be viewed either with PayAsYouGo credits or a Full Subscription.


Leading UK family history website was the first company to make the complete birth, marriage and death indexes for England and Wales available online in April 2003, winning the Queen's Award for Innovation.
has subsequently digitised many more family history records and now offers access to over 750 million records dating as far back as 875 AD. This allows family historians to search for their ancestors among comprehensive collections of military, census, migration, parish, work and education records, as well as the original comprehensive birth, marriage and death records. The company runs the official 1911 census website for England & Wales in association with The National Archives and has digitised several other record sets from the national collection.

About The National Archives

For the record, for good... The National Archives is a government department and an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). As the official archive of the UK government and England and Wales, we look after and make available to the public a collection of historical records dating back over 1,000 years, including records as diverse as Domesday Book and MI5 files.
Our 21st-century role is to collect and secure the future of the record, both digital and physical, to preserve it for generations to come, and to make it as accessible as possible. We do this by devising technological solutions to ensure the long-term survival of public records and working to widen access to our collection. The National Archives also advises on information management across government, publishes all UK legislation, manages Crown copyright and supports the wider archive sector. We work to promote and improve access to public sector information and its re-use.
Follow the press office on Twitter @TNApressofficer and for general news @UkNatArchives.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Street View on Google Maps comes to Russia

From the  Google LatLong

"Welcome to Russia! You can now virtually travel through the world’s largest country to the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg using Google Maps Street View."

Predictions in GeneaWebinars interview

In honor of the 1 year blogiversary of GeneaWebinars, Ol' Myrt here was interviewed by GeneaBloggers' Thomas Macentee. I believe long distance learning in the world of genealogy has gone main stream with the influence of RootsTech 2011 and 2012 as the tipping point. The GeneaWebinars Blog and Calendar were created and openly shared with webinar sponsors, speakers and attendees. Fine out more by visiting

These were my predictions for the coming months and years.

Within the next 12 months:
  • APG will offer GoToWebinar access to member who wish to presenter virtually.
  • The Genealogical Speakers Guild will also provide access to webinar technology for their members who wish to present virtually.
  • There will be an increase in presenters offering webinars to distant societies wishing to save travel expenses.
  • Societies with limited budgets will look for improved program content by hiring distant speakers who offer webinar support.
  • Presenters will no longer discount their webinar speaker fees.
Within the next five years:
  • 50% of all in-person RootsTech, National Genealogical Society and Federation of Genealogical Society annual conference presentations will be streamed live to a pay-per-view audience. The overall attendance live and remote will increase significantly.
  • 75% of all conference presentations will be video recorded, and placed behind a membership wall.
Do you think you society is up for scheduling virtual presenters for at least one third of your regular meeting presentations in the coming year? Here's a list of virtual presenters who are experienced with webinars.

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


Note from DearMYRTLE: The long awaited news of the location of the 1940 US census images has arrived from our friends at NARA.

National Archives Announces Website for
Free 1940 Census Release Online on April 2, 2012:
Tomorrow Starts the Countdown of ‘40 Days to the ’40 Census’

Washington, DC. . . Today the National Archives, with its partner, launched its new website in preparation for its first-ever online U.S. census release, which will take place on April 2, 2012, at 9 a.m. (EST). The public is encouraged to bookmark the website now in order to more quickly access the 1940 census data when it goes live. No other website will host the 1940 census data on its April 2 release date.

The National Archives has teamed up with the U.S. Census Bureau to celebrate “40 Days to the ’40 Census.” Using social media channels to post videos, images, facts, and links to workshops nationwide, the National Archives is getting its researchers ready for the online launch on April 2. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (using hashtag #1940Census), Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, YouTube, and subscribe to our blogs: NARAtions and Prologue: Pieces of History.

On April 2, 2012, users will be able to search, browse, and download the 1940 census schedules, free of charge, from their own computers or from the public computers at National Archives locations nationwide through the new 1940 census website:

A National Archives 3:13 minute video short on its YouTube channel ( and on provides a “behind-the-scenes” view of staff preparations and gives viewers tips on how to access the data once it is launched on April 2. This video is in the public domain and not subject to any copyright restrictions. The National Archives encourages the free distribution of it.

Background on the 1940 Census
While the original intent of the census was to determine how many representatives each state was entitled to send to the U.S. Congress, it has become a vital tool for Federal agencies in determining allocation of Federal funds and resources. The census is also a key research tool for sociologists, demographers, historians, political scientists and genealogists. Many of the questions on the 1940 census are the standard ones: name, age, gender, and race, education, and place of birth. But the 1940 census also asks many new questions, some reflecting concerns of the Great Depression. The instructions ask the enumerator to enter  a circled x after the name of the person furnishing the information about the family; whether the person worked for the CCC, WPA, or NYA the week of March 24–30, 1940; and income for the 12 months ending December 31, 1939. The 1940 census also has a supplemental schedule for two names on each page. The supplemental schedule asks the place of birth of the person's father and mother; the person's usual occupation, not just what they were doing the week of March 24–30, 1940; and for all women who are or have been married, has this woman been married more than once and age at first marriage.

For the release of the 1940 census online, the National Archives has digitized the entire census, creating more than 3.8 million digital images of census schedules, maps, and enumeration district descriptions.

About the National Archives
The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that preserves and shares with the public records that trace the story of our nation, government, and the American people. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives is a public trust upon which our democracy depends, ensuring access to essential evidence that protects the rights of American citizens, documents the actions of the government, and reveals the evolving national experience. is a family history website, owned and operated by Inflection a data commerce company headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley. Inflection was chosen by the National Archives to host the 1940 census website. Learn more at