Thursday, December 31, 2020

52 THINGS: secret compartment #1

Whilst planning how to fold this knitted scarf to best fit a drawer (above) in the old steamer trunk, I looked more closely and discovered two hinges on the lower portion of the back panel of the drawer. (See below.) And that, my friends, made me curious enough to pull the drawer out.

The back of the drawer had two metal pieces that flip up as shown below.

This then permits access to a space between the back of the drawer panel and the inside of the steamer trunk itself. Just the place to stash my spare $100 bills, if I had any. 

I called Mr. Myrt and we discovered two additional secret compartments! More on those later! 

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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

DIY DNA Workbook for Unknown Parentage from Legacy Tree Genealogists

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was received from our friends at Legacy Tree Genealogists.

Legacy Tree Genealogists Launches DIY Service to Help Individuals Find Their Biological Family

[SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, November 24, 2020] - Legacy Tree Genealogists, the world's leading genealogy research firm, announced today the launch of a new service aimed at helping individuals find their biological family members. The company has created a free downloadable DIY DNA Workbook for Unknown Parentage with step-by-step instructions and worksheets to track matches and relevant information.

Additionally, users have the option to purchase a DIY DNA Consultation Package, which provides clients with a series of five 45-minute, virtual one-on-one consultations with a genetic genealogist. Their genealogist will help them evaluate their matches and provide research strategies and guidance as they work together to solve their unknown parent's identity. At only 475 USD, this DIY option provides users with a cost-effective resource to have their research questions answered in real-time by a professional genealogist while still being heavily involved in the research process.

"Advancements in consumer DNA testing have transformed genealogy," said Legacy Tree president, Jessica Taylor. "More and more people are looking to connect with their biological roots, and those answers are within reach. We've helped thousands of individuals find answers about their biological family, and we wanted to put that expertise into a format that will allow us to help even more people," said Taylor. "The knowledge of who you are and where you come from should be attainable for everyone, and with this product, we hope to help make that possible."

The DIY DNA Consultations utilize screen-sharing technology that allows the user to share their DNA results with the genealogist in a secure, virtual environment. To download the free DIY DNA Workbook or purchase the DIY DNA Consultation Package, visit

About Legacy Tree Genealogists

Legacy Tree Genealogists is the world’s leading genealogy research firm. Founded in 2004, the mission of the company is to bridge the divide between clients and their ancestors, helping them discover their roots and personal history. Legacy Tree’s team of professional genealogists search the world for answers and find the un-findable. Based near the world’s largest family history library in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, Legacy Tree has developed a network of professional researchers and archives around the globe. Visit

Monday, December 28, 2020

Peculiar Codes in the 1939 Register

Sample from the 1939 Register

The National Registration Act 1939 was an Act of Parliament in the UK. The act established the National Register which began operating on 29 Sept 1939 (National Registration Day), a system of identity cards, and a requirement they must be produced on demand or presented to a police station within 48 hours. (Wikipedia The National Archives (UK)  holds the originals explains the "Register is available to search and view on their partner sites (charges apply) and (charges apply)."  

Deciphering a specific set of annotation codes was answered by Audrey Collins, TNA Records Specialist - Family History and are listed below with her express written permission.

Re: A strike through in the original name, and a new surname written in red ink with the following codes: NR230 2/7/47 AIA

NR230 is the code for a change of name other than by marriage. AIA is likely to be the area code where the change was recorded - a different set of area codes was adopted later, but in 1947 the original area codes were still used, so AIA would be Hackney.
Concerning the lack of a list for researchers to decipher such entries in the future, Audrey writes "We know what some of the codes mean, they are often the serial numbers of forms used to notify changes. But there is no definitive list, because there were so many changes made over the 50 years the register was in use. The information I have found comes from a a selection of memos, circulars and sample forms, and there are still plenty that I haven't found. I may add some to the 1939 Register guide, but I need to be confident I am giving correct information."

There was follow-on question concerning the publication of name changes in The Gazette, to which Audrey replies "It's always worth a look, but informal changes of name were also allowed, and the National Registration authorities were fairly relaxed about it. For example, they had no problem with a woman using the surname of the man she lived with, even if they weren't married."

IMAGE: Our sample (shown above) is from Dorset, Poole MB, Enumeration District WKFG show annotations in green ink. in database ID 61596

Useful Links

FindMyPast - 1939 Register
TNA (The National Archives - UK)

NOTE: The 1939 register is also available at and

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont

52 THINGS: To polish or not to polish

Now to the question of just how much cleaning up or polishing should be done, if any,  to the old steamer trunk? Perplexed, I set up a poll in DearMYRTLE's Facebook Group and the overwhelming response was to do as I pleased. I rather like what Monta suggested: "No/or just brighten them up without over polishing."

Readers' Feedback

Cathy N remembers:
"Pat, they just had a similar trunk on Antiques Roadshow. She told the gal to go ahead and polish up the brass and that it could be cleaned even more than she had originally cleaned it."

Jo S adds:
"Most of them aren't worth a whole lot. I don't think the Keno brothers will come after you if you prefer to shine 'em up. The only exception would be if it was owned by someone famous, or if it's a rare example. Otherwise they generally sell for around $100." [I need to shop where Jo does. eBay shows plain old trunks without the compartments and drawers for a minimum of$150US.]

Cheryl E writes:
"I have one that is just absolutely beautiful , and very old stemming from the early 1800, in excellent shape for it's age. I washed it off with a soft soap, dried it off and then on the wood used Old English Oil. The metal pieces I left alone.

It was passed down to me.. with the death of my grandmother, but I didn't have room for it .My mother kept it for me and used it as a linen chest with her bed linen and comforters. I brought it home.

I keep wondering, exactly who it belonged to (grandmother never said who she got it from) It may have gone west in a wagon train to Oklahoma. I would love to know it's story. I don't know who will get it when I am gone, but I hope they care for it too."

Myrt's Decision?

Based on a quick-polish on half of the ZCMI label using Brasso (above) and treating the very dry leather with saddle soap (below), Ol' Myrt will indeed take Monta's advice and clean things up just a little bit. I do not want to see any more cracks in the leather.

IMAGES: From the author's personal collection.

Other posts in this series

If you value the interactive genealogy education provided in DearMYRTLE webinars, please consider donating. THANK-YOU in advance.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont

Friday, December 25, 2020


Not many girls would appreciate an old steamer trunk for Christmas, but Ol' Myrt here sure does. How about this beautiful model? It was made by Indestructo and sold at what was historically the downtown department store in Salt Lake City - ZCMI (Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Inc.).

So what's the plan Myrt?

52 Things

A weekly blog post with video update detailing which family heirloom, original document or bits of ephemera I'm putting in this old trunk along with my homemade journals to share with my grandchildren the stories of their ancestry. 

It's part of my plan to share my family history in ways my grandchildren will find a tad more interesting than black and white pedigree charts or family group sheets.

Since I've already gathered a list of over 100 items to share, my biggest challenge is to decide which to share in 2021.

PS - For those of you who know me well, you've perhaps noticed the interior doors and drawers are my favorite color - light aquamarine. 

Thanks for the most thoughtful gift Mr. Myrt.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont

IMAGES: From the author's personal collection.