30 April 2009

What if it's a roomful?

Re: What if?

From Martha,
DearMYRTLE,
Mother died in 2002 and I inherited her "office". After it was packed up I had 47 boxes. Most were books and journals. However, after donating most of the books and journals to a local library, I was left with a 2-drawer lateral file cabinet of files and 1 bookcase of binders and books.

This family research was started by my grandmother and her sister-in-law and handed down to my mother in 1978.


Mother loved to work with the genealogy but she had some peculiar ideas about the information. I moved closer to her 5 years before her death. She didn't explain much about the information or how to continue it or what to do with it.

The only 2 things she would let me do was to drive her to the state archives and while there she would dole out things for me to look up or she would have me go online to Roots Web and place queries, and answer replies using my email address never hers. She would not put anything on a computer program and heaven help us never put any information on the Internet. She would share freely with others if they asked for help but never just put info out for anyone to see or have "for free".

I was grateful to find you last year and love your
organizing program even though I am only up to week 2 of February. So far I have chosen Legacy as a software program and entered 1723 names and 725 marriages.

I am starting to sift through her papers to find the proof for what she has written on the family group sheets. I have no idea where she was in the research, what problems she was trying to figure out, or how to continue. She told my brother at one time just to burn the stuff after she died. She knew I wanted the genealogy stuff when she died and for years told everyone that that room and everything in it was mine. At the time I really didn't know exactly what was in there.

So far I have found interesting things:

  • my Dad's adoption papers (that's another story)
  • WWII ration books
  • letters from 1796 to 1898
  • account receipts for the same time frame
  • clothing from the mid 1800's including Charlie's last dress & a lock of his hair in a brooch
  • my grandfathers 'sheepskin college degree
  • photocopies of the family bible
  • old photos (haven't had time to sort them out yet)
  • and many other things.

Guess I know what I'm doing in my retirement years.
Thanks for all you do.

PS: I hope some day to get my "room" full of things down to a "trunk" full.

DearMARTHA,
Forty-seven boxes? Good heavens. Thank-you for sharing your mother's genealogy books with local libraries. It's a wonderful way to honor your mom's work and assist other researchers at the same time.

OLD STYLE GENEALOGISTS
Although your mom was really into genealogy, she was from the old school, where there was much mistrust over computers and the Internet. She used microfilm, still in popular use today. But your mom would be amazed at how things have changed with so many scanned images of record groups available on web. Now it is necessary to pull genealogists off the net, and into the old church record offices, courthouses and archives where most documents describing family relationships still reside.

I agree with your mom that paper copies of our work are valuable from both a research and a sharing standpoint, hence the development of my notebook filing system outlined in my monthly "Finally Get Organized" checklists.

It's intriguing that Dick Eastman is scanning all his books, but I just cannot see it. Maybe Ol' Myrt here is just better at problem solving if I can sift through what I've got to work with. I think it is a lot more intriguing to the non-genealogists in the family to pour through our compiled genealogies in binder format.

Don't get me wrong. Remember, I taught the use of computers in the post-secondary setting for 15 years before I retired, so I certainly know how to use Excel worksheets and Access databases. I am making a lot of progress scanning my source documents and attaching them to the appropriate ancestor in my genealogy database program. I guess I just have to see things laid out on my desk.

PAPER TO DIGITAL
Ol' Myrt here can just picture you pouring over your mom's paperwork attempting to computerize all the names, dates, and places, inserting source citations wherever possible. 1723 names and 725 marriages thus far? Right off the bat, your first source listing would read something like the one I created when citing the pedigree charts and group sheets I inherited from my dad:

Player, Glen. Player Family Charts and Group Sheets, 1506-2007. Privately held by Patricia B. Richley, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009.

The style of this citation conforms to the QuickCheck model for Private Holdings - Family Charts, devised by Elizabeth Shown Mills in Evidence Explained page 108. It could include a brief description and evaluation by the researcher in sentence format, following the date held. On the very next page, Elizabeth explains how to cite those historic letters you've inherited from mom. (You have placed those old letters in top-loading sheet protectors, right?)

Elizabeth has also devised source list entries on privately held artifacts, diaries and journals, interview tapes and transcripts and something Ol' Myrt here hasn't run across yet -- the private holding of a legal document that is unrecorded.

Once you have a source in your Legacy Family Tree, you can call it up as you enter additional information without having to retype it each time.

SCAN & ATTACH PROOF DOCUMENTS
Working through your mom's paperwork, you will find photocopies of original records, like a christening record indicating parents. Take the time to scan the image, and attach it to the child and both parents in your genealogy program. Of course, your source citation will change, since the church is the author of the christening record, etc.

USE TECHNOLOGY WISELY
While Ol' Myrt here delights in the construction of source citations using Evidence Explained, there are literally hundreds of these forms built into your Legacy Family Tree genealogy management software. Other main stream genealogy programs employ similar technology.

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK
What a joy to explore with you today the privilege you have of honoring your heritage by digitizing the family history you've inherited.

As you enter the names and work through organizing the papers, you will begin to understand the logic behind your mom's research. You'll see where the end of line individuals need more research, now that new record groups have come to light. You'll spot where some lineage assumptions are based on less-than-reliable source documents. Be sure to make notes on your to-do list whenever you notice additional original document research is required. Right now your focus is digitizing everything, and arranging those files and binders.

Your mom would be proud, kiddo.

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

Please post replies by going to http://blog.Internet-Genealogy.com.

29 April 2009

What if...

DearREADERS,
WHAT IF you inherited a long lost trunk, hope chest or suitcased filled with your grandmother's family history papers? What would you hope is inside?

Ol' Myrt here would wish in contained a family bible that indicates the parents for my elusive Dolly YOCKEY who married Daniel S. WEISER in Scotio, Ohio on 11 June 1840. I have a copy of their marriage entry, but of course, that crucial information is missing, and I simply cannot get around that brick wall.

In the March/April 2009 Family Chronicle magazine, Leslie Albrecht Huber described inheriting her grandmother's compiled family history.
"It was a brown, old-fashioned suitcase with two buckles wrapped around it, filled with notebooks and papers — quite simply a genealogist’s dream. I felt as if I were opening a treasure box dug up from a deserted island as I carefully unbuckled and unzipped the suitcase to look inside. I pulled out a couple of my grandma’s personal journals written with her long slanted, cursive letters. I opened up some large envelopes and file folders with family histories written by other people. Then at the bottom of the stack, I came to my grandma’s Book of Remembrance — the crown jewel in my treasure chest."

Leslie goes on to suggest that YOU can be the creator of such a treasure for your family and provides a few personal insights about what was important to her as she worked through the gift from her grandmother.

But as long as we're dreaming, WHAT IF you inherited such a family treasure chest? Imagine opening it for the first time, with your heart pounding and all. What do you secretly wish to find? A family portrait? A deed to property? Info about military service? Tell us your dream.

Maybe you've already inherited a treasure? Tell us about it.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

28 April 2009

Dating Old Photograhps series

DearREADERS,
Following yesterday’s blog entry about the proposed old military photo book planned by the editors of Family Chronicle magazine, several folks wrote to me personally to ask about the Dating Old Photographs series. My DearREADERS are quite correct -- Ol’ Myrt here should have included a link to those two fine books.

I remember when “Dating Old Photographs” first came out as an article in Family Chronicle because it made a big splash with our local genealogy society members. And it seems we’ve each inherited a slew of unidentified old family photos. The books provide clues about clothing styles, poses, hairstyles, and mounting material to identify the ancestral image.

In fact, a quick check today of the Family Chronicle website tells me the books are currently out of print in book format, but available in CD format:

Dating Old Photographs
(SOLD OUT! Available on CD March 31 2009)

Family Chronicle's Dating Old Photographs provides a guide to placing your old photographs in time based on the fashions, poses and hairstyles of the subjects, and includes abundant examples of dated photographs from the invention of photography to the early 20th century. 96 pages, softbound.

More Dating Old Photographs
(SOLD OUT! Available on CD March 31 2009)
Family Chronicle's More Dating Old Photographs released in May 2004 features all new photographs from the 1840s to the 1920s in a 120-page softbound book. Highlights include an introductory essay by renowned old-photo expert Maureen Taylor, and sections on unusual pictures and hand-tinted photographs.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

27 April 2009

Old Military Photographs

DearREADERS,
Family Chronicle is looking for old military uniform photographs of your ancestors for a book they're planning that will be similar to their best selling Dating Old Photographs series.

If you have photos you'd like to submit, and they were taken between the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and the end of World War One (1918-1919), they want to hear from you.

Here's what to include:
  • Subject's name
  • Regiment
  • Unit
  • Conflict
  • Your name
  • Your complete address

The editors state they will credit all photos used and send two copies of the book to each person whose photos are used. They ask that you not send images where the information about the date, conflict, regiment or army has to be guessed or is unknown.

DO NOT send originals, as they will not be returned. Use one of these photo formats for submission:

  • Color photocopy
  • Scanned (jpeg, 200 dip or higher)

Submit via CD/Disk or email (preferred) Military photos@moorshead.com

If you must mail in your entry, address it to:

Family Chronicle
505 Consumers Road
Suite 312
Toronto, ON
M2J4V8 Canada

For more information see:
http://www.FamilyChronicle.com/militaryphotos.htm

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

25 April 2009

Bagdad: The time of the cotton

DearREADERS,
The impact of the “War Between the States” on the global cotton trade is something children studied in the 1990s in Florida, when Ol’ Myrt’s youngest daughter still lived at home and attended school there. Both of us learned the Union blockade effectively shut down the shipping trade through southern ports to a mere trickle, rendering Western Europe desperate for cotton.

So how does Bagdad fit into the mix?

Bagdad, Mexico was a tiny town of 300 inhabitants just prior to its emergence as a major blockade “go-around” during the US Civil War. Writer Ron Hunka explains how creative shipping lines merely exchanged their nation’s colors for the neutral flag of Mexico, and found Bagdad, Mexico a viable alternative.

“In March 1863, one observer counted 92 ships anchored at Bagdad. By late 1864 and early 1865, as many as 200 to 300 ships were there on any given day. During this period, the price of cotton at Matamoros, from where it went by boat or cart to Bagdad, soared with the demand reflected by the increased number of ships. The price went from $0.16 a pound in August 1862 to as high as $1.25 in 1865.”

Ron also explains the role of overland stagecoaches and smaller cargo ships to run the goods around the blockade to the ocean-going vessels anchored outside the small port. Additional examples describe the impact of all the hustle and bustle on the town of Bagdad’s socio-economic climate.

Source:
Hunka, Ron. “Bagdad, Mexico: Civil War Boomtown”. History Magazine. Feb/Mar 2009, pages 18-20.

You can see why Ol' Myrt here loves the History Magazine.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

24 April 2009

1911 UK census quirks

DearREADERS,
Thank heavens we've got lots of genealogy publishers out there trying to keep on top of the news. I just opened the May/June 2009 issue of Discovering Family History magazine and spotted a blurb in the editor's comments called "W-W-Worth a Look", I learned that the complete 1911 UK Census has been launched online. Somehow in my travels, Ol' Myrt here missed the debut of this major census collection. With the editor's permission, here is the entry in full [emphasis added] :

"The 1911 census for England and Wales was taken on the night of 2 April 1911. The count included all individual households, plus institutions, such as prisons, workhouses, naval vessels and merchant vessels, and it also attempted to make an approximate count of the homeless. In common with the censuses that preceded it, it recorded the following information: where an individual lived, their age at the time of the census, who (what relatives) they were living with, their place of birth and occupation.

Additionally, a unique feature of this census is that prior to 1911, the household schedules were destroyed once the details had been transferred into the enumerators’ summary books. But for the 1911 census, both sets of records have been preserved, which means you can see the census documents filled out in your ancestor’s own hand (complete with mistakes and additional comments), in addition to the edited version in the enumerators’ summary.

Do note that women, frustrated with the government’s refusal to grant women the vote, boycotted the 1911 census by refusing to be counted. There were two forms of protest. In the first, the women (or their husband) refused to fill in the form, often recording their protest to the enumerator. In the second, women evaded the census by staying away from their home for the whole night. In both cases, any details relating to individual women in the households will be missing from the census. " The census is now online at http://www.1911census.co.uk.

So Ol' Myrt here visited the website, and discovered that you can:

but then when you find an entry of interest, you'll need to:

  • PAY TO VIEW
    Once you are sure of the record you want, you’ll need to register and buy credits to view and print and save a typed transcript or an image of the original handwritten page.

So how much does it cost? The census website explains "Viewing the images of the household pages uses 30 credits, which costs from £2.50 to £3.48, depending on the package of credits that you buy." According to Google today, that translates to $3.63 to $5.06 US dollars, or $2.81 to $3.91 Euro.

This 1911 UK Census website was created in association with the National Archives (UK) and is powered by our friends at FindMyPast.com.

So I guess now we have to pray our 1911 UK ancestresses and their spouses weren't ardent suffragists.

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

23 April 2009

"All Things Genealogical" catalog?

DearREADERS,
About 30 people replied, via comments or email, to Tuesday’s post mentioning the Family History Catalog of “all things genealogical” being developed by FamilySearch and World Vital Records. Replies strongly supported such a project, because it is difficult to find things both on and off the web.

In simplest terms, a catalog points a researcher to a book on a shelf, but in the 21st century, the Internet must be part of the equation as well.

Today Kevin Purdy posted Food.com Searches Pretty Much Every Recipe Site at Once. His example demonstrates that at least one website has begun using current technology to locate online resources, and create pointers to those resources throughout the web. This is similar to the proposed Family History Catalog, with one BIG difference - online catalogs of brick and mortal libraries and archives will be pulled into the mix. This means that like the existing Family History Library Catalog, offline genealogy resources will be part of the “all things genealogical” catalog as well. Here’s what Kevin wrote:

“Food.com's recipe search is worth getting excited about. It comes from Food Network founder Scripps Networks, but can pull recipes from Epicurious, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, Gourmet, Chow.com—basically, any food site you've heard of. Not only does it pull basic recipe links and descriptions from all those third-party sites, but it grabs the full ingredient lists, pictures, user ratings, and preparation/serving instructions, then categorizes them for search refining. So if you're looking for a Vietnamese dish to whip up tonight, but you don't want anything deep-fried, and you'd like the main ingredient to be chicken, Food.com can help you get there. […] It's hard to believe it took so long for someone to offer a recipe search with this kind of breadth and functionality. The service is still in beta, so you'll need to sign up and log in to use it. From a first look, though, it's definitely worth it.”

ARE WE TALKING FOOD OR FAMILY HISTORY?
It’s within the realm of possibility to see that “all things genealogical”, previously known and cataloged, can indeed be pulled into one catalog. But unlike Food.com’s project, only a CATALOG of titles, authors, descriptions and locations, NOT THE CONTENT, will be part of the FS/WVR Family History Catalog.

When Ol' Myrt here used the term "ALL THINGS GENEALOGICAL" in describing the proposed FHL/WVR catalog, I was referring to a combined catalog of:

  • Information about where to find record groups (transcriptions, indexes or digital images) available on the web.
  • Information about where to find genealogy resources offline, assuming the archive or library housing each resource has cataloged the item in their own online catalog. (This would then not include many things; i.e. very old libraries whose catalogs don't adequately reflect their pre-computerized catalog collection.)

CATALOGING NOT SCANNING
Ol' Myrt here would like to make a distinction between CATALOGING record groups and the SCANNING of each page within a record group . While the latter will probably never be completed as Randy Seaver points out in his comment, Ol’ Myrt here welcomes a CATALOG listing genealogical titles and pointing me to find those obscure genealogical record groups on or off the web.

The soon-to-be-released FamilySearch/World Vital Records Family History Catalog that Ol’ Myrt calls the "catalog of all things genealogical” certainly cannot include those non-cataloged record groups in town historians' attics, library basements, municipal archives, dusty courthouses, moldy church basements and such.

For instance, it wasn't until the late 1990s that the court records of a certain Florida county weren't identified and cataloged, though the county came into existence fairly late, in the mid 1800s. The records for this county have spilled out of the courthouse into the local Carnegie Library and a less-readily accessible storehouse annex. Certainly, there are a few other courthouses out there that don’t have every book in order, and ever file clearly marked.

SUMMARY
Using computers with modern web search capabilities, the proposed new Family History Library Catalog being developed in cooperation with the programmers at World Vital Records means that researchers will have an easier time finding the location of identifiable genealogy things. For Ol’ Myrt here, such a catalog will be easier to work through than the 200,000 hits of my last Google search.

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

21 April 2009

Subscribing is easy

DearREADERS,
Ol' Myrt here has received emails from newbies who are unsure of how to subscribe to this free Internet-Genealogy Blog. Several had received a forwarded copy of a blog post, and are simply overwhelmed by the prospect of "RSS" (really simple syndication) technology.

If you know of a friend in this position, you might forward these directions to him.



HOW RSS WORKS


RSS technology allows you to receive in one place numerous posts from various blogs and websites throughout the Internet. This is an improvement over having to go to each website to see if there is something new to read or explore. RSS feeds save you time and frustration over visiting a site each day that hasn't been updated for a week.



When Ol' Myrt here publishes a new posting at the Internet-Genealogy Blog site, the RSS technology you selected will send you a copy at the place you specify.



Methods to receive the RSS FEED (or blog entry) are varied, including your personalized pages at Google, My Yahoo, Bloglines, Newsgator, and most email software programs.

SUBSCRIBING IS A SNAP
The easiest way to enter a subscription to the Internet-Genealogy Blog, is to visit http://blog.internet-genealogy.com and type your email address in the box on the upper right navigation bar. This will permit FeedBlitz to send you the updates on an immediate or daily basis directly to your email box.

More experienced online genealogists may click the "Posts" button, and select their blog reading preference.

Clicking "All Comments" allows one to subscribe using those alternate method to all the feedback postings by our DearREADERS.

You may even click to add this blog to your Technorati Favorites.

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

The Future of Genealogy

DearREADERS,
In her May/June 2009 Family Chronicle article titled "The Future of Genealogy", Lisa A. Alzo reports on her request for predictions from:
My colleagues' comments ranged from thoughts of DNA tests at birth, preservation, a wristwatch radio, but in Web 10.0- format, the role of professionals, collaboration, and competition among genealogy websites.

One of DearMYRTLE's comments was As Web2 technology emerges for all Internet users, genealogists can look forward to the debut of the comprehensive Family History Catalog, a joint effort between FamilySearch.org and WorldVitalRecords.org, rumored to debut in May 2009.

The catalog will list all known locations of genealogy databases, indexes, scanned images, microfilm, books, etc., at places not limited to the Family History Library and FamilySearch.org, by incorporating information from genealogy websites, library catalogs and online books.

Users will be able to annotate a catalog entry, pointing followers to the better version of scanned census images, etc.

Also, the FamilySearchWIKI is a growing entity, which will benefit researchers who aren’t sure how to proceed with records research in a newly discovered ancestral place. I may know a lot about Maryland research, but I find that the FSWiki provides ideas and insights for other areas where I am just venturing out in research.

With the advent of the Family History Catalog, Aaron Underwood will be quite busy redesigning GenSmarts, to compare your current genealogy database (and its missing data fields) with what’s listed in the new catalog. The resulting to-do list will provide shortcuts for those of us who are simply overwhelmed when considering where to go and what to do next by pointing to indexes, scanned images, books, microfilm and fiche that might provide additional information."

How do my DearREADERS feel about a centralized catalog of "all things genealogical" ? Sorta like the "Whole Earth Catalog" of the 1970s.

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

20 April 2009

NO, It Can't Wait! (Backup now)

DearREADERS,
On Facebook this past week, one of Ol' Myrt's southern California genealogy friends was lamenting the process of attempting to access her data files on her old computer which was barely limping along -- a problem that had necessitated the purchase of a new computer.

This points up the importance of backing up all our data files on a regular basis.

We never know when our trusty computers will decide to hiccup and fail.

THE IMMEDIATE FIX FOR MYRT'S FRIEND
Ol' Myrt's suggestion was to remove the hard drive from the old computer and insert it in a case that has two cords, one to power the hard drive and a second to attach to her new computer via an USB port. Tiger Direct has a variety of such hard drive enclosures, that range from $14-$70 depending on the size and number of bays.

Of course, this solution only works if the problem with the old computer ISN'T the hard drive. What usually fails on my computers is something like a defective mother board, or a bad power supply. I've only had a hard drive fail once since the late 1980s and I did have copies of all my data files except for the previous three days' work.

PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE
Carol Richey is a freelance writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who learned about the importance of making frequent backups the hard way. She suggests "Follow the "Rule of Two" and choose two backup options to protect your research. Don't wait until its too late!" See Carol's article "Not it Can't Wait" in Discovering Family History, Jan/Feb 2009. Pages 49-51. Carol looks at choices from CDs and DVDs to online backup solutions. (Ol' Myrt's stuff would never fit on even the currently largest available flash drives.)

So Ol' Myrt's question for her DearREADERS is what backup strategies have you instituted in case of computer failure to either backup or copy the document files, photos, scanned images and genealogy data files on your existing computer system?

Post your comments in reply to this blog entry, and let's see what ideas are working for you.

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

18 April 2009

Not Your Grandmother's Directory Assistance

DearREADERS,
Ol' Myrt's good friend, Lisa A. Alzo looks at how online directories can help genealogists connect
with their kin in her article "Not Your Grandmother's Directory Assistance", Internet Genealogy, January 2009, pages 17-18.

"In the good old days, if you wanted to contact someone, you’d look up the surname in a bulky, triple-thick printed book." Lisa then goes on to list 18 web-based resources for finding those elusive living relatives. Surely one of them has inherited the old family bible!

Ok, since these Internet-Genealogy Blog postings are to be informative, and not just shamless plugs for well-written magazines, Ol' Myrt will give you two of the links Lisa recommends:

You've got to admit, after a week of postings, that varied and worthwhile topics are being discussed in magazines published by Moorshead Publishing, Ltd.

Stay tuned, next week's offering are just as fascinating.

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

17 April 2009

Bushrangers: Outlaws of Australia's Wild Frontier


DearREADERS,
This graphic caught my attention, when thumbing through magazines to find another tidbit to share with you.

It's captioned: "The Kelly Gang's crude suits of armor weighed 97 pounds each", in an article by David A. Norris titled "Bushrangers: Outlaws of Australia’s Wild Frontier", History Magazine April/May 2009, pages 48-51.

Ol' Myrt here has read about waves of prisoners from England being shipped to Australia, but I'd had always thought the deportation scheme was just a way to get the poor off the street and out of debtor's prisons. Indeed, when beginning the read of "the most famous Bushranger of all: Ned Kelly" I see Ned's deportation was due to a conviction in Ireland for stealing 2 pigs. It sounded to me like the lad was merely hungry.

Read David's article to find out just how the Kelly Gang's life of crime necessitated wearing protective armor.
Not quite as fancy as the jousting gear worn by the Knights of the Round Table, eh?

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

16 April 2009

Guantanamo Bay history

DearREADERS,
Earlier this week, the the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper reported that US President Obama will ease restrictions on Cuba trade, travel. This is an historic reversal of U.S. policy. Since 9/11 we've heard a great deal about Guantanamo Bay and the detainees that are housed in the US naval station there. 

But just what do we know about the history of the area?

You may have had an ancestor who served on the island of Cuba as a Marine during the Spanish-American War, or wrote letters home from this stopping point during WWI.

Patrick McSherry chronicles the history of Guantanamo Bay and the contentious US Navy base with a timeline of events that goes back to Christopher Columbus's second voyage to the new world in 1494. Patrick mentions dollar figures spent by the US to develop the area, and how commercial ventures are not allowed. See "Guantanamo Bay" in History Magazine, April/May 2009, pages 10-12.

US authority for being on the island of Cuba is described in the article with info I'd never known before:

"First, it is not commonly realized that the initial agreement actually leased land for three naval bases. However, only the land at Guantanamo was actually used in the long term. A second base at Bahia Hondo was used for nine years before being abandoned. What is surprising to some is that the US still pays rent for the leased land. In 1903, the agreed annual payment for leasing the land at various locations in Cuba was $2,000 in gold. Presently, with inflation, the payment is more than $4,000. Protesting the base’s existence, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro refused to cash the lease payment checks provided by the US."

Isn't it enlightening to study up on the PLACE where our ancestor once lived and shed our 21st century cultural blinders. Its all about placing our ancestors in historical context.

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

15 April 2009

Taxing research?

DearREADERS,
According to Donna Murray, “you can make taxes pay off for your family history”. For those of us in the US, April 15th is the day we must pay our taxes, or face severe penalties. Many of our ancestors faced similar deadlines.

Donna writes: “MORE THAN 200 YEARS ago, America fought a war to win the right to tax ourselves. Through the years, politicians have elevated that right to an art form, finding new and unique ways to add to government coffers. For researchers, though, there’s an upside. Anyone who owned real or personal property was taxed. Since property owners were listed alphabetically and taxes were collected annually, data gleaned from tax rolls can fill in the gaps between population censuses.”

Her article recommends looking at school taxes, and even includes mention of an annual 40-cent dog tax. How I wish our dog and cat license tags cost as little today.

Check out Donna’s suggestions for where to locate tax rolls, a often over-looked resources for genealogists.

Source:
Murray, Donna. “Taxing Research.” Discovering Family History, April 2009, page 34.

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

14 April 2009

Proving Oral History & Missing the Titanic

DearREADERS,
What do you do when you’ve got a family story? If you ask me, it’s time to fish or cut bait.

Fish through surviving official documents (church, government) to see if the facts prove or disprove the oral tradition.

“According to the letter written in Emma (Rogers) Brown’s later years, there was not enough money available for the next ship, so they had to wait for a future sailing. The name of the ship they were unable to sail on was the Titanic! But it was not clear from the letter as to just who was in Canada and who had missed the ill-fated ship. So, I wondered, what could the recent release of the [Canadian] passenger lists confirm about this event?”

Often beginning family historians swallow the family stories – hook, line and sinker.

But many a family story have proved to be red herrings.

In this case, Marg Aldridge elected to test the veracity of the family story using numerous Canadian passenger lists, discovering a chain migration of the Brown family. But with a name like Brown, other items had to came into play to distinguish members of her family on various passenger lists. Follow Marg’s logic by reading “Proving Oral History & Missing the Titanic” in Family Chronicle, April 2009, page 43.

Let’s insure that every fact we gather in genealogy research is supported by high quality documentary evidence.

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

13 April 2009

The Knotty History of Neckties


DearREADERS,
Father's Day is coming up, and so the History Magazine featured an article by David A. Norris titled the "Knotty History of Neckties".

"The great-grandfather of today’s “long tie” was the cravat. The term derives from the French word for Croat. This neckwear was adapted from the style worn by Croatian soldiers who visited 17th-century France. King Louis XIV was impressed by the bright silk handkerchiefs that the Croatian officers wore around their necks. French fashion trend-setters adopted the cravat, which spread to England."

As you can see from the picture of Ol' Myrt's own father-dad type person, his preference was for bow ties. This photo was taken circa 1985 of Glen & Blanche Player in front of the fireplace at their home in Medina, Washington long before their declining years and subsequent passing in 2007 and 2006 respectively.

Dad didn't always look so dashing.
He also liked Hush Puppy shoes, going so far as to use the hot glue gun to reattach a loose sole much to the chagrin of the rest of us. He also ran around in a knitted army hat u ntil I appliqued an apple on a captain's hat for him to wear when piloting his boat "Apple A Day" (keeps the doctor away!) Cute, huh?

Either way, I sure do miss Dad now and wish that we could have him around -- bow ties, glued Hush Puppies and all. Happy Father's Day Dad!

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

New kid on the block

DearREADERS,
WELCOME to this first posting of the Internet-Genealogy Blog, something Ol' Myrt here hopes will be a marvelous adventure as we learn to solve our ancestral challenges together with advice from some of the best genealogy columnists and researchers to be found. The home for this new blog on the web is http://blog.internet-genealogy.com. (Be sure to insert the hyphen in there!)

BLOG TOPICS
The basis for six blog entries each week will be quotes from the following Moorshead Magazines, Ltd.:

And, of course, you can count on Ol' Myrt here to have an opinion or two -- thrown in for good measure.

COMMENTS WELCOMED
Since we've turned on "comments" this is a great way for you non-geneabloggers to express yourself when so inspired.

WHAT ABOUT DearMYRTLE's BLOG?
No, this doesn't mean I've given up writing my DearMYRTLE Blog -- it will be business as usual there.

It is just that so many exciting things are being discussed in these magazines, it will be a joy to spotlight them for my DearREADERS here at the Internet-Genealogy Blog.

SUBSCRIBE TODAY
So, to add the blog feed to your MS Outlook 2007, use the RSS feed code:
http://blog.internet-genealogy.com/feeds/posts/default

Or add the "Internet Genealogy Blog" to your Bloglines, iGoogle or Yahoo page. Whatever you do, subscribe TODAY!

Ol' Myrt here has all sorts of ideas for blog entries, and I do look forward to reading your responses.

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