24 June 2009

SoCal Jamboree 2009: On my way




DearREADERS,
As we speak, Ol' Myrt here is in the middle of the desert with her car packed to the gills, on the way to participate as a speaker and exhibit hall vendor at the 2009 Southern California Genealogy Jamboree to be held this weekend, Friday through Sunday 26-28 June, at the Burbank Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, Burbank, California. From the Jamboree website:

Jamboree has several speakers who form the core of the lecture faculty and who are frequent presenters at the conference. These speakers include Jana Broglin, CG; Bruce Buzbee; Bill Dollarhide; Arlene Eakle, Ph.D. FUGA; Wendy Elliott, Ph.D., FUGA; Bennett Greenspan, Leland Meitzler, Geoffrey Rasmussen, George G. Morgan and Drew Smith, and Elaine Alexander among others.

A number of speakers will be making their Jamboree debuts this year: Tony Burroughs, FUGA; DearMYRTLE; Maureen Taylor; Jean Wilcox Hibben, Ph.D., CG; Feargal O'Donnell of the Irish Family History Foundation; Tom Kemp; Lisa Alzo, and many others. David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA will return after a few years' absence.

The Friday night banquet keynote will be delivered by Dr. Tukufu Zuberi, one of the stars of PBS's series, "History Detectives." Other activities will be this year's version of the very popular "Effective Society Management" panel discussion on Saturday morning, dinner with David Rencher on Saturday evening, and "The Art of Mourning - A Victorian Obsession" for a cheerful start to the day on Sunday.

Last year's Blogger Summit was such a success that it is being repeated in 2009. "Blogger Summit 2: Son of Blogger" will feature many of the leading information leaders in the geneablogging community today: Lisa Louise Cooke; DearMYRTLE; Dick Eastman; Leland Meitzler; TheAncestryInsider; Craig Manson; George G. Morgan; Stephen Danko, Ph.D.; and Schelly Talalay Dardashti.


Of particular interest are Friday sessions:
  • Librarians (with geneablogger friend Thomas J. Kemp)
  • Beginning Genealogy (Beverly Truesdale and Lynne Parmenter)
  • Kids' Family History Camp (Starr Campbell, Hailey Campbell, Michael Melendez, Maureen Taylor and Jeanne Wilcox Hibben, Ph.D., CG) I wonder if Jeanne will be playing her guitar?

The Jamboree blog is your source for all the details -- speakers, lectures, exhibitors, hotel, travel and directions, registration online and by mail, events, etc.

Ol' Myrt's classes are geared for beginning genealogists:

  • Friday 1:30om-2:30pm ~ Finding Digital Items in the Family History Library Catalog. With indices and scanned image collections residing at BYU, FamilySearch and a variety of state-sponsored websites, researchers are in a quandary as to how to locate the collections. The answer is to look in the Family History Library Catalog, a logical place for genealogists to start.
  • Saturday 9:30am-noon ~ Summit 2: Son of Blogger Panel Discussion. Genealogu bloggers, podcasters and video casters use the Internet in ways that have changed communications to genealogists and family historians. This panel discussion will cover a wide range of topics include: How have bloggers changed the flow of information between vendors and their customers? How can family history blogs help to exchange information and locate cousins? What are the ethical issues of blogging? What tips do these pros have for starting your own blog? What tools are available to help bloggers get up and running.
  • Saturday 1:30pm-2:30pm ~ The Winter of our Discontent: Three Months to Better Organization. We've heard about marathon runners. How about a marathon to finally get organized? Myrt quickens the pace of her 12-month program and asks you to devote a mere 12 weeks to the process. You can do this! Includes sorting, filing, data input, scanning photographs, documenting artifacts and creating family history experiences for the non-genealogists in the family.
  • Saturday 3pm-4pm ~ Seven Habits of Highly Effective Genealogists. The class focuses on feedback from other genealogists who would do things differently if they were starting over from scratch. Handouts include research log, research checklist, a plan for filing paper documents and information leading to proper source citation.

So come on down! Hope to see you at the Jamboree.

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

22 June 2009

Podcast of IG Blog now available

DearREADERS,
Bowing to your requests, Ol' Myrt here has added the Odiogo.com auto-podcast feature to the Internet-Genealogy Blog.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
You may elect to listen to individual blog entries manually by visiting the Internet-Genealogy Blog website and clicking the "Listen Now" button at the top of each blog entry.

Once you've clicked to listen to the podcast, you'll notice there are other options:
  • Send the podcast feed to iTunes, Juice or Zune.
  • Send to your own MP3 player.
  • Send to a web reader such as MyYahoo, netvibes, Google, MyMSN, newsgator, myAOL
  • Share the podcast with Facebook, Del.icio.us, Digg or Technotati.

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

19 June 2009

READERS' FEEDBACK: Chicago records online & spelling


DearREADERS,
Within an hour of yesterday's posting Chicago: accessing online records, Tami and Jackie provided additional insight to help Ol' Myrt with her Illinois ancestry. Both responses came via my Facebook account, where a copy of all blog entries are automatically cross-posted.

FROM: Jackie Fry
"The only thing I don't like is when I went to look up my parents marriage record, my mother's maiden name GENTZEN was misspelled, BUT when I looked up her BIRTH record it was spelled correctly. Now whenever I look up the former, I go by my dad's surname (and mine) of FRY because at least that is spelled right."

TO: DearJACKIE,
FROM: DearMYRTLE
The spelling of names is more than a challenge of interpreting old handwriting. Ol' Myrt here has an ancestor in Maryland who purchased many tracts of land along the Pautuxent River beginning in 1679. On one of the land transaction documents, his name was spelled two different ways, and he signed it a third way. That sort of thing wrecks havoc when attempting to figure out which way to spell his name in a database.
Ol' Myrt here settled for spelling his name the way it appeared on the majority of the proof documents mentioning him. However, the transcriptions of each document faithfully followed the spelling (or misspelling).

FROM: Tami Glatz
TO: DearMYRTLE,
Re: Chicago: accessing online records
"The Newberry Libary sponsors www.chicagoancestors.org which links to the Cook County Illinois databases, and includes several other good ones - city directories, maps, and lots more, under the "tools" tab."

FROM: Jackie Fry
TO: DearMYRTLE & Tami
"I love the htwww.chicagoancestors.org site. I have found many of my relatives in the city directories."

DearREADERS,
THANKS Jackie and Tami for your encouragement. Such interaction among genealogists is how we learn. I can hardly wait to start using the ChicagoAncestors.org website.

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

17 June 2009

Chicago: accessing online records




DearREADERS,

"RESEARCHING YOUR ANCESTORS in Chicago and Cook County can be a bit
arduous. You can wait months to find out if a vital record exists and to obtain a copy of it. Finally, a website has been created that will change all that,
www.cookcountygenealogy.com ." Source: Chicago Records Go Online by Diane L. Richards. Internet Genealogy Magazine, Dec/Dan 2009, page 40.

Ultimately, this site will contain:

  • Birth records 75 years or older (before today's date in 1934)
  • Marriage records 50 years or older (before today's date in 1959)
  • Death records 20 years or older (before today's date in 1989).

HOW IT WORKS
Ol' Myrt has an ancestor -- her INFAMOUS & ELUSIVE Dolly (Yockey) Weiser, who supposedly died in Cook County, Illinois. At this time, Dolly's death certificate isn't in the collection. I did however, search just for the surname Weiser, and found Frederick Weiser's 11 Aug 1919 death certificate.

CAUTION
One thing Ol' Myrt noticed about this website
-- if you forget your password, you must register under a different email account. This site has no provision for sending you an email reminder of your existing password. That isn't a big deal, since most of us have more than one email address. However, since this is a fairly easy fix for the web designers, reminders of passwords should be added as an alternative for old folks like me who forget things sometimes.

VIEWING, PRINTING & SAVING
So to view a copy of his death certificate, the website explains I must pay $15 for the image. The site explains: "Upon completion of payment, you will be able to download the original image of your record(s). The download will be a .zip file and will be available immediately. Please do not leave the site without downloading your records. You'll find more information about downloading here. You may return to the site within 30 days and download your records via My Account screen. Please review Software Requirements and Downloading Help before you checkout. A credit card fee of $1.75 will be charged for your total order."

Myrt's recommendation?
Line up a list of birth, marriage and death records before completing one order, to avoid paying $1.75 credit card processing fees for individual record requests.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Myrt@DearMYRTLE.com

15 June 2009

Meet the editors







DearREADERS,
No, this isn't a criminal line-up at the local police station. It's a picture of Ol' Myrt (middle) with Family Chronicle publisher and editor Ed Zapletal (left) and circulation director Rick Cree (right) taken at the 2009 National Genealogical Society Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina in May. What I haven't shown you are photos of the dinner festivities with other genealogists at "The Pit", a local barbecue joint that certainly rates attention next time you visit Raleigh.

If you are planning to attend the any of the upcoming FGS or NGS conferences, take the time to stop by the Family Chronicle booth and meet the staff. Ol' Myrt here also spends an hour or two each day at the booth to meet her DearREADERS and ask for ideas for upcoming blog entries.



You can also peruse recent issues of all four magazines published by these fellows:

In Raleigh, someone purchased a previous issue with info about the mafia, quite simply because his daughter-in-law's father is in the mob. You just never know, do you? Ol' Myrt here is not sure I'd want to bark up that family tree, unless I restricted myself to 18th and 19th century ancestors.

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

13 June 2009

Writers wanted

DearREADERS,
Got an idea? Want to write for Internet Genealogy (IG) magazine?

THEY’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!

If you have an idea for an article that you would like to propose to the editors, whether you are an experienced genealogist or a relative newcomer to the hobby, send them a short e-mail edward@moorshead.com outlining your thoughts.

IG may not always be able to accept your proposal, but they will consider it and give you an answer, usually within a few days. The IG editors encourage prospective authors to visit their website and explore the Authors’ Notes page. Most of what you need to know about writing for Internet Genealogy is there, and you can always e-mail the editors if you have further questions.

Besides, it helps to know SOMEONE is making progress climbing their family tree.

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

12 June 2009

Dating & More Dating Old Photographs



DearREADERS,
Ol' Myrt here spent the better part of the morning in Second Life talking with a researcher from Montana who faces challenges of identifying ancestors in old photographs which unfortunately have been passed down without labels. We talked about clues found in two books, now available on CD from the publishers of Family Chronicle magazine. (See my Second Life avatar standing in front of the two book cover displays.)
We have to sometimes take into account that for instance a daguerreotype of a young woman probably dates between 1839 and 1850 when the ambrotype process came into vogue. Therefore the woman cannot possibly be your 2nd great-grandmother who wasn't born until 1871.
Clothing, the mounting board and the backdrop can also be clues. Ol' Myrt here advised my Second Life friend to use these two books (on CD) to reason out the possible identity of the subjects in her two family portraits.
Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.

11 June 2009

SCOOP: Recession-Proof Your Research

DearREADERS,
Ol' Myrt got a sneak peek of the July/Aug 2009 issue of Family Chronicle magazine which will hit news stands later this month and is pleased to note the cover story is "Recession-Proof Your Research". Stretching our genealogy dollars is all the more challenging with today's economic difficulties. Among many suggestions, author Lisa A. Alzo points out:
"Typically, subscribing to just one site will not give you access to all the
records you’ll want to check. Many sites offer either monthly subscriptions, or
pay-as-you-view credits. This may be a cost effective option for shorter periods
of searching."

Indeed, why NOT organize your life to include twenty 8-hour research days over the next month? Order in Chinese and don't answer the phone. That way the other 11 months of the year can be spent networking with living family members, sharing what you've learned.

Then in a year, you can have a go at it again, to see what's been added in the interim.

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

10 June 2009

African American and American Indian Patriots in the Revolutionary War

DearREADERS,
The new and revised printing of Forgotten Patriots: African American and American Indian Patriots in the Revolutionary War, compiled by the Daughters of the American Revolution, fills a large hole in African-American and Native American research.

Each entry includes the name, race and place of residence for each known combatant. Entries are alphabetized by state. Each state entry begins with a short history of the Revolutionary War and its relation to African-American and Native American inhabitants of the area.

Visit http://www.dar.org/omni/shopping/shopping.html.

SOURCE: Discovering Family History magazine, May/June 2009, page 7.

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

09 June 2009

20-Mule Teams of Death Valley

DearREADERS,
Ol' Myrt here is preparing for a trip later this month across the deserts of California, as she travels from Salt Lake City across Death Valley to present 5 classes at the upcoming South California Genealogical Society's Genealogy Jamboree. The last time I traversed that stretch of desert, we lost a water pump on an 18-month old Buick Century. In the 19th century railroads and wagons travered the wild terrain.

"When Stiles got his first look at the wagons that would challenge Death Valley, he couldn’t believe his eyes. They were the biggest wagons he’d ever seen. The wagons were 16 feet long, six feet deep, four feet wide and made of solid oak. Weighing 7,800 pounds each, they rolled on rear wheels seven feet tall at the rear, five feet tall in the front and had tires made of one inch thick iron.

To change one would require the muscle of six men. When hitched together, each wagon loaded with ten tons of ore plus a 1,200-gallon water tank, the total weight of the mule train was 73,200 pounds, 36-1/2 tons. During the six years of hauling borax from the refining operations to Mojave, not one wagon ever broke down due to construction."

SOURCE: "The 20-Mule Teams of Death Valley" by John Shriver. History Magazine. Apr/May 2009, pages 23-24.


I can only hope my Death Valley travels will go as smoothly. Instead of a wagon, Ol' Myrt here opts to use her new-fangled GMC Envoy equipped with the all-to-necessary air conditioning most common in the 21st century. And believe me I've seen that the vehicle has just had a tune-up. Mechanics tell me the water pump looks fine.

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

08 June 2009

Chinese-Canadian Resources

DearREADERS,
There is much talk lately about Chinese ancestral research. How Ol' Myrt here wishes she had a compiled family history extending back over thousands of years. But if your Chinese roots get tangled up in the 19th and 20th century in Canada, an recent article by Elizabeth LaPointe discusses some resources designed to expedite your research.
THE HEAD TAX
"With the passing of the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885, Chinese-Canadians were required to pay a $50 Head Tax upon entering Canada. This was done to control Chinese immigration. Only those who had the money to pay the Head Tax would be able to settle in Canada. The tax was amended to $100 with the Chinese immigration Act of 1900, and finally raised to $500 a person by the Chinese Immigration Act of 1903. "

SOURCE: "Uncovering Chinese-Canadian Resources" by Elizabeth LaPoint. Internet Genealogy Magazine. Dec/Jan 2009, pages 20-21.

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

02 June 2009

A grinding halt

DearREADERS,
Traveling with a laptop is the anticipated norm these days. Ol' Myrt has been away nearly a month, but for the past week I've been haggling with Dell over my six month old laptop, which decided to have a motherboard malfunction.

Accessing the Internet was possible through local library computers - but I need my files, my email address book, my calendar.

Accessing my home computer using www.GoToMyPC.com would have provided nearly seamless access to my home computer IF said computer hadn't decided to hiccup while rebooting after an automatic antivirus update. What was required was to ask one of my daughters to go and reboot the computer.

THEN, I'd have access to my email address book.

THEN, I'd have access to the original banner ads Ol' Myrt here needs to distribute to new advertising partners.

THEN, I'd have access to files necessary to work my blogs.

ALTHOUGH I THOUGHT I'd done enough by providing a copy of all documents and backup of email to my laptop, the fact that the laptop died at the same time as my home computer acted up provided an interesting challenge.

IS THE ANSWER to leave everything online? Rely on online email service? Rely on online file storage in uncompressed format? Then am I not at the mercy of the computers used by those online services? I guess nothing is perfect -- Gmail users had no access to mail or calendars for most of a day in early May, bringing their productivity to a grinding halt.

Ol' MYRT HERE thinks we have forgotten our roots.

Things weren't always perfect back on the farm. Farm machinery broke down for our ancestors. The prize winning bull succumbs to an unanticipated illness. The chickens stop laying eggs, and tornadoes destroyed crops.

For Ol' Myrt as well as her ancestors, it is all a matter of picking one's self up, dusting one's self off and starting all over again. (Isn't there a song about that?)

Downtime is apparently something we're not willing to endure in the 21st century, myself included.

But a new computer later -- Ol' Myrt here is looking forward to a good week of blogging interaction with my DearREADERS. Write to me and let me know what important genealogy news I've missed this week.

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