REVISED: AmericaGen Study Group Sessions

AmericaGen Study Group

We’re stepping things up a notch and adding a second session nearly every month to the AmericaGen Study Group. Our adjusted schedule will be as follows:

Wednesday, June 27, 2018 Chapter 5 Libraries and the National Archives NARA
Wednesday, July 11, 2018 Chapter 6 Reference Works
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 Chapter 7 Organizing and Evaluating Your Research Findings
Wednesday, August 15, 2018 Chapter 8 Successful Correspondence
Wednesday, August 29, 2018 Chapter 9 Computer Technology and Family History
Skip session – Unlock the Past Alaska Cruise
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 Chapter 10 Family History on the Internet
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 Chapter 11 Family History: Going Beyond Genealogy
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 Chapter 12 Compiled Sources & Newspapers
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 Chapter 13 Vital Records
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 Chapter 14 Census Returns
Wednesday, December 12, 2018 Chapter 15 Using Census Records in Your Research
Wednesday, January 9, 2019 Chapter 16 Understanding Probate Records & Legal Terminology
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 Chapter 17 What About Wills?
Wednesday, February 13, 2019 Chapter 18 The Intestate, Miscellaneous Probate Records and Guardianships
Skip Session – RootsTech 2019
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 Chapter 19 Local Land Records
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 Chapter 20 Abstracting Probate and Land Records
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 Chapter 21 Abstracting Probate and Land Records
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 Chapter 22 Court Records and Family History
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 Chapter 23 Property Rights of Women as a Consideration
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 Chapter 24 Church Records and Family History
Wednesday, June 12, 2019 Chapter 25 Immigrant Origins: American Finding Aids
Wednesday, June 26, 2019 Chapter 26 Military Records: Colonial Wars and the American Revolution
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 Chapter 27 Military Records: After the Revolution
Wednesday, July 31, 2019 Chapter 28 Cemetery and Burial Records


Sessions are archived at:

Researchers Guide to American Genealogy 4th Edition by Val D. Greenwood, 2017 (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.) Available in paperback

Due to copyright restrictions, panel participants have been instructed to write about one part of the chapter that “speaks to” them. Examples are from their own research. When quoting the author, Val D. Greenwood, panelists will merely incorporate a sentence or two in their homework.

All panelists have viewed The Legal Genealogist Judy Russell’s interview with DearMYRTLE and Cousin Russ located here:


DearMYRTLE's Profile Pic
Myrt’s Musings

Here’s the link to DearMYRTLE’s Event Calendar –

Here’s the link to the GeneaWebinars Blog & Calendar of other genealogy webinars, chats and hangouts –



Disclosure Statement

As author of DearMYRTLE’s Genealogy Blog (old) and Myrt’s Musings (new) blogs I make the following statements:

EMAIL: Understandably, it is impossible to answer every email or blog comment. However, when Ol’ Myrt here notices trends, I may decide to use your email query as a lead-in for an upcoming blog post.  For that reason, I advise my DearREADERS to use a “genealogy email” address, and maintain anti-virus and anti-spam software to minimize issues. If you do not wish to have your email address included in the blog post, please so specify in your initial query. Your query may be slightly edited for length and/or clarity. Bear in mind, you will then have to follow the blog comments to find any responses which may prove useful to your research. Ol’ Myrt here is quite simply unable to pass information privately between researchers.  Click to view CONTACT FORM

CONTENT and recommended links reflect my personal opinion. All links are valid at the time of publication. The sites I link to are not under my control. If their content changes after publication, I don’t expect to go back and change my blog postings, so use Google, or get creative and explore that external website for the information you seek. I also recommend Internet’s WayBack Machine. I expect to make minor adjustments from time to time, but frankly, spending time with my grandchildren is much more important to me than fixing URLs for websites that capriciously change their links.

BLOG HONORS:As a genealogy blogger, I have been selected from time to time as a blog of honor for a specific conference. I clearly state so in my blog postings about a conference.FamilyHistoryExpos.comand have provided free admission, and an occasional dinner in exchange for this honor.

ADVERTISING: DearMYRTLE does not accept advertising.

VERIFICATION: Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

COMPENSATION: The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinions on products, services, websites and various other topics. I always give my honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely this bloggers’ own. The owner has received products, services, payments from the following:

  • Amazon: I periodically use and clearly label affiliate links and advertising for Amazon on this blog and other blogs and websites I own.  I receive compensation for sales made through these links to Amazon.
  • AncestorSync: I have received a complimentary copy of AncestorSync no longer in production.
  • I have attended various blogger day events which have included compensation for travel and meal expenses; I have attended various events at genealogy conferences (by invitation) which included free meals and free copies of Family Tree Maker software as well as logo ware (promotion items with the logo).
  • Association of Professional Genealogists – I am a member of APG.
  • BetterGEDCOM I participated as a co-founder and volunteer organizer at BetterGEDCOM. I received no income from this association. I funded the chat room, advanced wikispaces account, and usually hosted a developers meeting weekly using my personal account. I elected to take emeritus status, and the group has morphed into
  • DropBox – My articles about include a referral link, and have explained that an individual’s Dropbox space can be expanded up to 16GB of space as we refer friends.
  • Fairfax Genealogical Society. I am a previous member of this society, and support my husband’s interests with this organization.
  • Family History Expos: I have been named a Blogger of Honor by Family History Expos and/or have presented as a speaker for various events including the Arizona, Utah and Georgia. In exchange, I receive complimentary registration, complimentary wi-fi access, complimentary banquet or event admission, as well as complimentary promotional gift items. However, I was not otherwise paid for my presentations or participation in the Blogger of Honor space in the exhibit hall.
  • FamilySearch: I have attended various events at genealogy conferences (by invitation) which included transportation, accommodations, meals and free FamilySearch logo promotional items. In addition, I attended the Family Search Bloggers Day on October 21, 2010 and I was compensated for transportation, hotel accommodations and meals. And I have been designated a RootsTech Official Blogger for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, and official Ambassador in 2015-2018, which entitled me to free registration, free ethernet connection to the web, use of audio and video recording space during the conference when available. I am a member of the LDS Church, but do not consider this a conflict of interest.
  • I have given a variety of webinars for this website and received a speaker’s honorarium. In addition there are monthly residuals based on the number of times these webinars were viewed after the live event.
  • Federation of Genealogical Societies: As a 2011 FGS Conference Official Blogger, I received press credentials and free conference pass. All other expenses of travel, hotel and meals remain my personal responsibility.
  • had given me complimentary access to its website from time to time. I currently have a paid access account.
  • now called I occasionally use labeled affiliate links and advertising for Footnote on this blog and other blogs and websites I own. I receive compensation for sales made through these links to Fold3.
  • Genealogical Publishing Company: I receive complimentary copies of books and other items for review. I keep the items for personal use or I will often donate them to local or regional libraries for their non-circulating genealogy departments, or to genealogical societies as door prizes.
  • Genealogical Speakers Guild: I have been a member of GSG, but no longer travel to speak for local genealogy societies.
  • GenealogyBank: I have used labeled affiliate links and advertising for GenealogyBank on this blog. I receive compensation for sales made through these links to GenealogyBank, but I pay for my membership access to this service.
  • GeneaWebinars: I set up this .com website to point to the blog, created the Google calendar and invite all known webinar hosts and virtual presenters to have author rights to the blog and admin rights to the calendar. This effort costs me about $20 annually.
  • I have received a complimentary pro membership to from time to time.
  • DearMYRTLE Genealogy Community on Google+  is a free service from Google. I do not receive any compensation from this.
  • Legacy Family Tree: I have received complimentary copies of software and training materials. I also have produced several webinars for which I have been compensated via speakers fees and recording royalties.
  • I previously received complimentary membership to, though now I have a free LDS account with this service.
  • Pay What You Want – DearMYRTLE’s Hangouts on Air are provided free of charge, with the consideration that if attendees like the work DearMYRTLE is doing, a consideration can be made in the form of “Pay What You Want” via PayPal or credit card through PayPal. See Hangouts: Pay what you want blog post for details.
  • RootsMagic: I have received free copies of software on various occasions.
  • Second Life: I am a dues paying member of, at this this site offering free and paid access to this virtual reality space. As the owner of  the Just Genealogy area, I pay for the land (about $75 monthly) and advertising. I have created both meeting and display space for hosting genealogy meetings throughout the week. I do receive rental income from those who use cottages in Just Genealogy. Income just covers my expenses.  I also have built on land in the LDS area known as the Family History Centre, where there are links to record collections. I have permission to host weekly meetings at the Centre.
  • Speaking Engagements: From time to time, DearMYRTLE is invited to speak virtually (via computer). I receive a speaker’s fee which varies depending on circumstances.
  • WikiTree: I have received a complimentary access to WikiTree, and have experimented with the newly emerging WikiTree photo pedigrees.
  • WorldVitalRecords: I have an affiliate relationship with this website, and have been provided complimentary access to the site.

Pat Richley-Erickson 
Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
G+: +Pat Richley-Erickson
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont
Click for the CONTACT FORM

updated 21 May 2018.

DearMYRTLE’s Privacy Policy

As principle author at the DearMYRTLE website, I make the following statements.

We respect your right to privacy and categorically will not share any personally identifying information with third parties without your expressed written permission.

Your interaction with DearMYRTLE properties is strictly voluntary.

Regarding the Myrt’s Musings (new) blog

Regarding the DearMYRTLE’s Genealogy Blog (old) on Google’s platform with a redirect from to

Regarding website

Regarding DearMYRTLE’s YouTube Channel

DearMYRTLE Webinar events

  • Our webinar service provider aggregates email addresses in order to send individual attendee registration confirmation & reminder emails with the URL for each to join as an attendee or panelist. See Zoom’s Official Statement: EU GDPR Compliance Statement.
  • Webinar panelists arrive in the webinar with the name provided at registration as an automatic “lower third” label that shows up when they are in the spotlight video.
  • Attendees arrive in the webinar with the name provided at registration and any comments posted by an attendee are time-stamped and prefixed with that same name.
  • I personally collect an emergency street address, alternate contact name and phone number for all panelists in a dedicated study group, such as AmericaGen. This info will only be used in case of emergency where a panelists takes ill while online with us and we wish to call for help.
  • When DearMYRTLE gives away gift cards, genealogy books, or software, the winner provides an email with identifying information so the item can be received via return email or US/Canada postal service. The following email format must be used for a person to redeem a prize, and constitutes written permission to share this information one time with the fulfillment partner.

Thank-you for naming me a give-away winner.
Webinar Title:
Item I Won:
Full Name:
Street Address:
I hereby give you permission to share this information one time with _______(fulfillment partner) __________________ so the item can be delivered.

img_2515.jpgPat Richley-Erickson,
Updated 21 May 2018


ARCHIVED: WACKY Wednesday “Online Searches – How do you approach a web site?”

Making Family History Videos

DearMYRTLE’s very distant Cousin, Sweet Sadie, joins Cousin Russ in hosting this webinar as we look at various search strategies including the following websites:

  • Ancestry
  • Fold3
  • FamilySearch
  • The concept for searching a database for all possible ancestors, since you’ve worked hard to get the citation perfected. Then it is just a matter of copy/paste and a tweak to include the correct name for the ancestor in question.


19:00:41 From Debi Polen : Hello!

Ethnicity graphic created by DearMYRTLE
19:02:17 From Cousin Russ : DearMYRTLE and Cousin Russ recognize the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024. We reach out to _all_ regardless of race, color, creed, sexual orientation or national origin with support for researching family and documenting cultural inheritance.
19:05:28 From shelleymurphy : Good evening all!

19:07:40 From shelleymurphy : I typically have ancestry and familysearch both open when I am researching.
19:07:49 From Yvonne Demoskoff : Hi, Debi and Shelley!
19:10:28 From Molly : I like to have my genealogy database open, Familysearch and Ancestry. This helps me switch back and forth; if the question is not answered with one, I try the other.

19:17:53 From Dustin Austin : Yes – I believe it should! Follow the FAN
19:18:09 From Debi Polen : My DB has FAN Club members too
19:18:45 From Dustin Austin to All panelists : It REALLY Helps with DNA matching as well!
19:22:57 From shelleymurphy : Same here Molly!
19:24:34 From Susan Bleimehl : I don’t know what military unit my father served with in WWII and I have no papers from him, but in his best buddy’s obituary, whom we vacationed with as children, had a memtion of what unit he served with. Since they met in the service, I am assuming they were in the same unit and am currently persuing this line of inquiry. Without searching the FAN club and having him in my tree as a person of interest, I’d still be in the dark about a possible service unit for my dad.

Robert Kehrer 30indexed

IMAGE: Robert Kehrer, Finding Elusive Records in FamilySearch, YouTube video, ( : viewed 29 Jan 2018) Includes the following three segments with insightful search strategies. Robert is the program manager for FamilySearch “Search” and “Hint” features.

19:26:53 From Cousin Russ : • Robert Kehrer’s FamilySearch – Search from the FamilySearch Catalog

19:27:04 From Cousin Russ : • Robert Kehrer’s FamilySearch – Search Indices Created from Images Sets

19:27:10 From Cousin Russ : • Robert Kehrer’s FamilySearch – Navigating Image Waypoints

19:29:24 From Molly : By doing that, putting in Florida, United States, I found the death certificates for 1905-1939! There were browsable and I found my grandparents’ death certificates. It was a lot of work, but so much worth the time.
19:49:19 From shelleymurphy : Wow! two different records on the same day.
19:51:12 From shelleymurphy : Wow……wow…okay he made it out. whew.
19:52:01 From Debi Polen : Fold3’s search is not as robust in alternate spellings as Family Search / Ancestry
19:55:19 From shelleymurphy : I use fold3 all the time

To answer Susan Bleimehl’s question about finding military records, Sweet Sadie recommends:
20:02:33 From Cousin Russ : Jennifer Holik’s WWII Education Facebook Group
20:02:40 From Cousin Russ : Jennifer Holik’s WWI Books at Amazon
20:03:39 From Susan Bleimehl : Thanks, I’ll pursue those items.
20:04:04 From Deb : Her guy found the morning reports for my dad.
20:04:07 From Sherry Wilmes : Last week at NARA Washington, DC, there were more than 120 pages for my 3x grandfather and grandmother I payroll cards and pension file, The Innovation Hub scanning process will give my family an online record each can use to examine their story! I learned about that from Dear Myrtle and Cousin Russ. Thanks again to you and NARA!

20:04:30 From Cousin Russ : Randy Seaver’s Changes to Mining Hints by Specific Record Collection
20:04:36 From Cousin Russ : CONVERSATION CONTINUES HERE:

20:05:06 From shelleymurphy : It was good, have a good evening!
20:05:16 From Debi Polen : Thank you

DearMYRTLE's Profile Pic
Myrt’s Musings

For future reference, this is the link to DearMYRTLE’s Event Calendar –

Here’s the link to the GeneaWebinars Blog & Calendar of other genealogy webinars, chats and hangouts –

Most DearMYRTLE Webinars are embedded in a Myrt’s Musings blog post, along with selected comments and links we mention at

COMMENT AFTER the webinar at



ARCHIVED: Mondays with Myrt 14 May 2018


After 3 weeks hiatus, we discussed

  • Pat Kuhn’s collaboration including family photos
  • The Virtual Genealogy Society
  • THE Genealogy Show 2019 in Birmingham at the NEC
  • Family Tree LIVE in April 2019 in London at the Alexandra Palace
  • Randy Seaver’s mother’s high school records
  • The Ancestry search problem announcement
  • The 23andMe vs. Ancestry lawsuit
  • Thomas Jones 150 years of probate and and Elizabeth Shown Mills 20104 soldiers in the same unit – to identify men with the same name
  • Desktop family tree software vs. online trees
  • Prioritizing which genealogy conference, show, institute or classes to attend


00:56:19 Bill West: Goood morning from not quite sunny southeastern Massachusetts!
00:57:01 Cousin Russ: DearMYRTLE and Cousin Russ recognize the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024. We reach out to _all_ regardless of race, color, creed, sexual orientation or national origin with support for researching family and documenting cultural inheritance.
Professional Genealogy PPS
00:58:21 Melinda Culpon: Professional Genealogy: Preparation, Practice & Standards – Elizabeth Shown Mills
01:10:22 Cousin Russ:

Virtual Genealogy Society
01:10:39 Jacqueline Wilson: I just signed up for that!
01:10:47 Cousin Russ:
01:11:01 Randy Seaver: I joined too
01:11:54 Yvonne Demoskoff: I joined too, Randy; looking forward to it.

01:12:18 Cousin Russ:
01:12:33 Randy Seaver: I think I read that VGS webinars would be available to members for 6 months after the live talk.
01:13:50 Dave Robison: I would like to suggest that any purchases made at Amazon, use the URL You’ll still sign into your own account but a small % of every purchase will be given to the charity of your choice.

Family Tree LIVE 2019
01:15:29 Cousin Russ:
01:17:04 Randy Seaver: so we all could have a two month visit to the UK and go to both of them. Maybe someone could sponsor a genealogy cruise in between the two conferences.
01:17:52 Liv Christensen: I hope to go with a group of Norwegian genealogists.
01:18:31 Cousin Russ: Betty Carringer’s School Records
01:18:56 Hilary Gadsby: Would be great to meet you again Liv
01:19:04 Melinda Culpon: Trying to get my Brummie friend to meet me in Birmingham next year.
01:19:45 Hilary Gadsby: That would be great Melinda
01:19:49 Dave Robison: The Museum of Springfield History and Archives has a massive collection of school records from all Springfield, Mass schools from about 1895 to 1940.
01:23:05 Pat Kuhn: had Latin 1 year, hated it!!!
01:23:48 Hilary Gadsby: I have some of my mother’s reports
01:24:21 Jacqueline Wilson: Random acts of kindness!
01:24:26 Pat Kuhn: I have one for my mother and one for my father

01:25:17 Randy Seaver:
01:27:42 Yvonne Demoskoff: One of the issues I’ve had lately with Ancestry is when I search for someone I get very few (say only a dozen or so) results. I used to get 100s before this problem came up.
01:29:39 Yvonne Demoskoff: And the results or matches aren’t any more relevant than they used to be.
01:31:31 Molly McKinley: Great advice.
01:32:52 Jacqueline Wilson: The book [ProfGen: PPS] is out of stock & will be available on May 16! It sold out!!!!!
01:36:02 Robbin Smith: Mine is being delivered today
01:38:52 Robbin Smith: I dislike those kinds of “photos” too
01:42:44 Shelley Murphy: yes

Regarding 23&Me lawsuit against AncestryDNA, DearMYRTLE recommends joining Blaine Bettinger’s Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques Facebook Group. There is simply no way to independently create the information he provides there.

01:43:17 Shelley Murphy: I believe it’s a very valid point
01:43:24 Robbin Smith: ok by me


Forensic Genealogist CeCe Moore partnered with a company to work with law enforcement.
01:43:45 Shelley Murphy: CeCe opened another company
01:43:54 Karen Trearchis: I think it was a good use to the database. I am glad they caught the man.
01:45:15 Rebecca Williams: My opinion: If you put your information on an open public website, then you shouldn’t be upset. Law enforcement has used DNA since around 1988.
01:45:36 Shelley Murphy: she posted on Facebook about it
01:46:33 Robbin Smith: I agree with Rebecca
01:46:52 Robbin Smith: i would object if they got the DNA match thru the private companies
01:47:01 Jacqueline Wilson: I am sooooo sorry to hear about your family member. Hoping for a quick recovery
01:47:32 Randy Seaver: Parabon
01:47:37 Jacqueline Wilson: Yeah for decluttering!!!
01:47:40 Linda Stufflebean: My son was born in CA in 1988 – yesterday I saw a story online that CA has taken DNA swabs from infants born there since 1983 and parents were told. I don’t ever remember hearing about it and the DNA is stored in a database.
01:47:54 Karen Trearchis: I am very sorry to learn about your family member.
01:54:35 Jacqueline Wilson: It was live-streamed, so I got to see it!
02:00:19 Jacqueline Wilson: Will Legacy talk to Ancestry? NOTE: Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic are the only programs that can perform a data/image sync between an Ancestry Member Tree and the desktop version of the software programs. Legacy can indicate hints for various websites.

02:00:43 Bill West: Being paranoid, I keep a RM database on my computer in case I lose internet access. And I keep online trees in case my hard drive goes kaput.
02:02:38 Randy Seaver: The most pertinent article I’ve written about having genealogy software vs. online trees is probably at
02:05:24 Randy Seaver: Jacqueline, Legacy Family Tree will be able to talk to your MyHeritage tree soon. Gilad’s webinar last week was excellent.
02:07:18 Hilary Gadsby: I have several programs on my PC but that is because I like different features from each of them. My main program does not sync with any online tree but does find hints if I want them.

Deciding to go to a genealogy class, conference or institute is based on the following factors, different for each individual.

  • Proximity to one’s residence
  • Time of year with regard to family and work requirements
  • Proximity to an ancestral place of research
  • RootsTech (go there at least once)
  • Institutes offer a week of instructor-led course study, frequently with homework,

02:14:08 Hilary Gadsby: I have decided not to go to RootsTech next year as I am expecting to meet up with many of them in the UK events. I may go in 2020 however. I am going to Guild conference as well next year as it is 40th anniversary and in an area where I can stay and do research.
02:14:40 Hilary Gadsby: By them I mean friends.
02:15:07 Melinda Culpon: In my opinion I think those of you who were “covering” the conference had a different experience than just attending RootsTech. But yes I am more of a student
02:16:28 Randy Seaver: My time balance also includes the life situations I have – my Linda has mobility and memory problems and it’s hard to find things for her to do. Parties at the conference now become a feature.
02:16:48 Hilary Gadsby: I have attended RootsTech twice and had similar experience although slightly busier this last time.
02:16:49 Yvonne Demoskoff: I went to my first NGS conference in 2013 because of the quality of speakers, in particular ESM and Thomas Jones.
02:18:50 Randy Seaver: When we went to NGS and FGS in past years, I tried to also visit genealogy repositories and ancestry places
02:19:13 Cathy Naborowski: RootsTech is just too big for me. I like the size of NGS. But everyone should do RootsTech at least once.
02:20:57 Jacqueline Wilson: Randy: Hostler?
02:23:16 Randy Seaver: Jackie – maybe. At the Inn, he managed the horses – watering, feeding, cooling, washing, hitching up, etc. At 15 years old. He ended up being a horse trader later inl ife.
02:23:44 Karen Trearchis: I attend NERGC, New England Regional Genealogical conference.every 2 years & have been going since 2005. I love the excitement, the vending hall, work at our society’s booth. attending workshops in the Vendor Hall & classes. I went to FGS Springfield, Ill. I attended the great classes for society building! Love it and attended classes and enjoyed visiting an area I never been before. I am going to attend FGS19 in Washington,DC. My son is now living in Alexandria, VA. I want to go to the National Archives, too. So far I have not been able to go to Rootstech because of the expense, from the east coast, hotels,food. Maybe someday.
02:24:18 Hilary Gadsby: We call them Ostler in England
02:25:04 Randy Seaver: Hilary: I didn’t know that! Some of my Vaux relatives in Somerset married Ostler.
02:26:20 Jacqueline Wilson: I sometimes pick the conference I go to by location – if it is someplace I have never been before – just so I can play tourist.
02:26:44 Cousin Russ: The conversation continues —
02:26:45 Hilary Gadsby: My husband has an Ostler in Norwich.
02:27:54 Jacqueline Wilson: Thank you for doing this!!!!!

DearMYRTLE's Profile Pic
Myrt’s Musings

Here’s the link to DearMYRTLE’s Event Calendar –

Here’s the link to the GeneaWebinars Blog & Calendar of other genealogy webinars, chats and hangouts –