Providing practical, down-to-earth advice for family historians since 1995, online since 1985.

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4 October 2005 DearMYRTLE's Family History Hour's DearMYRTLE Archive
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This is the lineup for today's show, now available for you to listen to 24/7 on the web. Please also note the "Links We Mention" and "Listening to the Show" directions below. I think you'll enjoy hearing my guests this week!

  • Geoff Rasmussen - Legacy Family Tree Version 6
  • James W. Petty, AG®, CGRSSM, B.A. (History), B.S. (Genealogy) - headright system in 17th Century Virginia
  • Grace DuMelle, author - Finding Your Chicago Ancestors
  • Extra input from: Maggie Stewart, editor of the USGenWeb Archives Newsletter

During the MightyMouse Tour this week we'll visit with:

Geoff Rasmussen from . If you have a Windows compatible computer, pause the .mp3 file while you download and install the free version of Legacy 6, and follow along in the MightyMouse segment as Geoff guides Myrt through the three sections of the new version:

  • Legacy Home - "The new Legacy Home tab brings you genealogical news and Legacy tips (updated every day!), reminds you of upcoming birthdays and anniversaries, provides quick links for support questions, and has a built-in web browser -- now you'll never need to leave Legacy to surf the Internet."
  • Research Guidance - "Researching your ancestry is easier than ever with Legacy's new built-in, 24/7 personal research assistant. Just choose your goal and Legacy automatically creates a To-Do list of expert suggestions and research tips."
  •  Publishing Center - "Combine your favorite reports into an heirloom book. Add a Title Page, Preface, Dedication, Copyright Notice, and Abbreviations page, and Legacy will automatically generate the Table of Contents, Index, and Bibliography."
  • View the FREE 'What's New in Legacy 6.0' video at
  • Upgrade Now for just $21.95 at

James W. Petty, AG®, CGRSSM, B.A. (History), B.S. (Genealogy), an expert in early Virginia records. We'll discuss the "Virginia Headrights" continuing research project honored by the 2005 Donald Mosher Award for Virginia research. Headrights were land grants issued by the colonial government to Virginians based on the number of individuals brought to the colony. Petty’s project involves extracting all records of head rights in the extant county court minutes in early Virginia. He will then compare the resulting lists with those already published in Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants by Nell Marion Nugent, a standard published reference for Virginia research that includes over 80,000 headright certificates issued between 1623 and 1776.

As part of his application for the grant, Petty explained that his work to date revealed that headright lists attached to land grants were the last record in the chain of records, and the earlier records---including the county certificates he is studying---may have preceded the land grant by three to thirty years. The number of county entries missing on the colony records means that historical estimates of colonial population based on Nugent’s lists might be doubled. Petty has also determined that lists on the land patents were often compilations of many different headright certificates, meaning it is likely that none of the people on any given patent list even knew each other, much less came to America on the same ship.

In his preliminary work, Petty has found that in almost every county, more than 80 percent of the entries differ from comparable entries in the land patents as published in Cavaliers and Pioneers, and in some cases the differences are significant. He has also found that the minute books show records from an earlier date than the certificates and as many as 50 percent of the minute book entries do not appear in the grants. The work will help descendants of the early settlers establish a date of arrival in Virginia. Already in progress, it has a target completion date of June, 2006.

If you are having difficulty with your 17th century Virginia research, perhaps you'll need to contact James via phone at 800-570-4049,, PO Box 893, Salt Lake City, UT  84110. 

Jim mentions Relative Genetics toward the end of his interview. Find them on the web at:

Click to order this book from Lake Claremont Press.

Grace DuMelle author of Finding Your Chicago Ancestors published Feb 2005 by Lake Claremont Press. Grace has been doing professional research for family historians since 1995 as Heartland Historical Research Service, Phone 312/842-8933, Fax 312/842-8921, email: . Her publisher explains that "At the beginning of 2001, Grace entered into an association with the Newberry Library, one of the country's foremost humanities libraries, in their Local & Family History section. She guides patrons through the many resources there and frequently lectures on the Newberry's genealogical holdings." BRAVO!

LINKS WE MENTIONClick to order Evidence! from

  • EVIDENCE! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills. Click here to order from From the publisher: "Elizabeth Shown Mills' stunning book, Evidence!, provides the family history researcher with a reliable standard for both the correct form of source citation and the sound analysis of evidence. In successful genealogical research, these two practices are inseparable, and the author's treatment of this little-understood concept is nothing short of brilliant."
  • QuickSheet: Citing Online Historical Sources by Elizabeth Shown Mills.Click here to order from  From the publisher: "Elizabeth Mills’s QuickSheet provides a template for citing historical sources on the Internet. It also lays down rules to help you judge the reliability of these sources."

Enjoy your web radio show, fun to listen to. A question: have you or any of your readers heard the term 'grass' widow? I remember my dad using it and to the best of my knowledge he was referring to a divorced woman. Does anyone remember this term and is this the correct explanation?

We will go to the venerable old to find the answer.  The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition explains GRASS WIDOW is a noun, described as follows:

  1. A woman who is divorced or separated from her husband.
  2. A woman whose husband is temporarily absent.
  3. An abandoned mistress.
  4. The mother of a child born out of wedlock.

EXTRA INPUT FROM Maggie Stewart, editor of the USGenWeb Archives Newsletter.


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Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt      :)
6023 26th Street West PMB 352
Bradenton, FL 34207

© 1995-2009 Pat Richley HOME | Ask | Blog Right-click to copy RSS feed URL. Add to My Yahoo BookShelf | ContactLessons | Listen to Podcast media RSS feed
Read most 1995-2006 articles | Search | Subscribe