Tag Archives: Dear Myrtle

They Were Born Where?


Dear Myrtle Finally Get Organized has us concentrating on our first five generations. She posted a five generation chart from J Paul Hawthrone, who created the Excel spreadsheet. Taking up the challenge, I created my own five generations birth location chart.

5 generation birth locations

My Parents and I were all born in New Hampshire. My father’s lineage for the next three generations were all born in New Hampshire. My mother’s maternal line were all born in Maine. My mother’s paternal line were born in Maine except for one birth in Maryland and one in New Hampshire.

You can see that I am strongly rooted in New England.

Source information:

Richley-Erickson Pat; DearMyrtle.com; Finally Get Organized; http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/p/finally-get-organized.html (accessed 25 Mar 2016), page 31 Jan – 6 Feb 2016.

DearMyrtle; DearMyrtle Facebook Group; https://www.facebook.com/groups/DearMYRTLE/ (accessed 24 Mar 2016 Pat Richley-Erickson shared post 24 Mar 2016 9:00 am EST.

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Filed under #365daysofJune, Genealogy

Finally Getting Organized with Dear Myrtle’s – Update


Finally Getting Organized with Dear Myrtle’s – Update

I'm Doing It!

I’m Doing It!

January has been a very busy month both Genealogy-wise and home commitments. Some weeks getting organized was harder to stay on task than others.  Here is a summary of my first month progress with some personal feedback. I will post the links to Dear Myrtle’s weekly Checklist and my blog post links.


  1. FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 3rd-9th 2016 Checklist and Myrt’s confession

I was ahead of the game in week one. I completed most of the requirements in December; just ordering a few last minutes supplies. You can read about my progress on my blog Damegussie Genealogy Rants- Organized, Me? It might happen in 2016.


  1. FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 10th-16th Checklist

I like Dear Myrtle have both paper and digital copies of my work. I do have a strategy for backing up my data; reducing my paper files to keeping only original documents and decluttering my e-mails, too.  I use a surname/maiden file backed up on my desk top, on-line tree and a copy sent monthly off site to my sister. That way there is always a back no older than one month if all other backups are lost. One can never predict the future, so like Girls Scouts and Boy Scout you should always be prepared.

Dear Myrtle speaks about the importance of cloud storage I’m using Google drive and Dropbox for my backups. I did win a Backblaze door prize, a year ago, at my local genealogical Society meeting. My husband chose not to put it onto my computer. He did feel comfortable using Google drive and Dropbox. I do have iCloud that that is used more for our smart phone photos. I already met my maximum allowed on the free program.

I use Legacy, FTM 2014, currently learning how to use Roots Magic 8 four my genealogy management programs I will continue using family tree maker 2014 is my primary program. I have been using Family Tree Maker since 2002 and more consistently since 2014.

I have my first five generations of direct ancestors completed as per challenge of dear Myrtle a year ago. I am now working on feeling in the lateral family lines for the first three generations. I have done so in regards to basic information so that I now have the siblings, their spouses, their children, and date of birth, marriage dates, and death dates if appropriate. This will be continued as more information is found for each new family member. It is a never-ending process and building your family tree.

I have both three ring binders and digital file folders for all generations that include: family group sheet, any documents, and images of censuses. Photographs of importance. My confession is I had already done this in the past year with Thomas MacEntee’s genealogy Do Over/Go Over. Thomas now has a printed version available. Just click on his name for the link.

I scanned photos on a weekly basis for all generations that I come in contact with. Reviewing my old files weekly. Sometimes just 15 minutes in the morning scanning any new photos digitally to each surname/maiden name. This will be an ongoing process. I have received new photos from relatives that I never knew before existed. I’ve even blogged about finding a photo of me as a child with my parents that I had never seen before.

I have also created memory books yearly for the family, some are specific events, some are an overview of the year, and others are about my progress from the past year. The past year projects are social books from my Facebook and blog to print in regards to my Damegussie blogs. My family is not so much into the digital family history or family tree program; they just want the story.

My genealogy will has been completed. My daughter will be taking over my work. Her statement was I will do like you did I will keep it safe until I have the time in retirement continue on your work. Knowing my daughter, Tyna Butka, she will be adding little books of around along the way. My photos and other documents have been an archival safe containers since I first heard about them in the late 1980s early 1900s. It’s nice having a librarian as a friend.


  1. FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 17th-23rd 2016

Transcribing everything is the Key! I continue transcribing any documents that I find in my possession, stories I remember, even as this blog talks about the artifacts need to be transcribed, so that future generations know the importance of a ring, a dining needle, or even a little skeleton key. Yes six skeleton key or even a railroad tie may have a story behind it I have written about both in my Damegussie blog over the years. I transcribed any documents into my family tree maker 2014 program, my Microsoft Word program for the person, and save a digital image of what I am transcribing. I follow basically the same set up that dear Myrtle describes in her January 17-23, 2016 blog post.


  1. FINALLY Get Organized! 24th-31st Jan 2016 (sorta)

Finally getting organized week 24 to 31st of January 2016 was another easy week for me. I have been a beta indexer Familysearch.org for about a year now. I browse any records more often than using an index. That’s how I learned there were no indexes when I first started using the Internet. An index does help find your ancestors more easily. Not all records have been index to date, volunteers are working daily to increase the numbers which is why it is important to be a volunteer indexer. I continue to update my records on my siblings their families as added or loss, both in digital and family datasheet binders.


What did I learn? I learned a great deal about my sister’s husband side of the family, my husband’s cousins, and even was surprised to find more information on myself on the Internet than I thought was out there. Yes myself. When you are researching it’s just as important to research oneself, as well as, the rest of your family. You never know what you will find.

A good example all something I found out about my dad, which I blogged about, was the name of the young man that accidentally my dad while hunting in the woods. His name was Luis M. Putney. I found that through myheritage.com in a newspaper article about a Waltham young man with charges being brought against him for abandonment. Don’t just look in the town where your family or ancestors lived. Look elsewhere as well. Elizabeth Shown Mills said it best, the F.A.N principle; friends, associates and neighbors. You never know how they are related or intersect your life.

I’ve given you links to not only dear Myrtle’s finally getting organized checklist so that you may follow along and do your own getting organized. I’ve also given you the links to what I blogged about. It is another source, another way of backing up the information of your family and ancestors in your family tree. I find my families reading more of my stories, then they did of my genealogy blogs.

Check out your family stats. It is fun to see what months they were born, their zodiac sign or what year (century) they were born in.

Birth and Zodiac Signs

Birth and Zodiac Signs

They want to hear about the child that died and you still remember; the day your father/grandfather was shot; the first wedding ring of your mom/aunt/grandmother; or maybe even about a ceramic lower and white cat sitting on the shelf of your aunt carries home when you were a little kid that you weren’t allowed to touch. Why couldn’t you touch the May ask, it was a urinal. Yes a urinal for my uncle Wilson. Now I’ve made you smile. Go find your stories and transcribed them for future generations and make them smile.


New England Roots


Organized, Me? It might happen in 2016


De-cluttering = Disencumbering Your E-mails, too!


The K.I.S.S Method of genealogy-My Way!


Snapshot of my Family Stats


Shooting in the Woods: He made it out alone!


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Filed under #365daysofJune, Writing

Transcribing Everything is the Key!


Transcribing Everything is the Key!

June and Mike’s Wedding Bands

Wedding Bands

Wedding Bands

Dear Myrtle’s Finally Getting organized Week #3 mentions the importance of transcribing your records. I’m also photographing and transcribing any memorabilia that is important to me.

In the photograph above you see my Wedding rings and diamond. The original wedding band is too small for me to wear. It was a handcrafted wedding band made out of silver in the hammered look by my roommate at the time, (I wish I could remember her name,) Inside is inscribed “78 JS MB.” In 1978 June Stearns married Michael Butka. Would my descendant save a silver ring without knowing the history behind it? Maybe not. Most wedding bands are gold or platinum.

My other wedding band is not inscribed. It was a 10th Anniversary (1988) gift from my husband, Michael Daniel Butka. It is a Platinum band with the hammered look in the center. I did not wear diamonds at that time in my life. My work made it awkward to wear raised jewelry with the rubber gloves. I wanted to maintain the integrity of the gloves for my nursing duties.

The heart shaped diamond was a gift from my husband in November 2015. He felt I deserved a diamond after all these years. I told him I rather have a laptop. I got brought. I love my ring because he wanted to give it to me. I never thought I would really care about a diamond.

Michael Daniel Butka and June Lee Stearns were married 29 April 1978 at a Justice of Peace in Kittery, York, Maine. Our attendants were Michael’s brother, Stephen Butka and my sister, Marjorie Rae Stearns-Stevenson. We had our reception at our apartment on Sagamore Court, Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire. Our family was in attendance with a pot luck meal, fountain style homemade wedding cake by my sister, Vickie Mae Stearns Levesque, standing on a fountain. The wedding will be blog about in April on our 38th anniversary. I will also transcribe my marriage record at that time.

I choose today to write about my wedding rings for a special reason. My first date with my husband was on 23 Jan 1978. We went to the movie “The Goodbye Girl” and dinner at the Asia Restaurant on Dover Point Road, Dover New Hampshire. It looks like it is no longer at that location. Mike and I will need to take a ride and check it out on his day off.

Goodbye Girl movie poster

Goodbye Girl movie poster


Filed under #365daysofJune, Memories, Writing

The K.I.S.S Method of genealogy-My Way!

#365daysofJune day17

This blog is in answer to Dear Myrtle’s 2016 Participant Forms. Her form is for anyone that wants to be consider for her random monthly drawing. I’m a winner already by just participating. A surprise bonus is always a welcome gift.

Her questions made me stop and think. To review my habits, good and bad. In doing so, it made me really consider the approach, BEST FOR MY RESEARCH, that I’m using or plan on using in the future.

I decided that using the K.I.S.S. method of Keeping It Simple and Straightforward is best for me. I have tried different research logs and Do-Over’s (Thomas MacEntee, Dear Myrtle and Cousin Russ and The Organized Genealogist) suggestions over the past year. I opened my mind to new ideas and ways to research. There was many trails and errors. I’m not a technical type of person. Learning new computer programs is a major challenge for me, especially if someone is not sitting beside me showing me Step-By-Step.

I finding that keeping a Microsoft Word Document Folder for each person that includes my research notes, links, conclusions and records is the easiest way to keep me on task.  I still keep an Excel worksheet for links; where I need to research, for what I did research and Books to review, as a backup. I’m slowly transferring my paper files to my Surname Folders on my computer. The folder includes images, the Microsoft word document and other records needed or collected for my research. When transferring the paper files to digital format, I’m reviewing my Family Tree Program file, for the person I’m working one, at the same time. Slow and Steady goals is my approach.

When I started my research, back in the 1970’s, I did everything on paper and index cards. I did, eventually, start to keep links and my thoughts in Microsoft Word.  Printing paper form for my files.

This past year:

I color coded my papers files;

Learn how to use Excel worksheets;

Attempted to learn Scrivener (still looking at it as an options);

New Family Tree program software FTM2104, Legacy and most recently Roots magic;

On-line tree programs like My Heritage, Geni, and Family Search;

On-line storage, “The Cloud” programs and

Watching How to Webinars on new programs, research ideas and what’s new to genealogy are just some of the steps I have toward my goal of finding what is best for me.

What I found was that some of the old mixed with the new is my approach to moving forward and staying on task for my research.

Keeping the OLD includes:

Microsoft Word Documents,

Index Cards for challenges that need sorting out, such as, same names and locations,

Paper files for original documents with back digital forms of them,

Scanning photographs and documents to digital form,

Watching Webinars, attending conferences, local Historical society meetings,

Local repository research trips and

Continue converting paper files to the Digital Surname folders on my computer;


In with the NEW:

Excel Worksheet Research Log, (Thank you, Cousin Russ and Thomas MacEntee, for sharing your research logs with us)

Using my Smart Phone, mini IPAD for research trips, Thank you Lisa Louise Cook,

Keep an open mind to new approaches,

Participate in Webinars that improve my genealogical research and organization,

I’m sure over the course of the next year I will being adding new things to review and decide if they are what is best for me.

I want to keep it simple for me. If I’m not comfortable with something, after giving it the old college try, I will move on to the next option-old or new.

What is your Biggest Genealogy Challenge?

Staying on task and recording my research is my biggest challenge. It’s still a challenge not to follow the Bright Shiny Objects. Having the excel worksheet to record the links or books to research later helps keep me on task. I strongly believe the K.I.S.S. method I have chosen will help keep me on task. Ask me in a year if I still agree.

Happy Researching and Organizing!


Filed under #365daysofJune, Writing

Organized, Me? It might happen in 2016


Organized, Me? Maybe with Dear Myrtle’s helps. Pat Richley-Erickson, aka Dear Myrtle, announced that she would beginning her “You Want Me To Get Organized” Sunday 27 Dec 2015 along with Homework. Yes, Homework. Being the dutiful follower I am. I did my homework.

  • Clean up the holiday decorations, and clear a corner of your computer desk to be ready for the FINALLY Get Organized! 2016 Weekly ChecklistsCHECK
  • Rest up January 1st and 2nd. You’ll need it with what Ol’ Myrt has in mind! CHECK
  • I added to her get organized check list my need to review what supplies I needed. I ordered back up printer inks, computer paper, and 5 x 8 index cards. All other supplies appeared to be plentiful.

On Monday 28 Dec 2015 she announced  Participant badges that can be used on your blog or documents.

I'm Doing It!

I’m Doing It!

Tuesday 29 2015 she announced Monthly Awards. The support continues with each of her posts.

Wednesday 30 2015 the announcement of One place to look for all checklists .

Thursday was a reminder asking us if our Desk are clean, her is.

Finally on 3 Jan 2016 Dear Myrtle posted the first true weekly home work assignment. FINALLY Get Organized! Jan 3rd-9th 2016 Checklist and Myrt’s confession .

Before I get into the first weekly assignment I will give you an overview of my attempts to get organized to this date.

I did Thomas MacEntee’s first Genealogy Do-Over in 2014. I learned a lot doing his 13 week program. I followed his Do-Over in 2015 and will follow in 2016. I blog about them here on my blog site Dame Gussie’s Genealogy Rants. Just check the archives to read them. I came to a decision of what works for me and what doesn’t. With that decision made I feel confident I can meet Dear Myrtle upcoming getting organized challenge.

I find the use of Microsoft Word, Excel spreadsheets and digital photos/documents files by Surname the most comfort way to work. I will continue to use my 5 x 8 index cards along with the saved digital records for when I have multiple surnames in a community. For me the visible cards that I can move around is most helpful. I will continue to keep an open mind to new digital options. Having back up of our work is never a bad thing. I have signed up for Thomas’s Boot Camp Scrivener II: Beyond the Basics Mini Boot Camp – Saturday, January 23, 2016.

Open Mind! Open Heart! A way to Start!

I’m ahead of the game in Dear Myrtle’s checklist. I completed the first two items and partially completed the third. I’m still waiting for my husband to connect my second monitor., until then, I will use my IPAD mini, my IPHONE and dual images on my current monitor. I ordered extra Archival Document Boxes.

  1. Desk organized. CHECK
  2. Supplies reviewed and ordered. CHECK
  3. Computer Desk Set Up for Working. PARTIALLY CHECK, second monitor in the works Books organized. CHECK Will order new books as needed.
  4. Clipboard for Computer problems. CHECK Mine are Colored Notebooks
  5. Genealogy Challenge Clipboard CHECK Mine are Colored Notebooks
  6. “Henry”s bright idea accomplished during my 2014-2015 Genealogy Do-Over. CHECK
  7. Patiently waiting for Week 2 Checklist.


Dear Myrtle’s Blog

GeneaBloggers –Thomas MacEntee


Filed under #365daysofJune, Writing

#Wk4GeneanolgyDoOverBlog: Managing Projects and Tasks, Tracking Searches



A Thomas MacEntee GeneaBlogger Community

A Thomas MacEntee GeneaBlogger Community


Week #4 Goals:

  1. Managing Projects and tasks
  2. Tracking Searches

You will see how I manage my time and projects as I review and update you on each week’s goals for the Do-Over.

Let’s start with an update of my Do-Over:

Week #1 went along easily enough setting aside previous research, preparing to research and establishing base practices and guidelines. It is an ongoing project.

I set aside an hour each day for paper filing. Once I have all my files where they should be, one hour will keep me up to date and on target. I was feeling overwhelmed at the amount of research that had not been filed, so I decided to dole it out into manageable size. It still allows me time to do my research, homework, spend time with family and friends, with maybe a little time for housework, if I so desire to spend my time that.

Anyone who is a genealogist or family historian must know that housework is always at the bottom of the list unless it is related to feeding, clean clothes and walking the dog, right?

My digital files are also an ongoing project with the new naming system. I decided as I need the file for my research- it will be renamed in a modified version of Diana Ritchie’s naming system. (STEARNS June b19XX birth certificate, STEARNS June B19XX marriage certificate, and so on.) It not only places all my records related to each person together, I can quickly see what file I haven’t added yet.  An easy way to track progress at a glance.

Preparation for research is always on going. I will make every effort not to follow BSO’s (Bright shinny objects.) When I find something in my reading or even on Facebook post, it is added to my ever growing “To Do List.”

I WILL NOT research when I am rushed, distractible or fatigued. This only leads to errors.

I WILL slow down in my research making sure I capture all the document, story, or photo has to offer.

I WILL learn new methods of tracking my research, new places to research and new tools will be added to my Genealogy Toolbox.

In regards to best practices I will continue to tweak and improve them.


I WILL follow my research plan:

  1. Find the person; write what I know; write I hypothesis I want to prove; identify the sources and my research strategy. Answer my Who, What, Where is, Where in, When, Why and How questions.
  2. Keeping in mind the GPS standards: a reasonably exhaustive search; complete and accurate citations of sources; analysis and correlate collected evidence; resolve any conflicting evidence and write a reasonable, coherent written conclusion.
  3. Follow the Thomas MacEntee’s 10 Golden rules of Genealogy: remember there is no easy button; research from a place of “I don’t know;” track my work and cite my sources; ask for help; I will start my research-no blank pages; think like my ancestor; share my information (I don’t own my ancestor); be nice-play well with others; remember to divide your information into required, important and optional.

The hardest one so far is sorting information into categories. I’m greedy. I want it all. I need to remember the purpose of why I am researching, that way I can add the facts but keep the “fluff” for later. The fluff is important when telling your family stories. It give your ancestor personality but it can distract you from your research. Document it, source it so you can go back later, add it to the “To do list” for later.


Week #2 Goals:

Setting my Research Goals were part of my preparation I mentioned in week one.

I conducted my self-interview.

See Damegussie.wordpress.com for my goals and my self-interview obituary.

Family interviews will be conducted when weather permits. I did send out a worksheet of questions that I will ask for them. Hopefully they will find photos and documents to back them up with. I have my portable scanner, IPad and worksheet with a written interview release form all set up in a packet for each family member I will interview.


Week #3 Goals:

Tracking research- I attended Thomas MacEntee’s Boot Camp on using an excel worksheet and citing our sources. In becoming proficient in the use of the Excel worksheet, I have watch the video multiple times. I also watch Dear Myrtle Wacky Wednesday Excel Worksheets video #1, #2 and #3.

Last week, I posted that learning the worksheet was easier using ourselves for importing the information. I hit a little roadblock when I tried to advance my learning but adding to the spreadsheet my own section. I froze myself out of my worksheet. I had to start again. Entering the information into the second worksheet did go faster, but I still not sure how comfortable I am with excel spreadsheets.

I will continue to use the spreadsheet and research log spreadsheet through the thirteen week Genealogy Do-Over. If by the end of that time I am not comfortable with them I will return do my word document type of documenting my research. The goal is to make research easy, cite all source, track your progress, follow GPS standards, answer the 5 W’s and how questions, follow your research plan and share with others.

Bottom line is what makes you most comfortable in adhering to them is the best plan for you. I have noticed that I did cite my sources, tracked my progress, and followed the GPS standards prior to the Do-Over. Yes, my citation are improving. I have slowed down in my research but I think it is more because of the learning curve than to not taking time to mine the records for all data.  I was documenting everything I saw on a document or in a photograph prior to the Do-over, just in a different manner.

Conducting research- I am learning new website and resources as to where to find my ancestors. Everyday there is something new to learn. I will grab every bit of information that people are willing to share. I will also share what I have learned with others.

I have mainly been researching my immediate family records. I have found little tidbits of memorabilia that have yields past residences, birth, marriage, death dates and brought back floods of images and memories I had forgotten about. Items found-recorded-sourced and tracked properly for future use by others.

Week #4 Goals: Managing projects and tasks; Tracking searches

Managing projects and tasks- I watched Thomas MacEntee’s video on project management. I have put his method of managing on my “to do list.” I am having enough of a struggle with the spreadsheets now without adding another one into the mix.

That doesn’t mean I am not tracking my project and tasks. I am scheduling a certain portion of each day and some times a day of the week for each task on my list.

Daily task include: upon waking take scheduled medication/vitamins, check bank accounts and e-mails for 30 minutes, check Facebook for 15 minutes,(Facebook and e-mails get checked again at lunch time and dinner time), take Ninja Buddy (my Italian Greyhound) out for a walk, feed us, take next round of medicine/vitamins, 15-30 minutes filing, repeat- meals, walk the dog throughout the day, before settling in for the night final e-mail and Facebook check, walk the dog, snuggle in for the night.

Sunday: Scanning documents and photo day-at least 1 hour at some point during the day (sometimes 3pm EST with Facebook group when home), Family and friends day.

Monday: clean the Bathroom, watch Monday’s with Myrt, plan research goals and task for the week. Work 1-4 hours on research of my husband’s line, read any homework chapters of current classes or Do-Over (1-2 hours,)

Tuesday: clean kitchen, research on my mother’s line 1-4 hours, read or watch video/webinars as needed for research/education goals, CARD NIGHT with the ladies (usually finish around midnight) I’m glad it is where I live so I don’t have to travel that late at night alone.

Wednesday: Laundry day while watching Legacy Family Tree Webinar at 2 PM EST, currently also watching Beginning Genealogy with Dear Myrtle at 12 Noon EST and Dear Myrtle’s Wacky Wednesday at 9 PM EST, Research 1-2 hours either side.

Thursday: clean bedroom, research Dad’s line 1-4 hours, grocery shopping, relaxing from the long days of Tuesday and Wednesday, and maybe starting my Blog post for this week.

Friday: prepare weekly meals in individual servings and freezing them for later use, this is my open research day depending on how I feel, what needs to be followed up on from the week’s previous research, CARD NIGHT with the ladies. Post my weekly Blog post.

Saturday: family day, open research day, or whatever I feel like day, Watch Genealogy Game night with Dear Myrtle 9 PM EST if awake and home.

Once warm weather returns and the roads are passable I will add research trips to my schedule during the week. Most of our local historical societies are closed during the winter months.

Tracking searches is an ongoing process. Currently using a handwritten log book and word document for the person I am researching. I have a word document for each person or subject I research. I’m starting to add them to the excel spreadsheet along with my other research. SLOW learning curve with the Excel spreadsheet continues.


Reading material for Blizzard Juno

Reading material for Blizzard Juno

This week we had a visitors on the East Coast call Blizzard Juno. Where I lived we were lucky not to lose power. I was prepared with emergency food, water and reading material by flashlight or battery operated lanterns. Our snow total in Merrimack, Hillsborough county, New Hampshire in the historic Reeds Ferry district was 22 inches of light, fluffy, crystalline snow. Easy to sweep and shovel as needed for Ninja Buddy’s walk.  I posted updates on my Facebook Pages June Stearns Butka and Where in the State is Mom.


Blizzard Juno visits

Blizzard Juno visits

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Filed under Genealogy Do-Over, History, Uncategorized, Writing