Friday, February 27, 2015

Trying Out the Famberry Family Tree

Famberry, a United Kingdom based collaborative family tree website, announced that they are now accepting GEDCOM uploads and a search capability - see Famberry Launches "Famberry Search" and GEDCOM Uploads on Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter.

The press release says: “Famberry Search is for people who want to connect to more than a name, they want to connect to a whole family tree.”

The concept looks promising, so I decided to register for free and see what a family tree on Famberry might appear.  On the home page ( or I could start adding information for myself and my parents.  I didn't want to do that - after all, I have over 44,000 persons in my database and I can add them using a GEDCOM file.

On the home page, I found "Upload GEDCOM File" on the "Admin" tab:

I made a GEDCOM file in RootsMagic and included all of my ancestral families - about 9,000 persons.  When I tried to upload it, I got a message that the file was not properly formatted.  There was a message on the screen that said:

"Please ensure that you have no data in this family tree that you wish to keep. Create a new family tree in Family Tree->Show Family Trees, if you are unsure. Famberry accepts valid GEDCOM files which meet the latest specification, however the information in the tree must be from one family bloodline only. If you have a GEDCOM file with multiple families, please spilt the information into separate GEDCOM files and import into separate family trees lines in Famberry.

"If you have any issues importing your GEDCOM file please email where we will be happy to assist."

I sent an email to Famberry about it and was told that the limit was 3,000 persons and only one "family bloodline," whatever that means.  I created a smaller GEDCOM file with 500 persons (5 generations of ancestors and 5 generations of descendants of Thomas Richmond (1848-1917), my great-grandfather, without Notes, Sources, or Images) and tried to upload that, and got another message similar to the first:

In another email, Steve told me that the RootsMagic "export is creating a file with a character set of UTF with byte ordering, this is non-standard."  He corrected it somehow and sent it back to me.

I tried to import the modified file and it uploaded, and I used the Family Tree > Rename Tree tab in Famberry to change the tree name:

I added a description, and clicked on "Save."

The tree opened with a descendants chart tree view, and I could use the right-left scroll bar on the bottom and the up-down scroll bar on the right of the screen to move around the tree.

I rolled my mouse over my father's profile on the screen above, and options to "Upload Photo," "Modify Details," "Add Child" or "Remove Person" appeared.  I didn't do any of those things - I clicked on my father's profile icon and saw a profile card with a summary of his life:

The "Family information" area of the profile card has a summary of his life - birth, marriage and death.  Further down the profile card is sibling information and children information.  At the bottom of the profile card are icons for "Messages, "Photos," "Timeline," "Chart," and "Modify Details."

I clicked on the "Timeline" icon and saw a list of events in my father's life (obtained from the information in the tree):

I could add/edit information by clicking the "Modify" icon on the right side.

Then I ran into a problem.  I noticed that only profile cards on the direct "bloodline" (apparently from the earliest generation ancestor to the latest generation relatives) had the "Family information" on the card included  For example, here is the Profile card for my second great-grandfather, James Richman (1821-1912), father of my starting person, Thomas Richmond:

His parents are not named, although they were in the GEDCOM file.  There are no links to parents, siblings or children on the profile card, and the parents are not shown on the family tree, even though they were included in the tree.  This is the case for any of the persons not in the "direct bloodline."

There are complete profile cards for persons on the tree with the last name capitalized.  For the persons not on the "direct bloodline," the Timeline icon does show the events included in the GEDCOM file, and those events can be edited from within the Timeline

I pointed those things out to Steve, and he said they are on their list for the next update.

To me, a family tree program like this, intended for family stories, photos and collaboration, should be for an initial person, and include their ancestors (say three generations back) and the descendants of those ancestors (siblings of the ancestors, their spouses, and their children - the cousins that we hope to connect to and share stories and photos with).  At this time, Famberry doesn't provide information about all of those persons.   For example, I have a complete profile card, but my wife doesn't.  That isn't very inviting for my grandchildren or my grand nephews and grand-niece who I might want to invite to Famberry so they can learn about their family members.

Frankly, when a website makes a public announcement about new features, the website and those new features should work at least to a basic expectation level.  My basic expectation level for Famberry was that my GEDCOM file would upload, that all persons in the tree would show relationships and the same basic information (birth, marriage, death, parents, siblings, spouses, children), that all of the features shown would work, etc.  That didn't happen in this case with Famberry today.  Perhaps my expectations were too high.

I will review Famberry again when all of the "family" members are included and meaningful collaboration can occur.  I hope that it is soon.

Steve was very responsive to my emails about the problems, and I appreciate that his responses were helpful and correct.

I think that Famberry has an excellent potential to be useful, especially if  the problems are fixed and family members can be invited and induced to contribute information, stories and photographs of their family members.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

More Information About

I wrote MooseRoots Is a New Genealogy Research Engine yesterday - it's a new, FREE, US-based (at this time), genealogy research service (meaning it searches for records).

I had some questions about the product, so I emailed my contact at MooseRoots, David Schmidt, and he quickly responded to my queries with:

Q1)  Please describe MooseRoots - what is its purpose, how much does it cost?  What is your income stream? 

MooseRoots is a tool that helps genealogists of all walks uncover and explore their heritage, with  more than 1 billion birth, marriage, death, census, grave, and military records,  including U.S. and international collections that aren't available on other genealogy websites. Additionally, MooseRoots offers users compelling contextual “snapshots” from their ancestors’ lives by visualizing interesting ancillary data, such as their family structure and origin, the meaning and popularity of their name, information about the town and time in which they lived, etc. Finally, we allow users to take any visualization they see on our pages and copy and paste them directly into their blogs and articles just like a YouTube video. I have included some example codes below that would be interesting to include in this post.

MooseRoots is a 100% free website that is supported by ads. 

Q2)  You have a number of genealogy databases, some of them from FamilySearch and other free websites.  Do you have agreements with FamilySearch (and other providers) to display index results and record images? 

We have an agreement with FamilySearch to display index results for ~550 million index results. At the end of June 2015, we will have access to record images. We also have a number of partnerships with other data providers that vary in terms depending on the agreement. 

Q3)   Do you have a list of available databases?  How often do you add content?  What is the plan for adding content?  

Yes, a list of the available databases can by viewed by visiting From there, you can see what collections are currently available as well as years covered and number of records in each collection. We are always working to expand our database and are adding new data from a variety of collections as frequently as possibly. We are currently in the process of expanding our vitals record. The release date of these new records is TBD.

I have included one of David's example visualizations code - for Abraham Lincoln's family in 1860 - below:

The "See more details" link on the image above takes the user to the record summary.

Thank you to David for the quick responses and details.

I used the link for and saw the list of 71 collections (note that the Census records for 1790-1940 are all in one collection):

Each collection on the list above tells you the record type, the year range covered, and the number of records in the database.

I clicked on the Social Security Death Index collection and saw (two screens):

The collection page provides information about the collection.  The collection description is:

"This database is provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). It contains 92,554,687 Death Records in the United States that occurred between 1936 and 2014. Additional records are added on a monthly basis. It may also be called the Death Master File (DMF).The information below is included with each record:"

By clicking the record image, I can embed the graph into my blog post by copying and pasting the widget code into my Blogger editor:

How cool is that!  I love it.

We will have to see how much additional content - record collections, record images, etc. - that MooseRoots adds over time.  I hope that they add content on a regular basis based on their agreements with database providers.

As I noted in the first post, this is still a website with limited genealogy resources, but it is FREE and relatively easy to use.  Users do need to narrow their search terms - putting "John Smith" into the search field and expecting your specific John Smith to appear at the top of the list is unrealistic.  Adding additional information - such as a birth year and birth place - will reduce the volume of results and focus the results on the search target.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 61: #68, Aaron Smith (1765-1841)

Amy Johnson Crow suggested a weekly blog theme of "52 Ancestors" in her blog post Challenge:  52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on the No Story Too Small blog.  I am extending this theme in 2015 to 104 Ancestors in 104 Weeks. Here is my ancestor biography for week #61:

Aaron Smith (1765-1841)  is #68 on my Ahnentafel list, my 4th great-grandfather. He married in 1795  to #69 Mercy Plimpton (1772-1850).

I am descended through:

*  their son 
#34 Alpheus B. Smith (1802-1840) who married  #35 Elizabeth Dill (1791-1869),  in 1826.
*  their daughter, #17 Lucretia Townsend Smith (1828-1884), who married #16 Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), in 1852.
*  their son, #8 Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922), who married #9 Hattie Louise Hildreth (1847-1920) in 1874. 
*  their son, #4 Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942), who married Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) in 1900.
* their son, #2 Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983), who married #3 Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002) in 1942.
*  their son, #1 Randall J. Seaver (1943-....)


1)  PERSON (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

*  Name:                       Aaron Smith[1–8]   
*  Sex:                          Male   

*  Father:                     Moses Smith (1732-1806)   
*  Mother:                   Patience Hamant (1735-1780)   
2)  INDIVIDUAL EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
*  Birth:                      29 May 1765, Walpole, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States[1]
*  Census :                  1 June 1800 (age 35), Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States[3]
*  Census:                  1 June 1820 (age 55), Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States[4]
*  Census:                  1 June 1830 (age 65), Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States[5]
*  Census:                  1 June 1840 (age 75), Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States[6]
*  Death:                    4 December 1841 (age 76), Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States[7]
*  Burial:                    after 4 December 1841 (after age 76), Vine Lake Cemetery, Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States[8]   
3)  SHARED EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
*  Spouse 1:                Mercy Plimpton (1772-1850)   
*  Marriage 1:             6 October 1795 (age 30), Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States[2]
*  Child 1:                   Susanna Smith (1795-1813)   
*  Child 2:                   Patience Smith (1799-1842)   
*  Child 3:                   Mary Plimpton Smith (1800-1890)   
*  Child 4:                   Alpheus B. Smith (1802-1840)   
*  Child 5:                   Lucy Smith (1804-1884)   
*  Child 6:                   Elizabeth P. Smith (1806-1876)   
*  Child 7:                   Nancy Smith (1808-1879)   
*  Child 8:                   Aaron Smith (1815-1851)   
4)  NOTES (with source citations as indicated in brackets):

William S. Tilden edited the book History of the Town of Medfield, Massachusetts, 1650-1886 published by Geo. H. Ellis in Boston, Mass., in 1887.  The family genealogy section of the book provides this summary of the life of Aaron Smith:

"Aaron Smith was born in Walpole in 1765, and came to Medfield about 1782.  He married in 1795 Mercy Plimpton, and bought the place on South Street near the South School-house.  He died in 1841, his wife in 1850."

Aaron was the first born of four sons of Moses Smith and Patience Hamant, who was Moses second wife.[1]  All four children were born in Walpole, and Moses and Patience died there in 1806 and 1780, respectively. 

The Walpole vital records book entry says[1] :

"SMITH, Aaron, son of Moses and Patience, 29 May 1765"

The Medfield, Massachusetts vital record book lists the marriage of Aaron Smith and Mercy Plimpton[12] :

"Aaron Smith of Walpole and Mercy Plimpton, Oct. 6, 1795"

In the 1800 U.S. Census, Aaron Smith was head of household in Medfield, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.[3]   The household included:

*  One male aged 26 to 45
*  Two females under age 10
*  One female aged 26-45.

There is no listing for Aaron Smith in the 1810 U.S. Census in Norfolk County, Massachusetts.

In the 1820 US Census, the Aaron Smith family resided in Medfield, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.[4]   The household included:

*  One male under age 10, 
*  One male aged over age 45, 
*  Two females aged 10 to 16, 
*  One female aged over age 45.

In the 1830 US Census, the Aaron Smith family resided in Medfield, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.[5]   The household included:

*  One male aged 10 to 14, 
*  One male aged 20 to 29, 
*  One male aged 60-69, 
*  One female aged 20-29, 
*  One female aged 50 to 59

In the 1840 US Census, Aaron Smith was a head of household in Medfield, Norfolk County, Massachusetts.[6]   The household included:

*  One male aged 20-30, 
*  One male aged 70 to 80, 
*  One female aged 15-20, 
*  One female aged 60-70 

Aaron Smith died on 4 December 1841 in Medfield, Massachusetts.[7]   The death record in the Medfield vital records book says:

"Smith, Aaron, Dec. 4, 1841, age 76"

The gravestone inscription in Vine Lake Cemetery in Medfield for Aaron Smith says:[8] 

In memory of
Dec. 4, 1841:
aged 76 years.

There are no probate records listed for Aaron Smith in the Norfolk, Massachusetts Probate Index, 1793-1900.

[1] Vital Records of Walpole, Massachusetts to the Year 1850 (Boston, Mass. :New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1902), Births, page 73, Aaron Smith entry.

[2] Vital Records of Medfield, Massachusetts to the Year 1850 (Boston, Mass. :  New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1903), Marriages, page 171, Aaron Smith and Mercy Plimpton entry.

[3] 1800 United States Federal Census, Population Schedule, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, Medfield town; Page 90, Aaron Smith household; indexed database and digital image, ( citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M32, Roll 18.

[4] 1820 United States Federal Census, Population Schedule, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, Medfield town; Page 464, Aaron Smith household; indexed database and digital image, ( citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M33, Roll 52.

[5] 1830 United States Federal Census, Population Schedule, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, Medfield town; Page 274, Aaron Smith household; indexed database and digital image, ( citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M19, Roll 60.

[6] 1840 United States Federal Census, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, Medfield town; Page 196, Aaron Smith household; indexed database and digital image, ( citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M704, Roll 192.

[7] Vital Records of Medfield, Massachusetts to the Year 1850 (Boston, Mass. :  New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1903), Deaths, page 234, Aaron Smith entry.

[8] Jim Tipton, indexed database, Find A Grave (, Vine Lake Cemetery, Medfield, Mass., Aaron Smith memorial # 59933167.


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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, February 26, 2015

MooseRoots Is a New Genealogy Research Engine

I stopped by the MooseRoots exhibit at RootsTech/FGS 2015, and was intrigued by the website.

The website has a genealogy search engine that includes a number of vital records, census, military, and immigration record collections - all FREE.  It is part of the FindTheBest family of websites.  The Google search for the site results describe the site as:

"Get the most detailed ancestry information available. Explore death records, find military records, compare popular names, and research your family history."

Here is the top of the MooseRoots website ( (two screens below):

Users can register for free if they wish.  The search works without registration.

At the top of the screen above, is a search field, so I typed "isaac seaver" in the field and saw:

I picked the "Search all of MooseRoots for "isaac seaver" item on the dropdown list:

The first item on the list above is "Isaac Seaver Census Records."  I clicked that:

There are additional search fields on the left side to narrow the search to a county or state, to a birth date and place, etc.

I clicked on the first result on the list to see what information was provided for Isaac S. Seaver in the 1930 U.S. Census (5 screens shown below)

And there's still more information about the state and county.

The 1930 U.S. census result for Isaac S. Seaver above includes details about the person, the persons in the household (linked to profiles), the original record (the image is not available at this time), links to Isaac Seaver in other census records, and a source citation.  The census detail information is from FamilySearch.

Below the specific census information are charts and text about the first name and last name, and information about the specific county (demographics, economic conditions), the 1930 census, etc.

I will have more information on this website tomorrow.

My opinion is that this website provides free information about individuals and families from a limited number of freely available record collections.  FREE is good for all of us. The challenge for the website is to add sufficient record collections so that it becomes a "go-to" site for researchers.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Fixing Online Family Trees - One Person at a Time on FamilySearch Family Tree

Since I have contributed a number of profiles to many online family trees over the past 15 years, I need to try to correct erroneous relationships and information that have been added by myself and other researchers over time. 

One example of this process is the profile on FamilySearch Family Tree for my immigrant ancestor, Robert Seaver (my 9th great-grandfather, 1608-1683) LZVZ-VBH, who came to Roxbury, Massachusetts in March, 1634 aboard the Mary and John.  He married Elizabeth Ballard and two other spouses, had seven children, and thousands of descendants.  I have been unable to identify parents of Robert Seaver in my 27 years of Seaver research.  He was born in England to unknown parents.

Before yesterday, Robert Seaver's parents on the Family Tree were identified as Thomas Savory (1572-1674) LHPL-W5Z and Mary Woodrorke (1574-1607) LZVZ-KSP.  Thomas Savory was in Plymouth by 1634, and died in Plymouth in 1674.  One of the profiles had a son Robert Savory 1598-1678, but Robert Savory was not conflated with Robert Seaver (1608-1683) in the family - they were lsited as two different sons with different last names.

In addition, the Family Tree profile for Robert Seaver's wife, Elizabeth Ballard (ca 1616-1657) identified her parents as Henry Ballard (1575-1642) MMJX-9JY and Elizabeth Townsend (1577-1637) L8FB-T6F. There is another Elizabeth Ballard (1611-1704) L844-RGL in their list of children married to another person. 

Earlier, I had added Discussion items on the profiles for Thomas Savory and Henry Ballard asking for source information and explanation of how Robert and Elizabeth were added to the profiles of their reputed "parents" as children.

1)  I consider the relationship of Robert Seaver LZVZ-VBH to Thomas Savory LHPL-W5Z and Mary Woodrorke LZVZ-KSP to be non-existent.  So I deleted the relationship between Robert and his Savory "parents."

2)  I also consider the spousal relationship between Elizabeth Ballard L844-RGL and Robert Seaver to be non-existent.  So I deleted their relationship.  Because Elizabeth was in a family with the seven children of Robert Seaver, I had to delete their relationship with their parents.

3)  Next, I had to create a new profile for the Elizabeth Ballard (ca 1616-1657) who married Robert Seaver LZVZ-VBH.  I did that, and she is Elizabeth Ballard LVX7-TMH.  Then I added the seven known children of Robert and Elizabeth to the family, knowing their current FamilySearch ID numbers.  Now the family is as correct as I (and other Seaver researchers) know it.  

4)  After this, I added Discussion items for both Robert Seaver and Elizabeth Ballard explaining why I disconnected them from the reputed "parents."  Hopefully, other Family Tree users will not come along and add "parents" to Robert and Elizabeth as time goes on.

Here is the Family Members area for Robert Seaver LZVZ-VBH:

And the Discussion area for Robert Seaver LZVZ-VBH:

Here is the Family Members area for Elizabeth Ballard LVX7-TMH (note no parents shown):

And Here is the Discussions area for Elizabeth Ballard LVX7-TMH:

5)  This process was fairly straightforward, and I did not need a curator or any help to do it.  It is important that the person taking actions like this understand the logic of the delete relationship process.  I didn't delete any persons, but I had to delete 9 relationships and add one new profile in order to get the family correct.  Note that I had to do all of these operations within FamilySearch Family tree, not using a program like RootsMagic to add or change information or persons.

Of course, some other researcher may reverse it, but I hope they will discuss it with me (and other interested researchers) before they do that.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - Post 251: 1777 Marriage Record of Zachariah Hildreth and Elizabeth Keyes in Townsend, Mass.

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to look in my digital image files to see what treasures I can find for my family history and genealogy musings.

The treasure today is the  1777 marriage record of Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828) and his first wife, Elizabeth Keyes (1759-1793) in Townsend, Massachusetts:

The snippet for the Hildreth-Keyes marriage is on the right-hand page:

The transcription of the entry is:

"Sept 1 [1777] Zachariah Hildreth with Elisabeth Keys both of Westford"

The source citation for this entry is:

Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, digital images, ( : accessed 28 May 2012), "Townsend Births, Marriages, and Deaths," page 338 (image 793 of 1351): Zachariah Hildreth and Elisabeth Keys entry.

The Townsend Vital Record book also lists this marriage:

The source citation for this record is:

Henry C. Hallowell (editor), Vital Records of Townsend, Massachusetts (Boston, Mass. : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1992), Marriages, Book 1, page 23, Zachariash Hildreth and Elisabeth Keys entry.

The Westford, Massachusetts Vital Record book has the same marriage recorded as:

"HILDRETH, Zachariah [jr., int.], and Elizabeth Keyes, at Townsend, Sept. 1, 1777*"

The source citation for the Westford record is:

Vital Records of Westford, Massachusetts to the Year 1849 (Salem, Mass. : The Essex Institute, 1915), Marriages, page 194, Zachariah Hildreth and Elizabeth Keyes entry.

Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828) and Elizabeth Keyes (1759-1793) are my fourth great-grandparents, throguh their son Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857) who married Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857) in 1810.

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Top 10 Genealogy Family Tree Resources

Cyndi Ingle recently asked a question on Facebook for discussion: 

"One of the new lectures is "Ten Resources I Use Every Day." Top 10 lists seem to be a popular thing. I remember being asked on many occasions to create top 10 lists of sites to present in lectures at conferences. Thus, this lecture idea was born. I've been adding to an outline for a while now. It is all the things I do and all the things I use during the day that make me more efficient, organized, and a better researcher. I have a lot more than 10 of them. It's 55 so far. So, I organized them into 10 categories. Ha! What are your favorite 10 resources?"

I responded on Facebook, but didn't limit my list of 10 to just Genealogy Family Tree Resources.  After some reflection, I think these are my top 10 Family Tree resources to have my family tree database on, and to find records and research clues on (in approximate order of use):

1)  RootsMagic ($$) - This is my primary genealogy management program on my desktop computer.  I prefer the layout, ease of use, source templates, and some of the reports relative to other desktop computer programs.  I have one large database for my own family research (ancestors of my grandchildren, plus smaller trees that may connect to my ancestral tree).  There is a free mobile app that reads a RootsMagic native file.

2) ($$) - I use my Ancestry Member Tree (an isolated "my tree," which I update every year or two via GEDCOM upload) as cousin bait.  With over 32,000 databases, Ancestry provides Record Hints for persons in my AMT, with 95% to 98% accuracy.  Other Ancestry Member Trees, with over 2.1 billion profiles, provide research leads at times.  There is a free mobile app that syncs with my Ancestry Member Tree.

3)  FamilySearch Family Tree (Free) - This is a collaborative "our tree" rather than "my" tree, with no GEDCOM upload.  I can sync person profiles in my RootsMagic or Legacy Family Tree program with FamilySearch Family Tree profiles, adding or editing names, dates, places, relationships, sources and notes.  Profiles in the Family Tree show Record Matches, photographs and stories in addition to relationships, sources and notes.  There is a free mobile app that syncs with the Family Tree.

4) ($$) - I use my MyHeritage tree (an isolated "my tree," with GEDCOM upload, which I cannot update for some reason) as cousin bait.  MyHeritage provides Record Matches for persons in my tree, with 95% to 98% accuracy.  Other MyHeritage trees occasionally provide research leads.  There is a free mobile app that syncs with my MyHeritage tree.

5)  WikiTree (Free) - This is a collaborative "our tree" rather than "my tree."  I have added about 5,700 profiles to WikiTree of my ancestral families via GEDCOM upload.  This provides both cousin bait for other researchers and occasional research leads.

6) ($$) - I have added thousands of profiles to Geni (a collaborative "our tree" with over 80 million profiles in a World Family Tree, without GEDCOM upload).  I mainly use it to find relationships to famous persons, although information in occasionally provides research leads.  

7)  Family Tree Maker ($$) - this is a genealogy management program that syncs with an Ancestry Member Tree.  I don't use it as my primary database because of the GEDCOM flaws and non-standard source templates.  I do use it to quickly start a database for a client because I can attach records from Ancestry using the Record Hints provided within Family Tree Maker.  

8) ($$) - I use my FindMyPast tree (an isolated "my tree" with GEDCOM upload) as cousin bait.  FindMyPast has started providing Record Hints for persons in the tree but they are not completely populated yet.

9)  Legacy Family Tree ($$) - a desktop genealogy management program, with GEDCOM upload, that produces better reports and charts than the other desktop programs.  There is a fee-based mobile app that syncs with the desktop program.

10)  RootsWeb WorldConnect (Free) - I have not added any profiles to a WorldConnect isolated "my tree" database with over 700 million profiles (it has a GEDCOM upload).  I use it for research leads. especially for new persons in my research.

That's not all of the family tree programs and websites that I use for my own genealogy research, but they are the ones I use more often.

What family tree software programs or online family trees do you use, and why do you use them relative to other options?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Fixing Online Family Trees - One Person at a Time on

Since I have contributed a number of profiles to many online family trees over the past 15 years, I need to try to correct erroneous relationships and information that have been added by myself and other researchers over time.

One example of this process is the profile on for my immigrant ancestor, Robert Seaver (my 9th great-grandfather, 1608-1683), who came to Roxbury, Massachusetts in March, 1634 aboard the Mary and John.  He married Elizabeth Ballard and two other spouses, had seven children, and thousands of descendants.  I have been unable to identify parents of Robert Seaver in my 27 years of Seaver research.  He was born in England to unknown parents.

Here is the profile for Robert Seaver (1609-1683) on (two screens below):

A careful look at the relationships shows that this profile has parents, Thomas Seaver and Mary Woodrorke, several siblings, three spouses, and seven children.

The profile for Thomas Seaver (1572-1674), the purported father of Robert Seaver (1608-1683), is shown below (two screens):

Below the profile information on every profile are tabs for Overview, Media, Timeline, Discussions, Sources and Revisions.  I wrote a Discussion item several days ago, and it is listed under the Discussions tab.  Here is the Discussion item expanded:

On the Discussions tab, I wrote on 23 February 2015:

"I have found no evidence in 26 years that Robert Seaver of Roxbury (1608-1683) was the son of anyone, let alone a person named Thomas Savory (how did it get to be Seaver on Geni??). There is none to my knowledge, but I have not looked at every parish register in England for it. Robert Seaver came in 1634 on the Mary and John and settled in Roxbury Mass.

"Did Thomas Savory leave a will that names Robert Seaver as a son? Are there parish records in England for the birth of children of Thomas Savory?

"IMHO, the relationship of @Robert Seaver (1608-1683) to Thomas Seaver/Savory and Mary Woodrocke should be deleted."

There were several responses by Curators, who keep good tabs on discussions as they occur.  The most useful was by Ben M. Angel, who wrote:

"Severed the doubtful parent connection and replaced with an Unknown Parents cap. There is one child that probably needs to be researched as most secondary sources (SmartMatches) seem to indicate that Savory was the name given to him. So far, that individual and his wife are not MPed."

Ben's actions severed the relationship of Thomas Seaver/Savory with his purported parents, but not the relationship of my Robert Seaver with his purported parents.  

The only information in the Overview for Thomas Seaver/Savory is a Plymouth Colony record summary that calls him Savory throughout, based on an online genealogy report that lists only one daughter for Thomas Savory and his wife.  

I made another comment today asking:

"Ben, My issue was really with Robert Seaver (1609-1683) being the son of Thomas Savory/Seaver and his apparent wife Margaret Woodrorke.

"Perhaps I should have written the discussion on Robert's profile. Can you sever the very doubtful parent connection for Robert Seaver's parents and replace it with an unknown parents cap?

"Thank you -- Randy Seaver"

I think this will work out well, because I've found the Curators to be responsible and logical persons, and good judges of sources, records and evidence.  I appreciate the efforts of the Curators to respond quickly to Discussion items.

I know the goal of and other online connected family trees (where anyone can add, revise or delete information) is to be as accurate as possible.  Those of us that have contributed to these online trees have the responsibility to review the information in the person profiles and collaborate with the profile managers and the curators using the Discussion tools provided and hope for agreement among those concerned with the profile based on sources and records.

I am late to this effort - I have not paid close attention to the profiles for my ancestors on and other online family trees over the years.  But with the proliferation of "relationship calculators" on these trees, it's become important to get them as correct as possible.  I will add some sources and more notes (Robert Seaver already has my notes someone copied from my website) to my ancestors on a regular basis.

I'm not picking on here - I will look at the other online trees to see what they have for Robert Seaver and his wife (I did a Discussion item there on too) and try to make the profiles as accurate as possible for posterity records.

If my readers have added profiles to and other online family trees, they should review the information on those profiles, add sources and notes, and use the Discussions tool to collaborate with other interested parties.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Randy's First Car -- Post 348 of (Not So) Wordless Wednesday

I'm posting old family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they won't be wordless posts like others do - I simply am incapable of having a wordless post.

Here is one of the most precious (to me) images from my Seaver/Carringer family collection:

This is my first car!  In the 1940s, every kid wanted a little red, one person, pedal car to drive on the sidewalk around the neighborhood, right?  Or even in the street...I seem to recall getting several blocks away from home with this luxurious model.  I don't think it had brakes, though, so I didn't take it to school (which was downhill).

This is your humble correspondent (I used to be pretty cute, eh?  and blond, too) and his red pedal car in the late 1940s.  Check out the jaunty cap, and the fancy driving shorts, and the shoes too.  Doesn't everyone put his foot on the bumper of his car?  

My guess is that this is about 1947-1949, since I look age 4 to 6 in this picture.  

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver