Friday, October 24, 2014

Ancestry.com Updates Pennsylvania Death Certificates - Now 1906-1963

I posted Finding Genealogy Gems in Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906-1944 on 2 July 2014, and Ancestry.com has now extended the collection through 1963.

The Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906-1963, database is at  http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=5164.  The database description says:

"Pennsylvania’s Department of Health began keeping birth and death records on a statewide basis on January 1, 1906. This collection includes death records beginning on that date through 1963. Later records will eventually be added to this collection.

"Death certificates recorded the following details:
  • name and residence of the decedent
  • city and county of death
  • gender and race
  • marital status
  • age and date of birth
  • occupation
  • place of birth
  • parents' names and birthplaces
  • date of death
  • dates attended by physician
  • cause of death
  • attending physician and address
  • length of stay in hospital or institution or length of residency for transients or recent arrivals
  • place of burial or removal
  • date of burial
  • undertaker name and address
  • name and address of informant
"Records of stillbirths were required to be filed as both a birth and death record, so you may find records of stillborn children in this collection."

Previously, I "mined" this database for "gems" in my genealogy family tree database, especially for surnames Carringer, Vaux, Seaver and Remley. So now I need to search for others of those surnames who died after 1944.

Here is the search page for this database.  I entered the surname "carringer" in the search field, and entered a death date of 1954 plus/minus 10 years (in order to find only those who died between 1944 and 1964):


I clicked on Search and there were 23 entries for Carringer:


I will go through these one by one and enter information from these death certificates into my family tree database.  Then I'll do the other surnames, and now that this collection is complete, I will find persons with other surnames who are in this database using the Record Hint in this specific database outlined in More on Finding Record Hints for a Specific Database on Ancestry.com.  The database number for this record collection is dbid=5164.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver




52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 43: #50 Daniel Spangler (1781-1851)

Amy Johnson Crow suggested a weekly blog theme of "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" in her blog post Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on the No Story Too Small blog.  Here is my ancestor biography for week #43:

Daniel Spangler (1781-1851) is #50 on my Ahnentafel list, my third great-grandfather.  He married in about 1816 to #51 Elizabeth King (1793-1863).


I am descended through:

*  their daughter, #25 Rebecca Spangler (1831-1901), who married #24, David Jackson Carringer (1828-1902) in 1851.

*  their son, #12 Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946), who married #13 Abbie Ardell "Della" Smith (1862-1944) in 1887.
*  their son, #6 Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976), married Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977) in 1918. 
* their daughter, #3 Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002), who married Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983) in 1942.
*  their son, #1 Randall J. Seaver (1943-....)

 =====================================================

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


*  Name:                        Daniel Spangler[1–5,8]   
*  Sex:                            Male   
*  Father:                       Rudolf Spengler (1738-1811)   
*  Mother:                     Maria Dorothea Dinkel (1748-1835)   
  
*  Alternate Name:       John Daniel Spangler[6]
*  Alternate Name:       Daniel Spengler[7,9]

2)  INDIVIDUAL LIFE EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):   

*  Birth:                        9 October 1781, York, York, Pennsylvania, United States[6-7]
*  Baptism:                   20 October 1781 (age 0), Trinity Reformed Church, York, York, Pennsylvania, United States[6-7]
*  Census:                     1 June 1820 (age 38), Winchester, Frederick, Virginia, United States[1]
*  Census:                     1 June 1830 (age 48), Sandy Creek, Mercer, Pennsylvania, United States[2]
*  Census:                    1 June 1840 (age 58), Sandy Creek, Mercer, Pennsylvania, United States[3]
*  Census:                    1 June 1850 (age 68), Sandy Creek, Mercer, Pennsylvania, United States[4]
*  Death:                      19 July 1851 (age 69), Georgetown, Beaver, Pennsylvania, United States[6]
*  Burial:                     after 19 July 1851 (after age 69), Sheakleyville Cemetery, Sandy Creek, Mercer, Pennsylvania, United States[6]
*  Probate:                   15 September 1851 (age 69), Order to sell real estate; Mercer, Mercer, Pennsylvania, United States[5]
*  Probate:                  18 August 1856 (age 74), Account of estate approved; Mercer, Mercer, Pennsylvania, United States[8]
  
3)  SPOUSES AND CHILDREN (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
  
*  Spouse 1:               Elizabeth King (1796-1863)   
*  Marriage:              12 March 1815 (age 33), Trinity Reformed Church, York, York, Pennsylvania, United States[6,9]

*  Child 1:                 Anna Katrina Spangler (1816-1816)   
*  Child 2:                 Anna Maria Spangler (1818-1869)   
*  Child 3:                 Henry K. Spangler (1820-1820)   
*  Child 4:                 Elizabeth Spangler (1822-1884)   
*  Child 5:                 Sarah Elizabeth Spangler (1824-1864)   
*  Child 6:                 Dorothea Matilda Spangler (1827-1891)   
*  Child 7:                 Helen Spangler (1831-1905)   
*  Child 8:                 Rebecca Spangler (1832-1901)   
*  Child 9:                 Louisa Spangler (1839-1883)   
*  Child 10:               Margaret Jane Spangler (1841-1871)   
  
4)  NOTES (with source citations as indicated in brackets):   

Daniel Spangler was born and raised in York, York County, Pennsylvania.  His birth, baptism and marriage records call him "Daniel Spengler" but the Spangler book calls him "John Daniel Spangler."  There may be a family Bible or other family paper that provides his full name, but I haven't seen it.

The entry in the Trinity Reformed Church records (York town, York County, Pennsylvania) for the birth and baptism of Daniel Spengler says:[6-7]

Birth date:  9 October 1781
Baptism Date: 20 October 1781
Name:  Daniel 
Parents:  Rudi Spengler & wife
Sponsors: Balthasar Spengler & wife

The Trinity Reformed Church (York, Pennsylvania) record book notes the marriage:[9]

Mr 12 1815  Daniel Spengler - Elizabeth Koenig

After his marriage to Elizabeth King on 12 March 1815 in York, they moved to Winchester, Virginia. In 1829 they located in Sandy Creek township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

Daniel and Elizabeth (Koenig/King) Spangler had ten children, born between 1816 and 1841, listed in the Spangler book, and eight of them survived to adulthood and are listed in Daniel's probate records.

In the 1820 US Census, the Daniel Spangler family resided in Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia.[1]  The household included one male age 10-16, one male age 26-45, one female under age 10, and one female age 16 to 26.

In the 1830 US Census, the Danl Spangler family resided in Sandy Creek township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.[2] The household included one male age 40-50, 2 females under age 5, two females age 5-10, 1 female age 10-15, and one female age 30-40.  Daniel Spangler was listed just before Martin Carringer and Henry Carringer.

In the 1840 US Census, the Daniel Spangler family resided in Sandy Creek township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.[3]  The household included no males (probably an error!), 2 females under age 5, 1 female age 5-10, 2 females age 10-15, 2 females age 15-20, 1 female age 20-30 and one female age 40-50.

In the 1850 US census, the Daniel Spangler family resided in Sandy Creek township in Mercer County, Pennsylvania,[4] and was enumerated just after the Henry Carringer family.  The household included:

*  Daniel Spangler, age 68, male, a farmer, real property worth $1500, born PA
*  Elizabeth Spangler, age 54, female, born PA
*  Rebecca Spangler, age 18, female, born PA, attended school
*  Loiza Spangler, age 12, female, born PA, attended school
*  Margaret Spangler, age 11, female, born PA, attended school
*  George Con (?), age 11, male, born PA, attended school
*  Matilda McKight, age 23, female, born VA
*  Elliott McKight, age 28, male, laborer, born PA

No record of Elizabeth Spangler was found in the 1860 US Census in Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

John Daniel Spangler died on 19 July 1851 and is buried in Sheakleyville Cemetery in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.[6]

Daniel Spangler died intestate, and his probate papers are in File O.S. 1664 in Mercer County, Pennsylvania Orphans Court (not obtained to date).[5]  Benjamin Robinson and John M. Carringer were named Administrators of his estate.  Letters and Bond were filed on 13 August 1851, an Inventory was filed on 6 September 1851, a Real Estate Sale was ordered on 15 September 1851, and an Account was recorded on 25 April 1856.  The land of Daniel Spangler was 200 acres in Perry township, originally Donation lot number 929.  In order to pay debts, 100 acres was sold in December 1851 to John Waugh for $500.  

The entry in the Orphans' Court records that describes the real estate sale says:

September Term 1851

Petition of John M. Carringer &
Benjamin Robinson Adm^rs.
of
Daniel Spangler for leave to
Sell Real Estate 

At an Orphans Court held at Mercer in and for the county of Mercer on the 15^th day of Sept^r A.D. 1851.  The petition of Benjamin Robinson and John M. Carringer, Adm^rs of all & singular the goods and chattels rights & credits of Daniel Spangler dec'd who died intestate, was presented to the said Court, representing that the said intestate died leaving issue eight children to wit:  Mary Ann (now the wife of Joseph M. Caringer) Eliza (now the wife of Benjamin Robinson), Sarah Ellen (now the wife of John M. Carringer), Matilda (now the wife of Wm E. McNight),  Helen Brown (now the wife of John Brown), Rebecca, Louisa, Margaret Jane, the last three of whom are yet in their minority.  That the personal estate is insufficient for the payment & the maintenance of his minor children as by the statement & schedule herewith presented appears, and the said intestate died seized in his demesne as of fee of and in a tract of land, situated in Perry township, Mercer County, Penna.  Bounded on the north by land of Allen Hutchison, East by Beels & Seemons heirs, on the South by land of Sam^l Griffith & on the West by land of Davison's and Beggs being Donation lot No. 929 in the 5th district of donation lands and containing two hundred acres and allowance, and praying the Court to make an order allowing them to make sale of the said messuage and tract of land or so much thereof as may be necessary to pay the debts & maintenance and educate the minors of the said intestate.

Sept. 15 1851 prayer granted and a sale decreed of any portion of the premises within described not exceeding two hundred acres to be laid off by the admrs by survey in one or more parcels to suit purchasers, sale to be made on the premises on the 2nd Monday of December 1851 with leave to adjourn to the court house in Mercer on the first day of next term - usual order as to terms and notice - Sept. 15 1851 Bond taken & approved (order issued).

To the Honorable the Judges of the Orphans Court of Mercer County the administrators of Daniel Spangler dec^d respectfully report that in pursuance of the order of Court having complied with all its requirements they sold the land therein mentioned to wit, one hundred acres of the South end of the tract denoted in said order on the 15 Day of Dec. A.D. 1851 at the Court House in the borough of Mercer having given due and timely notice of the time and place of sale and sold the same to John Waugh for the sum of five hundred dollars he being the highest and best bidder and that the highest and best price bidden for the same.

Dec^r 15 1851.  The Court confirm the sale and order and decree that it remain firm and stable forever and direct a deed to be made by the adm^rs to the purchaser on his complying with the terms of sale.

The account of the estate of Daniel Spangler was presented to the Probate Court in the April Term of 1856.[8]  It says:

April Term 1856
Account of the Estate
of 
Daniel Spangler decd

At an Orphans Court held at Mercer in and for the County of Mercer on the 25th day of April 1856.  The Account of Benjamin Robinson and John M. Carringer Administrators of the Estate of Daniel Spangler deceased was presented after having passed the Register in which said Accountants charge themselves with
...................................................................... $ 640.57
And claims credit for ..................................  $ 642.04
(over paid) ....................................................... $  1.47

April 25th 1856 presented and confirmed [nise] unless exceptions are filed on or before the first day of next term.
August 18. 1856 Confirmed.
 
5)  SOURCES

1. 1820 United States Federal Census, Population Schedule, Frederick County, Virginia, Winchester, Page 43, Daniel Spangler household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com),  citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M33, Roll 138.

2. 1830 United States Federal Census, Population Schedule, Mercer County, Pennsylvania, Sandy Creek township, Page 237, Danl Spangler household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com), citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M19,  Roll 149.

3. 1840 United States Federal Census, Mercer County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Sandy Creek township, Page 371, Daniel Spangler household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M704, Roll 474.

4. 1850 United States Federal Census, Mercer County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Sandy Creek township, Page 312, dwelling #854, family #901, Daniel Spangler household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, Roll 796.

5. "Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994," digital images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org), citing Mercer County, Pennsylvania Orphans Court Docket, 1850-1858, Volumes D-E, "Sale of Real Estate" entry for Daniel Spangler, 15 September 1851, Volume D, Page 93 (image 55 of 684); citing original records on FHL microfilm US/CAN 878,977.

6. Edward W. Spangler, The Annals of the Families of Caspar, Henry, Baltzer and George Spengler Who Settled in York County Respectively in 1729, 1732, 1732 and 1751, with Biographical and Historical Sketches, and Memorabilia of Contemporaneous Local Events (York, Penn. : n.p., 1896), page 191.

7. Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985, York County, York town, "Trinity United Church of Christ" manuscript (in German), unnumbered page, 1781, image 27, Daniel Spengler baptism entry, 20 October 1781.

8. "Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994," digital images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org), citing Mercer County, Pennsylvania Orphans Court Docket, 1850-1858, Volumes D-E: "Account of Estate of Daniel Spangler" 18 August 1856, Volume E, Page 320 (image 503 of 684).


9. Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985, York County, York town, "Trinity Reformed Church (United Church of Christ)" typescript, page 331 (image 275), Daniel Spengler and Elizabeth Koenig marriage entry, 12 March 1815.

=========================================

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dear Randy: How Can I Find Free Records About My Family?

I recently received an email from Christine that said (edited a bit below):

"I found your blog post somehow while looking for ancestry.com ... I was thinking you might be able to help me.  You know when people ask "where are you from?" And I reply with 'originally?  Or currently?'  Which in turn causes me to say well I was born in Michigan, grew up in Texas but came to California at 17.


"Then they say 'no, your last name...it's Italian. ..'  'Yes,' I reply...'I married into that name...how Italian can you get? Right?'  Well,  lucky for my ex husband and my sons,  he and his family know a lot about their ancestors.  

"So then the polite response is usually 'so what is your maiden name?'  'PALMITER' I reply... and they ask'hmmm where is that from? Is that German? French?'

"There lies my reason for contacting you....I don't know.   I don't have anyone to ask.  I know the names of my father and grandfather.  What else would be useful to get the best representation of my Heinz 57 recipe? 

"Anything you can do to lead me in the right direction would be great.  Every site I go to requires me to spend upwards of $100 for each inquiry. ..and I'm not sure if I'm even at the right place.  Thanks for your time!!"

Well, Christine, I have some help for you:

1)  Ancestry.com has a free page about the surname Palmiter at http://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=palmiter.


2)  There is a webpage for the meaning of Palmiter (and most other surnames) at  http://genealogy.familyeducation.com/surname-origin/palmiter

It links to the Palmenter name page which says:

"English (mainly Essex): occupational name for a maker of facings and trimmings, Middle English, Old French par(e)mentier (from parement ‘fitting’, ‘finishing’, Late Latin paramentum, a derivative of parare ‘to prepare or adorn’)."

3)  You can access Ancestry.com databases for FREE at LDS Family History Centers around the world (4,600 of them) or at some public and private libraries that have a subscription to Ancestry Library Edition.  If you go, take a flash drive to save documents that you find.

4)  A FREE genealogy website is www.FamilySearch.org.  You can search for records and family tree information there at https://familysearch.org/search.

5)  You may find online family trees with the Palmiter name in some free family tree sites, one of the best is WorldConnect at wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com.  Enter a name of a historical person (not living) into the search fields and look for trees that may have useful information.

6)  The FamilySearch Family Tree may have information about your ancestral families contributed by many researchers in one large shared tree - see https://familysearch.org/tree/.  You will have to register to see information - it's free.

7)  Look for graves for your ancestral families at Find A Grave - www.findagrave.com.  This is a free site.

8)  There are several large FREE genealogy message boards for surnames and localities - see http://boards.rootsweb.com and http://genforum.genealogy.com.  These may have information about your families, and may lead you to distant cousins who can help you.

9)  In addition, there is a large genealogy mailing list archive for surnames and localities at http://lists.rootsweb.ancestry.com.  You can search the entire archive or specific lists for your families. 

10)  There are many other genealogy based websites that are free, and some are commercial.  almost all of the commercial websites are available to search for free at the LDS Family History Centers - you can find a list at https://familysearch.org/locations/centerlocator

11)  You may find very helpful information about your ancestral families in published books and periodicals available at local, regional or national libraries.  Many books published before 1923 are available online at Google Books (http://books.google.com) and the Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org).  

12) As you can see, there are many websites with useful family tree and record information, and you can access commercial websites for free by visiting a local library or center. 

What else would you recommend for Christine to use online or offline to find more information about her ancestry?

I hope that helps you, Christine.


Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


BillionGraves Plus Features

I have not explored the Billion Graves website at all over the past few years.  At this time, there are about 11 million gravesite photographs.  I want to look deeper at the site.  Most features on the site are free, but there is a subscription component, called BG Plus, also.

Billion Graves permits volunteer photographers to use the free Billion Graves mobile app for iOS and Android units to take a photograph of a gravesite or gravestone, and the app uploads the photograph, along with the GPS coordinate of the grave, to Billion Graves servers.  Once the photo is on the website, then volunteers can transcribe the photographs.  The transcription information, and the photograph and GPS location, are then available to search on the Billion Graves website and on the FamilySearch website (https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2026973).  FamilySearch updates the collection on a regular basis.

I explored finding cemetery maps and adding gravestone transcriptions in Billion Graves Cemetery Maps and Gravesite Transcriptions (posted 20 October 2014), and the BillionGraves mobile app in Technology Tuesday - Billion Graves Mobile App (posted 21 October 2014).  Yesterday, I wrote 
Searching for Persons and Cemeteries on BillionGraves.

In this post, I'm going to explore the BillionGraves Plus (BG Plus) features - this is a subscription feature for $9.99 per year - see http://billiongraves.com/pages/faq/.  BG Plus was introduced several weeks ago in BillionGraves Introduces 5 New Amazing Features.  

1)  Here is the top of the Billion Graves home page after I signed in with my credentials:



On the tabs line, there is a tab for "BG Plus."

2)  The BillionGraves Plus screen opened with a list of the five new features (two screens below):



Each feature has a video associated with it to introduce and demonstrate the feature.

The "Virtual Walk-through" and "Map It" features are associated with searches - discussed below.

3)  I clicked on the "Notifications" tab and was able to add notifications for four of my surnames - the screen is below:


Now I receive an email each time a gravesite is added to BillionGraves for any of those surnames and locations.

4)  I searched for Othello Seaver, who is buried in Mitchellville Cemetery in Iowa.  Here is his profile:



5)  In the left-hand column on the screen above, there is an area for "Virtual Walkthrough" where I can "View Others Buried Nearby."  I clicked on that link and saw:


A list of those buried nearby is provided, along with the distance from the target grave to the other person on the list.  If I click on one the names, I can see their birth-death dates, and can see the stickpin location on the map.  I can drag and drop the circle somewhere else on the map and see persons within that circle.

6)  The "Map It" feature is also in the left-hand column of the Othello Seaver profile.  There are options for "In this cemetery," "In this County," "In this state," and "In this country."

I clicked on "In this country" and saw the map of all Seaver entries in the United States.


I can click on a stickpin to see the name entry/entries associated with it, including the cemetery name.

7)  The other two BG Plus features are "Ad Free" and "Priority Support."  While these are helpful, I haven't used them to date.

8)  The Notifications, Virtual Walk-through and Map It features seem to be useful.  I've been receiving occasional notifications this past week.  

I was provided a one-year BG Plus subscription two weeks ago by the company, and promised to do an objective review of the BillionGraves website and BG Plus features.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/10/billiongraves-plus-features.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Treasure Chest Thursday - Post 237: San Diego Library/Archives Special Collections

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 wealth of published and manuscript material that exists in public, academic and private libraries, state and national archives, genealogical and historical societies, etc.

I went to the San Diego Central Library in downtown San Diego (330 Park Blvd) yesterday with my CVGS colleagues, and had a wonderful time.  Three hours is too short!  But necessary because they opened at 12 noon and we had to be home by 4 p.m.  

While there, I concentrated on requesting unique holdings that might have my Carringer, Auble and Smith ancestors in them, starting from 1887.  Librarian Kate was very helpful, going into the restricted special collections and bringing out what she thought might interest me.

Here are some of my "genea-jewels:"

1)  The Great Register (of Voters) for San Diego in 1888-1892.  My great-grandfather, Henry A. Carringer (1853-1946) registered to vote on 9 August 1888:


Left-hand page is above, right-hand page is below:


Note that naturalization information is on the right-hand page for some entries.

The columns are Name; Age; Country of Nativity; Occupation; Local Residence; Naturalized Date, Place and Court; Date of Registration; Sworn; and Cancellation.

2)  A tourist souvenir guide published in 1897 with a description of many of the local towns, and photographs of some of the homes and attractions.  The cover:


The inside of the front cover has tourist advertisements.  I love the "Old Mexico and Return in a Day" ad:


Inside the magazine is information about different towns and photographs of homes and attractions:


I didn't see anything in this guide about my ancestral families, but what is portrayed in this guide is the environment in which they lived their daily lives.  

The transcription of the advertisement for the train ride to Mexico is:

Old Mexico and... Return in a Day
Through Orange and Lemon Groves
The popular
60-Mile Excursion
over the
National City & Otay R'y
Leaving Foot Fifth Street, San Diego, at 9:30 A.M. Daily

Crossing the border line at Tia Juana, giving one hour to visit the Mexican Custom House, curio stores and other places of interest, buy a fine cigar, mail a postal card to your friends in the United States, and after having your handkerchief stamped with a unique memento of the Republic as a souvenir, again take the train for National City and lunch at the International Hotel, or if you have provided a well filled hamper, stop at Olivewood, the beautiful grounds of Mr. W.C. Kimball, and enjoy it in the shade and fragrance of orange trees and roses; or if your time is limited, return to San Diego, arriving at 1:30 P.M.  After lunch visit the great Sweetwater Dam, 100 feet high, 500 feet long, and 46 feet thick at base; built of solid granite at a cost of $1,000,000; making it all a fine day's outing and a trip through the back country, returning to San Diego at 4:44 P.M.

Fare for Round Trip, including 'Bus to old Tia Juana.. $1.00.

For further information and tickets apply at Railway and Hotel offices.  Branch offices, 771 and 950 Fifth street, 1420 D street, or Station foot of Fifth street.
                                                               E.A. Hornbeck, Superintendent

I'll bet that my Carringer family invested the $1 each to take the train trip to Old Mexico on a day outing while my grandfather was a young boy.  

3)  The Marston Company newspaper advertisements collection for 1910, 1920 and 1930.  Newspaper pages with advertisements for the premier department store in San Diego were collected and bound in large books over the years.  Here is an example of a page from July 1920:


My grandfather, Lyle L. Carringer, worked at The Marston Company from 1906 until 1961, first as a cash boy and eventually as paymaster and auditor.  My grandmother worked as a saleslady at Marston's in the 1930s and 1940s.  

That's enough for this blog post - I will show some more genea-jewels I found next week for Treasure Chest Thursday.

As in most archives and repositories, in order to see records like these, the researcher needs to access the catalog at the repository, or ask a helpful librarian/archivist to recommend items from a specific time frame.  In my case, I asked for the 1887 to 1920 time frame.  Fortunately, Kate was not overwhelmed with visitors and was able to provide me with records and brochures that took me back over 100 years in San Diego history.


Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Searching for Persons and Cemeteries on BillionGraves

I have not explored the Billion Graves website at all over the past few years.  At this time, there are about 10 million gravesite photographs.  I want to look deeper at the site.  Most features on the site are free, but there is a subscription component, called BG Plus, also.

Billion Graves permits volunteer photographers to use the free Billion Graves mobile app for iOS and Android units to take a photograph of a gravesite or gravestone, and the app uploads the photograph, along with the GPS coordinate of the grave, to Billion Graves servers.  Once the photo is on the website, then volunteers can transcribe the photographs.  The transcription information, and the photograph and GPS location, are then available to search on the Billion Graves website and on the FamilySearch website (https://familysearch.org/search/collection/2026973).  FamilySearch updates the collection on a regular basis.

I explored finding cemetery maps and adding gravestone transcriptions in Billion Graves Cemetery Maps and Gravesite Transcriptions (posted 20 October 2014), and the BillionGraves mobile app in Technology Tuesday - Billion Graves Mobile App (posted 21 October 2014).  


In this post, I'm going to explore the Search function - for persons and cemeteries.

1)  Here is the top of the Billion Graves home page after I signed in with my credentials:



The "Search" button is on the top of the page, in the center, just to the right of the BillionGraves title.

2)  I clicked on "Search" and saw a search form - with the "Person Lookup" active.  There is also a "Cemetery Lookup" tab.

In the "Person Lookup" form, I entered the Last Name "seaver" to the search field to see what they have in the database:


Below the search form above, there are a number of helpful search tips.  There is an "Exact Search" check box and a "Phonetic" check box.

I clicked on the blue "Search" button and received 232 matches:


For each match, there is a thumbnail photo of the gravestone, the person's name (as a link) with birth and death years (if known), and the cemetery name, and the location.

I noticed that one the persons on the results list was "Seaver" in Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego.   Here is the information for this person:


The page above has a small photo of the gravestone, a map of the cemetery with a stickpin for the gravesite, and information (birth, marriage, death, cemetery) about the person below the photos.

If I had more information about this person, I could click on the blue "Edit" button (top right above the cemetery map photo) to add or modify information about this gravestone.

3)  I wanted to see how many entries that BillionGraves had in Massachusetts for the "seaver" last name, so I added information to the search fields:


The search results provided 11 entries for "seaver" in Massachusetts.

4)  The user can search for cemeteries in a specific country, state or county.  I clicked on the "Cemetery Lookup" tab and selected "United States," "Massachusetts," and "Worcester" from the dropdown menus:


After clicking the blue "Search" button, the list of 259 cemeteries in the BillionGraves system for Worcester County, Massachusetts appeared:


On the list above, the cemeteries are listed alphabetically, with the number of images available and the location of the cemetery.  The cemeteries with photo images are listed with dark blue links.

I scrolled down to find Evergreen Cemetery in Leominster, Massachusetts, clicked the link, and saw:


The satellite map of the cemetery (zoomable) and stickpins for the gravesites with photographs appeared, along with information for the cemetery (address, GPS coordinates), and the list of persons entered into the BillionGraves system.  There are tabs for "Records," "Photos," "Contributors," "Requests" and "Comments."

5)  The Search features are excellent, and work quickly.  This part of the website is easy to use.  A user can quickly determine if there is a BillionGraves entry for a target person.  If there is not, a "Request" for a photo can be submitted on the "Request" tab.

I will explore more features, including the BG Plus features, in future blog posts.

The URL for this post is:   http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/10/searching-for-persons-and-cemeteries-on.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver