Friday, December 19, 2014

FindMyPast Announces Start Your Family Tree Week 2014/15 and Inaugural FindMyPast Tree Awards

I received this press release from FindMyPast today:



·         The week is full of competitions, expert insights, useful print-outs and much more

·         Launch of inaugural Findmypast Tree Competition to award exciting prizes across multiple categories

·         Prizes include Findmypast subscriptions, magazine subscriptions, exclusive sessions with genealogists and much more

·         Findmypast Hints has been launched to help beginners get started with their family trees quickly and easily

·         Over 7.6 million new records released today, including over 90,000 Revolutionary War Pensions and many more records from across the world to be released to launch Start Your Family Tree Week on 26th December

 London, UK. 19 December, 2014. Findmypast, the leading British family history site, has announced this year’s Start Your Family Tree Week will be held from 26th December 2014 to 1st January 2015.

The seven-day event will provide getting started guides, expert insights, useful print-outs and resources, and a wealth of family history prizes.

Findmypast will also be launching its first ever Findmypast Tree Awards – a contest for the best family tree built or uploaded to Findmypast. Four winners across four categories will be selected by an expert panel of judges and will be awarded a selection of prizes.

Findmypast’s Start Your Family Tree Week will include something for everyone, from beginners to expert genealogists.

 New development: Findmypast’s Hints

In advance of Start Your Family Tree Week, Findmypast has just launched the beta version of Hints on family trees. 

From now on, as users add to their family tree Hints will sift through millions of records to identify matches, instantly suggesting relevant historical records and potential new relations. This development not only helps users find new information, but has been carefully designed to make it easy for new users to start their trees, and to make it simple to review and add new facts.

Findmypast’s Hints currently provides matches from their birth, baptism, marriage, death, and burial records across the UK, US, Ireland, and Australia. In the near future, Hints will also be provided to the many other record sets within Findmypast. Hints for an individual are activated when their information is updated in your family tree.  

 Millions of record sets to be released

To launch Start Your Family Tree Week, Findmypast will be releasing millions of records from around the world. These include over 90,000 Revolutionary War pension records, 6.5 million of birth, marriage and death records from New South Wales, Australia, 60,000 Devon Social and Institutional Records from the 18th and 19th centuries, thousands of court, asylum and burial records from Yorkshire, fascinating Scottish records.

The United States, Revolutionary War Pensions date from the early 19th century when the United States began issuing pensions to military veterans from various early conflicts.  Most pensions are for veterans of the Revolutionary War and their families although pension applications for veterans of the Barbary and Indian can be found. 

Visit our dedicated Findmypast Friday page to find out more.


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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 51: #58, William Knapp (1775-1856)

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.  Here is my ancestor biography for week #51:

William Knapp (1775-1856) is #58 on my Ahnentafel list, my third great-grandfather.  He married in about 1804  to #59 Sarah Cutter (1785-1878).

William Knapp (1775-1856) gravestone, Newton, N.J.
(c) Russ Worthington (used by permission)

I am descended through:

*  their daughter, 
#29 Sarah Knapp (1818-1????), who married #28, David Auble (1817-1894), in 1844.
*  their son, #14 Charles Auble (1849-1916) who married #15 Georgianna Kemp (1868-1952) in 1898.
*  their daughter, #7 Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977) married, #6 Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976)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:                     William Knapp[1–7]   
*  Sex:                         Male   
2)  EVENTS (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
*  Birth:                      1775, Dutchess, New York, United States[1]   
*  Census:                   1 June 1830 (about age 55), Newton, Sussex, New Jersey, United States[3]   
*  Census:                   1 June 1840 (about age 65), Newton, Sussex, New Jersey, United States[4]   
*  Census:                   1 June 1850 (about age 75), Newton, Sussex, New Jersey, United States[5]   
*  Occupation:            1 June 1850 (about age 75), Shoemaker; Newton, Sussex, New Jersey, United States[5]   
*  Death:                     16 June 1856 (about age 81), Newton, Sussex, New Jersey, United States[1,6-7]
*  Burial:                    after 16 June 1856 (after about age 81), Old Newton Burial Ground, Newton, Sussex, New Jersey, United States[6–7]   
3)  MARRIAGES AND CHILDREN (with source citations as indicated in brackets):
*  Spouse 1.:               Sarah Cutter (1785-1878)   
*  Marriage:                about 1804 (about age 29), probably Woodbridge, Middlesex, New Jersey, United States[2]   

*  Child 1:                  Joseph C. Knapp (1805-    )   
*  Child 2:                  Samuel C. Knapp (1806-1852)   
*  Child 3:                  Cyrus C. Knapp (1809-1872)   
*  Child 4:                  Catharine Knapp (1810-1894)   
*  Child 5:                  Benjamin Knapp (1811-1857)   
*  Child 6:                  Charles C. Knapp (1813-1888)   
*  Child 7:                  Hannah Maria Knapp (1816-1903)   
*  Child 8:                  Sarah G. Knapp (1818-1900)   
*  Child 9:                  William Knapp (1823-1860)   
*  Child 10:                Manning M. Knapp (1825-1892)   
*  Child 11:                Elsie M. Knapp (1831-1903)   
4)  NOTES (with source citations as indicated in brackets):   

William Knapp was born in the 1775 time frame, probably in what was then Durtchess County, New York, according to his death record.  He was age 81 at death on 16 June 1856.[1]  The 1850 U.S. census lists his age as 75, born in New York,[5] which computes to a birth in about 1775.

The parents of William Knapp are not known.  The records of Dutchess County, New York  are very sparse for this time period.  A search of available vital records indicate there were many Knapp families in Dutchess County in the 1770-1790 time period.  Review of the 1790 U.S. census shows many Knapps in southeastern New York.

The books Supplement to the Nicholas Knapp Genealogy by Alfred Averill Knapp, published in 1956, and  Nicholas Knapp Genealogy by Alfred Averill Knapp, published 1953, lists William as the son of Shubel and Rebecca (Mead) Knapp, listing his birth date as 1786.  This is surely erroneous, since the 1850 census lists his age as 75 and his death record in the Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey vital records say he was age 81, born in Dutchess County, New York.  

William Knapp married Sarah Cutter in about 1804, probably in Woodbridge, New Jersey where Sarah Cutter was born and raised.[2]  They had 11 children,  born between 1805 and 1831, all of whom reached adulthood, and all but one married.  The Supplement mentioned above provides some of the data on the children of William and Sarah (Cutter) Knapp.

Data in Catherine Knapp's 1894 obituary indicates that William Knapp was one of the first settlers of Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey, and had a very extensive acquaintance.  He was a Justice of the Peace for many years, and resided on Spring Street on the property later owned by Moses McCollum.  The Knapps were among the earliest members of the Newton Methodist Episcopal Church, and with others of that faith, worshiped in barns and other places most convenient, traveling sometimes six or seven miles to service.  This was before the members were sufficiently numerous to build and worship in an edifice of their own.

Several newspaper articles naming William Knapp were published in the Sussex Register newspaper (available in the "Newspaper Clippings from the Sussex Register"  database on in the 1822 to 1829 time period, including:

1)  September 1822, page 10:

*A horse and wagon stolen from William Knapp, on a forged order."

2)  Title page, (1825) June:

" 13. A.C. Potwine goes to New York to remain as buyer of goods for store in Newton.  The firm has engaged William Knapp to make morocco shoes, and the drugs and medicines sold are inspected by Dr. Hedges."

3)  November 1829, page 20:

"14. Edward Stewart advertises sale of houses, including two-story stone house he occupied, 400 yards from Court house on Hamburg road, (Water Street) lately built; a frame house adjoining; a two story house on Spring street on one of the Conover lots, a house and lot on Liberty street, opposite Barnabus Carter's; half of the house and lot occupied by William Knapp, which was built by Hugh McMahan, and situated on Spring street, adjoining Zephaniah Luce Lot."

In the 1830 U.S. Census, the William Knapp family resided in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey).[3]  The household included:

*  1 male aged 0 to 5 years
*  1 male aged 5 to 10 years
*  2 males aged 15 to 20 years
*  1 male aged 50 to 60 years.
*  1 female aged 0 to 5 years
*  2 females aged 10 to 15 years
*  1 female aged 20 to 30 years
*  1 female aged 40 to 50 years.

In the 1840 US Census, the William Knapp family resided in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey.[4]  The household included:

*   one male aged 15 to 20
*  one male aged 60 to 70
*  one female aged 5 to 10
*  one female aged 15 to 20
*  one female aged 50 to 60.

In the 1850 US Census, this family resided in Newton township, Sussex County, New Jersey.[5]  The household included:

*  William Knapp -- age 75, male, a shoemaker, $800 in real property, born NY
*  Sarah Knapp, age 66, female, born NJ
*  Catherine Knapp, age 40, female, born NJ
*  Elsey Knapp, age 19, female, born NJ

William Knapp was a member and treasurer of the Harmony Mason Lodge in Newton in 1852, according to an 1888 article about the lodge.

His death record is in the Newton, Sussex, New Jersey vital records.[1]  The death record for William Knapp includes this information:

*  Date of Death:  June 16 1856 
*  Name of Decedent:  William Knapp
*  Sex:  Male*  Married or Single:  Married
*  Age:  81
*  Occupation:  Shoemaker
*  Place of Death:  Newton N.J.
*  Place of Birth:  Dutchess Co. N.Y.
*  Names of Parents:  [blank]
*  Cause of Death:  Old Age
*  Date of Making Record:  June 16 1856

An 1860 plat map of Newton NJ shows a house of W. Knapp near the southwest corner of Adams Street and Spring Street in Newton.

William Knapp and his wife, Sarah Knapp, are buried in the Old Newton Burial Ground  in Newton, Sussex County,  NJ.[6-7]  The cemetery is located behind properties on Main and Halsted Streets, with access by a driveway between the properties at 77 and 79 Main Street in Newton.  The inscription on the gravestone says:

June 16, 1856
In his 80th Year AEt.
Icis vigo.

There are no probate records for William Knapp in the Sussex County, New Jersey Estate Index, 1804-1974 (accessed on


1. New Jersey, Records of births, marriages, and deaths of New Jersey, 1848-1900, Volume AF, 1848-1867 (Sussex County)., page 655, William Knapp entry, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,584,582.

2. Dr. Benjamin Cutter, The History of the Cutter Family of New England  (Boston, Mass. : 1871).

3. 1830 United States Federal Census, Population Schedule, Sussex County, New Jersey, Newton township, page 222, William Knapp household; indexed database, (, citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M19, Roll 82.

4. 1840 United States Federal Census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Newton township; Page 54, William Knapp household; indexed database, (; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M704, Roll 260.

5. 1850 United States Federal Census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Newton township, page 137, dwelling #454, family #486, William Knapp household; digital image, (; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, Roll 464.

6. A Record of the Inscriptions on the Stones in the Old Cemetery - Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey, typescript (Newton, NJ : n.p., n.d., on shelf at Sussex County Library), William Knapp entry, unnumbered page.

7. Jim Tipton, indexed database, Find A Grave (, Old Newton Burial Ground, Newton, N.J., William Knapp memorial #14259582.


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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, December 18, 2014

FGS Conference, RootsTech Conference and the Family History Library - a Win-Win-Win For Me

I love attending conferences, and I love to do research at the Family History Library - so the joint FGS/RootsTech 2015 Conferences in Salt Lake City are a win-win-win for me.

When I attend a conference in Salt Lake City, I usually devote one day for research at the Family History Library.  I figure I can always go back during the conference if I absolutely have to find that one record that I really need, especially if I know the microfilm number or book/periodical call number.

So how do I prepare to visit the Family History Library for my one day, and what am I looking for?  My usual attitude is "look for records that you can only find at the Family History Library!"  These are usually microfilmed records - especially land and probate records for my ancestral families.  Sometimes, I search for books on the shelf for specific surnames, or books and periodicals for specific places.  I don't use the FHL computers much, except to look up microfilm numbers or call numbers for specific book or periodicals.

To prepare for the FHL visit, I go through the To-Do items in my RootsMagic program.  I double check the existing To-Do list items to make sure that their status are up-to-date (open, completed, etc.).  If I'm missing microfilm numbers or call numbers, I try to add them using the online FHL Catalog.  Then I go through my ancestral families one-by-one, looking for items to add to the To-Do list, and add them.

Last year, I found, photographed, or copied to a flash drive, quite a few documents.  I summarized the "finds" in RootsTech 2014 - Day 1 - I Went to the Library!  The 2014 "finds" were highlighted in my Amanuensis Monday and Treasure Chest Thursday posts throughout the year on Genea-Musings. Once I transcribe and source these documents, I add them to my RootsMagic database.  In essence, the FHL visit "feeds" my RootsMagic database and Genea-Musings.  Another win-win!!

What am I looking for this year?  Here's a partial list:

1)  Search Andrew County, Missouri Deed indexes for Ranslow Smith and Devier J. Smith; find and photograph the deeds if some are listed.

2)  Search Sussex County, New Jersey Deed indexes for Abel/Able, Auble names; find and photograph deed index pages and specific deeds for John Auble (1757-1818), John Auble (1780-1831), Anna Auble (1787-1860), David Auble (1817-1894).  

3)  Search Sussex County, New Jersey Deed indexes for William Knapp (1775-1856) and Sarah Knapp (1784-1878).  Find and photograph deed index pages and specific deeds.

4)  Search Mercer County, Pennsylvania Deed indexes for Daniel Spangler (1781-1851), Elizabeth Spangler (1796-1863), and Cornelius Feather (1777-1853).  Find and photograph deed index pages and specific deeds.

5)  Search for Probate records of James Richmond (1821-1912) in Putnma, Windham County, Connecticut.  Find and photograph probate records.

6)  Search for Probate records of John Seaver (1771-1853) in Bristol county, Massachusetts.  Find and photograph probate records.

7)  Search Killingly, Connecticut Deed indexes for Jonathan White (1804-1850) and Henry White (1824-1885).  Find and photograph deed index pages and specific deeds.

8)  Search Washington County, Iowa Deed indexes for David J. Carringer (1828-1902).  Find and photograph deed index pages and specific deeds.

9)  Search Vigo County, Indiana Deed indexes for David Auble (1817-1894) and Sarah Auble (1818->1900).  Find and photograph deed index pages and specific deeds.

10)  Search South Petherton Parish Registers for Vaux, Laver, Palmer, Axe, etc. for baptism, marriage and burial records.  

There are many more To-Do list items for the FHL - I recently added many more the last time I looked through the resources I have for my ancestral families.  My history is that my list is always too long, and I come home with things to do next year from the current list.  That's OK - I'll be back, I think.  Maybe I'll do a week-long tour one of these years.

Here is the To-Do list in RootsMagic by topic:

Hmmm, I haven't prioritized that list much!  I should do that!  I should also make the list titles consistent with either the person's name first or the record name first.  I prefer the record name, I think.

Here is the first page of the printed To-Do List at the Family History Library (selected all items at the Family History Library):

That would be 16 pages - with every task I want to do at the FHL.  

I will probably try to use a form like that shown in A Workbook for My Visit to the Family History Library by Diane Boumenot on the One Rhode Island Family blog last week.  This makes more sense - I can prioritize the forms, and they will be easier to use than the long To-Do list above.  I won't make a Workbook for them, however.

So, going to a conference in Salt Lake city is a win-win proposition for me!  I look forward to my day at the Genealogy Mecca.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Crestleaf Publishes "How Are We Related?" Family Relationship Chart

The Crestleaf blog has published a colorful Family Relationship Chart - see Are You My Relative? Family Relationship Chart and Infographic.

Crestleaf has kindly permitted me to publish the Infographic on my blog:

Two caveats on using the chart:

*  While some of the headings name only one gender or the other (e.g., Aunt or Uncle), they really apply to persons of both genders.

*  The male and female icons used in the chart (Self, Child, Sibling, Aunt, Uncle, cousin, etc.) represent both males and females.  The relationships are the same whether they are male or female.

These are minor complaints, but there may be people who are offended.  The intent is, I think, to show relationships without cluttering up the chart with more icons or more words.

Readers can go to the Crestleaf blog and download the chart, save the file on their computer, and then print it out, for their own personal use.

I think that this graphic is the best one I've seen to use to explain relationships between family members.

Another relationship chart was recently published by Lifehacker - see

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - Post 244: Marriage Record of Nathan Gates and Abigail Knowlton

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 treasures today are the  1790 marriage records of Nathan Gates and Abigail Knowlton in Gardner and Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts:

There are at least three pertinent records:

1)  The marriage intentions record from the Gardner Town Records:

A snip of the marriage intentions record:

The transcription of this record is:

"Nathan Gates of Gardner and Abigail Knowlton
of Westminster Weare Enterd May 9th 1790"

The source citation for this entry is:

Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, digital images, ( : accessed 18 December 2014), Gardner, Publishments, page 2 (image 2 of 45), Nathan Gates and Abigial Knowlton intentions.

The Gardner Vital Records book also has an entry for this date, noting "intentions.":

2)  The Westminster Vital Records book record:

The snip of the marriage record is:

 The transcription of this record is:

"Nathan [Gates] and Abigail Knowlton, June 17, 1790"

The source citation for this record is:

Systematic History Fund, Vital Records of Westminster, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849 (Worcester, Mass.: F.P. Rice, 1908), Marriages, page 142: Nathan Gates and Abigail Knowlton entry.

3)  The Westminster town record of the marriage:

The snip of the record is:

The transcription of the marriage record is:

"June 19 1790   Nathan Gates of Gardner to Abigail Knolton of Westmin."

The source citation for this record is:

Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988, digital images, ( : accessed 18 December 2014), Westminster, Court Records, with Births, Marriages and Deaths, page 282 (penned, image 146 of 177), Nathan Gates and Abigail Knolton entry.

In summary, I have a marriage intentions record in Gardner (home of Nathan Gates) for 9 May 1790;  I also have marriage records in Westminster (home of Abigail Knowlton) for 17 June 1790 (published vital records book) and for 19 June 1790 (handwritten town records).  

Which marriage entry should I use in my database?  I have entered separate events for the Marriage Intentions on 9 May 1790 in Gardner and the Marriage on 19 June 1790 in Westminster.  I chose the latter because the record with that date that I have is handwritten, and therefore was entered nearer to the event than the 1908 publication of the Westminster Vital Records book with the 17 June 1790 date.  However, I don't know if the handwritten entry is the Original Source - there may be an earlier town record book entry at the time of the event.  The difference is only two days, so this is not a significant difference in my judgment.

Nathan Gates (1767-1830) and Abigail Knowlton (1774-1855) are my fourth great-grandparents, through their daughter, Abigail Gates (1797-1867) who married Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) in 1817.

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

FindMyPast Introduces Hints in Family Trees - UPDATED

FindMyPast, a D.C., Thomson company, is a genealogy records provider with a U.K. website ( and a U.S. website ( in addition to several other sites.

They recently introduced an online family tree feature (see my series of posts from Family Trees on - Post 5: Search Results Are Improved, and Can Be Attached).

Now, the company has introduced Hints to online records for persons in a FindMyPast family tree.  There is a good description of the Hints feature on the website -  Note that this feature is still in beta development and the system may take some time to be fully functional.

The Hints page looks like this (two screens):

The Hints page notes;

"Once you start to add to your family tree, Hints will sift through 755 million of our birth, baptism, marriage, divorce, death and burial records to identify matches between them and the people on your tree, providing you with historical records and potential new relatives from our collections. 
You can expect a lot more from Hints in 2015, including Hints on census records and other collections. By reviewing all of your Hints, you'll be helping us to ensure that our process continues to improve."
At the bottom of the screen above are links to a video of "How to use Hints," a step-by-step "How to use hints" report, and a link to "Build your family tree" which has several screens about using Hints (a free registration is required).

The 5-minute video for "How to use Hints" is on YouTube at

Basically, the video explains that when there are Hints for a person on a user's FindMyPast tree, an orange circle with a number will appear in the upper right-hand corner of the person profile photo or icon, as shown above.  The number indicates how many Hints are available that may pertain to the person in the tree.  The user can then review the Hint, compare it to other known information, and either accept, reject, or wait on the Hint.  If the user accepts the Hint, then information can be added to the person profile in the tree (either All information, or selected information items).  Accepting Hints may generate more Hints because more is known about the person.

I checked my FindMyPast family tree, and do not have any Hints yet.  Hopefully, they will appear in the next month or so.

Use of the Hints feature is explained very well in the 5-minute video on the website.

Note that building a family tree on FindMyPast is free, but a subscription is required to view the Hints for the tree persons, and to add information to your tree.


UPDATE 18 December:  Phil Moir of FindMyPast commented that:

"I thought your readers would be keen to know that the Hints feature is not restricted to subscribed users, and is actually available to all users with a tree. Even better, the review and merge options are also not restricted, so the information that is normally available through record search results can be applied to your tree using the same simple review and merge format. 

"At the moment the hints are generated for a person as you create and edit that person (or spouses) , but the feature will continue to grow and expand throughout 2015. Hopefully it'll give a lot of people something new to try out and enjoy over the holiday period. "

Thank you to Phil for explaining these issues.


I look forward to using these Hints, especially for my English ancestors and relatives in my tree.  I have not taken the time to go through English FindMyPast records searching for each person (since I don't have an Ancestry world subscription), but I have used FindMyPast to search for specific U.K. records.  With this Hints feature, it appears that FindMyPast will do the job for me - finding at least the low-hanging fruit (with names spelled correctly, or at least not mangled).

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

I Am Not Doing a Genealogy Do-Over

Thomas MacEntee wrote Announcing the Genealogy Do-Over on the Geneabloggers blog recently.  He is going to set aside the 20-plus years of genealogical research and start over.  Thomas describes it as:

" I set aside everything* related to my genealogy research including notebooks, papers, and even digitized files and my genealogy database files and START OVER. I’m hitting the reset button. I’m allowing myself to have a do-over! (* certain items such as vital records ordered and paid for or research gathered on long-distance trips can be retained)."

His blog post describes what he is planning to do, and he will share his plan and his progress with his readers.  This is an ambitious plan and project.  I wish him good luck with it.  Essentially, he's pressing the "Reset" button.

I am not going to do a Genealogy Do-Over. 

Like Thomas and many others, I was a name collector before I decided to be a real genealogist.  I started using a genealogy program (PAF, then FTM, now RootsMagic) in about 1990, but I didn't start adding quality source citations to my genealogy database until about 2006 (when I retired, started writing this blog, and realized that I needed to cite my sources).  Then Evidence Explained was published and I have been adding quality source citations to the events in my database ever since.

I don't want to throw away 8 + years of hard work finding quality sources for events concerning people in my genealogy database (currently in RootsMagic 7).  During these past eight years, I have tried very hard to find records to support assertions of births, marriages, deaths, and other events in the lives of my ancestors, and draw reasonable conclusions about those persons and relationships from the available evidence.

During the past year, the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series (thank you, Amy Crow!) has been very helpful in focusing my efforts on one ancestor each week, helping me find more records, source them, analyze them, and craft a person Note that describes events in the person's life (I know, they aren't especially well-written, and are devoid of "soft material" - just the facts).  I started with my 8 great-grandparents, and then did the 16 2nd great-grandparents, and am almost done with the 32 3rd great-grandparents.  I will probably keep it going in 2015-6 with the 4th great-grandparents.  Obviously, doing this for one ancestor each week will take years to complete, since I have hundreds of known 17th century colonial ancestors, and over 2,000 known ancestors.  Then there's my wife's ancestry, and the ancestry of my grandchildren.

With a database of over 43,900 persons, which includes my Seaver, Carringer, Auble, Vaux, Dill, Buck, McKnew, and other surname collections of data, I will never be able to do the 52 Ancestors task on all of them, but I can try to add as much information as possible to each of those persons by mining specific online databases to add more sourced content to all of the persons in my database.

I refuse to ignore the 40 or so linear feet of collected paper (most of it is derivative source material from compiled genealogies and periodicals) that contributed most of the name, event, date, place, relationship and information in my database.  I have found a significant trove of original source material for my ancestors - such as vital, church, Bible, cemetery, probate, land, town, military, immigration, census and other records - in record offices, courthouses, archives, libraries on paper or on microfilm.  In recent years, I have been collecting online records for events in my database, with the corresponding source citations, while still doing occasional repository research.

My goal is to leave a well-sourced genealogy database that will provide my descendants and relatives know about the lives of their ancestors, while helping future researchers search for and find records of their ancestors.

At this point in time, my efforts are incomplete. As a check, here are some statistics from my RootsMagic database as of today:

*  People:  43,969
*  Families:  17,558
*  Events:  136,322
*  Places:  7,820
*  Sources: 1,134
*  Citations:  57,697
*  Multi-media Items:  1,071
*  Multi-media Links:  2,888

The percentage of citations per event is only 42.3%, but that is up significantly from a year ago (37.8%) and two years ago (30.3%).  I have added over 22,000 source citations in the past two years - an average of about 900 per month.  I try to do something every day to add to the citation count.  So I'm getting there, but it is a long journey and it is not done.

So, no, I'm not going to start over.  I've worked too hard for too long to get to this point.  My view is that "a good database should not be forsaken in the pursuit of a perfect database, the goal should be to constantly improve it."

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Christmas at the Carringers - Post 338 of (Not So) Wordless Wednesday

I am posting family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they aren't "Wordless" - I am incapable of having a wordless post.

Here is a photograph from the Geraldine (Seaver) Remley collection provided to me by the Remley family in 2007:

The persons in this picture, taken in the 1970 to 1975 time frame, are (from the left):

*  Emily (Auble) Carringer (1899-1977), my maternal grandmother.
*  Randy Seaver, moi.
*  Betty (Carringer) Seaver (1919-2002), my mother.

I don't know the exact year that this photograph was taken, or who took it.  I think it was probably between 1970 and 1975, based on how the three of us in the picture look.  I think that my wife, Linda, took this picture - it took a creative person to turn the camera 45 degrees to get the diamond effect above, and I don't think my father, or grandfather, or brothers, would have done it.  

The photograph was taken in the living room of my grandparents home at 825 Harbor View Place.

My mother and grandmother were very good home decorators - notice the gold and white motif in the Carringer's living room.  The tree is an artificial tree, with white branches, and with red and gold (with a few blue) ornaments, with gold and blue strands of beads, plus a small angel on the top of the tree.  

I love this photo because it shows my mitochondrial line - three generations from my grandmother to my mother to me.  I don't have many pictures with the three of us, and this is one of the best.  I have no four generation mitochondrial line pictures.  It's a great photograph, showing my mother with a smile on her face, holding a camera, and wearing a fashionable green dress.  

Someone, probably either my mother or my wife, sent this photograph to my Aunt Geraldine (sister to my father) who put it into her photograph collection that was passed to me after Gerry's death in 2007.  I am extremely grateful that the whole series of events occurred - from photograph to someone to Gerry to me, because this photograph is not in my family's collections to my knowledge.  

Randy's Photo Axiom is once again demonstrated - "our extended families have valuable photographs of our family hiding in their albums."

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New NameClean Function in RootsMagic 7

One of the new features in RootsMagic 7 is called "DataClean" and is comprised of two separate functions;

*  NameClean finds and corrects many common problems in personal names in your file

*  PlaceClean finds and corrects many common problems in place names in your file

I want to address the NameClean function in this blog post.

Users can access the "DataClean" feature in the Tools menu:

Clicking on the "DataClean" item in the Tools menu list, the "DataClean" window opens:

The two functions, "NameClean" ad "PlaceClean" are shown.  If I want to do a "NameClean," I can only select "Everyone in file" at this time.

If I click on the "NameClean" link, the list of "cleaning" items appears:

The "NameClean" items include:

*  Names in all uppercase
*  Improper spacing
*  Improper punctuation
*  Descriptions instead of names
*  Misplaced prefixes
*  Alternate names inside a name
*  Improper capitalization
*  Invalid characters
*  Abbreviations
*  Misplace nicknames
*  Misplace suffixes
*  Only clean a person's primary name.

I checked all of the boxes on the screen above, and then clicked the "OK" button, and the program worked it's way through all of my names.  The "NameClear" window showed me the progress finding the names to be cleaned:

When the program stopped, it gave me a list of 773 names to be cleaned using the criteria noted above.  The list of names is alphabetical by surname, and I can select any of them one name at a time, or all of them by checking the small box at the top of the window.

With a name highlighted, the Original name (in pink) is shown on the left-hand side of the screen below the name list, and the Cleaned Name is shown on the right-hand side of the screen.  Below the pink and green areas are the Problems to Fix:

I clicked on the three names "_____ _____" in my database, and wanted to make then "unknown unknown".  In this case, I typed the word "unknown" into the fields.  The window looked like this - the "unknown" words were in the green area:

I clicked on the "Clean Checked Names" button at the bottom right, and saw:

The system told me that I now had 3 cleaned names.

Before I do more of this, I want to investigate what the program does for specific Name problems rather than check all of them and then have to fix something later.

For instance, I've noticed that for persons with only a first name and a middle initial, RootsMagic has put the middle initial in the Surname field (e.g., "Cynthia A" is "A, Cynthia" in the name index.  The NameClean function wants to name her "Cynthia A." with the A. in the Surname field.   I think my preference is to put the "A." in the "Given Names" field.  I can do this by editing the "Cleaned name" field on the screen above, or do it in the "Edit Person" screen.  I think I prefer to do it in the "Edit Person" screen.

I noticed that persons with a name like DeWitt or DeCamp when "cleaned" are now Dewitt and Decamp...I tend to go with the names as they are spelled in the records.

Another problem is with persons with the same surname marrying - the "DataClean" is to drop the wife's surname, even though it may be the same birth surname as her husband's.

By using the "check box" system in "NameClean," the user can make these decisions for him/herself.  I think that's wise!

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

CVGS Annual Holiday Luncheon Highlights

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Annual Holiday Luncheon was held on Thursday, 11 December 2014 at the Chula Vista South Branch Library in Conference Room B.  There were about 35 people in attendance.

1)  President Virginia Taylor called the meeting to order at 12 noon, with these highlights:

*  She asked for a moment of silence for the two members who died during 2014 - Geni Powell and Kevin Brown.

*  She then noted that over 50% of CVGS members have joined since 2010.  She read a list of members who have been members since 2009, 2004, 1999, and 1994. 

*  She presented certificates of appreciation to the 2013-2014 Board members.

*  She narrated a slide show for four longtime CVGS Members - the attendees had to guess who they were from photos.  The four were Nancy Yates, Sandy Palumbo, Mary Nelson and Margaret Peters.

*  She announced that longtime member and Board Member Shirley Becker was awarded a Life Membership for her service to the Society.

*  Finally, she asked the newly elected 2015-2016 Board Officers to come forward to be installed.  Randy Seaver read the description of the duties of each office, and then each individual was instyalled one at a time by:

**  Susi Pentico installed Treasurer Gary Brock
**  Shirley Becker installed Secretary Karen Yarger
**  John Finch installed 2nd Vice President/Membership Chair Karen Smith
**  Randy Seaver installed First Vice-President/Programs Chair Jane Strawn
**  Gary Brock installed President, Virginia Taylor.

Lastly, Randy Seaver asked the attendees to pledge their support to the 2015-2016 Board of directors and the Society.

Here is a photo of the 2015-2016 Board Officers (from the left, Jane, Virginia, Karen S., Karen Y., Gary):

2)  It was time to eat the delicious ham and turkey (provided by the Society), the finger foods, salads, vegetable and potato dishes, rolls and butter, and desserts brought by the attendees ("Before" picture below).  

3)  After the delicious meal, it was time for the drawings:

*  The Door Prizes (every attendee had one ticket) - a Santa Claus (Joan Largey won), an Angel (Wendy Falkenhan won) and a Popcorn Christmas Tree (Fran Cornell won).  Here's Joan with Santa:

*  The Opportunity Drawing for the table decorations - 12 poinsettias and other arrangements.

*  The Gift Exchange - every one who brought a gift received a ticket to select a gift from the table.

4)  Many attendees to the Annual Holiday Luncheon brought unwrapped toys and canned food to donate to the Salvation Army.  

This was a fun and happy occasion with lots of great food and fellowship, plus recognition of the volunteers who help make the society function well.

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copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver