Saturday, June 3, 2006

Internet Genealogy magazine FREE

Internet Genealogy Magazine has announced that they are making their second issue available for FREE on the web here. This is a 64 page beauty chock full of interesting articles and helpful research suggestions (Hat tip to Chris Dunham at The Genealogue for the scoop in the geneablogosphere).

The editor's message includes:

This issue features a lineup of completely new articles, many by the same authors as in the regular magazine, and we’re making this available to everyone! For those who already subscribe, consider this as a “thank-you”. For those of you who have heard about Internet Genealogy, but don’t want to subscribe until you’ve had a look at an issue, this is your chance. We hope that existing subscribers will tell their friends about this Extra Issue so that they can see what Internet Genealogy has to offer.

It looks like a winner to me! You can download the PDF file and print it out (although 64 color pages gets expensive on an inkjet printer...hmmm, could subscribe for a year for about the same cost!). Enjoy...

Where have all the Bloggers gone?

I hesitate to bring this up, but I thought I'd point out that not many genealogy bloggers on my list are doing much blogging. I can understand being tired out...and frustrated that nobody reads them...and that blogging interferes with the honey-do's...but it makes my evenings so boring when most of my faves aren't blogging. Did I hear someone murmur "get a life, Randy?"

The "heroes" today are Chris Dunham at The Genealogue, Joe Beine at GenRootsBlog and Juliana Smith at the 24/7 Family Circle. They all posted one or several new and interesting posts since Friday.

Eastman? Meitzler? Random? Neill? Morgan? Smolenyak? Zamora? Aitken? All missing in action. To be fair, Eastman, Meitzler and Morgan blogged on Friday. Perhaps they are getting an early start on the weekend, or an early start to the NGS Conference in Chicago. I wish I was there, and hope they have a great time!

SDGS Library visit today

Almost every Saturday is a Genealogy day for me. Two local societies (SDGS and CGSSD) have programs on the 2nd and 3rd Saturdays of each month, and another (CVGS) has a Saturday program once a quarter. When there is not a society event, I usually go to the Family History Center in San Diego to do research.

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society has research trips every two months or so to a local library - Carlsbad, San Diego, the FHC or the SDGS library in El Cajon.

Today we had a research trip to the San Diego Genealogical Society library in El Cajon. Their holdings include a good surname and locality book collection, an excellent periodical collection, and vertical files of donated material. Also, today was the monthly FamilyTreeMaker study group meeting there. We had 8 in our car pool from Chula Vista, and got there before 10 AM. The library staff greeted us warmly, and had coffee and donuts set up for us - a wonderful surprise and treat! They also gave us a brief tour of the library, and were very helpful to our group.

I attended the FTM group and learned a few things and got a question answered. Then it was off to the stacks and after browsing maybe 2 minutes, I found a book that I had been wanting to review - "Rhode Island Land Evidences, 1646-1699". I knew that there were several wills and many deed records in these records for my 40 RI surnames, but I thought I would have to decipher the originals from microfilm at some time. The book has transcriptions of the records - hooray! I copied 45 I have to get them into the database.

So, it was a good genealogy day with some new friends made at the library, and some new genealogy data to feed the database and flesh out my ancestral notes.

Friends, our genealogy libraries need our support. Too many of us research in our pajamas (i.e., use the Internet) at the expense of going to a library and finding books or microfilm to do our research. Both are important...and finding original works in repositories or libraries, in either book or microfilm form, is critical to proving ancestral relationships. The Internet does not have everything we need to do good research - at least not yet!

Thanks to the SDGS staff for their hospitality on an enjoyable and interesting genealogy day!

Friday, June 2, 2006

Have you Googled Yourself?

No, I'm not that vain...

I Google myself every so often just to see what links come up and to see if there is data on the Web that I would prefer to not be posted. As if I could do something about it, but it is good to know what others could find out. My given name, surname, location and some email addresses have been on the web for a long time by my choice - I share a lot of information and appreciate information shared with me.

The most intriguing part of Googling my name is how many other "Randy Seaver" people there are. I always "knew" that my name was unique, until the Internet search engines came along. I have corresponded a bit with Randy Seaver in Maine, who was a journalist in Biddeford, and now is a blogger here.

The 104 Google results provide a Randy Seaver in the Pittsburgh area formerly in Clearwater FL, a wild boar bow hunter in Florida, a lot of my genealogy posts on the Web, many of Randy in Maine's articles, some of my Radio Club activites from a previous life, and some diary entries from 1981 by someone with a friend named Randy Seaver. There are 5 hits for "Randall Seaver", including me and a lawyer in Minnesota. Using a middle initial wild card "Randall * Seaver" shows another 16 hits, and "Randy * Seaver shows another 26, but many are of the "Randy Johnson, Tom Seaver" type.

If you go to, you find Randy in Maine (above), a Randall in Tennessee, a Randall in Florida (the bow hunter?), a Randall in Michigan, a Randy in Illinois, a Randy in the Pittsburgh area, and a Randell in North Carolina, and me in California. Looking at other telephone book directories likely will provide a few more.

How about you - Googled yourself lately? Found anything on the web about yourself that surprises you?

Online Newspaper Abstracts - Free.

One of my friends passed this web site to me - it is Newspaper Abstracts from a variety of newspapers published since 1704. These abstracts are all user-submitted, so they are not comprehensive in nature, nor do they cover every newspaper or every year of every newspaper. The site states:

Newspaper Abstracts goal is to become your complete resource for family history research using newspapers. Our site continues to grow with an average of over 600 new items added each month and currently contains over 26131 abstracts and extracts from historical newspapers. These articles range in size from a single entry to an entire newspaper issue, all provided by site visitors and made available to you free of charge.

If you click on the "United States" link on the web page, you can then search all of the US newspaper abstracts available.

There is a Search box on the left hand side of the page. Enter a surname in the box and click on [Search]. A list of newspaper abstracts will show on a new web page. Click on the newspaper title for a given entry and you will see the abstract of the item. The quickest way to search for your surname in the abstract is to do an [Edit] [Find] and insert the surname in the [Find] box that shows.

While this is not complete (but what newspaper archive is?) it is FREE and it can be useful. I found several new pieces of information in the 144 hits for my Seaver surname study.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

1990 Census Data - Frequency of Names

Richard Eastman had an entry in his blog about the Frequency of Names in the 1990 US Census here. There are several interesting comments also by other researchers.

The surname, and given name, data was obtained from the Census Bureau site here. Click on the "Enter the Names File" and then select either the surname file (dist.all.last), the female first name file (dist.female.first), or the male first name file (dist.male.first) from the list. Note that the surname file is 2 megabytes...

One caution: if you read the documentation file back on the first page, you will find out that the data is from the undercount survey that totalled about 6.3 million people that provided a name. The name frequency is based on those 6.3 million entries not the 290 million persons counted in the census. Consequently, some rare surnames don't show up at all, or show up at the end of the list, depending on how many people with the rare name were included in the survey. For instance, I know that there are living people with the surname Carringer, Dalseth and Pilgram, but they are not found on the list.

Smith is the most common surname (about 1% of all Americans). The last name on the list is #88,799 - Aalderink. Howver, ties are done in reverse alphabetical order - Zysett is #75,677, and all the surnames in between Aalderink and Zysett have the same number of occurrences in the database. A 0.001% frequnecy is about 200 in the surname database, or about 3,000 in the total population. Even so, these 88,799 surnames cover only slightly more than 90% of the total entries in the database. My guess is that there may be another 50,000 surnames in the country, or more, that weren't listed.

Because of the nature of the survey - the number of surnames found in the survey over-sampled African-Americans and Hispanics according to the documentation page, so the results are probably skewed a bit. Read the whole documentation discussion here if you're interested.

My opinion is that the first 2,500 or so rankings are probably pretty accurate (that is about a 0.005% frequency - one in 315 of those sampled). Amazingly, 0.005% of the whole population is approximately 14,500 people.

My SEAVER surname is #8,167 with a 0.001% frequency. My given name RANDY is #78 in the male names with a 0.232% frequency (RANDALL is #139, RANDELL is #825) out of 1,219 given names listed.

Book Review - "Mayflower"

The book "Mayflower" by Nathaniel Philbrick is currently #2 on the New York Times Non-fiction book list. I checked it out of the library three weeks ago and finished it today. It is excellent!

The author takes the reader from the Separatists who fled England to Holland, and then sailed on the "Mayflower" from England to New England in 1620, through the early settlements and flourishing to the dark times of King Philip's War in 1675-6. He focuses on the events before 1630 and then the events leading up to the conclusion of King Philip's War. One key theme is the relationships between the settlers and the natives throughout this period. He discusses the personalities and traits of many of the Pilgrims, especially the leaders Bradford, Winslow, etc.

I learned quite a bit about this period, including:

* How small and desolate most of the early settlements in Plymouth Colony were, and how dependent they were on the natives early on.

* That there were many tribes in New England, and they often warred against each other. Philip united most of them and waged an effective strategy for a long time, and had the English on their heels.

* Benjamin Church and his vital role in winning King Philip
s War. By turning some of the tribes against Philip, and then using them effectively, he was the major actor.

* Against Church's recommendations to the colonial governors, many of the natives who surrendered were shipped out to Bermuda and the Caribbean as slaves.

The book title "Mayflower" is a bit misleading - the ship is just a small part of this story.

This book is highly recommended for those with Plymouth colony ancestry. I found reference to many of my ancestors in the book, although none played a vital role (but I knew that!).

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

New Jersey marriage records online

Do you have New Jersey ancestry? If so, you may be able to find a marriage record for your ancestors between 1666 and 1799 or between 1848 and 1867.

There are two searchable databases available - one for the period of 1666 to 1799 and the other for 1848 to 1867. The latter database is new - here is a description of it from the site:

The State of New Jersey required filing of marriage records at the state level beginning 1 May 1848. This database indexes marriage returns filed with the Secretary of State for the period May 1848 through 31 May 1867. These records were later maintained by the Department of Health's Bureau of Vital Statistics, and were transferred to the State Archives in 1965.

Apparently, there are county records for the 1795 to 1848 period but they are not in a searchable database at this time.

To obtain a copy of a record, use the list of what is available and the fee required here. You need to provide all the information retrieved from your search entry when requesting a record.

Caution on RevWar Pension Files online

One of the regular columns in the NGS NewsMagazine concerns the National Archives. In the recent issue, the Revolutionary War pension files were discussed in detail, and a caution was voiced about the records that are available online at HeritageQuestOnline.

The Archives made two microfilm series for the pension files -- the M804 film series covered all papers in every pension file, and took 2,670 rolls. The M805 film series covered only selected pages (up to 10 in each file) in the pension files, and took 898 rolls of microfilm. In the selected papers series, they selected up to 10 genealogically relevant pages for inclusion. Many pension files are more than 10 pages long, and some genealogically relevant material was excluded from the selected paper series.

Some libraries have the complete M804 film series, and some have the selected M805 film series. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City have the complete M804 series, and you can rent the microfilms at your local Family History Center for about %5.50 each for about a month's time.

The images found online at HeritageQuestOnline (which requires a library subscription to HQO to use it in a library or at home using a library card) are of the M805 selected page film series. The HQO records are excellent to use as a finding tool - to determine if they are for your ancestor.

The message here is that if you have an ancestor with a Revolutionary War pension file, then you need to obtain the complete Pension File. You can either order it by mail from NARA using Form 85 for $40 for the complete file, or view the microfilm throguh your library or the FHL.

I have six known ancestors with a Pension File, but have only 3 complete files. I will go after the others very soon!

NGS News Magazine - Spring 2006

One of the very best and interesting genealogy magazines is the National Genealogical Society (NGS) NewsMagazine. The latest issue (April/May/June 2006) features articles on:

* Salvaging History from the Great Chicago fire
* Castle Garden, the Barge Office and Manhattan's piers
* Tracking Railroads and Railroad History
* Turn up the Heat with Fire Insurance Maps
* Intellectual Property Issues for Genealogists
* Add Pizzazz to your PowerPoint Presentations

Each of these articles gave me new and vital information on genealogy topics that are rarely discussed. I especially appreciated the history and detail about Castle Garden and passenger records for the period of about 1855 to 1892 when Ellis Island opened.

If these articles pique your interest, try to find the magazine at your favorite genealogical library, or even better, join NGS and get it as part of your membership.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Honoring my Ancestors who served

On Memorial Day, we honor those who have served our country and have given their lives so that we can remain free.

My ancestors who have served in the military since the Revolutionary War include:


1. World War II

* Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1983, my father) served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Halford. The picture is from 1944.


2. World War I

* Lyle L. Carringer (1891-1976, my grandfather) served in the United States Marines in San Diego. The picture is from 1917.


3. Civil War -- Isaac Seaver (1823-1901, my great-great-grandfather) of Leominster MA, a blacksmith, served in the Union Army.


4. War of 1812

* James Bell (1777-1836) of Albany NY and later Henderson NY, served in the NY Militia.

* Amos Underhill (1772-1865) of Aurora NY served in the NY Militia.


5. Revolutionary War

* Martin Carringer (1758-1835) of Mercer County PA (RW Pension file)
* Philip Row (1752-1817) of Hunterdon County NJ (RW Pension File)
* Peter Putman (1760-1835) of NJ and Yates County NY (RW Pension file)
* Stephen Feather (17??-1804) of NJ and Westmoreland county PA
* Rudolf spengler (1738-1811) of York County PA
* Philip Jacob King (1738-1792) of York County PA
* Burgess Metcalf (1741-1816) of Piermont NH

* Isaac Buck (1757-1846) of Sterling MA (RevWar Pension File)
* Thomas Dill (1755-1830) of Eastham MA (RW Pension File)
* Joseph Champlin (1758-1850) of S. Kingston RI (RW Pension File)
* Norman Seaver (1734-1787) of Westminster MA
* Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) of Westminster MA
* Zachariah Hildreth (1728-1784) of Westford MA
* Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828) of Townsend MA
* Amos Plimpton (1735-1808) of Medfield MA
* David Kirby (1740-1832) of Westport MA
* Joseph Oatley (1756-1815) of S. Kingston RI.


I thank God for these men, the families that nurtured them, the wives that supported them, and the children who learned from them the importance of service to their country.

May God continue to bless the United States of America.

Google has some Vital Record books

While messing around with Google tonight, I discovered that Google Books has some of the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 "Tan Books" online for browsing and downloading.

To find Massachusetts VR books, I put in the string ["vital records" massachusetts] and got about 70 hits. Some listings are duplicates. It looks like there are 40 or 50 different books available at present (out of over 300 towns). These are, of course, the books that are not copyright protected any longer.

If the Google item says "Full Copy" then the entire book is available. If it says "Limited Preview" then that book is still under copyright and you have to sign up for Google account to read a limited number of pages. Other items in the list say "No preview available" for a book that is not yet indexed.

When you get to the pages of a book, you can move page to page by either putting a page number in the box and clicking on "Go" or by hitting the arrows on either side of the "Go" button to advance page by page.

Pretty nifty. With a lot of promise, I think.

My Padres - 50 Game Report

They are still "my Padres" and always will be - through thick and thin. It was an interesting and frustrating last 10 games - the starting pitching failed often, the hitters had some big innings, and the defense faltered.

In games 41 to 50 on the season, the Friars won 4 and lost 6. The scorecard:

May 17 -- Pads 14, Snakes 10 (Pads score 9 in the first, hang on to win)

May 19 -- Seattle 7, Pads 4
May 20 -- Seattle 6, Pads 3
May 21 -- Seattle 10, Pads 8

May 22 - Braves 3, Pads 1 (Peavy has 16 K's, but loses to Smoltz, we were there)
May 23 -- Pads 2, Braves 1
May 24 - Braves 10, Pads 6

May 26 -- Pads 7, Cards 1 (probably best game of the year for Pads)
May 27 -- Cards 4, Pads 3 (probably most frustrating game of the year for Pads - we were there)
May 28 -- Pads 10, Cards 8 (probably the most fun game of the year)

After 50 games, the team is 26 wins and 24 losses. In May, they have 17 wins, 9 losses. In this 10 game period, we went from first place to last place in the wild NL west where every team has a winning record.

The report card:

Starting pitching - B- (too many homers, too many big innings, will Estes or Woody come back?)

Relief pitching - C (only fair for long relievers, good for end of game, Cassidy faltered this last two weeks, Brower was poor, Adkins shows potential).

Defense -- B+ (had some problems in Seattle, but overall range is good, throws are good, DPs are up, but outfield arms are weak).

Speed -- C (Roberts, Cameron and Barfield are stealing, but the rest are sslllooooowww).

Hitting -- C- (near last in BA, near last in HRs, but power was up this last homestand, Gonzalez, Castilla, Greene have all faded a bit, but Piazza, Cameron and Giles have come alive. Bard is amazing - over 0.400 with 5 HRs in 43 ABs).

Coaching -- B (Bochy is getting what he can out of the pitchers and hitters, he should run more and bunt more)

That's it - stay tuned for my 60 game report card in two weeks.

PS - Some folks haven't asked me why I bother with this -- my response is that someone may care and I want to enlighten him or her. At the end of the year, I will have a semi-diary of the entire season - will my Pads have a winning season? Make the playoffs? Win the Series? Hope springs eternal in the heart of a true blue Padres fan (but it is rarely realized!).

You know, I could be honking up this blog with a game-by-game report...