Saturday, August 19, 2006

Today is my Gram's 107th Birthday

Today is very special to me and my wife. Not only is it my maternal grandmother's 107th birthday (she died in 1977) but it is my wife's father's 95th birthday (he died in 2002). I want to talk about my grandmother, "Gram," today.

My grandmother was born Emily Kemp Auble in 1899 in Chicago, the daughter and only child of Charles and Georgianna (Kemp) Auble. Charlie is one of my links to colonial New Jersey, and Georgianna is a link to early Ontario and also to colonial NJ. They came to San Diego in about 1911. Charlie was a painter - of signs, I think, but probably anything he could slap paint onto. By all accounts, he was also a drinking man. Apparently, the home life was not the best, and they were not well off. He died in 1916 in San Diego after falling down the front stairs, and is buried in a grave in Mount Hope Cemetery without a tombstone. Georgianna lived with my grandparents until she died in 1952 - I knew her as Nana, a very sweet and kind person.

Emily married Lyle Carringer in 1918, and they had my mother, Betty (whom I blogged about on 31 July) in 1919, an only child. They lived in San Diego on Fern Street on the same block as Lyle's parents. Lyle worked at Marston's, a downtown commercial store, and Emily was a housewife and mother. After my mother married and had me in 1943, my father enlisted in the Navy. My mother and I moved back in with her parents while he was gone.

Fortunately for me, Gram was assigned to take care of me while my mother taught junior high school. She doted on me, as grandmothers do, during this time when I was between 10 months and 27 months old. I am quite sure that she saw my first steps, heard my first words, and taught me many things. As I grew up, we lived in the same house (upstaris to their downstairs) on 30th Street until 1951, when the Carringers moved to a new house on Point Loma.

Throughout my life, it always seemed like Gram was there for me. I loved the attention, and she enjoyed being with me. She encouraged me to excel in my studies and reveled in my academic accomplishments. We always had Christmas at their house on Point Loma because they had a fireplace for Santa to come down. Linda and I had our wedding rehearsal dinner at their house.

My grandfather died in 1976, and Gram died 8 months later in 1977 of a stroke, brought on, I'm sure, by a broken heart. It was so sad to see this wonderful woman grieve and become senile in that period. After her death, my mother told me all about her life and what she had done for me and with me - I never knew that until after she died.

She was only a simple housewife - with a high school education, a terrible childhood, but also a loving wife and mother and grandmother, and one of the very best people I've known.

I miss her terribly, and wish that I had talked to her more about her life and her family. I hope she would be proud of me for discovering her ancestry and family history.

Thank you, Gram, for your love. I will never forget you.

WW2 Navy Separation Notice

About two weeks ago, I requested online a copy of my father's Notice of Separation from US Naval Service from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. Two copies, with raised seals, came today in the mail.

Frederick Walton Seaver was discharged honorably on 6 February 1946 at San Pedro, with 1 year, 5 months, 11 days of service. He was paid $100 for mustering out plus $7.45 for travel to San Diego. He intended to continue his insurance at $7.40 per month.

He enlisted in the US Navy on 26 August 1944 at San Diego, and his residence before he enlisted was 577 Twin Oaks Avenue in Chula Vista. He had worked at Rohr Aircraft Corp. in CV from July 1941 to August 1944 as a Material Planner. His schooling included 8 years of grammar school, 4 years of high school and 2 years of college, with no degrees and with French as his major course or field.

After enlisting, he attended Mail Man's School in San Francisco and became a Mailman Third Class. His final rank was Mailman Third Class.

From other information, I know that he served on the USS Halford (DD480), a destroyer that saw action in the Western Pacific and in Alaska during the time he served onboard.

There is quite a bit of information here that I did not know - the time he worked at Rohr (I worked at Rohr from 1967 to 2002) and his job title, his Navy enlistment date and muster out date, and the fact that he took French (this may be a joke, I never heard him parlez vous anything!).

The point here is that these World War II records may provide a lot of information for a serviceman - and there may be some surprises.

The very best thing is that it was FREE.

My post describing the request process and the Veterans Records web site is here.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Carnival of Genealogy - 6th Edition is up at Creative Gene

Jasia at the Creative Gene blog has been hosting and writing the Carnival of Genealogy - a collection of blog posts or online articles concerning a genealogy topic. The topic this week was Genealogy Societies. The Carnival is posted here.

The real gems in the Carnival are Jasia's 8 posts on her blog analyzing Declining Society Membership and potential solutions to the problem. These posts feature much original thought and opinion - the entire series is an excellent example of genea-blogging, and worthy of passing on to many genealogy societies.

The next Carnival topic will be "Writing The Family History." I urge you to blog about it, and submit your thoughts and opinions to the Carnival link on Jasia's site.

"Courthouse Research for Family Historians" - excellent book!

Faithful readers will recall that over a month ago on one of my good genealogy days, I bought four genealogy books at Amazon. One of them was "Courthouse Research for Family Historians" by Christine Rose, published 2004 by CR Publications (only $21.98 retail). This book got rave reviews when it came out two years ago, and I understand why. I finally finished it tonight.

This is one of the best genealogy books on my shelf. Christine covers all types of courthouse records, especially property, estate, civil and criminal court records, drawing on her vast experience visiting courthouses in 49 states. There are plenty of examples from her own research and experience that illustrate the points.

The book prepares you for visiting the courthouse in person or for research using microfilm or the Internet. The last chapter is an unexpected gem - "Strategies That Work." It provides steps to take to locate children, identify parents, work around missing wills, writing letters to courthouses, and more.

All in all, an excellent work on a subject rarely addressed in genealogy books in this depth.

I highly recommend Christine Rose's book to you, especially if you are just starting to explore Courthouse records.

Personal letters -snapshots in time

Some of the treasures found in my mother's closet were letters to the family in San Diego. Each one provides a snapshot in the life of the person who wrote it. This one is from Devier David Smith, brother to my great-grandmother, Della (Smith) Carringer (wife of Austin Carringer). Matie was their sister. Their father was Devier J. Smith, and their mother was Abigail (Vaux) Smith. Devier J. (D.J.) spent time on their ranch in Wano, Kansas, up the Republican River from McCook Nebraska.

There is some useful family news in this one. Of course, the letters we really want are those that our ancestors sent off to other places, and they are almost always lost.


Letter from Devier D Smith in McCook Neb to his mother Abby (Vaux) Smith in San Diego. Envelope with return address of D.D. Smith, proprietor of Blue Front Livery Stable, McCook Nebraska. Addressed to Mrs. D.J. Smith, National City Cal, c/o Austin Carringer. Postmark unreadable.

On letterhead of D.D. Smith, proprietor of Livery, Feed and Sale Stable,

McCook Neb June 9 1889

Dear Mother and all,

I have not heard from any of you folkes for over two months. Have written two letters in that time and now will try my luck again.

Business is terable quiet this year. Making a living and that is about all. Money is terable close. I have got every thing in good shape and I will send Austin some money by the first of the month if nothing happens. I wrote him in refereance to it but have not recieved any answer. I will get the back interest for him by that time I think any way. I have 12 head of horses now and are all fat. Also have been painting all of my buggies the last month and have not scarcely taken time to eat at meal time.

We had a large fire here a short time ago. Burnt all of the frame stores on the east of Mane St. Now they have commenced to rebuild them of brick 5 in number.

Bye the way, I suppose you will all be surprised of you know I was married. Never the less it be true! I was married on the 20th of May, and would have let you known before but looked for a letter from you folkes any day and kept putting it off. I told the girls to write but they have been so busy all of the time. I sent you her picture last summer and name. Her folkes live in Jefferson Colo about 80 miles from Denver. We are all getting along fine.

I tell you it beats a "Batchelor's" all to the ---- I think we are elected to live in McCook for a while yet as any one cannot sell out for a good price: in fact could not get my money out now and the girles are satisfied now so it will have to be.

There is lots of new houses going up but no sale for property at all.

I think Matie will get married before long from all appearances. I have been buying under clothes for her and now have got to spent a silk one. She does not know just the time yet and so I don't know as she will say a thing to you folkes or not so don't tell her that I said any thing about it, but will let you know before hand.

D.J. is coming down before long he wrote me the other day.

Well I am not much of a hand to write much you know and will close for this time. Hoping this will find you all well as it leaves us. Leava sends her love and a big "hug".
Love to all, By By, Davie.

Book Review - "The Last Full Measure" by Jeff Shaara

"The Last Full Measure" is a Civil War historical novel by Jeff Shaara, published in 1998. The book deals with the war after the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, and takes place almost totally in Virginia.

This book is the third of three dealing with the Civil War - the other two are "Gods and Generals" by Jeff Shaara which deals with the start of the War and the lead up to Gettysburg, and "The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, which was the first one written and was a Pulitzer Prize winning book, about the Battle at Gettysburg.

All three books have the same theme - what were the thoughts, words, writings and actions of the principal actors in this theater of the Civil War? Each chapter provides the perspective of one of the characters, while history marches on. While they are historical novels, they are true to the historical record, although the authors had to create thoughts and words in many cases. In the third book, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain are the major players, and nearly every chapter is from their viewpoint.

This third book is very sad. Grant and Lee by this time realize, after winning and losing battles that took many lives, that the Union will win, but at what cost? After 500 pages, they meet at Appomatox Court House and Lee surrenders. Lee is on the defensive throughout this period, his army is starving even in Virginia, and he cannot afford to fight directly with the Union army. Grant is on the offensive, and makes very few mistakes (unlike previous Union generals), and has better communications and supplies. Chamberlain is wounded several times and always returns to lead, and is chosen by Grant to receive the stacked arms of the Confederate Army at the surrender.

As the painful war ends, hope replaces futility and despair - and then Abraham Lincoln is assassinated. Grant was invited to the theater that night, but chose to not attend.

The final chapters of the book detail the remainder of the lives of Lee, Grant and Chamberlain, followed by a chapter with summaries of the lives of the other generals.

I have learned much about the Civil War and the major players in the conflict through reading these three books. I definitely recommend them to any reader wanting to understand the sweep of American history in this time and place.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Communicating with genealogists

Several genea-bloggers, including myself, have opined about what ails genealogy society membership, conference attendance and the like - and what to do about it. One of the cures that I wrote about here concerned improved communication.

Many national, regional or local genealogy societies have a regular email newsletter or web page to notify you of upcoming society programs. What about programs of other local societies that you are not a member of - how do you find out about them?

Here in the San Diego area, one of the local genealogy societies that I belong to, the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD), hosts and manages a Calendar of Events for all genealogy societies in the County. The CGSSD web site is here. Click on the "Detailed Calendar of Events" to see the genealogy happenings planned in San Diego County for the next two months. As a program planner, I send my updates once a month.

This is a wonderful resource for local genealogists, whether members of the listed societies or not. All of the societies welcome visitors and guests, and take the opportunity to provide interesting and informative programs to the wider genealogy community.

Joan Lowrey, a professional genealogist and an accomplished conference and society speaker, has managed this calendar for many years. Before web pages and email, the list was printed and distributed to society newsletter editors and to libraries and Family History Centers in San Diego County. It still is printed and distributed in hopes of serving those genealogists who do not frequent the Internet.

Joan knew of one other region that has a similar online calendar - in San Francisco. Undoubtedly, there are others. If you know of one, please share it with us.

What value is a calendar of this nature to genealogy societies hoping to attract more attendees to their programs and events? I often peruse it to see what other local societies are doing, and I occasionally attend a meeting of interest. As a society program planner, I also use it as a speaker resource. To me, it is priceless.

2,996 - Tribute to 9/11 Victims

On September 11, 2006, there will be a tribute to the 2,996 people who died in the attacks on the four airplanes, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Blogger D. Challener Roe's web site here describes the project. It reads:

2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11. Each person will pay tribute to a single victim.

We will honor them by remembering their lives, and not by remembering their murderers.

If you would like to help out, either by pledging to post a tribute on your own blog, or by offering your services to promote this cause, just leave a comment here and I’ll email you the name of a victim.

Then, on 9/11/2006, you will post a tribute to that victim on your blog.

But, and this is critical, the tributes should celebrate the lives of these people – kind of like a wake. Over the last 5 years we’ve heard the names of the killers, and all about the victim’s deaths. This is a chance to learn about and celebrate those who died. Forget the murderers, they don’t deserve to be remembered. But some people who died that day deserve to be remembered – 2,996 people.

Please read the whole thing and contact Mr. Roe if you wish to participate.

This is a great genealogy project - there will be tributes to each victim on the Internet forever. The one question I have is where will the bloggers get the information about their person? OTOH, who is better at ferreting out that information than genealogists and bloggers?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Famous People in Census Records

Michael John Neill, who is a well-known and respected genealogist, educator, speaker, writer and columnist, has a great web page for famous people in the census records here.

You can search by census year, or by name of the famous person. He has a special page for US Presidents and famous UK residents in the UK census records.

Michael's main page is here, and his blog here. A collection of his Ancestry Daily News columns is here.

Michael also runs contests to find famous people in the census - and offers prizes for success. The current contest page is here. At present, he is searching for:

a) Georgia O'Keefe in 1930
b) Thomas Edison in 1870
c) George Burns in 1920
d) Spencer Tracy in 1920
e) Bob Hope in 1910
f) Glenn Miller in 1930
g) Hank Williams Sr in 1930.

I have searched for all of these, in some cases spending an hour or more on one of them, with no success. I did find Cy Young in 1920 and May West in 1920 but someone beat me to the punch. If you think you are a great census researcher, take a crack at these and submit your response to Michael - see the Contest web page for directions.

New Hampshire Census Whacking

Janice Brown at the Cow Hampshire blog took a try at Census Whacking, but she limited her whacks to people born or enumerated in New Hampshire. This resulted in some interesting names, and Janice has added her own humorous comments. The blog post is here.

My two favorites from her list are:

May Heat, [So Keep In A Cool Place] 1900 census, Manchester, NH, b abt 1877

Isa Frisbee, 1880 census, Portsmouth NH b abt 1829 Maine
Go check them all out.

Great job, Janice. A gold star for you as a census whacker.

Wonderful Genea-blogging

One sign of maturity in the genealogy blogosphere is the proliferation of well-written feature-length articles and opinions on topics of interest.

While some of the article writers now have their own blogs on which they post their weekly articles (for instance, George G. Morgan's Along These Lines blog), and other book and magazine writers have started blogging (for instance, Arlene Eakle and Megan Smolenyak), there is a vast array of relatively unknown educated and talented genealogy bloggers at work or in training.

Blogging about writers or work that you admire is one way to immediately publicize examples of great research and great writing. I found these articles posted in the last week as worthy of mentioning here:

1) Lee Anders at The Geneaholic found two articles by Diana Hartman at Blogcritics titled "Hunting Humans" - they are here and here. Excellent material, with a promise of more.

2) Jasia at Creative Gene has written two excellent analysis articles about genealogy interest, society membership and conference attendance here and here. These should be must reading for society officers and program planners.

3) Steve Danko is posting a series of thoughtful articles about the Genealogical Proof Standard, sources, information and evidence. The first four articles are about the Preponderance of Evidence, Proof Standard, Source Citations, and Original Sources, Exact Images and Original Records. Steve's articles are very well done and useful, because he is using examples from his own research to illustrate his points.

Having been blogging now for all of four months, I am painfully aware of the effort and dedication needed to write articles like the above examples, and I really appreciate these authors, and all bloggers. I am also dismayed that so few people comment on articles like these, or on genealogy blogs. These genea-bloggers need positive feedback and praise because they are the magazine article writers and the book authors of the future.

What "great" articles should we all read? Tell me, and the genea-blogging world.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My top 10 "best" genealogy web sites

I am occasionally asked by members of our society: “what are the best genealogy web sites you use?” It’s a difficult question, since it depends on whether you are looking for genealogy data (names, dates, places provided by other researchers) or genealogy information (history, articles, news provided by writers, speakers, etc.). I tend to search for both on a daily basis. Many web sites provide a mixture of the two.

Top web site lists are listed by genealogy magazines, columnists and bloggers occasionally. I thought I’d take a whack at it, since I wrote this up for a handout at our research group, and thought I would share it with my blogfamily.

Here are my Top 10 genealogy web sites, in approximate order of their value to me as a genealogy researcher:

1) – a subscription site, but free at LDS Family History Centers and some libraries. Has the complete census records, with an every name index. Has over 25,000 databases, including books, city directories, newspaper archives, etc. with excellent search capabilities. Has PERSI access. Has recently added Canada and UK census records and other content.

2) – repository of user-submitted data. The WorldConnect database is very useful. The Social Security Death Index and other databases are helpful. The Rootsweb/Ancestry message boards for surnames, localities and general subjects are great ways to find others researching your family surnames. Rootsweb has the threaded genealogy mailing list archives and a search capability.

3) – The LDS church databases (IGI, Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File) can be helpful in finding extracted or submitted genealogy data. Has 1880 US, 1881 Canada and 1881 UK census transcriptions. Has excellent Research Guides for all states and many countries. Has the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) where a researcher can determine the book, microfilm and microfiche holdings of the library.

4) – must be accessed through a library that has a subscription, but can be accessed from home (with the appropriate library card). This site has all of the census images, with head-of-household indexes for 1790 to 1820 and 1860 to 1920. Has access to PERSI, Revolutionary War Pension Files, 25,000 genealogy books and Freedman’s Records.

5) – Genealogy and history resources for each state and county, usually including vital records, cemeteriy records, published book lookups, etc.

6) – Subscription site for the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) in Boston. Has images of the NEHG Register (1847-1994), Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850, Massachusetts Vital Records (1841 to 1910), access to the ProQuest Historical Newspaper collection, New England Sanborn maps, and many other databases.

7) - Joe Beine’s links to vital record indexes, military indexes and data, census indexes, passenger data, naturalization data, and many other indexes and sites.

8) – a subscription site, but it has some free elements. The census records and genealogy books are similar to HQO. The user-submitted data in the user pages can be helpful. The GenForum message boards for surnames, localities and general subjects are great tools to find others researching your family surnames.

9) – Excellent site with many links for information on history and genealogy research, but no actual data.

10) – a very useful list of one-step search engines for many databases, including Castle Garden, Ellis Island, New York vital records, and many more, including many Ancestry databases.

That’s my Top 10 – I know there are many wonderful sites that I haven’t mentioned, but almost all of them can be found by using one of these 10 web sites.

Do you agree with my list? What would you add? What would you subtract?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Getting Ready for New England

We are getting ready for our trip to New England next week. I have the new AAA books, made the hotel , car and plane reservations, dug out my map collection and picked the ones I need to take, etc. We went to MA, NH and ME in 1990, 1991, 1994 and 2004 (twice), and saw the cousins in Salem NH, Westford MA and my 89 year old aunt and her husband in Maine.

The main reason we are going is because dear Aunt Gerry said "I really need you to come see me again." She has been a major contributor to the knowledge base for my father's family, and has a treasure trove of pictures and stories. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's two years ago, and seems a bit more confused now. But the long term memory is still there, and that's what I hope to tap on this trip. The cousins are fun to be with, although we lost one cousin's husband in the spring.

I'm still stuck on just how much genealogy "stuff" I should take to the cousins and my aunt. In 2004, I took them each a copy of my book "The Ancestors of Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) and His Seaver Descendants." They seemed impressed, and opined that it will sure make a good paperweight in the bookcase. I told them they could use it for an insomnia attack cure.

But that limb of my Seaver family tree is only 1/16 of my New England ancestry, and they haven't seen the rest of the database. Although it is still in a state of change, I'm creating ancestry books for my grandparents, Fred Walton Seaver (1876-1942) and Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962), using the Ahnentafel report option in Family TreeMaker. I'll stick an Introduction and a cover sheet on them and save them as PDF files. It isn't perfect, but they'll do for now. I will then put them on CD-ROMs to give to each cousin who wants one. If they want a printed copy, they can make one. These are not thin tomes - the Seaver one is over 600 pages, and the Richmond one is about 300 pages.

I realized that they may not have all of the family pictures that I have, so I'm printing up about 10 of the family shots in 8 x 10 size to show to everybody. And I will add these photos to the CD-ROM also, plus the rest of my photos for this side of the family.

Some of my cousins have lost the family newsletters I have been writing since 1988 and sending as Christmas gifts since. I have these files since 1992, so I cleaned up the document files a bit and created PDFs of them, and they'll be on the CD-ROM also.

Lastly, I am taking two pictures of "unknown females" in the hope that someone can identify them positively.

My hope is that I will have some time to view their photo albums again and be able to take better digital photos of their photos for my collection. I need to practice taking photos of photos sometime soon .

We fly into Manchester NH, will spend several days in Salem NH, then on to Aunt Gerry's in Augusta ME, over through western ME and NH to eastern VT, down the Conn river and back across Mass to Westford MA before we get back to Manchester NH.

Does anyone have any great places to sightsee along this path or don't-miss restaurants in these places? Tell me!!

"Finding Your Roots" article

There was a major genealogy article in my San Diego Union-Tribune this morning titled "Finding Your Roots" with the byline San Francisco Chronicle and Wall Street Journal - no specific person. In general, the article is positive and encouraging, and reflects the current state of genealogy research pretty well. The SD U-T link is behind a subscriber firewall - I found a link at the SF Chronicle here, to an article dated 22 June 2006, by Benjamin Pimentel that uses the first half of the article in the SD U-T. It appears that the SD U-T has blended the Chronicle article to a Wall Street Journal article by Jessica Vascalero here from 21 July. At least it is new for San Diego readers!

An article sidebar lists five web sites to visit for sources and tips for online genealogy searches:


Hmmm. Where's USGenWeb and WorldGenWeb? Cyndi's List? Linkpendium? Boards? Lists? Groups? Bloggers? Probably too overwhelming for the poor reporter without a clue.

The article gives a lot of credit to Ancestry for completing a years-long census project, but says that " includes all available information for people who lived in the United States across 140 years." Ummm, not's only census data, folks, not "all" the rest. Granted, Ancestry has a lot of databases and information, but not ALL available information.

The article quotes a number of prominent people - like Lou Szucs of Ancestry:
“The thrill of being able to go online and finding information in five minutes – you can see what an incredible difference it makes,” said Lou Szucs,'s chief genealogist. “There is something very magical when you find your family in the census. You want more and more. It's very addictive.”

And Chris Cowan of ProQuest:
HeritageQuest's census database hasn't been indexed and isn't directly available to consumers, said Chris Cowan, vice president of publishing at the ProQuest Genealogy Center, which owns HeritageQuest Online. Its site,, is used by more than 4,000 public libraries.
Of course, Cowan either doesn't know about his product or was misquoted, since the HQO census records are indexed, just not every-name indexed.

They also quote Steve Danko, a genea-blogger here:
In April, Stephen Danko's quest to hunt down his grandfathers' World War II “Old Man's Draft Cards” – documents revealing his ancestors' ages, dates and places of birth along with their hair color, eye color, height and weight – required him to take a trip from San Francisco to a Salt Lake City archive to find them on microfilm. A few weeks after he returned, he noticed the same documents online on

“I find stuff online all the time that I couldn't when I started,” said Danko, 52, a pharmaceutical company employee.

The article gives a lot of space to The last two paragraphs:
Sites also are adding new services to encourage users to spend more time browsing. This summer, MyHeritage will begin enabling users to upload their own photos and sort them into family trees through facial-recognition software that clusters faces based on attributes such as bone structure and the unique characteristics of the person's eyes.

Eventually, for an extra fee, consumers probably will be able to run a worldwide genealogy search covering all members of their family tree and receive updates when there are new search results for entries in their network, said Gilad Japhet, the company's founder.

I blogged about the face matching thing several weeks ago. I'm not so sure about the last claim, howeever, from my limited 2006 perspective. Do they know how many ancestors we have?

Would you pay an "extra fee" to be able to have a web site send you new search results on your ancestors? That would take all the fun out of the hunt, I think.

All in all, a decent article. I'm considering writing a letter to the editor to see if they would be willing to interview some local society members to followup on ther article and perhaps give the local societies some publicity. The good news is that it may encourage more people to start their ancestral search.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

20 Questions

One of the recent Quick Tips at Juliana Smith's blog 24-7 Family History Circle blog concerned questions to ask of your relative about their family history.

The 20 questions written by contributor Kim are here.

If you are getting oral histories from your relatives, this is a good starting list. After each question, you can add "Tell me more about ..." and hopefully get even more information.

I am going to use this for our Search Your Family History Day program at the library. It will go into the "homework" packet given to the families that sign up for the program.

Thanks Juliana, and especially Kim!

Why Do We "Do" Genealogy?

By Leo Anthony Dolan

The history of a family is not dead
it lies in wait for someone to awaken it.
To shine a light on what was done and said
to keep on trying 'til the pieces fit.

For in this search for those who came before me
I've found a vibrant, lively, loving set of people
and as they take their rightful spot upon the tree
it's almost like a bell was tolling in the steeple.

The bell keeps tolling for each one of them
who lived in times both near and times afar
A happy sound it is, quite like an anthem
that says "We live, we speak, remember who we are."

I will remember you as family of my own.
Indeed, from you, my own life has been made,
my eyes, my nose, my very size was known,
in centuries past the plans for me were laid.

Who knows where finally this search will lead me,
this quest to know of those who went before.
Suffice to say I've found a long lost family
and hope they will be honored ever more.
I've been reviewing my earlier Seaver/Richmond family newsletters, and keep finding these gems of wisdom and poetry. I thought this one expressed my feelings well. Enjoy!

What Every Successful Genealogist Needs

1. The CURIOSITY of a Cat.

2. The TENACITY of a Bulldog.

3. The DETERMINATION of a Cab Driver.

4. The DIPLOMACY of a wayward husband.

5. The PATIENCE of a self-sacrificing wife.

6. The DEDUCTIVE POWERS of Sherlock Holmes.

7. The PERSUASIVENESS of a job-hunting politician.

8. The ENTHUSIASM of a radio announcer.

9. The ALERTNESS of a fox terrier.

10. The SELF-ASSURANCE of a seminary graduate.

11. The TIRELESS PERSISTENCE of a bill collector.

I found this in a family newsletter from 1992 - author unknown to me, but still very pertinent.