Saturday, February 10, 2007

An interesting genealogy day

Today was almost "all genealogy."

I read my email in the morning, and wrote the first two blog posts for the day. I left at 9:45 to attend the book fair at the library - but bought nothing.

Then it was off to the Family History Center for an hour. I finished up the South Kingstown (RI) probate records I have been downloading to my flash drive - only one guy today, Elijah Champlin who died in 1778. I checked the card catalog and found that the FHC does not have any more town probate records. So I need to start ordering films from SLC - ordered two today at $6.20 each (maybe I should consider going to SLC more often).

I went to the San Diego Genealogical Society meeting at noon. Penny Feike, a local professional genealogist, was the speaker. Her topic was "The Conjoined Twins - Land and Court Records." Her main point is that you need to work land and court records together - and you will likely be rewarded with information that proves relationships. Her strategy is to order the land and probate indexes on film at the FHC, then go read the actual records at SLC in order to save money. She said that on her last trip she read 350 films, based on the indexes she had prepared before she went. An excellent tip!

At the meeting, a couple came up to me and thanked me for my November presentation about the census - my information had helped them find census records for their families.

When I got home, I watched some of the Pro Bowl, but fell asleep and had a nice nap. The game was boring, so I came into the computer and tried to use the free GenealogyBank web site. They had no more info on Benjamin Franklin Seaver - that was about the only thing I checked. It was very slow - probably overloaded with all the freebies. I will try it later at night!

We went out to a nice place for dinner - Filet mignon and rack of lamb, topped off with a 31 Flavors two-scoop sundae on the way home.

I got back on the computer and read Craig Manson's blog post about his "First Geneablogie Challenge - Find this relation and win" contest. I can't resist doing this...I spent two hours trying to solve his puzzle but did not succeed on the first try. I'll think a bit more. I did find two census records that he didn't tell us about in his post - maybe they are new for him. I hope so.

I realized that I hadn't posted anything since this morning, so you get this prolix stream of consciousness day summary (my daughters always wonder what I do all day, heh heh) to ponder over your midnight snack or maybe your morning pancakes. See you tomorrow, when it wil be another holy genealogy day here at the Genea-Cave.

The Adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver - Part 4

This is the fourth post of a series concerning the adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814), who was a mariner, captured by the Moors in Morocco in 1806.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2, which introduced a series of seven letters published in the "Connecticut Herald" newspaper (published in New Haven CT, dated 20 January 1807 (Volume IV, Issue 169, Page 1), and posted the first letter, is here.

Part 3, which includes the second letter, is here.

I accessed the images of these newspaper pages on the "America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876" (provided by NewsBank) on the New England Historic Genealogical Society website,

Here is the third letter:

Headline: No. III. Captain Seaver to Messrs. Courts.


Wednow, (Africa), June 9, 1806.
Messrs. Wm. Court & Co.

I wrote you last, the 28th of April, and did expect the pleasure of a letter from you. The treatment I have received since, has been the most inhuman and brutal, possible for the civilized world to conceive. I have been beat most unmercifully, and spit at, whenever the vile passion of these contemptible barbarians has dictated; with my legs in fetters for these three weeks past, and closely confined in a small place, with a short allowance of coarse barley meal and water, made into Cous Cusk, as they call it in their dialect. The reason they assign for this conduct towards me is, they say I have wrote to the Consul, not to send any money for the redemption of any one but myself and Berrit: what this arose from I know not. It happened on the same day, they began this treatment towards me, that a dispute had taken place between Berrit and one of the Association's crew. The latter to be revenged on Berrit, told his master that he was making with me arrangements to escape towards Mogadore. This report gave fresh vigor to their savage dispositions: and if there was a latent spark of passion undiscovered, it then came forth with all the ferocity characteristic to the untutored breast. Berrit's legs were then put in chains, his shoes were taken away, with a pair of Moorish slippers the Jew Haron had given me the day before: and threatened to send us farther southward to be keepers of Camels.

Such is our personal treatment: I have endeavored to make some agreement with the man who is my master, but he does not seem to be inclined, alledging if he lets me go, my people will not be any more thought of and he shall loose his price for them. If you could treat for my liberty with Minahin, who I understand is the correspondent of Jew Haron, and consequently empowered to act in affairs which concern the crew of the Indefatigable, I am pretty well persuaded they would take from 3 to 400 dollars for my liberty if not less, were they clearly made to understand it would not be any hindrance for their getting a ransom for my people ultimately. If it is not possible to treat with Minahin for my liberty, be pleased to ask him to write to Haron about this scandalous behaviour of the Moors towards me, and whether it would be possible for him to take me to his house to live, while I remain in confinement. In case I should have the good fortune for you to purchase my liberty by treating with Minahin, you may depend on the most prompt payment of the bills I may give you, which will be on my relative Mr. Samuel Gore of boston, who is well known, independent of any funds I may have in his hands, to be a man of staunch property.

Praying you will succeed in treating for my liberty with Minahin. I am, in misery,
..........Your obedient
..............humble servant,
....................BENJAMIN F. SEAVER.

Things have gotten worse for Benjamin in the six weeks since his last letter. He is frustrated because his earlier letters have not brought results. By this time, it probably seemed almost hopeless to him. And it is now summer on the West Coast of Africa.

Stay tuned for Part 5 - the fourth letter published by the Connecticut Herald newspaper.

Try GenealogyBank FREE until 13 February

A FREE trial of GenealogyBank until February 13th was announced at the St. George, Utah Genealogy Jamboree yesterday. Here are the directions (thanks to Dick Hillenbrand's post on a mailing list):

Go to

Click on the "login " button
Password: GenBank4U

For those who are not familiar with the resources,there are several usage and case study downloads from our Januarytelconference series at

GenealogyBank has a ton of resources:

* More than 1,300 newspapers 1690 to 1977 ... digital copies of every issue,all 50 states,
* Obits 1977-present ... more than 23 milllion obits
* Books - 1801-1900 ... search these digital books
* American State Papers (earliest government reports) & the Serial Set(1789-1980) packed with pension requests; personal bills; military lists; casualty lists etc.

Go give it a try. I will, and report back on it.

Friday, February 9, 2007

APG Skillbuilding Articles

I have a great respect for the genealogy professionals who write articles and books to help all of us understand the finer points of genealogy research, evidence evaluation, source citation and documentation.

Some of the very best articles are on the BCG Skillbuilders site -

They have added Work Samples to the site in order to help researchers who are considering pursuing certification - essentially providing examples of quality work to help folks understand the requirements better. The Work samples are at

I read several of them tonight - just pure excellent work. The newest example is Connie Lenzen's Narrative Lineage article - at

If you are considering certification, then you should read through these articles and examples.

I considered pursuing certification, but put it off until I was fully retired and needed something interesting to do. I'm there now, but then blogging came along, and that has been interesting and addictive...

The Leaf

I got this in email today and had to share it:

A little boy opened the big family Bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages.

Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages.

"Mama, look what I found," the boy called out.

"What have you got there, dear?"

With astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered, "I think it's Adam's underwear."

Children say the funniest, yet priceless.

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

Other genea-bloggers have mentioned the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness web site at, so I thought I would check it out.

I used RAOGK recently for the first time. I needed information about who to contact in Houston, Texas for my Joseph Carr research problem (discussed briefly here). I was after an obituary, some city directory lookups, and a Negro Baseball League Museum contact. Initially, I didn't want any documents - just guidance on where to search for the information I wanted.

At the RAOGK web site, I noted that:
Successful genealogical research is based upon people
helping people. The volunteers of Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) have agreed at least once per month to do a research task in their local area as an act of kindness. The cost to you would be reimbursing the volunteer for his/her expenses in fulfilling your request (video tape, copy fees, etc.). This is not a FREE service.

In order to find a volunteer, you have to read the Frequently Asked Questions page to get an idea of what the volunteer will do and what they won't do.

I clicked on the "Let's Go Find A Volunteer" button at the end of the FAQs, and clicked on the Texas link. Volunteers for each county are listed in County-Alpha order. Harris County had a number of researchers listed, each with a description of the "acts of kindness" they will perform. I picked one whose name I recognized from the APG list, and because her "act of kindness" included "Will answer general research questions pertaining to Harris County research, records and repositories, etc." That sounded like what I needed.

I clicked on the researcher's name, and sent an email to her asking for inofrmation on who to contact to do the lookups I had in mind. She responded the next day with contact email addresses at the Houston Public Library, plus some info about Joseph Carr's entry in the Texas Birth Index (1903-2000). We exchanged several emails discussing the birth records and census records.

As a result of this RAOGK, I contacted the Houston Public Library by email and had a response within two days answering my questions. They had looked in the Houston City directories for me, but found nothing cxonclusive (too many Joseph Carr's without a spouse name). They looked for information about the Museum, but could come up with only a phone number, plus some links to a Negro Baseball League web site. They promised to search for the obituary but I haven't heard from them yet.

All in all, it was a very satisfying experience using RAOGK. The volunteer I contacted was extremely helpful and responsive. She could have searched for and provided a number of documents for me if I had requested them, but at some cost (document costs, plus travel expenses). The Library was also very helpful and responsive.

Have you used RAOGK? If you are stuck on a brick wall ancestor, please consider using to get some help on the ground where your elusive ancestor lived. I will be using them more often, I think, for those research problems concerning vital records, obituaries, cemeteries, etc.

Check out the volunteers for your county, and if you feel that you could add to the capabilities at RAOGK, then volunteer your services.

SDGS Meeting Tomorrow

The San Diego Genealogical Society program meeting is Saturday, 10 February, at 12 noon at St. Andrews Lutheran Church (8350 Lake Murray Blvd (at Jackson Drive) in the San Carlos neighborhood of San Duego.

The program will be "Land and Court Records: The Co-Joined Twins" presented by Penny Feike, a San Diego professional genealogist.

Penny has been researching for over 40 years, and has taught and worked at the San Diego Family History Center where she has helped many researchers over the years.

I am one of those that she has helped, especially with my Norwegian research. She can read the language, and the parish records. When I was working in the Voss parish registers, she was able to help me decipher names and places several times.

I look forward to hearing Penny's program on Saturday - I missed it last year at CVGS.

If you are a San Diego area researcher - this is one that you should not miss!

The Adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver - Part 3

This is the third post of a series concerning the adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814), who was a mariner.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2, which introduced a series of seven letters published in the "Connecticut Herald" newspaper (published in New Haven CT, dated 20 January 1807 (Volume IV, Issue 169, Page 1), and posted the first letter, is here.

I accessed the images of these newspaper pages on the "America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876" (provided by NewsBank) on the New England Historic Genealogical Society website,

Here is the second letter:

Headline: No. II. Captain Seaver to Messrs. Courts


Wednow, (Africa), April 28, 1806.
Messrs. Wm. Court & Co.

Your esteemed favor of the 5th ult. I received yesterday, and I beg you to accept my sincere thanks for your kind offers of hospitality, as well as your advice and plan for my liberty. The exhorbitant demand for my ransom of 1000 dollars, prevents my making any offer or proposal, until I receive the Consul General's letter from Tangiers, when, if not favorable, I shall do as you advised, but it will be necessary for them to have the money before they will allow me to leave them. -- I am inclined to think that it will be impossible for me to get my liberty, under a sum from three to four hundred dollars, as they are at this place by some means or other, deeply impressed with my being worth property.

You mention, you expected Captain Baker at your port. If he has, or may arrive while I am at this place, I beg you will present my respects to him, as I am intimately acquainted with him, and no doubt he will write me. -- Should he be shortly bound to Boston, be pleased to ask him to wait on my friends, and inform them of my unpleasant situation. I shall decline writing them until I get my liberty, as they will without doubt hear of my misfortune through other channels. Should I be able to treat for my ransom, any gentleman who would advance the money at Mogadore, I would give my bills for the same on my connexions in Boston, who has, independent of what may be underwrote on the Indefatigable, sufficient funds to meet the same. Mr. Berrit, my passenger, would willingly treat for his liberty also, had he any one to advance the money for him: his acquaintances in Philadelphia are respectable, and for any amount that my property would allow, I would indorse his bills, would my name be taken.

I live in hopes soon to have the happiness of seeing you -- while
..................I remain with sincere
.........................Respect and gratitude,
.............................Your very obliged servant,
..................................BENJAMIN F. SEAVER.


Our Benjamin received at least one letter from Court and Company, but it is not published by the newspaper - it was probably lost over time. We don't know how these letters came to the newspaper - they were probably obtained from Benjamin Franklin Seaver himself after he was released.

Stay tuned for Part 4 - the third letter published by the Connecticut Herald newspaper.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Valentine Censuswhacking

There are quite a few names associated with Valentine's Day reflecting our traditions and habits. I checked the 1920 census for some of them, and found:


* Valentine - 17,911 people
* Valentino - 1,287 people
* Lover - 762 people
* Lovejoy - 4,192 people
* Loveland - 3,168 people
* Loveless - 3,524 people
* Sweet - 15,671 people
* Kiss - 1,458 people
* Cupid - 28 people
* Sweetheart - 1 person


* Valentine - 16,632 people
* Rose - 439,241 people
* Candy - 638 people
* Cupid - 78 people
* Romeo - 3,666 people
* Juliet - 8,008 people


* Lovey Valentine - in Newark NJ
* Romeo Valentine - in Norristown PA
* Julie Valentine - in Hempstead NY
* Valentine Love - in Brooklyn NY
* Valentine Hart - in South Williamsport PA
* Valentine Rose - in Detroit MI
* Valentine Kiss - in Dubuque IA
* Valentine Flowers - in Blairsville PA
* Valentine Valentine - in Philadelphia PA
* Honey Lover - in Loves, GA
* Love Lovejoy - in Lawrence KS
* Cupid Luvie - in Liberty County TX
* Cande Hart - in Upshur County TX
* Rose Flowers - 26 of them!
* Rose Rose - 295 of them
* Juliet Romeo - in Brooklyn NY

Now if my sweet honey loving valentine will give me See's peppermint patties and molasses chips, I'll be a happy guy. Oh, I want a Sexy Genealogist T-shirt too!

Aren't name combinations great? What were their parents thinking? I could do this all night, but I restrained myself so I could go watch CSI and ER.

The Valentine's Day Story

After reading Dick Eastman's post about St. Valentine, I went looking for more information about my favorite holiday (I proposed on Valentine's Day).

As a service to my fellow romantic genealogists, here is a web site with more of the story - The story starts out:

February 14 is Valentine's Day. Although it is celebrated as a lovers' holiday today, with the giving of candy, flowers, or other gifts between couples in love, it originated in 5th Century Rome as a tribute to St. Valentine, a Catholic bishop.

For eight hundred years prior to the establishment of Valentine's Day, the Romans had practiced a pagan celebration in mid-February commemorating young men's rite of passage to the god Lupercus. The celebration featured a lottery in which young men would draw the names of teenage girls from a box. The girl assigned to each young man in that manner would be his sexual companion during the remaining year.

In an effort to do away with the pagan festival, Pope Gelasius ordered a slight change in the lottery. Instead of the names of young women, the box would contain the names of saints. Both men and women were allowed to draw from the box, and the game was to emulate the ways of the saint they drew during the rest of the year.

Needless to say, many of the young Roman men were not too pleased with the rule changes.

The page ends with:

During the days that Valentine was imprisoned, he fell in love with the blind daughter of his jailer. His love for her, and his great faith, managed to miraculously heal her from her blindness before his death. Before he was taken to his death, he signed a farewell message to her, "From your Valentine." The phrase has been used on his day ever since.

Although the lottery for women had been banned by the church, the mid-February holiday in commemoration of St. Valentine was still used by Roman men to seek the affection of women. It became a tradition for the men to give the ones they admired handwritten messages of affection, containing Valentine's name.

The first Valentine card grew out of this practice. The first true Valentine card was sent in 1415 by Charles, duke of Orleans, to his wife. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London at the time.

Ah, how romantic! There are several interesting stories on the page, aren't there?

I wonder who St. Valentine's parents were? There - see, this wasn't a genealogy-free post.

Another Peyton Manning?

My sports page today had an article about a Chicago Bears fan named Scott Wiese who made a pledge to change his name to Peyton Manning if the Bears lost the Super Bowl. On Tuesday, Wiese went to the Macon County IL Court and started the process of changing his name. "I made the bet, and now I've got to keep it," he said.

That got me to thinking - some of our elusive ancestors, especially those who just suddenly appear in the records, may have had their names changed - either legally or informally. The reasons to change a name include (at least the ones I can think of):

1) Adoption of a child by non-biological parents
2) Adoption of a child by a step-father
3) Adult changed name to honor someone they admire
4) Adult changed name for professional reasons (e.g., celebrities)
5) Formar slave added a surname if s/he did not have one
6) Former slave changed their surname to avoid stigma of previous surname
7) People selected a new name for religious orders - priests or nuns adopt a saint's name and drop their surname (e.g., Joseph Smith becomes Father Joseph).
8) People selected a new name that reflects beliefs (e.g., a convert to Islam might select Mohammed as a name)
9) Some Scandinavians selected either a patronymic name or a farm name in the 1870-1880 time frame in US and Scandinavia
10) People with a legal problem selected a different name (e.g., criminals, adulterers, witness protection)
11) People with a family problem selected a different name
12) Names of immigrants anglicized for whatever reason (e.g., simplify spelling and pronunciation)

I'm sure I have missed some here - what say you? Do you have other reasons for a person to change their name?

Have you considered a name change in your genealogy research for your UFO's (Unidentified Family Origins)?

And what about the new Peyton Manning? Is he going to name his sons Eli or Archie? Won't his descendants down several generation be real confused?

The Adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver - Part 2

This is the second post of a series concerning the adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814), who was a mariner. Part 1 is here.

The next mention of Benjamin is when the "Connecticut Herald" newspaper, dated 20 January 1807, Volume IV, Issue 169, page 1, published a series of letters to and from Benjamin Franklin Seaver. I accessed the images of these newspaper pages on the "America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876" (provided by NewsBank) on the New England Historic Genealogical Society website,

An article on the newspaper page summarizes the letters printed. Here is that article:


Headline: Interesting Correspondence.


The following letters have been handed to us for publication, and perhaps our readers will feel some interest in their perusal. The circumstances which occasioned this correspondence were the shipwreck of the American brig, Indefatigable, upon the coast of Africa, and the slavery of her crew by the barbarians of that coast. The part of Africa on which the brig was lost is situated on the southern boundary of the kingdom (or empire) of Morocco; the natives are a savage race, who plunder all strangers unfortunately thrown on their coasts, and also keep them in slavery unless ransomed by their friends.

It will appear by Capt. Seavers' letters (commander of the brig) that his application for assistance to the American Consul at Gibraltar, proved of no avail, on the plea that it was questionable whether his brig would be considered by government as an American bottom. The ground on which this plea was urged consisted simply in this, that the brig had been captured on her outward passage, and condemned at Gibraltar, when Capt. Seavers repurchased his vessel, intending to return home in her.

Admitting however that the argument is valid, as respects the vessel, does this extend to the seamen and passengers? Are American citizens, native born citizens, disfranchised of their claim to the protection of government, by the adventitious circumstances of their sailing in - to say the most - an equivocal bottom! The Consul doubtless acted, in obedience to his general orders: But, with humility, we do think, that by a government which draws eleven twelfths of its revenue from the enterprise of seamen, the arm of protection should not be niggardly extended towards them.

The reader will find reference had to letters, in several instances, which do not appear on file.


Here is the first letter printed in the newspaper:


Headline: No. I. Captain Seaver to Messrs. Courts


Wednow, (Barbary), March 23, 1806.

Messrs. Wm. Court & Co.*


Your much esteemed letter of the 18th ult. I this day received, which gave me singular relief in my present unhappy situation. I return you my sincere thanks for your prompt attention, in taking so active a part for my release. I have wrote particularly to Mr. Guyn, the American Agent at Mogadore, respecting my misfortune, to whose letter I refer you for a more full account. I cannot impute my present situation to any thing more than a strong current, which set beyond common judgment; as by the course steered we ought not to have seen the continent. After being escorted to Gibraltar, and going through the course of a Vice Admiralty court, my vessel and cargo was condemned. I repurchased the vessel again, when being ready for sea, I sailed from Gibraltar with an intention of touching at the Cape de Verd Islands for a cargo of salt, from which Islands I should have sailed for Philadelphia.

Wishing to avoid all petty rovers by keeping to the eastward of the Canaries, brought me into this snare. The bill of Heath which you have received, was what I procured at Gibraltar, to pass to Algeziras in my boat, with four people, for some articles I purchased for ship's use, prior to my sailing from the former place; and was found most probably by one of my people among some papers, he being separated from me by the Moors; and not knowing how to write, had without doubt sent it to Mogadore thinking it might serve to unfold his situation. Myself and crew are now (all except the passenger Mr. Berrit and one man, both which I understand are within one day's march from this) at this place.

Should you again write me, you will be pleased to inform me what vessels are at Mogadore; and if I am fortunate enough to be soon released, whether I can procure a passage to London, as I should prefer going that rout before I visit America.

Asking the continuance of your interference in this truly unfortunate affair, I am with the highest esteem and deference, your distressed fellow creature and most humble servant,
.................................................BENJ. FRANKLIN SEAVER

* Messrs. Court & Co. are English merchants, established at Mogadore, in the kingdom of Morocco [Herald note].


These letters go, of course, to the issue that President Jefferson had to face during his term - do we pay ransom to the Barbary pirates, or do we defeat them?

Our Benjamin has himself in a bit of a mess, doesn't he? Apparently he was shipwrecked on the Moroccan coast and he, his crew and passengers were captured.

Stay tuned for the next letter in the series.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Family Roots Radio Debuts

This is a notice I received today about Family Roots Radio:

ProGenealogists, Inc. and Genealogy Today announced the launch "Family RootsRadio," a weekly hour-long radio show will begin airing each Thursday at 1pm Pacific (4pm Eastern) beginning February 8, 2007.

Hosted by well-known genealogical author, speaker and researcher, Kory L.Meyerink, the show will feature a wide range of "how-to" elements designed to assist all people interested in family history, from the novice to theprofessional.

In addition to answering general questions from listeners, spotlighting important family history news and providing research tips from professionals, the show will include guests from among the most prominent genealogists today. The show will also explore effective ways to use software and the Internet in the pursuit of family history, including spotlighting data-rich websites. In addition, an "interactive" feature will walk listeners through the use of important sites, while they are listening to the broadcast.

"Family Roots Radio" will be broadcast on the popular Voice America Channel, accessible by anyone having an Internet connection with audio capabilities. The addition of an interactive website and downloadable archives of past shows will provide many more listener options than available via traditional radio broadcasts.

For more information visit

The Exploits of Benjamin Franklin Seaver - Part 1

Benjamin Franklin Seaver, born in Brookline MA in 1780 to Nathaniel and Susanna (White) Seaver, went to sea early on. His father, and his older brother Nathaniel, died at sea off Arabia in 1792. Benjamin Seaver died at sea off Montevideo in 1814, according to the available data. Benjamin is not my ancestor, but he is my distant cousin.

A correspondent asked me about the life of Benjamin Franklin Seaver, and I had nothing beyond the vital statistics. I looked in the America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876 on the New England Historical Genealogical Society website ( and found a wealth of information about Benjamin's early career in the United States Navy.

Here is the first entry in the newspapers:

"Suffolk Gazette," published in Sag Harbor NY, dated 4 March 1805, Volume II, Issue 55, Page 3:

Headline: Extract of a letter from Bordeaux, dated Nov. 15, 1804, received at New-York.


"The noted captain, Nathan Haley, who is now a lieutenant in the French navy, caused his brother, George Haley, master of the ship Brutus of New-London, now in the river, to denounce his mate, Mr. Benjamin Franklin Seaver, of Boston, to the police of this city, as an English spy.

"Mr. Seaver is a young man of good connections and excellent education; he is now in close confinement, and will, in all probability, be brought before the criminal tribunal. The cause of this denunciation on the part of Haley and his brother, is Seaver's having demanded 1500 livres, which the consul awarded as due him from capt. G. Haley, and which the latter having refused to pay, Seaver wrote him a letter, saying, "if you do not pay me I will declare to the consul that the vessel belongs to your piratical brother, and not to you" upon the receipt of which letter they caused him to be arrested.

"I have just left our consul, who enters with great spirit into poor Seaver's situation, and as the Haleys have got into his hands, who from his severe though upright conduct has got the name among the captains of consul Taught, I think justice will be done Seaver, and they get severely punsihed. A more unjust, wicked thing cannot well be imagined."


So Benjamin Franklin Seaver, in 1804, is in a French prison as an English spy, as a result of getting mixed up with the two Haleys - one of them serving the French navy.

Stay tuned, because Benjamin's struggles are just beginning.

At Sea with Captain Seaver - Part 2

In my search for data on Benjamin Franklin Seaver, I ran across many articles concerning Captain James Sever/Seaver in the 1798 to 1801 time frame. Five of the articles were posted yesterday here.

I found several more articles about Captain Seaver by accessing the Newsbank's America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876 on the NEHGS web site,, which are transcribed below.

"New Hampshire Gazette," dated 22 May 1798, Volume XLII, Issue 2164, Page 3:

Headline: Important Appointments


Winthrop Sargent, Governor of the Mississippi Territory
John Steel, of Virginia, Secretary
Peter Bryan Bruin, Second Judge
Daniel Tilton, of New Hampshire, 3d Judge.

Thus it appears that government and order will soon be established in this flourishing part of the United States, and an opportunity offer for a rapid and extensive settlement.

Richard Dael, Stephen Decatur, of Pennsylvania, Silas Talbot, of New York, and James Sever, of Massachusetts, to be Captains in the Navy.

John Ruth, of Pennsylvania, Surgeon.

Daniel Carmeck, do. 2d Lt. Marines.

Capt. Dale commands the Ganges and Capt. Decatur the Hamburg packet, 20 gun ships.

"Salem Impartial Register," dated 23 October 1800, published in Salem MA, Volume I, Issue 48, page 3:

Headline: Ship News

Text: The British ship Thunderer of 74 guns, fell in with the fleet which latety left the Havana, under convoy of the U.S. frigate Constellation -- The First Lieutenant of the British ship went on board the American frigate, and on returning with assurances that the vessels and their cargoes were American property, no attempt was made to examine or molest them.

The U.S. frigate Congress, Capt. Seaver, was at Porto Rico, Sept. 1 -- She had recaptured the American brig Experiment, with a valuable cargo, which had been three days in possession of the French.

The rendezvous for the U.S. frigate New York has closed. Her crew is entirely composed of Americans, and none exceeding 35 years of age.

"Newburyport Herald," published at Newburyport MA, dated 7 April 1801, Volume IV, Issue 49, Page 3:

Headline: Boston, April 5.

Text: Arrived here on Friday last, the U.S. frigate Congress, Capt. Seaver, from Cape Francois, 26 days. The following vessels sailed under his convuy, Sch'rs Ann, Smith; Hannah, Lombard; & Union, Boroughs, for boston; brig Mentor, Gerrard, and Sch. Favorite Erichson, for Philadelphia; Sch. Good Intent, Rowland, for Newyork; Sch. Sally, Bartlett, for Plymouth.


So it appears that the US frigate Congress survived the disaster in early 1800, and went to sea again under Captain James Sever.

The next set of articles will deal with Benjamin Franklin Seaver.

Many "I Dos" Some "I Donts" announced that databases for the Nevada Marriage Index (1956-2005) and the Nevada Divorce Index (1968-2005) are now available on Ancestry. The announcement is at

For the Nevada Marriage Index, there are over 8 million entries between 1956 and 2005.
This database contains an index to marriages for Clark County, Nevada (including Las Vegas) from 1956-1966 (with a few marriages from earlier and later years). The database also contains a statewide index to marriages from 1966-2005.

* Names of bride and groom
* Marriage date
* City or county of marriage
* Officiant**
* Date marriage was recorded**
* City or county of recording**
* County book and page number

**Only available in the statewide index for 1966-2005

The Nevada Divorce Index (1968 to 2005) has almost half a million entries, and includes:

This database contains a statewide index to nearly half a million divorces that were granted in Nevada between 1968 and 2005. Information available in this database includes:

* Name
* Spouse’s name
* Divorce date
* County of divorce
* County File Number

Read the entire announcement - it lists some celebrity marriages and divorces, plus provide statistics about the databases.

I checked the databases for my family members - I found my brother and his current wife. Now I know where they were married!

Needless to say, these databases provide significant resources to help genealogists put families together (or tear them apart!).

Letters to the library

This was posted in the Humor/Humour section of Rootsweb Review today. Can you relate to any of these?

Funny Correspondence Sent to the Family History Department, Salt Lake City, Utah

These are copies of actual correspondence received by the Family History Department.

1. Our 2nd great-grandfather was found dead crossing the plains in the library.

2. He and his daughter are listed as not being born.

3. I would like to find out if I have any living relatives or dead relatives or ancestors in my family.

4. Will you send me a list of all the Dripps in your library?

5. My Grandfather died at the age of 3.

6. We are sending you 5 children in a separate envelope.

7. Documentation: Family Bible in possession of Aunt Merle until the tornado hit Topeka, Kansas. Now only the Good Lord knows where it is.

8. The wife of #22 could not be found. Somebody suggested that she might have been stillborn--what do you think?

9. I am mailing you my aunt and uncle and 3 of their children.

10. Enclosed please find my Grandmother. I have worked on her for 30 years without success. Now see what you can do!

11. I have a hard time finding myself in London. If I were there I was very small and cannot be found.

12. This family had 7 nephews that I am unable to find. If you know who they are, please add them to the list.

13. We lost our Grandmother, will you please send us a copy?

14. Will you please send me the name of my first wife? I have forgotten her name.

15. A 14-year-old boy wrote: "I do not want you to do my research for me. Will you please send me all of the material on the Welch line, in the U.S., England and Scotland countries? I will do the research."

16. I would like to know how many descendants I really have?

Previously published in RootsWebReview: 07 February 2007, Vol. 10, No. 6.


I think my favorite of the above is #7, then #14.

Cornelius Feather - Snakes on the Rocks

One of my ancestors is Cornelius Feather (1777-1851), who settled early in Trumbull County, Ohio and then moved to Mercer County, Pennsylvania before 1830.

Cornelius Feather wrote a narrative about the settlement of Warren township, which is in the manuscripts of the Ashtabula Historical Society. The narrative includes (from the book by Henry Howe, "Historical Collections of Ohio," Volume I, 1887, page 343):

"The plat of Warren in September, 1800, contained but two log cabins, one of which was occupied by Capt. Ephraim Quimby, who was proprietor of the town and afterwards judge of the court. He built his cabin in 1799. The other was occupied by Wm. Fenton, who built his in 1798. On the 27th of this month, Cornelius Feather and Davison Fenton arrived from Washington County, PA. At this time Quimby's cabin consisted of three apartments, a kitchen, bed-room and jail, although but one prisoner was ever confined in it, viz. Perger Shehigh, for threatening the life of Judge Young, of Youngstown.

"The whole settlements of whites within and about the settlement of Warren, consisted of sixteen settlers, viz: Henry and John Lane, Benj. Davison, Esq., Meshach Case, Capt. John Adgate, Capt. John Leavitt, William Crooks and Phineas Leffingwell, Henry Lane, Jr., Charles Daily, Edward Jones, George Loveless and Wm. Tucker, who had been a spy five years under Capt. Brady.

"At this time, rattlesnakes abounded in some places. And there was one adventure with them worth recording, which took place in Bracefield township.

"A Mr. Oviatt was informed that a considerable number of huge rattlesnakes were scattered over a certain tract of wilderness. The old man asked whether there was a ledge of rocks in the vicinity, which way the declivity inclined, and if any spring issued out of the ledge. Being answered in the affirmative, the old man rejoined, "we will go about the last of May and have some sport." Accordingly they proceeded through the woods well armed with cudgels. Arrived at the battleground, they cautiously ascended the hill, step by step, in a solid column. Suddenly the enemy gave the alarm, and the men found themselves completely surrounded by hosts of rattlesnakes of enormous size, and a huge squadron of black snakes. No time was lost. At the signal of the rattling of the snakes, the action commenced, and hot and furious was the fight. In short, snakes beat a retreat up the hill, our men cudgelling with all their might. When arrived at the top of the ledge, they found the ground and rocks in places almost covered with snakes retreating into their dens. Afterwards, the slain were collected into heaps, and found to amount to 486, a good portion of which were larger than a man's leg below the calf, and over five feet in length.

"The news of this den of venomous serpents being spread, it was agreed that the narrator and two more young men in Warren, and three in Braceville, should make war upon it until the snakes should be principally destroyed, which was actually accomplished.

"One circumstance I should relate in regard to snake-hunting. Having procured an instrument like a very long chisel, with a handle eight or nine feet long, I proceeded to the ledge alone, placed myself on the body of a butternut tree, lying slanting over a broad crevice in the rocks, seven or eight feet deep, this bottom of which was literally covered with the yellow and black serpents. I held my weapon poised in my right hand, ready to give the deadly blow, my left hold of a small branch to keep my balance, when both my feet slipped, and I came within a hairs' breadth of plunging headlong into the den. Nothing but the small limb saved me from a most terrible death, as I could not have gotten out, had there been no snakes, the rocks on all sides being nearly perpendicular. It was a merciful and providential escape."

Aren't the old history books wonderful? It is this type of detail that makes the lives of our ancestors more real than just names, dates and places.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

How Many People Have Your Name?

Megan Smolenyak found a neat little web site - . At this site, you can input a First Name and a Surname, and it will tell you how many people have each name and the complete name, plus the rank of the names.

For instance, I input "Randy" and "Seaver" in the search engine, and came up with 352,463 for "Randy" (161st most popular) and 4,110 for "Seaver" (8,152nd most popular), including five who are "Randy Seaver."

The search for "Randall" "Seaver" shows 206,978 for "Randall" (305th) and 3 persons named "Randall Seaver."

Would you believe that in the database that there are:

* 1 "Elvis Presley"
* 39 "Bill Gates"
* 12 "Bill Clinton" and 258 "William Clinton"
* 1 "Hilary Clinton" and 1 "Hillary Clinton"
* 503 "George Bush"
* 0 "Newt Gingrich" or "Newton Gingrich" -- He doesn't exist?
* 0 "Barack Obama" -- What's going on?
* 0 "Mitt Romney" -- they don't like politicians?
* 0 "Rudolph Giuliani" or "Rudy Guiliani"
* 443 "John McCain"
* 11 "Joe Blow"
* 295 "John Doe"
* 47,554 "Robert Smith" -- there!
* 6 "Jesus Christ" - hmmm, who knew?
* 2 "Britney Spears"
* 2,614 "Jennifer Lopez"
* 6 "Bill O'Reilly"
* 6 "Paula Zahn"
* 640 "John Finch" -- hi John!
* 212 "Shirley Becker" - hi Shirley!
* 21 "Linda Seaver"
* 21 "Paul Leland"
* 205 "Richard Eastman"
* 0 "Leland Meitzler"
* 140 "Christopher Dunham" - but only one Genealogue!
* 10 "Craig Manson"
* 8 "Steven Danko"

You get the idea - go play with it...

I wonder where they got the information? My guess is from the 2000 census.

Note that they used only the top 90% of each type of name - if someone has a unique given name like Snorkel or a unique surname like Obama or Smolenyak then it doesn't show up in the statistics.

Hat tip to Megan for the link.

At Sea with Captain Seaver - Part 1

I haven't taken the opportunity recently to use the America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1878 database, available on Newsbank and GenealogyBank. I can access them through my New England Historical Genealogical Society subscription on the web site premium databases.

I recently received an email from a correspondent asking about Benjamin Franklin Seaver, who died at sea off Montevideo in 1813. The only thing I had in my Seaver database was his parents names, baptism and death, and nothing else. So I thought to myself - "I wonder if he made the newspapers of that time?"

Oh boy, did he ever, and it is an interesting set of stories about Benjamin Franklin Seaver. I found that I could use quote marks around several words on the America's Historical Newspapers database, but I could not use wild card symbols. After several searches, I settled on "Captain Seaver" and "Franklin Seaver" to help me find articles in the East Coast newspapers from 1798 to 1813.

I will transcribe a number of these articles over the next few days. Here are the first five:

Weekly Companion, and The Commercial Centinel, dated 29 September 1798, Newport RI, Vol. 1, Issue 23, page 3:

Headline: Newport, Sept. 29

Text: Last Thursday the Herald sloop of war, of twenty guns, commanded by captain Seaver, and the armed brig Pickering, of 14 guns, Capt. Chapman, returned here from a short cruise, to receive fresh instructions from government. They will both sail again immediately for the protection of the American coasts.

Windham (CT) Herald, dated 17 January 1799, published in Winham CT, Volume VIII, Issue 411, Page 3:

Headline: Shipping News Extract from the report of the Secretary of the Navy, to Congress, of the 25th December, 1798.

Text: Vessels Built:
(partial) Ship Herald, Capt. James Seaver, 279 tons, 18 guns, 120 men, at Boston, ann. exp. 51,989 dols. 10 cents.

Courier, dated 29 Oct 1799, published at Boston MA, Volume III, Issue 50, Page 3:

Headline: Massachusetts. Boston, Oct. 29

Text: (partial) Capt. Clark, of the marines, is ordered to recruit for the Congress, Capt. Seaver, the Essex, -----, and the Warren, Capt. Newman.

Federal Gazette & Baltimore Daily Advertiser, dated 31 December 1799, published in Baltimore, Maryland, Volume XI, Issue 1907, Page 3:

Headline: Congress; Boston; Newport; East Indies

Text: The frigate, Congress, captain Seaver, had sailed from Boston, and gone round to Newport, to wait for the convoy to the East Indies.


Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser, dated Monday, 17 March to Thursday 20 March 1800, published in Boston MA, Volume XXXII, Issue 1982, page 2.

Headline: Disaster of the Congress Frigate. Extract from Captain Seaver's letter to the Secretary of the Navy.

Text: On board the frigate Congress, at sea, January 14th, 1800.

Under the impression of the most poignant regret, I have the misfortune to report to you, Sir, the disastrous situation of the United States frigate Congress under my command.

I sailed from Newport on the 6th inst. accompanied by the Essex frigate, capt. Preble, having under convoy a ship and a brig from Philadelphia; and a finall ship from New Haven; but finding them to sail very heavily, and two of three being in ballast only, on the day succeeding that on which I left Newport, I determined on leaving them; and with the Essex to make the best of my way, to carry into effect the instructions, with which you had been pleased to honour me. The first three or four days subsequent to leaving port, we had the winds, far northwardly, the weather cool, attended with snow and hail.

On Saturday the 12th the wind veered to the southward and came on to blow very fresh, attended with warm rain, and a heavy sea; this weather produced an astonishing effect upon my rigging (which had previously been in very good order) it stretching so much as to induce apprehensions for the safety of the masts. The weather being such as to produce the practicability of setting it up, I caused tackles to be got up to sirccour the masts, and the rigging to be swiftered; but unfortunately every step taken to support the mast proved futile.

On Sunday morning the 11th it blowed hard, as a heavy sea running, at half past six the main mast sprung about eight feet above the upper deck; I immediately caused the main yard to be lowered down; (the top gallant yard having been previously sent down, and the top gallant masts housed) on consultation with the officers, it was decided as affording the only probable means of saving the mainmast, to endeavour to cut away the main top mast. This was immediately attempted; Mr. Bosworth my 4th lieutenant, and four or five smart active men, going into the top to perform that service; while in its execution the mast unfortunately gave way, and in its fall involved the loss of that active deserving officer; the other men who were aloft, and engaged in the same service, were all happily saved.

The fall of the main mast carried away the mizen top mast, with the head of the mizen mast. Being under an apprehension that from the roughness of the sea, the hull of the ship might be essentially injured by the actions of the wreck, I was induced to clear it from the ship with all possible expedition; by which means a very small part of the rigging and sails attached to those masts were saved.

I now turn all my attention to, and made use of every practicable exertion to preserve the fore mast; the wind still continued to blow hard with a very heavy sea, and the ship from the loss of her masts, laying in the trough and laboring very much - at half past 12 she rolled away her fore top mast; soon after which it was discovered that the bowsprit was very badly sprung just without the gammoning. I immediately caused the jib boom to be rigged in and endeavoured to secure the bowsprit by strong lashings around the heal of the jib boom; at the same time getting up tackles to the foremast head to secure the mast (which was already sprung) and to relieve, in some measure, the stress upon the bowsprit, caused by the fore and fore preventer stays.

It is with great regret I am to add that all my endeavours proved of no further consequence, than probably to retard, for a very little time what eventually took place as at half past 3. P.M. the bowsprit gave way, and at the same instant the foremast went over the side, leaving us totally dismasted; and with the loss of the principal part of the sails and rigging; which, in our then situation, it was not practicable to preserve.

Thus, Sir, were we left in the short pace of a few hours, in a most deplorable situation, entirely at the mercy of the winds and waves; and thus my expectations of being enabled to render important services to my fellow citizens, by affording a protection to their commerce, were at once marred. I hope, Sir, you will do me the justice to believe that this misfortune (which I most sensibly feel) is not attributed to any negligence on my part; every thing practicable having been attempted to ward off the evil which the nature of the circumstance would admit.


This Captain Seaver is James N. Sever of Kingston MA (born 1761, died 1845), according to his biography in the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati book. The book provides the following biography:

James Sever, a son of William and Sarah (Warren) Sever, he was born in Kingston, Mass Nov 2 1761, died there Dec 16 1845, aged 84. A.B. Harvard 1781; Ensign, 7th Massachusetts Feb 1, 1781; transferred to 4th Massachusetts June 12 1783; and served to June 20, 1784. appointed one of the first six Post Captains in the US Navy May 11 1798; superintended the building of the frigate "Congress" at Portsmouth NH, and afterward commanded her; honorably discharged June 18, 1801. Returned to Kingston, his birthplace, and spent the rest of his life there; was a member of the Standing Committee of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati in 1837 and 1838, Vice-President 1839-1845, President in 1845. He married in Plymouth Mass Feb 22 1796 Jane Russell.

Not a word about the mishap (!) on the Congress. He sure was a silver-tongued fellow, wasn't he!

This is an excellent example of the type of information you can find in the online newspaper databases if you look for them and can define satisfactory correct search terms.

UPDATED: Tuesday, 8:30 PM. I initially thought that these articles referred to Captain Benjamin Franklin Seaver, but found that they referred to Captain James Seaver instead - after using a different search string to find more articles.

California Death Index - Use Rootsweb not Ancestry!

I posted yesterday about not being able to find Joseph Carr in the CA Death Index (1940-1997) on, but I did find him in the CA Death Index (1940-1997) at on Rootsweb.

Drew Smith commented on the discrepancy, counted the total number on both sites, and is going to ask Ancestry about it.

Curiosity drove me to do some investigating, and here is what I found:

* There are 8,194,784 entries in the Ancestry database (3,812,744 females and 4,382,040 males) , and 9,366,786 in the Rootsweb database (4,235,715 females, 5,130,939 males, 132 others). That is a ratio of 0.875 of Ancestry to Rootsweb entries, or 1 in 8 entries that are on Rootsweb and not on Ancestry. Fascinating. Troubling.

* For San Diego County**, there are 561,375 on Ancestry and 629,816 on Rootsweb (0.891 ratio)

* For Los Angeles County**, there are 2,822,607 on Ancestry and 3,272,998 on Rootsweb (0.862 ratio)

* For San Francisco County**, there are 479,162 on Ancestry and 557,720 on Rootsweb (0.859 ratio)

* For Fresno County, there are 188,076 on Ancestry and 216,388 on Rootsweb (0.869 ratio)

* For Del Norte County, there are 8,123 on Ancestry and 9,078 on Rootsweb (0.895 ratio)

* For Inyo County, there are 9,832 on Ancestry and 11,132 on Rootsweb (0.883 ratio)

For the counties denoted ** above, the Rootsweb database separates them into City and County components, while the Ancestry database includes both in one listing and doesn't denote city or county in its results.

I only looked at 10 counties (out of 58, not all are above) and the ratios are all in the 0.85 to 0.90 range.

I then checked the first 100 entries on the Inyo County lists for Ancestry and Rootsweb side by side. I found that:

1) Ancestry missed several entries that are on the Rootsweb list (e.g., Charles L. Abbott, the second entry on Rootsweb). The misses seem to be random.

2) Ancestry had several entries out of alphabetical order (e.g., Acker after Ackerman)

3) Rootsweb had a few duplicate entries (e.g., Russell C. Abbott), while Ancestry had only one entry for that person.

A more detailed survey might reveal more differences, but I judged it to be an essentially non-productive effort.

My recommendation to ALL genealogy researchers is to use the FREE California Death Index database on Rootsweb at and not the index at for their research of California Deaths.

Questions come to my mind:

1) Did Ancestry digitize their own index of the California Death Index or did they use an existing computer database? If so, what resource did they use?

2) Are there other Ancestry online databases with these same problems? It might be a good idea to compare some of the other vital record indexes available at Ancestry and at other web sites.

We know that the Ancestry census databases are different from the HQO/ census indexes, and the reason for the differences are fairly obvious - mainly different people trying to read handwriting.

I do really appreciate the online resources at, but I am now a bit skeptical of the "purity" of the databases.

Early Pennsylvania Land Maps

Arlene H. Eakle's has a genealogy blog that usually has interesting and useful research information. This week's post is excellent - it's about her research experiences in Lanceaster PA searching for a n ancestral homestead. She also links to a web site - - that hosts early Pennsylvania land maps.

Some of the maps show the original Warrantee Tract Maps, and some show other early (mainly 1850 to 1880 time frame) residents. The main page at Ancestor Tracks provides a state map with the counties colored to denote the type of resources available at Ancestor Tracks.

Dark Red: Clicking on Washington County, I found links to purchase the early land owner books from Ancestor Tracks.

Red Shaded: I clicked on Lawrence County and was rewarded with a Warrantee Tract Map of the first owners. The maps are by township.

Red Shaded: I clicked on Westmoreland County and found an 1857 map of residents.

Yellow: I clicked on Mercer County and found a list of Warrantee Tract township maps that could be ordered from the Pennsylvania State Archives.

Green: I clicked on York County and found a list of books of early land owners available for sale by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

There were also White counties with no information on the Ancestor Tracks web site.

These maps are invaluable, in whatever form. Unfortunately, maps for all counties are not available. Many of them may be available on the USGenWeb sites for the individual counties.

Monday, February 5, 2007 vs. databases

You would think that the indexes and data on and would be identical. You would be wrong, of ocurse!

For example:

I've been searching for data on Joseph Carr, who died 20 July 1987 in San Diego County for a correspondent. She knows that he is buried at La Vista Cemetery in National City. I went searching at Rootsweb for a death record in the California Death Index, and found him easily searching for GivenName="joseph" Surname="carr" and DeathDate="1987". Joseph was in the index. From that I found out that his birth date was 8 October 1920 in Texas, that his mother's maiden name was Matthews, he died in San Diego County, and his Social Security number was 457-22-6707.

I also checked the Social Security Death Index at Rootsweb. I input FirstName="joseph" LastName="carr" and DeathDate="1987" and got 8 hits, including one for Joseph. I learned that Joseph was born 8 October 1920, died Jul 1987 in CA, SS card issued in Texas, last benefits to San Diego CA 92113, and SSN = 457-22-6797. Hmmm - the SSN is different by one digit in the 8th number.

So I went to to see if the data was the same there. In the California Death Index on ancestry, I input GivenName="joseph" Surname+"carr" and DeathDate="1987". One match, but not the one I'm searching for. I used wild cards of "jos*" "car*" "1987" and got 38 matches, but not mine. I tried "joe*" "carr" "1987" and got 6 matches, but not mine. I input "carr" and "1987" and got 96 matches but not mine. I input the SSN = "457226797" and "457226707" and got no matches. Strange!

Finally, I searched the SSDI on and found him easily using the "joseph" "carr" "1987" criteria and the results were identical to the Rootsweb SSDI data.

So there are two anomalies uncovered here:

1) The Rootsweb CA Death Index finds Joseph Carr easily, but the Ancestry CA Death Index does not find him, even with an SSN-only search. I wonder why?

2) The SSN reported in the CA Death Index and SSDI are different - obviously an error in one of the entries. Which one should I use? Probably the SSDI number, since they MUST know what SSN he had!

NGS NewsMagazine Vol 33 No 1 Jan-Mar, 2007 index

I am still frustrated by the problem of magazine indexes - it is impossible for me to easily find magazine articles when I want them. My options are to make my own index in a word processor or spreadsheet, blog about them as they come in and thereby create an ongoing index, search PERSI occasionally, or just browse the stack of each magazine in the genea-cave.

Therefore, this is an experiment. Perhaps it will peter out; perhaps it will prompt some readers to find the magazine and read it; perhaps it will help me later. We'll see.

The National Genealogical Society quarterly newsletter, called NGS NewsMagazine, is absolutely excellent, issue after issue, currently. I read every article and learn something from each of them. The most recent issue is January/February/March 2007, Volume 33, Number 1. The feature articles include:

* Using the NGS Web Site - page 10
* 400 Years of family history, by Barbara Vines Little - page 11
* Stepping out of the comfort zone: Exploring a different ethnicity, by Christine L. Sweet-Hart - page 12
* Keeping the memory: Sources for Jewish death records, by Gladys Friedman Paulin - page 15
* Finding an ancestor's European origins, by Thomas W. Jones - page 19
* What's in a surname? A studsy of Croatian, Bosnian, and Serbian surnames, by Robert Jerin - page 24
* Case study: Finding a daughter for Amy, by Myra Vanderpool Gormley - page 28
* Case study: Finding parents for Harry, by Helen A. Shaw - page 31
* Putting PERSI to work for you, by Sandra MacLean Clunies - page 44
* Hunting in the 'ivory tower,' by Beth A. Stahr - page 47
* Using manuscripts to create a family history, by Laura G. Prescott - page 51
* Charting your priorities, by Susan Zacharias - page 54

My favorites of the above articles were the two Case Study articles, the PERSI article and the manuscript article. They are all "savers" - I wish I had an electronic copy of them.

Drew Smith's Technology column - titled "Watching the technology parade," was also excellent and appreciated. I hope he blogs about his topic, so that we can link to it and comment on it.

Della's Journal - Week 6 (Feb 5-11, 1929)

This is Installment 6 of the Journal of Della (Smith) Carringer, my great-grandmother, who resided at 2115 30th Street in San Diego in 1929. The "players" and "setting" are described here. Pictures of some of the players are here. Last week's Journal entry is here.


Tuesday, February 5, pleasant: Ma washed. I worked in yard. A[ustin] got door lock 2.50 for 2119 30th St.

Wednesday, February 6, rainy, cold: A[ustin] did not go to work, sick with cold, coughed so much. Emily & her mother fixing brown dress for me.

Thursday, February 7, rainy, cold: A[ustin] did not work today & we stayed in house.

Friday, February 8, cloudy but no rain: A[ustin] went to work, stood it pretty well. E[mily] & mother finished dress for me. I vacuumed carpets, changed Ma's bed around.

Saturday, February 9, cold: A[ustin] worked. Ma & I worked some outside. Mrs. Garlock called, Mr. G's sister Ida is visiting them from Iowa.

Sunday, February 10, warmer, sunny: In afternoon L[yle] & E[mily] took Ma A[uble] & I to ride. We had a lovely ride, over to Fort Rosenc (?), La Playa, Point Loma, Ocean Beach & back down by the Flying field. Saw the man come down with a Parachute, it was fine. Saw two big Planes go up & several kinds of little ones. We had rabbit for dinner.

Monday, February 11, sunny: Ma washed I worked in yard. In evening Mr. Geo. Scott & wife called, they were A[ustin] * Ed's friend that is his father & mother. Joni (?) Scott was an adopted daughter of A's Aunt Mattie McKnight.


It seems like Lyle takes his family on an automobile ride every Sunday. He worked the rest of the week, of course. The trip on Sunday is one we still take occasionally - out to Point Loma. "Fort Rosenc" is, I think, Fort Rosecrans at the end of Rosecrans Street. La Playa is the area around Rosecrans and Talbot Street; the Flying field is now Lindbergh Field, the main San Diego airport.

I'm pretty sure that most of this family took the trolley to go to work or to go to town. It ran right down the middle of 30th Street - 30 feet from their front door. The car was used only for special occasions. Shopping was done at the local market and other small shops two blocks away to the north on Juniper Street and to the south at Grape Street.

I'll have to check on Mattie McKnight - I think she was a Carringer or Spangler who ended up in Colorado. Mrs. Garlock must be a neighbor or a friend.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Carnival of Genealogy #17 is posted

Jasia at has posted the 17th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy at The topic for this issue is "acknowledging and giving thanks to those who have inspired our genealogy research and helped us along the way."

There are about 10 entries this time, and they are all good reading. Go visit the post. One of the very best features of the Carnival is the different bloggers who participate - every edition brings several new ones that have wonderful content.

The next Carnival of Genealogy will be about:

5 Best tips for specific genealogy research. Let's get the word out and create a Carnival full of recommended "best" tips for researching in a specific time or location. We've all discovered some outstanding resources in the course of our research. Maybe you've got some wonderful resources for researching in Ireland, New England, or South Carolina. Tell us the best sources you recommend for researching a specific location! Did your family come over on the Mayflower, fight on Civil War battlefields, or participate in the California gold rush? Share your best sources for researching specific time or events. Let's put together more than just a list of resources, let's make it a Carnival of best recommended resources! Think about writing more than one blog article if you have knowledge of more than one area of research and submit them all. Let's see if we can get this next Carnival to go around the world, the country, and the block! Tell us how you've researched historical events too! Recommendations can be specific databases, books, web sites, genealogical/historical societies, collections, etc. This is Challenge Carnival... bring on your best!

If you want to enter the next Carnival, write a blog post on the subject and enter it on the Carnival of Genealogy submission page here.

Ah, a challenge! Blog fodder! Probably worth 5 posts or more. Cool.

The Super Bowl or Genealogy?

What did you do today - watch the Super Bowl, do genealogy, or something else? We have friends that intentionally go to the opera on Super Bowl Sunday and enjoy themselves. I noticed that many people sent me emails and sent messages to the Rootsweb mailing lists during the game.

Me - I did both! After getting home from church and eating lunch, I searched for about two hours to try to find living relatives of a famous Chula Vista guy - Greg Rogers (1876-1955) for a local email correspondent who needs biographical information about him. She wants to contact some of his descendants to get family information to help her in her grant-writing.

I found Greg Rogers and his family in the 1910, 1920 and 1930 census records easily in Coronado and then Chula Vista, and wrote down the names of his five children. Then it was off to the California Death Index to see if I could match the names with birth and death dates. I found three of the kids records in the 1940-1997 index online (including their mother's maiden name - Morgan), plus Greg Rogers data (including his mother's maiden name - West). Then I went back to the California Birth Index 1905-1995 and found info for the last two children whose birth dates matched those in the Death Index. One of the death index entries was for Barbara (Rogers) Cooley, the last child, so I found the names of two of her sons in the Birth Index.

Finally, I searched on Zabasearch, US-Search, People-Finder and other sites for the two Cooley boys who might still be living. All of those sites took me to the pay-up screen which I declined. Finally, I went back into and used their US Public Records Index and found addresses and phone numbers for both sons, and one was in Chula Vista.

Tomorrow I will go to the Chula Vista library and search for obituaries for Greg Rogers, and hopefully find the married names of his other two daughters and the names of the spouses of his sons, and perhaps even the names of his grandchildren, and where they resided at the time of his death.

I sent all of the above information about Greg Rogers to my correspondent via email and hope to hear back from her soon.

After two hours of searching, I went and had a nap before the game, then watched the game. We barbecued chicken at halftime and ate in front of the TV. It came out like I expected - I was going to blog before the game and guess the score, but I had no guts!

For the record, the high temperature in Chula Vista today was 85 F with clear blue skies - absolutely a terrible day to stay inside and watch TV. SD is not on the Super Bowl rotation because the stadium is old and does not have enough amenities for the bigwigs that come to party. It rained cats and dogs the whoelw game in Miami. Oh well.

During the second half of the game I read the latest NGS NewsMagazine between plays and during commercials. Great issue - i'll post something about it soon.

I also wondered what on earth I could blog about tonight. The result is this entry that my kids can savor for its earth-shattering yet dull completeness, and they will know exactly what I did today if they deigned to read my saintly (?) prose. If you read this far, I'm sure you will laugh to yourself and say - what a waste of my time, but hey, you're probably hooked on reading genea-bloggers like I am.

I'd better go back in my genea-cave and see what everybody else blogged about during the game!

UPDATED 8:15 PM: Very few genea-bloggers posted anything during the game - good on you!