Saturday, February 24, 2007

What's happening at the Genea-manor?

I expect blogging on Genea-Musings will be light on Sunday and perhaps Monday also.

My tech guru is coming on Sunday to see if he can wake up my desktop machine. Failing that, a new hard drive may be in the offing. Hopefully, the lost data can at least be recovered.

We have a family dinner scheduled for Sunday afternoon - my brother is in town with his family so I won't have much genea-blogging time on Sunday, assuming I can access the home wireless network (it has been flaky - many dropouts). Aren't computers wonderful, indispensable, and frustrating?

The home remodel is almost done - the painting is done, the kitchen cabinets and countertops are installed. We have the laminated wood floors installed this next week. We've been packing stuff up (from the china hutch, the angel hutch, etc) and hiding it in the garage, all the while unpacking the kitchen stuff and hiding it in the new kitchen cabinets.

I hung a lot of the family pictures on the walls today (in order to get them out of the boxes and off the floor). We decided to make the dining room the "San Diego room," the family room the "San Francisco room," and the living room the "Betty Seaver room" - featuring my mother's copper enamel work. That leaves the entry way and the hallway to the bedrooms to display the large family picture collection. We're going to have recent family photos in the entry way, and the old family photos in the hallway. I filled up the available hallway walls, but still have about half of the picture collection unhung. This happened because we had most of these pictures in the family room before, and there was more wall space. I made several photo sheets of the family pictures in 3 x 5 and 4 x 6 sizes today so we could put them in the large collage frames - perhaps we will use those instead of the large family pictures (some are 24 by 36 or so).

I went to the Family History Center today and saved about 20 pages of South Kingston RI probate records to my flash drive. The records were for Joseph Oatley who died in 1815 and Joseph Champlin who died in 1850. I ordered two more films - one for Westerly RI probate records and the other for Portsmouth RI probate records. When I got home, I loaded the images onto the laptop and printed the pages out. I found that I lost about 20 images of probate records in the computer crash, but I had already printed them before the crash. My next task is to transcribe all of these records into the ancestral database. See - I even did some real genealogy work today.

Our CVGS meeting is on Monday, and I usually don't get home until after 2 PM because I take the speaker to lunch. Therefore, I anticipate blogging on Monday afternoon, but probably not before that.

If you have to scratch your genealogy itch, go watch some of Roots Television. I love it.

"Flat Stanley" has roots!

Do you want a great laugh?

Go watch the "Flat Stanley's Family Tree" video at Roots Television - It is in the "New and Featured" tab right now.

Check out the family tree names about halfway through the piece. Very imaginative! Are they in WorldConnect yet?

Besides being funny and absolutely priceless, it may be one of the most effective ways to get kids interested in genealogy and family history. I guess it helps to have Megan Smolenyak as a favorite aunt!

More Effective Googling for Grandpa

Dick Eastman has a post with a note from Peter Wood about using certain letters or words to cut down on the number of hits you get when you are using Google to find other researchers.

Peter recommends using quote marks for the full or partial name of your target ancestor - such as "frank seaver" or "frank walton seaver." This technique is well known (although many experienced people marvel at the novelty of it when they first hear about it) and it works fairly well to cut down the number of hits to search through - it separates the wheat from the chaff in the Google haystack.

NOTE: In the following, I have used brackets to denote what I put in the Google search box.

Peter also recommends using the letter "b" in conjunction with a name (e.g., [ "frank seaver b" ]) by itself in order to find text that starts out "Frank Seaver, b. ..." or "Frank Seaver, born" or "Frank Seaver birth". I've played around for 15 minutes trying to make Peter's idea work (I used names that I know are in several sites of mine on the web), and have failed miserably. Maybe I've just not used the right combination. Google finds hits for the string [ "frank seaver born" ] but not for the string [ "frank seaver b" ]. For example:

If I Google [ "frank seaver" ] (with quote marks), I get 532 hits.

If I Google [ "frank seaver b" ] I get 0 hits.

If I Google [ "frank seaver" b ] I get 161 hits, many of them middle initials of someone else.

If I Google [ "frank seaver born" ] I get 2 hits.

If I Google [ "frank seaver" born ] I get 62 hits.

I have found that Googling the name in quote marks, and then adding the first or last name of the spouse, and/or the year of birth or death, and/or the place of birth or death, to be very effective.

For instance:

If I Google [ "frank seaver" "hattie" ] I get 15 hits, but not some of my own sites (mainly because my web sites have his middle name, Walton).

If I Google [ "frank * seaver" hattie ] I get 10 hits, including my own sites with the middle name of Walton for Frank Seaver - notice I used a wild card "*" where a middle name might be.

If I Google [ "frank * seaver" leominster ] I get 7 hits, all from my own web pages. If someone was looking for descendants or ancestors of Frank Seaver and Hattie Hildreth, they would find me easily.

If I Google [ "frank * seaver" 1852 ] I get 11 hits. Again, another researcher could find me easily.

Don't forget to put last name first for some of these searches - there are many web sites with names in alphabetical surname order, especially cemeteries and BMD indexes.

If you know a person's middle name, you could Google [ "walton seaver" leominster ] and find another researcher. This is especially useful when the surname is very common.

For example, there are a lot of [ "john smith" mary ] hits (over a million), but using John Russell Smith's middle name ala [ "russell smith" mary ] cuts the hits down to just over 100,000. Using birth or death years, full spouse's name, and locations can winnow the Google crop. If I Google [ "russell smith" "mary jones" 1884 chicago ] I get 45 hits, which is a lot more manageable. Even so many of those are for people named "Russell Smith" and not "John Russell Smith" - but you get the idea.

Google, and other search engines, are wonderful tools for the genealogist. You can usually find another researcher easily, if s/he has dropped the names, dates and locations on web sites for others to find. Unfortunately, Google doesn't find these names in the online databases that are dynamic - like WorldConnect, IGI, Ancestry, etc. Google will find the names on the Ancestry and Genforum message boards but not on the Rootsweb mailing lists.

Do you have other Googling for Genealogists tips? Please share them!

Friday, February 23, 2007

"Interpretation of Handwriting" Program on Monday

Our next Chula Vista Genealogical Society program will be on Monday, February 26th at 10 AM in the Chula Vista Civic Center Library auditorium (365 F Street, Chula Vista).

Our speaker will be Dona Ritchie, a well known and active San Diego genealogist who has edited the "German Connection" (published by the German Research Association) and "BIGRA News" (published by the British Isles Genealogical Research Association) local society newsletters for about 10 years.

Dona's topic will be "Interpretation of Handwriting." She will cover the handwriting peculiarities of early to 19th century US and English records (census, immigration, probate, land, etc.) and German records (church records and certificates). She will also offer helpful techniques for transcribing and translating documents, and using the available websites, books and pamphlets to assist in translating foreign materials, or just obsolete terms in old documents (Latin, German, etc.).

This should be an interesting talk - and one that I am keenly interested in. Maybe I can finally learn to read that tricky Elizabethan script that I find baffling.

If you are a San Diego genealogist, please attend our meeting on Monday. Guests and visitors are welcome - there are refreshments, too!

One hundred years ago...

Here are some of the U.S. Statistics for the Year 1906:
  • The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.
  • Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.
  • Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
  • A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.
  • There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S., and only 144 miles of paved roads.
  • The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
  • Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California.
  • With a mere 1.4 million people, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.
  • The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower!
  • The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents per hour.
  • The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
  • A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
  • More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home.
  • Ninety percent of all U.S. doctors had no college education. Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."
  • Sugar cost four cents a pound.
  • Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
  • Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
  • Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
  • Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.
  • Five leading causes of death in the U.S. were: 1. Pneumonia and influenza 2. Tuberculosis 3. Diarrhea 4. Heart disease 5. Stroke
  • The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.
  • The population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30!
  • Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and ice tea had not been invented yet.
  • There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
  • Two out of every 10 U.S. adults could not read or write.
  • Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
  • Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores.
  • Back then the pharmacist said, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."
  • Eighteen percent of households in the U.S. had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
  • There were about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.
  • The population of the US was 85,450,000

Isn't it amazing what a difference 100 years makes? What is the same now as it was then? Not much, eh?

Genealogy Blogging presentation

I am scheduled to give a presentation on Genealogy Blogging on March 17th to the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to say about genea-blogging, but I thought I would ask my loyal readers to help me out.

My outline for the 60 minute talk (on a laptop with Internet access and a projector) is:

1. What is blogging?
2. Why do people blog?
3. What are genealogy blogs good for? Not good for?
4. Different types of genea-blogs - news, tips, personal research, quiz, humor, etc.
5. Blog host sites
6. Carnival of genealogy
7. Demonstrate setting up a new blog on Blogger
8. Demonstrate making a post
9. Demonstrate editing a post
10. Demonstrate changing blog format
11. Demonstrate Bloglines
12. Visit a number of typical blogs
13. Visit Blog aggregators

What else should I talk about? What genealogy blog sites should I visit (I can hear all the bloggers saying "MINE!"). Any other ideas? Please put them in comments. Thanks.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Calling all correspondents

Due to my desktop computer crash, I lost all of my email correspondence over the last two plus years.

If I owe you an email response, please contact me again - so we can re-establish contact again.

I am trying to remember email addresses, or find them on assorted pieces of paper, so if we have corresponded before, and you want to maintain contact, please email me at rjseaver(at)cox(dot)net.

Thanks -- Randy

The house I grew up in

The topic for the next Carnival of Genealogy is to describe "Shelter from the storm, stories of the home and hearth" -- a family home, the history of it, and memories of it.

I choose to discuss the house I grew up in on 30th Street in San Diego. The house was built before 1900 by my great-grandparents, Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer.

Here is what I know about the house itself:

In 1894, Della Carringer bought a lot of land in San Diego for $450. The lot was bounded by Ella (now 30th Street), Watkins Avenue (now Hawthorn Street), Horton (now Ivy Street) and Fern Street in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood of San Diego. Her mother, Abbie (Vaux) Smith also bought a lot on the same block.

Austin was a carpenter, and he built the house on the southwestern corner of the block at Ella and Watkins Streets (now 30th and Hawthorn Streets) facing Watkins Street. They occupied the house by 1898 until their deaths in 1946 and 1944, respectively.

A photograph taken in 1900 shows the house with Austin Carringer, his wife Della, their son Lyle (my grandfather), Austin's parents D.J. and Rebecca Carringer, his brother Edgar Carringer, Della's mother Abbie (Vaux) Smith, and the family horse.

This house had two bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a parlor on the first floor There was a staircase in the center of the house up to the second story. The second story had at least four rooms - including at least two bedrooms, topped by a widow's walk. There was a large front porch on the west and south sides

In about 1927, the house was moved to the middle of the block on 30th Street, and renumbered as 2115 30th Street. The house front porch was modified so that it faced only south, and a living room and den were added on the west side (essentially where the west porch was). A separate second story flat was created by adding to the existing rooms, eliminating the inside staircase, and building two staircases on the north side for the front entry and the kitchen exit, resulting in 2119 30th Street. The structure was then stuccoed over, and the roof was flattened, so that the original frame of the house could not be discerned.

The picture below is from about 1929, the time of Della's Journal. The two-story house in the front of the picture is the 2115/2119 flats. As you can see, the original house has had a full second story added on. The entry for 2115 30th, which is where Della and Austin lived, is on the south side of the building (the side facing to the right).

The San Diego Union of September 11, 1937 has an article headlined "Honeymoon Trip to S.D. Extends Half a Century," with a picture of Austin and Della entitled "True Vowers View Letters on Golden Wedding Day." In the article, Della says "We have lived here on this corner for 39 years. We built this house. On our lot we have planted and grown most every kind of fruit and vegetable that grows in California. Flowers always have been my hobby."

Della designed some of their furniture, and was a painter. She was quoted on their philosophy of life: "We have worked hard as partners and tried always to be kind and helpful to others. After all, we are of the opinion that this is the best religion to make a happy and successful life." The article says that Austin did all of the finishing on their home and also built some of their beautiful furniture.

Now for my memories about the house.

I grew up in the second story flat at 2119 30th Street. It had two bedrooms and a sun room on the south side (over the porch). My family moved in in 1947 after my brother was born. We initially shared the bedroom in the southeast corner. My mother did her artwork, pottery and copper enameling in the sunroom. There was only one bathroom on the east side of the flat, with a bathtub (no shower until about 1960). One of my hideouts was the cubby-hole over the entry staircase - I could watch the street and not be seen by anyone inside or outside.

When my youngest brother was born in 1955, my brother and I moved into the sun room. My dad built a long desk and we had a stand-alone closet. From our bedroom, we could see the buildings in downtown San Diego, the end of Polint Loma and occasionally ships at sea. My father's desk was in the entry way at the top of the stairs. A wall heater was also in the office - a very popular place on cool mornings. The dining room had a large bookcase and a large dining room table.

From about 1951, the downstairs flat at 2115 30th was rented to tenants. There were several long term tenants who enjoyed the hand-built rooms. I loved going downstairs and seeing the living room, den and dining room especially.

After my grandparents died in the 1970's, my parents moved to their Point Loma house, and my younger brother rented the upstairs flat for several years with his young family. My parents sold all of the property in 1983 to a neighbor, who had purchased 2130 Fern Street (the house that my grandparents built) earlier. I still drive by occasionally, and have even taken pictures of the current house (now painted a sort of nectarine color). I've thought about knocking on the doors and asking to see the flats, but haven't done so. If they ever go on the market, I'm going to go look at them to refresh my memories of the room layout. And I'm going to look for my baseball card collection from the 1950's in my secret hiding place.

That's the story of "my" house. If only the walls could talk and tell me stories - I would go listen by the hour!

Happy 275th Birthday - George Washington

Happy birthday, George!
275 years after his birth, the Father of His Country is one of my heroes. His life is ably summarized by his Wikipedia entry at

I think the quality I most admire about George is his persistence and determination. He rarely won a battle before Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown in 1781. But he kept the Continental Army together throughout the 6 years of the War, over the protests of sunshine patriots and loyalists. Then he served his country again as our first President for eight years, creating a government form and making it work, and then set an excellent example by retiring after two terms.

George and Martha had no children, and so there are no known descendants of George Washington. This is probably a good thing, actually - he stands alone in history with no decendants to embarrass him. Was he perfect? Of course not - he was human. He had slaves, he made mistakes, but he got the United States of America off to a great start with the other Founders.

I thank God for George Washington (1732-1799).

List of Global Online Repositories

Miriam Midkiff, in her excellent Ancestories genealogy blog, found a wonderful list of worldwide online repositories. Her post is at The Repositories of Primary Sources is at The site is described as:

"A listing of over 5000 websites describing holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare books, historical photographs, and other primary sources for the research scholar."

The web site listings of repositories are divided up by location. The Western states are in one list, and the eastern states are in two separate lists. Canadian provinces are mixed in with the states. There are lists for Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa, etc.

I went looking for interesting web sites in Massachusetts. I browsed through the Concord Free Public Library site at They had a link to the Wheeler Genealogy (George Wheeler is one of my immigrant ancestors in the 1630's). The Wheeler page had a picture of the Wheeler-Scotchford house, which I had not heard of before. There is a link to the Old Hill Burying Ground in concord at

Manuscripts held by large and small repositories are often underused by genealogy researchers, especially those searching mainly on the Internet. This Repository of Primary Sources site will really help all of us determine what is held at repositories in the localities, and may lead to new discoveries of our ancestors family history.

I will spend hours looking for interesting and useful data at the Repository site! Into the "Libaries" list of Favorites it goes.

Thanks, Miriam, for finding this and telling us about it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Kansas State Censuses 1855 to 1915 on Ancestry

While at the CVGS Computer Group meeting today, we were browsing through the databases on Ancestry Library Edition and I discovered the Kansas State Census Collection 1855 to 1915. Somehow I had missed this before.

I quickly input my Abbie/Abby Smith and found entries for the Devier J. (D.J.) Smith families in 1875 (in Lincoln township, Cloud County, KS) and in 1885 (in Clyde township, Clay County, KS). I had not known exactly where they had lived in these two places before. In 1880, they were in Pottawatomie County KS. In 1875, DJ Smith was a "livery and sales clerk," and in 1885 he was a "speculator." This is the guy who sold snake oil about this time!

Rather than write the census data down, I chose to email myself a link to these census pages using the "Share" button in Ancestry LE. When I got home, I brought up the page and captured it (using right-click, "Save Picture As" and putting it in with my other census images. I can print it when convenient, and attach it to my database or include it in a genealogy report.

Note that you can email census images to yourself from Ancestry Library Edition (viewed for FREE at a library with a subscription) by using the "Share" button. You can then access them at home by clicking on the link provided in the email. This "sharing" is FREE.

I had hoped to find Samuel and Mary Ann Vaux in the 1875 and 1885 Kansas state censuses, since they were in Kansas in the 1880 census. I don't know when they died or where they are buried. I'm going to go back into the data and see if I can find them under a different spelling.

Ancestry continues to add content frequently, to their credit. I check the list of Recent Databases fairly often just to see if I've missed something.

Happy Birthday to Lauren!

My granddaughter, Lauren, is two years old today. She is a happy, loving and inquisitive little girl.

We celebrated her birthday last Saturday at a "Pump It Up" business in Rancho Cucamonga. For an hour, Lauren and her friends (about 10 under age 5) and some parents jumped and climbed and slid on the inflated jumping equipment. Needless to say, they were tired afterwards (I was tired watching them and trying to take pictures). Then we all retired to a party room for dinks, pizza, veggies and birthday cake. They let the birthday girl sit in a big throne chair (see picture below) and blow out the candles and eat her cake.

To Lauren - a 14th generation native-born North American - I say Happy Birthday and hope she has many more!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

John Tyler's Grandson is still alive!

I was reading a political news blog and they claimed that Harrison Tyler, a grandson of John Tyler (our 10th President, born in 1790) is still alive, and living in the house that President Tyler built in 1842.

They provided the web site which describes the Natiomal Historic Home. There is a link for Genealogy, which gets you to and there the descendants of John Tyler are listed.

1) John Tyler (1790-1862) married (1) Letitia Christian (1790-1842) and had 8 children; he married (2) Julia Gardiner (1820-1889) in the 1840's, and fathered 7 more children, including:

2) Lyon Gardiner Tyler (1853-1935) married (1) Anne Baker Tucker (1857-1921) and had three children; he married (2) Sue Ruffin (1889-1953) and had 3 children, including:

3) Harrison Ruffin Tyler (1928-living)

A grandson was born 138 years after John Tyler was born in 1790. President Tyler and his son Lyon Tyler married second wives much younger than they were and had a second family. They both fathered children at about age 70. Isn't that amazing?

UPDATE: A picture of Harrison Tyler is at This page also includes a detailed description of Fort Pocahontas and battles nvolving the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War.

Tell Rootsweb what you think...

Rootsweb has requested input about their web site - it's databases and services. You can access the survey at

After the Rootsweb message board format revamp debacle back in November/December, this is pretty brave of them!

My humble opinion is that the suite of products and services are the best FREE genealogy resources on the Internet. I use the following all the time:

1) WorldConnect database - over 479 million names (some duplicated) in over 400,000 databases (some duplicated, all user-submitted, at

2) Rootsweb/Ancestry Message Boards -- over 161,000 boards, with 17 million posts - at

3) Social Security Death Index - 79 million names - at

4) Free Web pages at Rootsweb - these include the FreePages (user-submitted), regional resources (including genealogy society) and other pages - at There is a surname index when you click on a first letter range.

5) USGenWeb Archives searching - at

6) Rootsweb Mailing List Threaded Archives at

7) Rootsweb Mailing List Search at

8) Surname Resources at Rootsweb at

9) US County Resources at Rootsweb at

10) The Rootsweb Guide to Tracing Famly Trees - articles at

These are all very useful FREE resources that anybody, at any experience level, can use effectively to search for research performed by others. The USGenWeb Archives are the only resource listed that provides transcriptions of primary information, however.

Have you used the Rootsweb databases to their fullest? If not - try them out and you may be pleasantly surprised.

UPDATE: 20 February 2007 7 PM PST: Changed the link to the survey so everyone can use it! Thanks to Chris for the message.

Getting my computer life together

Becky asked in a comment how I was doing with the computer problem. Please note that this is a genealogy-content-free post, but it may be helpful to you as a bad example - we all need to learn from the mistakes of others.

As I mentioned on Sunday, my desktop computer crashed - there is still no fix for it. My son-in-law, the IT wizard, is sending a CD down on Wednesday that might work. The other option is to try to recover the data, install a new hard drive, and reinstall everything that is saved or recovered.

The desktop computer is a Dell Dimension 3000, purchased in October 2004, out of warranty. I had backed up last on 31 January, so I lost about two weeks of work. I haven't done anything significant in the genealogy databases since then. I did lose a few MSWord documents, but am trying to get them back from correspondents.

The BIG loss was my email archives. I use Outlook Express, and had not archived anything since I got the computer. I don't have much hope that they can be recovered, based on my previous experience changing computers back in 2004. The other losses are my email address book and my IE Favorites, plus some music and downloaded web pages..

I am using my Dell Inspiron laptop computer on my home network (just installed last week - lucky that!). I hooked up the printer and the external hard drive, and I spent yesterday recovering files from the backed up archives. The laptop is a pain to type on when sitting at a desk - all of the angles are different, some of the key locations are different, and the keys are smaller with a different feel.

On the desktop computer, all of my IE genealogy Favorites were in several large lists - one for Blogs with about 110 entries, and one for Genealogy with about 200 entries. I recently entered almost all of my blog entries into my Bloglines reader, and I'll continue to use that daily rather than enter all of them into my Favorites. For the Genealogy links, I decided to organize many sub-folders, so that I have links to Rootsweb/Ancestry, Data Portals, FamilySearch, Vital Records, Census, Military, Immigratgion/Naturalization, Education, Libraries, Societies, etc. grouped together. This will be easier than sifting through a very long list hoping to see what you want as it scrolls past. The challenge is to remember and recover as many links as I want to recover. I'm going to review my blog archives for links to save.

I was able to capture several of my email groups into the Cox WebMail address book by asking people to send me an email that I had sent previously to the group list. You can set up the email to capture the email address of anyone you send an email to. When my helpful colleague forwarded my email back to me, I did a "Reply All" and sent an email to everyone on the list, and all of the addresses went into my Address Book. I still have to recover the family and "real-life" friends email addresses, and am working through that. Hopefully, they will write me sometime soon!

The lessons learned here are:

1) Back up more often - like daily. With an external hard drive, this is not hard. I'm going to look into doing it automatically nightly. Don't forget your IE Favorites and email address book.

2) Purge and/or save to files your important email messages. Then back up what you save.

3) Keep an email address book list on paper somewhere.

4) Make a list of your user names and passwords for web sites, and hide it somewhere. I use code words sometimes for important things - my wife or kids will get it if the unspeakable happens to me.

The good news is that I'm able to communicate and work fairly effectively. Thank God I have the laptop. If it had happened next Sunday, I would have gone to my CVGS meeting on Monday with no handouts and a scowl on my face!

Monday, February 19, 2007

What happened to Benjamin Franklin Seaver?

There are whole parts of world history that I never learned about in school. I vaguely remember hearing that Simon Bolivar and others who liberated South America from Spanish rule in the 1810's, but I have never looked for or even thought of learning more details.

I knew from my email correspondent that Seaver had served in South america off the coast of Argentina aboard the brig Julieta. So I Googled the string [ julieta "benjamin franklin seaver" ] and found a useful link. One was at which describes the history of the Black Frigate which was the flagship of the Argentine Navy under American-born William Brown. The text includes:

"On 10 March 1814 the Hercules, joined by the Julieta, the Tortugas, the Fortunata and the felucca San Luis, faced the strong Spanish naval fleet commanded by Captain Jacinto de Romarate. The Spanish armada had six war ships, brigs, gunboats and a land battery with four cannons. There was a fierce combat after which the Hercules was stranded. American-born officer Benjamin Franklin Seaver, commander of the Julieta, was killed in action. The Hercules defended herself until 12 March at 10 AM. As a result of this combat Commander Elias Smith, Lieutenant Robert Stacy and forty-five sailors were killed by grapeshot. There were about fifty wounded, which imposed a heavy task for the surgeon Bernard Campbell. The flagship received no less than eighty-two cannon blows and was repaired in the same war zone. Plumb plates were placed under the water line and the hull covered with leathers and tar. Henceforth it was nicknamed as 'the Black Frigate'. Richard Baxter, an English-born officer, was appointed as the new commander. On 17 March 1814 Brown attacked the island Martín García together with the Julieta and the Zephir. The Hercules engaged in combat with the Spanish warships Esperanza and Carmen. "

Read the whole article, because it sheds light on what happened in South America in the decade of the 1810's. William Brown was a swashbuckling captain and Admiral - see his Wikipedia entry at

It must have been an interesting life for my cousin Benjamin Franklin Seaver (1780-1814). He lost his father as a youth; sailed the world, was thrown in prison in France, shipwrecked off Morocco, held for ransom and tried to escape from the Moors, and ransomed as a young man in his 20's; and died off Argentina in 1814 while fighting for freedom in his 30's. He must have sent letters to his family in Boston, but they are probably lost to time. This life story is one that should be told in more detail.

Happy Presidents Day!

Since it is President's Day today (and George Birthington's Washday on Thursday), I thought I would list all of my relationships to American Presidents.

JOHN ADAMS - 4th cousin, 8 times removed
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS - 5th cousin, 7 times removed
FRANKLIN PIERCE - 5th cousin, 7 times removed
MILLARD FILLMORE - 7th cousin, 5 times removed
ABRAHAM LINCOLN - 7th cousin, 4 times removed (assuming his father was Thomas Lincoln)

ULYSSES S. GRANT - 7th cousin, 5 times removed
RUTHERFORD B. HAYES - 7th cousin, 4 times removed
GROVER CLEVELAND - 7th cousin, 3 times removed
JAMES GARFIELD - 8th cousin, 3 times removed
WILLIAM H. TAFT - 7th cousin, 4 times removed

WARREN G. HARDING - 8th cousin, 2 times removed
CALVIN COOLIDGE - 7th cousin, 3 times removed
HERBERT HOOVER - 8th cousin, 3 times removed
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT - 7th cousin, 4 times removed
RICHARD M. NIXON - 10th cousin

GERALD R. FORD - 10th cousin, once removed
GEORGE H.W. BUSH - 8th cousin, once removed
GEORGE W. BUSH - 8th cousin

I figured these out by comparing my ahnentafel chart to the charts in the book "Ancestors of American Presidents" by Gary Boyd Roberts. Obviously, having this many Presidential cousins relates to my extensive New England ancestry. Like my relationships to GWB, I share many colonial ancestors with some of the guys above.

I may try to figure out my relationships to the Vice-Presidents (I know I'm related to Dick Cheney) and Presidential spouses (I know about Barbara (Pierce) Bush) some day.

My New England cousins were impressed by the list. Reciting these to anyone but genealogists seems to make their eyes glaze over.

I often think about what my early colonial ancestors would have thought if they knew that their descendants would be famous and/or leaders of a nation. The colonial guys would not have understood - the King was the leader of the Empire, and they had no relationship to the King, as far as they knew. Of course, some of them were cousins to the King also!

How about you? Any Presidential cousins? Tell me about them.

Della's Journal - Week 8 (Feb 19-25, 1929)

This is Installment 8 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 19, cloudy & wet: We worked inside.

Wednesday, February 20: Emily took Ma out to her house. She visited Mrs. Schmidt, Snyder and Van B. Mr. Van B. brought her home.

Thursday, February 21: I went to town. Mr. Nolan Pd. Ma cash for rent while I was gone. I pd water, gas & A's lodge dues.

Friday, February 22, Washington's birthday, pleasant: I went to Mr. Embrey's funeral. He died last Sun. night at his son's. L[yle] & A[ustin] home. Lyle's took ride in afternoon out to Kensington Heights. Mati Dimmock called, was to a card party acrost street. Mrs. Selwyn brought me home from funeral.

Saturday, February 23, cloudy: Ed over, cut lawn, put ferterlizer on asparagrass bed. Emily took Ma out to fix in house, brought in 2 quilts, took out 2 quilts. Ma pd Mr. Van B. $3.00, he brought her home.

Sunday, February 24: Lyle's went to country.

Monday, February 25: Ma went to hear Roy Cambell.


It was sort of a bland week, wasn't it? I think Della forgot to write for several days starting the 24th - 5 straight days are one line maximum. I don't understand what happened with the quilts. Ma (Abby Smith, aged 85 in 1929) owned a house on 41st Street in East San Diego and rented it out. The people mentioned on Wednesday are probably the renter and neighbors. Della didn't drive, but Lyle's wife, Emily, did. Kensington was one of the ritzier San Diego neighbodrhoods in 1929, I imagine they went to look down into Mission Valley on Friday.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

18th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is posted

As many of you know, there is a "Carnival of Genealogy" posted every two weeks, usually by Jasia at the Creative Gene blog. This edition is posted here.

The topic for this edition is "The 5 Best Research Tips for Specific Research Areas." 9 genea-bloggers contributed to this effort. Please take the time to read the entries - they are all good, and you just might learn something helpful (especially if you have New England, Michigan, Indiana, Polish or Mississippi connections).

The next Carnival of Genealogy will have the topic: Shelter from the storm, stories of the home and hearth. Is there a haunted house in your family? Did one of your ancestors live on a boat? Did you research your grandparents' home and find that someone famous once lived there? Did your family share a hunting cabin or cottage at the lake? What have you learned about Aunt Millie's house from census records? Was a family member's home destroyed by fire, flood, tornado, or a hurricane? It's time to tell all about your family's abode! Write your blog post and submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. The deadline for submissions for the next edition will be February 28, 2007.

I will submit something - I hope you do too. This is only as good as the contributions - and the more there are, the better it will be.

Trouble in Genea-musings - BSOD

Yep, the Blue Screen of Death...on the desktop machine. It says my SYSTEM file in Windows XP is missing or corrupted. Right in the middle of an email message. Rebooting and hitting F8 does not work. It seems fatal. I have a call in to my guru.

So I tried the laptop. Yep, works fine, until my modem went down and it took 30 minutes to figure out how to connect again.

Bottom line -- there may be few posts at Genea-Musings until I get things back to working efficiently.

I'm still trying to figure out what I might lose on the desktop. Definitely 2 years of email files and addresses. Definitely 1000 music files (many on my iPod though). Perhaps the latest database files (I put some on the external drive a week or so ago). My Favorites (I had too many anyway...), some recent CVGS files.

I'll try to keep you posted. If you have suggestions (I already got the message to BACK UP more often!).

Records found at

I signed up Thursday for three free days using - for Canadian records. Due to the family obligations on Friday and Saturday, I could only use it on Thursday. That didn't stop me from finding:

1) Kemp and Sovereen/Sovereign data (and images) in the 1851, 1901 and 1911 census records.

2) Kemp and Sovereen/Sovereign data in the Ontario birth (1869-1932), Marriage (1857-1922) and death (1869-1932) indexes. The death indexes had images of the actual registration pages.

3) Seaver data in the Ontario Marriage (1857-1922) and Death (1869-1932) indexes.

Unfortunately, the Ontario death indexes are somewhat incomplete (unless I didn't find the right surname spelling) - I had death dates for several Kemp and sovereen people that I did not find. The indexes permit wild card searches, which really helped with the Sovereen/eign name.

Entries in the death index usually provide age, death date, location, parents names, and marital status. The marriage index usually includes names, ages, birthplace (usually state or province only), marriage date and location, and parents names (including mother's maiden name).

Unfortunately, I did not have time to discover my elusive Loyalist William Hutchinson's family in the available New Brunswick or Ontario records.

All in all, a good three hours of work to obtain records I had not accessed previously.

Death of Nathaniel Seaver

Another interesting article about one of my Seaver relatives (a distant cousin, interesting to me, at least!) was found in several newspapers in the America's Historical Newspapers (1690-1876) collection (on, which I accessed at the New England Historic Genealogical Society web site, (a subscription site).


"Concord Herald," (Concord MA), dated 16 May 1793, Volume IV, Issue 15, Page 2.

HEADLINE: New-York, Commerce, Samuel Johnston, Cape Chancelly, Arabia, Valentine Bagley, Almsbury.


We have received from New-York the following account of the unfortunate sufferers, who were on board the ship Commerce of this place, Samuel Johnston, master, wrec'd the 10th of July, 1792, Latt. 18:N a little to the northward of Cape Chancelly, on the coast of Arabia -- it was taken from Valentine Bagley of Almsbury, and confirmed by Samuel Luke of Boston, both of whom were seamen on board said ship, at the time of her being cast away.

Names of those who arrived at Muscat, after travelling 300 miles with almost incredible fatigue, and exposed to the rays of an intensely hot sun, without clothes or provisions -- Samuel Johnston of Rhode Island, master. Samuel Boothbay, of Saco; Valentine Bagley, of Almsbury. Lost in the pinnace, King Lapham, of Bradford, Carpenter; Eben. Grant, and Nath. Seaver, jun., son of one of the Supercargoes. Died with fatigue, swellings blisters in travelling - Charles Lapham, of Boston, seaman; Gilbert Foss, of Long Island, New-York; William Leghorn, and Italian, of Boston; Left unable to proceed, viz. Nath. Seaver, one of the supercargoes and owners - the situation of Mr. Seaver was such that the narrator thinks he could not have survived; and, as a confirmation of his death, the first mate who had promised to stay by him till death, was afterwards seen alone by the Moors; Robert Williams left at the foot of a mountain unable to proceed, and swelled and blistered to a shocking degree, and was without clothes; David Ockington of Boston, first mate, had not arrived at Muscat the 17th of August; John Daniels, of Virginia, boatswain, left unable to proceed; Benjamin Williams, of Boston, second mate, returned to the ship; John Quincy, Sherburne, left the 5th day, very much swell'd and blind; Thomas Barnard, of Boston, and John Rowe, an Irishman, left the 4th day, unable to proceed; John Hill, a negro, taken and made a slave by the Arabs. The two seamen who delivered the foregoing account, arrived at Muscat the 12th of August, and remained until the 17th, at which time there was no account of those they left behind.


I didn't know what a Supercargo was, so I checked Wikipedia, which says it is a person who manages the ship's cargo, selling and offloading, and buying and onloading, the merchandise onboard; he sails on board the ship.

Nathaniel Seaver (ca 1748-1792) married Susanna White on 4 September 1775 in Brookline MA, and had children Nathaniel, Susan, Benjamin Franklin, Lucretia, Edward, Edward W. and Susan White Seaver. His son, Nathaniel, died when the ship was lost, and his son Benjamin Franklin Seaver, is the one who was in prison in France in 1805, captured by the Moors off Morocco in 1806, and died off South America in 1814.

The sheer volume of the newspaper resources available online is staggering - between Newsbank/GenealogyBank, NewspaperArchives (on Ancestry) and other web sites it is now possible to find historical articles such as the above that help to make their subjects real people who lived and died.