Saturday, April 14, 2007

SDGS Speaker - Family Newsletters

The second half of the San Diego Genealogical Society program today was Mary M. Card on "Writing and Publishing a Family Newsletter." Mary started her newsletter "Card Chronicles" 11 years ago after the attendance at the family reunion back in Hope, Michigan (started in 1935) began to dwindle - apparently because nobody knew who was related to who. She publishes 6 pages twice a year and features mainly family news with some history of the Card ancestors up to Leander Card. The target audience is the descendants of her grandfather, Leander Card, who had 11 children. Mary sends out about 140 newsletters each issue.

Mary listed a number of items that she tries to include in her family newsletter:

* Births
* Deaths
* Marriages
* Anniversaries
" Adoptions
* Graduations
* Military service
* Reunion notes - past and present
* Memories of people
* Recipes
* Items of historical interest
* Family History of ancestors
* Tidbits of info about family members

She also listed items that she does not include:

* Engagements
* Divorces
* Criminal activities or sentences
* Rumors, speculation or unproven stories.

Mary contacts key members of her extended family to gather the news before each issue.

Mary's talk was interesting and humorous - she told several stories about her experiences with the items that she does not include. She said that she is preserving the newsletter by putting copies on the library shelves in the Michigan home town.

I share the first three generations of Mary's Card ancestry - Richard Card who settled in colonial Rhode Island, Job Card I and Job Card II. My Phoebe Card was the daughter of Job Card II and married Elijah Champlin. Mary's Leander Card was a 7th generation descendant of Richard Card. so that makes Mary probably my 6th cousin or thereabouts (Job II and Judith (Greenman) Card are probably our Most Recent Common Ancestor).

Programs like this are important in the life of any genealogy society - it's a great example of what a society member has done to preserve and enhance her ancestral knowledge while creating a family bond. Writing a family newsletter can seem like a burden and a chore - Mary made it sound fun and definitely a labor of love.

SDGS WorldCat Presentation

There were two presentations at the San Diego Genealogical Society meeting today - the first was "Search the World's Libraries with WorldCat" by Robyn Gage, who works at the San Diego Public Library.

Robyn defined OCLC (55,000 libraries) and WorldCat (67 million records), representing books, periodicals, recordings, maps, computer resources, etc.

Anybody with a web browser can access WorldCat at However, she said you will have more search capability and better bibliographic information if you use a public library link to WorldCat. The SDPL link is You have to enter a library card number and PIN number at most library web sites.

She recommended the "Advanced Search" option since you can enter several search terms, types of search terms (e.g., title, author, subject, keyword, etc) and can use the Boolean operators (e.g., AND, OR, NOT, etc). The "Expert Search" requires detailed knowledge of search terms and specific inputs, so it is not recommended.

She demonstrated how the search results are listed, how to find which libraries have the resource, and recommended using Inter-Library Loan to obtain it if you cannot visit the particular library holding the resource.

There were quite a few questions; mine included:

1) Do the book citations include availability as digital images (e.g, Google Books)? She didn't think so. I tested it with "History of Jefferson County NY" by Hough - it's available on Google Books, but that fact is not listed in WorldCat. WorldCat did catch different editions of the book, and it's availability on microform (presumably in the University Microfilm International (UMI) collection).

2) Do the periodical citations include genealogy resources? She thought they did, but perhaps only the major periodicals, not every periodical in every library. She said that if it was in a participating library's catalog, then it would be included. I tested it using Keywords "new england" "register" "genealogy" and got only 27 citations. They were all specific articles in the NEHGR that appear in the catalogs of specific libraries. So it is not particularly useful for periodical searches.

3) The "Keyword" search - are these words in the title, the text, or some list of key words? She thought it was the latter - it certainly is not the text.

It was a good talk by a knowledgeable librarian - I told her that I was a Gage descendant from MA and NJ; her ancestry is from Louisiana.

UPDATE 14 April 10 PM: Please read Erin's comment concerning WorldCat capabilities - she explains it in more detail than I did in my original post. Thanks for the information, Erin.

It's Carnival time again

Do you participate in the Carnival of Genealogy? Or read it? I hope so. Many genea-bloggers provide their priceless musings or deep thoughts on the subject at hand. Jasia at has hosted most of the Carnivals of Genealogy - you can read many of them here. You can submit an article for the current Carnival at

The current topic is "Carousel" which means anything that a genea-blogger wants to submit. This presents a problem to me - I can't remember all the good posts, the funny posts, the sentimental posts, so I went looking for help in my blog Archives. I could submit:

1) Treasures in the Closet

2) Why Do I Pursue My Family History?

3) My Personal Data Disaster Plan

4) Their Odyssey - to San Diego

5) My Favorite Snake Oil Salesman

6) I Am My Own Grandpa - lyrics plus pedigree chart

7) 30th Street Memories - only one part so far

8) The To-Do List for Online Searching for Cornelia Bresee's parents

9) Five Things You don't Know About Me - here are all the ones by genea-bloggers that I found

10) Della's Journal - I've completed 15 weeks of the 1929 Journal of my great-grandmother Della (Smith) Carringer.

As I said - it's hard to choose one, so I listed 10. Which one should I submit? You'll have to wait and see after April 18.

Friday, April 13, 2007

My mtDNA matrilineal lines

Jasia is getting education in mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome DNA in preparation for having tests performed. Blaine, The Genetic Genealogist, has answered her questions in a series of posts here and here. I appreciate Blaine's explanations and Jasia's fortitude to ask the questions.

I thought it might be worthwhile to write down my own matrilineal lines in hopes that perhaps someone else hooks into my lines somewhere, and has had a genetic genealogy test done. Or perhaps someone can help me extend the line itself back one or more generations.

My mtDNA matrilineal lines include (with birth year and place, and death year and place):

1) My mother's (and my own) mtDNA:

a) Betty Virginia Carringer (1919 San Diego CA - 2002 San Diego CA)
b) Emily Kemp Auble (1899 Chicago IL -1977 San Diego CA)
c) Georgianna Kemp (1868 Norfolk County, ON - 1952 San Diego CA)
d) Mary Jane Sovereen (1840 Norfolk Co ON - 1874 Norfolk Co ON)
e) Eliza Putman (1820 Steuben Co NY - 1895 Norfolk Co ON)
f) Sarah Martin (??) (1792 NJ - 1860 Norfolk Co ON)

Sarah Martin married John Putman (1785 Sussex Co NJ - 1863 Norfolk Co ON) in about 1808. They had children Peter (1813), Milford (1815), Isaac (1819), Eliza (above), Rebecca (1822), Mary (1825), Martha (1829), and William (1834).

I don't know who the parents are of Sarah Martin - I'm not sure that Martin is her maiden surname. I'm relying on secondary sources found by other researchers for that. Obviously, I would like to know more about her ancestry.

There may be descendants of Sarah's other daughters (Rebecca, Mary, Martha) who, through their own matrilineal lines, carry the same mtDNA that I have. I don't have records for these daughters other than their birth years, all likely in Wayne, Steuben County, NY.

2) My father's mother's mtDNA:

a) Alma Bessie Richmond (1882 Killingly CT - 1962 Leominster MA)
b) Julia White (1848 Killingly CT - 1913 Putnam CT)
c) Amy Frances Oatley (1826 S. Kingstown RI - bef 1870, Killingly CT)
d) Amy Champlin (1797 S. Kingstown RI - 1863 Killingly CT)
e) Nancy Kenyon (ca 1765 RI - bef. 1850 S. Kingstown RI)
f) Anna --?-- (perhaps Kenyon) (ca 1740 RI? - ???)

Anna --?-- was the wife of John Kenyon (??? RI - 1831 Sterling CT) - they supposedly married in Newport RI in 1764. As you can tell, I'm stuck here!

There are quite a few female cousins who continue the matrilineal line from Alma Bessie Richmond, my grandmother. I try to visit them in New England often!

You can see more details of my ancestry on these two lines by looking at my ahnentafel reports here (Emily Kemp Auble) and here (Alma Bessie Richmond).

So why do I bring this up now? Because there is the distinct possibility that by doing genealogy research on the descendants of these females, I might find cousins who might have further genealogical records.

I am reminded by this that I should have my own genetic genealogy tests done - both mtDNA and Y-DNA. I'm pretty sure that I'm of British Isles stock on both sides, but a different result would be intriguing.

SDGS Meeting on Saturday

Calling all San Diego area genies - the San Diego Genealogical Society meeting is on Saturday, 14 April at 12 noon until 2:30 PM. The meeting is at St. Andrews Lutheran Church in San Carlos (8350 Lake Murray Blvd (at Jackson Dr) in San Diego). There are two speakers this month:

At 12 noon, Robyn Gage will present "WorldCat: Searching the World's Libraries." OCLC's WorldCat is the largest library catalog in the world with more than 68 million records. It provides access to the collections of 55,000 libraries in 110 countries. The presentation will examine search techniques using surnames, localities and organizations. Robyn Gage is the Catalog Librarian for the San Diego Public Library.

At 1:30 PM, Mary Card will present "How to Write a Family Newsletter." Newsletters are a great way to keep family members informed on their family history, meet new cousins, and gather new family information. Mary Card has been writing the "Card Chronicles" newsletter for the last 11 years.

During the break between the talks, there are snacks and drinks and a chance to support SDGS by buying society products and gently used books.

Note that I am a member of SDGS and enjoy their programs monthly, but I don't get paid for broadcasting this to the genea-blogosphere. I'll see you there!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Family Roots Radio today

I was away from home during the Family Roots Radio hour, but the one-hour show hosted by Kory Meyerink is available for listening or download at To listen to any of the shows, click on the link "listen to the show live" and pick the show you want to hear from the list.

Here's the summary of today's show:

"With an award winning colonial historian like Martha McCartney on the show, it seems good to explore the growing field of biographical sources for colonial settlers. Her new book is certainly not the first. Genealogists have been writing such books for more than a century. Now there are a growing number of websites devoted to the topic. We'll explore some of them, including the People of Colonial Albany as well as Mayflower History. Researchers with Pennsylvania German ancestry will want to learn about the Palatine Project, while all will appreciate the introduction to Google Books and how it pertains to this topic."

I listened to it tonight while finishing up my tax returns (yes, I can multi-task fairly well!). The interview with Martha McCartney was good, and Kory's discussion of the three web sites above was wonderful. While listening to Kory, I opened another tab on my browser and connected to each of the sites.

I have several ancestors in colonial Albany (including my Bresee/Bries line if I can connect Cornelia to a set of parents). I also have 7 Mayflower passengers (William White, Susanna White, Peregrine White, Richard Warren, George Soule, Francis Cooke, John Cooke). And I have several German immigrants into Pennsylvania in the 1700's. At each web site, I found information that I had not collected before.

The Palatine Project link has the most helpful information I've found to date about these immigrants to PA (the site has more than PA, however!).

Listening to the show made the tax project go a lot faster, but unfortunately it didn't reduce the taxes owed!

'Tis a mystery...Cornelia Bresee

After an exhausting day at the San Diego Wild Animal Park (see pictures here and here), and being fairly frazzled with a mind devoid of anything genealogical right now, I decided to post about my search for Cornelia Bresee in traditional genealogy resources.

I am completely puzzled right now.

I checked the LDS Family History Library Catalog several weeks ago, looking for books or manuscripts about the Bresee (and variants Brazee, Brazie, Brisee, Brusee, etc) family. I found a book that I think will be very helpful - a 3 volume work called "The Bresee family of Livingston Manor, Columbia County, New York" by Revo Morrey, published in 1945. I checked for the film number (0,897,238 Items 2-4), and printed off a copy of the citation so I could order it at the FHC. I ordered it on 29 March, but it hasn't come in yet.

Today, I went looking for this citation again in the FHLC and couldn't find it. I looked under "Bresee" Brazee" "Brazie" etc in the Surname search, and found only "The Bresee's their name and story" by Wilmer Edgar Bresee, 4 leaves, no date, on FHL microfilm 0,897,238, Item 1 (the same film number!).

So how did I find the Morrey work in the FHLC? I honestly can't say. And why can't I find it again? 'Twas a mystery...

I thought maybe I had found it by searching in the Columbia County NY Place records in the FHLC - but it is not there. I tried the Place records for Livingston, Columbia County, NY, but it is not listed there either. I searched again for a number of the County towns like Copkae, Kinderhook, Linlithgo, Claverack, etc. where some records of the Bresee's are in the church records (according to the LDS IGI), but did not find the specific title there either. So I can't answer my first question!

The answer to my second question is that it was indexed as Subject "Bresse" not "Bresee." Just a mistake, I think! Luckily, I had printed off the record from wherever I had found it weeks ago!

I hate to give up on something like this. I went back to the opening screen for the FHLC and instead of picking "Place" or "Surname," I picked "Keyword" and put in "Bresee." Bingo - it was listed along with the other titles that were in the surname listing for "Bresee." I picked "Title" and put in "Bresee." Bingo again - it found the two specific entries with "Bresee" in the title.

When I put "Bresse" in the "Subject" search, it found no entries, although the printout I have clearly says "Bresse." I wonder why?

So I've learned something - to broaden my searches using the Keyword and Title searches in the FHLC, and that the FHLC indexing of surnames is imperfect! Those are useful thoughts to remember!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The probate record of Joseph Champlin (1758-1850) of South Kingstown RI

One of the probate records I found in the South Kingstown (RI) Probate Court records was that of Joseph Champlin (1758-1850). Today, I have transcribed the will and the inventory, and summarized the other court records. These documents show how probate records are often "golden" documents in genealogy research. Here are my notes:


Joseph Champlin of South Kingstown wrote a will dated 14 February 1850, which was proved 12 August 1850 (South Kingston (RI) Town Council Records, 1704-1943, Volume 6, page 262, clerk's copy from FHL Microfilm 0,931,838). The will reads (transcribed by the author):

"Be it remembered that I Joseph Champlin of South Kingstown in the County of Washington &c Yeoman being advanced in years and infirm of body but of sane mind do make and ordain this my last Will & Testament.

"Principally and first of all I recomend my Soul to God and my body to the earth to be buried in decent Christian burial at the discretion of my executors hereafter named and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I give devise and dispose of the same in the following manner, viz:

"1st My Will is that all my just debts & funeral expenses to be paid out of my personal estate as soon after my decease as is possibly convenient.

"2nd To my daughter Francis Tucker (wife of Nathan Tucker Jr.) I give and bequeath the interest arising on the sum or share in my estate which I hereafter give to her daughter Amy Tucker to be paid by my executors hereafter named) to said Francis yearly and every year during the time of her natural life.

"3rd To my daughters Phebe Kenyon - Polly Willcox - Amy Oatley - Elizabeth Hazard and to the children of my daughter Nancy Kenyon decd (who are to have the same share in my estate that their mother would have were she living) and to my sons Joseph Champlin Jr, John H. Champlin, and George H. Champlin and my daughter Abby Kenyon and my Grand daughter Amy Tucker I give devise and bequeath all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate real and personal to my said children and grandchildren and to their heirs and assigns forever.

"And lastly I hereby nominate and appoint my sons Joseph Champlin Jun. and George H. Champlin the executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking and annulling all former or other wills by me made. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal at South Kingstown aforesaid this fourteenth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty 1850.
.............................................Joseph X Champlin (seal)

"Signed, sealed, published pronounced and declared by said Joseph Champlin as and for his last will and testament in presence of us who at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses to the same. Benj. Hull Wager Weeden George G. Church"

On 12 August 1850, the will was presented to the Court of Probate of South Kingstown for probate and approval and all the subscribing witnesses were present and testified that they saw Joseph Champlin sign and seal the will and heard him declare it to be his last will and testament, and at the time he appeared to be of sane disposing mind and memory. The clerk approved and allowed the will, and it was recorded on 23 August 1850.

On 12 August 1850, The Probate Court also appointed Joseph Champlin and George H. Champlin to execute the last will and testament of their father, having accepted the trust and given bond as the Law directs. They were empowered to recover all debt and take possession of the estate and to administer the estate according to the Law and the will.

The Inventory of the Goods and Chattles, Rights and Credits which were of Joseph Champlin of South Kingstown deceased, shown and set forth to us by (his sons) Joseph Champlin and George H. Champlin - Executors of the last Will and Testament of said Joseph Champlin, taken and appraised by us by virtue of appointment by the Honourable the Court of Probate of the town of South Kingstown, dated 12 August 1850, by Hezekiah Babcock, George C. Babcock, and William S. Perry.

The inventory included:
* On e note signed by John E. Weeden as principal & Wager Weeden as surety at Westerly 25 March 1848 for six hundred and one 74/100 dollars @ 5 pc of 601.74 Interest to 12 August 1850 71.62 Amount = 673.36

* One note signed by Benedict Kenyon South Kingstown Oct 2 1845 for one hundred fifty eight dollars 158 interest as above 46.08. Amount = 204.08
* One note signed by Joseph Champlin Jr. South Kingstown March 25 1850 for seven hundred dollars with interest@ 5 percent 700 Interest as above 13.32 Amount = 713.32
* One note signed by Joseph Champlin the 3rd So. Kingstown April 2 1849 for fifty four 14/100 dollars with interest @ 5 pr ct . Amount = 47.13
* One note signed by Joseph Champlin 3rd So. KingstownMarch 25 1850 for one hundred and seventy dollars with interest at 6 per cent after March 25 1850 after March 25 1851= 170 discount 6.32 , amount = 163.68
* One note signed by Joseph Champlin 3rd So. Kingstown March 25 1850 for one hundred dollars with interest at 5 percent 6 after March 25 1851 100 Discount 3.08 Amount = 96.92
* Cash on hand in the hands of Joseph Champlin one hundred and twenty 36/100 dollars Amount = 120.36
* Cash on hand in the hands of George H. Champlin to four hundred and one 25/100 dollars Amount = 401.25
*** Total Amount 2420.10

* Also a mortgage deed from Samuel Champlin to Joseph Champlin dated So Kingstown April 6 1850for four hundred and twenty five dollars purporting to be surety for a certain note which was not presented.
* Fees for taking inventory and attending court: George C. Babcock - 3.00, Wm S. Perry - 3.00, Hezekiah Babcock - 2.00

The foregoing inventory was presented to the Court on 9 September 1850 and was approved on 11 September 1850.

On 11 August 1851, Samuel Champlin appealed the will of Joseph Champlin to the Supreme Court of Rhode Island meeting at South Kingstown. The entire will and the Court orders made on 12 August 1850 were entered into the record (page 304ff). After reviewing the court records, the original will, and hearing the testimony of witnesses, the Supreme Court upheld the last will and testament of Joseph Champlinand the actions of the Probate court. This was certified on 25 September 1851 (recorded 1 November 1851).

An account of the estate of Joseph Champlin was filed by the executors on 9 October 1854 (page 403). In addition to the notes itemized above, additional funds were received from pension money, court costs for the lawsuit, rent of the home farm for three years, from Mary Willcox, from sale of home farm, interest on notes, cash and sale of land. The total funds in the account before expenses was %5214.78. Money was paid to Joseph Champlin and George H. Champlin for compensation, services, travel and expenses, and council and clerk's fees. The total remaining in the account was $4755.73.

No distribution of the estate is recorded in the Probate Court records. Presumably, the four named daughters received one third of the estate (the share their mother would have received - about 1/12 of the estate each), and the three named sons, daughter Abby Kenyon and granddaughter Amy Tucker received equal shares of the balance (that is, one fifth of the two thirds balance, or 2/15 of the estate each).

The Samuel Champlin who brought the lawsuit before the Supreme Court is probably the eldest son of Joseph and Nancy (Kenyon) Champlin. It is unknown why he was not provided for in the will - perhaps he had already received his portion of the estate or perhaps he was disowned by his father. Note also that the youngest daughter, Alice (Champlin) Tucker was not named in the will for some reason.


One reason for presenting this record here is to illustrate the beauty of the documents in proving relationships. Another reason is to put it on the Internet - perhaps it will help other researchers prove their relationships - after all, they are my distant cousins. Joseph Champlin is one of my 4th great-grandfathers. My ancestor is his daughter, Amy (Champlin) Oatley, wife of Rev. Jonathan Oatley. The appeal by the son Samuel Champlin is also interesting. I did the calculations of the shares of the estates in order to determine just how much my Amy Oatley should have received - it was $396.31. I wonder if she ever received it?

Needless to say, I love probate records! I'm still trying to find all of them for my Rhode Island ancestors and many of my Massachusetts ancestors. Being a 12th generation descendant of colonial New England means that I have thousands of ancestors there, and many of them have probate records. I'm not sure that I will ever complete my tasks - oh well, something for the kids to do!

Who tipped off Paul Revere?

One of the most fascinating and historically significant blogs that I read daily is the Boston 1775 blog by J.L. Bell. I have a fine colonial Massachusetts ancestry, although not in Boston at that time. Nonetheless, the blog is one of my "reading treats" each day because I usually learn a little or a lot.

Today's post is typical - he discusses who tipped off Paul Revere to the British plans before the Battles of Lexington and Concord on 19 April 1775? The post is at I won't spoil the answer here - please go read it yourself, add it to your RSS or Bloglines feed, and check out the rest of his blog as time permits.

What is in the genealogy future?

As a followup to my previous post, let me ask a few questions about the future of genealogy research.

1) Will we ever get to the point in online Internet genealogy when all genealogical or historical records are available in digital form at any time of day to a researcher sitting at home?

2) What records are most likely to appear in digital form with indexes?

3) What records are least likely to appear in digital form?

4) What will be the roles of libraries and FHCs when many records are available online?

5) What will be the roles of genealogy societies when many records are online?

6) What will be the roles of professional genealogists when many records are online?

Each of those questions probably deserves a post of their own to do them justice.

All I know is that "the hurrier I go, the behinder I get," and that there is no progress without change. I look forward to a genealogy future full of change, lots of progress, and a lifetime of research. I also believe that all genealogists need to become computer genealogists - and that this is the major challenge for genealogy societies.

I have my own opinions, and I will post them in the comments or in separate posts. I welcome your comments and look forward to a spirited discussion. It may be best for genealogy bloggers or writers to address the issues in their own blogs or web sites. I would appreciate links to any articles or blog posts that address these issues.

My Digital Wish List

A correspondent asked me what I would like to see in new online digital databases - more than what the LDS plans in their project, and Ancestry, WorldVitalRecords, Footnote, GenealogyBank and others have available online - either free or for a fee.

The question assumes that the respondent knows "everything" that is available anywhere, and that is available already online. I'm not that person, but I do have some experience and knowledge, so I'm going to start the discussion and ask for my readers' help in adding to it.

I come at this question from the perspective of an active genealogy researcher who understands that American vital, probate, land, tax, town, military, naturalization and other records that prove relationships are what we most need online and yet are, in general, not available online.

My online digital wish list includes:

1) County, state and federal court records (probate, land, civil, criminal, other records). The LDS has films of many pre-1920 records like this, and they will probably digitize and index them as part of their project. Ancestry has some probate indexes online, but I don't think anyone has digitized and indexed a lot of them. Very few wills or probate records are digitized - some are transcribed and abstracted in books or on web sites. I don't think that there are a lot of tax or deed indexes online. Having images of the indexes would be a tremendous help. Indexes of civil, criminal and other records would also be very helpful - I'm not sure if anyone has done that yet. There are lots of courts, though, so this is a big project.

2) A subset of the court records would be Naturalization records. Again, an online index would be valuable (see for available indexes), digitizing the actual records would be excellent.

3) Indexes for Periodicals not already indexed. Some societies have indexes already (NEHGS, NYGBR, NGS, etc) but many societies don't have an index. These records are often the key to finding elusive ancestors. This is a project for the societies themselves, although it might benefit them to hook up with a commercial outfit to do it. Whoever does this would have to have an agreement with the individual societies, and images of the actual pages are probably impossible to provide due to copyright issues of authors, but indexes would really help.

4) Indexes for births, marriages and deaths - there are many states that do not have their older records online - see for Births and Marriages, and for Deaths. Many of the available records are on already, and some are free at Rootsweb or other sites. The issues of privacy and identity theft will prevent more recent records from being indexed or digitized.

5) Military records - Available service records, draft registrations, enlistments, etc. for America's wars are summarized at Digitization and indexing of the Civil War Pension Files, more of the Revolutionary War Pension files (HQO has only selected pages for some of them) would be very useful.

6) Newspaper records - the commercial genealogy firms have several large and small town historical newspapers digitized and indexed, and many newspapers have their recent editions digitized and indexed (although often behind a firewall). There are many historical newspapers that have not been digitized and indexed, and I'm sure that the commercial firms are working on adding more content.

7) Family files donated to genealogical or historical societies. These often have unique records or compilations of records. This may be a project for the societies themselves - to go through the holdings and either digitize them and put them online, or put an index to them online. Frankly, they don't do many people much good sitting in a file drawer in the corner of a library.

I know that I haven't addressed census, church, passenger list, cemetery, or records for other useful subject areas. All of the census (see and many passenger list records (see are available from Some church and cemetery records are found on Rootsweb or USGenWeb sites.

What have I missed? What have I listed wrong? What would you add to my list? What other web sites collect links to online information like Joe Beine's links above? Tell me about your wish list!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

More Survey Results - online web site exposure

Here are more member survey responses from Chula Vista Genealogical Society members concerning their online Internet use of genealogy web sites (24 surveys returned - probably the more active society members):

1) Have you used the web site? How often?

YES - 87.5%, NO - 12.5%; Daily - 6%, Weekly - 44%, Monthly - 38%, Rarely - 19%

2) Have you used the WorldConnect database?

YES - 79%, NO - 21%. Daily - 0%, Weekly - 29%, Monthly - 47%, Rarely - 24%

3) Have you used the site?

YES - 58%, NO - 42%. Daily - 0%, Weekly - 33%, Monthly - 50%, Rarely - 17%.

4) Do you subscribe to

YES - 54%, NO - 46%. Daily - 21%, Weekly - 43%, Monthly - 29%, Rarely - 7%

5) Have you used Google to find genealogy data?

YES - 67%, NO - 33%. Daily - 13%, Weekly - 33%, Monthly - 53%, Rarely - 0%

6) Have you used Ancestry Library Edition at the Chula Vista library?

YES - 50%, NO - 50%. Daily - 0%, Weekly - 0%, Monthly - 33%, Rarely - 67%.

Note that over 50% of the respondents have Ancestry subscription at home so don't have to use the Library.

7) Have you posted messages on genealogy surname or locality message boards?

YES - 33%, NO - 67%.

8) Do you subscribe to any Rootsweb genealogy mailing lists for surnames or localities?

YES - 25%, NO - 75%.

Note that the earlier results I posted indicated that all 24 of these respondents have a computer and 67% of them said that they go on the Internet at least weekly.

What conclusions can we draw from these results? Is this typical of genealogy societies in your experience? What should CVGS be doing to enhance the Internet skills and online genealogy knowledge of the members? I am interested in your responses.

Della's Journal - Week 15 (April 9-15, 1929)

This is Installment 15 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.

Here is Week 15:


Tuesday, April 9 (windy, cool): I took sponge bath finished washing & hung out clothes that did not get dry. Auntie Cole came down with some neighbors. Ma set up out in kitchen. slept better last night. I made veg. soup.

Wednesday, April 10 (pleasant): Letter from Mrs. Schmidt. He is better. Ma set up in kitchen today. got Harlun oil, going to try that. Her cold is better. Auntie had Mrs. Auble help her on a dress she was making over. Austin's cold some better. Auntie went home this P.M.

Thursday, April 11 (pleasant): My Birthday. Lyle & Emily game me an inverted light for our dining room, it is fine. They got two alike for their rooms. Betty composed a birthday verse for me & Mrs. A. gave me a handkerchief Emily had made. Got two cards & a big bouquet of sweet peas. Ma was very bad at night & this morning had to steam her and got some other medicine Eurothopin 50 cents tablet 5 gr 30 to box. A's cold better. I worked in yard some. Watered & stired the groun[d].

Friday, April 12 (pleasant): Watsons pd. rent. I phoned Salvation Army to go out & get Iron bed stead springs. Ma better today. Atlas came today, gave it to Betty for her School work. I wrote Aunt Libbie for Ma.

Saturday, April 13 (pleasant but cool wind): Ed over, he was sick, did not work any, had a cold. Gave him $5 check. Ma about same. A[ustin] did not do much work, rested, his cold some better.

Sunday, April 14: Lyle's stayed at home in P.M. They took a ride up to the Park and out East of town. Ma up & dressed enough to walk around, feels better. Mrs. Westland came out to see her and told us that Elizabeth had run away and got married a few weeks ago, but that his mother is going to have it annulled as he is only 19 yrs Elizabeth is 19 also. Mrs. W brought Ma a bouquet of sweet peas. Forrest is staying at Elvas (as Sherrie has the scarlet fever). He has been there three weeks, the other two children have not had it yet. Katie's father dided seven weeks ago.

Monday, April 15 (warm): I washed, A[ustin] got pay, Miss Thoren pd. Ma got up for dinner, is getting better. Mrs. Hughes called, she is starting to take the lady home she has been taking care of. My 6 roses & 6 gladiolas came today.


There were lots of visitors this week. Perhaps it was because Ma (Della's mother, Abby (Vaux) Smith, has been ill. And some excitement with Elizabeth (Westland?) ran off and got married. I have no idea who that is - perhaps a friend or a neighbor. I do know who Auntie Cole is - an aunt by marriage of Geargia Auble in the Kemp line. I'll have to track that family down.

We forget about how daily life worked then - baths only occasionally, wash was put through the wringer and hung on clotheslines, a dinner meal was often soup or some sort of pot dish, sickness was difficult to treat and often fatal. People lived at home until they died, as Abby Smith is doing, and are treated by their family, as Della is doing for her. And life goes on, a birthday is celebrated. There is no indication that Austin gave his wife anything. I would love to hear the verse that Betty (my mother) composed for her grandmother.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Visiting the San Diego Public Library

I'm still on holiday, but had planned to visit the SD Library this morning to search for an obituary in the San Diego Union from 1940 in order to help answer a recent query to CVGS.

I "knew" that SDPL opened at 10 AM, so at 9:45 I kissed Linda good bye and took off on my 9 block jaunt to the Library. Oops - I violated the first rule of visiting repositories -- check the hours it is open! On Mondays, it is open from 12 noon to 8 PM. Argggh. So I hiked back to the hotel (through an empty Petco Park) and will spend two hours online before I go meet Linda for lunch at Horton Plaza, and then I will try the library again.

BTW, my daily Padres' reports are on my blog if you want to read my pithy comments about my favorite baseball team.

UPDATE, 9 April, 2:30 PM: I met Linda at Horton Plaza for lunch, then hiked to the library to finish my mission.

The San Diego Public Library (central downtown branch) is located downtown at 820 E Street, San Diego CA 92101, 619-236-5800. The hours are noon to 8 PM on MW, 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM on TTFS, and 1 PM to 5 PM on Sunday. Parking is a problem - I usually take the trolley or park at Horton Plaza. There is a small lot between Broadway and E on 8th but it is usually full, except early on Saturday.

San Diego Public Library has microfilms of some of the early San Diego newspapers (indexed 1851-1903), and the San Diego Union newspaper since 1868 (indexed 1930-1983). The indexes are on microfiche in the California Room (second floor, west end). I had one obituary to find for Burley Starr in June 1940, and found him in the index as B.H. Starr. I decided to get "clean" copies of my San Diego ancestors obituaries, and the 1937 article about the 50th wedding anniversary of Austin and Della Carringer.

After the index work, I went to the Newspaper Room (right next to the California Room) and requested the five microfilms I needed. The helpful attendant quickly brought them out, showed me how to use the machine, and gave me nickels for the copy machine (only 15 cents per page!). I found the obituaries, made the copies, and handed the microfilms back to the attendant.

I decided that I would make a list of the important genealogy resources at SDPL, especially the ones unique to the San Diego area. I requested access to the Genealogy Room, and was admitted after showing my ID. I've been there before, so I knew where to find what I was looking for.

The highlights of the SDPL collection include:

1) Full set of the American Genealogical and Biographical Index - 206 volumes plus 20 supplemental volumes.

2) Full set of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (1847-current)

3) Full set of the Domesday Book - 35 volumes, by English shire.

4) Full set of Germans to America - 66 volumes.

5) Full set of Italians to America - 12 volumes.

6) Full set of the Pennsylvania Archives - 21 volumes.

7) PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) books, through 1997.

8) DAR Patriot Index books - 166 volumes, through 1922.

9) Encyclopedia of American Biography - 40 volumes.

10) Full set of Filby's Immigration and Passenger Lists

11) Microfiche of Boston Transcript genealogy columns (up to 1934). This set is indexed in the AGBI, and located in the California Room.

The Genealogy Room also has over 400 linear-feet of surname and local history books. The emphasis is the USA, and focused on the Eastern states. About 1/3 of the collection is on loan from the San Diego Chapter of the DAR. There is a collection of surname and locality periodicals in a file cabinet in the Genealogy Room.

There are also over 100 CDROMs available in the California Room. Ancestry Library Edition, the Biographical and Genealogical Master Index (BGMI), the NY Times Archive 1851-2001, and the Proquest Newspaper collection (from 1980) are available on all of the library computers, as well as from home (with the exception of Ancestry Library Edition) with a SDPL library card.

I always enjoy my time at SDPL because they have a good collection, and because they have knowledgeable genealogy/history librarians. I told them about and today, and also touted my San Diego genealogy blog.

I had forgotten that SDPL has the Boston Transcript on microfiche, and have had a long list of items that I want to copy. I need to find my list.

Whew - I've hiked about 3 miles today and it's time for my nap! Tonight is the Padres game - I'll post again tomorrow.