Saturday, June 23, 2007

CGSSD Meeting - Gary Hoffman on "Trees Grow on the Web"

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meeting was today at UCSD. Wireless access to the UCSD system was provided to those who brought their laptops. I did, so I live-blogged the FTM class and the feature presentation.

The featured program today is "Trees Grow on the Web" by Gary Hoffman - covering online family trees submitted by researchers. I posted the talk synopsis and Gary's biography here.

The presentation covers the future of web-based, integrated genealogy trees, like on, and Some definitions: A "tree" is a lineage-linked genealogy database. Integrated means putting family data from multiple contributors together. The data is stored on a server and you get to it using a web browser. Web 2.0 is defined as web services with user-contributed content - like MySpace and YouTube.

Gary showed the history and architecture of integrated family trees, using graphics from the One Great Family web site .

Starting with, he briefly discussed Ancestry Family Tree (a software program), Online Family Tree (now retired), One World Tree (really a search engine), World Family Tree (FTM uploads) and Personal Family Tree (a true integrated tree).

Gary logged into his account on and then clicked on "My Ancestry." Ancestry says that they provide unlimited storage for these shared family trees. The trees can be private or public. Some private trees can be seen by other subscribers, depending on the owner's preferences. Public trees can be seen by anybody. These trees are not integrated - each tree is separate.

In the member trees, the owner can attach photos to each person using the "People" tab. You can annotate the photos with location, names, etc. Based on the data provided, you can obtain a timeline for a person. Within the timeline, there are links to databases in the collection. The user can merge the information from the Ancestry databases if they choose to.

The reaction from the attendees was "how can you be sure the online data is correct?" Gary's response was that this is no different from corresponding by mail with someone who sends you data or a pedigree chart - you have to prove every fact.

The second site that Gary discussed was the LDS New FamilySearch project. The site has been in beta test, which ended in April. Version 0.9 will roll out to church members by region over 18 months. Version 1.0 will be open to non-LDS members. Version 2.0 will have links to records in the Granite Mountain Record Vault. This will likely be similar to the Ancestry Member Trees - but with links to data on images in the LDS records.

For a slideshow of how the New FamilySearch might work, go to

He said that Ancestral File, and LDS Member Files, data have been brought into the database. But there may be multiple entries for, or conflicting information about, a certain person. When the LDS members work on these files, they will be able to combine information so that there aren't multiple entries for a certain person. The system offers the conflicting data - and someone with authority will be able to decide whether the multiple entries should be combined.

Gary also showed the new family group sheet and pedigree chart formats.

You will eventually be able to add a GEDCOM file to the system - but that may create more duplicate information!

The third web-based integrated database that Gary discussed is Geni - at This is essentially MySpace meets Genealogy, and may be good for introducing genealogy to family members.

Gary did a live demo of the site, using his own account. He has put over 50 people into the database. The tree structure is flexible - you can zoom in or out and the tree structure changes. When you invite a family member into the account, you cannot edit their data once they have taken ownership of it. Geni tells you relationships between you (the owner) and each person in the database. At present, you cannot upload a GEDCOM file - you have to put your family data in manually.

These three sites are different. They are part of the future of genealogy. Gary says that "our resistance is futile..."

Great talk! Fun and informative. This talk only "worked" because Gary had a live wireless internet connection. Thanks, Gary.

UPDATED 6/23, 2 PM: Added some links, edited some lines. It's hard to be perfect while typing and listening and watching simultaneously. I'm not saying I'm perfect when I have time to just type, of course!

CGSSD Meeting - FTM Class

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meeting is today at UCSD. Since there is wireless access all over the campus, I can log on and "live blog" the FTM Class and the program presentation.

I got there at 9 AM and went to the FamilyTreeMaker class, led by Lance Dohe. Lance showed 5 minutes from the movie "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" with a fellow running through a graveyard, which was sohwn by dick Eastman at the seminar in May. One of Dick's topics was the movie title.

Lance conducts his class as a Q&A session, since most attendees (about 20) havbe FTM and use it effectively. Among the questions asked in the class were:

1) How do I add birth parents to my database and associate me with them and my adopted parents? The answer is: in a Family View, put your cursor on the adopted child. Then go to [People] and click on "Other Parents." Here you can click on the "Create New Parents" button and add parents names. You should also change the "Relationship with father" and "...with mother" to Adopted or Natural or Step as necessary.

2) How to do a large printout of a family tree? The answer is: You can print it out on your home printer and tape it together. Or you can "Print to File," save it on a flash drive, and take it to a print shop that can make the large print.

3) How do I add a video to my FTM file? The answer is: Click on the Scrapbook icon for the target person, and then click on the [Picture/Object] menu item. In that menu, click on "Insert Object" and an input box comes up. Here you have to click on the "Create from File" button, then browse your computer files to find the video, and click "OK." The video should be on your Scrapbook page. There may be a size limitation for the video.

4) How do you make an AKA Name show up in the Index and in Reports? The answer is: For the target person, click on the "Edit" icon. On the "General" tab, you can add an AKA name. If you want the AKA name to show in the index and in reports, go to the Name Index (F2 shortcut) for the target person, and click on the "Options" button in the lower right corner. Here you can click the appropriate box to "Use AKA if available" and "As an additional entry" or "After Middle Name."

5) How do you make the Surname include pre-names (like the "van der" in "van der Meter? The answer is: Put a back slash before the complete surname and after the complete surname in the Name field. This also works for notes you might want to insert in the surname field - like "son of John and Mary (Jones) Smith" - to differentiate one person from another.

On to the presentation!

Friday, June 22, 2007

What is a "nymph of the pave?"

If you've been reading old newspapers with regularity, you occasionally come across euphemisms for prostitutes, madams, and houses of ill repute.

The APG mailing list has had an interesting discussion this week about this - spurred by this post by Jana Sloan Broglin. Many respected genealogists have commented with additional terms, but by far the most complete and interesting post was by Karen Mauer Green, who did her thesis on prostitution in New York City. Karen also provides a bibliography for books about the lives of prostitutes and madams, in addition to a very complete list of euphemisms.

In addition to "nymph of the pave," I think my favorites are "young lady of extinguished modesty" and "woman with virtue of a very bad odor." My favorite euphemism for the whorehouse is "tabernacle of corrupt morality."

Read them all, and have a good laugh. Then think about the women - they might be a sister or niece of one of your ancestors. I'm curious if anyone has found a "nymph of the pave" in their ancestry?

British Isle database updates

John D. Reid provides a wonderful service to many of us with his post "New British Records" on his Anglo-Celtic Connections blog. If you are doing British Isle research, go read John's post.

I have a hard time keeping up with additions to UK/BI databases because I don't have a subscription to any of their commercial web sites. I am very interested in them, because I have some recent (1840-1860) immigrants from England to the US, and have several "brick wall" ancestors in Wiltshire and Somerset.

Thanks, John, for the updates. I appreciate it.

Then (1988) and Now (2007)

My genealogy "career" started in early 1988, so I missed what happened before that. But I can compare my early research years with what is happening now, and I'm a bit concerned.

THEN (1988) --
  • I made pedigree charts and family group sheets by hand.
  • I had no genealogy software - only my charts and my brain.
  • I had an IBM PC (64 kb, no hard drive) with a dot-matrix printer.
  • I went to the library and ordered books and microfilms by Inter-Library Loan.
  • I went to the FHC and ordered microfilms and microfiche.
  • At the FHC, I used the IGI and Ancestral File to collect names for research.
  • At the FHC, I used the AIS index to find census records for 1790 to 1850.
  • I wrote letters to distant cousins and snail-mailed them.
  • I traveled to the localities where my ancestors lived and visited libraries and other repositories there.
  • I read one genealogy magazine - Everton's Genealogical Helper and submitted queries to that magazine.
  • I found research articles about my ancestral families in NEHGS, TAG and other journals, and made xerox copies of them.
  • I read few how-to genealogy books and articles.
  • I saved quarters for the microfilm machines in film canisters.
  • I spent hours at the FHC cranking microfilms to find a census record of an ancestor.
  • I spent hours at the library browsing unindexed books for ancestral families.
  • I spent hours at home trying to figure out what resource to look for next.
  • There were online bulletin boards, but I didn't have a modem.
  • Society and conference program speakers lectured with few visual aids.
NOW (2007) --

  • I don't make many pedigree charts and family group sheets - I do have an ahnentafel list on paper and research reports online!
  • I have genealogy software (started with PAF, now use FTM) that writes reports and books for me. It can even capture online data for me (if I want it to)!
  • I have a desktop PC (64 gb, CD, DVD, USB drives, external drive) with a combination scanner/printer, plus a laptop computer.
  • I go to the library and help people do research and serve on a society board
  • I go to the FHC and order microfilms of records not available elsewhere (mainly probate, land, tax, etc. records).
  • At the FHC, I use the microfilm image scanner system to capture and save images not available elsewhere.
  • I use my Ancestry subscription at home to find census, military, passenger, and other records for my ancestral families.
  • I write emails to distant cousins and other researchers
  • I travel to the localities where my ancestors lived and visit libraries and other repositories there, plus cemeteries and homesteads.
  • I subscribe to several genealogy magazines and society publications.
  • I find very few helpful research articles about my ancestral families in journals, and rarely make xerox copies of anything.
  • I read how-to genealogy books and online genealogy articles and blogs voraciously.
  • I have a drawer full of quarters that are in film canisters - but I rarely use them.
  • I spend minutes at home searching online databases to find a census record of an ancestor.
  • I spend minutes at home searching online databases with every-word indexes for books or newspaper articles on ancestral families.
  • I spend minutes at home running software that tells me what resource to look for next.
  • The computer systems are amazing - I connect to the Internet in an instant and can share and receive information instantly.
  • Society and conference program speakers use sophisticated visual presentations

Obviously, things have improved for the genealogy researcher between 1988 and 2007 - we can quickly access information that took weeks or months to find 20 years ago. But we can easily get overloaded -- and even addicted to the process and the information. There is much more data easily available to a researcher, and more tools to use to capture it, digest it and share it.

However, the trend in genealogy is to stay at home and access online databases, which often hold secondary information from derivative sources. The problem with that is that much of the original source data is not yet on the Internet, and researchers who are only online are missing out on finding that information.

The other problem I see is that many new researchers try to do this alone - they don't join local or national genealogy societies to get the benefit of the experience and knowledge (in both traditional and online resources) of the members.

Do beginning researchers have it "better" now? Definitely! But I'm concerned that they don't get the breadth of education and experience that was necessary in 1988, and is still necessary now in 2007, to do effective genealogy research. The "detective search" phase of the research cycle has sped up so much that the necessary time is not taken to critically evaluate information.

What say you? What would you add to my lists? Are you concerned by these issues? What can genealogy societies do to address these issues?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Finding Townships and EDs on Ancestry Census Images

I was curious about the number of people enumerated in San Diego County over a period of time, and the names of the townships therein. The city and county have grown in population since the American takeover before 1850. The county and township boundaries have also changed a bit over time - San Diego County initially included what are now Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

As I tried to find totals for townships, I found that the township names changed. I decided to find out what township names to use in the search box on

By inputting State = California and County = San Diego with no names, I got the total number of people enumerated in the county. By clicking on one of those persons, and then going to the census image, there is a line at the top of the Ancestry web page that says (for 1880):

"You are here: Search > Census > U.S. Census > 1880 United States Federal Census > California > San Diego > San Diego > District 68"

By clicking on the first "San Diego," you can then see a list of townships in the county. By clicking on a township, you can then see what area it covers, and the districts included in the enumeration. You can select a district to search page-by-page if you care to. However, you can't get an enumeration total for the township or the district doing this.

To get enumeration totals for a township, you need to go back to the first search box (with the state and county) and put in the township name.

Here's what I got for San Diego County, San Diego township, National Township, Otay Township and Chula Vista Township (the last 3 are all south of the city of San Diego):

1880 Census
  • SD County = 8,672
  • SD Township = 2,855
  • National township = 139
1900 Census
  • SD County = 36,611
  • SD township = 17,658
  • National township = 2,020
  • Otay township = 736
1910 Census
  • SD County = 61,782
  • SD township = 39,592
  • National township = 2,998
  • Otay township = 1,206

1920 Census

  • SD County = 112,592
  • SD township = 88,604
  • National township = 3,116
  • Otay township = 410
  • San Ysidro township = 54
  • Chula Vista township = 1,720
  • Bonita township = 415

1930 Census

  • SD County = 209.514
  • SD township = 162,556
  • National township = 7,301
  • Chula Vista township = 3,869
  • (no Bonita, Otay or San Ysidro townships listed)
For reference purposes, the approximate 2007 population of these entities are:
  • San Diego County = 3 million
  • San Diego City = 1.3 million
  • National City = 56,000
  • Chula Vista = 240,000
As you can see, in the 50 years between 1880 and 1930, the County population increased 24 times over. Where there once were rolling hills, plateaus, canyons and valleys cut by streams and occasional flowing rivers, there are now houses all over the terrain. The hills, canyons and plateaus are still there, but have been shaped by city planners. The streams have been dammed and are mere trickles, unless it rains.

LDS Record Search Pilot Capability

I read the news on Family Search Labs on Tuesday about the Record Search Pilot capability (images without an index) and thought "that's nice." Then I read Chris Dunham's post today about this, and thought that Chris nailed it with his comment that:

"...Genealogists raised on microfilm are used to scanning page after page for a single relevant record; there's no reason to hold back digitized records until every name is cataloged. Providing the images online with simple finding aids should suffice for researchers eager to ferret out family facts."

Exactly right! So I went back to the FamilySearch Labs post and tried to figure out how to sign up. I finally found a link for "Record Search" on the blog home page here, which leads to this page where you can view a video on "Getting Started."

I had to register (email, name, location) in order to use the "Record Search" capability. But I have to wait to be approved. I'll add on to this post when that happens!

For the time being, I would be happy as a clam to be able to view digitized pages from FHL microfilms and microfiches. I don't mind going page-by-page through records - I've been doing that a long time. It's fun...unless you can't find what you want!

In the meantime, if you want to be able to do this, click the links above and register for access to the Record Search Pilot.

Crystal Ball: Part 2 - Digitizing Records

In an earlier post, I asked questions about the future of genealogy, especially the effects of digitization and indexing on access, libraries, societies, etc. I answered the first question, which concerned the question if "all" genealogy records will be digitized, in my post here.

I want to give my opinion on questions 2) and 3) of my earlier post. They were:

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

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

Before I answer those questions, I want to point to my Wish List post about digitization and indexing here. I don't claim to know everything about what records are available, and what have already been digitized, but I have some knowledge about the subject. Based on that knowledge and my own experience, my opinions on the two questions are (listed by record type):

1) State vital records - births, marriages and deaths: There are many state indexes for these records (see Joe's Births and Marriages Indexes and Death Indexes sites). However, only a few states have these indexes available online, and fewer provide images of the actual records online. The LDS Family History Library has many of the older vital records on microfilm or microfiche, and will hopefully digitize and index them in their ongoing projects. With the societal concerns about terrorism and identity theft, I don't think that there will be complete indexes or images of vital records available at any time soon, but there may be more available than we currently have.

2) Census records - the federal census records for 1790 to 1930 are available online, and the 1940 census will be released in 2012. Many state census records are available online, but not all. I think that all of the available state and federal census records will be available online in the next 5 years (subject to the 72 year restriction).

3) Military records - the US military records for wars before World War II are in the National Archives. Some of them are available in digital form online, with some indexes (see has an agreement with the Archives to digitize and index them. I think that all of these records will be digitized and indexed in the next 5 years (subject to a year restriction).

4) Naturalization records - the US naturalization records are held in many courts, and will be difficult to obtain, digitize and index. Some of the indexes are available online (see this site) and some are on film at the FHL. I think progress will be made on digitizing the indexes, but probably not the actual records.

5) Passenger Lists - many of the available passenger lists are available online at There are others on film/fiche at the FHL. This site has lists of the available online indexes and records. I think most, if not all, of these lists will be available online within the next 5 years.

6) Land and deed records -- there are few online collections of land record indexes and fewer images of the deeds. The exception is the General Land Office records at However, the FHL has microfilm and microfiche of the early (say before 1920) deed indexes and records and these should be digitized and indexed in the LDS projects. However, the records are mainly handwritten, and a complete indexing may be difficult. I think that all of the indexes will be available online, and images of the records, but the records may not be indexed.

7) Probate records -- same as Land Records. There are some transcriptions of wills online, but not many.

8) Tax records - same as Land Records. There are some indexes online, but very few images of these records.

9) Newspaper records - several major sites are and have digitized and indexed historical newspapers. Recent issues of many current newspapers are online and can be accessed. I think that most of the historical newspapers (say up to 1930 or 1940) will be digitized and indexed, but I doubt that the gap between the historical and current will be closed in the near future.

10) Cemetery and tombstone records - there are several excellent cemetery records sites (like and, plus transcriptions available on Rootsweb and USGenWeb sites. Some societies have indexing or transcription projects in work, and there are many books in local libraries or societies. However, all of these comprise only a fraction of the available records. More of these records may come online in the future, but I doubt that they will be complete.

11) Genealogy or historical society periodicals -- some societies have indexes and page images online, and some have paper indexes for their paper periodicals, but many do not have indexes or digital images. There are copyright issues that may prevent digitization of these paper documents. The LDS announcement of potential partnerships with societies to do the digitization and indexing is encouraging. I think a lot more of this will be done, but there will not be "complete" coverage.

12) Family papers and archives held in genealogy or historical societies -- there are file drawers of "stuff" donated by individuals. There may be more digitization if societies partner with the LDS as noted above.

13) Published books and manuscripts -- many out-of-copyright books are available in digital form, and have been indexed. Books under copyright protection are not available, in general ,ands likely won't be unless the copyright holder agrees to digitization. Some self-published books or manuscripts have been donated to the LDS FHL - will these be digitized in the LDS projects? Many manuscripts are held by repositories, and have not been digitized. I think that there will be more out-of-copyright books available, and probably more manuscripts, but not books under protection.

There are other types of records - for instance church, school, court, funeral home, city and phone directories, etc. that could be considered and discussed.

Likewise, I've only discussed US records - the conclusions for Canadian, European, Asian, and other records may be much different. I'm reminded that Iceland has "done" the genealogy for all of their citizens!

My guess at present is that we have 5% to 10% of "all" records available online in image form, with more constantly coming online.The combination of commercial databases, the Archives and the LDS church projects will drive the number higher. However, I don't think we will ever be able to find all records online. Just more.

Your thoughts? Open forum time - what do you think? Or blog about the question yourself.

CVGS Meeting on Monday 6/25

The monthly meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) is on Monday, June 25, at 10 AM. The meeting will be at the Chula Vista Civic Center Library (365 F Street in CV) in the Auditorium. We ask attendees to enter through the Conference Room (off the east entrance-way) to sign in, pick up handouts and have a snack before going into the auditorium. There will be a brief business meeting and an "opportunity drawing" before the program speaker is introduced.

The guest speaker will be Anne J. Miller on"Overcoming Obstacles to Finding Your Ancestors."

The program description and Anne's biography is:

"Our assumptions, thoughts, and beliefs often make it difficult for us to find our ancestors. While these factors can have a negative impact on our research, recognizing them and learning how to overcome them will result in solving more of those brick wall situations and being more successful in our research.

"Anne J. Miller began her genealogical quest 19 years ago. She is particularly interested in combining historical resources with genealogical resources to provide a more comprehensive understanding of people and their lives. The focus of her historical research is primarily Southern California.

"She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists as well as national and local genealogical and historical societies. She teaches for the Temecula Valley Genealogical Society and volunteers at the Murrieta FHC. She is a licensed psychologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona."

CVGS welcomes guests and visitors - please join us for our monthly meetings and events.

Note: This notice will also be posted on the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog (a CVGS production).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Joe's Genealogy Branches Site - and more!

You probably knew all about Joe Beine's "Genealogy Articles, Tips and Research Guides" web site - at I had somehow missed it until recently.

It is absolutely wonderful, with categories of Census Records, Military Records, Naturalization Records, Passenger Lists, Irish Research, Native American Research, State Research Guides, Records and Families, and Miscellaneous.

Joe also has a web page for General Genealogy Links at and for German Genealogy Resources at

Of course, I have been using Joe's Death, Birth and Marriage, Military, Census, Naturalization and Passenger List Indexes, but I had missed this "summary" page.

One thing I also noticed was that some of the pages linked from the Genealogy Branches page are not the specific pages noted just above - so check the links from and the specific pages just above (e.g., the Military links on and on

Lastly, Joe has a Genealogy Fun page with "25 Things That Make Genealogy Fun" - this is good! My favorite is:

13. You wonder why a non-profit religious organization can distribute National Archives microfilm better than the National Archives.

I really appreciate Joe's hard work in creating these web pages that make my research (well, everybody's!) a lot easier!

How rare is your personality type?

Most of us have taken personality tests over the years - usually as part of career counseling or in a work environment.

Here is one on the web - at

You answer 12 questions, and it tells you what "type" of personality you have.

You can even put a "thing" on your blog telling what you are.

I tested out as an ISTP - Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving. It says:

"Your personality type is reserved, methodical, spirited, and intense. Only about 6% of all people have your personality, including 3% of all women and 8% of all men."

Does that surprise you? Not me - I am an engineer at heart - I love to work alone, chase ideas to fruition, perform well and be appreciated.

If you want a more complete test - here is one of the Myers-Briggs Tests - at

I tested out as ISTP here, also. The neat thing here is that there are links to all of the personality types - at

How well did you know your mother? Your father? Your siblings? Your grandfather? Your spouse or love-in? Your children? Go back into the quiz and pretend you are answering for them.

Who was/is most like your type? Who was/is most unlike your type? Who did you have a great rapport with? Who did you always fight with?


Oh yeah - tell me what type you are in comments, or post it on your blog.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

June 19 - A Wedding Day

June 19th is the wedding date for one set of my grandparents and for one set of my great-grandparents.

On June 19, 1918 my grandparents Lyle Lawrence Carringer and Emily Kemp Auble were married in San Diego CA.

This is my grandmother, Emily Kemp (Auble) Carringer, born in 1899 in Chicago IL, the daughter of Charles and Georgianna (Kemp) Auble. This picture was taken in about 1918.

This is my grandfather, Lyle Lawrence Carringer, born 1891 in San Diego CA, the son of Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer. This picture was taken in about 1918.

I do have pictures of Lyle and Emily together, but they are in frames on my "ancestor wall" and I hesitate to take them apart to scan the photos.

On June 19, 1898, Charles Auble and Georgianna Kemp married in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.

Charles Auble was born in 1849 in Newton, Sussex County, NJ, the son of David and Sarah (Knapp) Auble. This picture was taken around 1898.

Georgianna Kemp was born in 1868 in Norfolk County, Ontario, the daughter of James Abram and Mary Jane (Sovereen) Kemp. This picture was taken in Chicago IL, probably around 1898.

Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of Charlie and Georgia together.

Does anyone have ideas (or websites) that might help me scan the pictures that I have in frames? Should I take them to a photo specialist to have this done?

Get Grandpa's FBI File

My Chula Vista Library friend, Kim, passed this along from BoingBoing.

You can order an FBI file using a Freedom of Information Act request. This site - - lets you fill in a form, then writes a letter for you to send (using your stamp) to obtain the file (assuming there is one!).

The site notes that:

"Most requests end up not costing anything because the FBI will give you the first hundred pages of any file for free. However, pages beyond 100 are charged at ten cents per page, and the FBI requires you to state up front that you will pay these copying charges or they won't process your request. The good news is that you can put a cap on the maximum amount you're willing to pay. We suggest $30 as a good amount. "

This sounds like a really great thing to do if you have a relative or ancestor who was a criminal, a spy, a radical, a gambler, etc. I can think of at least two CVGS members who should do this immediately!

Thanks, Kim, for the lead!

Haunted San Diego's Ghost Tour

If you're touring San Diego, be sure to take the Haunted Ghost Tour there! The web site is here. It costs $27 each, and must be booked in advance. It runs only on Friday and Saturday nights, leaving at 8:30 PM and 10:00 PM.

The web page says:

"Keeping San Diego History Alive - One Ghost Story at a time.
Great fun and a unique way to learn about some of San Diego's lesser known Dark Side

"A perfect mix of suspensefully paced Haunted Tales, San Diego History and Spooky Fun that's sure to Raise your Spirits.

"Step aboard our Ghost Bus and experience San Diego's Darker Side as you prepare yourself to visit "Americas Most Haunted Location"... The Whaley House!

"We take pride in the Special Touches that make ours 'The Tour to Beat' Like providing our guests a safe and comfortable boarding site at Old Towns Most Luxurious Hotel: The Best Western Hacienda.
©2006 Haunted San Diego Ghost Tour

"We are especially pleased to be able to enhance your Haunted Experience aboard our very own Coffin-on-Wheels... "The Ghost Bus"! San Diego's ONLY 'Themed Tour Vehicle'.

"In addition to Sights from the Ghost Coach Tour includes featured Walking Tours to these sites:
  • An Historic Gas Lamp Quarter Hotel
  • The Oddest and Oldest House in Downtown
  • A Dark and Mysterious Victorian Mansion
  • San Diego's Oldest and Strangest Cemetery
  • The Infamous Whaley House"

This sounds like an ideal CVGS research Trip to me!

Hat tip to Lisa Alzo for the idea! Any other "Ghost Tours" recommended by genea-bloggers?

Monday, June 18, 2007 Partners with Sorenson Genomics for DNA Testing

The big news today was that The Generations Network (which owns has partnered with Sorenson Genomics (which is the owner of Relative Genetics, a commercial genetic testing lab) to provide DNA testing for under $200.

The Salt Lake City (Utah) Tribune newspaper article is here. It claims:

"In less than three weeks, people will be able to find distant relatives by clicking a mouse. And they can be sure that their supposed family members are related to them because instead of using old documents, people will locate their relatives through DNA tests. "

Several genealogy blogs provided the news release put out by and Sorenson Genomics - Richard Eastman, and DearMyrtle, among others.

Tim Agazio and Diane Haddad made helpful and interesting comments on their blogs about this, rather than just sending out the press release.

When you read the press release, and the analyses by Tim and Diane, you can see that the newspaper report is a bit "over the top" to say the least! Why can't they get it right?

I have my own thoughts about this partnership, including:

1) This will make DNA testing more popular than ever. People are used to dealing with Ancestry, and their results will be posted online.

2) This is the first partnership announced recently by TGN, and it adds a new dimension to the services offered by commercial genealogy database providers.

3) I believe that FamilyTreeDNA has been the "leader" in the DNA testing for genealogy field (their site claims that 90% of all genealogists choose FTDNA), with a number of smaller companies also providing the service for a fee. The competition for FamilyTreeDNA just became a powerhouse, whereas before they were smaller entities.

4) Will there be a trend in acquisitions or partnerships with FamilyTreeDNA and/or other DNA testing companies?

5) Will there be a price war for DNA testing now that major competition has raised its head?

6) Will Ancestry offer a discounted rate for DNA testing of subscribers?

Inquiring minds always want to know things like this. My over-arching opinion is that competition is good for all end-users.

I have put off having my own DNA tests done, hoping for a price war and some standardization of the markers tested. It would be helpful to know which markers are tested by which company - has a comparison of that been done previously? Because there are so many surname projects using DNA testing, you almost have to go with the company that hosts the project. There are no test results yet for a descendant of Robert Seaver (1634 to Roxbury MA), to my knowledge.

What do you think will happen next? What do you hope will happen in the field of DNA testing?

Della's Journal - Week 25 (June 18-24, 1929)

This is Installment 25 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 25:


Tuesday, June 18 (warm): Worked outdoors & Ma stuffed pillows, we made two new pair. I wrote Ruth M & sent a letter from the C.V. Bank. Mrs. Auble put new ticks on their pillows.

Wednesday, June 19 (warmer): Lyle's & Emily's 11 yrs Anniversary & Mrs. Auble's 31 years. We gave them $10 & Mrs. A. $1 & cards. Betty had us come over in the evening a little while. Mrs. Hughes came home. Fluffie had (....) Mrs. Watson's bird got out, Emily helped catch it.

Thursday, June 20 (warm): We washed. The company came to Lyle's - Mrs. Pentecost & son Vernon. Ma wrote Aunt L[ibbie].

Friday, June 21 (windy): Washed my flannel blanket & Night dresses & rugs of Bathroom. Fog at night so will be cooler. Letter from A[unt] Libby.

Saturday, June 22: Ed over, gave him $5 cash. A[ustin] went for treatment. We just worked. Emily took folks to Rockwell Field and TiaJuana.

Sunday, June 23 (warm): I took Ma out to her house. Lyle's went to see swimming races, then to Mission Beach for supper & evening. No one called to see house.

Monday, June 24 (warm): Ma out at her place. I worked at house. I went to town, Pd Gas bill & water bills. Got me two pr shoes $3. Worked in yard in morning. Emily took folks to La Jolla.


It was a pretty quiet week, except for the anniversary party and the arrival of the Pentecosts. I have no idea who or what Fluffie was (a cat? makes sense), or what she (?) had - the parentheses are empty.

Bessie (Auble) Pentecost was the daughter of William Auble, a brother of Charles Auble, Georgia (Kemp) Auble's deceased husband. Therefore, Bessie was a first cousin of Emily (Auble) Carringer, the daughter-in-law of Della (Smith) Carringer. Bessie Auble married Will Pentecost, and they had a son, Vernon, who was the second cousin of my mother, Betty (Carringer) Seaver. I have lost all touch with the Pentecost family, but I have a scrapbook that belonged to Bessie. I also have the William Auble family Bible - it's about 4 inches thick. Unfortunately, the only family data in it was the second marriage of William Auble to Mary Shellman in about 1924.

One of the recurring themes throughout the six months of this journal is that they kept in touch with their friends and relatives - close and distant - via letter. The relatives and friends came to visit and stay for a while - and tour San Diego.

26th Carnival of Genealogy is about... Dads

Jasia has posted the 26th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy today at This carnival topic was Dads!

There are 17 contributors in this edition, and each of the articles is a tribute to a father or grandfather, or, in some cases, to several ancestral males. Please read them all!

My own contribution was my article "Fathers I Have Known."

One of the real benefits of these Carnivals is that a blogger unknown to me often contributes, and I consequently read their blog regularly.

The next Carnival topic will be "What America / Independence Day has meant to my family." It is intentionally vague so that you can interpret it as you will. Write about family picnics and fireworks or fighting in the Civil War. Write about the struggle to adapt to a foreign land or the fight for civil rights. Share with us what being in America has meant to your family and submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form.

Charles Auble - Painter (1849-1916)

Charles Auble is one of my great-grandfathers, the husband of Georgianna (Kemp) Auble (Mrs. Auble in the Della's Journal series on this blog). He is probably the least admirable of my four great-grandfathers, but at least some of his genes were passed directly to me.

This first picture is of Charlie at about the time of his engagement and marriage to Georgia Kemp in 1898.

This photo shows Charlie near the end of his life - taken in about 1915 in San Diego.

Here is my biographical summary of Charles Auble:


Charles Auble was born on 31 October 1849, probably in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey. He moved to Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana with his family in about 1865, and then moved to Chicago, Illinois before 1894.

While in Chicago, he met his future wife, Georgianna Kemp (usually called Georgia), and romanced her with poems and flowers. They married on 19 June 1898 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. On the marriage record, Charles was listed as a painter residing in Chicago, born in New Jersey, with parents named D. Auble and S.G. Knapp. Georgia Kemp was listed as born in Ontario, to parents J.H. Kemp and M. Sovereen (Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) Register of Marriages, Volume 30, 1837-1907, FHL Microfilm 1,292,310).

In the 1900 U.S. census, the family lived at 515 West Adams Street in Chicago (National Archives Microfilm Series T623, Roll 257, Page 264, ED 376, Sheet 8B, dwelling #75, family #112, line 77). The family included:

* Charles Auble -- head of household, white, male, born Oct 1864, age 35, married 2 years, born NJ, parents born NJ, a house decorator
* Georgia Auble -- wife, white, female, born Aug 1868, age 31, married 2 years, 1 child born, 1 living, born English Canada, parents born English Canada, immigrated in 1889, resident of US for 11 years
* Emily K. Auble -- daughter, white, female, born Aug 1899, age 10 months, single, born IL, father born NJ, mother born English Canada
* Franklin Kemp -- Brother-in-law, white, male, born Feb 1880, age 20, single, born English Canada, parents born English Canada

In the 1910 Chicago City Directory, Charles Auble, a painter, lived at 611 West 76th Street in Chicago.

In the 1910 U.S. census, the Charles Auble family resided at 611 North 70th Street in the 32nd Ward of Chicago, Cook County, Illinois (National Archives Microfilm Series T624, Roll 278, ED 1391, sheet 2B, house #28, family #33). The household included:

* Charles Auble -- head of household, male, white, age 54, first marriage, married 11 years, born NJ, parents born NJ, a decorator (of houses), rents home
* Georgia Auble -- wife, female, white, age 41, first marriage, married 11 years, 1 child born, 1 living, born Canada English, parents born Canada English, immigrated in 1890
* Emily Auble -- daughter, female, white, age 10, single, born IL, father born NJ, mother born Canada English, attended school

The family moved to San Diego, California in about 1911, probably to be near Georgia's brothers, James and Franklin.

Charles was a painter and interior decorator, and a picture of the home in San Diego at 767 14th Street has a sign outside that reads "Painting" and "Decorating". He used the basement of the house as his studio.

Charles suffered a fall three months before his death, and died of cystitis caused by a ruptured gall bladder from the fall.

Charles was a man who liked strong drink, and apparently lied about his age throughout his marriage (e.g., he is listed as age 35 in the 1900 U.S. census, age 54 in the 1910 U.S. census, and as age 61 on his death certificate in 1916). In his later years, he was portly, bald, and wore a mustache.

His obituary (San Diego Union, March 25, 1916) reads:

"Charles Auble, Old Time Painter, Dead.
"Departed Brother Leaves Widow and Daughter to Mourn Departure - Funeral Will Be Saturday Afternoon.

"Charles Auble, an old time member of the Painters' Union, died Thursday night at his home, 767 Fourteenth Street. He leaves a widow, Georgia, one daughter, Emily, to mourn his departure.

"Brother Auble has been a member of the Painters union for many years, coming to San Diego from Chicago about five years ago, and immediately affiliating with local No. 333 in San Diego.

"Funeral services will be held at the Bradley & Woolman chapel at 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon, interment being in Greenwood Cemetery. All members of Painters' union and friends are requested to be present."

An article in the San Diego Union, dated about April 3, 1916, noted that the Painters Union No. 333 adopted a resolution of condolence in memory of "Charles Aubell," an old and honored member.

The Free Mason's Cemetery Company granted Georgia K. Auble grave number 15 in lot number 21 in Division S of the Masonic Cemetery for $25. The unmarked grave is now in the bounds of Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Snake oil salesmen - 1858

I posted last year about my own "snake-oil salesman," Devier J. Smith here.

I posted a "cure" for catarrh that I found in the newspaper archives here (this is one of my most popular posts!).

In searching for newspaper articles about Seaver people on, I ran across these advertisements in the New York Times of 19 March 1858 (page 7) in the "Medical" column:


Specific mixture for the cure of Gonorrhoea,
Gleet, Strictures, and similar disorders. It makes a
speedy cure, without the least restriction of diet, drink,
exposure, or change in application to business. Further,
the disease cannot be contracted if a does of the Antidote
was taken when exposed. Repeated experiments and long
experience have proved that it will radically cure any
case that can be produced. This desirable result is ob-
tained in from two to ten days; and as it neither creates
nausea nor offends the palate, and renders unnecessary
all deviation to diet or interruption to usual pursuits,
sound sleep or healthy digestion, the disease is thus re-
moved as speedily as is consistent with the production of
a thorough and permanent cure. Its ingredients are en-
tirely vegetable, and no injurious effect, either constitu-
tionally or locally, can be caused by its use.

Price, One Dollar per Bottle
C.H. RING, General Agent,
No. 192 Broadway, New-York.
M.S. Burr & Co., No. 1 Cornhill, Boston.


of years confined his attention to diseases of a certain
class, in which he has treated a vast number of cases,
without an instance of failure. The remedies are mild,
and there is no interruption to business or change of diet.
Separate consulting rooms.

Dr. Watson's work, the cause and cure,
is the only one which clearly explains the nature and
mode of treatment of the venereal disease in its different
forms: also Spermatorrhoea or Seminal Weakness, and
Premature Exhaustion - the result of early indis-
cretion, excess, or other causes. Anatomical plates of a
superior kind, and drawings of every form of disease.

Price $1, No. 55 Walker St., a few doors west of Broadway.


I wonder if Dr. Watson sold Dr. Jeffries' antidote? Did he mark up the price?

I didn't know what "gleet" was so I looked it up in Wikipedia and the Wiktionary. I'm sorry I looked! Messy stuff.

It's fascinating what gets handed down in family papers and what advertisements you can find in the newspaper. Our literate ancestors read these papers completely. I wonder what the young men and women thought about these ads?

I wonder how many hits I'll get from folks looking up "gonorrhea" on Google? And "gleet."

My Father and his boys

I wanted to post some pictures of my father with me and my brothers. He loved playing with all of us, and had such high hopes for each of us as ballplayers. Life doesn't always go the way a father plans it - I had bad eyes, my brothers played as kids, but not as adults.

I found that I haven't scanned as many pictures as I should have. Here are a few:

The first one is of my father and me when I was a baby - probably in 1944. This is probably at the house they rented in Chula Vista.

This picture was taken in 1954 at Christmas time at the house of my father's Aunt Emily (the lady in the picture). My brother Stan is wearing a tie.

Baseball was a major part of our life, as I've described in earlier posts. My father coached Little League, Stan played, I kept score and my youngest brother Scott was the bat boy. This is in the summer of 1959.

My brother Scott was married in 1976, and this is the only photo we have of the family together after about 1960. We're all grown up, and some of us are losing our hair. Not my dad or brothers, though! And my mother was so proud of all of us!

I know where there are more pictures - in the box on the floor of the Genea-Cave, buried under everything else. I feel a great need to go through the pictures I have, scan them, and get them onto a CDROM for my brothers and kids so that they are not lost. So many projects, so little time....