Saturday, January 19, 2008

The American Genealogist - April 2007 Issue

The April 2007 issue (published December 2007) of The American Genealogist (TAG) arrived this week. This is Volume 82, Number 2, Whole Number 326.

Here is the Table of Contents:

* "The Perry Family of Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire: Shared Ancestry of Six Massachusetts Immigrants: John Perry of Roxbury, Isaac Perry of Boston, Mary (Perry) Heath of Roxbury, Phebe (Perry) Desborough of Roxbry, John Reddington of Topsfield, and Abraham Reddington of Topsfield and Boxford" by William Wyman Fiske - page 81.

* Death Comes to the Hatter" - page 90

* "Asa Bacon and the Shaking Quakers: Bacon Migration (1644-1850): Massachusetts - Connecticut - Massachusetts - New York - Indiana" by Ronald A. Hill - page 91.

* "The American Society of Genealogists' Scholar Award for 2008" - page 106.

* "The English Origin of Thomas and Sarah (Scott) Grave(s) of Hartford, Connecticut and Hadley, Massachusetts" by Leslie Mahler -page 107.

* "Of Dogs and the 'Puplike' " - page 110

* "Ryurik and the First Ryurikids: Context, Problems, Sources (concluded)" by Norman W. Ingham and Christian Raffensperger - page 111

* "Godly Men and 'Irregular Courses' " - page 119

* "Proposed Hawkshead, Lancashire, Origins of Edward Riggs of Roxbury, Massachusetts, and Thomas Riggs of Gloucester" by Alvy Ray Smith and Robert Charles Anderson - page 120.

* Enigmas #23: Was Capt. Rufus Gardner of New London, Connecticut, a Son of Capt. Christopher Gardner of South Kingston, Rhode Island? (concluded)" by Roger D. Joslyn - page 130.

* The English Origin of Daniel Kempster of Cambridge, Massachusetts" by Craig Partridge - page 142.

* "A Short Widowhood" - page 152.

* "Editorial Notes and Observations: Traditions and confused nationalities" and "New fellows" - page 153.

* Book Reviews" - page 154.

The book reviews included:

* "The Ancestry of Diana, Princess of Wales, for Twelve Generations" by Richard K. Evans.

* "The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635" by Robert Charles Anderson, Volume 5: M-P.

* "The Eighteenth Century Records of the Boston Overseers of the Poor" edited by Eric Nellis and Anne Decker Cecere.

* "Magna Carta Ancestry: A Study in Colonial and Medieval Families" by Douglas Richardson.

* "The Devil of Great Island: Witchcraft & Conflict in Early New England" by Emerson W. Baker.

TAG is my favorite genealogy journal because it has more articles about my New England ancestral families than any other periodical, even the NEHGR. It has the occasional article on medieval genealogy, royal ancestry, studies of enigmas, English origins, and the short filler pieces that are often humorous or at least strange.

TAG is a stand-alone publication, not affiliated with a genealogy society or commercial company. The editors are David L. Greene, Robert Charles Anderson and Joseph C. Anderson, who are all Fellows of the American Society of Genealogists - a select group!

UPDATED 1/21, 8:40 PM: I edited this post to eliminate the extraneous blank lines and to do a spell check on it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

40th Carnival of Genealogy is posted

Jasia has posted the 40th Carnival of Genealogy at . The topic this time was "Living Relative Connections." There are 22 posts on this list - all of them interesting and potentially helpful reading.

The next Carnival topic will be -- If you could have dinner with four of your ancestors who would they be and why? Here's a chance to exercise your imagination... Would you have dinner in the present day or in one of their eras? Would you dine out or opt for a home cooked meal? What would you discuss at the dinner table? What would you most like to share with them about your life? The deadline for submitting articles is February 1st.

Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Written on 18 January from my daughter's in Santa Cruz:

Unfortunately, I am using Mac PowerBook with Safari at my daughter's house and can't figure out how to insert a link (Ctrl-C then Ctrl-V doesn't work for some reason...), there is no Backspace, End or Home key that I can find, and Blogger on this Mac wants everything in HTML and the spell check doesn't work.

Go to Jasia's blog and you'll find it.

The next Carnival topic is "What Four People Would You Like to Have Dinner With?" This should be interesting! Ancestors, I presume.

I will update this post when I get home from Santa Cruz.

I am getting only an hour or two a day on the computer. Email, Bloglines and Blogger is about all I get in the time I have. The grandsons are a handful. My daughter took her nanny out to dinner for a movie last night, so I got to dinner, play, bath and bedtime with the boys. I was done by 9:15, which is record time - they were tired. Me too, but I did get to see Celebrity Apprentice and ER. I'm sleeping on the hide-a-bed in the living room, and Mira the wonder cat lay with me all night. The boys gleefully woke me up at 6:30 and we watched Disney Channel and had breakfast (one eats Grandpa's cereal - Rice Krispies - and the other Daddy's cereal - Honeycomb, I eat Honeycomb) until 8:15 when we took them to school.

My daughter and I stopped at a Java place for hot drinks - I got hot choc with whipped cream today. It was 35 F when we took our walk through the State Park today with Annie the super dog. Bracing. Beautiful. I didn't have a hat or gloves...dumb. I get to go swimming with my grandsons this afternoon - more family history to be made. Tomorrow we are going on the Roaring Camp steam engine train - it's great fun, although the coach has no windows - it's open to the air. Sunday is the Chargers game (did everyone notice the blog colors???) Monday I fly home and hope to blog in the evening.

Written Monday 21 January at 8:30 PM: I updated this post extensively - I hope you all don't mind! I was very frustrated by the Mac PowerBook while using blogger - I couldn't use the "Compose" mode - only "Edit HTML." I couldn't easily insert a link, or bold, or spell check, so my posting was limited by not only my Mac-challenged brain but by the system. Thank you to the commenters who gave me helpful hints - you were right - I just hadn't found the little letters on the small keys yet!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

James Richman (1821-1912) and Hannah Rich (1824-1911)

One set of my great-great-grandparents are the immigrant family from England - James and Hannah (Rich) Richman, who settled in Putnam, Windham County, Connecticut.

James2 Richman/Richmond (John1 Richman) was born Bef. 08 April 1821 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND, (baptism), son of John Richman and Ann Marshman, and died 20 December 1912 in Putnam, Windham County, CT, (certificate). He married Hannah Rich 07 September 1845 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND, (parish), daughter of John Rich and Rebecca Hill. She was born 14 April 1824 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND, and died 07 August 1911 in Putnam, Windham County, CT, (certificate).

Notes for James Richman/Richmond:

The baptism of James Richman on 6 May 1821, son of John (weaver and laborer) and Ann Richman was found in the Hilperton church records (Hilperton, Wiltshire Church Records, Bishop's Transcripts, 1622-1880, FHL Microfilm 1,279,404, Item 14).

The marriage of James Richman (full age, bachelor, labourer, resided Hilperton, father John Richman) and Hannah Rich (age 20, spinster, weaver, resided Hilperton, father John Rich) was solemnized by banns on 11 February 1845 in Hilperton parish church, with James Carpenter and Ann Richman as witnesses.

In the 1851 Census for Wiltshire, the James Richman family resided in Hilperton, Wiltshire, England (1851 Census for Wiltshire District 257 as of 31 March 1851, FHL Microfilm 0,220,987, page 254). The household included:

* James Richman -- husband, age 29, coal merchant laborer, born Marsh
* Hannah Richman -- wife, age 25, woolen weaver, born Marsh
* Thomas Richman -- son, age 2, born Marsh
* James Richman -- son, age 1, born Marsh

James Richman (age 34, origin England) and Samuel Richman (age 21, probably Samuel Rich, James' brother-in-law) were passengers on the ship Calhoun out of Liverpool, England, arriving in New York on 22 October 1855 (National Archives Microfilm Series M237, Roll 157, List Number 1037, Line 23-4).

Hannah Richman (age 32, female, wife, origin Great Britain), James Richman (age 7, male, child), Thomas Richman (age 6, male, child), Louisa Richman (age 4, female, child), Elizabeth Richman (age 2, female, child) and Ann Richman (infant, female, child) were passengers on the shipOsprey, which sailed from Glasgow, Scotland, arriving in New York City on 14 November 1856 (National Archives Microfilm Series M237, Roll 168, List Number 1183, Lines 50-55).

In the 1860 US census, the James Richmond family resided in Burrillville, Providence County, Rhode Island (National Archives Microfilm Series M653, Roll 1205, page 045, dwelling #579, family #740, line 36). The household included:

* James Richmond -- age 38, male, white, farm laborer, born England
* Hannah Richmond -- age 36, female, born England
* Thomas Richmond -- age 12, male, born England, attended school
* James Richmond -- age 10, male, born England, attended school
* Louisa Richmond -- age 8, female, born England, attended school
* Elizabeth A. Richmond -- age 5, female, born England, attended school
* Emma Richmond -- age 6, female, born England, attended school
* Hannah R. Richmond -- age 2, female, born RI.

In the 1870 US census, the James Richmond family resided in Putnam, Windham County, Connecticut in the house of George Whitford (National Archives Microfilm Series M593, Roll 117, Page 563, house #376, family #569, line 33). The household included:

* James Richmond -- age 49, male, works for woolen mill, born England
* Anna Richmond -- age 45, female, keeping house, born England
* Louisa Richmond -- age 17, female, works in woolen mill, born England
* Elizabeth Richmond -- age 15, female, works in woolen mill, born England
* Emma Richmond -- age 13, female, works in woolen mill, born England
* Rebeca Richmond -- age 11, female, born RI, attended school
* John Richmond -- age 5, male, born RI, attended school
* Charles Richmond -- age 3, male, born CT

In the 1880 U.S. census, the James Richmond family resided in Putnam, Windham County, Connecticut (National Archives Microfilm Series T9, Roll 110, Page 605B, dwelling #43, family #51, line 10, also on FHL Microfilm 1,254,110, page 605B). The family included:

* James Richmond -- white, male, age 59, father, married, born England, farmer, father and mother born in England
* Anna Richmond -- white, female, age 55, mother, married, born England, keeping house, father and mother born England
* Louisa Richmond -- white, female, age 27, daughter, single, at home, born England, parents born England
* Emma Richmond -- white, female, age 27, daughter, single, works in woolen mill, born England, parents born England
* John Richmond -- white, male, age 15, son, single, at home, attended school, born RI, parents born England
* Charles Richmond -- white, male, age 13, son, single, at home, attended school, born CT, parents born England

In the 1900 US census, the James Richmond family resided in the outlying district (with no street names) in Putnam town in Windham County, Connecticut. The family included (from 1900 US Census for Connecticut, Windham County, National Archives Microfilm Series T623, Roll 151, Page 220, ED 522, Sheet 2A, line 79):

* James Richmond -- head, white, male, born April 1821, age 79, married 55 years, born England, father and mother born England, emigrated in 1855, resident 45 years in the US, alien, a farmer
* Hannah Richmond -- wife, white, female, born Apr 1825, age 75, married 55 years, 9 children, 8 living, born England, father and mother born England, emigrated in 1856, resident 44 years
* John H. Richmond -- son, white, male, born May 1865, age 35, married 9 years, born RI, father and mother born England, a farm laborer
* Mary A. Richmond -- daughter-in-law, white, female, born August 1866, age 33, married 9 years, 0 children, born England, father and mother born England, emigrated in 1881, resident 19 years
* Louisa Richmond -- daughter, white, female, born Oct 1852, age 47, single, born England, father and mother born England, emigrated in 1855, resident 45 years

A biography of James Richmond is provided in the book "Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties," Chicago IL, J.H. Beers & Company, 1903. The specific article was titled Arthur Lucius Fitts, but it included the biography of James Richmond, who was the father of Emma Richmond, wife of Arthur Fitts. The Richmond portion of the article reads:

"James Richmond, father of Mrs. Fitts, was born in Hilperton, Wiltshire, England April 8, 1821, a son of John and Ann (Marshman) Richmond. John Richmond was a farmer and laborer, and lived in Hilperton where both he and his wife died. His children were as follows: Elizabeth, the deceased wife of Thomas Hogan, a soldier in the English Army and a resident of Hilperton, England; Sarah, the deceased wife of James Thompson, of Hilperton; John, a seafaring man who married Maria Matthews, and died in Hilperton; Ann, the widow of John Hall, and resident of Hilperton; James and Thomas, who was a twin and died at the age of twenty one.

"James Richmond was reared to the hard and unsatisfactory work of farming on a small scale, and his youth afforded scant opportunity for educational training. Nevertheless, he possessed a keen desire for knowledge, and improved such chances as came his way, by observation and reading. His first intimacy with books was acquired at Sunday School, and his alphabet was learned from a copy made by a friend. At the present time he is an unusually well informed and intelligent man, no opportunity having escaped him to add to his store of useful and interesting information. As a young man he found employment for a short time in Cardiff, Wales, but barring this limited experience, he lived on the home farm until his marriage. For the first ten years thereafter he kept house in Hilperton, and from his wages as a laborer managed to save. In 1855 he boarded a sailing vessel at Liverpool, and upon arriving in New York went directly to his destination in Pascoag, R.I. where he had friends to welcome him. He was accompanied by his wife's brother, Samuel Rich, and they landed in New York October 21, 1855, after a month's voyage. Mr. Richmond had very little money in his pocket, but his hopes were high, and he soon found work in a woolen mill in Pascoag, where he saved his wages, and made considerable headway. On November 12, 1856, he was joined by his wife and five children, they having been on the ocean for six weeks and two days.

"For about ten years Mr. Richmond was employed in Burrillville, and in March 1866, he began work in the woolen mill of Michael Moriarty at Putnam, Conn. where he remained until 1870 as manager of the engine. The LaFayette Reynolds woolen mills at Windsor, conn. employed his services as engineer until the destruction of the plant and the following year he returned to Putnam, where he purchased his present farm from Nathaniel Battey. He is engaged in general farming, in which he has achieved success. Mr. Richmond is respected by all who know him, and he is regarded as a substantial member of the agricultural community of Putnam.

"While living in his native town of Hilperton, England, Mr. Richmond married, Sept. 7, 1845, Hannah Rich, born April 14, 1825, a daughter of John and Rebecca (Hill) Rich. Of this union there have been born nine children: Thomas, a boss carder of Elmville, Conn., who married Juliette White; James, a boss designer in the woolen mill in Stroudsburg, Pa., who married Sarah Bigwood; Ann, deceased in infancy; Louise, unmarried and living with her father; Elizabeth Ann, wife of Abram Sykes of Putnam; Emma now Mrs. Fitts; Hannah Rebecca, married first to Frank N. Smith and afterward to Edmund A. Hoyle, and now a widow residing at Worcester, Mass.; John Henry, who married Mary Ann Ramsey, is a farmer managing his father's farm; and Charles Edward, an expert mechanic of Hartford, who married Lavinia Gurten.
"James Richmond, above mentioned, is an expert in his line, as is evidenced by the fact that he had charge of the famous feat of making a suit of clothes in six hours and four minutes. In the hands of a tailor supplied with materials this might not seem an impossible undertaking, but in this instance the wool was taken from the back of the sheep and placed on the back of the wearer in the shape of a finished suit, within the specified time of six hours and two minutes."

While visiting Hilperton in Wiltshire in 1993, the compiler talked to the vestryman of the Hilperton church, Mr. Potts. He recalled that he had searched for information on James Richman for another researcher -- Chester and Barbara Richmond of Washington state. He reviewed his information, and told the compiler that "James Richman had been accused of stealing coal on the Avon and Kennett Canal, but was found innocent of the crime. However, he felt his reputation was besmirched, and left Hilperton for America."

In the 1910 US Census, this family resided at 1 Richmond Road in Putnam, Windham County, Connecticut (National Archives Microfilm Series T624, Roll 144, Page 106, ED 581, Sheet 8B, dwelling #148, family #186, Line 80). The household included:

* James Richmond -- head of household, male, white, age 89, married 64 years, born England, parents born England, immigrated 1855, naturalized, a farmer, works on home farm, owns farm with a mortgage
* Hanna Richmond - wife, female, white, age 85, married 64 years, 9 children born, 7 living, born England, parents born England, immigrated in 1855
* John H. Richmond -- son, male, white, age 44, married 19 years, born England, parents born England, immigrated 1883
* Mary A. Richmond -- daughter, female, white, age 41, married 19 years, 1 child born, 1 living, born RI, parents born England, farmer, works on home farm
* Louisa Richmond -- daughter, female, white, age 58, single, born England, parents born England, immigrated 1886,
* Thomas H.M. Richmond -- grandson (?), male, white, age 7, single, born CT, father born England, mother born RI, attended school

The death certificate for James Richmond in Putnam CT indicated that he was widowed, a farmer, died 20 December 1912 in Putnam at age 91 years, 7 months, 18 days, his birth date was 22 April 1821 in England, his father's name was John Richmond, born in England, his mother's name was Ann Marshman, born in England, that he was buried at Grove Street Cemetery in Putnam, was embalmed, cause of death was pneumonia and la grippe, and the informant was Thomas Richmond.

James and Hannah (Rich) Richmond are interred in the Grove Street Cemetery in Putnam, Connecticut.

Notes for Hannah Rich:

The death certificate for Hannah Richmond indicates that she was married to James Richmond, a housekeeper, died in Putnam, on 7 August 1911 at age 86 years, 4 months, born in April 1825, father's name John Ricvh, born in England, mother's name Rebecca Hill, born in England, buried at Grove Street Cemetery in Putnam, died of arterial sclerosis and old age, the informant being Thomas Richmond.

Children of James Richman/Richmond and Hannah Rich are:

i. Thomas3 Richmond, born 16 June 1848 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died 09 November 1917 in Clinton, Worcester County, MA. He married Julia White 20 June 1868 in Elmville, Windham County, CT; born 08 September 1848 in Killingly, Windham County, CT; died 04 October 1913 in Putnam, Windham County, CT, (vc).
ii. James Richmond, born 06 January 1850 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND (baptism); died 18 May 1929 in Fairfield County, CT. He married (1) Jane White 1869 in (divorced 1871). He married (2) Sarah Bigwood 29 May 1878 in Mapleville, RI; born 09 November 1855 in Frome, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died 11 January 1932 in Fairfield County, CT.
iii. Ann Richmond, born About 1851 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND.
iv. Louisa Richmond, born 1852 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died 1940 in Putnam, Windham County, CT.
v. Elizabeth Ann Richmond, born August 1854 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died 1931 in Putnam, Windham County, CT. She married Abram Sykes 1876 in prob. Putnam, Windham, CT; born January 1851 in RI; died 1905 in Putnam, Windham, CT.
vi. Emma Richmond, born 06 July 1856 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND (baptism). She married Arthur Lucius Fitts 15 November 1881 in Putnam, Windham, CT; born 11 January 1856 in Pomfret, Windham, CT.
vii. Hannah Rebecca Richmond, born 1859 in Burrilville, Providence County, RI. She married Frank W. Smith.
viii. John Henry Richmond, born May 1865 in Burrilville, Providence County, RI; died 1947 in Putnam, Windham County, CT (burial). He married Mary Ann Ramsey 1891 in prob. Windham County, CT; born August 1866 in ENGLAND; died 23 May 1954 in Putnam, Windham County, CT (CT DI).
ix. Charles Edwin Richmond, born 16 September 1866 in Grosvenordale, Windham County, CT; died 25 August 1951 in Groton, New London County, CT. He married Lavinia Guerten 1895 in CT; born 05 September 1870 in Emilville, CANADA; died 26 February 1936 in Manchester, Hartford, CT.

My descent from James and Hannah (Rich) Richman is through their son Thomas Richmond, who married Julia White.

Light blogging through the weekend

I am off on Thursday morning to Santa Cruz to visit my daughter and grandsons - ages 4 and almost 2. They need male companionship, my daughter has some things to do while I watch them, and I love to be with them - it's like a third childhood (I'm thinking trains, boats, airplanes, cars, bikes, bugs, cats, dogs, walks in the rain, redwood trees, country roads, oh boy!) - and they love being with me - it's a change of pace for them.

I'm taking my laptop just in case my daughter's DSL doesn't work. If it works, I will at least check my email and blogs daily. If it doesn't work, I'll try to find a wi-fi spot to check in once or twice. I've banked several posts already to post when I have little time to research and post.

My prediction is that there will be some tremendous genealogy news in the next five days - these things always happen when I'm outta town! What will it be? Will TGN acquire with some other genealogy company? Will a major library team up with NFS? Will a 68th genealogy social network site be announced? Will the Genealogue return? Your guess is as good as mine!

I'll be back on Monday evening, so I doubt that I'll be able to compile the "Best of the Genea-Blogs" this weekend.

While I'm away, please visit all of the genealogy blogs that are on my blogroll to the right of this page, or read the blogs on Kimberly Powell's list.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Four-Mile House of Ranslow Smith

I mentioned four weeks ago in "Santa comes early - what a gift!" that I received a manuscript about the hotel/inn that my ancestor Ranslow Smith built in Rolling Prairie (Burnett township), Dodge County, Wisconsin. The hotel/inn was moved to Old World Wisconsin and restored to an 1870 time frame with period furnishings.

Terry Thornton (Walksheds in the Hill Country) and Miriam Midkiff (Every Eleven Miles) have recently posted about the spacing of country stores and steam engine waterspouts, respectively, that were set at approximate distances necessary to ensure continuous or good service.

The spacing of hotels and livery stables before the railroads opened up the west was designed to serve as rest and meal stops as well as horse changing stations.

Ranslow Smith built an inn in 1853 in the township of Burnett. The inn was called the "Four-Mile House" because it was roughly four miles from Horicon on the east and Beaver Dam on the west along the Beaver Dam Road, and it was sited facing the main north-south road from Watertown to the south and Waupun to the North. The inn was built with all of the trappings of a hotel - a taproom, a parlor, kitchen and dining facilities, suites and rooms on the second floor, and a third story ballroom.

The local lore says that the "Old Four Mile House" was a regular stopping place on the stage line between Watertown and Fond du Lac. Coaches changed horses there, while passengers disembarked for a stretch, fresh air and a mid-day meal. Stagecoach routes and facilities for them expanded during the early 1850's, and the construction of the Four-Mile House was a shrewd business move by Ranslow Smith, who had enough farm land and livestock to supply his growing hotel business.

Periodic rest stops were necessary, given the slow pace and the rigors of mid-19th century stage travel. A Jefferson County pioneer wrote:

"In those days the coaches were heavy, unwieldy things. In it were four seats, running crosswise, intended for eight persons, but more often twelve were squeezed inside. There were no springs under the coach; it was simply suspended by two leather straps, one on each side, extending from the front to the hind axle. When the occupants dropped down into a hole, its occupants pitched ahead, when the hind wheels dropped down into a hole, we all pitched back; and so we kept it up day in and day out. I do not believe there was a rod in the whole distance, but that some wheel was out of line, either in a hole, or climbing over a stone, stump or root. If you were fortunate enough to get a corner seat you could brace and hold yourself somewhat, but the middle men had nothing to brace against, and I wonder that their backs were not all unhooked..."

The poor roads resulted in average speeds of 5 to 8 miles per hour and required relay stations where fresh horses were provided to continue the journey. Unless it was a meal stop, the coaches lingered only long enough to obtain fresh horses and pick up or discharge mail sacks. Inns that served as meal stops often employed a hostler, a stable manager, to supervise the care of the horses in a livery stable. Devier Smith, Ranslow's son, may have worked in the livery stable owned by his father as a youth and young adult - to feed and groom the horses and to harness the stage teams. In later years, Devier Smith and his son David Smith had livery stables in Concordia, Kansas and McCook, Nebraska.

When the Milwaukee and LaCrosse Railroad was built from Milwaukee to Beaver Dam and points west, a station was built in Rolling Prairie, several blocks south of the Four-Mile House on the Watertown to Waupun road. This railroad started carrying passengers in 1856. Stagecoach use, at least along routes parallel to the railroad lines, was reduced. In Rolling Prairie, the industrious Ranslow Smith and neighbor Samuel Ormsbee platted their 40 acre parcels into buildable lots - an 1860 plat map shows a village of 8 streets and 12 blocks with almost 200 individual lots. However, not many homes were built there until after the Civil War.

The arrival of the railroad reduced many rural wayside inns to boarding houses or eventual abandonment. After the railroad came through Rolling Prairie, the Four-Mile House business changed. It became a center for social activity and a gathering point for civic occasions in the community. It also became a boarding house for single persons working in the area.

Mary (Bell) Smith, Ranslow's wife, died in 1865, and Ranslow sold the hotel and his other holdings in Dodge County in the next few years. He, with his son Devier Smith and his growing family, moved on to Bedford in Taylor County, Iowa. Ranslow Smith may have died there - I don't know.

I can hardly wait to visit Old World Wisconsin and step into the restored hotel built by my 3rd-great-grandfather, Ranslow Smith. I hope to see the construction, the furnishings and maybe even experience the amenities at the "Four-Mile House."

Most of the information above came from the manuscript by Allen F. Johnson titled "The Four-Mile House of Rolling Prairie, Dodge Co., Wisconsin: A Village Hotel in Transition," dated April 30, 1983. Mr. Johnson used many resources, including local history books, census records and newspaper records to construct his narrative.

It is imperative that we, as genealogists and family historians, understand the times that our ancestors lived in. We need to understand where they lived, why they chose that place, how they lived, what food they ate, their occupations, their social activities, the history of the places they lived in, and the social, economic and political events that they experienced and how events changed their lives. I feel so fortunate to have this manuscript, and I look forward to visiting "my hotel" in Old World Wisconsin in the future.

Della's Journal - Christmas Cards Sent

This is Installment 55 of the Journal of Della (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944), 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. The last Journal entry is here.

Included in Della's 1929 Journal are lists of Christmas cards sent in 1928 and 1929. I have transcribed the list below:


Cards sent in December 1928 (symbol used for 1929):

* Aunt Libbie [and Samuel Crouch in Long Beach] - [1929]
* Myrtle & Ben [Milbank, in Long Beach] - [1929]
* Will Crouches & f[amily] - [1929]
* Mary Dyar & family - [1929]
* Chas Woodward & fam[ily]

* Geo[rge] Woodward & fam[ily]
* Mrs. Woodward
* Ella Stanton - [1929]
* Ruth & Louie S[nap] of house - [1929]
* Sarah Linney

* Mr. & Mrs. Benjamin
* Rose Kimball - [1929]
* Elta & Frank - [1929]
* Katie & Forrest - [1929]
* Geo[rge] Munger

* Georgie Potter
* Mr. & Mrs. Robinson - [1929]
* Clyde & Agness
* Florence Ahlstrum
* Mr & Mrs Carringer

* Bensons
* Trayer
* Phila & Geo[rge]
* Mr. Smith Rockwell Field
* Swenson & T.

* Mrs. Sample
* Henry Bowers - [1929]
* Mrs. Tresher - [1929]
* Lilly Barton
* Susie Morgan

* Mrs. Morland
* children Flora & Marie Kimball toys
* children Sherri Frankie & Billie Johnston trip
* children Hazel candy Avis Flood candy
* children Clyde Westland candy Mrs. Westland card

* E.G. Lupton
* Mrs. Putnam - [1929]
* Miss Thoren fruit - [1929]
* Mrs. Fannie Bazxter - [1929]
* Garlocks - [1929]

* Mrs. Easterbrook - [1929]
* Jim Doctor candy
* Florence Branaman


Many people on this list were also on the cards received list, and many are not mentioned in the daily Journal. My guess is that many of them are neighbors or acquaintances in San Diego.

I would sure like to know where the Woodwards are - I've looked in the census records but have not found a Charles Woodward that fits the known facts (born ca 1862 in WI). This is the first indication of a George Woodward, so I'll look for him.

NGS NewsMagazine - October-December 2007 TOC

The October-December 2007 issue of the NGS NewsMagazine (Volume 33, number 4) came last week. Here is the Table of Contents:


* "Kansas City - here we come!" by Ann Carter Fleming, CG, CGI - page 10. The NGS conference is in KC on 14-17 May 2008. This article discusses the conference plus other research opportunities in the area.

* Genealogy librarian's pre-conference: what are you missing?" by Kim S. Harrison - page 13.

* "Nothing is certain but death and taxes" by Tacy A. Lewis - page 16. This article is about property tax lists and their use in research. Good examples!

* "Starting your African-American research" by Char McCargo Bah - page 20. This article gives advice on oral history interviews, census, marriage, birth, and death records.

* "Substitutes for the 1890 census" by Christopher A. Nordmann, PhD, CG - page 23. This article concentrates on African-American resources - city directories, voter rolls, tax rolls, state censuses and newspapers.

* "Slave Era Insurance Registry" by Timothy Nathan Pinnick - page 27. This article is a nice overview of seldom considered resource - well done with good examples.

* "Confederate civilian records" by Victor S. Dunn, CG - page 32. This article discusses Union Provost Marshall files, Confederate Quartermaster General Department records, Southern Claims Commission, Confederate Papers relating to Citizens or Business firms, conscription records and prison records.

* "Searching Austrian military records" by Richard Camaur, JD, CG - page 36.

* "Crossword puzzle: land records" by Mary Clement Douglass, CG - page 40. This is an excellent puzzle!

* "Case study: The Parker and Gesterling suicides" by Jack Parker Hailman, PhD - page 45.


* "Yes, Virginia, you and and should do research in original record!" in the National Archives column by Claire Prechtel-Kluskens - page 41.

* "Oral history and interviewing" in the Beginning Genealogy column by Gary M. & Diana Crisman Smith - page 50.

* "Family Historian 3.1" in the Software Review column by Barbara Schenck - page 56.

* "Paperless Genealogy - Sensible? Worthwhile?" in the Technology column by Drew Smith, MLS - page 59

* "Thinking Like a professional historian" in the Writing Family History column by Harold E. Hinds, Jr., PhD - page 62

The list of Upcoming Events on page 64 covers events for November, December and January. That needs to be changed if they are going to publish the magazine at the end of the publishing "period."

One of the reasons I like this periodical is that most of the resources discussed are not online - it's a nice balance to other magazines that are almost 100% online research oriented. I think that reflects the more "traditional" stance of many NGS members - researchers, writers, conference speakers, etc.

CGSSD meeting on Saturday, 19 January

I received this announcement of the CGSSD program from Linda Hervig:

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meets on Saturday, January 19, 2008 from 9:00 am to noon.

* At 9:00, User Groups will meet for Family Tree Maker and Reunion/Macintosh.

* There will be a break at 10:15.

* At 10:30 after announcements, Mary Van Orsdol will present “What do you find in PERSI?”

The PERiodical Source Index is compiled by the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Periodicals containing genealogical information are indexed, within certain limitations. This online resource is available from the Carlsbad City Library. Copies of the articles can be ordered from ACPL.

Mary Van Orsdol is the Genealogy Librarian at Carlsbad City Library. She received her B.A. in history from the University of California, San Diego, and her M.A. in American history from the University of Minnesota. She received her M.L.S. from UCLA and has worked as a librarian for over 25 years. Mary has been the head of the Genealogy Division at Carlsbad City Library for 11 years. She researches her own family and has a strong research background in New Netherland.

We meet at the Robinson Auditorium complex on the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) campus in La Jolla. From North Torrey Pine Road turn at Pangea Drive into UCSD. Free parking is available in the parking garage on the left; use any A, B, or S space. Please refer to our website; or the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies website for driving directions and a map.

PERSI is one of the most important "traditional research" resources because most periodical articles are not every-word indexed in any database (only if the publisher has an index either online or on paper). The records in the periodicals are often unique and very helpful to solving brick-wall research problems.

Unfortunately, I'm going to be away this next weekend (no, I'm not going to the Chargers game...) and will miss this program. I'm counting on my CVGS colleagues to brief me on the PERSI presentation.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Free 1900 Census Images and Index at FamilySearch

The Legacy News blog mentioned that the 1900 US Census is available (except for Hawaii and Alaska) at the FamilySearch Labs Record Search web site. Read his post "How good are the Family Search Indexing Indexes?" about his successful search on the site.

You have to be a registered user of this site. Once you are signed on, you can search all of the indexed collections or select one of the collections from the list of databases. I clicked on the 1900 United States Census and put a name in the search box - I used Leroy Thompson, born 1880 in Tennessee (because I can't find him in the 1900 census and wondered if Ancestry and HQO missed him).

The search results came back with 3,900 partial matches, all 3-stars or less (no 5 stars). It didn't find any Leroy Thompson born in 1880 in Tennessee. I clicked on one of the other 3-star Leroys near the top of the list, and the link took me to a summary page for that person. I clicked on "View Original Image" and the census page image took a very long time to come up (like three minutes) - I'm wondering if this happens on every image, or just the first one?

There is an image zoom tool in the upper right hand corner, and a thumbnail image in the lower right hand corner that shows the visible portion of the whole page. You can move around on the image by dragging your mouse over the image. You can navigate to the Next, Previous or any other numbered page in the enumeration district. You can navigate to the Previous or Next match on the list. I saved an image, and it saved as a JPG file (3720 x 3768, 1.240 mb). You can print the image, and you get the full page as a portrait print. Both the Save and Print operations took a long time (like 60 seconds) to work.

When I tried to bring up a second page, the system hung up and made me wait for three minutes before I hit Refresh, and then I was back to the beginning screen. My whole computer got very slow after this experience and I had to reboot after this post. I really don't like the mouse dragging "hand" to navigate around the image - scroll bars are much better IMHO.

This is great news for online researchers. The 1900 US Census is online for FREE, but you'll have to be patient with the system until the bugs are worked out. It will be interesting to see how their servers will react when more people start using this database.

UPDATED: 1/16 - The computer slowdown prevented much editing of this post...I changed some details herein.

Many heads are better than one

Continuing my theme from yesterday about "Working Together Really Works!" I ran across Jasia's post on Creative Gene tonight about the Winter 2007 issue of the Michigan Genealogist magazine (this is a beautiful and well-done magazine). She provided a link that gave me almost an hour of reading pleasure.

Here is another example of the power of many people working together at the society and library level. Jasia's post illustrates that genealogy bloggers with local, regional and national interests can help other genealogists. If Jasia had not posted her blog, I would not have found the magazine, and would not have read all of the articles about different research topics, including many locality articles.

In this issue of the Michigan Genealogist magazine, there is an article about the October 2007 Family History Month presentations - and a link to the Michigan History, Arts and Libraries (MHAL) site, which includes a link to the Genealogy Workshops page with a list of the Powerpoint presentations given during October, along with the handouts. I read several of them - I know that the attendees at these presentations learned a lot from them. Some of the topics were similar to the October 2007 seminar I did for CVGS.

The magazine, the society and the state library are tremendous examples of a government body providing wonderful genealogy education resources for Michigan genealogy researchers. Even if a researcher couldn't attend the presentations, s/he can review the presentations and come away from an enjoyable hour full of ideas on how to research specific topics. Do other states, counties or cities do this? I would love to be a researcher in Michigan!

But that's not all on the MHAL page - there is a link to Genealogy Web Sites - with lists of web sites for many topics, with a Michigan emphasis. There is a link to Conducting Your Genealogy Research, and links to Michigan cemeteries, naturalization indexes, the 1870 Michigan census, and more.

UPDATED 1/16: Edited for clarity (which means I couldn't understand what I originally wrote...) - is it any better now?

If other state governments supported their state genealogy society and state library the way Michigan does, we would all be better educated and more resourceful. I don't even know if California does something like this. I'll check into it, and blog about it later.

Thanks Jasia - it's your fault I enjoyed myself tonight!

Ten Best Genealogy Blogs

I've shied away from listing any "top 10" list of genealogy blogs just because I would have to leave 40 or 50 of my favorites out - there are so many great writers and so much variety in the genealogy blogosphere. But other people haven't ...

Kimberly Powell on the web site and blog just posted her list "10 Genealogy Blogs Worth Reading" and ... guess who she listed first? I am quite sure that I don't deserve the honor, but I really appreciate her kind words and I will enjoy the added blog visitors. Thank you, Kimberly!

Kimberly also listed nine other worthy blogs in her post and added 30 more in her blog roll at Needless to say, every one of the blogs she lists are on my Bloglines list that picks up blog posts with regularity.

Kimberly has been writing about Genealogy for a long time, and has posted hundreds of well-researched and informative articles on her web site There is a lot of great information on this web site.

Online Research strategy for Russell Smith

I tried to get organized yesterday in my Russell Smith search, and started going down my Online Research form list, which needed revision. I thought others might be interested in my revised list.

My Online Research strategy is to search databases with the names of Russell, David, Lyman and George Smith in specific localities - Rhode Island (unknown County) and New York (Oneida and Jefferson Counties) - in the 1740-1840 time frame.

Here is my Online Research database list -

1) Search the LDS Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File (free) for member-contributed data.

2) Search the LDS International Genealogical Index (IGI) (free) for extracted or submitted data.

3) Search the Rootsweb WorldConnect user-contributed databases (free) for data on the given names in the specific counties in the 1750-1850 time frame.

4) Search the Ancestry user-contributed Family Tree databases ($$, free at some FHCs) - One World Tree and Public Member databases, but not Ancestry World Tree, since that is in the WorldConnect database.

5) Search the GenCircles user-contributed databases (free).

6) Search the We Relate user-contributed databases (free).

7) Search the My Heritage user-contributed databases (free).

8) Search the user contributed World Family Tree database ($$, many on CDs at libraries).

9) Search the Family Finder at (free) (enter name in search box) for user-contributed reports.

10) Search the Rootsweb Freepages at (free) for user-contributed reports.

11) Search the Rootsweb Web Sites at (free) for user-contributed reports.

12) Search the Ancestry Historical Records at ($$, free at some FHCs and libraries), especially census, vital military, land and court records.

13) Search the Ancestry Stories and Publications collection at ($$, free at some FHCs and libraries).

14) Search using the MyHeritage Search engine at (free, links to $$ sites).

15) Search the surname and locality book collection at HeritageQuestOnline (free at FHCs and some libraries, free at home with a participating library card).

16) Search Google Books at (free).

17) Search all Rootsweb databases at (free).

18) Search the USGenWeb archives at (free).

19) Search the USGenWeb State and county web sites at (free). Review the resources available there, especially the vital records, cemetery transcriptions, Bible records, etc.

20) Search the USGenNet user-contributed databases at (free).

21) Search the PERSI (PERiodical Source Index) on HeritageQuestOnline (free at FHCs and some libraries, free at home with participating library card).

22) Search the Rootsweb/Ancestry surname and locality message boards at (free). Post messages on these boards to try to draw responses from other researchers.

23) Search the GenForum surname and locality message boards at (free). Post messages on these boards to try to draw responses from other researchers.

24) Search the Rootsweb mailing list archives at (free). Subscribe to some of the mailing lists and post messages there.

25) Search the Google Web at (free) - especially on genealogy researcher web pages.

26) Search the University of Michigan "Making of America" database at (free).

27) Search the BYU "Family History Archive" book database at (free).

28) Search the New England Historic Genealogical Society databases ($$, free at some libraries) - especially the NEHGRegister archives, the Early American Newspapers, and the NY Will Abstracts 1787-1835.

29) Search the Footnote databases on ($$, free search, free at FHC and some libraries) especially the Revolutionary War Pension files and other military records.

30) Search the databases at ($$, free at FHC and some libraries) especially the historical newspapers, surname and locality books and Everton databases.

31) Search the databases at ($$, free at some libraries), especially the historical newspapers.

32) Submit a request to the DAR Patriot Index at and search the GRC National Index at (free).

33) Search the cemetery sites and (free)

34) Search the database indexes ($$, free search)

35) Search Olive Tree Genealogy at (free, links to $$).

36) Search free online data portals, such as,,, (free, links to $$ sites).

Note that this list does not cover the "traditional" resources found at repositories - libraries, genealogy societies, historical societies, museums, courthouses, and the like. That's another list!

I have updated this list in the past several months. If you have a suggestion for a user-contributed database or a useful web site with databases or information, especially for New York, please let me know in Comments or via email (

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Year was 1916 - Chula Vista isolated

In January 1916, people living in Chula Vista were isolated for several weeks as a result of RAIN. Not fire, not earthquake, not wind - just lots of rain.

Contrary to popular belief, it does rain in Southern California - sometimes. Here in San Diego, we get an average of 10.7 inches a year. Sometimes less (about 3 inches last year) and sometimes more (25 inches in 2005). But in 1916, it really rained. It was one of the biggest natural disasters in San Diego history.

In 1915, San Diego was in the middle of a drought - and was running out of water, which was collected behind dams in reservoirs, and flumed or piped to the city. Charles M. Hatfield came to the San Diego City Council and claimed to be a rainmaker. He said that he would make it rain and would fill Lake Morena (about 50 miles southeast of the city, which delivered water into Otay Lake) to overflowing, and would charge the city $10,000 - $1,000 per inch for the 40th to 49th inches added to the lake. The city agreed and Hatfield and his brother, Paul, set up their wooden tower at Lake Morena on 1 January 1916. They sent a chemical mixture designed to "enhance moisture" into the air for several weeks.

It started to rain on 10 January, and didn't stop until after 27 January. More than 29 inches fell in the mountains, the reservoirs filled, the San Diego River in Mission Valley flooded (there are pictures of this - about 1 mile wide bank to bank!). On 27 January, Sweetwater Dam was topped, and the valley between National City and Chula Vista was inundated. The Lower Otay Reservoir Dam was topped and the dam burst, sending a wall of water down the Otay River Valley, sweeping away homes, people, livestock and bridges. At least 14 people died in this valley south of Chula Vista.

The rainmakers walked the 60 miles back to town, and demanded payment for their successful efforts, unaware of the resulting damages. They were refused and threatened with physical violence by townspeople, and quickly left town, with an enhanced reputation. They returned later in 1916, demanded payment again, were refused again, and filed a suit, which lingered for more than 20 years before it was dismissed in 1938.

You can read more about the Hatfields and their rainmaking at the San Diego Historical Society web site, and in Richard Pourade's book "Gold In The Sun" history book.

Nearly every city and county in this country has a historical society or association, and often their web sites have records and stories such as these examples. You can "flesh out" your family histories by reading stories about historical events, and determining how these events might have affected your ancestors living in those places.

In my case, both of my San Diego great-grandparents and their children - Austin and Della Carringer, with their 24-year-old son Lyle, and Charles and Georgianna Auble, with 16-year-old daughter, Emily - lived near downtown San Diego. They weren't affected directly by the floods by all indications, but San Diego rail traffic was cut off from the north and the east. Surely they were without power for some time, outdoor wood must have been wet, and water supplies must have been affected. The dirt roads must have been a mess. Residents of Chula Vista were isolated for some time, with supplies coming down the Bay by boat. Residents in the Sweetwater, Otay and Tijuana River valleys were wiped out.

Yes, it does rain - but only occasionally - in Southern California! This week, the skies are clear, the air is warm (mid-70's for most of the week) and the hills are green (well, except for the burned areas from October!). Go Chargers!

Working Together Really Works!

One of the major problems with doing genealogy research using only online resources is that online researchers may become isolated and not know it. Sure, they may interact with other researchers on the Internet, and even receive packets of paper, web page files, genealogy software files, and the like. They may still be isolated from other more "traditional" researchers - those who search in repositories, place queries in magazines and periodicals, write periodical or journal articles, participate in genealogy societies, attend local or national conferences, etc. In most cases, these "traditional" genealogy researchers have decades of experience in researching, sourcing, analyzing, writing, and helping other genealogy researchers. Often, they want to gain more online research knowledge and experience.

Frankly, "working together" should be the mantra of every genealogy researcher, as well as every genealogy society trying to stay relevant in today's genealogy world. IMHO, it is the only way for societies to grow and succeed - by defining and adapting to a "consultation and learning" model rather than a "monthly lecture" model. Bringing the "traditional" and experienced researcher together with the enthusiastic online "Internet" researcher is the challenge, and there are tremendous benefits for both sets of people.

I will hold my own Chula Vista Genealogical Society up here as an example for this "consultation and learning" model. We have three meetings each month on our calendar, plus classes and weekly consultations. One of the meetings is our monthly society program, with a speaker on a genealogy-related topic. Another meeting is our Computer Group, which provides hands-on computer searching on the library computers, which includes Ancestry Library Edition. The third group is the Research Group - which talks about the genealogy news, offers the opportunity to discuss research problems and successes, with attendees suggestions for further research. The society will hold two all-day Saturday seminars this year to further educate our members and try to draw community interest and new members. We have a beginning genealogy class, a computer basics class and a FamilyTreeMaker class each year.

Our email list includes more than 70% of our members, and they get reminders of every society event, plus important genealogy news. We still send a printed newsletter to about half of our members, the other half downloads a PDF from the CVGS web site. We print up about 100 flyers each month and put them in local libraries, the FHCs and senior centers to stir community interest.

We have a blog - the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe at to communicate news, articles, and announcements to our members. If someone Googles [chula vista genealogy] our society and the blog are the first matches.

The amazing thing is that the only thing that costs us money is the speaker fee, the newsletter publication, and the flyer production. We are fortunate that our library partner provides venue space for free. We are fortunate that we have a core of knowledgeable and motivated volunteers that make the events and support activities happen. Hosting and running the meetings, sending emails, writing on the web site, and posting on the blog are all free - they just take time!

Many other societies do all of these things and more, and most of them are much larger than our 90 member society. But some societies don't - many have just one program meeting a month and don't do much else to educate their members, or help their members connect to other members with the same interests.

At our table at the San Diego Genealogical Society seminar and luncheon on Saturday were 8 people. Two of us had Jefferson County NY families, two had eastern Alabama families, and two had eastern New York families. Each pair was able to share with the other, demonstrating knowledge and interest while everyone else listened. Isn't that amazing? I wondered how many others of the 160 attendees had these locality interests, and did not benefit from our table talk. And what did I miss at other tables?

One of the persons at our table was a fairly new member, and wondered how she could connect with other researchers with similar surname or locality interests. I offered that there are several ways to do this -

* Post ahnentafel lists of members (names, dates, places) of 6 generations or more on the society web page and blog.
* Survey the members for localities of interest, with surnames.
* Create a card file of the surnames and locality interests of members - put the card file in the library and put a list on the web page.
* Place queries in the society newsletter for surnames and localities. Send them to the society email list, place them on the web site and blog.
* Hold special meetings for specific localities - counties, states, countries - once a year.

The key is to find the widest audience possible - within the society, at the library, in the community, in the region, on the Internet. Putting names with localities on the Internet permits anybody using a search engine to find the list, post or query - and the opportunity to make a contact.

We online researchers often forget that not all researchers are on the Internet every day, let alone every week, doing genealogy research. The CVGS survey in early 2007 indicated that only 24% of those with online access go on the Internet daily, and that 64% go on the Internet weekly. We estimate that 50% of our members don't access the Internet, and 30% don't use email.

If you are reading this post and are not participating in a local or regional genealogy society, and/or do all of your research only on the Internet, then you are, IMHO, penalizing yourself. Connecting with other researchers, both traditional and online, is absolutely vital to your continued genealogy research success. It's fun, too!

If you have other ideas for helping researchers connect to others, or for helping societies grow and help their members connect with other researchers, please tell me via email (, as a comment on this blog, or write your own blog post.

The Elusive Russell Smith - Post 5

This is a continuation of my series of posts - Post 4 is here that summarizes past research. I'm waiting for my Oneida County NY microfilms to come in - land indexes and will abstracts.

In the mean time, I thought I would construct a timeline for Russell Smith to see if I can figure out more items to look for or more places to look for them. I'm going to do this in plain text for ease of editing on the blog, although I have an MSWord form available with columns. I'm going to use a subjective "Proof Scale" (PS) based on Craig Manson's list, with "Reasonably Certain," "Likely," "Probably" and "Possibly" are the scale levels.


TIMELINE FOR RUSSELL SMITH (born ca 1770, died after 1812?)

* ca 1765 to 1775: BIRTH in Rhode Island (Source for date: 1800 census (age 26-45), 1800 Census (age 26-45), PS = Possibly. Source for place: 1880 census of Lyman Smith, PS = Possibly). Parents not known

* ca 1790-1792: RESIDENCE in Delta, Oneida County, NY "David Smith and his sons, David and Russell, came to ... near Delta..." (Source: "Our County and its People" book, page 461). PS = Probably

* ca 1790-1800: MARRIAGE to Esther --?--, perhaps in Oneida County NY (Source for date: implied from 1800 and 1810 census data, first child born before 1800. Source for name: Given in George Smith and Lyman Smith obituaries. Source for locality: conjecture). PS = Possibly

* ca 1795-1800: BIRTH of son, probably in Oneida County NY (Source: 1800 and 1810 census shows one male born before 1800).

* 1800: US CENSUS for Western town, Oneida County, NY (Russell Smith, males 1-0-0-1-0, females 0-0-1-0-0). PS = Probably.

* 1800: RESIDENCE: Adams town, Jefferson County, NY: Russell Smith mentioned in list of early settlers. PS = Possibly.

* ca 1800-1810: BIRTH of son probably in Oneida County NY (Source: 1810 census shows four males born between 1800 and 1810). PS = Possibly

* ca 1800-1810: BIRTH of daughter probably in Oneida County NY (Source: 1810 census shows one female born between 1800 and 1810). PS = Possibly

* 1805: BIRTH of son, Ranslow Smith (Source: 1850, 1860, 1870 Census records show ages resulting in 1804-1806, Bible record in possession of Randy Seaver gives exact date, written by son Devier Smith). PS = Likely

* 21 Feb 1807: BIRTH of son Lyman Smith at Rome, Oneida County NY (Source: Old World Wisconsin manuscript, quoting obituary in Dodge County Citizen dated 22 Aug 1889. PS = Probably

* 1810: US CENSUS for Oneida County, NY (no town listed) (R. Smith, males 4-1-0-1-0, females 1-0-0-1-0, page 301). PS = Possibly. I can't be sure that this is Russell, there were 2 R. Smith's enumerated in Oneida County NY, this one had more than one child

* 22 June 1812: BIRTH of son George Smith at Western, Oneida County NY (Source, Old World Wisconsin manuscript, quoting obituary in Dodge County Citizen dated 22 June 1876). PS = Probably

* After 1812: DEATH, date and place unknown.

* After 1812: BURIED, date and place unknown.

* 1810 and on: No cemetery, probate or land records found for Russell Smith in Jefferson County, NY.

As you can see, I've assumed that the Russell Smith in Oneida County NY in 1800, the Russell Smith who is an 1800 settler in Jefferson County NY, the R. Smith in Oneida County in 1810, and the Russell Smith who is the apparent father of Ranslow, Lyman and George Smith are the same person. This assumption requires Russell to travel in 1800 between two places, but they are fairly close. It also implies that the children were born in Oneida County NY, based on the obituary data, but that is the only evidence available to date.

What else do you see here? What else should I be looking for? I will add Deed and probate records, if found, to this list as time goes on.

Does a timeline like this help sort out the facts? I think it does, and I like assigning Proof Scale values to each item. Would a timeline that includes historical events in the locality also help? Probably, but it would require one to be made for each county or even town of interest.

Are there other proof scales available? I would prefer one that addresses

* Primary or secondary information
* Original or derivative documents
* Direct or indirect evidence

Is there one that assigns numbers or short words, or even abbreviations (e.g., P-O-D for primary-original-direct)?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Best of the Genea-Blogs - January 6-12, 2008

Here are my picks for great reads from the genealogy blogs for this past week.

My criteria are pretty simple - I pick posts that advance knowledge about genealogy, address current genealogy issues, are funny or poignant. I don't list posts destined for the Carnival of Genealogy, or my own posts (hopefully, others will do that!).

* "Presidential Privacy" by Janice Brown on the Cow Hampshire blog. Janice address privacy, identity theft and more. One of the interesting points for me was that Mike Huckabee is a cousin of Amelia Earhart!

* "Living People" by John Newmark on the Transylvania Dutch blog. John responds to my post on searching for living people, with additional thoughts and comments.

* "I Want to See Living People, I Want to see Dead People" by Thomas MacEntee on the Destination: Austin Family blog. Thomas offers his observations and comments on vital records access and searching for living people.

* "Genealogical New Years Resolutions" by David Allen Lambert on the blog. He passes a resolution list, from the elusive ancestor's point of view, from another David Lambert. Funny - almost takes the place of the Genealogue this week.

* "Will the Real Julia McDavid Please Stand Up?" by Craig Manson on the Geneablogie blog. Craig follows up last week's post with commentary about evaluating and analyzing evidence and sources, and making a proof argument.

* "Steve Morse: Always Improving" by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on the Tracing the Tribe blog. Schelly highlights recent changes to Steve Morse's One-Step web site, including the English front-end to a Russian language database, the addition of DNA tools, and a Polish index search. I had missed this until Schelly's post.

* "Kids and genealogy" by Pat Richley on the DearMYRTLE blog. Pat answers a reader's question about getting children interested in genealogy, and gives some excellent advice and examples. I can use this - I always thought my grandsons wanted to hear their ahnentafel - I think I'll take them to the cemetery instead!

* "If At First You Don't Succeed ... Keep Searching!" by Donna Pointkouski on the What's Past Is Prologue blog. Donna describes her great find in the Naturalization Records on Great catch, and thanks for telling us about it, and I'm looking forward to findingo ut why the Pointkouski name has so many variations.

* "Saying goodbye on our own terms" by Larry Lehmer on the Passing It On blog. Larry touched my heart with his post about dying peacefully, and encouraging people to write about their feelings and thoughts when loved ones die.

* "What will Happen to My Records?" by Lee Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee offers his wisdom to this problem, and provides an example of a Genealogical Codicil for a Will. Good material here!

I received some emails recently about ignoring some blogs and also about picking the same bloggers week after week. Part of my problem doing this post is that I have over 200 blogs on my Bloglines list (not all bloggers post regularly, however). For some reason, Bloglines only shows me three lines of text for some blogs, even if I select "Complete Entries" when I subscribe to the blog. I'm more aware of that now and will try to do better. The second point is that, with reading probably 500 or more blog posts each week, I miss some due to inattentiveness or busyness.

To create this post, I make a list on a notepad for the week, and rarely go back to specific blogs to see if I missed something. Bloglines is an imperfect tool - there are blogs that don't provide an acceptable feed (Megan's Roots World, for example, which I get by email). There are times when Bloglines doesn't pick up blog posts for days (e.g., Steve Danko has posted three articles since Friday, and none of them have shown up yet on Bloglines).

What has happened to The Genealogue? Is Chris Dunham buried under his pile of Christmas presents, or is he having too much fun with them? Is he stuck in the snow or without power, or is he vacationing in someplace sunny and warm? I hope it's the latter! His last post was 24 December - something about a turkey and hobos!

Please go to the blogs listed above and read their articles, and add the blogger to your Favorites, Bloglines, reader, feed or email if you like what you read. Please make a comment to them also - we all appreciate feedback on what we write.

Did I miss a great genealogy blog post? Tell me!

"The Year Was XXXX" collection

Juliana Smith on the 24/7 Family History Circle blog has been posting about a certain year each week on the blog.

There are now 89 posts, ranging from 1776 to 1969 - links are available at

Only 143 to go to fill in 1776 to 2008! That should keep her busy for several more years.

Seriously, these are excellent articles to provide historical context to our genealogy and family history research.