Saturday, February 16, 2008

Genea-Musings limericks - mine

Terry Thornton over at Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi has challenged all of the genea-bloggers to write limericks about their blogs or blogging in general for a contest, or carnival, with a due date of 18 February. He insists on an A-A-A-B-B-A rhyming scheme, and wants up to three examples of a blogger's poetic skills.

Genea-Musings did this once before here, but they were limericks with the A-A-B-B-A scheme of things.

Here are my three --

Randy's Genea-Musings are fair,
But he's a Geneaholic aware
And the CV Genealogy Cafe is rare.
All his blog posts are dandy,
They sound just like Randy,
Prolix and without compare.

(c) Randy Seaver, 2008.


Ancestors, stories and biography,
Telling all about the family,
Make for a fine genealogy.
Unless ancestors are elusive
Then it's not conclusive,
But that's family history.

(c) Randy Seaver, 2008.


There was a blogger in the sun,

Always researching on the run,
But, alas, his genealogy was never done.
He wrote stories about San Diego
With people from a long time ago,
That made his work really fun.

(c) Randy Seaver, 2008.


Thank you to all of my genea-blogging limericists who contributed limericks about Genea-Musings, and me, here.

Letters from Home - Post 11

This is the tenth letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in the San Diego, California area after 1887. An explanation of the family members and situation is here.


Letter from D.J. Smith to daughter Della (Smith) Carringer. Envelope addressed to Mrs. H.A. Carringer, No. 558 - 16th Street, corner of H, San Diego California, return address of McEntee House, McCook Neb, postmarked McCook Nebr ?? Nov 1891, no stamp, postmarked on back San Diego Cal Nov 21 1891 2 PM.

On stationary of M.H. Bacon, General Broker,

McCook Neb, Nov 15th 1891

Dear Children,

Good evening how do you do tonight, Delley why don't you rite a line and let me know how you and the boy are getting along. I got a line from Austin stating that the babey was born and that it was a boy, but that was dated the 3d and I have not heard nothing more. Last Sunday I rote you a letter, and mailed it, and Monday morning I got Austin's few lines and then in the evening I rote you and the babey but have not had a letter since.

You know I worry about you children at such times, of corse I need not, as I know you have the best of cair and do have the best of judgement yourself, how to take cair of yourself and the babey boy. I trust you and him both are doing well and he may be a good boy to his mother and father. May his path be strait and he ... a model boy. This is my wish as yours.

Now Delley I got him a present and would have sent it before but have ben waiting for Mati to get something ready for you and your Ma for a Christmas present. She sed it would not be of much value but more of a keepsake. I helped her to get a present for the babey. I may as well tell you what I got for the old boy, it is a Babey Case squair with box for powder to you know what when they chafe or scald and little comb to comb his head and ring ... so Mati has a nice dress for him and a little bonett for Christmas. I have them in my room and will send them by Express as soon as Mati is ready with yours and her mothers.

Now I will close by saying good night to you all and hope to have a letter tomorrow from you. By By with Love a kiss, a fat hug to the boy boy. Yours, D.J. Smith.


There's been another blessed event in San Diego - the birth of Lyle Lawrence Carringer to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer on 2 November 1891. After the loss of baby Devier David Carringer, Austin and Della will treat this one very gently and watch him very carefully.

DJ is a proud grandpa again (he has Davie's little girl, Eva Etta Smith by now in McCook), and he has fatherly advice for Della and Austin. Mati is going to send a gift - I often wonder what it was. DJ's tells us what his gift is.

DJ is staying at the McEntee House, which on the 1889 Sanborn Map for McCook, Nebraska is right across the alley from the D.D. Smith Livery near the railroad tracks.

Friday, February 15, 2008

It's Academy Awards time - the AGFH of course!

I knew there was method to my forgetfulness - I posted my candidates for my best posts on Genea-Musings for 2007 here, then neglected to pick one! Well, Jasia has stirred me to pick five ... in five different categories, and award them the, hmmm, let's call it the "Randy" - a beautiful small trophy of Rodin's The Thinker.

The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is The Best of The Best! It's Academy Awards time... time for the Academy of Genealogy and Family History aka AGFH (an esteemed organization that all genea-historian bloggers who participate in this edition of the COG will become founding members of) to honor their best blog posts of 2007 in the following 5 categories:

1) Best Picture - Best old family photo that appeared on your blog in 2007. Tell us which you liked best and why.

And the "Randy" goes to .... big fanfare ... The Train Station

The picture of my grandmother Bess Seaver, Aunt Geraldine Seaver, my future parents Betty Carringer and Fred Seaver, my aunt Emily Taylor and her daughter, Dorothy Chamberlain, and my grandparents Lyle and Emily Carringer - the occasion was Bess and Gerry arriving at the Union Station in downtown San Diego, looking like fashion plates, to attend my parents wedding in July, 1942.

2) Best Screen Play - Which family story that you shared in 2007 would make the best movie? Who would you cast as your family members?

And the "Randy" goes to -- The Adventures of Benjamin Franklin Seaver

This was a series of 10 posts obtained from historical newspaper articles about one mariner in the early 1800's who was captured by the Barbary Pirates and ransomed - he survives and dies off the coast of Argentina in 1814 - see here. It would make a great movie, I think. Who would star in it? Obviously, Russell Crowe as Benjamin Franklin Seaver!

3) Best Documentary - Which was the best informational article you wrote about a place, thing, or event involving your family's history in 2007?

And the "Randy" goes to -- Dear Genea-Man - What is "Proof?"

This was the most difficult selection of the bunch - I was going to pick my Della's Journal series but that wasn't original writing on my part, just transcribing.

4) Best Biography - Which was the best biographical article you wrote in 2007?

And the "Randy" goes to --- Today Is "Gramp's" 116th Birthday

This was about my maternal grandfather, Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976), who was a wonderful man!

5) Best Comedy - Which was the best funny story, poem, joke, photo, or video that you shared on your blog in 2007?

And the "Randy" goes to --- My Censuswhacking Index

The award is given for the "body of work" - meaning that I'm honoring myself for all the time I've spent searching the census records for strange, curious, raunchy, and funny names. Not all of them were in 2007, of course!

So that's my list of Academy of Genealogy and Family History Awards winners.

I still feel that I have to give a "Randy" for the Best Post of 2007 on Genea-Musings ---

And the "Randy" is awarded to --- A Challenging Moral Dilemma

This post was about my semi-fruitless search for a possible step-sibling of mine, and my anticipation of a phone call out of the blue saying "Hi, I'm your brother (or sister), tell me about my father."

This last one was a highly competitive award - I listed 28 posts on my Best of Genea-Musings for 2007.

Letters from Home - Post 10

This is the ninth letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in the San Diego, California area after 1887. An explanation of the family members and situation is here.


Letter from Ella in Clay Center Kansas to Austin and Della Carringer in San Diego. No envelope.

Clay Center Kan.,
Sabbath, May 25 1890

My dear friends,

In sorrow we read the notice of your sweet little one's death, it fell so sudden on us. We write in sending our sympathy and love to you in this your bereavement, but may we all truly say that's best, which God sends. 'Twas his will - it is mine. It is very hard to think that sometimes there is no reason, howsoe'er defended - but has one vacant chair. But every human path leads on to God. He holds a myriad finer threads than gold and strong as holy wishes, drawing us upward to himself. Behind the clouds the sunshine lurks, through showers the sunbeams fall. And God, who loveth all his works, hath left his hopes for all.

I thank you very much for the little one's picture. Sweet little one's just lent to us for a short time to love and then taken to himself - to be in Glory.

Gene took down sick last Friday with pneumonia. He is not able to sit up yet, but is improving and I think by tomorrow he will be able to get up. The rest of us are well. Cousin Homer's are well and ask to be remembered to you in your sorrow.

I expect to go back to Colorado soon. I don't have as good health here as in Col.

My love to all - Mother and aunt sends their love to you both. Please write to them. Yours with love, Ella.


This letter is from Ella Stanton, who is a second cousin of Austin Carringer. She lived with her family in Boulder, Colorado but wrote this letter from Clay Center, Kansas. Again, we see a traveler - people used the train and coach trails to travel to visit family, conduct business, etc.

Health is a big concern for many of the people in these letters - they get sick and need to change the "air." Lowlanders go to a higher place, and vice versa. Temperature and humidity at both extremes can cause respiratory problems and discomfort. I think Gene is her husband, but I don't know for sure.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Valentine's Day Gift

Happy Valentine's Day to all genea-lovers ... here's my virtual bouquet for you (nothing but the best, I say!).

Miriam at the Ancestories2: Stories about Me for my Descendants blog has a prompt for St. Valentine's Day memories. I want to address only one of them here -

"What is the nicest card or gift you have ever received for Valentine's Day? Who sent it to you?"

Oh boy, this is easy! Flash back to 14 February 1970 - it's a Saturday night. I've been dating Linda seriously for about 6 months and we know that we are "in love." We've had a lot of fun, met each other's families, talked about the future, what we want from a marriage, and know each other pretty well.

We were invited to a Valentine's Day party at Linda's cousin's house in Ocean Beach. I've met them before, and Sue's husband, Bill, is a funny and raunchy guy - as I thought I was. We go, and meet many of their friends, and I'm introduced as "Linda's good friend, Randy." One of the ladies (Sue's age then - maybe 40ish) corners me and says "How good a friend are you?" giving me a wink and raised eyebrow.

Without a blink, I blurt out "well, I'm proposing to her tonight, but don't tell anybody!" She says "Don't worry, I'll keep your secret" and gave me knowing glances the rest of the night. After we leave the party, she went to Sue and said "Guess what Randy told me" and tells Sue the secret (there's a lesson learned here, eh?).

We don't go directly home, as I still have to fortify my courage a bit more. We stopped at our favorite bar, King Luis Inn, for a drink and some bar singing (we loved doing this while dating). None of the regulars were there, so I can't blurt out the secret to them. I had talked to my Catholic priest friend, Father Jack, who was visiting SD, and had suggested that we meet at the bar, so he is there when we get there. When Linda goes to the ladies room, I tell Father Jack my secret.

Now well fortified and well committed, I carefully drive us to Linda's apartment and we have an appropriate amorous interlude. It's time to exchange Valentine's Day cards and gifts, and I only have a card. She opens my card and inside I've written "Will you be my Valentine ... forever?" She looks at me, now down on my knees, and says "does this mean your proposing to me" and I said "Will you marry me?"

Now - to answer Miriam's prompt - the absolute BEST gift I ever received on Valentine's Day was Linda's answer - "YES!!!!!"

Of course, another appropriate amorous interlude occurred, and I went to my apartment an hour later. We went to church on Sunday and talked to the pastor, and asked him if he would marry us on 21 March 1970. He said he would, and we set off on the whirlwind five weeks of preparation and planning, that culminated in a 7-day honeymoon in Acapulco, but that's another story.

Wasn't that a great gift? Of course, Sue called Linda that Sunday and said coyly "Did you two have a good time last night?"

Isn't she beautiful? After 38 years, we're a bit older, grayer and heavier, but this is my Valentine girl forever.

Now I need to go to the store and get some flowers and a card, and present them to her today. I tried to think of an appropriate gift for her from her genealogy addicted hubby - what do you think I should give her?

* A picture collage of me as I've aged?

* A 25 page genealogy report of the descendants of Torger Olsen (her 3rd great-grandfather from Norway)

* A large framed 10 generation pedigree chart done in calligraphy suitable for hanging on the wall opposite my pedigree chart?

* A visit from her daughter and two grandsons for the weekend!

Hey, I'm the Romantic Engineer and Family Historian.

As you might guess, she's getting the last one. It's Logan's 2nd birthday tomorrow and we're going to have some fun (and excitement, confusion, and not much sleep).

As a bonus - here are three of my favorite love songs --

* "I Love How You Love Me" by the Paris Sisters (1961)

* "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers (1965)

* "All I Have to Do Is Dream" by the Everly Brothers (1958)

Letters from Home - Post 9

This is the eighth letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in the San Diego, California area after 1887. An explanation of the family members and situation is here.


Letter from Davie Smith to Austin Carringer. Envelope addressed to Mr. Austin Carringer, Box 513, National City, San Diego Co, Cal. return address D.D. Smith, proprietor of Blue Front Livery Stable, McCook, Nebraska, 2 cent stamp postmarked May ?? 1890.

Letterhead of D.D. Smith, proprietor of Livery, Feed and Sale Stable,

McCook Neb May 27, 1890

Dear Brother and All,

Your sad letter recieved and was very sorry to learn that you had to give up your little boy but such is life. We will all have to suffer such loss more or less. I know it is very hard to give them up but then we cannot help it when they are called on we can only make the best of it.

Well, Pa has gone to Hastings to see a doctor to treat his eyes if there is any chance to save them I am afraid that he will go blind if he does not have some help for them soon. Well he sold the ranch but will not have any money left when he pays up what he owes but I tell him it is better than to live the way he has been waring his life away over things up their. After he made the trade I had to go up their and turn over the town a little to get the stuff he traded for as he came away with out it and they would not shipp things but they found out that they weren't dealing with DJ. When I got their and came to time they would beat him out of everything if I had not went up he came home almost crazy and you bet I was hot and I read the right act to them and they were all very nice after that.

I shall move the stock down near McCook ... where so that I can look after them for him. I shall sell one the first chance I get so as to move and enclose you Draft for $85.00 dollars $10.00 Pa sent to Mother and the balance for yourselfe. Money is terrable close here and I had to borrow it but you have been very easy on me but you will never loose a dollar of it as I will sell out one of these days and then it will come in a bunch and do some good. Pa has 320 acres left yet.

Love to all, Bye Bye all well, Dave.


Here is the first letter reacting to the family tragedy - baby Devier David Carringer, the first son of Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer died on 10 May 1890. I will post a picture of Devier and the Death Card for Devier in a later post.

We get another look at the problems that Devier J. Smith has - he is going blind and everybody took advantage of him when he sold the Ranch in St. Francis, Kansas. Davie has to go and gather the stuff DJ rightfully owns. What a dutiful son - and he threatens to use force if necessary - probably typical for a 27 year old man on the frontier, but he has a wife and child.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CVGS Research Group meeting notes - 2/13/08

The monthly CVGS Research Group meeting was held in the Library Conference Room today with 10 attendees.

After Randy reviewed the monthly Genealogy News, we discussed research problems of three of the attendees.John is doing research for Norma, an email contact, who is searching for her Sandoval and Verdugo ancestry in northern Mexico. She has names, birth dates and birth places for three of her grandparents, and names for one set of great-grandparents, but can find no more information. They settled in Cochise County, Arizona in the 1890 to 1915 time frame. The problem statement was "how can Norma find records of these people in Mexico?" John searched the 1900 to 1930 census data, the World War I Draft Registrations, the US/Mexico Border Crossing Cards, and the LDS FamilySearch IGI, and found corroborative information, but could find no additional information about the families. The group suggested researching Arizona birth and death records online; if there is a Social Security number then obtain the SSA; check local newspapers for obituaries and articles; search the FHL Catalog for microfilms of the churches in Mexico where they were from, and order the films and read them; scan online databases, message boards and mailing lists for the surnames and the localities to find other researchers who might have more information; identify siblings (from the Arizona records) and obtain their records also - they may identify parents names or birth locations.

Ann brought an old Bible, which had been badly damaged by exposure to water, heat and dirt in an attic or basement. The Bible dates to the 1830's and is in poor condition. Pasted on the inside of the front cover is a poem written in 1839 to commemorate a 22 year old wife who died, one of Ann's ancestors. There are two obituaries pasted on the inside of the back cover, and there is some handwriting on the inside back cover. Ann wanted to know how to save the family information, and how to preserve the Bible itself. The group recommended taking digital pictures without a flash of the pages for which she wants to capture the information. We recommended that she consult with an archivist or book preservation company to preserve the Bible.

Phyllis told us an interesting story. Her father had three wives and families, but she didn't know that until her step-sister Kay contacted her several years ago. They have been trying to find information on Kay's mother, Rosa, and have found quite a bit. Rosa was adopted, married, had two children, and left the family when Kay was 8 years old. They think they know her birth date in 1916. There is a family rumor that she committed suicide in Nebraska in the early 1950's. They have reviewed the local newspapers for the death, and the county vital records, with no luck. They contacted the state adoption people, and they require a death certificate for Rosa before they will provide any information. The group suggested looking for death records in nearby counties in Nebraska and Kansas. It is possible that Rosa didn't die then but married again and left records somewhere else. If that happened, there should be a divorce record from her first husband that might provide more information. This is one of the most diffcult 20th century challenges - multiple wives, mysterious death, adoption, etc.

Dick noted that had excellent records of cemetery records - he's found quite a few of his relatives there. The group pointed out that and the USGenWeb County web sites have lots of cemetery records also.

Randy passed around examples of the California Voter Records for some of his ancestors to show the information provided. He also passed around the results of his search in the Oneida County NY will abstracts and grantor/grantee deed indexes. These were obtained from FHL microfilms of the records and saved to his flash drive at the FHC, then printed at home from the saved images.

This was a fun and informative meeting with lots of interaction among the attendees. Having more eyes reading and brains working on difficult research problems can yield good results.

Colleen Fitzpatrick at CGSSD on Saturday, 2/16

Linda Hervig sent this notice along about the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meeting on Saturday, February 16, 2008 from 9:00 am to noon.

9:00 - User groups for Legacy and RootsMagic

10:15 - A break and refreshments

10:30 - Announcements followed by Program

"Database Detective - Extracting Meaningful Information from the Internet and Your Own Files" -- Colleen Fitzpatrick, Ph.D.

Colleen Fitzpatrick comes to CGSSD for the first time to discuss Forensic Genealogy.

Compiling facts is not good enough. It is more important to extract information from these facts by finding patterns that appear among names, dates, addresses and events. Also one needs to be alert for patterns that are interrupted, or anticipated patterns that are not followed. What is missing from your data can be just as revealing as what actually appears. What patterns lurk in city directories that could reveal the living conditions of a family? How can you use a city directory to determine approximate birth dates of the children? What can a collection of birth records tell you about the weather conditions during the period your ancestors lived? Innovative ways to use conventional materials will be discussed, as well as unusual resources that might help fill in the gaps of your family story.

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. Signs will mark directions to our meeting room. Please refer to our website; or the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies website for driving directions and a map/

My thanks to Linda for her faithful notice about the CGSSD programs.

I hope to attend Colleen's talk, but I'm subject to car availability as my daughter and grandsons are here this weekend.

Letters from Home - Post 8

This is the seventh letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in the San Diego, California area after 1887. An explanation of the family members and situation is here.

Letter from Josephine Vaux to cousin Della (Smith) Carringer. Envelope addressed to Mrs. H.A. Carringer, Box 513, National City, San Diego Co, Cal., postmarked on back National City Cal Mar 2 1890.

Colorado Springs, Feb 23rd /90
Cousin Dell,

We received your photos the night before I left for Neb. hadn't time to even write an acknowledgement. I think the pictures are very natural indeed and the baby is good I know. It must make quite an addition to your work also the pleasure to have a baby in your house. How nice they are and how proud we feel of our first-born. The next and next seem to be first as nice, there never being any to spare.

My visit to Neb. was not for pleasure entirely although I had a very pleasant time wherever I went.

I have been sick most of the time since last May. I had a severe sickness with nervous prostration last spring not being able to do anything until this winter. Soon as I was able to travel Nellie, Sadie & I went to Salt Lake City for the change of altitude. I gained but returned too soon and had a run of fever after reaching home. I failed until I went to Neb. and stayed four weeks. I gained there wonderfully and have kept going since.

Geo went to Neb. with me and bought 21 fine livery horses all young and raised like pets. They seem to be inclined to be a little afraid of city life, but do not act as if they would run away. Nellie & I ride every pleasant day. My brother-in-law has been here all winter & he drives for us.

Glad to hear your mother is going so well. We saw all the folks in McCook all seemed happy as clams in high water. I stayed all night with Mati - I made C sleep on the lounge, ha ha. Your father talks of coming there soon as Dave can sell to take him and family with him. Geo. bought his horses at Bellville but I didn't go as I intended because Geo must ride all night & I could not do that. I remained at Aurora Neb. visiting old friends returned via B&M RR. Stayed another week in McCook. Your mother won't take care of Mati's grandchildren just yet awhile I know for the coast is clear there yet.

Nellie worked in an uptown express office all last year at $50.00 per mo as cashier and will go back May 1st and take the same position. She is now taking short hand & type writing also singing lessons, she is right busy. Every body had La Grippe but are all over now & nothing heard of it any more. Glad you like Cal. so well & it has done you all so much good. We haven't had but very little snow this winter. I wrote to Mati today. Nellie is playing on her piano & I can hardly keep my feet still to write. I keep a hired girl now right along.

Tell cousin Abby we would be glad to hear from her. Tom & Sadie are doing well in school. Tom is in the 7th grade Sadie the 4th. Weather is beautiful now. Geo sold half interest last Sept. to an Ohio man (nice man).

Love to all, write soon.


Joe is Josephine (Searl) Vaux, wife of George P. Vaux and mother to Tom, Sadie and Nellie Vaux; this family resided in Colorado Springs. George Vaux is a first cousin once removed to Della (Smith) Carringer.

Della and Austin apparently sent pictures of their baby, Devier David Carringer, to this Vaux family.

These people sure get around - Salt Lake City, Belleville KS, Aurora NE, McCook NE and who knows where else.

I'm wondering who "C" is that she made "sleep on the lounge." I think it was probably George Chenery, Matie (Della's sister) first husband. He may have children, since she mention's Matie's grandchildren - but there may be some "social problem" with the family. Wouldn't it be great to be a "fly on the wall" in the houses of these folks? Not in the voyeurism sense, but for the clarity of relationships and personalities, etc. Well, maybe the voyeurism too!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Genea-Musings Limericks - not mine!

Terry Thornton on the Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi blog challenged the genealogy bloggers to write limericks about genealogy and blogging in his post titled Blog/Blogger/Blogging/Poem/Poets.

Great idea, but alas... I've tried for several hours to come up with something funny and rhyming, but have a poetic block or something. But others have done a good job of it, for which I'm grateful.

Thomas MacEntee at the Destination: Austin Family blog has created limericks and haikus for a number of genealogy bloggers - see his post Genea-Poetry: Limericks, Haikus but no Quatrains. Thomas' creations about Genea-Musings are:


There once was a young man from SD
blogged of musings about the genea
but what oft takes his heart
not a family chart
but grandchildren of which he has three


"Warm climes," said Randy
only cold I can locate
is "trail" whilst searching.

(c) by Thomas MacEntee, 2008


Lori Thornton of the Smoky Mountain Family Historian blog posted a limerick about Genea-Musings as a Comment on one of my posts:

Near the organ in Balboa Park,
Lived a blogger who's right on the mark,
When it comes to his picks
He has a great mix
That will leave no great post in the dark.

(c) Lori Thornton, 2008.


Terry Thornton, who writes the Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi blog, has posted three limericks about Genea-Musings as a comment to this post:

Seaver blogs daily from Chula Vista
And mentions his sweetie, Angel Linda,
In posts and articles that are nifty.
a mention by Randy
makes hits just dandy
A Seaver blog avalanche fiesta!

Seaver is one of the kings
of bloggingdom things.
He dances and sings ---this aerospace guy
who loves to eat pie ---
But hasn't any wings.

There is a blogger named Seaver
Who posts and posts most eager
And when we all need a dealer
of help and advice
both naughtly and nice
We turn to Randy leader beaver.

all (c) Terry Thornton, 2008.


And Bill West of the West in New England blog contributed this one in Comments also (note that a Boston accent is required here):

An ace genealogy mister
Who lives out in old Chula Vista
Climbs family trees
With greatest of ease
Without even raising a blister!

(c) Bill West, 2008


GreenmanTim from the Walking the Berkshires blog contributes this limerick in Comments to this post:

For Randy, who's Genea-musing
Illuminates posts of his choosing,
Conducive to eager perusing,
So now let us praise,
His most generous ways,
It is he we should all be enthusing!

(c) Tim Abbott, 2008


Janice Brown on the Cow Hampshire blog has penned this limerick about your humble scribe --

Randy is dandy no matter what topic
Without glasses his focus is purely myopic
And his "
elevator speech" is quite gyroscopic.
Prolific is one word that oft comes to mind
When viewing his hundreds of musings combined
Residing he does near the Cancer of Tropic.

(c) Janice Brown, 2008.


Thank you to Thomas, Lori, Terry,Bill, Tim and Janice for their creativity!!!

If anybody else puts one together about Genea-Musings, I will post it here also. I really appreciate the good humor and creativity of my genea-blogger friends.

I need to get with the flow here and put some limericks together. Now what rhymes with Chula or Vista? Or San Diego (away we go? ho-ho-ho? dough) ? Seaver (beaver, cleaver, fever, conceiver, deceiver, ...)? Randy (candy, dandy, handy, sandy)?

UPDATED: 2/12, 7:30 PM: Added Terry's and Bill's fine contributions.
UPDATED 2/13, 4 PM: Added Tim's excellent limerick.
UPDATED 2/16, 9 PM: Added Janice's wonderful work.

Pressure's really on now - my bar is really high!

"Genealogy in the 'Information Age': History's New Frontier?"

Mary Petty posted recently about the history of genealogy on the Transitional-Genealogists-Forum mailing list. Elizabeth Shown Mills responded to Mary's post by noting that

"...May I add that, if any are interested in pursuing the past vs. present vs. future of genealogy a bit further, they might be interested in the NGSQ paper, "Genealogy in the Information Age: History's New Frontier?" posted at . This originated as NGS's centennial address, but grew before NGSQ published it."

I heartily recommend this article to every genealogy researcher and family historian. ESM essentially tells us how genealogy research has related to historical research over several centuries, and demonstrates that the relationship has not been wonderful over time (but seems better now).

My reply to Elizabeth's post included

"...we need to know our history so that we don't make the same mistakes in whatever we do - our own research, writing and publishing, doing client research and in our societies.

"Even though it [the article] was written in 2003, I found it interesting that there was scarce mention of the use of the Internet to socially network with other researchers, bring self-publishing to anybody with a keyboard, and open access to original source material to everybody online with a checkbook. The times have changed, haven't they?

"Many of us self-identify ourselves as 'Family Historians;' this article suggests 'Generational Historians'" would be a better definition and makes an excellent case for the designation."

I really appreciate that Elizabeth provided a link to this article and I encourage all genealogy researchers and fmaily historians to read it, understand it and learn from it. It should be "must reading" for all of us.

Letters from home - Post 7

This is the sixth letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in the San Diego, California area after 1887. An explanation of the family members and situation is here.


Letter from D.J. Smith in Kansas to wife Abby (Vaux) Smith in San Diego California. No envelope.

Spring Ranch, Aug 29/89

Dear Granma,

Yours at hand yesterday, two of them, but I opened the one you rote last first so you see I got the news first. Wal, I am so glad that it is over and Delley and boy are doing so nicely. Yes Delley will get along all right and you be shure and not let her get up to soon, but keep her bed untill she gets her strenth then she will be strong after she gets up. Matey goes home Saturday. You need not worry about me I can get along some way to pull through in time, but it seems long to me. But we hafto bear with patience. It may be a year before I can sell, but I will sell the first chance. Ma, I can't think of throwing away our hard earnings for a little sum when we need it in our old ages. Am I right, I am shure we can sell another season if we can't this fall. Love to all and kiss the boy babey for Granpa, me you know. By By yours.

Spring Ranch Aug 29/1889

Young husband - Delley, the papers say the bustle must go. Mrs. young wife - yes Austin, but when the bustle goes the woman will go with the bustle.

Spring Ranch Aug 27/89

Granma, marriage is the cure for love. There now your joking ceases. For well you know the remedy is worse than the disease.

Yours D.J.S.


This is the first letter from DJ after the birth of his grandson, Devier David Carringer. He seems happy! And he has advice for everybody, per usual.

DJ is struggling with the financial situation - he doesn't want to sell the Ranch for too little because then he and Abby will have nothing left to live on in their old age.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Essays about Homestead History

The Public Broadcasting System had a television series called The Frontier House in 2002. In the process of completing research, they have pieced together diaries, letters, newspaper articles, and official documents to give them a window into the day-to-day lives of settlers who actually lived on the American frontier. Their stories of adventure, endurance, humor, and determination are the basis of a series of essays posted at

The titles of the essays include (with links):

* Uncle Sam Is Rich Enough to Give Us All a Farm: Homesteaders, the Frontier and Hopscotching Across America

* Getting Started: Packing and Preparing for a New Life

* "Hardship and Glory": Life on the Trail

* "The Little Old Sod Shanty on the Claim": Creating a Home on the Frontier Part I

* "It is Very Aristocratic to Have a Bed at All": Creating a Home on the Frontier, Part II

* "Without Peas and Things Put Into It": Food on the Frontier

* "There is No Country Like the Crow Country": The Crow Indians and Montana Settlers

* "The Descent of Civilization: The Extermination of the American Buffalo

* How the West Was Fun: Recreation and Leisure Time on the Frontier

* "Usually, the Teacher Has Nothing to Say About the Situation for Schoolhouse": Frontier Education and the One-Room Schoolhouse

* Conquering the Wild West Without Firing a Single Shot: The Northern Pacific Railroad and Those Who Built It

* "The Largest, Longest, Running Agricultural and Environmental Miscalculation in American History": The Myth and Lagacy of the Frontier.

These 3 to 4 page essays are all written by Christopher W. Czajka and are very well done. I enjoyed reading four of them, and will revisit the list in the days ahead. Now I want to see the videos - I missed them when they were on TV.

The Bibliography listing the resources used to write the essays and develop the videos are at

My SMITH, VAUX and CARRINGER families were the ones who hopscotched across the country from New York and Pennsylvania in the 1840's to San Diego by the 1890's. I have daydreamed about the places they lived, their experiences traveling and settling and the hardships they endured, but have not really studied the "life and times" of my frontier ancestors.

What other resources for Western Life education and research are there? Tell me!

PS. PBS also showed Texas Ranch House in 2006 with Lisa Cooke (Genealogy Gems blogger and podcaster) family as the "stars." I missed that too, unfortunately!

Letters from home - Post 6

This is the fifth letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in the San Diego, California area after 1887. An explanation of the family situation is here.


Letter from Devier D Smith in McCook, Nebraska to his mother Abby (Vaux) Smith in San Diego. Envelope with return address of D.D. Smith, proprietor of Blue Front Livery Stable, McCook Nebraska. Addressed to Mrs. D.J. Smith, National City Cal, c/o Austin Carringer. Postmark unreadable.

On letterhead of D.D. Smith, proprietor of Livery, Feed and Sale Stable,

McCook Neb June 9 1889

Dear Mother and all,

I have not heard from any of you folkes for over two months. Have written two letters in that time and now will try my luck again.

Business is terable quiet this year. Making a living and that is about all. Money is terable close. I have got every thing in good shape and I will send Austin some money by the first of the month if nothing happens. I wrote him in refereance to it but have not recieved any answer. I will get the back interest for him by that time I think any way. I have 12 head of horses now and are all fat. Also have been painting all of my buggies the last month and have not scarcely taken time to eat at meal time.

We had a large fire here a short time ago. Burnt all of the frame stores on the east of Mane St. Now they have commenced to rebuild them of brick 5 in number.

Bye the way, I suppose you will all be surprised of you know I was married. Never the less it be true! I was married on the 20th of May, and would have let you known before but looked for a letter from you folkes any day and kept putting it off. I told the girls to write but they have been so busy all of the time. I sent you her picture last summer and name. Her folkes live in Jefferson Colo about 80 miles from Denver. We are all getting along fine.

I tell you it beats a "Batchelor's" all to the ---- I think we are elected to live in McCook for a while yet as any one cannot sell out for a good price: in fact could not get my money out now and the girles are satisfied now so it will have to be.

There is lots of new houses going up but no sale for property at all.

I think Matie will get married before long from all appearances. I have been buying under clothes for her and now have got to spent a silk one. She does not know just the time yet and so I don't know as she will say a thing to you folkes or not so don't tell her that I said any thing about it, but will let you know before hand.

D.J. is coming down before long he wrote me the other day.

Well I am not much of a hand to write much you know and will close for this time. Hoping this will find you all well as it leaves us. Leava sends her love and a big "hug".

Love to all, By By, Davie.


Here is the first real news in these letters - Davie got married to a woman named Leava Gibson. This is the only record I've found of the marriage date and location. It sounds like he is enjoying the marital benefits. I wish I had Leava's picture (of course, maybe I do and don't know it!).

The other big news is that Matie (Davie and Della's sister) is about to marry for the first time.

The ongoing news is that Davie's livery business is thriving but economic times are hard.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

At the local mortuary

I went to a local large mortuary on Friday on my way home from the library, and talked to one of the "counselors" who sells caskets and services to the survivors. He had worked there for several years, but it was obvious that he had never met a genealogist before in that setting! Earlier in his life, he had been a pastor back in Lancaster PA.

He listened to my request to "determine if there were any records pertaining to the disposition of Bertha and Clarence (I explained that Bertha's remains had been shipped in from elsewhere) in June 1958 by H*** mortuary" and he was curious enough to go ask the secretary to the mortuary director, who had been at the place for many years and would know where the records might be kept, if she could answer my questions.

He was gone only five minutes and came back with all of the answers.

* This mortuary had taken over the earlier H*** mortuary.

* Records for the last year are kept in a storage area at the mortuary, and older records are stored offsite in some sort of records retention system.

* They didn't know how far back the records go, or if the records from H*** Mortuary were included.

* A search could be made for specific records if there was a specific month and year known. A search would cost $75.

* He didn't think that the records would include a death certificate or an obituary, but he didn't know for sure about 50 years ago.

* The records that he is familiar with are essentially business records - the order forms for services, payment history, release of remains to a cemetery, etc.

It was an interesting experience - he was very nice and helpful and I didn't take too much of his time, and I learned something about this particular mortuary. He learned a bit about genealogy research too - he asked several questions about how we find vital records, cemetery records, etc. He was surprised that there were local genealogy societies that answered queries and had meetings with speakers.

He was impressed that CVGS had published the burial records of Glen Abbey Memorial Park in Bonita and that we were working on La Vista Memorial Park in National City. His mortuary works with both of those cemeteries on a regular basis.

I went there in hopes of finding a death certificate in a file so that we didn't have to pay for one at the County Clerk's office. Now I'll go to the Clerk's office and get one for $13 - not a problem, and a much better deal than paying $75 for a search that may be fruitless and time consuming.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - February 3-9, 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, personal family history, are funny or are poignant.

I don't list posts destined for the Carnival of Genealogy, or other meme submissions (but I do include summaries of them), or my own posts.

* BEST of the Internet for Genealogists Award 3 Feb 2008 by Pat Richley on the DearMYRTLE Blog. Ole Myrt has ten awards to deserving genealogists - check them out.

* Where Our Ancestors Were in 1808 by Donna J. Pointkouski on the What's Past Is Prologue blog. Donna provides a summary post for this meme theme, which attracted 12 posts. What amazes me is the diversity of our ancestry!

* Genealogists on Parade by Bill West on the West In New England blog. Bill provides his summary of the Genealogist Parade entries and the awards given toi each participant. The parade featured one band unit, two automobiles and 13 floats. Well done, Bill!

* County Courthouse Records - A Vital Step in Researching Your Family History by Kathy Jones-Kristof on the Genealogy Helps and Hints blog. Kathy has some wise words for researchers, and some hints on reading the records found in Courthouses.

* A New Mystery by Apple on the Apple's Tree blog. I love mysteries and Apple has a good one with her Carlisle civil War veterans. We'll be waiting to see how this turns out.

* The Family Tree of Blue-Eyed Individuals by Blaine Bettinger on The Genetic Genealogist blog. Blaine explains the DNA research and the claims about a mutation 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. I may have more cousins than I think!

* What Is a Loyalist? by Lorine McGinnis Schulze on The Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Lorine defines the term and provides some links to Canadian Loyalist records. I have several of these guys, and some of the links were new to me.

* Talking to Myself Through a Rift in the Space-Time Continuum by John Newmark on the Translyvanian Dutch blog. John has an interesting discussion with his younger persona in this post - funny too. This opens up another genre of blogging, doesn't it?

* Using Facial Recognition Software in Photo Identification by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog. I love it when someone uses technology to advance family knowledge. Jasia gets creative in her research and uses the software to try to determine relationships in old family photographs. This set off several other bloggers doing the same thing. I hope Jasia runs a summary of them.

* Hill Country Games: Spin the Bottle by Terry Thornton on the Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi blog. Terry had an interesting childhood - and he still remembers it somehow. He wrote about Pitching Washers, Checkers and Pop the Whip also this past week.

* Life on the Battle Plantations by Taneya on the Taneya's Genealogy Blog. Taneya tells a fascinating story about a slave narrative and a court case about a slave probably known by one of her slave ancestors.

* The Tally Sheet of Shame by Tim Abbott on the Walking the Berkshires blog. Tim examines the instances of slave holding in his own ancestry in New England and New Jersey, and provides contextual articles along with it, plus his own experience teaching in Africa.

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!

Letters from home - post 5

This is the fourth letter in the stack of Letters from Home to Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, residing in San Diego, California after 1887. An explanation of the family situation is here.


Letter from Davie Smith in McCook Neb to his mother Abby (Vaux) Smith in San Diego Cal. No envelope. Letter on letterhead of D.D. Smith, proprietor, Livery, Feed and Sale Stable.

McCook Neb, Oct 24 1888

Dear Mother and all,

It has been some time since I have written to you and hope I will try to make up for lost time.

I send you a package today for a birthday present did not know what else to get you or if their is enough or not 7 yds double width and over yard to hem it with. Think it will make you a nice rapper.

I have been waiting. Was about to sell my stock and wanted to surprise but guess I will not sell out now as times are so hard but he may come yet this month. Don't know he lives in Illinois.

Well I got the $300.00 all OK Oct 13th and send Austin draft for one month's intrest of $4.50. Matie has a birthday present to send you but it is not quite ready but will send it shortly. We are all well and hope this will find you all the same. Mrs. Pinder wanted to hear from you so I gave her your address.

Love to all By By Davie


Davie Smith (Della's brother) talks more business, and sends his 1.5% for the month to Austin for the loan of the $300 obtained from selling the timber claims. Apparently, the potential buyer of his livery stable lives in Illinois.

How I wish I had the other "half" of this correspondence! Oh well.