Saturday, April 5, 2008

Carringer Family Letters, 1890 to 1900 - Post 8

This series of family letters is from the parents, brother and aunt of Henry Austin Carringer residing in National City and San Diego in the 1890 to 1900 time frame. Austin's parents (David Jackson and Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer and brother (Edgar, unmarried) resided in Boulder, Colorado during this period of time and there is news of towns people and events in these letters.

The eighth letter is from Austin's mother, Rebecca Carringer, in Boulder.


Letter from Rebecca Carringer of Boulder, Colorado to Austin and Della Carringer in San Diego, California. No envelope.

Boulder Colo Ap 5 [18]97

Dear Children I was to lasy to write and now we have our close on the line and Ed has gone to town to see why our coald did not come satterday and Pa is trimming the hege he is not feeling as well for the last 2 days he has got some cold. I am about the same if the weather would get good I think we would feel better we have had snow all last week the funeyest weather I ever saw it will snow one day and the next day it will go away then with snow the next this the next go away that is the way all last week now the snow is amost all gone but it is getting cloudy so it is amost time for another shower.

After Diner I will not get this to the office today. How many chicks have you got. We will have som tomorrow and some next day if they hach. We have had so much snow I don’t know how it will be. Morn well we had our first rain last night and it rained hard to and did not snow a bit and is clearing off now. I wish the ground would dry up for we want to have some plowing done.

[abruptly ends – page missing?]


More of the same - health, weather, business.

Genea-Musings is on the road again

After the CVGS seminar on Saturday, Linda and I are flying to Santa Cruz for a week taking care of our grandsons. Their mother has flown to North Carolina to greet her Marine husband flying home from Iraq. Their life, and ours, will get back to normalcy in another month or so.

I am taking the laptop, and they have Internet access, so I anticipate being able to read my email, all of my favorite blogs, and even post once or twice a day. Get ready for a steady diet of elusive ancestors and family letters! I won't be doing much research. But we will be making more family history for two little boys and ourselves.

I'll be back next Sunday. I anticipate big genealogy news announcements in the next week - they always seem to happen when I'm on the road!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Ranked Matches in the New Search

I posted yesterday about the New Search "look and feel" using Exact Matches here. In this post, I'll show a Ranked Match search in sequence.

1) When I click on from my Favorites, this is the first screen I see. I input "Isaac" "Seaver" "1823" and "+/- 5 years" and unchecked the Exact Match box.

2) The next screen is the listing of databases with the possible matches from all of Ancestry's databases. This is the top half of the page.

3) This is the bottom half of the database list web page. As you can see, all Ancestry database types are on one list. I like that feature.

4) I clicked on the 1880 US Census database. The New Search selects one item from the list that best matches the search criteria. In this case, it picked Isaac Seaver, born 1824 in Massachusetts, husband of Lucretia. That was the right one! It also says that matches below that first one are probably not the one I was looking for. This is the top screen of the web page.

5) This is the next screen down from the last one on the same web page. There are more ranked matches - starting with Isaac Seaver's (and other spellings) with birth dates outside of the range I specified. Then there are even more ranked matches that don't match the given name at all, but do match the surname and year. I didn't capture screens below this one (there were over 1,600 ranked matches).

6) I clicked on the "View Record" link for the first Ranked Match - the one that is my Isaac Seaver. This is the record page for the specific match - it's just like the Exact match screen.

7) And I clicked on the "View Original Image" link to get the document image - just like the Exact Match image.

The one thing I really miss in the New Search is the Search box, with all of the search criteria visible, at the bottom of each web page (except for the document images). In Old Search, I use that box to modify my searches. It's very efficient. In New Search, you have a choice -

1) You can modify the search criteria one at a time (see #4 above - the search criteria are in the left-hand column) and hit the Search button. I really don't like this - I often change more than one search parameter at a time, and now I have to click each item I want to change and enter a value.

2) You can click on the "Start a new search" link just below the Search button on Screen #4 and start over. This brings up an overlay Search Box in which you have to put every entry back in the different boxes. I don't like this either.

I don't know what to say to those of you who don't see the "Try It" button in the upper right-hand area of the Ancestry screen in Old Search. It works for me whether I am logged in or not. I'm wondering if it is cached on my computer system?

If it doesn't work for you, I'm sure that it will in the near future. consider these posts to be a sneak peak at the future of searches.

45th Carnival of Genealogy is Posted - Cars!

Jasia on the Creative Gene blog has posted the 45th Carnival of Genealogy at The topic for this Carnival is Cars as stars of our family history! With 36 participants, some who wrote multiple articles, this is the largest edition of the Carnival of Genealogy ever!

My own post was "The Cars of My Life." Please read Jasia's comments on each post submitted to the Carnival and read each of the blog posts by the contributors.

The topic of the next Carnival of Genealogy will be: What traits run in your family? Which of them did you inherit? Do you have your mother's blue eyes? Your grandfather's stubbornness? Your aunt's skill with knitting needles? Is there a talent for music in your family? Or do you come from a long line of teachers? Have you ever looked at an old photo and recognized your nose on another family member's face? Tell us all about your family traits and please submit your articles by the deadline, April 15th.

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.

Genealogy Link Site Traffic

Here are the Reach (unique visitors each day per million Internet users), Rank (of all web sites), and Page Views (daily views per million Internet users) statistics charts from for five of the genealogy largest link web sites over the last three years -

* (#12 on Kory Meyerink's Top 50)

* (#13)

* (#15)

* (#21)

* (#31)

Since the graphs are somewhat hard to read, I will list the average Reach (per Million Internet users) and page views (per user) for the last three months for these three sites (plus Ancestry's statistics for comparison purposes) -
* -- Reach = 197.5, Page Views = 15.4 per user
* - Reach = 9.65, Page Views = 1.5 per user
* - Reach = 11.0, Page Views = 2.1 per user
* - Reach = 8.35, Page Views = 2.4 per user
* - Reach = 2.4, Page Views = 1.6
You can see that had a Reach of over 60 in early 2006, and now is down around 10, and has been steadily declining since then. has several Page View spikes in 2005 and 2006, which may be additional Canadian Census database additions to the web site. Their Reach peaked at around 40 during 2005 and 2006. and have not had the significant traffic decreases that Ancestry, some of the Free database sites, and Cyndi's List and others have had over the past three years. had a peak Reach of about 15, but has been fairly steady over the last year.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Have you tried the New Ancestry Search? has been modifying the "look and feel" of their Search box and Match results over the past few months. Users were invited to evaluate the "New Search" and to make feedback comments to the development team, led by Kendall Hulet. I made many comments to the team over the past month via email, and also took weekly surveys about likes and dislikes. The resulting "Look and Feel" are quite different from when this feedback was started thanks to input from the commenters and the work of the development team.

Any Ancestry user can now take the New Search for a test drive. Here is one set of screen shots from an exact search I just made for Isaac Seaver, born in 1823 +/- 5 years.

1) The initial screen when I bring Ancestry up from my Favorites (in "Old Search," note I have checked "Exact Matches" and have inserted "Seaver" in the last name box):

2) This is the match results using the "Old Search." Note the "New Search" and "Try It" link in the top right of the screen. I clicked on it.

3) Clicking on "Try It" brings up an explanatory screen about New Search. I clicked on the "Get Started Now" link in the box beside the reddish "Take the Tour" link.

4) The "Get Started Now" link takes me to a New Search screen - I input "Isaac" "Seaver" and "1823" "+/- 5 years" as Exact search criteria. This is the top of this web page.

5) At the bottom of this screen is a list of Specific Titles and Collections if I wanted to go directly to one database (but not all of them are listed). The bottom part of the web page looks like this.

6) After filling in the Search boxes, I clicked on the reddish "Search" button at the bottom of the Search box. The screen below shows the results of my Search. Note that it found only three census records and three sets of Family Trees that met my Search criteria.

7) I chose the 1880 Census from the match list for my Search criteria, and clicked on the "View Record" link. Note that my Search criteria are listed in the left-hand column, with exact match criteria in quote marks.

8) The record summary of the 1880 census entry for Isaac Seaver is shown in the next screen. Note that the left-hand column allows me to do a number of operations with this record. The summary of the record is expanded vertically from the Old Search, and has a larger font size. The Source citation is at the bottom of the record summary. I clicked on the "View Original Image" link.

9) This screen shows the actual record requested. The same buttons as on the Old Search are available to Zoom in or out, go to the Previous or Next image, and Order, Save, Print, Share the image, or get Help.

Ancestry has modified the Old Search screens also - once you pick a database to search, the screens in Old Search look like New Search screens (in my example above, Screens 8 and 9 are identical). They have also expanded vertically the Old Screen web page presentations a bit with a larger font and more intermediate lines between information. You have to scroll down more but they are easier to read.

It appears that they have eliminated, or just haven't included, the Ancestry World Tree matches in the Family Trees section. Ancestry World Tree is the same database as the Rootsweb WorldConnect database which will move to the Ancestry domain at some time in the future. Hopefully, Ancestry will reinstate the link to the WorldConnect database in the near future, since it is a separate database.

One addition that I like in New Search is that they have eliminated the Search box tabs on the opening screen - the ones for Historical Data, Family Trees, Stories and Publications, and Photos and Maps. In New Search, you get a list of all matches in your Database Matches screen. Other than this change, the Search results are exactly the same between Old Search and New Search, as far as I can tell. Presumably, they will delete the explanatory screen (#3 above) at some point in time.

If you set your Ancestry opening screen to the New Search, you get a different look and feel. I'll show that sequence tomorrow.

This look at New Search Ancestry assumed Exact Matches - I will do the same thing tomorrow with Ranked Searches so that you can see the differences.

UPDATED 4/4: Miriam commented that she couldn't see the "Try It" on the Search box screen, and wondered if she had to be signed in. I just tried it after logging out, and the "Try It" shows up on the second screen - the one after the inital screen. You do have to be a subscriber to see the document images, but you can do a search down to Screen 7 above.

Watching FamilyLink and WorldVitalRecords Grow

One of the unique things about the organization (including the subscription database site and the family tree database site ) is that the CEO blogs about what he is thinking, planning and doing. Right out loud, for all of us to read, understand and learn from.

Paul Allen has posted "We're Hiring" on his Paul Allen (the lesser) blog about not only the positions open (admitting they don't have an HR department, which is probably a good thing) but also about beta testing, their web design, and their new business and database initiatives. offers their employees 10% of their paid time to work on their own family history research. That is a tremendous investment in their employees - and it will pay off big time because it will spark enthusiasm, inquisitiveness and innovation in the employees as they work. is number 10 on the Kory Meyerink list of most popular genealogy web sites in 2008 as measured by traffic. WVR started off over a year ago with the goal of being #2 in the genealogy world, and it looks like it is well on its way to achieve that goal.

I appreciate and applaud Paul's efforts to keep his employees, customers and readers informed about his company and its products. I'm going to send a link to his post to my son-in-law who is an IT manager! I would love to have family in the Salt Lake City area!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Subscription Family Tree Web Site Traffic

Here are the Reach (unique visitors each day per million Internet users), Rank (of all web sites), and Page Views (daily views per million Internet users) statistics charts from for three of the genealogy subscription family tree web sites over the last three years -

* (#9 on Kory Meyerink's Top 50)

* (#19)

* (#30)

Since the graphs are somewhat hard to read, I will list the average Reach (per Million Internet users) and page views (per user) for the last three months for these three sites (plus Ancestry's statistics for comparison purposes) -

* -- Reach = 197.5, Page Views = 15.4 per user

* - Reach = 14.5, Page Views = 20.0 per user

* - Reach = 4.65, Page Views = 5.5 per user

* - Reach = 4.0, Page Views = 8.6

Compare these charts with the Social Networking charts in my earlier traffic comparison, and you can see that the decline in the subscription traffic does not coincide with the increase in traffic on the free social networking sites. It's almost as if new people uploaded their data to the social network sites.

The decline over 2005 and 2006 on these sites corresponds to the declines on other subscription sites as indicated here and on free sites shown here. Over the last year, these subscription sites have held traffic essentially constant, similar to the other sites noted above. The new subscription database sites, shown here, have maintained and slightly increased traffic over the past year.

CVGS Seminar "Finding Your Elusive Ancestors" on Saturday, 5 April

Seminar on Saturday, April 5th in Chula Vista

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society will host a free seminar on Saturday, April 5th in the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library auditorium (365 F Street in Chula Vista) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* After registration and program introduction, Randy Seaver will present the methods and resources for "Finding Your Elusive Ancestors."

* At noon time, refreshments (sandwiches, veggies, fruit, drinks) will be served in the Conference Room.

* At 1 p.m., there will be a panel discussion on "Solving Your Brickwall Problems" with Shirley Becker, John Finch and Susi Pentico on the panel and Randy Seaver as the moderator. CVGS Members were asked to submit their difficult research problems and the panel will suggest research opportunities to solve the problems.

* Lastly, there will be time for questions from the audience on genealogy research topics and problems - and the panel will try to answer them.

You need to make a reservation for this seminar so that we can plan the food - please contact Virginia at 619-425-7922 or email for information and reservations.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ancestry's plan seems to be working

Last week I posted traffic data from about the change in Reach, Rank and Page Views between Ancestry and Rootsweb a few days after the domain name for the Rootsweb main page changed to

I checked again today to see how the traffic had changed over the past week. The changes are dramatic.

Here is Reach (daily unique visitors per million Internet users)

The Rank (among all web sites) -

The Page Views (per million Internet users)

It appears that in the last week (from Sunday 3/23 to Saturday 3/29), the Ancestry Reach has increased from about about 245 to about 370 (a 51% increase) while the Rootsweb Reach has decreased from about 215 to about 100 (a 54% decrease).

The Page Views have increased for Ancestry from about 36.5 to 39.5 (an 8% increase) while Rootsweb's have decreased from about 8.5 down to 6.5 (an 24% decrease).

Ancestry's Rank has improved from about 2,900 to 2,500, while Rootsweb has decreased from about 6,900 to 11,500.

My conclusion is that "the plan to increase Ancestry's traffic at the expense of Rootsweb is working!"

I found the breakdown of Ancestry's sub-domain's interesting (probably over the last three months, although it doesn't say):

* - 40%
* - 29%
* - 15%
* - 8%
* - 3%
* - 1%
* - 1%
* - 1%
* Other websites - 2%

Before this announcement, the Message Boards were accessible with either the Ancestry or Rootsweb domains, and the Rootsweb WorldConnect database was available from both Ancestry (awt. and awtc.) and Rootsweb (

When I checked the Rootsweb pages late last week on 3/28, the following had been transferred to the Ancestry domain:

* Main page

* Databases (SSDI, CA DI, KY DI, ME DI, TX DI)

* Websites

* Freepages

* Books We Own

* US GenWeb Archives

* Obituary Daily Times.

The decrease in Rootsweb reach and increase in Ancestry Reach is now evident - they moved some of the "heavy hitters" first - the SSDI and death databases, USGenWeb Archives, the web sites and free pages. The other big databases are probably WorldConnect, the message boards and the mailing list archives. I look for them to migrate shortly. Those are probably the hardest to move since they are fairly dynamic - many users and additions each day - and may result in disruption of service when they do migrate.

Why didn't the page views change as much as the Reach? Probably because people looked at relatively few pages on the sub-domains that moved. People who work in the SSDI may do only 2 or 3 searches and move away. But they visited Ancestry. I expect that when the WorldConnect pages move that the Reach and Page Views will increase significantly on Ancestry and decrease significantly on Rootsweb.

The Imminent Demise of Genea-Musings

When I started writing Randy's Musings almost two years ago, I had no idea how the experience would absolutely change my life. I was a recently retired aerospace engineer happily engaged in pursuing genealogy research, serving a local society, and speaking occasionally to local groups. I thought that I might have something to say about genealogy, politics, science, sports, etc. and might even do it several times a week.

After almost two years, blogging has essentially become the focus of my whole life. I've become a genealogy blogaholic. The symptoms are obvious:

* I write on four blogs - Genea-Musings, Geneaholic, Randy's Busy Life and the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe and have seriously considered adding several more.

* I have over 260 blogs on my Bloglines list that I read several times daily (essentially when there is new content)

* I don't read any blogs other than genealogy-related blogs. Well, I do read some history ones that are genealogy related.

* I constantly check the Genealogy blog Finder for new genealogy blogs to read.

* I spend two to four hours daily reading, writing or researching for my blogs.

* I have participated in almost every Carnival of Genealogy theme, plus many posting memes.

* I ask myself "is this something I could blog about?" whenever I read a book, article, web site or blog.

* When I am out of town, I prepare one or two blog posts for each day ahead of time and try to submit them from wherever I am.

* I worry about how my blogs "look" and tinker with colors occasionally

* When there are Top 10 or "Best of" lists, I am crushed when my blog isn't mentioned. Of course, I'm ecstatic when they are!

* I would rather blog than go out with friends or to a ballgame.

* When the Padres are on TV, I use the laptop and read or blog while watching the game.

* My grandchildren get shooed away when they want to play games on the computer or watch the Disney Channel. They say "no bogs, no bogs."

Of course, my wife complains about my blogging and worries that all of the sitting isn't good for my posture or waistline or blood pressure. Not to mention the late nights when she goes to bed with cold feet.

I promised her that I would quit blogging when three things happened (heh heh, she thought these were all possible):

1. An article would appear in a reputable genealogy magazine about "True Tales of Alien Ancestry" thereby supporting my claim that Thomas J. Newton was actually dropped off from a UFO

2. The complete 1890 US Federal Census would be discovered intact and would provide years of research for millions of genealogists.

3. The top ten genealogy database sites are available for free in one place, preferably in the Genea-Cave.

The first two have happened recently, and the San Diego FHC has the top 10 genealogy sites available for free, except for and If OGF falls out of the top 10 and Ancestry brings into the Ancestry domain and opens up those databases to Ancestry subscribers, then my blogging career choice is in danger here!

I'm checking to see if they rent out rooms at the FHC just in case my genea-blogaholism forces a move away from the Genea-Cave.

Or I could just not tell Angel Linda what I know ...

The Cars of my Life

Automobiles were a big part of many peoples lives in the 20th century. I have my grandfather's daily journal from 1920 to about 1950, and automobile expenses were a major factor. It seems like tires always blew out, radiators gave up the ghost, and things just didn't work well in the 1920s. When roads improved, they started taking vacations by car throughout Southern California.

The only car I remember they had before 1960 was a Hudson with running boards. I don't recall the year - perhaps the late 1940's. Later, they had smaller cars because they had a small garage.

My first car is shown below, a picture from about 1949. I tooled this baby around the block for months, I think. I set up stop signs on the grass parking strips, and center stripes on the sidewalks. I had my younger brother drive it and I played safety patrol on the corners. Pretty soon I graduated to bicycles.

My parents cars were utilitarian. My dad was an insurance agent and drove daily probably 50 to 100 miles. The first car I remember was a new 1954 Mercury (I can't recall the colors, though - perhaps white over blue?). We took our first summer vacation in 1954 - a week's stay at Bass Lake near Yosemite. Stan and I had the back seat (no seat belts, of course) and we played games all the way up and back (about 450 miles each way). My father was in state bowling tournaments in 1955 through 1959, so we visited Stockton, Sacramento, San Jose, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles over the years, staying in motels.

In 1958, my father traded in the sporty Mercury for a pink 1958 Oldsmobile (yep, pink!). Our family had grown with Scott arriving in 1955, so they needed a bigger back seat for the three of us (still no seat belts, no car seat either). Here he is with his pride and joy.

We stopped taking vacations because of family finances and Little League baseball - Stan and Scott played and the season went into July and playoffs into August. Dad coached and managed from about 1957 to 1973. They had the Olds for a long time - I think until the mid-1970's when he got the Cadillac he always wanted.

The only memorable trip I recall is the Sunday drive that we took in the early 1960's - my mother wanted to go out to the back country to get some manzanita branches for her art projects. We all got in the car and as we cruised up 32nd Street a car ran the stop light at Lincoln Avenue and passed right in front of us - we boys ended up on the floor behind the front seats, and my dad was still shaking 30 minutes later when we pulled up in front of the house. He was a very careful driver. My mother never learned to drive after experiencing a traffic accident when she was in college.

My own cars have been relatively few in number. I am not a mechanical wizard, have never mastered a stick shift, and was fearful of driving until I finally got my license at age 23.

In early 1967, My father found a used white 1962 Chevrolet sedan for me from a client. I paid for it on installments through the bank, and now I had my freedom from the folks. In mid-1967, I moved out and the first night I parked at my apartment building, I ran up against a pole on the passenger side of the car - damaging the door. My dad was pretty upset, and so was I.

Within a year, I had traded the Chevy in for a 1967 gold Thunderbird - very snazzy and impressive. Lots of power too, and a gas guzzler. I loved that car and drove fairly recklessly - one night after bowling and drinking, I careened home to Pacific Beach in the rain and spun it 270 degrees, went over the curb and stopped about 3 feet from the corner house. Oops... I backed off, drove it the three blocks home, and took it to the dealer the next day to get the tire rim fixed. I was lucky - one of my favorite sayings is "there are things that happen in a second that take a lifetime to explain."

I had the Thunderbird when I met and wooed my Angel Linda. She had a sporty 1968 light blue Mustang. Here she is on our wedding day in March 1970 with her pride and joy.

The gas crisis hit in 1973, and we had Lori in 1974, so we decided that we needed a more economical car with four doors, so we traded in the T-Bird and bought a 1974 orange Datsun 510. We had Tami in 1976, and the Datsun was filled up when we went out as a family. I drove the Mustang to work. The Datsun served us well and was pretty economical, but it wasn't very comfortable and had no real thrust, and we were driving to San Francisco once or twice a year - I always had to get in the truck lane going up a long grade.

By 1983, the Mustang was on its last legs, and our neighbors' father from Texas collected them and refurbished them, so we sold it to him and went out and bought a more comfortable slightly used 1983 light blue Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. This became our travel car and I ran the Datsun back and forth to work.

We took this car in 1984 on our one long trip - up the coast to Victoria BC and back - via San Francisco (Linda's family), Mount Shasta, Crater Lake, Mount Hood, Portland, Seattle (friends), Victoria (friends), Seaside, Oregon, Florence, Oregon, Eureka CA, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and home in three weeks. We did a bit of camping with our girl scout daughters.

The girls became teenagers, and we needed to haul more than just our family to softball games and tournaments, and to Girl Scout outings. We traded (yeah, right, we almost had to pay them to take it) the Datsun in for a 1986 Plymouth Voyager van. It was tan with wood-grain decal sides. Linda ran this around town for years! I drove the Olds to work for years, but we used the van to go out of town.

The girls learned to drive in the 1983 Oldsmobile (yep - their father's Oldsmobile) and soon had their own starter cars - Lori got a red Nissan Sentra in 1991 and Tami a champagne Toyota Tercel in 1993.

Linda and I traveled in 1995 to Yellowstone Park and back in the van - stopping in Las Vegas, St. George UT (friends), Salt Lake City (yep, genealogy!), Jackson WY, Yellowstone Park, Twin Falls ID (friends), Boise ID (friends), Reno NV, San Francisco (family) and home in three weeks. This was a really great trip.

The Oldsmobile engine was failing in early 1998, so we donated it to a high school auto shop and bought a 1996 silver Lincoln Continental. This was a great car - plenty of power, plenty of room for our widening bodies, and it just felt classy.

Here is a picture of me with my Lincoln in 2005.

The Voyager van's engine failed in May 1998, so we sold it to a fellow at the car repair shop (many used cars in San Diego get repaired and sold in Tijuana). We bought a 1997 dark green Mercury Sable and Linda still uses this car, although we need to replace it soon.

The 1996 Lincoln had mechanical engine problems in 2005, so we donated it to a charity (and got a $2000 tax deduction!) and bought a new silver 2005 Lincoln Town Car. I drive this car now and it is very comfortable, rides smooth, lots of power, but big and a gas guzzler around town. We take it to the Bay area and on Southern California trips.

So that's our car history - we tend to drive them into the ground, so to speak - we get our money's worth! We can't live without them in Southern California, can we?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Best of the Genea-Blogs - March 23-29, 2008

This is a day late, but I was having fun at Disneyland with my granddaughter, her parents and my wife, celebrating our wedding anniversary.

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, provide 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.

* "Verisimilitude" by Tim Abbott on the Walking the Berkshires blog. Tim is working on a historical novel that postulates that the American Revolution failed to win American independence. Read his "writing plan" and also read the comments - lots of great ideas there.

* "Open State Vital Records: Some of the Best States" and "Open State Vital Records: The Bad and the Ugly" by Craig Manson on the Geneablogie blog. Craig reviews the state of open vital records and praises five states in the first post and laments the policies of 22 states in the second.

* "What American Accent Do You Have?" by Thomas MacEntee on the Destination: Austin Family blog. Thomas had the first post about an American Accent test that led to a number of bloggers taking the test also. Do you know what your American Accent is?

* "Website, Weblog, Blog, Blogsite" by Thomas MacEntee on the Destination: Austin Family blog. This is a great response and analysis to the question posed by Janet the researcher if she should create a web site for her genealogy research business. Yes, I know I have Thomas twice on this list - he deserves it!

* "What Do You Want in a Web Site?" by ShaniFaye on the Ancestrally Challenged blog. Shannon celebrates her one-year blogging anniversary, asks some questions and makes lots of good suggestions.

* "How Much Is Enough" by Lee Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee discusses computer memory over time and takes a look at the future too (terabytes!).

* "Must Have Books for Your Genealogy Reference Collection" by Carolyn L. Barkley on the blog. Carolyn selects the books she can't do without - are they on your bookshelf too?

* "My Top 5 Favorite Footnote Collections" by Tim Agazio of the Genealogy Reviews Online blog. Tim tells us why he likes the ones he lists.

* "No Pox Party in John Adams" by J.L. Bell on the Boston 1775 blog. Mr. Bell has written many posts about the HBO mini-series John Adams. This is one of the most interesting because it addresses the health perils faced by people in that time. Read all of the John Adams related posts for an inside view of what actually happened.

I encourage you to go to the blogs listed above and read their articles, and add their blog 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 Elusive Rachel --?-- (ca 1705-ca1755, wife of Richard Pray)

It's National Women's History month, so I am posting some of my most elusive women ancestors in hopes that someone will Google their name and find my post. Ideally, the Googlers will provide me with more information about my elusive female ancestor's ancestry. Realistically, they will commiserate with me about the lack of records and wonder why no researcher has figured the problem out yet.


Family of Rachel (--?--) Pray

Rachel --?-- died before 1755 in Scituate, Providence County, RI. She married Richard Pray before 1725 in probably RI, son of John Pray and Sarah Brown. He was born about 1683 in Providence, Providence County, RI, and died 10 July 1755 in Scituate, Providence County, RI.

Notes for Rachel --?--:

Rachel Pray and her children were admitted to the town of Scituate, Rhode Island on 18 April 1741. The town council record (transcribed from Scituate (RI) Probate Court, Probate and and Council Records Volumes 1-3 (1731-1799), Volume 1, Page 71, on FHL Microfilm 0,941,155) reads:

"Att a Town Council held in Scituate in the County of Providence holden the 18th day of April Anno Domi 1741 Present
Jedidiah Harris / Samuel Cooper
Jeremiah Angell / Henry Whitmore
Thomas Realph / Benjamin Comeau (?)

"Where as Rachel Pray and her Children are Lately Removed unto this Town and have procured a Certificate from the Town Council of Smithfield from whence they Removed in the following words ---

"Att a Town Council held in in Smithfield September the 19th 1740 - Where as Rachel Pray, the wife of Richard Pray of Smithfield, Informed the Council that She hath a mind to Remove her Self and Children into the town of Situate Wherefore it is voted by this Present Council that of the sd Rachel Pray Should Remove her self and Children into the Town of Situate and Should become Chargable to sd Town of Situate: that this Town will Receive them again as Inhabitants of this town again.

"A true Copy as appears of ] Daniel Jenckes Council clerk
Record Examined ]

"Whereupon it is Voted that the sd Rachel Pray and her Children be admited to dwell in this Town untill further orders from this Council."

Notes for Richard Pray:

Richard Pray, yeoman, died testate. He wrote a will, dated 15 March 1755, which was proved 10 November 1755. The Court orders, will, and inventory (transcribed from Scituate (RI) Probate Court, Probate and and Council Records Volumes 1-3 (1731-1799), Volume 1, Page 251-253, on FHL Microfilm 0,941,155) read as follows:

"The Last Will and Testament of Richard Pray Late of Scituate aforesaid Yeoman was presented to the Council and was Read in the Following Words (Viz.) ---

"In the Name of God Amen: The Fifteenth day of March 1755: I Richard Pray of Scituate in the County of Providence Yeoman being Very Sick and Weak in Body of Perfect Mind and Memory. Thanks be given unto God. Therefore Calling unto Mind the Mortality of My Body and Knowing that it is appointed for Men once to die do Make and ordain this My Last Will and Testament that is to say I give and Present (?) My Soul into the Hands of God that gave it and My Body to the Earth to be Buried in Decent Christian Burial at the Discretion of My Executors hereafter Named and Touching Such Worldly Estate where with it hath pleased God to bless me in this present Life I Give Demise and Dispose of the same in the Following Maner and Form --

"Imprimis I give and bequeath to my Daughter Sarah Pray all my House Hold goods and all my Moveable Estate of whole sorts ????? the same may be --

"Item I give and bequeath to My Daughter Rachel Hinds the sum of Five Shillings in Money Equal to old Tenor to be paid by My Executor --

"Item I do hereby order and Impower My son in law Ezekiel Hopkins Junr to Sell and Dispose of all My Land as Conveniently May be after my Decease. and the Deed or Deeds by him given shall be Good and Effectuall to the hereafter and hereby thereof whom I do Likewise Constitute Make and ordain My Sole Executor of this my Last Will and Testament ---

"Item My will Further is that after all My Just Debts and Funerall Charges are all paid out of the Effects of the Sale of My Land and the Remainder to Be Deposited as Followeth ---

"Item the one Half of said Reaminder I give and bequeath to My sd Daughter Sarah Pray to be paid to her by my said Executor ---

"Item I give and bequeath to my Daughter Mary Hopkins the wife of My said Executor part of the Remainder of the Effects of the Sale of My Land ---

"Item I give and bequeath to My Daughter Rachels Children the one quarter Part of the Remainder of the Effects of the Sales of My Land to be Equally Devided amongst them and to be paid by My said Executor as They Shall Severally attain to the age of Twenty one years or at the days of Marriage with the Intrest Thereon arising ---

"And I do heby Utterly Disallow Revoke and Disannull all and Every other ????? Testaments wills Legacies and bequests and Executors by me in any ways before Named Willed and Bequeathed Ratifying and Confirming this and no others to be my Last will and Testament: In Witness whereof I have hereunto Set My hand and Seal the day and year above Written ---

"Signed Sealed Published Pronounced and Declared
By the said Richard Pray as his Last Will and Richard Pray (seal)
Testament In the Presence of us the Subscribers -
Charles Harris George Westcot Wm Wilkinson."

Children of Rachel --?-- and Richard Pray are:

i. Rachel Pray, born about 1725 in Providence County, RI. She married Hinds.

ii. Mary Pray, born about 1728 in Providence County, RI. She married Ezekiel Hopkins.

iii. Sarah Pray, born about 1734 in Providence County, RI; died after 1819 in probably Foster, Providence County, RI. She married Nathaniel Horton about 1755 in probably Scituate, Providence County, RI; born about 1730 in Rehoboth, Bristol County, MA; died before 04 May 1819 in Foster, Providence County, RI.


My own ancestry is through Sarah Pray, who married Nathaniel Horton.

If anyone has additions or corrections to this family data, please, please, please, please (shades of James Brown, eh?) email me at

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Carringer Family Letters, 1890 to 1900 - Post 7

This series of family letters is from the parents, brother and aunt of Henry Austin Carringer residing in National City and San Diego in the 1890 to 1900 time frame. Austin's parents (David Jackson and Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer and brother (Edgar, unmarried) resided in Boulder, Colorado during this period of time and there is news of towns people and events in these letters.

The seventh letter is from Austin's brother, Edgar Carringer, in Boulder.


Letter from Rebecca Carringer of Boulder, Colorado to Austin and Della Carringer in San Diego, California. No envelope.

Boulder Colo Mar 28 [18]97

Dear Children your good letter found us better Pa is a good deal better then he was a month ago. I put wet girdles on him every other night it may help him if he don’t do something to bring on hemerage again but he thinks he will be able to do quite a little but I know he wont be able to do much. I am afraid you are going to over do you don’t want to do to much for fear you will get sick.

We are having nice weather now the snow is all gone but a little back here and there and it went off with the sun. Morn and there is nothing new the people are making garden and the grass is getting green.

Mr. Jones of Caribou died yesterday he had newmonia you know he was a stought man and when that caught him it soon took him it is so fatle this winter and spring. I am glad Mrs. Tarvin is getting better for Mr. Sanders told Edgar that the Dr said she would never be any better. Mrs. Johnson is getting her flower beds fixed up it looks like bisness to see them at work. I wish I was able to clean up the yard but I am not so it will have to go dirty. I hope you will all keep nice.

Love to all from parents and Brother.


Rebecca's spelling is very creative, isn't it? Phonetic too! Spring is coming to the Rockies and she is hoping it will warm up and dry out. I was interested in the "wet girdles" she put on Pa - was this to constrict his movement or keep him upright so he could breathe or keep the hemorrhaging (of what?) down by being upright? I wish I knew.

The Elusive Hannah Smith (ca1767-1827, wife of Josiah Sawtell)

It's National Women's History month, so I am posting some of my most elusive women ancestors in hopes that someone will Google their name and find my post. Ideally, the Googlers will provide me with more information about my elusive female ancestor's ancestry. Realistically, they will commiserate with me about the lack of records and wonder why no researcher has figured the problem out yet.


The Family of Hannah (Smith) Sawtell --

Hannah Smith was born About 1767 in prob. Raby, Hillsborough County, NH, and died 08 February 1827 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA (age 59). She married Josiah Sawtell 05 February 1789 in prob. Raby, Hillsborough County, NH, son of Ephraim Sawtell and Abigail Stone. He was born 24 January 1768 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA, (vr), and died 07 December 1847 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA (VR, 333).

Notes for Hannah Smith:

Hannah Smith's maiden name is known only from a Boston Transcript newspaper article (4th Series, entry #3534):

"(3534) 1. SMITH, SARTELL, BISHOP. Hannah Smith, born Jan. 1 1768, at Amherst, Mass., married Feb. 5, 1789, at Amherst, Josiah Sartell of Hollis, Mass. I wonder if her parents were Noah Smith and Mary, daughter of Edward Elmer, who were married in Amherst in 1766 at Amherst (probably). If this is true, who were Noah Smith's ancestors? The children of Hannah Smith and Josiah Sartell were:

(1) Josiah, Jr. born Brookline, N.H. Nov. 26, 1791 (I believe married Rebecca Manning).
(2) Hannah, born Brookline N.H. Nov. 6, 1789, married Zachariah Hildreth, who was born Townsend Mass. and died at Townsend Jan. 22, 1857; Hannah died at Townsend Jan. 13, 1851, children: Aaron, Clarissa, James, Clarissa 2d, Elizabeth, Milo, Moses, Edward, Harriet and Moses.
(3) Mary (Lee), born Townsend April 11, 1793, and died at Pelham, May 26, 1831, children Enos, Edwin, Samantha.
(4) Chester, born Townsend Aug. 6, 1795, died April 19, 1875; children Sophia and Mrs. Bizel.
(5) Esther, born Townsend May 13, 1797, died Amherst Mass. March 5, 1859.
(6) Horace, born Ashburnham, Mass. July 9, 1799, died Mason, N.H. May 21, 1825, married Sally Saunders, had daughter Elizabeth.
(7) Neuma, born Townsend June 6, 1802, and died Mason, N.H. Aug. 11, 1826.
(8) Walter, born Townsend, March 21, 1806, and died Townsend, Aug. 26, 1857, married Louisa Adams; had a son Perry.
(9) Price, born Townsend, Feb. 2, 1810, married Eliza Bishop at Watertown, N.Y., Feb. 21, 1831, who was born Dec. 12, 1806 at Westmoreland, Vt., and died Feb. 14, 1875 at Milwaukee; Price died Milwaukee, June 5, 1891. (Who were the parents of Eliza Bishop?)."

The writer may have confused Amherst, Massachusetts and Amherst, New Hampshire (just north of Brookline, New Hampshire). Noah Smith and Mary Elmer resided in Amherst, Massachusetts and had a daughter named Hannah Smith born 1 January 1768, but this family remained in Amherst, Massachusetts and that Hannah Smith did not marry Josiah Sartell.

There were many Smith families in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire in the 1760 to 1770 time frame. Joshua Smith was the only one who resided in the town of Raby (now called Brookline), and he lived in the southeast part of Raby on the road towards what is now Pepperrell, Massachusetts. There are many town records of Joshua Smith, and the town history names his two wives, but they do not name a daughter Hannah Smith.

Notes for Josiah Sawtell:

Very little is known about the family of Josiah Sartell. The most information was obtained from a contribution to the Boston Transcript (4th Series, entry #3534).

Children of Hannah Smith and Josiah Sawtell are:

i. Hannah Sawtell, born 06 November 1789 in Brookline, Hillsborough County, NH; died 13 January 1857 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA, (VR, 355). She married Zachariah Hildreth 21 October 1810 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA, (VR, 62); born 10 April 1783 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA, (VR, 276); died 22 January 1857 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA, (VR, 355).

ii. Josiah Sawtell, born 24 November 1791 in Brookline, Hillsborough County, NH. He married Rebecca Manning 29 March 1815 in Townsend, Middlesex, MA (VR, 64); born in Townsend, Middlesex, MA.

iii. Mary Sawtell, born 11 April 1793 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA; died 26 May 1831 in Pelham, Hillsborough County, NH. She married Ezra Lee 25 May 1814 in Townsend, Middlesex, MA (VR, 64); born in Amherst, MA.

iv. Chester Sawtell, born 06 August 1795 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA; died 19 April 1875 in Sacketts Harbor, Jefferson County, NY.

v. Esther Sawtell, born 13 May 1797 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA; died 05 March 1852 in Amherst, Hampshire County, MA.

vi. Horace Sawtell, born 09 July 1799 in Ashburnham, Worcester County, MA; died 21 May 1825 in Mason, Hillsborough County, NH. He married Sally Saunders.

vii. Neuma Sawtell, born 06 June 1803 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA; died 11 August 1826 in Mason, Hillsborough County, NH.

viii. Walter Sawtell, born 21 March 1806 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA; died 26 August 1857 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA. He married Louisa Adams 04 December 1846 in Townsend, Middlesex, MA (VR, 192); born 1815 in probably Malden, Middlesex, MA; died 1869 in Townsend, Middlesex, MA.

ix. Price Sawtell, born 02 February 1810 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA; died 05 June 1891 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, WI. He married Eliza Bishop 21 February 1831 in Watertown, Jefferson, NY; born 12 December 1806 in Westmoreland, VT; died 14 February 1875 in Milwaukee, WI.


My own ancestry is through Hannah Sawtell, who married Zachariah Hildreth.

If anyone has additions or corrections to this family data, please, please, please, please (shades of James Brown, eh?) email me at