Saturday, May 3, 2008

47th Carnival of Genealogy is Posted - A Place Called Home

Jasia posted the latest Carnival of Genealogy on her Creative Gene blog - the post is at The topic for this edition is : A Place Called Home. We're taking a look at the towns and villages, cities and counties, where our ancestors lived. Come along on a trip across two continents as we explore the fields and streams, mountains and valleys, where our families' roots were planted. I think you'll be amazed at the diversity of culture and lifestyle among our ancestors in their home towns.

There are 32 separate postings from 13 US states and nine European countries (or parts of countries). As always, Jasia does a wonderful job summarizing each post. Mu post was about Leominster, Massachusetts.

One of the very best things about the Carnival is that "new" bloggers submit items to it - while they may have been blogging for months or even years, there were three blogs that were "new to me" - All My Branches Genealogy, Kate's Family Tree and Echo Hills Ancestors Weblog. I added them to my Bloglines so I won't miss a post.

The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: Mom, how'd you get so smart? We'll examine our mothers' education. What schools did your mom attend? Did she graduate high school or attend the school of hard knocks? Did she attend a one room school house or was she home-schooled? Was she the first in the family to attend college? Maybe your mom took self-study courses or was an avid reader. Tell us all about how a mother figure (mother, grandmother, mother in law, godmother, etc.) in your life became so brilliant! The deadline for submissions is May 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.

"New Netherland Connections" coming to

One of the items in the latest issue of New England Ancestors (Spring 2008, Volume 9, Number 2), published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), was that NEHGS member Dorothy A. Koenig granted NEHGS exclusive rights to digitize and publish the full run of New Netherland Connections on the web site. The announcement says:


New Netherland Connections focuses on the Dutch colonial period (1624-1664) in New York and New Jersey. The journal began quarterly publication in 1996 and continues to date.

NEHGS will create an electronic index to all volumes of the journal, and the search results will allow display of the associated scanned pages. There are currently forty-eight hundred published journal pages.

Look for the first issues of New Netherland Connections on the NEHGS web site this spring.


This is wonderful news for researchers with colonial Dutch ancestry. I must admit that I have never heard of this publication, but I'm going to go looking for it at Carlsbad Library. Or I'll use the NEHGS web site, since I have a bit of Dutch colonial ancestry and have several "problem ancestors."

Friday, May 2, 2008

"Organizing Your Files" by Audrey Potterton: CVGS Program on 4/30

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society program on Wednesday, April 30 was "Organizing Your Files" by Audrey Potterton, whose biography and talk summary were given here.

As you can see, Audrey has a lot of experience in doing genealogy research, and has lived through both the "paper era" and the "computer era."Audrey brought some of her research notebooks as examples. She is a believer in taking your pedigree charts and the family group sheet books for the families that you are presently researching to the repository.

She once had 45 notebooks that contained the Family Group Sheets for each family, with the supporting documents with annotated sources. She condensed these notebooks to 4 notebooks with narrative reports (typed in a word processor) with sources noted for all ancestral families, but she kept the documents only for the research in her four grandparent's surnames. She has created CD-ROMs with the narrative reports and supporting data for each family branch for her children and grandchildren.

Audrey had many suggestions for organizing your genealogy files based on her own experience, including:

* Fill out Family Group Sheets for every family that you are researching. Use the landscape FGS form so that the dates are in columns down the page.

* Use 5-generation Pedigree Charts to identify ancestors, and keep them in numerical order (i.e., charts #2 through 17 are pedigree charts for the persons numbered #1 through #16 on the first pedigree chart, and so on).

* On the Pedigree Charts and Family Group Sheets, highlight in non-photo color the names, dates and places that you have proved. That way, you know what you need to prove.

* Cross-reference the people on the Pedigree Charts on the Family Group Sheets so that you can find them quickly in your files.

* Collect your documents by surname. If a document covers more than one surname, make a copy of the document for each surname.

* Label on the back of each document the source citation including the page number, the repository where it was found, and the surnames it applies to.

* Put the records found or searched for on the back of the Family Group Sheets - include positive and negative results.

* Put all documents in the notebook or file folder for each surname along with the Family Group Sheets.

* Take correspondence out of the envelopes, lay them flat, and put contact information on the back of the correspondence pages.

* Make all notes on 8.5 x 11 paper. Don't use small papers that can be easily lost.

* Make lists of the research items that you need, and where you might find them.

* Create indexes for items of interest for specific surnames - especially for deeds, probates, tax lists, etc.

* Make lists of things to read - books, periodicals, how-to articles, etc.

* Find resources in the Family History Library Catalog and note the resource, the film or fiche number, the library call number, etc. Order microfilms and microfiches to read and copy at the FHC.

* When you are researching, use all of your resources to establish what you know and have proved, and work from there to find additional resources.

* The Internet does not have every record available online. For instance, land deeds, probate records, tax lists church records, cemetery surveys, etc. are not well covered in online databases.

* You cannot trust family tree data submitted by other researchers to Internet databases.

* The Family History Library in Salt Lake City will not take paper collections any longer - they will take only bound books, works on CDROM, and family tree databases in GEDCOM format.

There is a lot of wisdom in those observations and opinions, and they generated a lot of questions from the audience. This was a helpful presentation, especially for the many researchers just starting out in their lifetime work. For experienced researchers, it was an encouragement that the massive files can be managed and even pared down judiciously, but you really need to document all of the records found for each family and put them in a narrative format for each family so that your research can be passed to your posterity and other researchers.

"New England Ancestors" TOC - Spring 2008

The Spring 2008 issue (Volume 9, Number 2) of New England Ancestors, published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, arrived late last week. Here is the Table of Contents for the articles and columns:


* "A Genealogical Perspective on the Salem Witchcraft Trials" by Marilynne K. Roach - page 22.

* " 'The Spread of Lithobolia' adapted from The Devil of Great Island: Witchcraft and conflict in Early New England" by Emerson W. Baker - page 29

* "Excerpts from Pilgrims: New World Settlers & The Call of Home" by Susan Hardman Moore - page 31

* "Researching and Writing Pilgrims" by Susan Hardman Moore - page 34

* "Searching for Caleb M. Harrington" by Sara Harrington Clarkson - page 36

* "Of Brick Walls and Pack Rats: A Genealogical Mystery Solved by Harold Hunter Leach, Jr. -- page 38

* "Researching Deaf Members of the Family" by Amy Johnson Crow, CG - page 40

* "What Caused New England's 'Dark Day'?" by John Horrigan - page 42

* "Preserving New England Records: An Update" by Ralph J. Crandall - page 45


* Computer Genealogist: "Creating Your Own Forms for Free" by Rhonda R. Mcclure - page 48

* Genetics & Genealogy: "DNA Results Produce a Probable Ancestor for Ephraim Cox of Rowan County, North Carolina" by Kathleen Ackerman Van Demark, MD - page 50

* Manuscripts at NEHGS: "Lothrop Family Papers" by Timothy G.X. Salls - page 52

* Diaries at NEHGS: "Selected Excerpts from Richard Hazen's 'Coast of Maine' Journal, 1750" by Robert Shaw


The two case studies, the Dark Day article and the DNA column were really interesting to me.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Funeral of Judge Knapp

The article below was published in The New York Times on 31 January 1892.




HACKENSACK, Jan. 30 -- The funeral of the late Justice Manning M. Knapp of the New Jersey Supreme court attracted a great throng of distinguished men to the Second Dutch Reformed Church here this afternoon. At the homestead of the Judge the Rev. Arthur Johnson, pastor of the church, offered a prayer. The casket of black cloth was hidden beneath the floral tributes of friends as it was carried to the hearse for removal to the church. The congregation rose to their feet as it was borne up the aisle of the church. Mrs. Knapp, the Judge's widow, was opposed to an offer of song over the bier, and out of respect to her wishes there was no singing.

"Addresses were made by the Rev. Mr. Johnson, the Rev. James Demaret of Flushing, L.I., a former pastor of the church, and the Rev. John Kramer of New York.

" 'What a splendid dying this was!' exclaimed the Rev. Mr. Johnson. 'While protesting against the slowness of the court officers he dies. His last words under other circumstances might have gone out to the world unheeded, but now they have gone out to the world emblazoned with glory. The more I knew of him the more I became impressed with his sterling qualities. He died doing his duty, and I feel that the noblest way to die is at the post of duty. Although men may wink at violations of law, he never winked, but went on performing his duty like the man he was. He is away from his high station, but his influence will long be felt.'

"Among those in attendance were ex-Gov. Bedle, Supreme Court Justice Depue, ex-Judge Garrettson, Judge Kirkpatrick, Courtlandt Parker, ex-Mayer Collins, Judge Job H. Lippincott, Asa W. Dickinson, ex-Judge John A. Blair, Supreme Court Justice Dixon, Washingtton B. Williams, ex-Judge William Pitt Douglas, ex-Sheriff C.J. Cronan, William H. Corbin, Charles L. Corbin, R.B. Seymour, and Judge Paxton.

"The interment was in Hackensack Cemetery.


Why have I posted the stories of his death and his funeral? Because Manning M. Knapp is my second great-granduncle. His sister was Sarah Knapp, who married David Auble. David and Sarah (Knapp) Auble are two my sixteen great-great-grandparents.

I think that Manning Knapp is probably the closest relative of mine that has served his state or country in a relatively high judicial, legislative or poilitical office. Besides, the stories are interesting!

What a way to go!

Manning M. Knapp (1825-1892) was a Justice in the New Jersey Superior Court for a number of years up to his death in 1892 in the court room.

Manning M. Knapp (1825-1892) was a Justice in the New Jersey Supreme Court for a number of years up to his death in 1892 in the court room.

The New York Times of January 27, 1892, page 1 (accessed at, describes the circumstances leading to his death:




"Supreme Court Justice Manning M. Knapp ended a long service on the bench by dropping dead in the Hudson County Circuit Court room on Jersey City Heights yesterday afternoon. The Judge had been ailing more or less for two or three years. The precarious state of his health necessitated a long vacation last Fall that extended into the opening of the December term of the county courts. He was on hand, however, to receive the Grand Jurors when the term commenced. It was noticed that he failed to deliver to them one of his usual vigorous and caustic charges on the condition of public affairs and the prevalence of public vices throughout the county. It was assumed that this lapse was due to his conviction that, as all of his previous commands that Grand Jurors do their duty proved fruitless, there was no use of his saying more to them. The belief is general now, however, that he was forced to abstain by the condition of his health.

"The failure of the present Grand Jury to indict Cronheim, the Hoboken dive keeper whose frequent arrests for giving Sunday entertainments have been reported in these columns , served, however, to arouse all the Judge's latent energies, and when the Grand Jury went into court yesterday afternoon to make presentments and report progress, he was prepared to lecture them for their dereliction. When the members had ranged themselves in front of his bench in the courtroom he denounced them roundly for their refusal to take cognizance of the proofs in this case.

"Once before, he said, Cronheim had been indicted and had pleaded non vult. That was his confession of guilt. The testimony taken in a more recent habeas corpus case that had involved Cronheim's place was sufficient to have convicted him if he had been on trial, and he declared himself astonished beyond measure that the Grand Jury had not found an indictment.

"The court, the Judge added, felt particularly sensitive over these repeated protections of violators of the law, because in the public mind the court itself was involved in the imputations, though it had no control whatever over the Grand Jury. There was once a time when a charge to the Grand Jury was heeded, and he wanted to know if this time no longer existed. Then he picked up a bundle of manuscript and held it in view of the inquest.

" 'Information comes to the court,' he said, 'which involves it in the protection of crime because of the failure of the Grand Jury to act. You will find here a copy of --'

"The Judge became ghastly pale and gasped for breath. Before Judge Lippincott could reach him he had fallen back in his chair unconscious. The excitement in the courtroom became intense. Grand Jurors and tipstaves and spectators pressed forward toward the bench, while Judge Lippincott, assisted by one or two lawyers, carried the suffering jurist into his private chamber. When they had laid him on the sofa they felt for his pulse and listened for heart beats.

" 'I fear he is dead!' said one as he turned with a despairing air to the throng that was trying to push its way into the room. Messengers were hastened in all directions for medical aid. Dr. Rhodes, who was the first physician to arrive, saw at a glance that the end had come and that the stricken Justice was beyond the reach of medical skill. Dr. Noble dashed in a minute or two later. He said that death had resulted from a ruptured blood vessel.

"The remains were removed to the late home of the deceased at Hackensack.

"Judge Knapp had been on the bench of the Supreme Court of the State for seventeen years. He was a native of Newtown, Sussex County. Born in 1823, he was in his sixty-ninth year, but his wonderful mental acumen and his springy, elastic step indicated a much younger man. He was admitted to the bar at the July term in 1846, and was made a counselor in 1850. He quickly acquired a large practice and attracted attention by his success in the conduct of several important cases. In 1875, Gov. Bedle appointed him to the Supreme Court bench. Gov. Ludlow reappointed him in 1882, and in 1889 Gov. Green signed his third commission. Soon after his appointment by Gov. Bedle the Supreme court Justices assigned him to the busy Hudson County Circuit, which Bedle had vacated to accept the Chief Magistracy of the state.

"Judge Knapp was a widely-read man and an enthusiast in other studies than the law. He was specially interested in the mysteries of the heavens, and at his home in Hackensack had one of the most complete telescopes in this part of the country. He was scarcely up to the medium height, but he had a massive head, and the classic mold of his features was a subject of frequent remark.

"The Grand Jury was to have considered the Guttenberg race-course scandal yesterday. Judge Knapp had prepared to make that the topic of a special charge. His death prevented its delivery.

"Judge Knapp leaves a wife, daughter of Capt. Joseph Mattison of the navy, and a son and a daughter, the latter being the wife of Walter V. Clark of Hackensack."


Isn't that interesting? I wish that more journalists could write as well as this is written! I've given up hope that I could... I'll have more on Judge Knapp in later posts. He's related to me!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On the road again - wait for me, Willie!

One more time to Santa Cruz today - I expect the Southwest Airlines attendants to greet me by name! My daughter's husband's grandfather died last Friday in Petaluma, and they need to go to the service on Friday morning and to do the reception afterwards - without the two little guys. Grandpa gets the duty again - and revels in the wonder and energy of boys aged 4 and 2.

I will be able to check email and blogs occasionally. I have planned one or two blog posts each day - and not elusive ancestors or letters from Boulder.

I will be home on Sunday afternoon, assuming Linda gets home from helping out our other daughter with her newborn. Life often interferes with genealogy research, but, in our case, we sure enjoy making the family history!

Family Photographs - Post 3: James Richman Family, 1885

I'm posting old family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they won't be wordless posts like others do - I simply cannot have a wordless post. Besides, I would need another post to identify the people in the picture, the time frame and the setting.

Here is one of the more interesting images from my Richman/Richmond family collection:

The persons in the photograph are (I am not sure if my placement is correct):

Front row (left to right): Elizabeth Ann (Richmond) Sykes (1854-1905); James Richmond (1821-1912); Hannah (Rich) Richmond (1824-1911); Louisa Richmond (1852-1940)

Back row (left to right): Thomas Richmond (1848-1917); James Richmond (1850-1929); Hannah (Richmond) Smith (1859-????); Emma (Richmond) Fitts (1856-????); John Henry Richmond (1865-1947); Charles Edwin Richmond (1866-1951).

James and Hannah (Rich) Richman/Richmond emigrated from Hilperton in Wiltshire in 1855/56 and settled in Putnam, Windham County, Connecticut before 1870. They had a dairy farm in Putnam for many years. A biography and family summary are provided here. James and Hannah (Rich) Richmond are my great-great-grandparents. I descend through their eldest son, Thomas Richmond, whose biography and family summary are provided here.

This photograph was taken in 1885, according to a handwritten note on the back of the photograph. The actual photograph was in the possession of Thomas Russell Richmond of Putnam, Connecticut in 1990, who allowed me to make a xerox copy of the actual photograph in 1990.

Russell Richmond is now deceased, and I don't know if the photograph is still extant. Perhaps, one of the Richmond family members will see this post and inform me of the location of the Richmond family photograph collection that Russell Richmond once possessed.

SCGS Jamboree Signups

Paula Hinkel has reminded everybody that the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) Jamboree 2008 is almost here - it's June 27 - 29, less than two months away, and May 1 is an important date. The Jamboree 2008 page is at

Here is Paula's post on several California county mailing lists:


May 1. That's the deadline for early-bird discounts for Jamboree.Registrations are coming in fast and we are looking at a very successful event. Even so, tickets are still available for the meals and special events. Register online today at

Or download a copy of the registration form and postmark it by Thursday, May 1

1. Individuals who register by end of the day on Thursday, May 1, will receive the early-bird registration discount. Register early and save.

2. Early-Bird registrants are assured of receiving a FREE printed copy of the syllabus. Later registrants and walk-ins will receive a syllabus on CD.

There will be a limited number of copies of the syllabus available for purchase at Jamboree for $10, but don't take a chance if you want a print copy.

3. Additional discounts are available for SCGS members. Why not join the Society when you register for Jamboree and enjoy the benefits of membership all year around?

4. Several new activities have been added since our program was mailed out in March. If you missed the announcements, here are some quick notes:

* A FREE Introduction to Genealogy session will be held on Friday morning, June 27, from 9am to 12 noon at the Marriott. Beverly Truesdale of SCGS will be teaching that course. Register through the SCGS shopping cart or call the Library at 818-843-7247 to save your place. Registration is limited to 80 people.

* A FREE Kids' Genealogy Camp will also be held Friday morning, June 27, from 9am to 12 noon at the Marriott. Starr Hailey Campbell, Hailey J. Campbell and Michael Melendez will be teaching the course. We already have 11 registered for the class, with a 30-child limit. It's a great way to introduce the grandkids to family history. Register through the SCGS shopping cart or call the Library at 818-843-7247 to save your place.

* A personal guided tour of Hollywood Forever will be offered on Friday morning, June 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon. An air-conditioned Starline Tours bus will pick you up at the Marriott; and Karie Bible, Hollywood Forever historian, will provide a personal walking tour of the famed Hollywood Cemetery. Cost is $30 and you can register online through the shopping cart or by mail or phone.

* A special appearance by members of the Guild of St. Michael, 16th century German mercenaries, accompanied by most of their weapons and some of their ladies, will welcome all attendees on Saturday morning. The group, including a "barber/physician" , will be at Jamboree through the lunch break on Saturday.

..and if that's not enough...

We'll even have an Oom-pah-pah band on Friday!

* Do you need a vintage photo repaired or duplicated for a cousin? Longtime Jamboree exhibitors Claire and Mike Daigle of Photos Made Perfect will be there to help. Ask them to scan your photos on Saturday.

* Bring your GEDCOM or electronic genealogy file and have beautiful pedigree charts printed while you wait. Print a chart for yourself, or plan ahead and have some printed for family gifts. Stop at the Generations Maps booth and leave Jamboree with a family treasure. Then, why not donate your family genealogy file to SCGS for safekeeping.


Paula does a great job of keeping everybody informed about deadlines and Jamboree highlights. If you're planning to attend, be sure to sign up now!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Unique Grave Site

Someone had a great sense of humor! She always used to say that when she died she wanted a parking meter on her grave that says 'Expired'. Her nephew got her one on eBay! Her grave is right by the road so everyone can see it and many people have stopped to get a chuckle.
The meter says "64 Year Time Limit" on the dial, and gives the birth and death date on the metal part in front of the dial. Today is the 67th birthday and the third anniversary of her death.
Unique! Sounds like someone I would have liked to know.

Free Family History PhoneBook

Have you ever wondered how to contact another genealogy researcher in another location, a genealogy software or database company when you don't have Internet access? Wonder no more - a Family History PhoneBook is on the way.

I received this email from Holly T. Hansen of the My Ancestors Found web site and blog (


My Ancestors Found is compiling the Family History Phonebook, a unique reference tool to help researchers find you and to help you let them know all about your products and services. The Family History Phonebook will be offered as a Free download via our website and distributed to thousands of attendees at our Family History Expos.

We are sure you would like to be listed in the 1st edition of the Family History Phonebook to be released later this year. Be sure your contact information is reflected correctly and take advantage of the opportunity to advertise in the first edition. Send in your information by: June 1, 2008.

Please fill in the address fields below and return immediately by email for correct information to be included with your Free Basic Listing.

Business / Organization Name as you would like it listed:

Phone 1
Phone 2
Phone Toll Free 800
Address 1 ~ Mailing
City, County, State, Zip
Address 2 ~ Physical (enter only if different than mailing address)
City, County, State, Zip

Email to:

Take the opportunity now to advertise in the Family History Phonebook to reach people everywhere. Advertisers are listed in multiple ways throughout the phonebook so that when searches are carried out by users they have more chances to be found.

Advertising rates are affordable even for the modest budget.

** Free ~ Basic Listing includes contact information only.

** $25.00 ~ Premium Listing ~ get your name in bold, 3 keyword links, and a hotlink to your website.

** $50.00 ~ Full Marketplace Ad ~ includes Basic Premium Listing and a full color graphical ad created by you. (336 x 280 pixels)

With Premium Listing or Full Marketplace Ad you can purchase additional Keyword Advertising.

** $ 2.50 ea. ~ Keyword Advertising ~ connect with customers looking for you.

.........* Basic Keyword ~ (i.e. Archive, City Directory, Maps, Media, Researcher. . .)

.........* Geographic Keyword ~ (i.e. USA, New York City, Scotland, Alabama. . .)

.........* Research Keyword ~ (i.e. 18th Century, Colonial, Genetics, Military. . .)

Multiple words are allowed as a Keyword such as “Salt Lake City”, but no phrases.


Note that you have to email the basic information to My Ancestors Found. For the advertising, you have to go to the My Ancestors Found web site, click on the Family History Phonebook link and pay for the listing you want, and then provide the information to them.

This is a pretty good idea - for professionals, amateurs, societies, and companies involved in genealogy.

Passing it out for free via download or to attendees at My Ancestors Found conferences is a great idea. They could also bundle it on the CD-ROMs of the conference syllabus.

Far from the "West Country"

There is an interesting article in today's Daily Telegraph from the U.K. titled "Islanders speak with a West Country accent" by Richard Alleyne and Richard Savill. The link is here.

The key graphs include:

"The entire population of a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean has been found to speak with a West Country accent - because the residents all descend from one man from Gloucestershire.

"Researchers have long been puzzled by the strong rural drawl spoken by the inhabitants of Palmerston Atoll, one of the smallest and most remote of the Cook Islands with a land mass of less than one square mile.

"The island is home to 63 people, who are all descended from William Marsters, an English carpenter and barrelmaker who settled there in 1863.

"Now linguists have matched their accent to that of their very distant cousins 12,000 miles away in Gloucestershire.

"The discovery has led to intense interest in the islanders, now in their fifth generation, and one English writer and historian has launched a quest to find out more about Mr Marsters, who had four wives, 17 children and 54 grandchildren before his death in 1899."

and ...

"After his death, Mr Marsters's legacy remained intact and in 1954 ownership of the island was granted to his descendants. Although under the protection of New Zealand, it is still run by his great-grandson.

"The reason for the family's survival is put down to its strict adherence to religious laws. It is split into three branches, one for each original wife, and marriage within each branch is strictly forbidden."


Read the whole article for more information and context.

It might be a fascinating genealogy study, eh? Talk about pedigree collapse! Since all residents are descended from one man, I wonder if genetic abnormalities are showing up in the children due to the in-breeding, notwithstanding the edict against marrying someone from your own branch.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Audrey is here - a new leaf on the family tree!

Audrey Sophia L.... was born today, 28 April 2008, in Apple Valley CA to James and Tami (Seaver) L..... She is the second granddaughter and fourth grandchild of Randy and Linda Seaver of Chula Vista CA. Mother and child are doing well.

Audrey weighs in at 6 lbs 14 ounces and is 19 inches long. As you can see from the picture, the lungs seem to work well.

She's probably cold, it's so bright out and the sounds are so different. What is she thinking? Probably -- where's the steady rhythmic beat of Mom's heart? What are these strange things around me? Why is it so cold? At least my head's warm. What was that they poked into my mouth, nose and ears? What is this wet stuff that comes out of this big person holding me? Who had cold hands? Where's Lolo?
We look forward to loving her for the rest of our lives! May she bless her parents and appreciate her ancestors. Thank you, God, for this small blessing.
Photo credit: James L...., Victorville CA, taken 28 April 2008.
UPDATED: To remove their last name for privacy reasons. I added some more thoughts too! At 8 p.m., everyone is doing pretty well. Grandma and Lolo got to hold the baby this afternoon - so small, just beautiful.

Leominster, Massachusetts

Leominster, Massachusetts is a city in Worcester County, west of Boston, north of Worcester and just south of Fitchburg. Wikipedia has a decent description of the history, industry, culture and demographics here. Sue Gardner has several pages about Leominster History and Genealogy here and here. By the way, "Leominster" is pronounced "leh-man-stah" by almost everybody who came from there.

Here is a Yahoo map of the city in the present times.

I noted two home locations on the map - A= 290 Central Street and B = 149 Lancaster Street.

My Seaver family lived in Leominster for four generations:

1) Isaac and Lucretia (Smith) Seaver resided at 7 Cedar Street (across the street from 149 Lancaster Street) from before 1870 to his death in 1901.

2) Frank and Hattie (Hildreth) Seaver resided at 149 Lancaster Street from the time of their marriage in 1874 to their deaths in 1922 and 1920, respectively. They lived with Hattie's parents, Edward and Sophia (Newton) Hildreth.

3) Frederick and Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver resided at 149 Lancaster Street early in their marriage, and then at 290 Central Street after about 1912 until about 1927. They lived at 20 Hall Street after 1927 until about 1935, when they moved to a rental on West Street.

4) Frederick W. Seaver (my father) grew up at 290 Central Street, and then lived at 20 Hall Street before coming west in 1940.

Pictures were taken in 2007 of the houses at 7 Cedar Street, 149 Lancaster Street, 290 Central Street and 20 Hall Street, and are in my post "Seaver Family Homes in Massachusetts."

In addition, these two ancestral families resided in Leominster:

5) Edward and Sophia (Newton) Hildreth resided at 149 Lancaster Street from before 1870 to their deaths in 1899 and 1923, respectively.

6) Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond resided at 12 Summer Street between about 1890 and 1905. Summer Street is located just below the number (11) on the map. I don't have a picture of this house, which may not be standing now.

Many of the Seaver and Hildreth family members are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, which is on Main Street northeast of downtown Leominster (just southwest of Highway 2 on the map).

From census and family records, I know that Frank Seaver worked in the Horn Supply company in Leominster making combs and pins from animal horns and celluloid. Fred Seaver worked in and was the plant manager of the Paton Manufacturing Company from about 1912 until 1927. The company was located next door to 290 Central Street.

The Wikipedia entry for Leominster describes the horn and plastics industry as:

"The city of Leominster has played a more significant role in the establishment and progress of plastics than any other city in the United States. The Plastics Industry started with the comb industry in 1770s which has flourished in Leominster ever since. Early combs were made of animal shell, horn, and hooves; by the mid 1800s, these supplies were dwindling rapidly. Everything changed when in 1868 John Wesley Hyatt invented a material made from cellulose acetate, to which he gave the name "celluloid". [2] Celluloid was hard, durable, and easy to shape and mold when heated to a certain temperature. Leominster's facilities for horn fabrication rapidly become the center for plastic fabrication in the United States. Leominster used celluloid not only for combs but also for toys, cutlery handles, optical frames, buttons, and novelties of all shapes and sizes. Most celluloid manufacturing was later changed to cellulose acetate which did not burn as quickly. The peak of the plastics industry in Leominster was between 1900 and 1920. The plastics industry was Leominster's largest employer. Unfortunately, in the late 1920s women's styles were changing rapidly; hair was worn shorter with no need for elaborate combs. With the advent of the Great Depression, which began in 1929 and did not end until the end of World War II, Leominster's plastics industry went into a decline."

and the specific company they worked for --

"The Viscoloid Company was incorporated in 1901. Founded by Alexander Paton, the president of the company. He was accompanied by Ludwig Stross and his Secretary and Treasurer Bernard Doyle. In 1902, the partners started the Sterling Comb company which made dress combs and other hair ornaments. The men owned the Viscoloid Company, Harvard Novelty Company, and the Paton Company, but in 1912 the companies were consolidated under the name Viscoloid Company and later the Viscoloid Company Inc. By 1923, the company's capital reached three million dollars and had become the largest employer in Leominster. That same year, Alexander Paton resigned and Bernard Doyle became Chief Executive. He remained Chief until 1925 when the company merged with The Dupont company. The name was then changed The Dupont Viscoloid Company. The company was the largest in the city making dress combs, brushes, mirrors, toilet articles, hair ornaments, and other novelties."

I have visited Leominster a number of times, including:

1) in 1966 while on a convention trip to Boston, my Aunt Gerry drove me out to Leominster to meet the family. My Uncle Ed and Aunt Ruth still lived there. We visited 290 Central Street, but didn't go in the house.

2) In 1968 while on a business trip to Boston, my Aunt Gerry drove me to Leominster to see the family and enjoy a family party to celebrate my cousin's return from Viet Nam.

3) In 1982, my family visited Leominster on vacation and stayed with Uncle Ed who lived on Helena Street. We had a great time, and I did my first audio tape interview with Uncle Ed. This really whet my interest in family history and spurred me to think about doing genealogy research.

4) In 1990, my brother Scott and I went to Sterling MA to celebrate Uncle Ed and Aunt Janet's 50th wedding anniversary. By this time, they lived in Arizona, but returned to St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Leominster to renew their vows and we had a great reception at a place in Sterling where they had their wedding reception. Afterwards, Ed and Gerry led us on a tour of Evergreen Cemetery where the family members are buried.

5) In 1991, Linda and I went to New England on vacation, and stayed with my cousins in Salem NH and Aunt Gerry up in Maine. We visited Leominster and I did quite a bit of research there and in Westminster.

6) In 1994, Linda and I visited the Salem cousins again and visited Leominster, including the cemetery.

7) In 2003, Linda and I visited Leominster again to mourn the passing of and to celebrate the lives of Ed and Janet Seaver, who were buried together at Evergreen Cemetery.

8) In 2006, Linda and I visited the Salem cousins and Aunt Gerry in Maine and we visited Leominster again - and I took house and tombstone pictures in the rain.

9) In 2007, Linda and I visited Leominster to mourn the passing of and to celebrate the life of Aunt Geraldine (Seaver) Remley. I took the opportunity to visit the tombstones in Evergreen again and the Seaver family homes in Leominster.

Even though I never lived in Leominster, I am drawn to it like a moth to a flame. It is where my father lived during his early years and three earlier generations called it home. It is a working class town, with many multi-family buildings close-in and more modern homes in the outlying areas. The downtown area and the close-in residential areas still look much like they did in the 1920's, I think. I would love to spend a fall and winter there just to experience the weather and the atmosphere. I could also do more extensive genealogy research too!

The Pace of Genealogy Research - Post 3

In the first two posts of this series, I've discussed how online genealogy passes by some genealogy researchers (in Post 1) and how some new genealogy researchers don't realize that there is more to genealogy than online research (in Post 2).

How has the "Pace" of Genealogy Research, resulting from near instantaneous availability of results from indexes, databases, images, etc. affected my own genealogy research patterns? Besides the obvious "I can find many facts, stories or leads quicker than ever before," I think it has affected me in these ways:

1) I do much more research online in the available resources rather than go to the FHC, the library or an ancestral locality. I do online research almost every day, but I go to the library or FHC to do research only 2 or 3 times a month. If I'm lucky, I get to an ancestral location once a year.

2) I can review many of the resources that are in published books, FHL microfiche databases and FHL or NARA microfilms (e.g., census, passenger lists, etc.) in a short period of time in online databases with every-name indexes. It used to take weeks to obtain, find and copy these documents or information.

3) I don't keep careful records of what web sites, databases or images I visit or view. I used to keep a research log for each family surname - I'm not disciplined enough to do that now - it would take a long time to track all of my clicks. I'm sure that I duplicate searches almost every day. When I am doing "real research" (meaning doing a "reasonably exhaustive search" in all resources (not just online) as opposed to a "survey" search to find leads to sources and information), I use several forms to collect information on the ancestral family I'm working on - an online search summary (see a typical list here), a family research summary (all possible resources), a timeline, etc. I put these in my research notebook and consult them frequently.

4) I am able to capture images from databases, web pages, articles, etc. and put them in my computer files easily. I rarely make xerox copies at libraries or the FHC any longer, since nearly everything I read there is now online somewhere. If I read a microfilm or microfiche at the FHC, I can save the page images to my USB drive and plant them on my hard drive at home.

5) Having images in digital format, I can transcribe or abstract text right into my genealogy software database using my handy "split screen" method. When everything was on paper, I had to transcribe or abstract from the paper copy which was often difficult to read, even with a magnifying glass.

6) I can make many more errors in putting families together if I'm not careful. With more experience has come skepticism about the work of other researchers and my own assumptions of connections between parents and children.

That's enough for now - what effects have you noticed from the increased "pace of genealogy research" in your own research?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Family Fun Day

Here's an interesting picture --

It kind of makes you wonder what happens at a family fun day at a mortuary -- maybe:

* A Pinebox derby for kids?

* A S'mores roast at the crematorium?

* Pin the tail on the tombstone?

* A Croak K tournament? Did I spell that right?

* A facepainting booth?

* Hearse racing?

I understand that Goolsby Mortuary is in South Bend, Indiana.

I couldn't resist once I saw this picture on one of my favorite political web sites.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - April 20-26, 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, 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.

* "Top Ten Ways a Family Historian Can Help the Environment" by Chris Dunham on The Genealogue blog. Chris celebrates Earth Day as only he can ... #1 is "Compost Uncle Louie" -- priceless.

* "Ancestry Employess Get First Look" by the Insider on the Ancestry Insider blog. The Insider teases all of us about a new Ancestry project using underlined blank spaces to keep all of us non-TGNers in the dark. He showed how the FamilySearch Indexing Project highlights a name ... could this be the much-needed and anxiously awaited "highlighting of indexed names or keywords" that other genealogy companies provide? Or is it a "Volunteer Ancestry Indexing Project" that researchers could participate in (and perhaps earn credits toward a subscription?) to provide indexing for digitized documents? Just guessing! Nobody else has.

* "Older Genealogists Hate Free Genealogy Sites" by whoever writes the Genealogy - Family Tree Genealogy Search Software and More blog. This "tongue-in-cheek" post (I think!) discusses the old ways of doing genealogy. Methinks that some older genealogists really hate commercial genealogy sites, and think that all online genealogy sites should be free without advertising, but who knows...I'm not that old, apparently.

* "LAC suggested online genealogy databases" by John D. Reid on the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog. John provides a nice list of Canadian genealogy web site links from Library Archives Canada (LAC). Very useful!

* "Some Genealogical Humour" by the Canadian Lib Genie on the Librarians Helping Canadian Genealogists Climb Family Trees blog. This is a list of New Year's resolutions made in 1852... good list!

* "Hit the ground running: report from Myrt's" by Pat Richley on the DearMYRTLE Blog. Pat describes the small research group that she leads monthly at her home, and a chat on Second Life about reading difficult handwriting. The home group sounds like a great thing for a knowledgeable genie researcher could do in almost any location.

* "Why I Do Genealogy" by Janet Hovorka on The Chart Chick blog. Janet has a great list of her reasons to pursue genealogy and family history. Well done!

* "Moovers and Shakers: Week of April 23, 2008" by Janice Brown on the Cow Hampshire blog. Janice has a nice list of her favorite cow, New Hampshire and genealogy posts for the past week. What, no Genea-musings?

* "Hobo Nickels" by Dave Tabler on the Appalachian History blog. This article was fascinating for this city boy who never knew anything about "hobo culture."

* "Human mtDNA Diversity Before Migration Out of Africa" by Blaine Bettinger on The Genetic Genealogist blog. Blaine explains last week's news article about DNA research.

* "The Wine in Aunt Harriett's Demijohn" by Terry Thornton on the Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi blog. Terry's story about his aunt's pot is wonderful - we should all have been so lucky to have an aunt like Harriett!

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!

CVGS Meeting on 4/30 - "Organizing Your Files"

Our next CVGS general society meeting is on Wednesday, 30 April at 12 noon in the Auditorium of the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library. After a short business meeting, the speaker will be Audrey Potterton on "Organizing Your Files."

The program announcement:

"You cannot do a complete job of research if you are not organized! Audrey started with a simple system that has followed her through all these years of research. If you feel "buried" in facts and don't know where to put it all, Audrey will try to help!

"Audrey Potterton was raised in Chula Vista and attended CV High School. She has been married 54 years, has two sons and 4 grandchildren. Experiencing "empty nest syndrome" when her sons were grown, she went to the 10th St. LDS library with only her grandparents names, read some census records and got "hooked" on genealogy! After a year, she volunteered at the library and now has been there every Tuesday for 25 years cataloging film and fiche. She taught beginners classes for 20 years, and after completing her genealogy research, turned professional!"

When you come to the meeting, please enter through the Conference Room door to sign in, pick up the handouts, buy an opportunity drawing ticket and have a snack. At 12:15 p.m., we'll move into the Auditorium to start the program.