Saturday, June 14, 2008

2nd Edition of "Smile for the Camera" is all about Belles and Beaus

The second edition of the Smile for the Camera - A Carnival of Images is posted by footnoteMaven at The topic was Belles and Beaus.

There are 24 entries in this Carnival, each heart-felt, some poignant, some humorous, all wonderful expressions of love.

My own entry was "The Best Day of My Life" which I wrote last year.

Enjoy this Carnival, and consider entering the 3rd Edition - the topic will be:

A celebration of home. Where is home and how do you celebrate? Choose a photograph of an ancestor, relative, yourself, or an orphan photograph that shows a celebration of home. Is it a house, a town, a city, a country, the old country, a group of people, or just a state of mind. Here in America we celebrate our love of home with fireworks and Old Glory. How and what do you or did your ancestors celebrate? Show us! You can enter by using the handy submission form provided by Blog Carnival. The deadline is 10 July 2008.

The "Unclaimed Persons" Search Group is Thriving

When Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak started the Unclaimed Persons Group on Facebook, I jumped right in. So far, 8 cases have been posted and the group has responded by solving several of them and several more cases are being actively researched by a dedicated group of researchers.

As of this morning, 244 people have signed up for this Group on Facebook. That is a good number, but it is just a small fraction of the potential number who could help out solving these Unclaimed Persons cases.

If you are interested in helping in this Unclaimed Persons Group, then please first read Megan's post "Wanna be my (Facebook) Friend?" Facebook is a free signup, and is pretty easy to use once you are there and have experimented for awhile. You'll find a number of well-known genealogy "friends" there, and you can be their Friend too!

Megan's post above has a link to The Unclaimed Persons Group. The Group rules include:

1. We'll create a separate discussion board topic for each case, titled with the case number and the name of the deceased. Please post all research findings here and not as comments on the case-related photos or The Wall. Hopefully, this will help us avoid duplicating efforts.

2. If you'd like to email Megan or other Unclaimed Persons administrators about a case, please use the email address at This will help us make sure your questions and/or tips don't get buried in our inboxes.

3. Please do not post contact details and other private information about living persons, such as likely next of kin, in the public forum. Once you have those details, email them to

4. Please do NOT contact coroner's offices directly, unless it's specified in a case that they have requested this. We're not trying to be control freaks here, but several coroner's offices have requested that we act as a point of contact and forward them the compiled information. We want to make sure that we don't overwhelm them with our enthusiasm!

5. NEVER contact possible relatives. Instead, provide the information to the relevant coroner's office via this Facebook site and/or

The Discussion Board is the place where the Cases are posted by the administrators, and the place to post research information about the cases. Reading through the discussions for each case, I find suggestions for ways to improve my own research skills.

This is fun research and also helpful to society and families. Come join this really friendly Group!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rootie Toot Toot, Lickety Split, Softie and Squash/Mira

I have always loved cats. Small cats, house cats, big cats (from afar). They are beautiful, graceful, regal, clean, and intriguing animals. Here are some of my cat stories.

When I was growing up, we lived between two busy streets. There were always cats around the neighborhood, and we usually adopted one every year. And every year, it seemed that our precious kitty would get run over. We always named our cats, and one year Rootie Toot Toot came into our live. He was a tom, a gray long-hair cat, just beautiful, and very happy to let us pet him and play with his tail. We dressed him up and put him in our toy car, but he usually jumped out. I'm not sure how he got his name, but it may have been a description of a bodily function. RTT lasted about 8 years before my dad found him on the side of the street one morning. We were sad for weeks. And then another cat came into our lives, and the cycle continued.

When we moved into our present house in 1975, we found a mother Manx cat and her kittens in the side yard. We named the mother Mom and the most adventurous kitten Lickety Split, because he always ran away fast. We fed them, but they were feral and we didn't tame them, and we were concerned about scratches because we had a 1 year old at the time. Eventually, we called a Manx cat fancier and she came and caught them and took them away, but not before I got a bone-deep bite on my hand.

Our neighbors had two little girls, and when the third came along, they also got a female, gray kitten for the girls to care for, and named her Softie. Softie visited our yard often, and my girls played next door with the other girls and they loved Softie. The neighbors moved away after several years, and couldn't take Softie with them, so they gave us to Softie, and she was a wonderful companion for all of us for many years. Softie was an outside cat, and lived on dry cat food and water. She roamed our end of the block - we are on the edge of a hillside with plenty of birds and some small rodents. Softie occasionally scored a mouse, and would proudly bring it to the back door for approval. When the opossums or dogs, or even other cats, came into the yard, she would leap from the ground to the shelf to the lath and up on the roof. I was always amazed how lithe she was. Softie saw my girls grow up and go off to college, and was a real blessing to our empty nest, and when the girls came home to visit Softie was a center of attention for them.

Softie was such a wonderful kitty, and lived to age 18. She became more of an indoor cat as she approached the end, and we knew the end was near at Christmas time 1996 when she stopped eating and struggled to get up on the couch. On the night she died, I petted her for the longest time, put some soft food near her, put her on a blanket on the floor, and told her goodbye with tears in my eyes (I have them now as I type this) and went to bed. I was awakened by something falling off the wall in the hallway (it was an angel ornament - my wife collects them) - this had never happened before or since. I got up, found the broken ornament on the tile floor and wondered how that happened. Then I looked in the family room and there was dear Softie hanging by a paw and claw to the couch - she evidently died trying to get up on the couch. Did her spirit pass through the hall and knock the ornament off the wall? We buried Softie in the back yard she loved.

My older daughter was married in 2000 in Santa Cruz, and visited us in Chula Vista soon after. She wanted a cat, so she went to a pet store here and bought a scrawny tortoise shell kitten, thinking that she could take it home on the plane with her. Well, no - not without papers, a health certificate, a cage and a reservation. Her friend came and got it and brought it to us, since we were going up to Santa Cruz in two weeks. This kitten was pretty skittish, and would hide under or behind furniture. I didn't see her and sat on her once, so I named her Squash. I looked into taking her on the airplane, and went to a vet to get the health certificate, but Squash was sick and we only got an expensive bottle of some medicine that she didn't like. So we drove Squash to her new home - over 500 miles away. We had to stop for a night on the way, and couldn't sneak her into our room, so we paid the extra $10 for a pet-allowed room. She traveled the whole way perched on the back of my driver's seat, or in my lap.

My daughter didn't like the name Squash, so she named her Mira (after "miracle," and considering the short life of this cat, it was appropriate). Mira has grown into a beautiful indoor cat. When I visit my daughter's family in Santa Cruz, Mira is my sleep buddy and is always nearby wanting to be petted. My grandsons don't appreciate her yet - they want to play with her, not pet her, but I know that they will eventually love her well.

I looked for family pictures of Rootie Toot Toot, Softie and Squash/Mira, but I couldn't find only the one of Mira here. Oh well, I've given you word pictures here, I hope.

My Victorville daughter has Walter, a lovable and slobbery basset hound. Their other older basset, Lucy, died last year. My Santa Cruz daughter has an Australian Cattleherder dog named Annie who is great with the boys. I like the dogs a lot, but I love the cats.

We often forget these furry and loving members of our families, and the companionship, enjoyment and fun times they provide.

SDGS meeting on Saturday, 14 June - "Railroads"

The San Diego Genealogical Society monthly meeting is on Saturday, 14 June, at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in San Diego (8350 Lake Murray Blvd., at Jackson Drive in the San Carlos neighborhood of San Diego).

The RootsMagic User's Group will meet there from 10 a.m. to noon.

At noon, the society meeting will begin, with an introduction of member Mary Card who will present “Railroads: How They Changed Our Ancestors’ Lives.”

The summary of Mary's talk includes:

"Ever wonder how the railroads changed the lives of your ancestors -- their migrations, where they lived, their livelihoods? They had a more profound impact on their lives than you may realize.

"The talk will trace the introduction and development of the railroads, their geographical and political implications, where to find records and the implications of the ‘Orphan Trains.’

"The topic will be further explored through the life of Patricia Curran who grew up as part of a railroad family. She started lobbying for railroad safety when she was only ten years old.

"Through her life, you will share what it was like to be part of the unique culture and life style of the ‘brotherhood of railway trainmen’. Railroad memorabilia will also be shared and discussed. This is a ‘must’ topic for every family historian."

Mary's genealogy curriculum vitae includes:

"Board Member Mary Card is the Society’s Historian and serves on the Education Committee. She has been pursuing genealogy for over 30 years and has also taught history classes for 26 years. She is a former Regent for the La
Jolla DAR.

"When not doing genealogy research, she is a Special Education teacher and publishes the semi-annual family newsletter, The Card Chronicle. If you attended her past presentations, you know you won’t want to miss this."

The information about Mary and her talk was obtained from the June 2008 issue of the San Diego Genealogical Society Newsletter (Vol. 41, No. 5).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Barack Obama's Certification of Live Birth Record

Some people have questioned whether Barack Obama, the probable Presidential candidate of the Democratic Party in 2008, is a natural-born United States citizen, as required by the Constitution of the United States.

Somebody posted an image of a Certification of Live Birth on the DailyKos web site here. It is shown below:

I posted it here because I thought that it was interesting. He is qualified to be President of the United States as a natural-born citizen over the age of 35.

Avid readers of this blog know that Barack Obama is my 8th cousin once removed, as detailed in my post "Yep, Barack Obama is my cousin!".

Ancestry doubles its newspaper collection - and it's FREE until 19 June

Suzanne Bonner on the Blog alerted us to the increase in the number of newspapers in the collection in her post " Doubles Its Historical Newspaper Collection."

The lead paragraph says:

"We doubled the size of our historical newspaper collection - adding a billion names and 20 million images. Different than census or other types of records, newspapers can add context through breaking news, gossip columns, entertainment listings, advertisements and much more."

The post also mentions that through June 19th, you can search the entire historical newspaper collection free. Check out the newspaper collection and see what interesting stories you can discover!

I looked at the Newspapers and Periodicals category on the Ancestry Search page, and saw that there are currently 1,235 newspaper databases. I don't know if that includes the newly added databases or not - a long list of new newspaper databases has not been added to the Recently Added or Updated List at

The news of the FREE access for the next week should be publicized to researchers everywhere.

UPDATE 6/13: An email received from Ancestry notes: Users will need to register as members of to access the free newspapers. This free registration does NOT require a credit card. Those registering for a free membership account will be asked to provide an email address.

UPDATE 6/13 later: An email from Ancestry notes that the newspapers were added or updated back on 30 May. My mistake - sorry! You would think that they would make the announcement when the new databases are added, not almost two weeks later.

CVGS Research Group meeting on 11 June

The June meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group was yesterday at the Chula Vista Library, with 10 persons in attendance, including one non-member.

We went around the table at the beginning of the meeting to see what each person was doing in their research.

* John requested four obituaries from Columbus, Ohio via Inter-Library Loan (ILL) and received them within 10 days for $5 to the CV library. They were faxed from Columbus to Chula Vista.

* Joan re-submitted her vital records request to Pennsylvania with the correct fee (she hopes). She's going to start research on her Wallace family.

* Dearl reviewed the Confederate Pension file that he received from the Texas State Archives.

* Charlotte is working on her Dodworth family in Sheffield in England, but has had little time due to family commitments. She will be gone on vacation until August and will visit family in Canada and Kentucky (lucky girl!).

* Shirley H is helping a lady in Tennessee work on a DAR lineage.

* Virginia ordered an Ohio Valley history book on ILL. She is getting her papers organized in folders.

* Shirley B went to the FHC last Saturday, and found census records for her elusive Wright family. Some records confused her more, and some revealed secrets.

* Dick has been working on to correct information in a Texas graveyard, and corresponded with a friend who photographed gravestones in his hometown.

* Ray is just starting out, and has input the family information he has into FamilyTreeMaker. He asked for web sites and databases that might have information on his families.

* Randy described his forays into Legacy Version 7, The Master Genealogist Version 7, RootsMagic Version 3, and Family Tree Builder 2.0. He also talked about the Unclaimed Persons forum on Facebook.

After the table round, Randy briefly discussed the Genealogy News of the Month, highlighting the databases for states mentioned around the table.

During Question time, we discussed:

* Shirley H asked if Revolutionary War veterans were identified in any census records? John noted that the 1840 census identified Rev War veterans by name even if they weren't head of household.

* Shirley B wondered if the early volumes of The American Genealogist were available in San Diego. Randy said he thought they were on the shelf at the SD Family History Center.

* Joan recently received a stack of land records from a Minnesota historical society, and asked about their value to her. Several noted that these records may identify siblings or children, the location of the land, the place the buyer resided previously, neighbors and witnesses who might be family members, etc.

* Randy posed a research question from a recent query - a James B. Garrett resided in Justice Precinct 5 in Kaufman County, Texas in the 1880 and 1900 census. The correspondent wanted to know how he could identify the land that was sharecropped by Garrett. John suggested finding the names of owners of land near Garrett in the census records, then finding that owner's name on a plat map or in land records to identify the approximate location. Shirley recommended using that information to find tax lists, voter registration lists, the 1880 agricultural census, and other local records to try to identify neighbors and associates of Garrett.

After the meeting, Randy provided the syllabus material from the last two seminars to Ray to help him get started in online research. He also showed Ray the library computer terminals and how to access Ancestry Library Edition on them.

This meeting had excellent sharing to answer questions and recommend ways to solve research problems. It's fun to hear the research stories, the successes and frustrations, of each attendee, and to be able to help researchers knock down their brick walls one brick at a time.

Online Editions for Everton's Genealogical Helper

Leland Meitzler, editor of the Everton's Genealogical Helper print magazine, announced the following this morning:

"Genealogy Online, Inc., publisher of Everton’s Genealogical Helper, today, announced the publication of the Genealogical Helper in an Online Edition. The Online Edition is an identical copy of the 176-page paper edition – complete with hotlinks to the hundreds of website addresses found therein.

"Launch Date – The new Online Edition will launch on July 1 – simultaneous with the home delivery and newsstand date of the paper edition of the July-August issue.

"Free Access – Subscribers to the traditional Genealogical Helper will have 100% FREE online access to the magazine – with no extra fees whatsoever. See for sign-up information.

"Online Edition subscriptions – Everton’s Genealogical Helper, Online Edition, will sell for just $12.00 per year! That is only $2 per issue! And it’s only $10.00 for subscriptions made before July 1 at or phone 1-800-443-6325."

Read the entire press release at Leland's Everton Publisher's Genealogy Blog.

This is a very welcome development in the genealogy publishing world - the consumer actually gets a price break for being digitally aware. For $10 a year, I'll be able to download and save (and print if I want a specific article) issues of EGH to my computer and be able to easily access it any time and place I have my laptop.

Frankly, the only thing better for me would be for publishers to provide an online archive of articles with an index for each magazine issue, and a subject index, so that I don't have to clutter up my hard drive with articles I'm not interested in. Oh, that's right -- Everton's is one of the periodicals that has imaged and indexed archive pages online at

This is a very smart business move by Everton Publishing. A fair percentage of current subscribers to the print edition will switch from print to digital publishing, and receive a price break. The company's publishing costs will go down when fewer printed copies are created and mailed out. The overall circulation of the magazine will go up - how can it not go up? A win-win for everybody involved.

I have not subscribed to Everton's Genealogical Helper before - my local library has subscribed to it for a long time, so I've been reading it at the library. I've read it ever since I started my research in 1988 - I would take my surname list to the library and check the index of each issue, looking for queries for my families.

My Genea-Cave is chock full of dead trees with pretty covers and interesting writing inside of them sitting in neat stacks on top of my book cases. I rarely read a past issue for fear of the stacks falling on top of me... er, because of the difficulty of finding a specific article. That is one reason why I publish selected periodical Tables of Contents on my blog - to enable me (and others) to find a specific article after Googling a name and/or location of an ancestor.

I think that This type of publishing is the future of genealogy periodicals. Internet Genealogy and Digital Genealogist have online-only (do they offer a print option?) publication, and Ancestry Magazine offers Ancestry subscribers a digital version of their magazine for free.

I hope that other print magazines like Family Tree Magazine and Family Chronicle will provide a "download only" option at a reduced subscriber price. Some magazines and periodicals (e.g., Family Tree Magazine) are offering CDROMs for their yearly archive of issues - this is another winning idea.

If the National Genealogical Society, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and other societies offered a significant price break for membership by offering digital versions of their publications, I would leap at the opportunity, and I am sure that thousands of others would also.

This seems, at least to this voracious consumer of genealogy information, to be a winning publication model that is company smart, genealogist friendly and ecologically helpful.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ah, AWT is not in New Ancestry Search - yet!

I wondered several weeks ago in "Where is Ancestry World Tree in the new Ancestry Search?" why the matches in the New Ancestry Search did not include the Ancestry World Tree (which has the same content as the Rootsweb WorldConnect database).

The Ancestry Insider remembered my question and sent me a "Dear Randy" blog-o-gram today in the post "No AWT in Ancestry New Search?" He (?) explains that "... there is no plan (that I'm aware of) to make AWT accessible only through RootsWeb. " He (?) also explains how old the search technology used on the Rootsweb WorldConnect database really is.

Finally he (?) tells us that "Since New Search is still in preview, might AWT results be added? At least to the category results page?That depends on Ancestry users. At the top of the page, New Search Preview sports a link labeled Tell Us What You Think. You won't be heard if you don't say anything."

So the way to get AWT included in Ancestry New Search is to whine about it to the APTB... no - that's not the Ancestry Purification and Transformation Board, it's the Ancestry Powers That Be. OK, I'm good at whining as avid readers of recent Genea-Musings posts are well aware - is it a full-moon time of the month? Just wondering.

I've used the WorldConnect databases for a long time and have learned how to find information about individuals and family trees from it. It's my first stop when I'm doing a survey of available family tree information.

Thank you to The Ancestry Insider for taking the time to write me a blog-o-gram on his (?) site and answer my question. I'll whine at them tomorrow!

Can anyone confirm that The AI is male? I've used he and his in earlier posts and I don't really know. It doesn't really matter to me, but being a sensitive soul I don't want his/her feelings hurt.

Family Photographs - Post 9: Grandma Bess

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.

Here is one of the most precious (to me) images from my Seaver family collection:

This a picture of my grandmother, Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (1882-1962) taken in about 1925. I believe that she is sitting at a piano or small organ. The setting may be the Seaver home at 290 Central Street in Leominster, Massachusetts, or at the St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Leominster. It may be in another place - I don't really know. Bess was the organist at St. Mark's for many years, and her daughters sang there also. Wasn't she beautiful in her early 40's? I think that this is my favorite picture of her.

I only met my grandmother once, in 1958 when she drove west with my Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Walter Wood and stayed with us for a week or two. I don't have any real memories of her from that visit because she stayed at her sister's home. My Massachusetts cousins all have fond memories of her, especially her interest in their lives and her musical talent.

This picture was in the collection of Geraldine (Seaver) Remley which I "inherited" when Aunt Gerry died last year.

Searching for birth dates in software

I've had excellent responses to my post "Does any genealogy software do this? - Post 1" about creating a list of persons in my database with a specific birth day (e.g., June 10).

1) RootsMagic commented that "In RootsMagic (including the free trial version) you can do Reports > Lists > Birthday / Anniversary list. There are options for selecting groups of people, or only living people, etc. so make sure to choose the ones you are really interested in. It lists the birthdays and anniversaries from Jan 1 thru Dec 31 so you can look at any date to see what birthdays or anniversarys are on a particular date."

Breeze commented "In RootsMagic go to Reports, Calendar and you are all set."

I didn't mention RootsMagic in my post, but I tested the free trial Version 3 using the first comment. The program created a list, starting from 1 January through 31 December for the selected persons. However, I didn't see a way to narrow it down to one specific day as I desired. This list would work for me, though!

Using Breeze's suggestion, I tried Reports > Calendar and the only option was to input a specific month and year and it created a calendar with names and birth days, with ages, for persons in my database - not exactly what I wanted.

2) Geoff commented that "Legacy 7 can do this, including the free, standard edition. Click on the Search icon in the main toolbar, and change the search fields to: Birth Date contains 13 Aug (or your date). Click on Create List. I found 33 other people that share my birthday."

Jasia commented "I don't have Legacy 7 yet either but you can easily do it in Legacy 6 Deluxe. Search>Find>Detailed Search>Primary Condition...then select "individual" or "marriage", "birth date" or "marriage date", "contains" and "June 10" (or whatever)."

Becky commented "I haven't downloaded version 7 yet but Legacy 6 has a Calendar List Report - it may be just a Deluxe feature. You can limit who shows up on the report (living only, deceased only, everyone, etc.) and you can run it for selected months, or just one month."

I received an email from Don who suggested the same parameters as Jasia did on the Detailed Search tab.

I tried those suggestions on Legacy Family Tree 7 Standard version (free), and had these results:

* Using Geoff's suggestion on the Query by Example tab did not work when I input Born = "9 Oct" and checked the "Either" and "Starts with" boxes. I got "No records were found that match the search criteria."

* Using Geoff's and Jasia's suggestions on the Detailed Search tab, it did not work when I input Look for Whom = "Individual," Where to Look = "Birth Date," How to Look = "Equal To" and What to Look For = "9 oct." I'm pretty sure that I needed to include a year to satisfy the "Equal To" criteria.

* Using Geoff's and Jasia's suggestions on the Detailed Search tab, it did work when I input Look for Whom = "Individual," Where to Look = "Birth Date," How to Look = "Contains" and What to Look For = "9 oct." But the results also included persons with a birth date of 19 October and 29 October. That's logical - it did exactly what I requested! I couldn't figure a way to limit it to only those with 9 October as a birth date - I tried "09 Oct" and "9 Oct" in quotes. It did work when I input "19 Oct" or "29 Oct" - it limited the results to those dates. Is this a bug in Legacy Family Tree that it won't find a specific date with one digit?

3) Shannon commented that "I'm using FTM 2005 and if you go to view and then pick calendar ( or hit ALT V,C) and then click on contents and then items to include in calendar, you can choose the time period, living only or all, birthdays and/or anniversarys."

After explicit directions from Shannon in email (thank you!), I figured out that in View > Calendar > Contents > Items to Include if I uncheck the box "Print only if still alive" that it will put the persons in my database born on each day in June (or any other month) in a calendar format. If I go to View > Calendar > Contents > Individuals to Include and select myself and then select Ancestors, then I can limit it to only my ancestors. I would have to make (and print) a calendar for each month to get the full year list.

What about FTM 2008? After the initial issue of this post, I received an email from Ron C who said "simple task with FTM-2008! From reports I selected "Filter In" ...see the bottom box. I selected "Birth" = "1836" and FTM-2008 found all instances where "1836" appeared in the birth date field." He sent a screen capture showing the resulting report. So it appears FTM 2008 can satisfy my desire.

4) Nobody has commented yet about The Master Genealogist 7 capability for this issue. This program totally befuddles me in basic use, let alone obtaining a custom list or report. I need to go on the cruise, I guess, and be tutored by the creators of TMG!

5) Moultrie Creek commented "Reunion 9's calendar will provide the information for today - or any day you specify. Unfortunately, Reunion only works on the Mac. ;)"

I'm not surprised!

6) Lyn commented that "Brothers Keeper will do this. It has a 'word search' capability where you can specify specific values for most fields and it will produce a list of the people meeting the criteria. Includes some Boolean capability. This morning I searched with "17 Feb" in the Birth_Date field and it gave me a list of all the folks born on 17 Feb regardless of year."

Lyn added in a comment to this post that "I have used this capability before to create lists such as what people are buried in the same cemetery or state where folks born, etc. "

7) Taneya Koonce posted on her Taneya's Genealogy Blog about how easy this task is to do on The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG). Please read her post here.

8) TamuraJones commented that "PAF and Ancestral Quest have a birthday calendar, but you can also create a custom report to get just one date. Here's how to do it in PAF, doing it in AQ is practically identical. Choose Custom Report, and then the Select Button to bring up the 'Advanced Focus/Filter' dialog box. In there you can define and combine your search criteria. Add BirthDate to the still empty Filter, choose "Contains" and enter the birth date you want without a year, e.g. "11 Apr". Then add another for Marriage date, with an OR in between. The "Current Filter" box will show: Birth Date Contains 11 Apr OR Marriage Date Contains 11 Apr. That's all there is to it. Well, don't forget to pick some fields for the report, e.g. Full Name, Birth Date and Birth Place. You can save the report for later use. PAF performs the selection pretty fast; on a 100k INDI database, report generation about 10 seconds."

Thank you to all who took the time to comment on my whine, er, post. I've learned a lot about each program's capabilities. I do really appreciate the versatility and capabilities of these genealogy software programs - there are so many features in each program and each program is somewhat different from the others.

In summary, each program tested, except for Family Tree Builder 2.0, and I'm not sure about TMG7, can do what I wanted to do. However, it seems like the user needs to be real familiar (even intimate!) with their software to figure out how to do it.

UPDATED: 2:30 p.m., 11 June. I added the FTM 2008 and Brothers Keeper comments to this post.

UPDATED: 10 p.m., 11 June. I added Taneya's blog post.

UPDATED: 4:30 p.m., 12 June. Updated the FTM 16 report based on input from Shannon in email.

UPDATED: 1:30 p.m., 13 June: Added Tamura Jones comments for PAF/AQ.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

DearMYRTLE's TeachGenealogy blog

Our blogging and podcasting friend, DearMYRTLE, has been mentoring and leading a research group near her home in Salt Lake City for several months, and has started a blog called TeachGenealogy to summarize their experiences, problems and successes. Be sure to go visit Myrt's new blog!

The post that I really appreciate is the one titled "Great sites with lesson material." Myrt lists web sites with lots of great information in many categories, from blogs to books to online lessons to software - go see what I mean. Wonderful work.

Good luck to Myrt on her new blog, and for success of her Research Group. I'll be reading every week to try and get ideas for the Research Group that we have enjoyed over the past five years in Chula Vista (last month's report is here, and the next meeting is tomorrow, 6/11). This old dog needs as many new tricks as he can find, since our group is too savvy now for my old tricks!

The really neat thing about groups like Myrt is working with is that the research skills and confidence levels of the attendees increase rapidly and quickly approach the leader's levels if they stay together for several years.

Searching in the Philadelphia Marriage Indexes

One of the recently added databases on the FamilySearch Record Search ( FREE web site is the Philadelphia Marriages Index, 1885 to 1951. It's on the Browse side of the page - meaning that it is not indexed yet.

Clicking on the database name, the screen for this database looks like:

There are five data sets listed - 1885 to 1916, 1917-1938, 1939-1942, 1943-1946, and 1947-1951.

It is important to note that this database contains images of the index of marriages by surname, not a database with images of actual marriage licenses.

Between 1885 and 1938, the marriages in this index are listed alphabetically by surname, and then alphabetically by given name. The spouse's surname is listed in parentheses, and the marriage license number is listed. The screen below shows the selection screen for the 1885 to 1916 database - I was looking for "Seaver" in this index so I scrolled down to the S data set.

I clicked on the first part of S, and found that there were 300 pages in this data set. Page 1 is shown below:

The user has two choices to find a specific surname in this database - either page through it one page at a time, or guess at a page number and enter it in the "Goto" box in the upper right corner of the search page. I chose the latter, method, and quickly found page 158 with Seaver on it, as shown below:

The format of the 1939 to 1951 databases are somewhat different. They are handwritten in columns for males on the left-hand side of the page, and females on the right-hand side of the page. The data sets are still separated by the first letter of the surname, but within each data set they are not arranged alphabetically. They are listed semi-alphabetically by given name - all A given names are together, then B, etc., and grouped by month and year! Again, the spouse's surname is given in parentheses, and the Marriage license number is provided.

The screen below shows the screen for the 1939 to 1942 database. I was looking for a specific person, John Robinson Hall, so I chose the H listings.

The first page of the H listings show that this list starts with the given name of A - Abraham Harris for the males on the left and Augusta Harper for the females on the right, as shown below.

In order to find John Hall, I had to find the start of the J given names, and then search all of the pages with J given names.

At this time, the 1947 to 1951 marriage index pages are not available on the web site.

If you find a marriage index record for your ancestor, then you need to write down the marriage license number. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania web site provides information for obtaining marriage (and other vital) records in Philadelphia at For marriages between 1884 and 1938, the actual marriage licenses can be observed (and copied) from the LDS Family History Library Catalog in the Microfilm 0,972,956.

Unfortunately, I didn't find John Robinson Hall in the 1917 to 1946 indexes. My colleague will be disappointed, but not surprised!

Does any genealogy software do this? - Post 1

I've been whining a lot about genealogy software recently, but they don't do exactly what I want them to do. Or they hide a neat capability somewhere amidst all of the 0's and 1's.

I thought it would be a neat idea to make a list of the ancestors who have specific birth days - you know, who was born on 10 June, or married on 10 July.

As far as I can tell, FamilyTreeMaker 16 can't do this. I've looked at Custom Reports, Calendars, Sorts, etc. The closest I can come is a Calendar for a specific year that shows the age of persons in my database that are alive at the time.

As far as I can tell, the Standard version of Legacy 7 can't do this (perhaps the Deluxe version does...).

As far as I can tell, The Master Genealogist 7 can't do this (perhaps I am not experienced enough with it in using sorts and filters, but ...)

As far as I can tell, Family Tree Builder 2.0 (the free version) can't do this.

Am I just too dumb or inexperienced to be able to figure this out? Or is the capability just not available?

These are the only software programs I currently have access to.

I labeled this "Post 1" because I think I will have more whines down the road.

If someone has suggestions for how to do this relatively simple sort process in any of these programs, please let me know! Thanks.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Transcription Project

Don't you wish that ALL of the known graves in your locality, county or state was transcribed and indexed? That's a really big project, even for a state as small as Rhode Island.

But they completed this project several years ago, and the results are on the Internet for anyone to browse.

The starting web site for the Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Transcription Project is at The site description says:

"The Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Transcription Project was begun by genealogists in 1990 with the goal of entering all known transcriptions of cemeteries in RI into a database (phase 1), then sending volunteers into the field with a printout to see which stones were still there and whether they were correctly transcribed (phase 2). The Association for Gravestone Studies format is used. The cemeteries and the listings are primarily 1647-1900. "

The web site notes that:

"Totals as of 2007 are 3,132 registered cemeteries with an estimated total of 3,294 thought to still exist. 428,614 of an estimated 575,775 headstones have been entered into the database. 73.17% of the project is complete."

To use the database, you click on one of these four pages:

* Page 1: A to CURTISS
* Page 4: RENAUD, JEAN to The End

I was looking for Seaver persons buried in RI, and clicked on Page 4. This has an index list - Seaver is in the "320 Seatle" file. There are 27 SEAVER, 2 SEAVERS, and 8 SEAVOR entries. Each entry looks liek this:

SEAVER .... OBED (CAPT) ......... 1758c - 13 NOV 1843 .... SM042

The names and dates are from the gravestones, so some give dates, some only years, and some none at all. The really useful item in each list is the code from the graveyard -- in the example above, Obed Seaver is buried in SM042.

The index for the graveyard locations is at The town and cemetery code is simple - the two letters denote the town, and the three numbers are sequential. There are five links on that page to the cemeteries in alphabetical and numerical order:


Obed Seaver is in SM042, so that graveyard lot is in Smithfield - the entry says:

SM042 .. WATERMAN-BURLINGAME LOT .... SMITHFIELD .....CHURCH STREET ->200 ft. W of tel pole #6

The graveyard list provides a fairly clear definition of the location of the graveyard. Amazingly, there are 113 found graveyards in the town of Smithfield, and several more that are Lost.

Since all of the index items on the Name Index list are searchable, you can search for all of the people in a given graveyard easily by doing a Ctrl-F (Find) and enter the graveyard code to find persons in the Name Index pages in that cemetery. In many cases, the people near a certain person are relatives of that person.

I have a long list of surnames to find grave locations for - the White, Wade, Hawkins, Champlin, Kenyon, Hazard, Oatley, Kirby, Horton, Tracy, Pray, Ladd, Carpenter, Card, Slocum, Greenman, and other surnames.

If you have ancestors buried in Rhode Island, you should be consulting the Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Transcription project.

If only every state, or even counties, had transcription projects like this, we would be able to find the resting place of many more of our ancestors.

Differences in Search Results

I posted last month about testing the New Search results on The blog announced that it was available for everyone on 29 May, in the post "New Search is available for everyone." The post highlighted the improvements. Note the comments to the announcement post - not one commenter likes the New Search capabilities.

In using it, I've found that there are a number of differences in the Search Results on between the Old familiar Search and the New "improved" Search.

Let me use examples to illustrate one problem I have with the New "improved" Search:

I was looking for information on Frederick Seaver (my father's and grandfather's name). So I entered Fred* Seaver in the main Ancestry Old Search entry box and received these databases for an "Exact Search":

There were 23 matches in the California Voter Registration database. I clicked on that set of matches:

I clicked on one of the matches (the 11th one down) to see if I have that person in my Seaver database in FamilyTreeMaker. Here is the screen I got (zoomed and shifted a bit):

Fred E. Seaver in Los Angeles County in 1948 is listed over in the right hand column. OK - that works fine. It's pretty easy to find this Exact Match to my search request.

I wanted to see if it was easier to find this particular record using the New Search process. The list of matches in the Search results above have the "Try It" link in the beige header above the Search results. I clicked on "Try It" and after a sales pitch screen, got this search box, so I entered Exact Match and Fred* Seaver in the box:

The complete list of Search results includes everything in the Ancestry databases, and California Voter Registrations is right at the top of the list - with 822 matches!

Huh? What's up with this? Did the Old Search miss 799 matches? I clicked on the link to the California Voter Registration database and this is the first screen that comes up:

As you can see, this particular database now shows thumbnail images - one from each sub-set of the database matches. However, the matches are now those with Fred* and Seaver on the same page - not for only the Fred* Seaver persons I requested with an Exact Match.

This is really unacceptable to me. It makes an Exact Search impossible. The results for the 23 persons named Fred* Seaver in this database are in the Search results, but now I'll have to look through 17 screens to find them.

There are also some differences between the entries in the Search results on the Old Search Results screen (#2 above) and the New Search Results (#5 above). The New Search Results include newspaper and other databases in the Census and Voter Lists section, and in the Birth, Marriage and Death section, and in others too.

This is wonderful, except in the New Search Results the same thing happens with many of the newspapers - the results are shown as thumbnails and are not for the specific person requested but are for Fred* and Seaver appearing on the same page. The latter happens on the Stories and Publications in the Old Search Results unfortunately, and makes searching them very arduous.

The top database on Screen #5 above in the Birth, Marriage and Death section is The Valley Independent (Monessen, Pennsylvania) with 338 matches. This newspaper does appear on the Old Search results for Stories and Publications, but with only 2 matches (neither of which are for a Fred* Seaver). Why doesn't the Old Search find the "marches" found in the New Search, or does the New Search use a different OCR search algorithm that finds more matches?

I'm really confused by these differences between Search results. Someone who doesn't "trust" Ancestry would say that they are trying to get more hits for their web site and raise advertising revenues. I can't believe that they trying to confuse the users and make them mad - that's just not good business sense.

Or is this a ploy to drive everybody to use the New Search and to discontinue the Old Search in the future? If so, I sure hope that they fix the New Search results.

The bottom line for me is this: When I request an "Exact Search" then I expect an "Exact Search." The search results for Old Search and New Search should be the same. I'm sticking to the Old Search for now.

I also wondered last month why Ancestry World Tree was not included in the Family Trees section on the New Search results. It still doesn't show up.

UPDATED: 11:30 am - added a link to the Ancestry announcement of New Search. And I couldn't resist commenting about it!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Best of the Genea-Blogs - June 1-7, 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.

* "Boston Diary - June 1," "Boston Diary - June 2," "Boston Diary - June 3," "Boston Diary - June 4," "Boston Diary - June 5," "Boston Diary - June 6, Part 1" and "Boston Diary - June 6, Part 2" by Lori Thornton on the Smoky Mountain Family Historian blog. My distant cousin Lori provides a history, genealogy, sightseeing and gastronomic tour of eastern New England while on her vacation/conference trip to Boston and environs. I really enjoyed all of Lori's pictures and comments, and she did quite a bit of genealogy too! Well done.

* "Breaking Through That Brick Wall" by Brenda Joyce Jerome on the Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog. Here is good advice from Brenda about solving the brick wall problems that everybody has in their family research.

* "Urge your Representative: sign "Preserving the American Historical Record" Bill" and "My letter urging preservation of American historic records" by Pat Richley on the DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog. Pat provides lots of information about the PAHR bill and her own letter written in support of it. Excellent work here!

* "The Cherokee Booger Dance" by Dave Tabler on the Appalachian History blog. Dave had me with the post title - and describes a fascinating bit of American dance folklore. Priceless photos, too.

* "One Super-Power To Go, Please!" by Terry Snyder on The Desktop Genealogist blog. Terry muses about being a genealogist with X-ray vision, being able to fly, being telepathic, but she settles on, well - go read her post. Kind of reminds me of Genea-Man (Janice Brown's cartoon is still here) and History Woman (see Janice Brown's cartoon here).

* "Old Maids' Day - 4 June 2008: A Genealogical Asset on Your Family Tree" by Arlene Eakle on Arlene H. Eakle's Genealogical Blog. Arlene tells us why searching for the old maids on our family tree can really help us in our research. I hadn't really thought about this - great post!

* "The Rise and Fall of Heartland Farmhouses" by Chery Kinnick on the Nordic Blue blog. Chery links to a PBS documentary and a book titled "Death of a Dream" that lament the passing of the farm house culture, and has some excellent pictures from her own family collection. Thanks, Chery.

* "Ancestry Profiles" by Taneya Koonce on Taneya's Genealogy Blog. Taneya shows the enhancements that Ancestry has added to member profiles, and how you can connect to others searching the same surnames. After reading this, I updated my profile! Have you updated yours? Thanks, Taneya.

* "I Think She's Dead!" by footnoteMaven on the Shades of the Departed blog. fM has a fascinating photo - is she dead or isn't she? I don't think she is...but who am I to judge?

* "June 6 - Friday from the Collectors: Digital Scrapbooking for Genealogists" by Jasia on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog. Every week these Collector posts are keepers for me! Jasia (of the Creative Gene and Creative Genealogy blogs) tells some of her scrapbooking secrets - I wish I could do something like this, but I was a male engineer...

* "One Day in Dallas (or 'sleep is overrated!')" by Ruth Stephens on the Bluebonnet Country Genealogy blog. Ruth finds some goodies in the Texas Death Certificates 1890-1976 database on the FamilySearch Record Search site. Take a peek and see who her examples are! Great catches.

* "Steve Morse: new one-step features" by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on the Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog. Schelly summarizes the latest features on Steve Morse's One-Stop web site. The latest research helps include Arabic transliteration, French and Muslim calendar converters, phonetic name matching, searching naturalization records, searching reference books, and New Orleans ship records.

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!