Saturday, June 28, 2008

SCGS Jamboree Musings - Post 5

I am really bad at taking notes at these conferences. I really appreciate handouts that are more than summaries or outlines, because then I can use them to refresh my memory of what is said.

This afternoon, I attended Jana Sloan Broglin's talk on "Hookers, Crooks and Kooks" which I anticipated was going to be about Census-Whacking, but it wasn't. It was about hookers, crooks and kooks ... Jana's Aunt Merle for example, who was a madam in Brooklyn for many years. She used family photographs and diaries, Civil War pension records, and census records to piece together the facts about Aunt Merle, who didn't run a boarding house. Then she described finding records for two other people in her research - including probate records, jail registers, liquor sales records and gaming device records, penitentiary records and liquor blacklists. Jana wore her flapper-style black lacy dress for this presentation. It was fun.

I tried to get into Geoff Resmussen's talk on Legacy 7 in the next session, but the room was very full so I went to hear David Lifferth talking about in his talk "Innovative Family Tools to Connect Families." David summarized the current holdings of WVR (over 9,500 databases, over 1 billion names and records, adding more than 20 new databases a day). He described the partner relationships and the assets each partner brings to WVR. Then he showed how to search the databases, either collectively or individually. David mentioned that the are hosting some of the USGenWeb content and the WorldGenWeb content on their servers for free, which I didn't know, and appreciate. He didn't have time to get into detail on the FamilyLink social networking site, We're Related and My Family groups on Facebook.

WorldVitalRecords is offering a show special of two years US subscription for $39.95 (regular price is $49.95 for two years currently).

On the software front, Legacy Family Tree 7 Deluxe Edition (in the box) is being offered by Millenia for $19.95 as a show special (regular price is $39.95 for the boxed version, $29.95 for the download only).

I didn't go to Megan Smolenyak's dinner talk on "Right Annie, Wrong Annie - Annie Moore of Ellis Island" last night, nor to Dick Eastman's talk tonight on "Putting the Genes in Genealogy." I took my wife out to dinner both nights and we shared our day highlights. Linda likes to go to the pool and talk to everybody there, and encourage children to swim (she's a former swim teacher, too).

Jamboree Musings - Post 4

Here are some photos from my day at the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree on Saturday.

One of my favorite booths was the California Genealogical Society table - this is Jane Lindsey, Kathryn Doyle and Carolyn Steinberg. Wonderful, friendly young ladies, and their Hershey mini-bars were excellent (see the blue basket on the table?)!

I caught Leland Meitzler in a happy moment (he's happy every time I talk to him!) without distractions, and took this picture of him and his booth. This would be a great picture without the flash back. I signed up for the $10 EGH digital subscription.

I stopped by the New England Historical and Genealogical Society booth and talked to Tom Champoux, Chris Childs and G. Brenton Simons. This is a candid picture because they were real busy all day, it seemed. That's Tom on the left, Brenton bending over and Gary Boyd Roberts seated on the right.

I mentioned the CVGS Tech Zone yesterday - here is a candid shot of some of the computers set up to permit Jamboreeists to access web sites and databases for free. The set up came in real handy for SCGS late yesterday after they found that the Syllabus put on the CDs had left out the pages for several presentations. The SCGS folks commandeered the Tech Zone and created replacement CDs for those attendees that had them.

The Roots Television booth was a popular spot all day. That is Marcy Brown in the red suit on the left, and Megan Smolenyak on the right in this candid shot. Megan had three talks this afternoon back-to-back-to-back after doing the Blogger Summit this morning.

I will try to get more posed shots tomorrow to replace some of these. I'm not a fan of seeing the backs of people, or people not expecting to have their picture taken.

Jamboree Musings - Post 3

Today was the Genealogy blogger Summit at the SCGS Jamboree - which I really looked forward to attending and participating in. I figured it was sort of a "coming-out party" for me, since I met only one genea-blogger before this conference. Oh boy! I did talk to Craig Manson, Dick Eastman, Megan Smolenyak, Kathryn Doyle, Elizabeth O'Neal and Sharon Elliott yesterday and this morning.

I was fortunate to meet George G. Morgan and Steve Danko before the summit just outside the conference room door, and we were joined by a healing Bill Dollarhide to talk about everything for about 15 minutes. Then the seven blogging summiteers went into the room, sat down and talked amongst ourselves while setup continued. Leland Meitzler had problems getting the computer to work, so Dick Eastman brought up his super-duper wireless satellite router system and got the computer up and going so we could show our blog "faces" to the audience.

While we were waiting to start the summit, we spied the medieval re-enactor folks out in the lobby with their sharp, pointy weapons...we wondered if they were the "Genea-Blogger Elimination Squad."

At 10 a.m., Paula Hinkel from SCGS introduced each of us. Here is a picture of Paula (on the right) doing the honors for (from the left):

* Leland Meitzler from Everton Publisher's Genealogy Blog
* Dick Eastman from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
* Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak from Megan's Roots World
* George G. Morgan from the Genealogy Guys Podcast
* Stephen Danko from Steve's Genealogy Blog
* Schelly Talalay Dardashti from Tracing the Tribe
* Randy Seaver from Genea-Musings.

Leland was the moderator and kept the conversation going for over 90 minutes, and then we took questions from the audience. There is a summary of what was said on Dean Richardson's GenLighten blog - excellent summaries. Thanks, Dean!

There were several other genea-bloggers in attendance, and Elizabeth O'Neal of the Little Bytes of Life blog took a photo with her cell phone and posted it at 10:28 to her blog during the panel discussion. Dick got it up on the screen about 90 minutes into the discussion. Here is a screen shot of her blog post, but please go see it here. Elizabeth deserves a blogalanche!

Alas, it went all too fast, and the audience of about 50 had good questions and enjoyed (I think!) the panel discussion.

What T-shirt did I wear? Well, the one I got for Father's Day - you can see it below along with Linda in her matching T-shirt.

Before everyone left for lunch, we got a group of genea-bloggers together and took a group photo. Below are from left to right:

Sitting: Kathryn Doyle (California Genealogical Society blog), Dick Eastman, George G. Morgan, Stephen Danko

Standing: Leland Meitzler, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, Randy Seaver, Craig Manson (Geneablogie blog), Elizabeth O'Neal (Little Bytes of Life blog)

Unfortunately, Megan Smolenyak and several other genea-bloggers in the audience got away before we could get everybody together for the group photo.

I'll have more news and photos later today from the Jamboree. hopefully, I can attend two more presentations.

By the way, check out Craig's Geneablogie posts at for his take on everything Jamboree. I note that he already has the screen shot from Elizabeth's blog on his blog. Great job, Craig.

My hope had been to actually blog during the summit, but after yesterday's wireless shutout I didn't take my laptop down because I thought there would be no wireless internet available. Schelly had her laptop and it struggled to get online. If I had my laptop there, I could have done it once Dick Eastman set up his wireless network setup. Oh well...the best laid plans!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Jamboree Musings - Post 2

Still no pictures from me -- somebody left the camera in the suitcase in the car in the parking lot across the street (it was me!). Maybe tomorrow!

The best laid plans of men and genealogists sometimes need to be changed ... I posted this morning about wanting to see Carl Boyer's talk at 3 p.m., but I got to talking to folks and by 2:55 all of the seats in that room, and in several other rooms, were taken. Ooops - it's an early crowd - now I understand why people leave a session early and rush in while everybody else is coming out. So I wrote Post 1 in this series in the SCGS Tech Zone.

After I finished my blog post, I went wandering around the exhibit hall. I found Megan Smolenyak in a quiet moment and disturbed her concentration - we must have talked for ten minutes without breathing. She introduced me to Marcy Brown, who works with Megan in Roots Television, and we talked for awhile too - Marcy spent some time in San Diego years ago and was interested in my San Diego family history. Oops - time to go to the next talk...

I hadn't planned on going to a 4:30 talk, but after checking the schedule I decided to go to Shelly Talalay Dardashti's talk on, what else, Genealogy Blogging! She did a great job of telling about the how, when, where, why and who of blogging - naming names and URLs. There were a number of genea-bloggers there nodding at the right times - Kathryn Doyle, Elizabeth O'Neal and Craig Manson besides myself.

I figured I'd better call Linda to see what the plans for dinner were. We went to the Outback in the nearby Empire Center, since we didn't want to eat in the hotel grill and didn't have banquet tickets to hear Megan's talk on Annie Moore.

It turns out the hotel doesn't have free wireless Internet access - they have a phone cable connection for $9.95 a day. I'm glad we're staying only two days!

This has been an interesting experience so far - I "know" many of the people I meet from our online connection - either a blog, web site or email, but I've not met any of them in person before (except for Tom Underhill). We kind of glance at each other's nametag and then say hello and shake hands. Or they call my name before I see their nametag and I have to quickly glance down to catch a name. I've met a whole bunch of great genealogists and it's like we're already old friends. They know my stories and I know theirs...

I think I'll settle down onto my king-size bed and read the syllabus - at least the talks I've missed so far.

Unfortunately, my hopes to "live blog" specific talks won't happen. There is no room for a laptop in the cramped conference rooms. So you are stuck with these "after-action" reports.

Tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. is the Blogger Summit - what should I wear? Maybe I'll show you in a post tomorrow.

Jamboree Musings - Post 1

We left at 9:30 a.m. and were in the parking lot at 12:15, but it wasn't an easy ride into Los Angeles. Reminds me again of why I don't want to live here...

I got Linda into the room so she could go to the pool, and I went and registered in the Conference Hall and immediately ran into my CVGS colleagues who came up on the train from San Diego. Craig Manson saw me and we shook hands and spoke briefly. I got a hot dog for lunch and then wandered into the Exhibit Hall. I'll try to post pictures tonight of some of the exhibits.

At 1:20, I went into the Arlene Eakle talk on American Church Records. She spoke from her extensive research experience, without many overhead slides, using the syllabus as a guideline.

After Arlene's talk, I went out into the Exhibit Hall again and talked to some of the exhibitors, and signed up for some freebies. At 2:50, I figured I'd better find a seat at the Carl Boyer talk - nope, full house. It's a full house everywhere - early birds get the seats. So I got a drink, found the empty computer station at the SCGS exhibit, and decided to write this blog post.

The SCGS Computer Tech Zone provides links to ProQuest (Ancestry Library Edition, HeritageQuestOnline, ProQuest Obituaries, and ProQuest Historical Newspapers), NEHGS (, Footnote (, Godfrey Memorial Library (, Find My Past (, Geni (, Roots Television (, Genline Family Finder (www.genline.c om), WorldVitalRecords ( and FamilyLink ( This is a great opportunity to test web sites!

I'll check in again later!

We're off to the Jamboree

Linda and I are leaving today driving up to Burbank for the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree. I hope to meet many of my readers there - please introduce yourself to me if you see me! I look forward to meeting many people whose blogs and comments I read online and connecting a personality to the faces and words.

Let's see - do I have everything? Laptop and charger, digital camera and USB connection, cell phone and charger, extra batteries, flash drive, genealogy T-shirts, sense of humor, and all that other stuff... check! Note to self - check the critical attitude at the door - be humble, friendly, funny...

The hotel web site says that they have free wireless Internet connections - I hope so, or else Genea-Musings, and the other blogs in my farflung but little-read blogpile, will be mute for the weekend. At the convention center, Dick Eastman may host a wireless Internet connection. My hope is that I can post a blog soon after each presentation I attend, and I hope to have pictures of people and exhibits 'almost live" from the Jamboree.

In addition to the Genealogy Blogger Summit that I'm participating in at 10 a.m. on Saturday, I hope to attend the following presentations:

* Friday, 1:30 p.m. - American Church Records by Arlene Eakle

* Friday, 3:00 p.m. - The Mistakes We Make by Carl Boyer III

* Saturday, 10 a.m. - Genealogy Blogger Summit

* Saturday, 1:30 p.m. - Automatic Research Assistants by Beau Sharbrough

* Saturday, 3:00 p.m. - Hookers, Crooks and Kooks by Jana Sloan Broglin

* Saturday, 4:30 p.m. - Beyond Y-DNA by Megan Smolenyak

* Sunday, 9:30 a.m. - But It's My Family! by Cath Trindle

* Sunday, 11 a.m. - You Will Never Look at Your Old Photographs the Same Way Again by Colleen Fitzpatrick

* Sunday, 1:30 p.m. - Genealogical Organization in the 21st Century by Leland Meitzler

I'm not sure I can last beyond about 3 p.m. on Sunday. Hopefully, the syllabus will provide sufficient outline information for the sessions I will miss.

We will drive to Victorville on Sunday afternoon to see the granddaughters and their parents, and will bring Lolo down to our house on Monday for the week.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Book Report: "Finding Oprah's Roots, Finding Your Own"

I mentioned in my post "I'm 1 in 1,000" that I received the book "Finding Oprah's Roots, Finding Your Own" by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as part of the Buick Heritage Sweepstakes contest. I finished the book the other night, and have been pondering what to write about it.
I really liked the book because Gates went into so much detail about the records found and family interviews that documented the real lives of Oprah, her parents, her grandparents and the other post Civil War generations, and then into what records could be found from the years of slavery in the USA. I knew and thought I understood most of this information, but now I have an even better understanding, especially about the pre-Civil War slave era records and research processes, and the post-Civil war "surname selection" issue.
The "family history" part of the book was, to me, both inspiring and terrible sad. I, like Oprah and Gates, was inspired by the struggle of some of Oprah's ancestors to overcome the injustices and hardships of first slavery and then in the post-Reconstruction South. Several of her slave ancestors owned land, thirsted for education, created and ran schools after the Civil War. The sadness is the darkness of slavery that robbed millions of people of their identity. Oprah has overcome poverty and hardship in her early life, and is a successful person who is admired the world over. Gates tells these stories well.
The second part of the book concerns DNA testing and trying to find where Oprah's maternal line (her mitochondrial line) came from in Africa. Gates describes the mtDNA and autosomal admixture testing processes and the results. Oprah had thought that she was from the Zulus in southern Africa, but her matrilineal line she is probably from the area around Liberia; she may be closely related to the Gullah people in South Carolina.
However, there is no mention in the book of Oprah's patrilineal DNA - the Winfrey line. Her father is still alive, and could have been tested for his Y-chromosome DNA, and there are other related male Winfreys. I wonder if they were tested, and they didn't want to publish the results? Or did they refuse to be tested? To me, this is an important part of the DNA/genetic sequence for any person, and a Y-DNA test of Oprah's patrilineal line might have been very revealing of their African origin. They wrote this book that highlighted DNA testing and hardly mentioned a major part of the DNA test equation (all I found was mention of Gates's own Y-DNA testing). Surely they didn't just "forget" about it.
The Appendix of the book is Gates's effort to help readers discover their own genealogy and family history, oriented to African-American readers. It's pretty well done and useful for any person to read and learn from - it's easy reading and only 11 pages. He provides a good list of books for general genealogy research and also for African-American research.
I enjoyed the book and learned quite a few new things about African-American research in the process. I'm still in a quandary about the Y-DNA issue, however.
There are other reviews of this book - see:
* George Geder's review is here.
* The web site with comments about the book is here.
* The PBS description of the documentary Oprah's Roots that was shown in early 2007 is here.

Google Map Street Views

It seems like I'm always late in finding the really nifty online "tools" that can help me find information about my families and their localities.

I just used the Street View tool on Google Maps for the first time. I wanted to get directions from my house to the Burbank airport Marriott Hotel, so I input my address and the hotel address into Google Maps. I got directions, and much more. Here's the screen shot with the directions on the left and the map on the right.

I noticed that there was a lot of blue on the map in urban areas... what is that? I zoomed in and saw that many streets are outlined in blue - this means that there is a Street View available for those streets. The screen shot below shows my Chula Vista neighborhood.

You can see the little marker I put at the end of my street - the place I live. If I click on it, a small picture of my house comes up - that's it in the screen shot below with the white garage door and the brown trim. That's my car on the curb - but you can't read the plate number.

I can make the Street View full screen, and see more of the neighborhood, as shown below.

I can zoom out, use the arrow in the street to go in certain directions, and use the cursor to turn one way or another to change the view.

This capability is fantastic, isn't it? While it's limited to only the streets that they have videographed, they have done many urban areas and scenic routes.

How can this help genealogists? Well, if you want to know what your destination looks like (say the Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel!), then you can see a view of the location before you go there. Now, I may be able to recognize the Hotel as I drive up North Hollywood Way looking for Thornton Street.

Think about your ancestral homes -- if you know where your families were at specific times (say, from the census or a city directory), you can obtain a Street View of the building as it looked when they did the videographing (assuming they have done it for that location).

Have you seen your ancestral homes lately?

"DNA 101 - Genetics for Beginners" Program Summary

Do you remember those excellent teachers and professors when you were going to school - how they could explain a complex subject so that you could understand it, and inject some humor and fun into the topic besides? That's what it felt like, to me, at the CVGS Program Meeting yesterday at the Library.

Dr. Stephen Baird (program summary and curriculum vitae here) presented "DNA 101 - Genetics for Beginners" at the meeting and it was like going to class again and enjoying it (I admit that I loved many of my science classes when I was in school!).

His handout was a glossary of terms used in his presentation for handy reference. His presentation was beautiful - a PowerPoint done the way I like them - large print, some understandable charts, no flash graphics, etc.

I can't go point-by-point in this summary - there is just too much to cover - suffice it to say that he touched on the basic history of genetics and DNA from Mendel to the present, and put it in terms that we could relate to. For instance, human beings have 23 pair of chromosomes, 30,000 genes and 3 billion base pairs, and are, at most, 0.1% different from each other. Humans and chimpanzees are about 2% different from each other in DNA terms.

After describing the chromosomes, the genes, and the DNA base pairs, Dr. Baird described the global phylogeny of all species (how and when certain species occurred and from what they were mutated), the different haplogroups of humans (those with the same genetic markers), and how they spread out of Africa into all of the continents with an approximate time frame.

He explained why the Y-DNA and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are important to human genetic testing for genealogy research - the Y-DNA being passed from father-to-son, and the mtDNA being passed from mother-to-child.

Many of the technical charts that he used were obtained from the web site. Some of them were obtained from the tutorials at and He used his own DNA test results to show charts similar to those in this downloadable tutorial for presentations, and how his results matched those of others with the same surname.

Dr. Baird also described the relative costs of, and the reasons for, doing 12, 25, 37 or 67 markers for Y-DNA testing and for doing the basic and more advanced mitochondrial DNA testing.

At the end of the hour-long presentation, which seemed to go very fast (for me, at least!!), Dr. Baird played his guitar and sang the "Ballad of Gregor Mendel" from one of his CDs (available for sale at It was a wonderful end to the talk. Then the questions began...and lasted a good 20 minutes!

We had 48 people in attendance, including 15 visitors from all over San Diego, and even one from Orange County. This was one of the very best presentations and meetings that we've had in my six years on the CVGS Board.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Family Photographs - Post 11: Hats and Bicycles

I'm posting old family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they won't be wordless posts like others do - I simply am incapable of having a wordless post.

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

I believe that this photograph is from about 1895 in San Diego at an unknown location (it looks like a hat store, but it may be a family home). The people in the picture are (left to right):

* Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946), my great-grandfather - standing behind the bicycle on the left.

* Abigail (Vaux) Smith (1844-1931), my great-great-grandmother, mother of Della (Smith) Carringer - seated on the stool.

* Harvey Edgar Carringer (1857-1946), brother of Henry Austin Carringer - seated in doorway.

* Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976), my grandfather - seated on a wagon with wheels (the front wheels are difficult to discern - are they there?).

* Abbie Ardell/Della (Smith) Carringer (1864-1944), my great-grandmother, mother of Lyle Carringer - seated on the right.

This was a loose photograph on very thin paper found in the Carringer/Smith family photograph collection handed down from my mother to me in 1988.

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday 6/28 - "The Next Big Thing in Computer Genealogy"

Linda Hervig from CGSSD sent this notice:


The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meets on Saturday, June 28, 2008 from 9:00 am to noon.

9:00 - Brief Announcements and user groups for Family Tree Maker and Legacy

10:15 - A break and refreshments

10:30 - Announcements followed by Program: "The Next Big Thing in Computer Genealogy" by Gary Hoffman

Doing genealogy today is a lot different than twenty years ago when we visited archives and libraries, read records in microfilm readers and dusty books, and scribed notes on paper to rush home and enter data into our new home computer. Today we can sit at home and access many records online. The Internet has changed how we record and share genealogy, too. What is the future of computer genealogy as we know it? Based on recent trends and statements from industry heavy-hitters, Gary will reveal his version of the future of computer genealogy. Gary is a computer manager at UCSD and the current webmaster for CGSSD.

NOTE: This meeting is on the 4th Saturday instead of the usual 3rd Saturday of the month due to UCSD graduations on campus on June 21.

We meet at the Robinson Auditorium complex on the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) campus in La Jolla. From North Torrey Pine Road turn at Pangea Drive into UCSD. Free parking is available in the parking garage on the left; use any A, B, or S space. Signs will mark directions to our meeting room.

Please refer to our website; or the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies website for driving directions and a map.


I am bummed that I cannot make this meeting because I will be the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree - actually on the Genealogy Blogger Summit at the time of the CGSSD meeting. I can't wait to hear what Gary thinks is the "next big thing in computer genealogy." What do you think it is? I have a pretty good idea!

Are there any people who will attend this meeting and would write a summary of this meeting for me and be a guest blogger early next week? Please contact me at if you will do this for me.

Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 6

by Sheri Fenley
(c) Sheri Fenley, June 2008


For blondes in California, Friday the 13th is a legal holiday. This is what I thought might get me off the hook for speaking to the class. I was not having a good start to my day. I had not made the correct calculations and had run out of cigarettes the night before. I got more than a few funny looks as I was walking down the hill looking up into the sky and saying, "Just take me now and get it over with!" I was working on a legal holiday, they had run out of spiced apple oatmeal in the cafeteria, and I was drinking coffee without a cigarette.

Walking through the parking lot to my classroom to meet my fate, an angel pulled up in her car. Why, it was Ms. Martha from my class, Ms. Martha who sat in the Front row of my class. I must have looked really bad. She asked what was wrong and when I told her she took a quick look around and said, "Hurry quick and get in the car." Bless her little heart, Ms. Martha took some back road, got me to the mini mart and back to school in time for me to have a smoke and for us to get to class on time. PLEASE NOTE: Ms. Martha does not smoke, she did it for me out of the kindness of her heart which I blessed earlier. I am forever in your debt, Martha.

OK, so maybe the day was getting a little better. I was wearing my favorite fluorescent Hawaiian Print Dress and lime green sandals. My mother always told me when you look good, you feel good.

It was nearing the time for me to have my turn. Everyone before me had power point things and laser pointers. I finally tore a piece of paper out of my notebook, wrote on it and waited. I dragged myself up to the podium, held up my piece of paper that said, “The Problem with Pauline,” and proceeded to tell everyone about my research. I did this with a classroom of new friends, some new found confidence, and a smile on my face.


Sheri Fenley is a guest blogger here on Genea-Musings - previous blog entries include:

* An introduction, and a description of the IGHR program at Samford University in Birmingham, were posted 19 June 2008 as "Meet Guest Blogger Sheri Fenley."

* "Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 1" was posted 20 June 2008.

* "Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 2" was posted 21 June 2008.

* "Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 3" was posted 22 June 2008.

* "Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 4" was posted 23 June 2008.

* "Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 5" was posted 24 June 2008.

My thanks to Sheri Fenley for allowing me to post her experiences at Samford. I thought that they were worthy of posting in hopes that some readers will be inspired to attend IGHR at Samford in the future. They were funny, too - something I really appreciate in a genealogy writer!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Who has married the most times?

I've been curious about the answer to this question for several months, and in my "lazy time" today I Googled it.

Here is one candidate from here:

"The New Straits Times on 4th January 2007 reported that former police officer Kamarudin Mohamad made headlines in 2004 for being Malaysia’s most married man: 53 times."

It also notes that:

* He was a self-confessed “lover of beautiful women” but “never a playboy”.

* His wives included an English woman and two Thais.

* All his previous marriages ended in divorce, with the exception of a Thai who died of breast cancer.

* He leaves behind eight children and 16 grandchildren.

And that:

* His previous marriages lasted an average 193 days each.

* He was married to his 51st wife for 20 years. She died before he considered remarrying Khadijah.

* His briefest marriage lasted only 2 days.

Kamarudin died in early 2007 at age 74, having remarried his first wife as his 53rd wife.

Just think how much it would cost to get a copy of all of his marriage certificates!

I checked Joseph Smith at Wikipedia and the article says he had 33 well-documented wives. Brigham Young was "sealed" to 55 wives (several of them formerly married to Joseph Smith) and he had children by 16 of them.

Are there any other candidates for this "honor?"

Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 5

by Sheri Fenley
(c) Sheri Fenley, June 2008

I am not a writer nor do I play one on TV. I had intended this to be a chronological accounting of my experience... but each time, as soon as I posted one part I realized that I had left something out. So to continue with that theme…. Dr. Debbie Abbott was on my scary list too. She was also a part time student in the Land Records class and sat next to me in the back of the room (this is were that “sitting in the back of the class was a good thing” comes in). Being the new kid in school I had no idea who she was at the time, but I had a check mark in the scary column by her name. When Birdie introduced her she stood and walked to the front of the class and gave me a little nod. I dug in my bag for the bottle of white out and took her off the list. My basic formula for the Scary List: Librarian = Scary, PhD = Very Scary, Elizabeth Shown Mills = Very, Very Scary. You’ll be pleased to know that I no longer have a scary list.


Today we had Birdie all to ourselves for almost the entire day. When it comes to land, the records they produce, maps and how to plot them - Ms. Holsclaw reigns as the Queen in my book. She took us through (what she likes to call) mini-case studies to teach us how to plot maps from the calls in survey descriptions and how to use that information to find our ancestors. We got into our groups again and Birdie gave us a hands-on case to solve using multi-partitioned deeds. The manner in which Birdie Holsclaw teaches her classes lets you know that she started out in the genealogical field just like everyone else - a novice who through hard work and a genuine love of her profession put her at the top of the field today.

After break was when IT happened. We heard a deep rumbling sound. Ann Staley said it was thunder and the rain would start soon. I told her that I had just come in from outside and the sun was out, sounded like a motorcycle to me.

She went to the window and peeked out the blind and said “Oh, it is a motorcycle” and started to turn away from the window looked again and said “OH MY GOD, IT IS A MOTORCYCLE AND CLAIRE IS ON IT!” We just about fell all over ourselves rushing to the window. I’ll be damned, there she was, Claire Bettag, wearing a skirt mind you, riding shotgun on a Harley, waving to us with the biggest grin on her face. I didn’t know Claire liked to ride. She did not have a single visible tattoo as most “Motorcycle Mama's” are known to exhibit. Maybe things were different in the East than out West. For more information on this historic event or to get on the waiting list to be Claire’s roommate next year, please contact her directly. P.S. - For those who want visual confirmation, photos are available.

Our 6th and final guest speaker was Carolyn Earle Billingsley, PhD. Ms. Billingsley was on the list, but I had bought her book and after the first few chapters I had erased her name. Her topic was “Kinship Theory and Migration.” Her explanations of how and why people migrated as groups made such perfect sense to me. I highly recommend her book. She was very entertaining and skilled at getting her points across. I may be wrong but I got the feeling that she and I both march to the beat of a different drummer. But ultimately we are all in the same marching band (See - I did understand the book!).

Before I could leave for the day Birdie asked me how long my presentation would take. Presentation? Yes, how long was it going to take and would I be using a PowerPoint presentation or would I need an overhead projector? I just about passed out. I thought she had wanted maybe a written paragraph or two about my work. OMG, I don’t have a laptop, much less any of those other things she mentioned. I had to sit down. I told her that the answer was none of the above. She smiled sweetly and said OK, an oral report 10-15 minutes would be just fine.

Samford has a tradition of holding a lovely banquet the last night of our stay. I am sure that anything you wear would be OK, but most wore something a little dressier than daytime wear. I went to the dorm to get dressed and made it inside just as the sky opened up and let us have it. It rained cats, dogs, sheep, elephants, you name it. I have since heard that the rain is traditional on banquet night. The food was wonderful as usual and the speaker, Paul Miller, was entertaining. I was having a hard time concentrating. I was still trying to make myself understand that I am going to talk to people, while standing in front of the class. Talk to them like I knew what I was doing.

I got back to the dorm and went to bed dazed and confused but with a smile on my face.


Sheri Fenley is a guest blogger here on Genea-Musings - previous blog entries include:

* An introduction, and a description of the IGHR program at Samford University in Birmingham, were posted 19 June 2008 as "Meet Guest Blogger Sheri Fenley."

* "Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 1" was posted 20 June 2008.

* "Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 2" was posted 21 June 2008.

* "Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 3" was posted 22 June 2008.

* "Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 4" was posted 23 June 2008.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm Ready for the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree!

Are you going to the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank next weekend (Friday 6/27 to Sunday 6/29)? The Jamboree will be in the Marriott Hotel and conference center at 2500 North Hollywood Way in Burbank. There is more information about the Jamboree at the Southern California Genealogical Society web site at and their blog at

I'm getting my stuff together, got my laptop and flash drives all tuned up, and am trying to put together material for the Genealogy Blogger Summit that I'm participating in at the Jamboree. I'm even taking all of my funny (?) genealogy T-shirts!

There are some useful blog posts about access to the hotel and the Jamboree activities at:

* Marriott Construction Update -- they are working on the lobby and pool areas - so it may be a rocky entrance. The north entrance on Thornton is open, but the walk across Hollywood Way to the food court may be a challenge.

* Parking at the Marriott -- the parking may be limited by the construction. There are options which don't include in-and-out privileges.

* Jamboree Exhibit Floor is FREE on Sunday from 12 noon until 3 p.m. -- but you have to provide some genealogy data - see the post!

The Jamboree Program is here (if the link works - the SCGS web site is down for awhile, apparently).

The Genealogy Blogger Summit will be on Saturday morning, 10 a.m. to 12 noon. The panel will consist of Stephen Danko, Shelly Talalay Dardashti, Dick Eastman, George G. Morgan, Randy Seaver and Megan Smolenyak and be moderated by Leland Meitzler. What an august group - I'm honored to be in such fine company!

The summary for this Summit says:

"The genealogy blogging and podcast community has been keeping savvy readers up to date on all the news affecting genealogists and family historians. How do they get the information? How is it disseminated?

"How have bloggers changed the flow of information between vendors and their customers? How can family history blogs help exchange information and locate cousins? Come hear this exceptional group of information leaders. Sponsored by"

I look forward to meeting my readers who are attending the Jamboree! Please come up and introduce yourself. I have met only one genealogy blogger in person (Gena from Gena's Genealogy) so far - and I'm excited to be able to talk with other genealogy bloggers.

I hope to be able to "live blog" a number of presentations at the Jamboree, including the Blogger Summit. It may be that I'll have to save up posts and put them on the blog afterwards - we'll see!

Several of my CVGS and SDGS colleagues are coming to the Jamboree by train from San Diego. Linda and I are driving up because we have to go to Victorville on Sunday for "grandparent duties."

Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 4

by Sheri Fenley
(c) Sheri Fenley, June 2008

I promised to let you know what lesson I had learned from the unfortunate incident in the previous post - The lesson is to get a better hair cut so there is no possibility of ever having a rat’s nest. Moving on….


Here is where I had planned to skillfully weave yesterday’s ending and today’s beginning. It was my intention to bedazzle you with my brilliance so that I would not have to tell you that I overslept and was 2 hours late to class. But I don’t know how to do that, so I won’t.

Birdie was again asking for volunteers from our class to consider giving a little presentation about their research on Friday. I felt so bad about being late (and was still groggy) I walked right up to her and volunteered. Don’t forget this part; you will need it later.Guest Speaker #4 was Mark Lowe. Mr. Lowe was not on the scary list. Last year I had downloaded a recording of a lecture he gave at a FGS conference. His voice in person sounded just like the recording; therefore, he was not scary.

Mark’s presentation was great. Although this was not a hands-on exercise, it was a case study. “In the Parlor or Dining Room: Marriage on the State Line” was about one man, one house, three counties and two states. For those who haven’t heard this lecture, I don’t want to give away too much. Mr. Lowe is a very experienced researcher. When a student asked him how long it took to go through all the deeds for the case, he revealed that he had some connections that allowed him special privileges. (Being sworn to secrecy I cannot explain any further, but if you have the chance you could casually ask Mr. Lowe about his keys. You did not hear this from me.)

Lloyd Bockstruck was Guest Speaker #5 and he was on the scary list. First, he is a librarian and second, he is a librarian. I don't know about anyone else, but our local librarian was someone you did not want to mess with while you were in her territory. One little giggle or whisper was all it took for her to give you that look (you know the look - peering over the rim of her glasses, her mouth looking like she sucked a big old lemon). This of course was in the olden days when libraries could afford to have librarians. Mr. Bockstruck is not scary, he is extremely intelligent and a gentleman in every sense of the word. His lecture covered different methods of discovering a married woman's maiden name using guess what? Land records!

I had a very busy evening after dinner. I went to the library on campus to do a little research in their Special Collections. Samford has a great library. The Special Collections house an extensive Irish Collection. On the same floor is the computer lab which is in an enclosed room and then an area with about 25-30 computers with an internet connection. I used these computers to type up a few reports.

Katherine Hopkins (who took me shopping Sunday evening) saw me at the computers and nonchalantly whispered to me that she received an email which gave her some privileged information - Macy's was having a midnight madness sale! Did I perhaps want to join her, she asked? I arranged to meet her back at the dorm.

When I came out of the library I noticed immediately that something was different. There was a breeze and it was almost chilly. There were also some of the largest and blackest clouds in the sky that I had ever seen in my life. I got as far as the cafeteria before I started with the "Hail Mary's". A bolt of lightning that Zeus himself must have thrown filled the sky. I hurried a little faster to my room. The deafening crrraaccckk of thunder that shortly followed made me scream for my mommy. I made it up that hill to the dorms from the cafeteria in less than 5 minutes. I have seen and heard storms before, but nothing that would have prepared me for this. Going to Macy's did not sound like such a great idea.

The evening was not lost, however. Fortunately I remembered about a little ‘soiree' that I had been invited to. It was held on the prestigious 2nd floor of Chi Omega. Those rooms have new flooring, a towel rack in the bathroom, and no cobwebs in the corners. I am really glad I went.

Margo and Ann and Stacey I already knew from class, and Katherine joined us as well. I met some new faces: Amy, Beth and Mary. .I didn't get their last names. I had come very close to a complete meltdown earlier what with the storm, and I was doing good to remember my own name. The refreshments they served were quite varied: Cheetoes, Pork Rinds and something called a soy chip that reminded me of the movie "Soylent Green."

Later in my room, exhausted from the day, I didn't even look at the clock to see the time, but when I closed my eyes, I had a smile on my face.


Sheri Fenley is a guest blogger here on Genea-Musings - previous blog entries include:

* An introduction, and a description of the IGHR program at Samford University in Birmingham, were posted 19 June 2008 as "Meet Guest Blogger Sheri Fenley."

* "Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 1" was posted 20 June 2008.

* "Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 2" was posted 21 June 2008.

* "Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 3" was posted 22 June 2008.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

CVGS Program on Wednesday 6/25 is "DNA 101 - Genetics for Beginners"

The next Program Meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society is Wednesday, 25 June, at 12 noon in the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) Auditorium. Dr. Stephen Baird's topic will be "DNA 101 - Genetics for Beginners."

Dr. Baird will attempt to fill the gaps in your understanding of how DNA sequences relate to inheritance, using FamilyTreeDNA results as examples. Terms used in genealogical genetic reports will be explained in a language that can be understand by general audiences as well as "rocket scientists!"

He will discuss the Y, X and autosomal chromosomes and how they can be used for family history identification as well as for following diseases and the timing of mutations. He might even illustrate the salient points of his lecture with a song or two from his upcoming CD recording of scientific songs

Dr. Stephen Baird graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Biology and Stanford University School of Medicine. He is Professor of Clinical Pathology at UCSD School of Medicine and Chief of Pathology at the Veteran's Administration Medical Center in La Jolla , CA. He received the highly respected Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of California 's San Diego Division of the Academic Senate, the UCSD Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as three UCSD Medical School 's Kaiser Teaching Awards.

Dr. Baird's research interests are in lymphomas and leukemias but he has also spent a good deal of time studying creation stories, Biblical and modern, as well as the genetics of human diseases and the genetic variations found in all modern human beings.

His interests in genealogy relate to how family trees could be used to study inheritance of various traits, both normal and disease processes.

Based on his love of music and science, he has written many scientific folk songs, now performed on CDs called "Hallelujah! Evolution! - Scientific Gospel" (including several songs he uses in his medical school courses), “Ain’t Gonna Be No Judgment Day,” “Water On Mars,” and his newest “Breakin’ The Rules,” a CD of mostly folk ballads.

There will be short business meeting before the Program speaker. When the library opens at noon, please enter through the Conference Room door to sign in, pick up the handouts, get a drawing ticket, have a snack and greet your colleagues. At 12:20 p.m., we will meet in the auditorium to start the meeting.

Guests and visitors are always welcome at CVGS meetings! We hope to see you there.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - June 15-21, 2008

Several hundred genealogy and family history bloggers write thousands of posts every week about their research, their families, and their interests. I appreciate each one of them and their efforts.

My criteria for "Best of ..." are pretty simple - I pick posts that advance knowledge about genealogy and family history, 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.

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

* "Keeping a Journal for History & Genealogy" by Lorine on the Olive Tree Genealogy blog. Lorine has been writing her historical and genealogy memories in a traditional journal for awhile. This is a really good practice for each of us.

* "Making the Case for Digital Over Print in Genealogical Publications" by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog. Jasia has questions about the Everton's decision to go digital, and gets the answers from Leland Meitzler. Then she tells us what she really thinks. Good thoughts!

* " 'She has had a hard time...", "A little revision (already)," and "Another e-Book on the way" all by Ruth Stephens on the Bluebonnet Genealogy blog. Ruth wrote and published one e-Book and is writing another one. She is uploading them as PDF files to, where she set up a storefront to permit free downloads of her books to anyone who might want to read them. This gives me a great idea about my family letters, Della's Journal, my own research, etc.

* "A genealogy blog? What's that?" and "Even More Genealogy Blogs ..." by Tom Kemp on the GenealogyBank, The Official Blog. Tom highlights some of his favorite blogs as he informs his readers about blogging. I'm honored to be included on his list. Are you reading Tom's blog for the GenealogyBank content? You should be ... I'm waiting for any San Diego newspaper.

* "Search tips for online databases" by Diane Haddad on the Genealogy Insider blog. Diane provides some useful research tips on how to search online databases.

* "Fruit Salad in the Census" by Chery Kinnick on the Nordic Blue blog. Chery finds some interesting names through censuswhacking on the names of fruits - you know, like Orange, Banana, Lemon, etc. (but not Cherry?). Thanks, Chery, for the chuckles. Whenever I hear the term "Fruit Salads," I start singing the Wiggles song by that name - my grandkids love it!

* "June 20 - Friday from the Collectors: Eliciting Stories from your Photo Albums" by Susan A. Kitchens on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog. Susan helps us understand how we can use photo albums, and the memories they create in our minds, to create or add on to oral history interviews with family, friends and associates. Excellent ideas here!

* "Genealogy and Serendipity book review" and "Genealogy and Serendipity Web review" by Janet Hovorka on The Chart Chick blog. Janet reviews two of Hank Jones' books about "Psychic Roots," and one of Megan Smolenyak's books, and then finds a number of online articles about this topic. Nice catches, and I need to go read some of the ones she mentioned!

* "My Greatest Genealogical Mysteries - Was he an Illegal Immigrant or Not?" by Tim Agazio on the Genealogy Reviews Online blog. Tim found blogging inspiration in his "idea booth" and has started a series about his own genealogy mysteries. The specific story is fascinating - trying to piece together the immigrant from Italy to Canada to the US. If his lines are like mine, he will have an endless series of posts!

* "Family History through Photographs" by Gena Philibert Ortega on the Gena's Genealogy blog. Gena's post has a nice list of web sites to investigate when trying to figure out your old family photos - processes, photographers, clothing, books and websites.

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!

Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 3

by Sheri Fenley
(c) Sheri Fenley, June 2008

As genealogists we are always running into problems and have to use our skills to solve them. Sometimes we collaborate with other genealogists to solve them as I will now demonstrate:I left out a very important event that happened on Sunday.

My roommate had become ill and couldn't make it down to the cafeteria for dinner. I mentioned this to some people on the shuttle bus and a wonderful lady, Katherine Hopkins from Tennessee, offered to drive me into town to get the roommate something to eat. She went above and beyond the call of duty by taking me to Wal-Mart so I could buy a coffee pot. I would not have made it through the week without it. I cannot even get myself dressed without a cup of coffee first thing in the morning. I gave the coffee pot to Katherine when it was time to go home so she could donate it to her church.

I had a problem and Katherine helped me solve it. See how nicely that worked out?

(Note to self and pat on the back: Nice job of working that in. Katherine should forgive me for omitting her part of the story and I do not make myself appear quite the strung out, caffeine addicted junkie that I really am).

An aside: I am working hard on my "image" ever since the regent of my DAR chapter popped in at my home to bring me some papers. She found me in the backyard, my hair pulled up in a bun that looked like a rat's nest, in my bathing suit and flip flops, cigarette hanging out of the corner of my mouth, stereo headphones on top of the rat's nest, rocking out to Stevie Ray Vaughan while mowing the lawn. No, please don't even try to picture this in your head. If you do, I cannot be held responsible for any mental health issues that you may develop. I only share this unfortunate event with you because there is a valuable lesson to be learned here and as soon as I figure out what it is, I will get back to you.


Before our first guest speaker, Birdie says that she needs to know who will be giving a presentation on Friday morning. She had emailed us before we arrived and asked us to share a case we have worked on that involves land records with the class. Remember this part of the story; it becomes very important a bit later.

Elissa Powell, from Pennsylvania, is our second guest speaker. She shares one of her own actual case studies to illustrate how to correlate records using the Genealogical Proof Standard. Elissa was not on my "Scary" list. This is because I had already met her online. I participate in an online study group (they do NOT know that I am blonde) that is made up of people who are serious about becoming professional genealogists. Elissa has been very generous and sits in on our discussions whenever time permits. Whenever I see Elissa she is always smiling, she has a great sense of humor and you can tell you that not only does this lady know her stuff, she truly enjoys her job. This is a fairly new concept that is extremely difficult for some people to grasp - having a job that you love.

(Note to self: Need to get a job so I can start the loving)She gave us a great hands on exercise in which the class was divided into groups to solve the case. Deb Deal, Ann Staley, Margo Fariss Brewer and Stacy Anderson and I were Group 4. Our group worked so well together, I could have sworn that we had done it a million times. All of these ladies have been coming to Samford for years as well as many other genealogical events throughout the year. These ladies were great and they even liked my outfits. One of them even told me that not many people can wear that shade of magenta and get away with it.

(Note to self: Magenta does go with orange, keep the outfit)

Each group was given pieces of the problem and then had to report our findings and how those findings tied into the other group's findings. I learn new things best visually. When I cannot picture something in my head, good visual aids are a must for me. Maps are key to finding the answers for a lot of land problems. Looking at pedigree charts fixes a person's place in a lineage in my head. Elissa provided great documents like those above to use as clues to help the groups along. I think the purpose of this assignment was not so much finding an answer to a problem as it was to show us how to interpret the records properly, what records are available and where to find them and the importance of developing a research plan.

Dr. Debbie Abbott was our 3rd guest speaker. If you haven't ever had the opportunity to attend one of Dr. Debbie's Lectures - find a way to make it happen. Her topic was completely new to me - Using land, tax and census records to find the owners of a slave family in Kentucky. Using a real case study that she recently completed for her pastor, she showed us step by step the records she used, why she used them and what that record told her. If you pay close attention and interpret a document correctly, it will tell you where to look next in your search.

Dr. Debbie had us divide into groups and like Elissa, gave each group documents that she used. Each group had different documents to analyze and then report their findings. I am so glad I paid close attention to the background information she gave us before she handed out the documents. All of us have seen a page from a deed book before. It is pretty straightforward: It records a date, grantor, grantee and a reference to where you can find the original documents. I have not had an opportunity to research a case that involved slaves before. Did you know that in the deed books if the grantee was only referred to by their given name (no surname) more than likely is was an owner granting that person their freedom, not land? After Dr. Debbie explained this to me it made perfect sense. Slaves were property and when property is transferred from one person to another it is recorded in a deed book.

I am fully aware that one person cannot "know it all", but the value of knowing a little bit of everything is priceless. Since I was becoming familiar with the time of day known as 10:00 PM, I went to bed and had a smile on my face.


Sheri Fenley is a guest blogger here on Genea-Musings - previous blog entries include:

* An introduction, and a description of the IGHR program at Samford University in Birmingham, were posted 19 June 2008 as "Meet Guest Blogger Sheri Fenley."

* "Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 1" was posted 20 June 2008.

* "Sheri Goes to Samford - Post 2" was posted 21 June 2008.