Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wheel of Genealogy Fortune - Post 7

You all know how to play Wheel of Fortune -I've given you R S T L N and E just like in the Final Round on the TV game!

Take a crack at this quote:

_ _ _ _ .... _ N _ .... E _ E .... _ _ S T

.... _ _ _ E .... _ _ _ N _.... _ E N E _ L _ _ Y

.... _ E R _ .... _ _ R _ N _.

Can you figure this out, and find it on a web page?

Please put your answer in Comments.

Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 2: Exploring

I installed FamilyTreeMaker 2008 yesterday and uploaded a large database, as described in Post 1.

I went exploring in FTM 2008 after uploading the database. Come along with me:

In the last screen in the first post, the program opened with a person named "Unknown" - the third wife of Robert Seaver. I wanted to make the "Home Person" myself (for reasons apparent later!) - so I clicked on the [Plan] icon in the top icon row and then clicked on the "Home Person" words right under "master Tree":

This opened a list of persons in the Tree, and I put "seaver, randall" in the Find box and double clicked on it. That made me the "Home Person."

Then I clicked on the [People] icon on the top icon row and the [Family] View opened up. This [Family] view tab is intended to be a navigation tool, I think. Note that there are four frames on the [Family] view screen - a name index in the left panel, a pedigree chart in the center top panel, a family summary in the center bottom panel, and the Facts for the selected person in the right panel.

You can navigate to another person by using the arrows on the pedigree chart or by finding a name in the name index on the left panel.

I used the right-facing arrow on the top right-hand person to move the tree to the left twice, and now my grandfather Frederick Walton Seaver is in the left-hand box. But the Facts for Benjamin Seaver are in the right panel and his family is in the bottom panel, because he is the highlighted person, as shown below.

Only names are shown in the [Family] view, but putting your cursor over a person shows a drop-down menu with birth and death dates and places. Note that the relationship of the highlighted person to the "home person" is at the top of the right-hand panel. Facts for the highlighted person are shown in the right-hand panel.

Next, I clicked on the [Person] view tab (next to the [Family] view tab). There are three frames in this view - the Main panel for Facts, Timeline or Relationships, the Notes in the Bottom panel, and the Edit boxes in the Right panel, all for the Selected Person.

The Facts for Benjamin Seaver appeared on the Main panel (note the [Facts] tab is highlighted on the right side of the line with the [Family] and [Person] view tabs. The large plus sign (+) on this line can be clicked to add a fact - you select the fact type from a drop down menu and add text. If you have a Fact selected, you can delete that fact using the large (X) next to the + sign. You can edit a Fact in the right-hand panel. On the right-hand panel you can Add or Edit a Source for the Fact. These edit functions are significantly different from earlier FTM versions.

In the bottom panel on the screen are the Notes for the person. You can type into the text box. There are icons on this Notes frame for Person Notes, Research Notes, Mark as Private, Bold, Italics, Underline, Bullets, Symbols, Color and Spell Check. Over on the right-hand side of this icon line is a scale that allows you to adjust the font size. There is also an indicator for the size of the Note file. These edit functions are a definite upgrade for the Notes over previous FTM versions!

There are also Media and Tasks tabs on this bottom panel. I haven't explored those yet!

Next, I clicked on the [Timeline] tab at the top of the Main panel next to the [Facts] tab. The Facts were then listed in the Main panel in date order. The information for the highlighted fact was in the right-hand panel again, and were able to be edited.

I found that I could adjust the bottom frame size of the Notes panel by clicking on the edge and dragging it up, as shown below. The problem with this is that the top of the panel carries over for all Fact/Timeline/Relationship screens, and if there are a lot of Facts or Relationships the Notes section obscures some of them. I could also change the width of the right-hand panel also. I could minimize the bottom panel by clicking on the little down carat right above the word "Person."

Next I clicked on the [Relationship] tab next to the [Timeline] tab on the top line of the Main panel. The Main panel shows the birth, death and relation Facts for the Father, Mother, Siblings, Spouse(s), and Children of the Selected Person.

You can click on the name of anyone on this Main panel and they become the Selected Person.

Navigating between generations and within families is almost intuitive in the program. I was able to figure it out without reading anything, but there was some trial and error involved. I had explored this far within about 15 minutes of having the database uploaded.

In the next post, I'll explore the Menu items on the People icon screen. Stay tuned!

Previous posts in this series:

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 1: Loading. Installing the program and uploading an existing database file.

Della's Circle of Friends - Post 2

I started transcribing Della (Smith) Carringer's autograph book from 1877-1882 yesterday in my post Della's Circle of Friends - Post 1. The balance of the autographs by Della's friends are in this post.

Della's Autograph book is a small (4 inches wide, 2.5 inches high, 0.30 inch thick) book with a cover that has the following inscriptions (on hand numbered pages, a / means a line change):

Page 38: "To Dellie / Jan 11th 1878 / Labors of duty, / Missions of love, Will win thee a blessing, / From Heaven above. / Your Schoolmate / Ida E. Prince."

Page 42: "Your Friend, / Arnold Samuels / Moline / Ill."

Page 44: "To Della, / 'Do the duty that lies / nearest thee.' / J.A. Shilborn / Apr 24 1878 / Concordia Kan."

Page 46: "To Della, / 'Aim at the highest prise. If there thou fail, / Thou'll haply reach to noe not far below.' / Your friend, / Lucy." [ "Cambell" in Della's writing]

Page 47: "Della / What ever your lot in life may be /Above all things remember me. / Truly. / Jo. Park / Mankato Ks Feby 24th 1882"

Page 48: "Miss Della Smith / Dear Friend / 'To live in hearts we leave behind / Is not to die.' / Your loving friend and schoolmate / Matie Dana / Concordia, Kansas / Jan. 8th 1878"

Page 49: On the left side: "May the angles ever guard you / Is the wish of your cousin." In the top right corner: "When / you are / lonely think / of these letters & / study them as they / may become of great ad- / vantage to you in future." In the bottom right corner: "You / have a sad / looking picture / in the album." Top center has a pasted face from a magazine and "My photo."

Page 50: "Dellie, / When you are perusing this / volume and your eye chances / to rest upon this page may / it remind you of our visit - / at Omio, and the pleasant / times we had while there. / May you also remember the / negro minstrels, and those beautiful / strains of chin-music which only / you would know how to appreciate / But above all do not forget / your cousin. / Ada Redfield / Omio, Kan. / 6-28-1881"

Page 52: "To Della: / I only ask this little spot / To write these words, forget-me-not. / Ever your friend. / Dora J. Allen. / May 29, 1882"

Page 56: "To Della. / We will bind our friendship / With a golden chain / And give the key to God. / Your loving friend / Ella R. Hall."

Page 58: "To Dellie, / Your friend and schoolmate: / Florence A. Smith / Concordia, / Kansas"

Page 63: "Otis N. Smith / Concordia / cloud Co / Kansas / April 25th 1878."

Page 66: "To Dellie, / May your life be always blest / With friends selected from the best. / Is the wish of your sister / Matie Smith / Concordia Kansas."

Page 67: "To Dellie / Sweet are the joys of home / And pure as sweet, for they / Like dew of morn and evening come / To make and close they day./ Your friend / Fannie / January 11 1878"

Page 74: "A. Mackley / Concordia / Kansas / Oct 16 - 81"

Some of the inscriptions are in pencil, and some in pen, and some are very faint.

Della was born in 1862, so she was age 15 when she received this autograph book as a Christmas gift from her mother, Abbie A. (Vaux) Smith. She had her mother, brother and sister sign it, but not her father (too bad - I don't think I have Devier Smith's autograph). Many friends and schoolmates signed it in 1878, and several signed it after that. Several people from other cities signed it over the years also. Della's cousin, Ada Redfield, lived in Belleville in Republic county around 1880, and they met in Omio in Jewell County in 1881.

Other family papers indicate that Della's family moved to McCook, Red Willow County, Nebraska in 1885, and Della married to Henry Austin Carringer in September 1887 in Wano, Cheyenne County, Kansas.

If any reader wants a scan of a specific page from this autograph book, please contact me at

Friday, July 11, 2008

Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 1: Loading

I mentioned several weeks ago that I "won" a version of FamilyTreeMaker 2008, plus some other items, in the Buick Heritage Sweepstakes contest. The box has been sitting on my desk invitingly for awhile... today I had the choice between loading it on the computer, going through my periodicals, or working on sources in my database. Tough choice - I chose to have fun (I hoped!) and decided to load FTM 2008.

I don't recall anybody else showing a plethora of screen shots from using FTM2008, so I will try to provide views and comments about each part of the program that I test.

The program on CD loaded flawlessly, but it took almost 10 minutes to install without a reboot. The program asked me if I wanted to check for updates, and I did, and they loaded also. My current version is

The opening screen is the Plan menu. You have a choice to start entering data into the program manually, or to upload a file from another program.

The program can import a file from FamilyTreeMaker, Legacy Family Tree, Personal Ancestral File, The Master Genealogist or a GEDCOM file. I chose to Upload a FamilyTreeMaker 16 file (with the .FTW extension).

It took over 12 minutes to upload my .FTW file with 20,735 persons and 8,516 families.

Then it asked me if I wanted to automatically Search for information about the people in my tree.

I quickly clicked the "No, disable the automatic search feature." I can't imagine how many days it would take to search Ancestry for all of those people in my database. I really wanted to write this post today!

After clicking OK, the program opened with a screen in the People menu, with a summary of the uploaded database.

I clicked Close and was in the People menu in the Family View. Somehow, it picked the third wife of Robert Seaver (1608-1683) as the key person in this database. I'll fix that!

Readers of Genea-Musings may ask "Why are you going through this? Are you going to use FTM 2008 after dissing it over the past year?" Frankly, I want to use the best genealogy software program for ME, and I need to evaluate FTM 2008 with my needs in mind. Many of my society colleagues have been asking me about FTM 2008, and I want to be able to demonstrate and discuss the program capabilities and utility with them.

Hopefully, my posts will help other researchers make a similar decision, or will provide helpful information to the FTM 2008 programmers for improvements.

I'll try to have an open mind, but I have certain "wants and needs" and I'll deal with them in future posts.

Do any readers have questions about the capabilities of FTM 2008? If so, please put them in Comments and I'll try to answer them.

RPAC Brochure - The Case for Open Public Records

The Records Preservation and Access Committee has created a one-page, two-sided color brochure for use by genealogy societies and members to support the aims of RPAC. It addresses the facts, pros, and myths for keeping public records open. It also gives guidelines for the access that genealogists need.

The brochure, in PDF format, is available at RPAC Brochure–The Case for Open Public Records.

The RPAC web site post says:

"The Records Preservation and Access Committee have developed a tri-fold brochure entitled 'The Case for Open Public Records.'

"Special thanks are in order to President Jan Alpert of the National Genealogical Society for her role in coordinating the project and NGS for sponsoring the design of the brochure. We also thank Heather Henderson of Ancestral Origins for the graphic design of the brochure (and for her patience in managing the numerous edits of its content.) Copies of the printed brochure are available at 12 cents each plus shipping by contacting

"We also want to thank the members of the RPAC committee who contributed information and provided editing support.

"Permission is granted for genealogical organizations to locally reproduce in its entirety the attached PDF version of the brochure."

Hat tip to Ruth Stephens at Bluebonnet Country Genealogy for noting it on the CoGenBlog.

Della's Circle of Friends - Post 1

We had new windows installed in our house yesterday, and to prepare for that I had to move much of my genealogy "dead-tree" collection out of the Genealogy Cave into an adjoining room. One of the benefits of moving stuff around in your house during home improvements or spring cleaning is that you sometimes find things you didn't know that you had (or in this case, you forgot that you had).

Moving boxes of genea-stuff from in front of the tall file cabinet allowed me to access the bottom drawers, wherein I found a nice collection of early-1900's San Diego High School yearbooks, a collection of coins and medals, and a very small autograph book. I spent two enjoyable hours last night reviewing this material, rather than moving all of the genea-stuff back into the Cave (that's today's job).

Abbie Ardell (Della) Smith (1862-1944) is my great-grandmother, who married Henry Austin Carringer in 1887, and resided in San Diego from 1887 to her death. I have transcribed her daily Journal from 1929 in my Della's Journal series.

Della's Autograph book is a small (4 inches wide, 2.5 inches high, 0.30 inch thick) book with a cover that has the following inscriptions (on hand numbered pages, a / means a line change):

Front page: "Presented to Dellie A. Smith / By her Mother Dec 25th 1877 / Concordia / Cloud Co / Kansas"

Page 2: "To Della / When prosperity brightens thy pathways / ?ull many will call thee 'My Friend' / But if adversity meets thee, / Remember one's true to the end. / Your Friend / Anna Ross / Feb 14 1879 / Concordia Kans"

Page 4: "Della / If we perform the small / duties of life faithfully / God will take care of the might / projects. / Minnie E. Cool."

Page 6: "Concordia Jan 20th 1878 / Dellie / May peace & pleasure / Be thy lot / And grief and sorrow / Attend thee not. / Very Respectfully / J.L. Dixon."

Page 14: "To flourish around your bower / To blossom around your Cot / Please cultivate this little Flour / They call forget-me-not. / Albert F. Newell / Concordia Kan / Dec 20th 1878."

Page 16: "Concordia Jan 30th 1878 / To Dellie A. Smith / A good name is better than Wealth / A good Education is worth striving for / Never say Can't, but I'll try. / From your Mother / Abbie A. Smith"

Page 22: "To Della, / Remember well and bear in mind / A trusty friend is hard to find / And if you find one good and true / Do not exchange the old one for / A new. Charles Jenkins / Concordia Cloud Co Kan. / Jan 12th 1878"

Page 26: "To Della / When on this Page you chance to look, / Think of me and close the book. / Ever your friend, / Miss Delia Hagaman / Concordia Kansas."

Page 30: "To Dellie Smith / When this you see / Remember me / From Aunt Libbie"

Page 32: "To Dellie / Remember me, you may, you must, as long as you / can gnaw a chrust / From your Brother / Concordia Dec 26th 1877"

Page 34: "To Della / Oft as the bell, with solomn toll, / Speak the departure of a soul, / Let each one ask himself, 'am I / Prepared, should I be called today?' / Your Schoolmate / Irena Davidson / Concordia Apr 14th 1878."

That's about half of the inscriptions - I'll transcribe the rest in a later post.

What is the value of an autograph book like this? I can think of:

* Provides a date and location for the individuals who inscribed it.

* Provides a handwriting sample of the individuals who inscribed it, and indicates literacy of those individuals.

* Provides an indication of what Della was called by her family and friends.

If any reader wants a scan of a specific page from this autograph book, please contact me at Some of the inscriptions are in pencil, and some in pen, and some are very faint.

Can Your Genealogy Software Do This? - Series 3: iFamily for Leopard

I posted my latest genealogy software question on 6 July - Can your genealogy software provide a list or report with the ages at death of selected people in your database? Preferably the ancestors of a person, in descending order from most years to fewest years. Or just the top 20 persons, say.

In comments to my post yesterday, John noted that iFamily for Leopard (for the MacIntosh computer) can create lists. He noted that this software can provide:

IFamilyForLeopard (for Mac)
Used to be IFamilyForTiger
Software download works on both operating systems.

Reports Menu
Select: Statistics
Click: Show Lifespan Info

Here is the information provided

Num Males
Ave Male Lifespan
Males who died under 20 yrs (#)
Males who lived over 80 yrs (#)
Males who lived over 90 yrs (#)
Males who lived over 100 yrs (#)

Num Females
Ave Female Lifespan
Females who died under 20 yrs
Females who lived over 80 yrs
Females who lived over 90 yrs
Females who lived over 100 yrs

Earliest recorded person with birth/death year
Age At Death < year =" %">
Age At Death 01 to 10 = %
Age At Death 11 to 20 = %
Age At Death 21 to 30 = %
Age At Death 31 to 40 = %
Age At Death 41 to 50 = %
Age At Death 51 to 60 = %
Age At Death 61 to 70 = %
Age At Death 71 to 80 = %
Age At Death 81 to 90 = %
Age At Death 91 to 100 = %
Age At Death 101 to 110 = %

(and, providing names and ages)
People who lived over 100 years
People who lived 90 - 99 years
People who lived 80 to 89 years

Within the categories, they're alphabetical (by first name), not chronological.

... I just posted a request for a different sort on their forum board. Updates are frequent.

One advantage to single-developer software: 2.5 hours after my request, the developer announced that in the next release he's added

"three sort options for the lifespan info (a) sort by Age at Death, (b) sort by Family Name/First Name and (c) sort by First Name/Family Name. "

My thanks to John for supplying this information about iFamily for Leopard (and Tiger) for our readers with MacIntosh computers.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Can Your Genealogy Software Do This? -- Series 3 Updated

I posted my latest genealogy software question on 6 July - Can your genealogy software provide a list or report with the ages at death of selected people in your database? Preferably the ancestors of a person, in descending order from most years to fewest years. Or just the top 20 persons, say.

So far, I've posted information about:

* FamilyTreeMaker 16 - will do it, in order.

* Personal Ancestral File/Ancestral Quest - will do it, in order.

* Legacy Family Tree 7 - will do it, but not in order.

* FamilyTreeMaker 2008 -- won't do it, according to informants.

What about the following software? Can it do this task?

* The Master Genealogist

* RootsMagic

* Reunion (for Macintosh)

* Brother's Keeper

* Any others?

Please tell me in comments, or send step-by-step directions and a screen shot to email at if you want to respond to this challenge.

Family Tree Magazines 101 Best Web Sites for 2008

The September 2008 issue of Family Tree Magazine came this week, and I've enjoyed reading their list of the 101 Best Web Sites for 2008. You can see all of their list here.

The "usual suspects" are all here. There were several surprises to me, including:

* Distant Cousin - A new site for me. There are records from over 1,500 sources, including links to searches on commercial sites.

* Newspaper Abstracts - A new site for me. These are abstracts from newspapers provided by volunteers. There are over 55,000 "pages" - just a drop in the barrel, but worth checking from time to time.

* Archives of Maryland Online -- A new site for me. There are more than 471,000 historical documents here. I need to explore this for Linda's McKnew, Prather, Pickrell and other surnames.

* Western States Historical Marriage Records Index - a new site for me. There are over 600,000 marriage records indexed here. I found 24 "Seaver" matches - most of them are not in my Seaver database.

* YSearch and MitoSearch -- In the DNA section, I was surprised that they didn't include in the 101 best, but these two sites are part of FamilyTreeDNA. The YSearch link in the magazine and on the web site is wrong - it should be

What would I have included?

* Joe Beine's index web pages -- Death Indexes, Birth and Marriage Indexes, Passenger List Indexes, Naturalization Indexes, Military Indexes, etc. They are all listed on one entry page at These sites are extremely useful to me.

* The Pro Genealogists Genealogy sleuth pages at I find this one of the best genealogy data portal and genealogy education site on the web.

* The most useful genealogy tutorial for genealogists trying to learn how to use database web sites is the Learn Web Skills site at

There are many more very useful web sites, and I know that the magazine cannot list all of them. It would be interesting to know the criteria they used to choose the 101 sites that they did. Maybe they should increase the number!

What web sites would you add to their list?

Can Your Genealogy Software Do This? - Series 3: FamilyTreeMaker 2008

I posted my latest genealogy software question on 6 July - Can your genealogy software provide a list or report with the ages at death of selected people in your database? Preferably the ancestors of a person, in descending order from most years to fewest years. Or just the top 20 persons, say.

What about FamilyTreeMaker 2008? I just received it and haven't loaded it yet. FramilyTreeMaker 16 and earlier versions will do this task - see my post here.

I heard from Drew Smith in Comments to the initial post said: ""So far as I can tell, 'Age at death' is not on the list of facts that can be included in a report." Tamura Jones agreed with Drew.

Will this capability be added to FTM 2008 in a future service pack?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Family Photographs -- Post 12: Swimming Suits

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 Seaver family collection:

This picture was taken in the summer of 1923 in front of the cottage that the Fred and Bess (Richmond) Seaver family owned at Whalom Lake, an amusement park for many years located near Fitchburg, Massachusetts. The Seaver family would take weekends during the summer at the lake, and Bess and her sisters would stay for a week or two each summer with their children.
The people in this photograph are, left to right, Frederick W. Seaver (age 12), Geraldine Seaver (age 6), and Edward R. Seaver (age 10). Fred is, of course, my father.
This photograph was in the Geraldine (Seaver) Remley collection provided to Randy Seaver in May 2007 for digitizing and sharing with the rest of the family.

CVGS Research Group Meeting Summary - 7/9/08

The July meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society Research Group was today at the Library. There were 13 attendees at this meeting, and they all had something to share.

We started with introductions, and welcomed two visitors (Frances from Chula Vista, and Cynthia from Washington DC) and Ellie, a member from the Bay Area. We started with asking the attendees what genealogy activities they've done this past month:

* Randy discussed attending the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank, and passed the syllabus around plus his blog posts about the Jamboree. He also showed the Google Maps Street Views and how it can be used to view ancestral homes.

* Dave found a cousin in Georgia and they've been sharing lots of information about their families.

* Jeanne found some cousins addresses using and found them on Google maps. David (10 years old) read the book Private Eyes for Idiots and wants to apply the lessons to genealogy research.

* Ellie has been working through her late mother's scrapbooks, and shared a postcard in German. She is putting a book together using Microsoft Publishing.

* Cynthia has been visiting the DAR library and the Archives in Washington, DC, but has had trouble finding information about her Russian ancestors.

* Marie has been talking to a Nebraska home town neighbor of her parents, who shared lots of juicy stories about her mother and her siblings as teenagers.

* Virginia enjoyed the SCGS Jamboree, especially the Naturalization and Genealogy Organization talks. She contributed information to a family newsletter editor.

* Shirley also enjoyed the Jamboree, and after hearing Leland Meitzler's talk about "Genealogy Organization in the 21st Century," she bought a 500 gb hard derive and has started building her digital archive of documents.

* Dick received the NPRC information about his father's WW 1 Army service - there were only four pages because of the fire in 1973.

* Frances is just starting her research, and has visited Santa Barbara to find cemetery records and has talked to her grandparents about their family.

* Bob found a 1920 picture and article on the San Diego Historical Society web site about his great-grandfather who settled near Julian in San Diego County and had a store in Ensenada in Baja California. He also obtained an enlistment record for him in the Spanish-American War that said he was blue-eyed, not brown-eyed. Now Bob knows where all the blue eyes in his extended family came from!

* Nancy is wondering how to find a family Bible with the names and dates of one of her families. She has a typed piece of paper from the Bible records, but would like to find the Bible.

Randy briefly discussed the Genealogy News of the month.

Ellie asked the group to help her find more records of Bernhart Heinrich Kopcke, her grandmother's older brother. She thinks he was born before 1880, emigrated from Germany after 1880, and died around 1900, but has a photograph with his name on the back that shows an older man. He lived in Arkansas and Texas for some period. She has checked several online resources, including passenger lists, 1900 census records and the FHL Catalog. The group suggested posting to surname and locality mailing lists and message boards, looking in the 1910 census in case he "went missing," doing dating of the clothing in the picture, naturalization records, and a name change.

The CVGS Research Group meets every second Wednesday at 12 noon in the Conference Room at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library.

Genea-Musings Readability

John Newmark on his Transylvanian Dutch blog has used the Readability tests found at Juicy Studio ( to determine the readability of his blog content. He found that his blog has a 6th to 10th grade reading level, about what Time and Newsweek magazines have.

What about Genea-Musings? What reading level are my posts? Am I too prolix? Too terse (yeah, that'll be the day!). Taking John's cue, I chose one month of posts from my Archives - June 2008 - that I think are fairly representative. Here is what I found:

Readability Results
The following table contains the readability results for .

Total sentences -- 2888
Total words -- 39928
Average words per Sentence -- 13.83
Words with 1 Syllable -- 26476
Words with 2 Syllables -- 8041
Words with 3 Syllables -- 3670
Words with 4 or more Syllables -- 1741
Percentage of word with three or more syllables -- 13.55%
Average Syllables per Word -- 1.52

Gunning Fog Index -- 10.95
Flesch Reading Ease -- 64.55
Flesch-Kincaid Grade -- 7.69

The key readability scales are the last three:

The Gunning Fog Index relates the reading level to the years of school required to understand the content. My Fog Index of 10.95 means it takes a high school education to understand Genea-Musings - of course, many readers will debate that! 10.95 corresponds to the Wall Street Journal level of writing.

The Flesch Reading Ease of 64.55 is right in the middle of the 60 to 70 range recommended for authors to aim for. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade is another grade level indicator - my 7.69 means a 7th or 8th grade education is required.

What is the Gunning Fog Index for other bloggers (using their current blog page):

* Dick Eastman -- 10.29
* Leland Meitzler -- 10.10
* Juliana Smith -- 10.42
* DearMYRTLE -- 11.72
* Chris Dunham -- 12.22
* Terry Thornton - 9.73
* Jasia - 10.65

I wonder if any genea-blogger can top Chris's score?

Enough! Thanks, John, for finding another time-waster!

"In, About and Around San Diego" Program at SDGS on Saturday, 12 July

The San Diego Genealogical Society meeting on Saturday, 12 July will feature the annual Ice Cream Social and Ken Kramer's "In, About, and Around San Diego" video program.

The meeting will be at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, located at 8350 Lake Murray Blvd. (at Jackson Drive) in San Diego. The meeting will start at 12 noon. There will be a break for the Ice Cream at about 1 p.m.

The program description and Ken Kramer's CV reads:

"Do you enjoy stories about San Diego the way it used to be -- stories that recount the unusual, the little known anecdotes that make the history of our city so interesting? If so, don't miss Ken Kramer's talk about the people and history of the place we call home. He takes a look at the funny, odd, and fascinating things that make our region unique in his light-hearted, humorous manner that has earned him many broadcast awards.

"Mr. Kramer hosts the 'About San Diego' broadcast every Sunday at 6 p.m. on NBC (channel 7/39). He began telling stories about San Diego on KSDO-AM radio during the morning and 'drive-time' afternoon broadcasts back in 1985. For the next 14 years, it was a daily listening mainstay for thousands of San Diegans, winning 'Golden Mike' and San Diego Press Club and other awards. In 1994, Mr. Kramer brought his historical video vignettes to NBC 7/39 which are still broadcast on the 'News at 11' each Friday night (and repeated on the Saturday and Sunday morning news). They have won four Emmy Awards."

At the Ice Cream Social, you can order up your own ice cream sundae with all the fixings. Different ice cream flavors will be $1 per scoop and each topping will be 25 cents. The big decision will be whether to have 1, 2 or 3 scoops - and is that with sprinkles, fudge or caramel? This will be a great way to cool down and enjoy the summer.

NOTE: Previously published in the San Diego Genealogical Society Newsletter, Volume 41, Number 6, July 2008.

I am really looking forward to this meeting. I look forward to being a 3-scooper and support my society! I watch Ken Kramer as often as I can, and will enjoy his presentation.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Well, footnoteMaven has done it again - she told us not to read her post titled Do Not, I Repeat, do Not Read This Post. She links to a Dialectizer that turns written words into words written in several dialects - including Redneck, Moron, Jive, Cockney, Elmer Fudd, Sweidsh Chef, Pig Latin and Hacker.

I couldn't resist, of course, and dialectized my Geneaholic blog posts - here's yesterday's post.

Ondaymay, Ulyjay 7, 2008

Enealogygay Ournaljay - 07/07/08
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"Ancestryyay Ensuscay Indexingyay errorsyay" ostpay enwhay utyday alledcay - otay oldhay erhay ilewhay Amitay ackedpay upyay. Eythay eftlay atyay 11, utbay Iyay otgay ymay ourhay ofyay ovinglay ayay 2-onthmay oldyay inyay. Iyay amecay ackbay otay ethay omputercay, andyay ostedpay "Ancay Youray Oftwaresay Oday Isthay? - Eriessay 3: AFPAY/AQyay" ourtesycay ofyay Amuratay Onesjay.

It will take some time for me to learn to write my blog posts in anything but Seaverspeak. What I really need is a reverse dialectizer that translates what I write into readable prose.

Thanks, footnoteMaven for another great time waster.

PS. wow - you should see what the spell-checker thought about this post!

Can Your Software Do This? - Series 3: Legacy Family Tree

I posted my latest genealogy software question on 6 July - Can your genealogy software provide a list or report with the ages at death of selected people in your database? Preferably the ancestors of a person, in descending order from most years to fewest years. Or just the top 20 persons, say.

Reader Don emailed me with his method of generating a list of ancestors with their Age at Death for Legacy Family Tree 6 (and it seems to be essentially the same for Legacy Family Tree 7). In order to get only my ancestors, I had to add several steps to Don's list, and to get the Age at Death I had to add a step. I have highlighted my additions to Don's steps in the list below, and modified the formatting a bit (to eliminate HTML things):

* Select the person you want the list of Age of ancestors for. I picked myself and put me in the primary position.
* Click on the [Name List] icon in the top icon row
* Click on the [Options] button on the Name List screen
* Click on the [Advanced Tagging] item
* Click on the [Ancestors] button
* In the [Ancestors Options] screen, click "Direct Line" and unclick the "Include Other Spouses," "Include Siblings," "Entire ancestor Line" and the "Include Multiple Parents" boxes. Click [OK]
* In the {Advanced Tagging] screen, type in a description for your tag. Note the Tag number you created. Mine was Tag 1.
* Click on [Close]
* Click on the [Show All Tagged] item and select the Tag number you created.
* Click on [Close]

The Name list on the Search List screen should show all of the Tagged Individuals.

* Click on the [Close] button.

* Click the [Search] button on the top icon row
* Select the [Detailed Search] tab on the Search screen

There are three sets of boxes here - the Primary Condition, Second and Third conditions. For the Primary Condition:

* In the [Look for whom] box select – Individual
* In the [Where to look] box select – Birth
* In the [How to look] box select – before
* In the [What to look for] box, type in "2007"

For the Second Condition:

* click the box for the "Second Condition" and "And"
* In the [Look for whom] box select – individual
* In the [Where to look] box select – death date
* In the [How to look] box select – before
* In the [What to look for] box, enter – "2007"

* Select [Create List] button on the Search screen.
* Select the [Search] button

* Click on the [Show All Tagged] item and select the Tag number you created.

The list of tagged people will be in the left-hand list.

* Click the [Print] button on the Search List screen

The List Reports Options screen will now appear

* Click on the [Options] tab
* Select a title = what you want included. I typed in "Age at Death Report" and unclicked all of the other option buttons.
* Click on the [*Row 1] tab
* I selected and set up the following

** Surname, given names; sex; Birth Date; Age at Death; Death Date; and Spouse.
** You can add other items via 2 more rows of settings and addition to the report if you so desire.

** You may have to use the [Customize ...] button in order to get the "Age at Death" item on the list.

* To preview the report, click on the [Preview] button in the upper right hand corner of the List Report Options screen. Don't click on the [Print] button until you want to print the report! You can also [Save] the report.

My list of 1,995 individuals took almost 100 seconds to create. It opened in a report format 197 pages long, with 10 persons on each page. There are page format options that would probably reduce the page count.

The list was in alphabetical order, not in Age at Death order. The persons without either a birth date or a death date were included.

Perhaps there is another keystroke sequence to get the report in an "Age at Death" sequence - if a reader can tell me how to do that, I will add it to this post.

Reader Geoff left a comment that listed:

1) Open the Name List by clicking on the [Name List] button.
2) Click on the [Print] button.
3) Click on the [Customize] button, select a field name to replace by clicking on the [...] button, then select "Age At Death."
4) Preview the report.

That works (with many intermediate clicks as noted above) - but you get everybody in your database on the list (I let it work for two minutes and it was 1,200 pages long and still going!). I think that you have to tag "Ancestors" in order to get an ancestors-only list.

Thank you to Don and Geoff for leading me through this. Which genealogy software will be next?

UPDATED 10 p.m.: Tamura emailed that I missed a step - so I added the [Ancestors Options] line and edited several more. This is not easy to do - I switch back and forth between Blogger and the software program and it's easy to miss a step while reconstructing the process. Thanks, Tamura.

Wordle -- be creative!

OK, who got me hooked on Wordle? Was it Janet the Researcher? FootnoteMaven? Miriam Midkiff? Yep - all of the above, and more!

Here's my first attempt at a surname cloud - my ancestral names of course:

I tried to do a Genea-Musings cloud and it picked up words from the latest posts. As shown below:

Here's a prospective advertising Wordle for my genealogy cave:

The default is that the more times a word is used, the larger it will be in print. There is a choice of fonts and colors to choose from.

You can enter an URL for a blog or web site, or you can enter a series of words of your choice. The only way I've found to save the words of your choice is to copy them into a file before you create the Wordle graphic.

You have to save your Wordle to the Gallery in order to obtain the code to put it in your blog.

I didn't find an easy way to capture the image other than to do a screen capture.

FootnoteMaven suggested putting these on T-shirts. A person could use it to publicize their web site or company. A society could use it to publicize their resources or capabilities. Lots of possibilities here!

This is addictive... thanks to my fellow (hmmm, they're all female so far, what's the female complement to "fellow"?) genea-bloggers for making me spend a little time having fun.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hudson and Mohawk Valley Genealogies

I'm trying to fill in narrative data for some of my ancestral families that are in my database, but are unsourced in my database. For most of these families, I obtained family trees or narrative data from other researchers many years ago, and I also have "paper" from derivative books for many of these in notebooks on my bookcases in my genealogy cave.

I have quite a few Dutch and English families who immigrated into the Hudson and Mohawk valleys in the 1600's and early 1700's. There are several well-known books that summarize these families, and some of them are transcribed and available on several web sites.

The most useful ones to me today were found on the excellent USGenWeb site for Schenectady County, New York Genealogy and History, at Here there are links to:

1) The People link has the following databases available:

** Genealogies of Schenectady County families
** Jonathan Pearson's Genealogies of the First Settlers of Schenectady
** Schenectady families in Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs
** Surnames of Schenectady County Families (from the family files of the Historical Society)
** Congressional Representatives serving Schenectady County
** New York State Senators serving Schenectady County
** New York State Assembly Members serving Schenectady County
** Officials of the City of Schenectady
** Our Hall of Fame (1938)
** List of Pensioners on the Roll 1883

The Jonathan Pearson books on the First Settlers of Schenectady families and the Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical Family Memoirs were the most useful to me today. The latter work has an overall surname index, and is separated by counties of the Hudson and Mohawk region. Volume IV is not completely online yet - the list of surnames not covered is here.

2) Places

3) Research Topics

4) Books -- There is an excellent bibliography of Schenectady area books.

5) Research Sites -- records available, researchers and repositories.

This web site is a marvelous help to researchers like me who are trying to understand the history, geography, commerce and other features of this area, and how my ancestral families lived in this area.

If you have Schenectady area ancestry, and haven't visited this web page recently, you should!

Can Your Software Do This? - Series 3: PAF/AQ

I posted my latest genealogy software question on 6 July - Can your genealogy software provide a list or report with the ages at death of selected people in your database? Preferably the ancestors of a person, in order from most years to fewest years. Or just the top 20 persons, say.

Here is how reader Tamura Jones made a custom report in Personal Ancestral File 5 to make a list of ancestors and their age at death:


Here's how to do it in PAF. Reports in Ancestral Quest are practically identical.

* Choose File Print Reports (PAF's programmers apparently think reports are always printed)

* Choose the Custom tab to create a custom report

* There are four steps:

1. Choosing the persons
2. Choosing the fields
3. Choosing the sort order get to
4. Viewing the results

Step 1. Choosing the persons

** Hit the Select button to select the person and his ancestors
** Choose the proband from the list, by name or by number
** Choose "Ancestors" from the drop-down relationship filter
** PAF will display the number of selected persons
** Choose "Select"

In the Ancestors dialog box that pops up
** Allow the default of 999 generations of ancestors
** be sure to set the descendants generations to zero to not include other descendants of your ancestors
** be sure uncheck "include spouses" (other spouses really)
** leave "include all parents" unchecked
** Choose OK to go back the custom report tab

Step 2. Choosing the fields

** Choose the "Fields" button
** Add "Full Name"
** Add "Age at Death"
** Choose OK to go back the custom report tab

Step 3. Choosing the sort order

** Choose "Sort Order" button
** Add "Age of Death"
** Add "Surname, Given" instead of "Full Name" for better sort results
** Choose "Ascending" or "Descending" as you like it
** Choose OK to go back the custom report tab

Step 4. Viewing the results

** Here you usually choose "Preview", after which you can save to RTF
** You may need to change the page layout from portrait to landscape
** You can print directly to a comma delimited file if you like
** You can save the custom report for future use.


Thank you, Tamura, for the directions for PAF. Well done! Here is a screen shot from Tamura of the results (a later page in the report):

Ancestry Census Indexing errors

On the APG mailing list, Neal Underwood just posted a note concerning Ancestry census indexing errors - particularly with "India" as a birthplace instead of Indiana. Neal's list:

1850 - 16
1860 - 9,023
1870 - 27,984 (9,603 in the state of Indiana; 7,303 in Iowa)
1880 - 1,291 (indexed by LDS volunteers)
1900 - 17,953
1910 - 13,284
1920 - 20,283
1930 - 5,291

The search for "India" finds West India, East India, India and other anomalies. The search for "Ind" finds "Indies" and "Indian" also - there are 157,865 entries with a birthplace including "Indian."

In 1900, there were 2,508,257 persons listed with "Indiana" as their birthplace, and another 551 with "Ind." The error rate for "India" and "Ind" is about 0.74% - about 1 in 135. But if your family is that one, then you won't find them if you specified "Indiana" as a birthplace.

** I had heard that "Kenya" was also indexed in place of Kentucky and found (but not nearly as many as India!):

1850 - 0
1860 - 1,592
1870 - 908
1880 - 0
1900 - 460
1910 - 239
1920 - 393
1930 - 25

Most of the "Kenya" listings are really for Kentucky, although there may be some for the African country, but it's nearly impossible to sort them out.

There are 2,422,891 people with a birthplace of "Kentucky" in the 1900 census, so the error rate is a bit lower - only about 0.03%, or 1 in about 3700.

** There are some listings for "Africa" as well - 1,558 in the 1900 census.

** There are also some listings for "Old" in the census indexes:

1850 - 18
1860 - 37
1870 - 479
1880 - 1,580
1900 - 785
1910 - 437
1920 - 1460
1930 - 652 and 58 "O" also

Many of the later "Old" were for "Old Mexico" (as opposed to "New Mexico"), many of the earlier ones were for "Old Deu" or similar.

** The Ancestry census indexes are not always consistent. For instance, in the 1930 census there are:

Washington - 174,417 (including some for District of Columbia)
Wash - 165 (including Wash DC and Wash Terry) - the latter meaning "Territory" I think
Was - 10 (including "this child was" - huh?

Using a wild card for Washington - "Was*" resulted in 174,629, or 212 more than just using "Washington".

** The same thing happens when you use a two word state abbreviation, like "North Dakota"

North Dakota - 128,633
ND - 10
South Dakota - 198,035
SD - 6
Dakota - 333,838

Several thousand people just listed Dakota or Dakota Territory for the birthplace.

Obviously, if you cannot find an ancestor using a birth place fully written out, you should try the wild card and also the common abbreviation for the state.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Can Your Software Do This? - Series 3: FTM 16

I posted my latest genealogy software question earlier today - Can your genealogy software provide a list or report with the ages at death of selected people in your database? Preferably the ancestors of a person, in order from most years to fewest years. Or just the top 20 persons, say.

Here is how I managed to make a custom report in FamilyTreeMaker 16 to at make a list of my ancestors and their age at death:

1) click on the [Reports] icon

2) Select [Custom]

3) Click on [Contents] menu item

4) Click on [Individuals to Include in Report] item

5) Click button for [Selected Individuals]

6) Click button for [Individuals to Include]

7) Put the name of a person in the box - I chose myself

8) Click on the [Ancestors >] button. The list of ancestors of the selected person should be in the right hand column

9) Click OK.

10) Click on the [Content] menu item

11) Click on the [Items to Include in Report] item

12) Select items from the left hand list to be included. Use the right [>] button to put the items in the right-hand column. I included [Name], [Spouse}, [Age at first marriage] and [Age at death] for my report.

13) Click on the [OK] button

14) You should see a text report of all of your ancestors with the items requested. Mine is 29 pages long.

15) Click on the [Format] menu item

16) Click on [Sort Report]

17) In the "Sort by" box, pick [Age at death], click on [Descending] in the Oder button, and hit [OK]

18) A great 29 page report sorted by maximum age down to minimum age at death appears.

That seems like a very convoluted process, doesn't it? But the software did exactly what I wanted it to do - it made a list from oldest ancestor's age to youngest.

The Help button for FTM16 doesn't help at all - it doesn't describe how to do this task - I learned it by experimenting with the Custom Report buttons.

The following persons in my database who died at an age 100 or greater:

* Thomas Follansbee (ca 1621 - 1726) - 105 years (married to Mary --?--)

* John Wooden (ca 1620-1721) - 101 years (married to Mary --?--)

* Mary Samborne (1690-1790) - 100 years (married to William Healey)

* Mary Brownell (ca 1639 - ca 1740) - 100 years (married to Robert Hazard)

* Laurence Copeland (ca 1599-1699) - 100 years (married to Lydia Townsend)

Did you notice that all of the centenarians in my ancestry are from the 17th and early 18th centuries? Why is that? It shows that people did live to be 100 in those centuries, but also that the more ancestors you have in a time period, the more likely you are to have a centenarian! If I included everybody in my database, I might have many more "centenarian relatives," and perhaps some in the 19th and 20th centuries too!

Of course, my database is incomplete - I don't have birth or death dates for many people, so I probably have several more centenarians. Also, my database may have errors in it and the birth and death dates for individuals may be wrong.

What am I going to use this for, you ask? Well, the next Carnival of Genealogy is about AGE and I thought I'd better get a head start on it before I forget about it.

UPDATED: 8:30 pm. - figured out how to get it in age order, so I edited out some things and added several steps. Early versions of this post might be incomplete because I used the forward and backward carat signs and it thought I was an HTML programmer. Sorry about that!

UPDATED: 7 July, 9 a.m.: I knew I was going to embarrass myself if I put the names and ages in this post. Tamura Jones kindly informed me via email that Catalyntje deVos was born around 1627, and not in 1609, so I removed her from my list. Tamura also questioned the Henry Beck age - which I will address soon.

UPDATED: 7 July, 9:30 a.m. Caleb Beck died in 1686, not 1727-8, so he is off the list too! I admit that I was a great "name collector" in my early days of genealogy, but not a good genealogist... I'm trying to get better, but there are lots of errors lurking in my databases. Everybody else keeps finding them!

Can Your Software Do This? - Series 3

Can your genealogy software provide a list or report with the ages at death of selected people in your database? Preferably the ancestors of a person, in order from most years to fewest years. Or just the top 20 persons, say.

Rather than bumble my way through six different software programs and be embarrassed by my lack of ingenuity, I'm going to ask my faithful and really smart readers to help me out with this task. When I get good answers, I will post them in a summary blog post.

I would appreciate either comments to this post, or emails to me at, describing the process you would use in your genealogy software program to obtain the list or report that I want to generate.

If possible, I would love to have the process for FTM2008, Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic, The Master Genealogist, Personal Ancestral File or Ancestral Quest, Reunion, or any other genealogy software. I will post how I did this task in FamilyTreeMaker 16. If you want to send me a screen shot of the results you obtain, please do.

Thanks for any and all help!

Best of the Genea-Blogs - June 29 - July 5, 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:

* A Blog Finder Reminder by Chris Dunham on The Genealogue blog. Chris talks about how he updates the Genealogy Blogfinder, one of the indispensable web sites for genea-bloggers and readers IMHO. The statistics about the number of genea-blogs updated, and how often, are interesting.

* The Genetic Mess in California - A Round-Up and My Thoughts by Blaine Bettinger on The Genetic Genealogist blog. Blaine summarizes the situation well, and has excellent answers to the important questions. Read the comments, too.

* Genealogists Joining Social Networks - Is It a Trend Yet? by Dean Richardson on the Genlighten Blog- Genealogy Documented blog. Dean comments on social networking sites, and provides results from his own survey about proposed web site services, including social networks. Unfortunately, the chart is difficult to read.

* 2008 French and Indian War Grand Encampment, Ticonderoga and More F&I From Fort Ti by Tim Abbott on the Walking the Berkshires blog. Tim takes us into the heat of the battles at Fort Ticonderoga with great pictures and stories. Later in the week, he wrote You and Me, Kid about making more family history with his kids - great pieces all!

* Married in 1820 by Michael John Neill on Juliana Smith's 24/7 Family History Circle blog. Michael gives great advice for a persistent problem for all researchers - read it, learn it, apply it, and hope for the best!

* Kinship and Human Society by Carolyn Earle Billingsley on the Life in Possum Holler blog. Carolyn is an expert on this topic, and provides a book review of a new book, Early Human Kinship, which sounds fascinating.

* How to Order a Big Family Tree Wall Chart by Diane Haddad on the Now What? Expert Answers to Your Genealogy Questions blog. Diane provides advice on what to look for, and the questions to ask, before you invest in a large family tree wall chart. I needed this!

* July 4 - Friday from the Collectors: Reading Women's History by Denise May Levenick on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog. Denise takes us into the classroom and describes her effort to connect teenagers with family history. Excellent work!

* Cook County Vital Records and CookCountyGenealogy Tip by John Newmark on the Translyvanian Dutch blog. John describes and demonstrates use of this new web site. He has some useful comments too.

* Unusual Places to Look for Genealogy by Kathy Jones-Kristof on the Genealogy Help and Hints blog. Kathy posted a great list of unusual resources that might help solve genealogy brick wall problems. A keeper!

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!