Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wheel of Genealogy Fortune - Post 8

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 T .... T _

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

.... _ _ _ .... _ _ _ E .... T _

.... S E _ R _ _ .... _ E S T E R _ _ _.

Can you figure this out, find the author, and find it on a blog page?

Please email me your answers ( and I'll list the readers who get it right in Comments.

Genes Reunited web site - UK research

I've been exploring the Genes Reunited web site, which is mainly for England and Wales researchers. It is "...officially the number 1 family web site in the UK by visits" (Source:Hitwise, July-September 2007). I registered to be a free member.

The site has several major parts:

1) A family tree section, where you can enter your family tree data one person at a time, or you can upload a GEDCOM. This is free.

2) A search of existing family trees submitted by other researchers. You get a list of matches and can then contact those researchers, via an online message system sent to their email address, about their family tree. This is free, although you cannot see their actual tree.

3) A search of UK records, with a list of matches and a link to the records that costs money. The records available include:

* Census Records - 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891 and 1901 for England and Wales.

* Civil Registration of Birth, Marriages and Deaths, 1837-2002, for England and Wales.

* Military Records - World War I and II Deaths

They have two pay plans -

1) Pay per view credits -- 50 credits cost only $7.50 -- Credits are valid for 7 days and can be used over the entire records collection, including census, birth, marriage, death and military

2) Gold Membership -- Only $69.95 for 6 months -- That's just $11.66 a month for unlimited access to the No.1 family history site with over 500 million names listed.

It was a challenge to find out how many credits are used to view each record - the answer on the FAQ page is here.

I put my great-great-grandfather, James Richman, born 1821 in Wiltshire, in the search trees box, and found two entries from persons who have him in their trees. I could contact those persons - perhaps they are cousins! I put his name and birth year and Wiltshire in the Search Records box and found records in the 1841 and 1851 census. If I needed to find records for my Wiltshire families, I could pay for credits or subscribe for six months.

Everton's Genealogical Helper TOC - July/August 2008 Issue

The Table of Contents for the July/August 2008 issue of Everton's Genealogical Helper (Volume 62, Issue IV) includes:


* Musings and Gleanings from the World of History and Genealogy, by Richard Hooverson. Mr. Hooverson writes about pedigree collapse, the Gettysburg Reunion of 1913, Shire Reeves and Posses, Chicago Naturalization first papers, the Atomic bomb used on Japan in 1945, smallpox, as well as King Kong; and marital advice for 1846 - page 10

* One Old Letter—Wesley’s Legacy, by Alice L. Luckhardt. Alice writes about a stack of old letters that were about to go in the trash. It turns out that the Civil War story of Wesley Wagoner was found therein - page 16

* Quebec City Celebrates its 400th Anniversary, by Elizabeth Lapointe. Quebec City is 400 years old this year, celebrations are going on— and its history is fascinating! - page 22

* Finding the Missing Pieces of the Puzzle, by James Hibbard. This excellent article contains a case study in how to go about locating the data needed fill out the family history - page 26

* National and Statewide Name Lists of the Civil War Era 1861-1869, Part 11, by William Dollarhide. Bill concludes his series on the best sources for finding people during the Civil War period. Part Eleven deals with the states of Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming - page 34


* French Research: How to Search for Ancestors in France, by Catherine Clausse - page 52

* Germanic Research: Computer Translation of Old Church Book Entries: What Quality Can We Expect? by Roger P. Minert, Ph.D., A.G. - page 56

* Beginner’s Corner: Military Cemeteries Overseas, by Donna Potter Phillips. Donna covers the overseas military cemeteries and the American Battlefield Monument Commission site, - page 62

* The Next Generation: If Only I Could Ask Him, by Starr Hailey Campbell. Starr ponders the questions she never asked her grandfather - page 66

* News to Peruse: News briefs for genealogists. Leland provides a review of genealogy news, mainly from his blog posts - page 70

* Net Family History: More U.S. Digital Document Sites on the Internet, by Jeffrey A. Bockman. Jeff covers new database additions at many free and subscription web sites - page 87

* Your Family—Online & Linked? by Jeffrey A. Bockman. A list and short review of many family tree web sites and databases - page 98


The magazine also includes reviews of CD-ROMs, published books (usually with the introduction - you can learn a lot from this alone!), the Bureau of Missing Ancestors (queries submitted for publication), a calendar of upcoming genealogical events, and an every surname index. There are 180 pages in this issue.

Reading the magazine in PDF format on my computer screen is different from reading it in paper format. I like having it handy to read anytime - on either my desktop or laptop computer. The best thing I like about computer reading is that I can quickly click on a link on the page and have it appear on my browser.

A reader asked me in email why I post these Tables of Contents for magazines and journals. My answer is threefold:

* With few exceptions, the magazines and periodicals do not publish them online for potential readers to peruse. Frankly, I don't understand this - don't the magazines want to draw readers to their publication and sell more subscriptions?

* Listing an article in this way on my blog might help one of my readers find an articles that will help them in their genealogy research.

* I cannot keep track of what I read. I have piles of magazines and journals in my Genea-Cave, just sitting there waiting to fuel a massive fire, er, be read again. If I every have to survive by burning dead trees, I can go for months, I think. These blog articles remind me of what I have read and where I can find it. Of course, there's always PERSI. Do you know PERSI?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Queries at Everton's Genealogical Helper

I read Leland Meitzler's post on the Everton Publishers Genealogy Blog about Do Queries Still Work? CNN Reports That They Do and at the end of the post he notes that in Everton's Genealogical Helper magazine --

"Queries are still FREE - and may be placed at the website. All queries placed at the website are published online, as well as in the magazine."

I haven't done that before, so I submitted my information about Thomas J. Newton (before 1800 - after 1834) who married Sophia (Buck) Brigham in about 1833 (or at least had two children by here...).

Unfortunately, since I am not yet a "member" of Everton's, I couldn't put information into the entry boxes for "What Records have you searched and what have you found?" and "Additional helpful information..." I did subscribe to the Everton's Genealogical Helper online edition at the SCGS Jamboree, but I haven't received a member number yet (I actually have a member number from ten years ago...but it doesn't give me access to the two input boxes).

This magazine is the only popular genealogy magazine that stills accepts queries, which are then every-name indexed by the magazine, and the indexes appear on as part of the agreement between Everton's and WVR.

Have you submitted queries to Everton's Genealogical Helper recently? Have you looked for other researchers who may have submitted a query about your elusive ancestors in the Everton collection on

"New England Ancestors" TOC - Summer 2008

The Summer 2008 issue (Volume 9, Number 3) of New England Ancestors, published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, arrived several weeks ago. Here is the Table of Contents for the articles and columns:


* A Guide to Genealogical Research in Maine, by Jamie Kingman Rice and Nicholas Noyes - page 19

* Two Maine Research Case Studies, by David Allen Lambert and Michael J. Leclerc - page 26

* Western Massachusetts Families in 1790, by Michael J. Leclerc and Christopher C. Child - page 29

* Northern New England Families in 1790 and 1791, by Lynn Betlock - page 32

* A Significant Migration from Wurttemberg to Franklin County, Massachusetts, by David J. Sautter - page 33

* Origins Revealed: My Grandfather's Hidden Jewish Identity, by Elise Kathleen Burgess - page 37

* On the Eve of Revolution: The Congregation of the Old North Church in 1775, by Rhonda R. McClure and D. Joshua Taylor - page 40


* Computer Genealogist: Finding Family Photos on the Internet, by Rhonda R. McClure - page 43

* Genetics & Genealogy: The DNA Study of Robert Pepper of Roxbury, by Connie Riley - page 48

* Manuscripts at NEHGS: La Roy's Troupe and Other Corporate Records, by Timothy G.X. Salls - page 50

* Diaries at NEHGS: Journey from Hamilton to the State of Ohio, by Temple Cutler, by Robert Shaw - page 52

* Tales from the Courthouse: The Case of the "Witching Rogues," by Diana Rapaport.

The Table of Contents for this issue of the magazine are online at

There are also Tables of Contents for several Volume 1 (2000), Volume 6 (2005), and all Volume 7, 8 and 9 issues at I'm not sure that non-members can see these pages or not.

It looks like the content for the feature articles and columns are available online for members since Volume 6 (2005). Note that these are individual articles and not the complete magazine.

I really enjoy reading this magazine because it provides "how-to" and repository summaries for one of my major areas of interest - New England. I was especially interested in the Maine articles in this issue, and the Western Massachusetts Families in 1790 project.

Making beautiful wall charts

Reading my blogs this morning, I was geneasmacked by Janet Hovorka's guest post titled "July 25 - Friday from the Collector's" on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog.

If you don't read any other blog post this week, read this one. Please. What a beautiful display of family tree charts!

Janet and her husband, Kim Hovorka, own the Generation Maps business - the web site is They call it "The Next Generation of Genealogy Charts" and it certainly appears to be! Janet also has The Chart Chick blog which has content beyond creating family tree charts. Janet and her company are extremely creative, and are very willing to work with their clients to produce a high-quality chart.

I've thought about creating family tree charts using a service like Generation Maps, but I haven't followed through. Christmas is only five months away, and now I'm thinking about who I could gift a family tree and what photographs I have that could decorate those family trees. One problem I have is that I don't have pictures of some great-great-grandparents.

Are you reading footnoteMaven's blog, Shades of the Departed on a regular basis? It's all about photographs and using photographs in your family history research and documentation. fM writes several blog posts each week, usually with a weekly theme. They are always thoughtful and interesting posts.

Are you wondering about "geneasmacked?" Look up gobsmacked in Google - "geneasmacked" in my parlance means "genealogically astonished."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Horace was a Hero

An article in the Washington Post dated 20 April 1908 caught my eye tonight as I was exploring the web site using my Carlsbad (CA) library card to access their online databases. The article reads (from page 6):



Sits by side of Engineer and Guards Him from Danger

From the Chicago Journal.

No danger lurks in the path of No. 15.

Two drivers perch on the same bench in the locomotive cab and guide its destiny. One is Horace L. Seaver, veteran engineer and hero of numerous hairbreadth escapes; the other is the ghost of a man that was.

Unseen, unheard, the specter has been at the throttle for years, guiding and guarding the lives of those sleeping in the darkened coaches behind.

No. 15 is the "Big Four fast express" which which runs into Chicago over the Illinois Central tracks from Kankakee. The train is pulled by an Illinois Central locomotive, of which Mr. Seaver is the engineer. For forty-three years the veteran has been handling the throttle of Illinois Central engines.

For forty-three years Mr. Seaver has been a spiritualist, not one of the table-raising, bell-ringing kind, but an intelligent believer that spirit bodies exist. He says he has had innumerable evidences that a spirit hand guided his engine through fearful dangers and happy escapes. Whenever he climbs up in his cab he knows that the spectral engineer is sitting beside him ready to extend the hand of warning in time of need.

Mr. Seaver was in the cab, gazing far out along the track, one dark night, wondering how many more trips he would make before his good spirit deserted him. In the train were more than 1,000 old soldiers going to a reunion at Champaign, Ill. The throttle was out to the last notch and the speed more than sixty miles an hour. Suddenly the engineer heard a soft voice whispering in his ear: "The bridge is burned; the bridge is burned."

As quickly as possible Mr. Seaver set the air brakes and stopped the train. In the coaches 1,000 old soldiers were sleeping. The conductor hurried forward to the engine.

"What do you mean by stopping this train out here," he demanded, angrily.

"You would better go along the track and find out," said the engineer quietly.

Only a few feet ahead of the engine was the river, and over the river hung the charred remains of the big bridge, which had burned only a short time before. The 1,000 veterans were saved.

This happened in 1890, and Mr. Seaver was hailed as a hero all over the country.

"But it wasn't me that did it," said the engineer, modestly. "It was something unseen, something that we do not know anything about. I did not deserve any credit at all. I just heeded the warning that was given to me. There are numerous other instances where the same voice has given me warnings just in time to save the lives of my passengers."


Who was Horace L. Seaver? He was born 24 December 1846 in Waukegan, Illinois, the son of Nathaniel Leonard and Abby (Carver) Seaver, who were natives of Taunton, Massachusetts. Horace married Lulu or Luella Robertson on 15 October 1878 in Centralia, Illinois. They had one son, Charles Leonard Seaver, born 4 September 1891 in Chicago, Illinois. Horace died 19 July 1916 (I don't know where - I'll have to look for an obituary!).

Another tale found in a historic newspaper article that would be priceless information for a descendant. Hopefully, someone will Google Horace L. Seaver in the future and will find this transcription of the article. The power of the Internet!

The question I have is - who was the ghost? The article doesn't say. We'll probably never know!

UPDATED 25 July: Tom Kemp found an article in the Sunday Inter-Ocean (in Illinois) newspaper dated 5 July 1890 on GenealogyBank that describes the train incident described above - the details are different! If you have a GenealogyBank account it is at An Engineer's Good Angel. How Horace Seaver of the Illnois Central, Saved a Train

And there's another article on 19 October 1896 in the Sunday Inter-Ocean newspaper - see it at Safe from All Harm Engineer Horace Seavers is Protected by a Mysterious Power. Has Never

The first article is also on GenealogyBank at Ghost Runs Locomotive Sits by Side of Engineer and Guards Him from Danger from the Duluth News-Tribune on 14 June 1896.

Thanks, Tom!

Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 8: Finding a Person in the database

I installed FamilyTreeMaker 2008 three weeks ago and uploaded a large database, as described in Post 1. In subsequent posts, I went exploring in my uploaded database, described all of the Menu options (except the key ones!), started a new tree and added some people to it, demonstrated how to add a source for a Fact, how to add Children to a family, and how to Attach or Detach a person to a family.

In this post, I want to describe the three ways that can be used to Find a person already in the database. I use this feature in FTM16 a lot in my one-name Seaver database when I find a new record for a person - I need to be able to find that person in my database. Usually, I have a birth year and perhaps a birthplace, but not much else.

The three ways I've explored to Find a person are:

1) In the [People] icon screen, use the [Person] menu and click on "Index of Individuals" - shown below:

A "Find Person" screen appears, and you can type in the name of the person you want to find, last name first. I was looking for Lucretia Smith, and as I typed the index showed first the Smiths and then the Lucretias - highlighting the first one as shown below:

I like the fact that this index includes the person's name, birth date, marriage date and death date in the index. However, it doesn't list the spouse's name, which is critical for many searches of people with the same name.

When I clicked on the name, the [Person] view took me to that specific Lucretia Smith. That's pretty easy.

However, this method does not permit you to find people by given names rather than {surname, given name} (unless there is no surname for the person) - I use that type of search in FTM16 frequently using the [Find] button in the "Index of Individuals."

2) The second way of Finding a specific person is to use the [Edit] menu in the [People] icon screen. This menu includes a "Find and Replace" option, as shown below:

When you click on "Find and Replace, a search box comes up over your [People] screen and you can type in a name - I typed in Lucretia Smith. Note that there are a number of bullet boxes to click or unclick - there are "Options" for Match Case, Find Whole Words Only, and Use Wild Cards (*?); the "Search In" bullet boxes are for Facts, Notes, Sources, Media, Tasks and Places. I selected Find Whole Words Only, Facts and Notes. Before I pressed the "Find" button, the screen looked like this:

When I clicked the Find button, the program started searching for "Lucretia Smith." 27 seconds later, the screen below appeared with information about the first Lucretia Smith in my list of over 20,700 people.

I clicked on the "Find Next" box and the program found the next Lucretia, and the next. But it didn't find my Lucretia Townsend Smith...except in the notes for her husband and son. I could have replaced all mentions of "Lucretia Smith" with "Lucretia Townsend Smith" or even "Mary Jones" by entering data in the "replace With" box and clicking on the "Replace All" button, or clicked on the "Go To" button to go to the specific person found, or the "Replace" button to Replace the information for the specific person.

3) The next way to Find a person is to use the Index of persons on the [People] icon screen, and the [Family] view tab. The "Sort By" box at the top of the Index panel there are four options: "Family, Given Name," "Given Family Name," "Birth Date," "Marriage Date," and "Death Date." The screen below shows a "Family, given Name" search for "Smith, Lucretia." Again, the index moves dynamically according to what you type.

I decided to "Sort By' "Given Family Name" and got the screen below for my search for "Benjamin Seaver."

This third method requires a click to the [Family] view tab if you are in the [Person] view tab.

If you don't know the surname that you want to search for (for instance, a married female whose surname you don't know), then you can search on the Given Name. The program finds the first one, and then you can click on the forward or backwards arrow next to the Find search box to move to the next person that meets the Find criteria. Every time you click on the Forward arrow button, the [Family] view changes to the highlighted person on the index list.

These Find functions are significantly different from earlier versions of FamilyTreeMaker. In many ways, they are more versatile - in the "Find and Replace" method you can search in Notes, Sources, Media, Tasks and Places, although this search may take a long time if you have a lot of people and notes in your database.

If you are in the [Person] view tab of the [People] icon screen, then you have to use the [Person] menu and "Index of Individuals" or click to the [Family] view tab to use the Sort and Find index.

In the next post, I'll start exploring the [Places] icon menu - this will take several posts!

Previous posts in this series:

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

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 2: Exploring. Looking around the uploaded database file to see what the different views look like.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 3: The Menus. Most of the menus were itemized and described.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 4: Starting a New Tree. I started a new tree and added some people demonstrating the program options to do this.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 5: Adding a Source. I added sources to the Facts that I previously entered.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 6: Adding Children to a Family. I added children to a family.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 7: The Person Menu. I described the items in the Person menu and attached a spouse to a person.

Is Frank Calloway really 112 Years Old?

Did you see the Associated Press article published several days ago - the online version is titled "Alabama man turns 112, still drawing." The San Diego Union-Tribune published the story about Frank Calloway yesterday.

The key genealogy-related items in this story are these two paragraphs:

"He was born on July 2, 1896, and has lived in mental health centers since 1952, when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Moncrief-Craig said that patient confidentiality prevents her from discussing his condition in depth but did say he shows signs of dementia. He lives in the geriatric division of the home on the Bryce Hospital campus in Tuscaloosa.

"Details about Calloway's youth are few. He says he remembers growing up with brothers and, as a "little, bitty, little boy," playing under the quilts his mother made as if they were tents. He has no known family left and there is no record of his ever being married. He talks frequently about working hard and mentions laying railroad rails, cutting lumber, farming and working for a blacksmith, but there are no records of his life before he entered the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation system."

After I read the article, I thought "surely there must be some record of his life somewhere." There's a birth date, but no birth place, an indication of a family, but no names. Due to his mental state, he may not remember the names of his parents or brothers.

Is he really 112 years old? It doesn't say how he, or anybody else, knows. Perhaps he has a Social Security card, which might list his parents' names, but it's not available because he's still alive.

This is a job for Genea-man. Unfortunately, Genea-man's sooper-dooper genea-search whizzer didn't find a definite candidate. Logic says that there's a 90% chance that he's in the 1900 US census in Alabama with a birth date that says July 1896 (or some other year) - but only if he's older than 108! In 1910, he would be 14 years old, and perhaps living with his family. There might be a World War I draft registration card for him.

The 1900 census provides several black or mulatto Frank Calloway (and variants) aged 0 to 10 in Alabama:

* Frank Calloway (born Apr 1892, black) - son of Booker and Rena Calloway in Bibb County, Alabama.

* Frank Calaway (born Jan 1891, black) - son of Dock and Georgia Calaway in Lee County, Alabama.

* Frank Callaway (born May 1898, black) - grandson of Alex and Bettie Callaway in Montgomery County, Alabama.

In the 1910 census, there are (born between 1891 and 1910):

* Frank Caloway (age 8, mulatto) - son of Doc and Georgia Caloway in Lee County, Alabama, with seven siblings in the household.

* I looked for the Booker and Rena Calloway family, and found a Booker as a boarder and a Rena (age 8) with grandparents, both in Montgomery, Alabama.

In the World War I draft registration cards, there are:

* Frank Calloway (born 24 Nov 1894 in Opelika, Alabama) - a laborer in Cleveland, Ohio.

* Frank Callowoy (born 4 July 1893 in Birmingham, Alabama, race is Ethiopian) - residing in Montgomery, Alabama, but in jail in Bay County, KY, has a wife and child.

Frankly, I don't think that any of these match up well with the Frank Calloway in the newspaper article.

It's quite possible that he is really much younger than 112 - he may be as young as 85 to 90. Apparently, Alabama birth records were started at the state level in 1908 and are closed for 125 years except to family members. His SSA would probably be the best source for his parentage, and from that one could find his approximate age from census or other records.

Has anybody else searched for this man's records?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

C.E. Seaver's wife was investigated by the FBI ( announced recently that they have made the NARA Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) files for 1908 to 1922 available for FREE through August 31, 2008. See Dick Eastman's report on the announcement here (Footnote's press room doesn't have this announcement posted yet for some reason).

I can't resist a free offer - so I went searching for Seaver, Carringer, Auble, Richmond, Hildreth and other family names form that time period.

There were four files specifically for the Seaver surname - one of them was for C.E. Seaver of Hampstead, NH. Here is the image saved from Footnote:

The transcription of this page reads:

Report made by: Bailey V. Emery
Place where made: Ports. Navy Yard
Date when made: June 28, 1917
Period for which made: June 26, 1917
Title of Case and Offense Alleged or Nature of matter under Investigation: In re C.E. Seaver, European Neutrality Matters
Statement of Operations, Evidence Collected, Names and Addresses of Persons Interviewed, Places Visited, etc.:

Portsmouth, N.H.
Pursuant to a report from William Emerson, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee of Hampstead, N.H., concerning an electrician, whose activities were suspicious in that he, during the last three or four months had frequently made trips to and from Haverhill, Mass and Hampstead, N.H. bringing some tools and heavy laden packages, and that his wife was a German of questionable character, I proceeded to Hampstead yesterday, which is some thirty miles from Portsmouth, and interviewed Mr. Seaver relative to the matter. Mr. Seaver said that he was an electrician by trade and that his former home was in Haverhill where he had worked with the Merrimack Wood Heel Co. He stated that the packages which he brought from Haverhill to Hampstead were various supplies of preserves, rice and sugar, etc. That the tools which he had brought were those tools which he had used as an electrician and as a worker in the Wood Heel Co. I carefully investigated Mr. Seaver's premises and found nothing in any way suspicious or out of the way. His wife has been in this country about seven years and has a brother, Hans Dikelt, by name, and unnaturalized German who is a waiter at the Crafts Hotel on Elliot St. South Boston, Mass. Mr. Seaver is a native born American and was born at 1 Payson Court, off Broadway, South Boston. Mr. Seaver gives as references Mr. Archibald Estabrook of the Estabrook Wood Heel Co., Haverhill, Mass., James Quirk, foreman of the finishing department, Merrimack Wood Heel Co., and Mr. Joseph Curtis of Marsh Ave., Haverhill, Mass.

Copy of this report furnished to: Boston Office


What a gold mine of information. We have C.E. Seaver's birthplace in south Boston, his occupation, his place of employment, his associates, and his wife's brother's name, among other items.

You can see the value of the every-name index in a database like this demonstrated - it would have provided the witnesses, the brother-in-law, etc.

Who was C.E. Seaver? And what was his wife's given name? I have no freaking clue! I can't find a C.E. Seaver in my Seaver database who lived in this area at this time, nor can I find one in the 1920 census in NH or MA (I even searched for a no-given name last-name Sea*/Sev*/Lea* born in Germany). Not in the WW I Draft Registrations, either. And I don't find a likely candidate in the 1910 census, either. Nor Hans Dikelt (with different spellings) in the 1920 census. Did they vanish into the great American wilderness? Or were they really German spies who went back to the home country?

Too bad - this would have been really interesting to a descendant! I sure wish that the FBI had investigated my grandparents and great-grandparents!

Family Photographs - Post 15: Emily as a Child

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 Smith/Carringer family collection:

I recently "found" this photograph in one of the boxes with the Smith/Carringer papers, photos and books. It was in a round metal frame that stood, I think, on my mother's nightstand for most of her life. I tried photographing it in the frame, but the image was poor. I carefully took it out of the frame and scanned it, cropped it and put it back in the frame.

Initially, I didn't know who the subject was in the picture. When I took it out of the frame and looked on the back, I saw the word "Auble" printed. This was a Cabinet Card before it went in the frame, and part of the photographic studio name is cut off. My first guess was that it said "Gehrig," "337 W. Madison" and "Chicago." With that clue, I Googled [gehrig "337 w madison" chicago] and was rewarded with Claire Santos-Daigle's (a Chula Vista photographer) Photos Made Perfect web site that shows some photographs from the Gehrig studio at that location - it was the only match for the search criteria! A good guess on my part!

Based on the above clues, I am very certain that this photograph is of my grandmother, Emily Kemp Auble, born 19 August 1899 to Charles and Georgianna (Kemp) Auble in Chicago, Illinois. The photograph was probably taken between late 1899 and mid-1900, as the child looks to be able to sit up but looks to be in her first year. Perhaps it was a first birthday picture.

The provenance of this framed photograph is from Charles and Georgianna (Kemp) Auble to Lyle and Emily (Auble) Carringer, to Fred and Betty (Carringer) Seaver, to me, Randy Seaver. It was "found" last in the papers and photographs provided to me by my mother in the 1988 to 2002 time period.

This was a new photograph for my digital collection, and I am ecstatic to find it!

More on Indexing by Societies

I posted yesterday about how indexing, and posting the indexes online, by genealogical and historical societies could really advance the ability of genealogy researchers to find and access documents held by those societies.

I thought it would be a win-win situation where the societies would benefit with subscriptions or book sales if researchers could find information online that leads them to the society publications or web site.

One of my points, probably hidden amongst all the prolixity, was that putting an index of a periodical, book or manuscript online would generate interest and sales of the books, not hinder them. If the author (or copyright holder) was smart, s/he would provide the index for posting online so that researchers could find it, and perhaps would buy the book.

The same holds for a genealogy society's periodicals - why not put the index online for access by any genealogy researcher? Certainly there is the problem of server space and producing the index. The society publishing the periodical owns the copyright to the index, doesn't it?

I didn't anticipate the comments I received from my earlier post - they were about how local societies are not taking advantage of Internet access and resources, are trying to sell their books, etc. I wrote about this earlier in "Keeping Local Societies Healthy."

Keeping Local Societies Healthy

There has been an interesting thread on the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) mailing list about "Keeping Local Societies Healthy." It was started in response to a thread about the New York G&B society plan to donate their collection to the NY Public Library. Betty Majewski started the new thread, saying:

"Local societies must get off the mark and find out what their members want. We can't sit back any more and wait for members to walk through the door.

"Our local society is stronger than ever because we have aggressively marketed our presence in the community and continually poll members to find out what we're doing right and how we can do better.

"Among the changes we've made to increase and keep members:

* Added a short subject by a member to our monthly meetings in addition to the featured speaker.

* Newsletter focuses on news and methods of doing genealogy today, solicits and features a member's success story each month.

* Rent a booth in the annual Community Country Fair where we can talk to members of the community.

* Maintain a Web presence.

* Offer classes free to the community for both beginners and experienced researchers.

* Sponsor a Genealogy Fair and advertise it to the community every year or so.

* Present an annual all-day seminar with a nationally-known speaker.

* And I write a semi-monthly genealogy column for our local newspaper.

"Notice member involvement is a feature of most of the above ideas. Our membership is double what it was five years ago. Our biggest problem is finding a reliable space that can accommodate from 125 to 130 persons comfortably and finding an affordable space for our library (nearly hopeless)."

Kirsten Bowman responded, saying:

"I think you've hit the nail on the head. It seems to me there are two major functions that local societies can perform effectively. First, of course, would be promoting an interest in genealogy in the community and providing training. Second is advertising local holdings on the Internet and offering transcriptions or lookups (for sale). My own society has a nice collection of local history, but most residents here don't have roots in the area. Descendants who would be interested in these records are scattered all over the country (if not the world). Few of them are likely to travel to our little valley to see if their 3rd great-grandparents are buried in the local cemetery or listed on the local land maps; they want to find leads to the data on the Internet.

"With the growing interest in family history, and the increasing number of retirees--who are more prone to the genealogy obsession--it seems that local societies *should* be growing too. But perhaps the convenience of working on your family history at home on your own schedule is making societies somewhat obsolete. Or maybe the Internet *is* the new society."

And Randy Whited contributed:

"My local society has had a similar transformation in the past two years or so. This year our monthly attendance has roughly doubled, membership is up and there is more 'buzz' before and after meetings. I attribute the turnaround to a push by the education committee and listening to our membership. As it was noted, anyone can, and likely will, stay home and do a lot of research online. The society has made education and methodology high priority so as to provide something unique that the membership just can't get online. The real beauty of this has been the discovery of great talent within our ranks. It has been a positive experience for all involved."

I agree with all of the above. Betty provides excellent ideas for genealogy societies to work with. Kirsten and Randy's observations are right on-point, too.

I would like to think that the work we at the Chula Vista Genealogical Society are doing in our little corner of the genealogy world (as "the most southwesternmost genealogy society in the continental United States" - it's really in a corner!) matches pretty well these comments.

What other activities will keep genealogy societies healthy? Tell me. Or post it on the APG mailing list.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Using WorldVitalRecords to find State resources

I recently subscribed to when they had their special offer and have been exploring it with my family surnames and my elusive ancestors.

I decided to see what resources were available for specific states. Come along with me for the ride. After clicking the [View All Databases] link on the main screen, it shows this screen that lists specific countries and states:

I decided to try "California" so when I clicked on the link for California, this screen was shown:

Note that this is just the screen that shows the databases starting with the letter A. It's a rather impressive list. Look at those family names - Dundore, Brandt, Davenport, and many others. I clicked on the first item - the Dundore book, and it showed this screen:

OK, it gives the information about the book. So I put "California" in the Places box and clicked Search.

Hmmm, no matches even though the book was on the California list. I went back to the list of A databases, and went through all 5 of the Birth, Marriage and Death Records databases listed. Not a one of them had a match when I put "California" in the Place search box.

Let's check another state at random - how about Kansas? I went back and selected Kansas (on the first screen shown) and was rewarded by this list of databases with, apparently, a Kansas key word:

The first five matches are the same, and none of them have a match for "Kansas" in the Places search box.

These databases are listed by the first letter in the database in a series of categories - Birth, Marriage and Death Records, Newspaper Records (which did have matches for the states), Military Records, Immigration Records, Census Records, Family Histories, Family Trees, Court, Land and Probate Records and Reference Materials.

I was too frustrated at this point to check every one of the A listings to see what there was for California.

Needless to say, I'm disappointed that a seemingly simple search for records of a particular state provides so many false positives as to be pretty useless.

Why can't WorldVitalRecords provide search results in each category with the number of matches for the requested Search criteria?

After I did the above, I went back to the Home page for WorldVitalRecords, thinking that "there must be a better way." I put "California" in the Place search box, clicked on Search, and a list of over 6 million names in 62 databases is provided categorized by record type. That's pretty much what I wanted! I learned something...KISS.

But I still want to know why this latter list of matches doesn't appear when I ask for databases by clicking the link for California. It's only logical that it should. Am I just easily confused, or is this a problem?

CVGS Web Site on Rootsweb Returns...

I mentioned on Sunday that the Chula Vista Genealogical Society housed on Rootsweb/Ancestry had gone missing on 6 July all of a sudden for some reason.

On Monday, 14 July, I sent a message to the Ancestry Support Team through their online Help desk telling them about it. I received a response today (6 working days later). It said:

"It is there: They moved a server. Perhaps he tried to access it during that move? Can he access it now? Sorry for the inconvenience. HelpDesk"

So it took awhile to find it and put it back where it belongs. It's there now - at

They moved a server? And busted links for how many web sites? Or databases? How frustrating...

It's nice to know that requests for help are answered. We do appreciate it.

One lesson here is to contact the Ancestry Support Team early and explain the problem thoroughly so that they can respond with alacrity to satisfy their customer.

Now what do I do with the other web site that I worked so hard on? Leave it there? Take it down? Mirror the Rootsweb site?

Are You Smarter Than a Grade-School Genealogist?

Mark Tucker posted on his ThinkGenealogy blog the link to a YouTube video with this title back in April, and I missed it (and many others did too, I think!). It's well worth viewing. I learned something!

The video at YouTube lasts 4 minutes, and is very well done. Nathan provides the basics of genetics as applied to genealogy in Episode 1. Excellent work, Nathan and Mark.

I can hardly wait for the next Episode!

We always play a genealogy game at our CVGS picnic in August, and "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grade Genealogist?" is one of the games I'm trying to find questions for. Excellent material here... where are the rest of the episodes?

Hat tip to Jennifer at the Our Future Rooted in Our Past blog for the link.

Indexing Periodicals, Manuscripts, Collections, etc.

Many genealogy writers and bloggers have stated that the records that might identify elusive ancestors and break down ancestral brick walls can be found on the pages of:

* genealogical and historical society newsletters and periodicals

* manuscripts held by repositories (often in restricted access locations)

* estate paper or vertical file collections held by societies and repositories

* family Bibles, photographs and family papers held by individuals in their homes (who are often unaware of their genealogical value)

There is a catalog of many society publications in PERSI, and manuscripts in some repositories are cataloged in NUCMC. The problem is that often these holdings have copyright restrictions that prevent digitization (unless the publisher does it) or they have access restrictions due to privacy or archival reasons. But some are not cataloged. PERSI and NUCMC provide only basic author, title, note and form search options - not an every-name or every-location index. The researcher does not know what the periodical articles contain.

In many cases, the estate paper and vertical file collections are sitting in a file cabinet at a repository or, even worse, in someone's garage, and are not ever perused. The family Bibles, photographs and papers are in attics, basements, bookcases, cabinets, boxes, files, and occasionally on a wall.

The genealogy industry is well on the way to digitizing the records that can be digitized and displayed - those created by a government, those out of copyright restrictions, and those submitted by or displayed by genealogy researchers.

How can the documents hiding in the repositories be brought into the genealogy sunshine in ways that can further genealogical research? The answer is really simple - by indexing them for names and locations.

Many genealogical and historical societies have a partial, or complete, every-name index of their periodicals in book form or online on their web site. Some, like the New England Historical and Genealogical Society, have digitized their research periodical and have it available on their web site for member access and download, using the available index as a person finder. Not every society has done this, but every one of them should do it, if possible.

There are some institutions and businesses that actively solicit the contribution of family Bibles and papers, and estate collections, for saving and even indexing. For instance, the National Genealogical Society has a Family Bible collection, and Arlene Eakle's Genealogy Library Center solicits estate paper collections.

With that background, I have some comments:

* Genealogical and historical societies should put their existing periodical and manuscript indexes online for everybody to use. Why are the indexes to the online periodicals behind membership firewalls and not freely available online for anybody to access for free? Are the societies trying to sell one more copy of their index books? It seems to me that the societies would gain many members all too happy to join the society if they could find out that their ancestors were in the society online or physical holdings. Currently, the only way someone will find the index information is to find it in a published book or periodical, but they won't find it online unless the information is outside of the member firewall.

* If there are no plans for digitizing the holdings, an index would provide the "finding aid" needed for a researcher to try to obtain the record from the repository. For publications, manuscripts and paper collections that are not digitized and indexed, volunteer indexers might be able perform the service if the need was made known. Many society members would love to do this work for their organization, but they are not asked. The NYG&BS transfer of holdings to NYPL comes to mind here - will these records be indexed or even accessible? If not, what good are they?

* Societies could team up with FamilySearch and Ancestry to digitize the records and index them using volunteer society members. Several large societies have done this - see my post on FamilySearch Indexing yesterday for examples.

* Societies should encourage their members to contribute the information in their family Bibles and family papers for posting on the society web site or blog, or contribute it to a USGenWeb (or similar) site or archive. The goal should be to get as much information online as possible in a digitized, transcribed or indexed form, within privacy restrictions.

* Societies or individuals should try to solicit, or rescue, unwanted family Bibles and family genealogy papers from the community through newspaper publicity, contacts with libraries, at estate sales, or government centers. The San Diego Genealogical Society did this recently, and received very favorable publicity, and perhaps more documents will be donated and posted online.

Each of these thoughts is a win-win for societies and individual researchers as far as I can tell. All it takes is the vision, willingness and effort by genealogy researchers and societies to do the work.

What do you think? How can the genealogy industry bring the "hidden gems" in periodicals, manuscripts, estate papers and private holdings into the genealogy sunshine?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 7: The Person Menu

I installed FamilyTreeMaker 2008 three weeks ago and uploaded a large database, as described in Post 1. In subsequent posts, I went exploring in my uploaded database, described all of the Menu options (except the key ones!), started a new tree and added some people to it, demonstrated how to add a source for a Fact, and how to add Children to a family.

In this post, I want to describe the [Person] menu items in the program and explore how to attach a spouse (already in the database) to a person. The screen below shows all of the Person menu items:

* Add Person (options are Add Father, Add Mother, Add Spouse, Add Child, Add Unrelated Person)
* Attach/Detach Person (options are Attach Father, Attach Mother, Attach Spouse, Attach Child, Detach Selected Person)
* Add Bookmark
* Delete Bookmark
* Index of Individuals
* Go to Home Person
* Set as Home Person
* Merge Two Specific Individuals

I decided that I would Attach a Spouse (a person already in my database) to Benjamin Seaver just to see how this works. The screen below shows the Attach/Detach Person options:

I clicked on "Add Spouse" and on the Select Spouse to Attach screen I typed in the name "Smith, Lucretia." As I typed, the index moved to the first person that matched my request.

I picked "Smith, Lucretia" from the list and hit the Enter key and an Attach Spouse" screen opened, where I had to click on the button to make the attachment complete, as shown below:

At this point, Benjamin Seaver has an additional wife named Lucretia Smith. I could add a marriage date and place, a source, etc.

But now I want to detach Lucretia Smith from being the wife of Benjamin Seaver (since she really wasn't).

So I go up to the [Person] menu, click on "Attach/Detach Person" and then "Detach Selected Person" and dissolve the marriage record. Easy.

The Add, Attach and Detach Person functions are very similar to those in earlier versions of FamilyTreeMaker. There were no surprises here, and no problems either.

In the next post, I'll explore how to Find a person in a database, and Find and Replace information in a database.

Previous posts in this series:

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

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 2: Exploring. Looking around the uploaded database file to see what the different views look like.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 3: The Menus. Most of the menus were itemized and described.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 4: Starting a New Tree. I started a new tree and added some people demonstrating the program options to do this.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 5: Adding a Source. I added sources to the Facts that I previously entered.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 6: Adding Children to a Family. I added children to a family.

Ancestry and FamilySearch to work together on Census Records and LDS have announced an agreement to bring all of the US Federal census indexes to FamilySearch and to improve the census indexes and images on The press release on The Generations Network site is here (it's not on the FamilySearch site yet).

The really interesting paragraphs include:

" and FamilySearch, the two largest online family history resources, announced today they will exchange records and resources to make more historical records available online. The first project is a joint initiative to significantly enhance the online U.S. Federal Census Collection (1790 to 1930). The original census records are among the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

"FamilySearch is digitally converting master microfilm copies of the original U.S. Federal Censuses from 1790 through 1930 and, under this agreement, will give these improved images to All census images and indexes will be available on for subscribers. As projects are completed, images will be available for free in NARA reading rooms and FamilySearch’s 4,500 Family History Centers.

", which currently offers indexes and images to the entire publicly available U.S. Federal Census Collection, will give FamilySearch copies of its existing census indexes. Through its online indexing system and community of volunteer indexers, FamilySearch is already indexing select censuses. FamilySearch will merge the indexes with the new FamilySearch indexes to create enhanced census indexes, which will be added to both sites. Indexes to the enhanced censuses will be free on for a limited time as they are completed. Indexes will also be available for free on"

I have some observations and questions:

* This brings all of the US Federal census indexes and images, in "best of" form, to all LDS Family History Centers and to all National Archives locations. This is an improvement to the current state where is available only at 13 regional FHCs and at the National Archives locations.

* When completed, this improves the images and indexing on for subscribers. This is an improvement to the current state, where the images and indexes on Ancestry are, shall we say, "imperfect."

* The LDS FamilySearch Indexing effort on the censuses will be streamlined - we will get the indexes faster because they will use the Ancestry indexes as a first draft. And the indexes will be available on the LDS FamilySearch Record Search site. This is an improvement.

* Left unsaid in the press release is the question of what US Federal census records will be available FOR FREE online at The FamilySearch Record Search site presently has the 1850 (partial), 1860 (partial), 1880 (complete) and 1900 (complete) indexes and complete images (except for 1880). Will ALL of the improved census images be available on the FamilySearch site for home access? Will all of the upgraded indexes be available on the FamilySearch site for home access?

* If not, why in the genealogy world not? FamilySearch will have all of the improved images and all of the upgraded indexes. Perhaps this is THE WAY to keep people coming into the Family History Centers around the world.

* Diane Haddad's post on The Genealogy Insider says

"The census indexes on and FamilySearch will link to record images on If someone without an subscription clicks the image link, he’ll be prompted to join. Subscriptions cost $155.40 per year or $19.95 for a month."

* If that is true, it is not a good thing. It is a loss for non-Ancestry subscribers since all of the census records would have been on FamilySearch in future years.

* All of this is not going to happen overnight. We will have to wait for the upgraded images and indexes on Likewise, we will have to wait for the upgraded indexes on, but they will appear sooner than if FamilySearch had to generate all of them from scratch.

What is FamilySearch Indexing Working On?

We all know that the LDS FamilySearch Indexing project is using thousands of volunteer indexers to generate indexes to digitized images of records, and putting completed image collections and indexes on the FamilySearch Record Search site (at

What are the FamilySearch indexers currently working on? I went looking on and found the Current Projects list here. I won't list them all. The interesting items are the ones being indexed by non-LDS organizations like the Indiana Genealogical Society, Ohio Genealogical Society, Arkansas Genealogical Society, and the Genealogical Association of Nova Scotia.

I'm looking forward to the indexes and images for the 1920 United States Census, the Cook County (IL) Birth Certificates, the Philadelphia Marriage Indexes 1881-1951, and the Wisconsin State Censuses (1855, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905).

What are the FamilySearch Indexers going to be working on in the near future? The Upcoming Projects list is here. The non-LDS organizations listed include the California Genealogical Society and Library, Indiana Genealogical Society, Ohio Genealogical Society and New England Historical and Genealogical Society.

On the Upcoming list, I'm looking forward to the Massachusetts Death Records 1906-1015 and the New Hampshire Early Births and Deaths to 1900. There are still many states on this list for the 1870 census and many Mexican states for the 1930 census.

The Complete Projects list is here. I don't know how up-to-date any of these lists are.

How can you and I help? We can join the legions of researchers who volunteer to do the indexing. You can sign up here.

Do you and your local society want to participate in an indexing project? I couldn't find a place to do this on the FSI site other than the email address. If someone knows how a society gets involved in this, I would appreciate knowing about it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New Chula Vista Genealogical Society web site

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) has had a web site at for more than five years. In addition to the informational web pages, we had a members' surname search engine, the newsletter archive, informative articles, and a society photo gallery on linked pages.

On Tuesday, 6 July, our web pages disappeared for some reason. Click on the link above and you'll see what I mean. We don't think we made any overt move to edit or delete the pages before or after that date. There is some indication that the site was hacked and suspicious code appears in the source code (thanks to Tamura Jones for finding it!).

In the past week, we managed to collect the home page from the Wayback Machine ( and most of the text pages from Google search cached pages, but we do not have the rest of the web pages that were linked to the available pages. We do have all of the info in PDF and JPG files, and we'll have to rebuild the information base over time.

When this happened, we searched for a contact for Rootsweb to ask why and how this happened. Shirley sent an email to the Rootsweb Review editor and got a response five days later saying to send an email to, so we have. I went to the Ancestry Technical Support page on 14 July, and sent a request for information about why this happened, and for advice and a contact to determine if there is backup of the pages on the Rootsweb server. Six days later, I've had no response.

Last night, I realized that since the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog is on Google, and the society has a Gmail address (, therefore we can build a free web site (up to 100 mb) on Google, so I spent several hours last night putting our new site up at It's not perfect or complete, but it's there in case somebody needs information about the Society or wants to contact us.

This is a fine time to ask our readers - what would you like to see put on the CVGS web site? What information do you need in order to pursue genealogy research in Chula Vista or the San Diego area?

Please go visit our new web site at

Best of the Genea-Blogs - July 13-19, 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:

* Traditions by Wendy Littrell on the All My Branches Genealogy blog. Wendy lists many of her family traditions and challenges each of us to write about theirs. Any takers?

* Indexing Tips: 1900's American Handwriting, Indexing Tips: The Palmer Method, and Indexing Tips: The Palmer Method in New York Schools by the writer on The Ancestry Insider blog. Mr. Insider goes back to school to find samples of American handwriting to help all of us interpret those records with rotten handwriting.

* In Case You Missed "A Day of Irish Information" by Kathryn Doyle on the California Genealogical Society and Library Blog. Kathryn describes the day-long program presented by Nora Hickey to CGS about Irish Research. It sounds like a fabulous day. I'm still jealous and sad that I don't have any Irish ancestors to search for.

* Breaking Down Brick Walls at CGS by Steve Danko on Steve's Genealogy Blog. Steve treats us to a summary of another excellent CGS program about finding elusive ancestors presented by Jane Hufft, Lavinia Schwarz, and Nancy Peterson.

* Comparing three collaborative websites by Dean Richardson on the Genlighten Blog. Dean compares using Geni, Ancestry Member Trees, and New FamilySearch for sharing family tree data with family or other researchers. He provides an overview of each site, and lists some strengths and weaknesses. Nice job - I really like the strengths and weaknesses list.

* My Greatest Genealogical Mysteries - Revealed (Not Solved) by Family Tree DNA by Tim Agazio on the Genealogy Reviews Online blog. Tim has a fascinating post about his patrilineal line and the Y-DNA results that make him wonder just how things happened centuries ago.

* July 18 - Friday from the Collectors: Collectors of CDVs by guest-blogger Lorine McGinnis Schulze (of the Olive Tree Genealogy site) on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog. Lorine covers more than Carte des Visites in her post - she describes 19th century photographs with many examples in this excellent post.

* Punt and Punt: Part II by John Newmark on the Transylvanian Dutch blog. John looks for living relatives and decides to smoke them out the old-fashioned way. Smart move, good example. Hopefully, he will report on the results.

* Blogging Family History by Denise Olson on the Family Matters blog. Denise discusses why she blogs, partially in response to a Janice Nickerson magazine article. As Denise says, blogging enables her to share stories with her family and find others researching the same families.

* Seize from Every Record Its Unique Genealogy Evidence by Arlene Eakle on the Arlene Eakle's Virginia Genealogy Blog. Arlene provides an excellent article summary from a 1979 book, with great advice for all researchers.

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!