Saturday, September 6, 2008

Where did the time go?

We had 14 CVGS members on a research trip to the Carlsbad (CA) library today - and a lot of research was done. We got there around 9:30 a.m. and my car pool left at 2 p.m. Where did the time go? I was busy for all but the 10 minutes I took my bag outside and ate my grapes, pudding and cookies at noontime.

When we first arrived, I got out my "to-do list" of newish books gleaned from past issues of NGSQ and NEHGR. These were mainly New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania books. I used the Carlsbad library catalog to obtain call numbers or note if it wasn't available. Then I went hunting for the books and had some success reviewing and copying pages from:

1) Gordon L. Remington, New York State Probate Records: A Genealogist's Guide to Testate and Intestate Records, NEHGS, Boston, 2002.

What a fantastic book - it describes the probate process in New York - from New Netherland to the English period to American statehood, with a description of the different courts, the available records, and where to find them. In the New York State portion, the book devotes two pages to each county listing County details; the Surrogate's Court address, phone and hours; Court records on microfilm at the Family History Library; published County Probate indexes and records; and a list of probate records published in periodicals.

I wish every state had a publication like this!!!

2) David M. Riker, Genealogical and Biographical Directory to Persons in New Netherland, from 1613 to 1674, 4 Volumes, 1999.

This tremendous work on New Netherland "first families" is great - the first volume lists the history and boundaries of New Netherland 1613-1674, then the people, the Dutch names and genealogy, source materials, and an explanation of the data pages. The rest of the pages in the four volumes are pages for an individual who was the "first comer" to New Netherland. Each page lists the name, ethnicity, birthplace, arrival date, settlement, marriages, children, and references for the individual.

I gathered copies of the pages for a number of my Dutch ancestors in Albany and along the Hudson River. This is a "must have" just for the finding aids listed on each person's page!

3) Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration, Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635, Volume V, M-P, NEHGS, Boston, 2007.

This is the latest volume in the series, and treats people with surnames M to P. I had only four New England ancestors with sketches in this book - Samuel Morse, Adam Mott, John Mousall and Edmund Munnings.

This compendium, and the previous volumes covering 1620-1633, are the definitive works for early New England immigrants. I use the sketches as finding aids - Anderson and his colleagues have found more resources than I ever could, so I use their work to find the documents to support the genealogy and family history of these ancestors of mine.

4) Gary Boyd Roberts, The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the American Colonies or the United States Who Were Themselves Notable or Left Descendants Notable in American History, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, 2006.

This is Roberts' latest work, and he has added a significant number of descendants from royals, and the royals include all of the countries of Europe now, not just western Europe. When the line extends to a President, President's wife or celebrity, it is presented down to them. One problem, for me, is that the lines from the American colonists go back only to the first royal person, so I need to find the lines from that latest royal back to other, perhaps more notable royals, for my "royal lineages." I have Thomas Dudley (1576-1653), Thomas Bolles, Olive Welby, Mary Gye, and Edward FitzRandolph in this book. I'll have to use other resources to get back further to Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, Alfred the Great, Robert the Bruce, etc.

5) I searched for resources in Chattooga and Floyd Counties in Georgia, plus the surnames involved, for my research Project M. There were no resources for Chattooga, and I found three for Floyd, but none were really helpful.

6) I checked the Tables of Contents for The Genealogist journal, the NYGBR, and several others on the shelf at Carlsbad. I saw nothing that I "have to have."

The time went very quickly as I reviewed the book, listed the pages I wanted to copy, fed the cash card with money (I almost ran out of coins and small bills), and copied the pages I wanted.

Many of my CVGS colleagues had successes at the library today. It was fun to see them researching and succeeding, and Shirley captured many of the group on her camera deep in thought or checking out the shelves.

It was a good research day - I learned a lot about New York probates and New Netherland. I need to check my database entries against these authoritative works to make sure that what I have in my genealogy database is correct. I also need to return in the near future in order to work down my "to-do list" before the next research trip.

What web sites help you with your research?

I know that my Genea-Musings readers are some of the most astute and savvy persons when it comes to online genealogy. I need your help with an upcoming presentation that I'm making on Saturday, 20 September at the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meeting. My task is to cover "Computer Genealogy 101" in one hour. The audience will be members of CGSSD who are all past CG 101!

My tentative presentation outline looks like this:

* Educational opportunities - magazines, articles, tutorials, podcasts, webinars

* The mega-sites - Ancestry, FamilySearch, Rootsweb, USGenWeb, WVR, Footnote, GenealogyBank, etc. A summary of what they have and how much they cost

* Family tree and social network sites - volume, capabilities and value

* Lists of web sites, by topic (i.e., vitals, military, census, probate, land, tax, obituaries, newspapers, cemeteries, etc.)

* Newsletters and blogs

* A list of my top 25 useful sites

My intent is to show a screen shot of many of these sites and not go into much detail about their content. The exception is the mega-sites, where I'll probably have several slides.

I did this talk a year ago at the CVGS seminar, and I looked at it recently - holy Genea-man, things have really changed in one year!

I want to emphasize newer web sites or newer databases, since many of the audience will be familiar with the old standby web sites.

I need your help in these ways:

* What relatively new (say, the last 6 months) web site is really useful to you in your research?

* Which web site on a specific topic is most useful to you in your research? For instance, I find FamilySearch Labs Record Search really useful for census records.

Thank you for any advice or help you can provide. You can respond either in comments to this post or in email to I will probably publish many of the slides from my presentation in the coming weeks.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Off to Carlsbad Library on Saturday

We have a Chula Vista Genealogical Society research trip to Carlsbad (CA) Georgina Cole Library on Saturday. At least ten CVGS members, and perhaps more, are going. Some of us are car-pooling from the parking structure in downtown Chula Vista, leaving at 8:45 a.m. This is a once-a-year event for us, since it's 45 miles each way. We really should go more often!

Why should we go more often? Because Carlsbad has the biggest collection of genealogy surname and locality books, genealogy periodicals, and the UMI microform collection of books and records, in San Diego County. In addition, they have in-library access to Ancestry Library Edition, HeritageQuestOnline, NewspaperARCHIVE, New England Ancestors (NEHGS), and Footnote. Library card holders can access HQO and NewspaperARCHIVE from home. Did I mention that Carlsbad has a genealogy collection takes the whole second floor? And that they have a significant yearly budget to buy genealogy books? The genealogy page for the Carlsbad library is here.

I prepared for the trip by doing two things:

* Updating my book and periodical "wish list." I found last years list and went through the NGSQ and NEHGR book reviews to see what new books are of interest to me, and added them to the list.

* Checking what new localities and surnames I've added to my ahnentafel in the past year. I added Oneida County NY, Rensselaer County NY, and Suffolk County NY to my locality list. I added Smith (yeah, right?), Bresee, Van Deusen, Scism and several others to my surname list.

I could have checked the online catalog for Carlsbad to see if any on my book "wish list" are available, but using their computer catalog is easy and quick. I always check for local and state society periodicals (in this case, NYGBR) for my "new" localities and surnames.

Carlsbad uses a cash card system to make copies - you load cash into a machine, which puts money on the card, and the copy machine debits the card. I'm going to take lots of quarters (gotta use them up...) for the cash machines.

I may be able to help some of my colleagues with their research tomorrow - often that's the most fun of all.

I will try to report on our successes in a post over the weekend. I love going to libraries!

LDS FamilySearch Labs - Other Records

The LDS FamilySearch Labs Record Search site has the following "Other" Records available - the completion status is for the index:


* US Civil War Pension Index Cards - 90% indexed, no images available.
* US World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 - Index 29% complete and linked images for 13 states


* Freedman Bank Records, 1865-1874 - 100% name index and linked images.
* Freedmen's Bureau Virginia Marriages ca. 1815-1866 - 100% name index and linked images


* New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1894-1924 - 100% index and linked images (link to


* Maryland, Cecil County Probate Estate Files, 1851-1940 - 100% index and linked images


* Vermont Land Records, Early to 1900 - no index, 75% images by county and town

Previous entries in this series (as of 1 September 2008) include:

* FamilySearch Record Search - Census Records

* FamilySearch Record Search - Vital Records

We will revisit these lists in several months so that we can track progress in FamilySearch Record Search.

For reference, the lists of Completed Projects, Current Projects, and Upcoming Projects are available at the LDS FamilySearch Indexing site.

Inquiring minds want to know why some "completed projects" are not on the FamilySearch Record Search site - like the Arkansas Marriages, Indiana Marriage Records, Ohio Tax Records, Irish Birth and Death Indexes, among others.

More on Public Indexing

I, and others, wrote about Ancestry's Public Indexing announcement yesterday at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference.

The Ancestry Insider, who was the first to publicly announce the World Archives Project several months ago, has more details on what it will mean to the users and to the volunteer indexers in his post Details revealed about's Indexing Initiative.

For researchers who do not volunteer to index, the benefits of the project include:

"* All indexes will remain free to the public on
* will donate copies of record indexes and images from the project to partnering government archives and genealogy societies.
* Images and indexes from the project will be available for free to patrons at thousands of subscribing libraries across the U.S.
* will provide free advertising to partnering genealogy societies."

For volunteer indexers, the benefits include:

"* Vote on which records to index in the future.
* Have free access to original images in the project's databases.
* Receive a 10% discount off an annual U.S. Deluxe subscription renewal or
* Receive a 15% discount off an annual World Deluxe subscription renewal.

"To be classified as an active contributor one must index a minimum of 900 records per quarter."

Some people will say "why invest over 20 hours a quarter (assuming an indexer can index about 50 records per hour) for a $15 reduction in a US Deluxe subscription?" It's a good point - it doesn't seem like a significant incentive, does it? Why would anyone index more than the 900 records per quarter? Where's the payoff? Would it be worth it if an indexer did, say 2,000 records in a quarter (perhaps 40 hours of work - about 20 minutes a day on average), for a 50% reduction in the Ancestry subscription cost? Or 6,000 records a quarter (about 1 hour a day) for a 100% reduction in an Ancestry subscription? All of the above assumes that the 900 records is actual records - a line on a census page, for example, rather than 900 batches of records.

For researchers, the real benefit for any online genealogy database is the INDEX itself. We can find more records pertinent to our search if there is an accurate index. The image can be obtained in many ways - subscribe to the service, go to the holding repository, go to a repository with the subscription service available, or have someone find it for them at a repository. The key part is the INDEX, not the image. The subscription service just makes it easy to access the image for a price. The subscriber determines if the service is cost effective for them.

Thanks to The Ancestry Insider for adding significant information to the knowledge base of genealogy researchers. Since I started this post, The AI has adding a Comment to his previous post here which corrects an error in the initial post submission and adds more commentary. Read it all!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

55th Carnival of Genealogy is posted - Show and Tell

You can spend several hours reading about the fascinating, intriguing, strange and/or peculiar items that 49 genea-bloggers brought to Jasia's Creative Gene blog-room this past two weeks for Show and Tell. The posts for the 55th Carnival of Genealogy are here!

What a great collection of, um, er, items! Read them all! My own post was a conglomeration of everything, since I cannot find the time to post about only one thing - see Show and Tell - the treasures .

The next Carnival of Genealogy will be hosted by Lori Thornton who writes the Smoky Mountain Family Historian blog. The topic is: 10 essential books in my genealogy library. The deadline for submissions will be September 15th. Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Canadian Books on

I've been watching add digitized Canadian books to their collection for several days now. These works can be accessed using an Ancestry World subscription or an Ancestry Canada subscription. In addition, users at 13 LDS Regional Family History Centers or the Family History Library in Salt Lake City can access them through Ancestry Institution. Libraries subscribing to Ancestry Library Edition (perhaps??) can access them. Oh, also at the Borders Concept Bookstores that have available for customers to use (like in Plaza Bonita in nearby National City CA).

John D. Reid has a list of these digitized books on his Anglo-Celtic connections blog - see Thanks, John, for the list. Hopefully, he will add to it until the collection is complete (or his bandwidth is all used up?).

When this collection is complete, I'll probably check it out down at the San Diego FHC. You never know what goodies you're going to find in collections of this nature. I can only hope for Sarah Sephrona (Fletcher?) Kemp. However, it is in collections like this - of small or relatively obscure works - that some family history puzzles are solved.

A Strange Epitaph, or is it?

The epitaph of John Laird McCaffery (1940-1995), who lies in Montreal's Mount Royal Cemetery, reads:


Free your body
Unfold your powerful wings
Climb up the highest mountains
Kick your feet up in the air

You may now live forever
Or return to this earth
Unless you feel good where you are!

It was composed jointly by his ex-wife and mistress.

Just what message were the composers trying to convey to John? Tell me in comments.

Hat tip to Futility Closet.

Ancestry announcements - Public Indexing and FGS Collaboration

The announcement today by and the Federation of genealogical societies is very welcome to me, as a genealogist, an Ancestry subscriber, and a member of a local society.

The email I received (and posted by Dick Eastman and DearMYRTLE, and partially posted on the Blog) reads:



Philadelphia – Sept. 4, 2008 –, the world’s largest online family history resource, today launched the World Archives Project, a global public indexing initiative designed to give individuals everywhere the opportunity to help preserve historical records. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is the first organization to partner with during this beta phase of this new venture, enlisting genealogists and family history enthusiasts to help test the software and prepare it for a more public release.

Now in public beta, the World Archives Project allows individuals to transcribe information from images of original historical records and to create indexes that will remain accessible for free on and on Ancestry’s localized sites in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Sweden, and Italy. Active contributors* will soon be able to access all original images that are part of the World Archives Project. Organizations can also partner with the World Archives Project and sponsor indexing projects. will donate a digital copy of the sponsored index and images back to partnering organizations.

“As a global society, we are falling further and further behind when it comes to digitizing historical records,” said Tim Sullivan, president and CEO of The Generations Network, parent company of “The World Archives Project allows us to work collectively as a community to preserve and to digitize records that will otherwise surely be lost to the wear and tear of time. By providing free access to these indexes on the world’s most popular family history website, we will provide millions of people with access to records that might help them unlock new clues about their ancestors.”

Already, several thousand individuals have joined the World Archives Project private beta, indexing Wisconsin Mortality Schedules and Nebraska State Censuses. Participants provided feedback and recommendations for this public beta release.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this cause and to help spread the world about this new initiative,” said Wendy Elliott-Scheinberg, president of FGS. “The World Archives Project is a great way for enthusiasts and genealogical societies to directly impact and further family history research.”

FGS has been enormously helpful in the development of our vision for the World Archives Project,” said Sullivan. “The 500+ genealogy societies that FGS represents are absolutely critical to the continued health and growth of genealogical research. We’ve been searching for years for the right way to partner with genealogy societies, and we think this project will allow us to help them attract new members by leveraging the popularity of We appreciate the encouragement and support FGS provides and look forward to continuing our relationship as this project marches forward.”

For more information about the World Archives Project or to get involved, visit

*Specific guidelines must be met to be considered an active contributor. For more information, visit


We have had earlier announcements of this project, and questions were asked, like "what's in it for me?" The second paragraph answers that question - "Active contributors* will soon be able to access all original images that are part of the World Archives Project." However, the last paragraph mentions being an "active contributor" which probably means that the contributor has to stay active indexing a certain amount per month in order to have free access to the images. This is a win-win for both Ancestry (which gets significant work content) and the active indexer (who gets free access to records on Ancestry).

Why would organizations and societies partner with to create indexes? The second paragraph says " will donate a digital copy of the sponsored index and images back to partnering organizations." It seems to me like this will be a real benefit to societies - they receive an indexed database with images of their paper material, and can put their digitized genealogy databases behind their member firewall. Being able to use the index and images would be a benefit for society members without having to be an Ancestry subscriber. This is a win-win for Ancestry and societies or organizations.

One major drawback that I see is that the Indexing project can only be performed on Windows computers (not MacIntosh computers or other Windows operating systems). Maybe they will address these issues soon.

The records that could be indexed by society members and digitized by Ancestry are exactly those records that are currently hidden from online genealogists - the unindexed society periodicals, the collection of obituaries cut out of newspapers, the cemetery lists, the donated records in file cabinets, family records in members' basements and attics.

One of the real benefits of an indexing project like this, that enlists society members to do the work, is that it creates a camaraderie withing the indexing group - they enjoy their work, they feel like they are accomplishing something tangible, and feel like they are contributing to their society and to genealogy as a whole.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

LDS FamilySearch Labs - Vital Records Databases

The LDS FamilySearch Labs Record Search site has the following Vital Records available - the completion status is for the index:

* Georgia Deaths, 1914-1927 - 100% name index and images

* Illinois, Diocese of Belleville, Catholic Parish Records 1729-1956 - unindexed images, listed by County

* Michigan Births, 1867-1902 - 100% name index and images.
* Michigan Deaths, 1867-1897 - 100% name index and images
* Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925 - 100% name index and images

* Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953 - 100% name index and images

* Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915 - 100% name index and information
* Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951 - 100% name index and information

* Texas Death Index, 1964-1998 - 100% name index and information, no images
* Texas Deaths, 1890-1976 - 100% name index and images

* U.S. Social Security Death Index - 100% name index, no images

* Utah Death Certificates, 1904-1956 - 100% name index and images
* Utah, Salt Lake County Death Records, 1908-1949 - 100% name index and information, no images

* Virginia, Fluvanna County Colbert Funeral Home Records, 1929-1976 - 100% name index and images.

* Washington Death Certificates, 1907-1960 - 100% name index and information, no images

* West Virginia Births, 1853-1930 - 100% name index and information, no images.
* West Virginia Deaths, 1853-1970 - 100% name index and information, no images
* West Virginia Marriages, 1853-1970 - 100% name index and information, no images.

* Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1947 - 100% name index and information, no images

* Mexico Baptisms, 1700-1900 - name index and information, no images.
* Mexico Burials, 1700-1900 - name index and information, no images.
* Mexico Marriages, 1700-1900 - name index and information, no images.

* France, Coutances Catholic Diocese, 1802-1907 - 100% name index and images

* Cheshire, Church of England Burial Records, 1538-1907 - 100% name index and images
* Cheshire, Church of England Christening Records, 1538-1907 - 100% name index and images
* Cheshire, Church of England Marriage Records, 1538-1907 - 100% name index and images
* England Baptisms, 1700-1900 - Name index and information, no images
* England Marriages, 1700-1900 - Name index and information, no images
* England, diocese of Durham Bishops Transcripts ca. 1700-1900 - 100% name index and images

* Norway Baptisms, 1700-1900 - Name index and information, no images.
* Norway Burials, 1700-1900 - Name index and information, no images.
* Norway Marriages, 1700-1900 - Name index and information, no images.

* Germany, Baptisms, 1700-1900 - Name index and information, no images
* Germany, Marriages, 1700-1900 - Name index and information, no images
* Germany, Brandenburg, Church Book Duplicates, 1800-1874 - Name index and images
* Germany, Posen, Church Book Duplicates, 1800-1874 - Name index and images

* Czech Republic, Litomence Regional Archive Church Books, 1562-1905 - Name index and images

* Spain, Albacete Diocese, Catholic Parish Records, 1550-1930 - Name index and images
* Spain, Ciudad Rodrigo Diocese, Catholic Parish Records, 1550-1930 - Name index and images

* Lima, Peru Civil Registration, 1874-1930 - 100% Name index and images

Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 23: Web Search II

I installed FamilyTreeMaker 2008 in early July and uploaded a large database to see how it worked. I also started a new database to test other program features. Please see the list at Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Summary of Posts for all of the posts in this series.

In the last post, I demonstrated how to use the [Web Search] icon featured on the top row of the FTM 2008 page to find information and images on In this post, I want to show how to merge ancestral information found using the Web Search. For this part of the series, I'm using my great-great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), in my database as a starting point for these posts about Web Search.

In the last post, the last screen shown was the top part of the 1900 Census image on for Isaac Seaver in Leominster, MA. You can scroll down to show the rest of the image - as shown below:

Yep, that's my Isaac Seaver with his third wife (indexed by Ancestry as Elvira, but really Alvina) residing at 7 Cedar Street. Note the two lists at the bottom of the screen - the one on the left is the information about Isaac Seaver from the "Person from your tree," and the list on the right shows information from the "Search result detail," in this case the index information from the census record.

FTM 2009 permits the user to merge information from the index into the database - if the user requests it. To do this, the user clicks on the "Merge" button (highlighted in the screen above). A "Web Merge Wizard" appears on the screen over the census image, as shown in the screen below:

In the "Web Merge Wizard" screen are three columns - "Person from my tree," "Person from Web Search," and "Merged Result." For this census image, the program will merge the Name, Birth Date and/or Residence from the Web Search, at the user's discretion. The user can choose "Make preferred," "Make alternate," "Add source only," or "Discard this fact." The "Web Merge Wizard" help screen says:

"With this wizard, you can choose how to add the new information found on Ancestry into your tree.

"You can:

* Make the new information a "preferred" fact (the version of the facts you wish to display in views, charts, and reports)
* Make the new information an "alternate" fact (usually a conflicting or slightly different version of the same fact that you wish to maintain for reference)
* Choose to only add a source-citation (if the information is the same as your existing information and you wish to just add the source as supporting evidence - no alternate fact will be created)
* Choose to ignore the new information

"You may jump to the summary page at any time to see how the new information will be incorporated into your tree. A source citation will automatically be added to any facts you choose to merge into your tree (see the top of the summary page for the citation).

"No information in your family tree will be overwritten during the merge process."

In the screen above, I chose to "Discard the fact" for the Name (since I already knew his name), to "Add Source only" for the birth date (since I already have a Vital Record for his birth date, but this corroborates the date), and to "Make Preferred" the Residence in 1900 fact. When I click on the "Summary" button at the bottom of the "Web Merge Wizard" box, I get:

This screen shows the Preferred Information, the Alternate Information and the Media Items selected. The Source citation is shown, and can be edited by the user by clicking on the "Edit" button. I noted the Source citation does not include the NARA microfilm series, Roll number, ED number or page number of the census image, so I will have to go in and edit this Source to include those vital details.

Clicking on the "Merge Now" button at the bottom of the "Web Merge Wizard" screen will merge the information that the user desires - including the census image and the source citation. I clicked on it, and the screen below appeared:

Success is good! The little box says "People merged successfully!" and "Media merged successfully!" Clicking the "OK" button brings you back to the Ancestry image screen (the first one above). If you click on the "Media" tab above the "Person from your tree," you will see the Media item added to your FTM 2008 database.

From here, you could edit the information about the image using the [Media] icon screen and/or edit the source information using the [Sources] icon screen, as demonstrated in earlier posts.

As part of the "Web Merge Wizard," the program allows you to use the "Next" button to go to other persons in the family. In the case for Isaac Seaver, I could have merged information about his parents, spouses or children if the information applied to them. Obviously, for Isaac Seaver, the only person that this image applied to was his third wife, Alvina (Bradley) Seaver.

In order to go back to the Ancestry Search page to find more images to download, I tried clicking on the "Search" link at the top of the Ancestry image. That took me back to an empty search box - I would have to start all over with my search criteria.

I noticed the "Back to Record" link above the census image, and clicked that, which took me back to the Ancestry index summary, and had a link back to "Historical Records" which took me to the list of search matches, which is where I wanted to be. Two clicks.

This Web Search and Web Merge is pretty straightforward and easy to use. The user controls the merge process throughout. However, I do have some complaints about the Merge process, at least for this particular image:

1) The "Web Merge Wizard" did not include the Marriage year even though it was shown in the "Web Search Detail."

2) The Source citation did not include the really useful source information - the NARA microfilm series, the Roll number, the Enumeration district, or the Page number of the census record. That information is available on the Ancestry indexed page as text, and probably in the URL for the Ancestry image. How many users will never add this very useful and vital information to their source citations?

3) Going back to the Search Results should be easier - a single click, and plainly added to the Ancestry web page or the FTM 2008 page.

In the next post, I will pursue how to access the other web sites using the Web Search, and how to merge those results into the user tree database.

Family Photographs - Post 21: Young Lyle

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:

This is a picture of my grandfather, Lyle Lawrence Carringer, the only living son of Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer. It was taken around 1895 in San Diego, at the Excelsior Studio.

My impression of Lyle's childhood is that his parents babied him for a long time because his older brother died in infancy. You can see it in the Smith/Vaux letters I transcribed earlier this year.

By age 4 or so, little Lyle had long wavy hair (I wonder if this is where my brother Stan got his curly hair? I certainly didn't!) and was dressed as a boy. I love the hat, the breeches (?), the shirt and jacket, the boots (?).

This photograph was handed down from Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer to their son Lyle Lawrence Carringer, to their daughter Betty Virginia (Carringer) Seaver (who married Fred Seaver) to me, their son.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

NGS NewsMagazine Table of contents - July-September 2008

The July-September 2008 issue of the NGS NewsMagazine (Volume 34, Number 3), published by the National Genealogical Society (NGS), arrived recently, and, as always, I read it cover-to-cover. The Table of Contents include:


* NGS Board of Directors election - page 9

* NGS presents awards at Kansas City, by Julie Miller, CG - page 12

* Lowell Volkel elected to NGS Hall of Fame, by Shirley Langdon Wilcox, CG - page 16

* NGS President's Citation, by Pamela Boyer, CG, CGL - page 17

* Official NGS Ballot 2008 - page 18

* The Great Wagon Road, by Dorothy A. Boyd-Bragg, PhD - page 21

* Southern migration trails, by Lynda Suffridge - page 26

* They walked in faith, by Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL - page 30

* Crossword Puzzle: Death and taxes, by Mary Clement Douglass, CG - page 34

* Emma and Jean: A source is a source, by Donald W. Moore, CG - page 36

* Timelines: A chronology of life events, by Chuck Knuthson - page 38

* Case Study: Martha A. Sitley Medara: A case of a disappearing divorcee, by Charles S. Mason, Jr., CG - page 52


* National Archives: Anatomy of a Union Civil War pension file, by Claire Prechtel-Kluskens - page 43

* Beginning genealogy: Google me, by Gary M. and Diana Crisman Smith - page 49

* Software review: Review of The Master Genealogist 7, by Barbara Schenck - page 55

* Technology: On or off? Where should you keep your genealogy research? by Drew Smith, MLS - page 59

* Writing family history, by Harold E. Hinds, PhD - page 62

I especially enjoyed the Case Study and Wagon Road articles, and the Pension File column too.

After checking the Publications page on the NGS site, it appears that only NGS members can view the online Table of Contents for the NGS Quarterly and NGS NewsMagazine. I wonder why NGS, and other societies, hide their bushels of genealogy information (at least their Table of Contents) behind their web site membership firewall? For example, if someone wanted to know something about the Great Wagon Road, they wouldn't find the current NGS article by Googling "great wagon road." [Well, they would find this blog post, probably.] If the TOC was put online by NGS, then a curious person could find it, go to a library and read the article or copy it, and/or perhaps join NGS.

These publications are the most visible benefit of joining the National Genealogical Society. For many members, the periodicals are the only tangible benefit of society membership. Why not publicize contents more effectively and try to encourage society membership?

LDS FamilySearch Labs - Census Databases

The LDS FamilySearch Labs Record Search site has the following Census records available - the completion status is for the index:

* 1850 US Census - index 78% complete (28 states, not Virginia, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, probably others.)

* 1850 US Census Mortality Schedules - index 77% complete.

* 1850 US Census Slave Schedules - index 61% complete.

* 1855 Massachusetts State Census - only city of Boston.

* 1855 Wisconsin State Census - index complete? (no indication)

* 1860 US Census - 5% complete (Illinois only is indexed)

* 1865 Massachusetts State Census - only city of Boston.

* 1870 US Census - index 55% complete (28 states, not Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Kentucky, and many more)

* 1875 Wisconsin State Census - 100% complete? Head of household only.

* 1880 US Census - index 100% complete, no images

* 1885 Florida State Census - index complete except for four counties

* 1885 Wisconsin State Census - index 100% complete? Head of household only.

* 1895 Wisconsin State Census - index 100% complete? Head of household only.
* 1900 US Census - index 99% complete (lacks Military and Indian Territory)

* 1905 South Dakota State Census - index 100% complete? (index cards)

* 1905 Wisconsin State Census - unindexed images by county and township

* 1935 Florida State Census - unindexed images by county and township

* 1945 Florida State Census - unindexed images by county and township

* 1930 Mexico Census - index 19% complete (6 states only indexed)

* 1841 England and Wales Census - 100% indexed, images available only if user has a FindMyPast subscription.

* 1851 England and Wales Census - 100% indexed, images available only if user has a FindMyPast subscription.

* 1895 Argentina Census - index 100% complete

In most cases, the user can browse the unindexed images in the collections.

Some of these databases have not been updated since early 2008.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 22: Web Search I

I installed FamilyTreeMaker 2008 in early July and uploaded a large database to see how it worked. I also started a new database to test other program features. Please see the list at Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Summary of Posts for all of the posts in this series.

In this post, I want to demonstrate how to find ancestral information using the Web Search icon featured on the top row of the FTM 2008 page. For this part of the series, I'm using my great-great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), in my database as a starting point for these posts about Web Search.

Here is the [People] Family screen for Isaac Seaver. I am about to pick the [Web Search] icon from the top menu line:

Note that, in the left-hand panel, the choices for web searching are three The Generations Network sites -, and There are also three other search engines in Other Search Sites -, and

When you click on the [Web Search] icon, the default web site for searching is The screen below shows the Search box used for the search -note that "Exact matches only" is unchecked, and the name boxes, the birth year and location, and death year and location, are filled in based on information from the database.

The user can check the exact match box, modify the names, change or delete the dates and places, or click on Advanced Search. The Search function works just like you are on The Search function starts with the Old Ancestry Search box and format, not the New Ancestry Search function and format. Of course, you have to have an Ancestry subscription in order to see images!

I hit the Search button with the search choices in the fields. A popup window came up titled "Getting Data from Ancestry into your Tree," as shown in the screen below:

The box says:

"When searching Ancestry, results are presented as separate rows that can be selected. When you click on a row, the facts associated with the selected row are displayed in the right side of the lower pane, ready to be merged.

"You can merge the facts into your tree by clicking the Merge button. Along with the facts, Family tree Maker links source information to each fact. If the record has an associated image, such as a census image, it is linked to the source and merged into the Media Collection."

I read it and clicked on the "OK" button. The list of ranked matches from the search request has many hits -

The first four matches on the list (you can scroll down on the Ancestry results page) are for my Isaac Seaver (1823-1901). I clicked on the "View Image" link for 1900 U.S. census item at the top of the list. I received this screen:

The screen above contains the top of the 1900 U.S. census page that enumerates Isaac Seaver and his third wife (Malvina, listed as Elvina).

This process of finding historical data, family trees or stories and publications for a person in the FTM 2008 database is very straightforward, and works very well. It is very easy to add images to the FTM 2008 database using this feature.

In the next post, I will demonstrate how to merge a census image (or other image from into the database. I will deal with the other web sites on the Web Search list in a later post.

Randy's job history

It's Labor Day, and I thought somebody (my readers? My kids? My friends?) might be interested in my job history. It is really pretty short!

1) My first job was as a newspaper delivery person - a paper boy. I was 11 when my friend Gordon and I got a route for the twice-weekly San Diego Independent newspaper. Our area was between 32nd street and 34th street, and Juniper Street to Laurel Street in the North Park area of San Diego. We held this job for about six months, delivering papers on Thursday and Sunday mornings to subscribers, using bicycles and flexies (Flexible Flyers, not a sled, but with wheels and steering bar) to throw them on porches. The highlight each month was collecting the subscription fees from the subscribers - we got stiffed a lot for what they considered a throw-away newspaper.

2) My second job was an extension of the first - my brother and I had a San Diego Independent newspaper route for about five years, but closer to home (28th Street to Fern Street, Date Street to Fir Street, about 10 blocks). We got really good at doing this job through experience, got to know our customers, and made some pocket money. The customer that I remember is old Mr. Stoddard, who lived on Dale Street. He had his buddies over to play cards regularly, and when we came to collect, he would ask us in to show off what we learned. He actually paid us 25 cents or 50 cents each month to learn something new - the State Capitals, the National Parks, say the alphabet backwards, etc.

3) I wrote about my first "real" regular paying job in the summer of 1963 with the San Diego Chargers in

4) After three years at San Diego State University studying aerospace engineering, I got my first real "real" job with Wagner Aircraft in San Diego in the summer of 1964 - I spent about three months there. This was a spinoff company (from Convair) trying to build a 25-seat commuter propeller-driven aircraft designed for small airfields. The innovative feature was a boundary layer control system that would permit takeoffs and landings at 60 miles/hour. I worked as an analyst doing aerodynamics analysis (performance, stability and control, etc.) with several veteran aerodynamicists, including Bob Gusky, who would play a big role in my life a few years later.

5) I went back to school in September 1964, and Wagner Aircraft folded before the summer of 1965. However, Sunrise Aircraft was formed with new investors and Fred Wagner at the helm, but with few of the Wagner Aircraft employees, and none of the aerodynamicists. I got a summer job there for 1965, doing essentially the same things I had done at Wagner in 1964. Larry F. was the only aerodynamicist at the time and he was happy to have someone help out. I stayed on as a part-time employee in late 1965, and then came on full-time in January 1966 after graduating from SDSU. In addition to the aerodynamics work, I picked up some of the Boundary Layer Control (BLC) work and traveled to Cambridge MA twice for model tests and technical discussions with DynaTech, a technical company. In the end, I wrote a NASA Contractor's Report with the DynaTech people. Unfortunately, Sunrise Aircraft couldn't meet payroll in March 1967, and I kept working there for essentially promises (which never came about) until September.

This was the first real crisis in my life - I had my own apartment, was living the good life, but now had to move back in with my parents and borrow money from the bank. I applied for unemployment, started a job search, had several interviews, and finally accepted a job in Thousand Oaks CA with Northrop Ventura as an aerodynamicist. I was going to start on Monday, 24 October 1967. My plan was to live a month in a cheap motel, eat on my credit card, pay the bills with my first paychecks, and then get an apartment there.

My father had worked at Rohr Corporation in Chula Vista in the 1940's, and still had some contacts there in management, to whom he had given my resume. Bob Gusky was at Rohr then, and my resume passed his desk and he asked the employment folks to set up an interview. Gil from Employment called on Friday morning, 21 October, and asked if I could come down the next week for an interview. I explained that I was starting at Northrop Ventura on Monday - could we do an interview on Friday afternoon? The answer was yes - I put on my only suit and tie, drove down to Chula Vista (8 miles), interviewed, and was offered the job on the spot.

6) I worked at Rohr Corporation (later Rohr Industries, Rohr Inc., and now Aerostructures Group of Goodrich) from October 1967 until August 2002, starting as an Aerodynamicist, then a Senior Aerodynamicist, an Aero/Thermo Group Engineer, Chief of Aerodynamics, Chief of Aero/Thermo and finally as a Senior Staff Engineer. I became an expert in nacelle aerodynamics, turbofan engine performance, thrust reverser design, performance and testing, fluid dynamics, aircraft performance, boundary layers, and FORTRAN programming. I worked on most of the commercial aircraft built by Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Airbus, and traveled all over the USA and Europe. It was a great 35-year career in a good company.

7) After being retired for two years, I went back to Goodrich Aerostructures in August 2004 for two years as a Contract Engineer, working on the Boeing 787 nacelle design and analysis.

One of my favorite sayings is "There are things that happen in a second that take a lifetime to explain." This is certainly true for me - with my job search in 1967, meeting my wife in 1968, and reading Roots in 1987.

What would my life have been like if Rohr had not called me on Friday, 21 October 1967? I really don't know. I would have worked in Thousand Oaks, perhaps met and married a woman near there, or perhaps moved on to Seattle, Long Beach, or some other aerospace center.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Show and Tell - the treasures

This Carnival of Genealogy is supposed to be themed Show and Tell - an heirloom, a special photo, a valuable document, or a significant person that is a very special part of your family history.

I have shared so much on this blog that it is difficult to find something that I haven't shared, and to decide which heirloom, document, photograph or ancestor to share. After 2,180 posts, you've seen almost everything I have to show and tell! Actually, that's not true, but a lot of it is really boring stuff.

One of my very first posts on Randy's Musings (18 April 2006) was titled Treasures in the Closet. In this post, I described only some of the treasure trove found in my mother's house - the collection of artifacts and papers from four generations of my Carringer, Smith and Auble ancestors.

A photograph? Probably the most precious to me is the Union Case photographs of Isaac and Lucretia (Smith) Seaver - shown in Is this Isaac and Lucretia (Smith) Seaver? A close second is the photograph of the house in San Diego that my great-grandparents Carringer built and I grew up in - posted in The house I grew up in.

A document? Probably the most precious (and irreplaceable) to me is the marriage certificate of Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer shown in Family Photographs - Post 16: Carringer/Smith Marriage Certificate. Or Della (Smith) Carringer's rough draft of a letter to her cousin, which I posted about in Letters from home - post 19. Or Della's Journal from 1929, which I transcribed over all 52 weeks during 2007.

An heirloom? I'm kind of short on heirlooms. Perhaps the pages from the Smith Family Bible, and the Carringer Family Bible? The rack of tarnished silver spoons from the Knapp and Auble family of Newton, NJ and Terre Haute, IN? I haven't posted about that, other than in Treasures in the Closet.

A significant person or favorite ancestor? I've shared about Isaac Seaver, Isaac Buck, Thomas Richmond, Della (Smith) Carringer, Abigail (Vaux) Smith, Devier J. Smith, Lyle L. Carringer, Emily (Auble) Carringer and a number of others who are special to me. All of my ancestors are significant to me. Especially my mother, Betty Virginia Carringer, and father, Frederick Walton Seaver.

I have a special gold "Champion Blog Reader" star available for anyone who visits each of my links in this post. I can tell who reads what, you know. Heh heh. Please let me know if you qualify...

Best of the Genea-Blogs - Week of August 24-30, 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 genealogy carnivals, 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:

* Dissecting Obituaries by Wendy Littrell on the All My Branches blog. Wendy does an ice job of working through what obituaries really tell us, and the questions we should ask about the subject's life.

* Letting His Freak Flag Fly by Sasha Mitchell on the Memory Lane blog. Sasha tells the fascinating story of her father's life and ancestry. A great picture too - I wonder if it is for the Crowning Glory carnival?

* Tuesday Tales from the Road - Washington DC by Mary Mettler on the California Genealogical Society and Library blog. Mary's trip takes her to the DAR Library and sightseeing in Washington DC. I wish I was there!

* Letter to the editor (again) by Andrea Batcho on the I Find Dead People blog. Andrea is almost winning her battle to get the weeds at her cousin's plot in a local cemetery cut down.

* How to share your family history with your family - Why? and - How? by Janet Hovorka on The Chart Chick blog. Janet's series continues with great advice. She made a presentation about this subject at a local conference.

* New Episodes of the FGS 2008 Philly podcast are available by Paula Stuart-Warren on the FGS Conference Blog. Paula provides a list of the available podcasts and links to the FGS Conference Podcast blog site too. This is the first I've heard of these podcasts - I hope they stay posted online.

* Using DNA to Examine James Madison's Family Tree by Blaine Bettinger on The Genetic Genealogist blog. Blaine discusses DNA testing to determine if an African-American lady is a direct descendant of our 4th President. An interesting post!

* Social Networks and Genealogy: Part 1 by Craig Manson on the Geneablogie blog. Craig starts a series examining social networks - he starts with the growth of social networks and why they are good for genealogy.

* "A Search Strategy This Useful Shouldn't Be Kept Secret" Charlie Brown by Arlene H. Eakle on the Arlene Eakle's Virginia Genealogy Blog. Arlene provides excellent search strategies for Virginia research (applicable to many other states too!).

* Google Now Does Synonym Searches Automatically by Kathi on the Ancestor Search Blog. Kathi reveals a change in Google's searching - why haven't I read about this elsewhere? A great catch, Kathi!

* Freaky Friday - 4th Edition for 8/29/08 by Wendy Littrell on the All My Branches blog. I really liked this post by Wendy - many of us can relate to her comparison of the 1950s to present-day life in America. [Yep, I know I've posted two of Wendy's posts - when they're good, they're good!]

* National Institute on Genealogical Research by Kathryn M. Doyle on the California Genealogical Society and Library blog. Two CGS members attended this weeklong course and visited the National Archives, Library of Congress and DAR Library. I love road trips! Excellent report [another twofer for CGSL here!].

* Expanding the Reach of Genealogy Societies and Conferences by Dick Eastman on the Eastman Online Genealogy Newsletter blog. Dick has excellent examples and advice about this topic of interest to many of us, and so do his readers. Read all of the comments.

* August 29 - Friday from the Collectors: Women Wearing Glasses by Linda Palmer on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog. What a wonderful collection of pictures of women wearing glasses from Linda's collection.

* Foiling Around in the Cemetery by Rebeckah Wiseman on the Kinexxions blog. Becky describes the technique of wrapping aluminum foil around a tombstone to bring out the inscriptions. She listed later posts of her examples.

* The Reunion by Cat on the Genealogy - Digging Up Dirt blog. Cat tells us all about the family reunion she recently attended.

Thank you to all genealogy bloggers for an interesting and informative week. Did you notice some new blogs on this list? I hope so!

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!