Saturday, September 20, 2008

CGSSD Meeting review - Computer Genealogy 101 and then DNA for Genealogists

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meeting today had two parts - described here on Wednesday.

1a) User groups for Legacy and MacIntosh genealogy software. I didn't go - I went to 1b) below.

1b) A special "Computer Genealogy 101" class taught by myself (Randy Seaver) - it was a summary of genealogy information currently available on the Internet. This went fairly well - although there were only 17 in attendance, most of them veteran online genealogy researchers. Hopefully, everybody learned something from the 93 slides presented very quickly in less than 70 minutes. The slides discussed large database sites, family tree sites, data portal sites, some specific web sites and some libraries and societies, often with a screen shot of the web site's home page and some comments about the site. I finished up with a list of commercial databases available for free access at local libraries, and my top 25 genealogy web sites.

2) The program speaker was Barbara Bowling Gosink, MD, on "DNA for Genealogists." Barbara is an engaging and funny lady, with a wealth of knowledge. She gave a really interesting presentation with excellent graphics slides showing elements of DNA, an excellent explanation of how the Y-chromosome (for males) and mitochondrial DNA (for males and females) can be used in genealogy and anthropology research. Her main point was that 99.9% of the 3 billion nucleotide pairs in the human genome are identical in all humans - but that the variations between persons is the other 0.1%, or 3 million SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). Most of the variations have come about over the last 60,000 to 100,000 years.

She showed the migration patterns out of Africa determined by the different haplogroups, showing the major markers along the way, sort of like the interactive map at

Neanderthals shared 99.5% of the human genome, Chimpanzees and Bonobos share 98.4%, and dogs share 95%. I, and you, share 50% of our genome with a banana, 40% with worms, and 30% with yeast!

This was, by far, the most informative and entertaining talk I've heard about DNA research.

There were about 55 people in the room for Barbara's talk. CGSSD has the best venue of any of the San Diego societies - with an overhead projector, wireless internet access, and classroom seating with excellent visibility at UCSD, although the room seats only about 120 people.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Family Tree Magazine Table of Contents - November 2008 Issue

The November 2008 issue of Family Tree Magazine arrived last week. The Table of Contents includes:


page 20: Make No Mistake-- Save time, money and your sanity with our advice for avoiding 10 common genealogy research errors; by Lisa A. Alzo

page 26: Scot Free -- Trace your Scottish ancestry with our beginner's guide to genealogy in the land of kilts and clans; by Nancy Hendrickson

page 42: Skeletons in the Closet -- Follow these five tips for bringing old family secrets to light without rattling your relatives; by Sunny McClellan Morton

page 48: Operation Online Records -- Join the march to find military records on the Web; by Rick Crume

page 54: Group Efforts -- Gang up on your research brick walls and watch them crumble with our eight partnership pointers; by Maureen A. Taylor


page 4: Out on a Limb -- Unveiling our new Web site; by Allison Stacy

page 6: Making Connections -- Readers respond to Family Tree Magazine.

page 8: Branching Out -- What's new in discovering, preserving and celebrating your family history; by Diane Haddad:
• Healing History - Ellis Island's "forgotten" past
• Teaming Up for Free Census Records - free online census indexes
• Inside the Vault -- the National Archives' digital vault
• Genealogy Insider News

page 12: History Matters-- Recounting History; by David A. Fryxell

page 16: Everything's Relative-- Tales from the lighter side of family history.

page 18: Preserving Memories-- Safe Keeping: Newspaper clippings; how to safely store news clippings; edited by Grace Dobush

page 33: State Research Guides--
• New Jersey
• Mississippi

page 58: Now What?-- questions answered about Soundex, Australian roots and source citations.

page 62: Photo Detective -- Playing Politics - A tiny detail in your photo may reveal a relative's political views; by Maureen A. Taylor

page 64: The Toolkit -- Reviews and roundups of the latest, greatest family history resources; edited by Allison Stacy:
• Hitting the Heirwaves -- genealogy podcast primer
• Legacy of Excellence -- review of Legacy Family Tree 7 for Windows
• Tombstone Raiders -- quick guide to tombstone transcription databases
• Service Call -- Veterans History Project
• The Book Report

page 70: Uprooted -- Monster Mash - Test your genealogy IQ on Mary Shelley's family tree; by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack

page 72: 2008 Magazine Index

This issue is chock full of helpful research tips and web sites. The Feature articles were all timely, and I loved the map of Scotland and the list of records available online.

I don't see the link to the PDF document that lists all of the web site links mentioned in this issue. This feature may have disappeared with the revamp of the Family Tree Magazine web site. Rantings

Have you noticed that is now You remember - it was a shared family tree web site announced last year - one of many in the genealogy family tree world. If you click on, you are transferred, after several seconds, to The change makes no sense to me - FamilyLink sounds like a "family social network" site to me, not a "family history" site. And that's what is - a social networking site for genealogists and family members, with some family history capabilities.

Why did they change the web site name? They haven't made any external announcement (at least in their newsletter, press releases or on their blog). My guess is that the overall corporate name is - with a number of "products" like FamilyHistoryLink, WorldVitalRecords, WebTree and others (I think).

But as of today, if you click on you go to the social network site and not a corporate web site.

Rant on...

I have been frustrated with because I have been unable to upload a GEDCOM (whether for 20,000 persons or 3,000 persons) to create a database on their site using the "Upload Family Tree" link. After putting my GEDCOM file name in the form, I get a message: Fatal error: Call to undefined function: debug2file() in /var/www/ on line 49.

To make matters worse, when I attempted to "Create family tree" by inputting data one person at a time - I get a message when trying to input my own name: Fatal error: Call to undefined function: debug2file() in /var/www/ on line 114

I feel Rejected! In the "Ancestors of Randy Seaver" family tree, I cannot edit the Root person information - my own name, birth date, etc. When I try to add a child to the root person, it bombs me off again. I feel Frustrated!

For some reason, my WorldVitalRecords Newsletter (a free subscription) stopped coming - the last one I received was 11 August 2008. I tried to find a Newsletter archive on the site and couldn't find one, even on the Site Map link. The only way I could find the Newsletters that I've missed was to go to the sample issue link ( and edit the Issue number in the URL.

Now, I have had no problems using the web site to obtain genealogy records since I subscribed two months ago. And I had no problems with the WebTree application, where I uploaded my 20,000 person tree with no problems.

One last complaint - WorldVital Records has a link to GenealogyPlanet, which is a blog that captures titles, text and graphics of blog posts from many genealogy blogs and provides links to the full blog posts - a genealogy blog aggregator. They have a list of 43 blogs, at least two of which have been dormant for almost two years (can you find them?). Genea-Musings is not on the list, and I emailed them several times (back when GenealogyPlanet started) asking to be added to the list. Rejected again? Or just a bit paranoid?

I know this post sounds like a rant, but I'm just a bit torqued that some things don't work on these web sites and I've spent a considerable amount of time getting frustrated and rejected. If I were charging a client to do work on these sites, they might balk at paying me for not accomplishing anything of value. But then, some may say that "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again with the same negative results" and call me crazy. That shoe might fit!

I hope that some of my readers associated with will read this and take steps to fix their web site links and functions. If I'm feeling rejected and frustrated after 18 months, but am still willing to visit once in awhile, I wonder how many customers they've lost because of a lack of patience?

Rant off...

UPDATED 3 p.m. - see Tamura's two comments about Paul Allen's twitterings and the upload problems.

Advice: Check your local library's databases!

I was surprised on Wednesday when I checked the Internal Databases at the Chula Vista Public Library - they provided access to digital images of the Chula Vista Star-News (a weekly, then a twice-weekly) newspaper from 1938 to 1969.

I wondered if there was online access to the database from home using my library card, and there was. Very cool! I had not seen it last year when I looked at online library databases.

This access will help me look for obituaries from that time period when I answer queries. However, the newspaper pages are not indexed, so it will be a cold search just like I do now at the library. The benefit is that I can capture an image and not rely on the lousy microfilm machine and printer at the library.

The user interface is fairly poor, but usable once you figure out how to access a specific newspaper issue.

I decided to look and see if there was a birth announcement for me - my parents lived at 577 Twin Oaks Avenue in Chula Vista from their marriage in 1942 until my farther went into the US Navy in early 1944. I checked the pages after my birth date, and found a shower announcement in the 5 November 1943 issue on page 5, as shown below:

In the right-hand column is this article:


Pink and Blue Shower For Mrs. F. Sever

Mrs. Henry Graham was recently hostess at a pink and blue shower at her home on Twin Oaks Avenue honoring Mrs. Frederick Seaver. The guests presented the honoree with a lovely play pen.

Those present for the party were Mrs. Carringer, Mrs. Jessie Lee Veteto, Mrs. Dwight Gove, Mrs. Sally Lyons, Mrs. Jean Hobson, Mary Alice Jordan and Josephine Meyers.


That's it - I think a "pink and blue shower" means they didn't know if the baby was a boy or a girl. I'm going to review the next few issues to see if there is a birth announcement for this bouncing "blue" boy. They spelled the last name wrong in the headline, too. Oh well!

The only names I recognize from the list of attendees are Mrs. Carringer (my mother's mother, Emily) and Mrs. Sally Lyons (a lifelong friend and sorority sister of my mother). My guess is that the others are neighbors, sorority sisters or school teacher colleagues of my mother. I was surprised that my mother's grandmother, Georgia Auble, wasn't in attendance.

The lesson here is: Check your local library's online databases from time to time - you may find a useful genealogy resource is available to you at home.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Footnote in the News - Homestead Records has been announcing their latest collections very effectively - like many other genea-bloggers I received the press release today from therm. You can read the press release at Miriam Midkiff's Ancestories blog and Pat Richley's DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog, among others.

The key part of the announcement is:

"The Homestead Act of 1862 was a landmark event at a time when the American Nation was being torn apart by the Civil War. These records, most of which have never been microfilmed, contain more than simply the names of those who petitioned the U.S. Government for land. They tell the rich story of a fast-growing country and those men and women eager to live the American dream by becoming land owners.

" has already digitized and indexed the Homestead Records from Broken Bow, Nebraska featuring almost 40,000 records. To view samples of these records and see what Footnote users have discovered, click here. Working together with its’ partners, will continue to release more records on the site."

I was curious, so I clicked the link above, and went to the Broken Bow, Nebraska Story Page at There is a wealth of information about the Homestead records, written by Roberta King. The summary says:

"The papers in the homestead files offer a richly detailed picture of the entryman’s situation at that time in his life. They state the value of his property; the amount, description, and value of crops grown; and the dimensions of his house, barn, or corncrib. These are but a few of the fascinating details that present a picture of exactly how things were at that time, in that place, for that entryman and his family."

There are descriptions of the Application, the Testimonies, Military records, Grasshopper Acts, Court Cases, Medical information, and Citizenship papers. If all of these documents are in a typical Homestead file, then this database is very rich in information - and not just for the entryman - there is information in the Testimonies from two of his neighbors. And the names are indexed and found in a Footnote Search.

At present, only the 1,824 Broken Bow, Nebraska Homestead Land Entry Case Records from 1890 to 1908 are digitized and indexed. Hundreds of thousands more Homestead Land Entry Case Records will be digitized and indexed over time and be available on

This is a great start on an important and under-utilized genealogy resource - I look forward to using this database in the future.

LDS FamilySearch Digitizing and Indexing

I was happy to read about the interview, and view the video, that Dick Eastman had with Paul Nauta, the Public Relations guy for the LDS web site, Dick's post is here, and the 10 minute interview on Roots Television is here.

In the interview, Paul highlights some facts about the ongoing digitizing and indexing effort bringing LDS microfilmed records, and newly filmed records, into the online genealogy world. Some facts from the interview:

* LDS has over 2.5 million microfilms in the Granite Mountain "vault"
* The microfilm images will be converted to digital images over the next 8 to 10 years.
* They have digitized 3% of the records to date
* There are 15 high speed scanners working in the "vault" digitizing microfilms
* There are 200 digital camera teams in 45 countries creating new digital images
* 40 million digital images are being added per year.
* FamilySearch Indexing has been successful, but they need more volunteers to index records
* The FamilySearch Pilot site has 500 million records online now - indexed images and non-indexed images.
* Researchers can view unindexed images on the Pilot site - just like using a microfilm reader, but you don't have to go to an FHC.

Devoted readers of Genea-Musings know that I am enthusiastic about the FamilySearch digitizing and indexing efforts, and greatly appreciate the records on the FamilySearch Pilot site. I believe that digitizing and indexing of original records with primary information - land deeds, probate records, town records, church records, etc. - will solve some (but not all) of my "elusive ancestors" problems by bringing hitherto "hidden" mentions of family members, colleagues, in-laws, etc. to my attention. Many of these records will be available online at the LDS FamilySearch site for free access at home or at the local FHCs. I'm excited about this, and very impatient!

There are seven interviews from the recent Federation of Genealogical Societies conference currently posted on - with Dick Eastman interviewing Tim Sullivan (CEO of TGN), Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, Melinde Lutz Sanborn, Maureen Taylor, Brian Donovan, and Feargal O'Donnell. These short videos are very useful - you get information in their own words, and can sense the personality and enthusiasm for genealogy of each subject.

56th Carnival of Genealogy - Ten Essential Books

The 56th Carnival of Genealogy has been posted by Lori Thornton on her Smoky Mountain Family Historian blog - in two parts! The theme for this Carnival was: Ten Essential Books -- the ten books in your genealogical library that you find absolutely essential. The first part is the actual Carnival - the list of 33 submitters and their posts. The second part is a compilation of the books listed by all of the submitters. Lori did an excellent job of sorting this all out.

One excellent result of this Carnival is having a great list of reference and research books in one place - I've already found three books that I really need to review for my ancestral families.

My own contribution was 10 Essential Books in my Genealogy Library in which I listed 22 books (10 essential books, plus 12 that have been helpful in my research - I didn't follow the rules, and Lori discreetly slapped my hand).

The theme for the next Carnival of Genealogy is: I read it in the news! Newspapers can be a wonderful source of family history information. Share some aspect about your family history that you learned about in a newspaper. Articles, advertisements, obituaries, classified ads, photos... all are fair game if they appeared in a newspaper. What did you learn about your family from this information? Was the information accurate? How did you learn about this information... online search? Perusing old newspapers? A clipping saved by a relative? Fill us in on your family scoops... who in your family was in the news? The deadline for submissions is October 1st. The next edition will be hosted at the Creative Gene blog.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday, 20 September

From the CGSSD VP of Administration, Linda Hervig:


The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meets on Saturday, September 20, 2008 from 9:00 am to noon.

9:00 - Brief Announcements and user groups for Legacy, Macintosh, and Special Topic session, "Computer Genealogy 101," by Randy Seaver.

10:15 - A break and refreshments

10:30 - Announcements followed by Program "DNA for Genealogists" by Barbara Bowling Gosink, M.D.

This presentation is an update of Dr. Gosink's talk given to CGSSD last year. She will cover everything an intellectually curious non-scientist needs to know about DNA basics and current applications. You'll learn what DNA is, what it does, and how it is used in genealogical research. Time permitting, she will update you on DNA applications in other areas: medicine, ancestral human migration, and what DNA teaches us about our closest primate relatives. You'll laugh, learn, and leave with up-to-date information!

If you have any burning questions you would like Dr. Gosink to cover in her presentation, please submit them to her at by September 8 and she will attempt to address them. There will also be a Q&A following the talk.

Dr. Gosink is Professor Emeritus of Radiology at UCSD Medical School, where she worked 30 years as a clinician, teacher and researcher. She is a long-term volunteer for Paws'itive Teams (, a nonprofit organization which trains service dogs to assist mobility-disabled San Diegans. Not surprisingly, she loves giving presentations about ways these highly-trained dogs can assist their partners. Recently, Dr. Gosink completed a rigorous 6-month course to become a certified Master Gardener. Now she serves as one of many dedicated volunteers answering questions on the San Diego Master Gardener Hotline (858-694-2860).

We meet at the Robinson Auditorium complex on the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) campus in La Jolla. From North Torrey Pine Road turn at Pangea Drive into UCSD. Free parking is available in the parking garage on the left; use any A, B, or S space. Signs will mark directions to our meeting room. Please refer to our website; or the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies website for driving directions and a map.


Yep, I get 75 minutes (probably less computer setup and audience drift-in time) to present Computer Genealogy 101... that's a big task in a small time window. Right now, my presentation has 90 slides - I'll have to talk fast! My plan is to pass a list of links from the talk, in a PDF file, through the CGSSD email list after the talk so that everyone has a copy - even those that go to the Legacy and MacIntosh classes, and those that couldn't make it to the meeting.

Last chance for any suggestions for absolutely great web site suggestions - not many responded to my last call. For those of you that did comment or email me, thank you.

Family Tree Wallpaper

I was reading the latest posts on my Bloglines and saw the post on the It' blog titled Wallpaper 2.0. Check this real "wallpaper" - like on "the wall" (not on your computer screen):

Isn't that really cool? I'm so jealous...I want it for my family room! I wonder if Generations Maps can do this?

They have six generations of pictures on this wallpaper - that's quite a collection, isn't it? Hmmm, if I put my children on the trunk, then I would be back to my great-great-grandparents, and I have pictures of only a few of them. I could do it with only five generations - I think I have photos of most of them - and it might actually fit on one wall.
The photo is on Flickr at

Using Family Tree Maker 2008 - Post 26: Web Search V

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.

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, I demonstrated how FTM 2008 uses the Web Clipping feature to put information from web sites into FTM 2008 Notes.

In this post, I will show the results of searching and how to Web Clip a picture into FTM 2008.

In Web Search, I clicked on the link in the left-hand panel. The Search form for appeared with Isaac Seaver's name, birth and death years and locations input in the form (since I clicked on Web Search with Isaac Seaver as my selected person on the People page), as shown below:

I clicked on the Search button, and the search results from appeared, as shown below:

I could have clicked on one of the items, found information I wanted to include in my FTM 2008 database, Web clipped it (like in the last post), and moved on.

However, I'm going to use the image above to demonstrate how to capture a picture or image on a web page. Since the page above doesn't have an image I want to capture (of an ancestor or a scene), I will capture the logo in the top left-hand corner of the screen. First, you have to click the Media tab in the lower panel. When you run your mouse over the image, a green boundary defining the image appears, as shown below:

Click the image you want to merge into your tree. The image appears in the Search result detail pane, as shown below (note the image in the lower right-hand corner):

When you click on Merge merge (highlighted in orange on the screen above), the image is merged into your tree, linked to the currently selected person, as shown below:

You also get a message that says "Media merged successfully."

This ability to capture an image from a web page (it could be any web page found using any of the search tools on the left-hand panel) is valuable - the user can easily put the image into the Media collection attached to a person. If the user wants to attach more persons to the image, then they can use the Media icon and procedures to do that.

I could demonstrate using, and to capture more text or images, but that would be superflous, so I won't in order to save bandwidth.

I think I've covered most of the Family Tree Maker 2008 features in this series of posts, with the exception of Creating a Book using the Publish icon screen. Since FTM 2008 offers only creating books using AncestryPress, I didn't think that would be useful in this series, other than to point it out.

I will try to summarize the "what I like" and "what I don't like" about Family Tree Maker 2008 in the next series of posts (I can hear many readers saying "it's about time!").

Family Photographs - Post 23: Lyle Carringer Family in 1919

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

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

This is a picture of my mother, Betty Virginia Carringer, and her parents, Lyle and Emily (Auble) Carringer. It was taken in late 1919 or early 1920, since Betty was a babe in arms. She has a beautiful white dress and head covering, and Lyle and Emily are dressed up - was the occasion Betty's baptism? I don't have a baptism record for her. And check out Emily's fur coat and hat. At first glance, I thought that the hat included all of the foliage above Emily's head, but on close inspection it looks like there is a young palm tree directly in back of Emily. There is an automobile in back of the family, you can just see the left front wheel to the left of Emily, and the steering wheel to the right of Lyle. I think that this picture was taken in the driveway of the Carringer house at 2130 Fern Street in San Diego, looking toward the back of the house.
This photograph was handed down from Lyle and Emily (Auble) Carringer to Betty Virginia (Carringer) Seaver (who married Fred Seaver) to me, their son.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

US City Directories

City directories may be one of the most under-utilized resources for genealogy researchers. Why? Because they are usually held only in local repositories. And very few have been digitized or transcribed and are online in a searchable index. However, some of them are available in online databases or regional repositories.

The web site provides lists - by state and city, of city directories that are available at major repositories, like the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, the National Archives, the Library of Congress in Washington DC, and several other repositories. The repositories listed on the web site include:

* Alabama Department of History
* Brigham Young University
* Clarksville-Montgomery County Public Library; TN
* Colorado State Archives
* Columbus-Lowndes Public Library; Columbus, MS
* Excelsior Springs Historical Museum; Missouri
* Family History Library
* Flint Public Library; Michigan
* Grand Rapids Public Library; Michigan
* Idaho State Historical Society
* Kansas State Historical Society
* Kentucky Historical Society
* Library of Congress
* Logan Library; Utah
* Lyon County Historical Archives; Kansas
* Midwest Historical and Genealogical Society Library, Wichita, KS
* Minnesota State University; Mankato
* Monterey Family History Center; Seaside, CA
* National Archives
* Tennessee State Library and Archives
* Texas State Library
* University of Utah
* Washington Memorial Library; Macon, GA
* Wyoming State Archives

There is an opportunity for local societies to submit lists of city directories from local repositories not on the above list. See the submission page at has a number of City Directories available online - check the Directories and Member Lists here. I found that they had Leominster, Massachusetts (my father's home town) City Directories from 1880 to 1963 (not every year, but a great selection).

In the case of the LDS Family History Library, they often have the city directories on microfilm listed in the Family History Library Catalog. For instance, the FHLC has City Directories for Leominster, Massachusetts from 1883 to 1935, with two to six directories on each film. I could order these films at the local Family History Center (FHC) for about $6 each and read them when they arrive at the FHC.

The FHLC also has the San Diego City Directories on microfilm from 1897 to 1935. Of course, the San Diego Public Library, the National City Public Library and the Chula Vista Public Library have nearly complete collections of San Diego City Directories up into the 1980's.

Many of the City Directories I've seen have an alphabetical listing of the residents and a reverse directory - with street-by-street address listings of the residents.

City Directories can provide clues to the persons living in a residence, their occupation(s), the address of the residence, whether they own or rent the residence, and their neighbors. Reviewing the City Directories over many years can provide a trace of the family as they moved from house-to-house and job to job. There may be listings or advertisements for the companies where the residents worked.

Adding a Foster Relationship in FTM 2008

Having written a series of posts about Using Family Tree Maker 2008, and I'm not yet finished with the series yet, I have started to get "how-to" questions in email from readers and colleagues.

One of my readers wrote (names changed to protect identity):

"I have an ancestor John Smith who was also known as John Jones during his life. I found that he was adopted by (or fostered, or grew up in) the Andrew and Mary Jones family. Mary's maiden name was Smith, and I think that John might have been Mary's son but probably was not Andrew's son, since Andrew Jones and Mary Smith married after John Jones/Smith was born. This is back in the 1850 to 1860 time frame. How do I attach John Jones/Smith to adoptive/foster parents, Andrew Jones and Mary Smith in FTM 2008?"

Family Tree Maker 2008 can do this using this process (assuming there is an entry for John Jones/Smith and a family for Andrew and Mary (Smith) Jones):

1) Go to the family that you want to add the adopted/fostered child into. In the People menu, the Person tab > Relationship view. You should have the Andrew Jones and Mary Smith family on your screen.

2) Click on the Person menu item (below the People icon) and click on Attach/Detach Person and pick Attach Child.

3) Select the person from the menu who is to be adopted child. click OK and a list of the families to put him in appears. Pick Andrew Jones and Mary Smith, and click OK. John Sanders/Barker will appear in the list of children.

4) Highlight him and edit the relationship box on the right-hand panel - pick Adopted or foster - your choice!

5) You'll have to do this for both relationships - father and mother.

6) You can add the biological father for John Jones/Smith (even if it's Mr. Smith or Mr. Somebody) to your database. You can make it a Biological or Natural relationship to John Jones/Smith using the same process above.

It is possible to have more than one parental relationship in Family Tree Maker 2008. Your notes should clearly describe the situation, the available facts, and your conclusions based on all of the available evidence.

I am willing to answer "easy" questions about using FTM 2008, and will post my answers occasionally if they are useful to my readers and colleagues. Another resource for answering FTM 2008 questions or solving problems is at the FTM 2008 FAQ web site and the Using Family Tree Maker Genforum message board.

Searching for Fred on Footnote

I must admit that I haven't revisited my Footnote Pages since my two posts last week - see here and here.

I wondered if my Footnote Pages and photographs had been indexed yet - and I wondered if Footnote Pages could be found from the main Footnote search engine.

I decided to see if my father's photographs and Footnote Page could be found by the Search engine. I input [Frederick Seaver] in the Search engine, as shown in the screen below, and clicked Search.

The Search resulted in 2,985 matches for my search query. Most of them were in the City Directories and News categories. I decided to look in the Category listing and saw that there were 2 entries in the "Member Contributed Images." The screen below shows this:

I clicked on the "Member contributed Pages" link and it showed my two photographs linked to Frederick Seaver in the Footnote database, as shown below:

I clicked on one of them, and saw the wedding photograph and the information about the photograph on the right, as shown below:

I clicked the "Annotations" and "Comments" buttons at the bottom right, but there was no information there. I could find no way to get to the Footnote Pages for Frederick Seaver that I had entered from the main Footnote Search box.

OK, I thought to myself. What about on Footnote Pages itself. I went back to the main Footnote screen and clicked on the "Try Me" in the Footnote Pages box. I entered [Frederick Seaver] in the Footnote Pages search screen as shown below:

This brought up two matches - one of which is my father's page and the other is a Social Security Death Index page for another Frederick Seaver.

I clicked on my father's Footnote Page, and the information I entered last week was there:

So to answer my two questions:

The Footnote main Search box finds photographs uploaded as part of Footnote Pages, but not the Footnote Page itself. The only way to find Footnote Pages is to use the Footnote Page box on the main Footnote web page.

I am not a Footnote subscriber. Everything I did on this post was free for me to perform - the searches are free, and access to Member Contributed Images and Footnote Pages is open to any researcher.

UPDATED 9:40 a.m.: My San Diego area genea-blogging colleague, X-Faith, has posted about Footnote Pages today on his Family History Tracing blog - here and here - he has some suggestions for Footnote to ponder.

Are X-Faith and I the only ones investigating and blogging about Footnote Pages?

Are they just a nice-to-have-and-search or a benefit to the genealogy community?

If nothing else, uploading photographs to Footnote are an excellent way to archive your old family photographs - and it's free.

Monday, September 15, 2008

10 Essential Books in my Genealogy Library

There are "essential" books and "really useful" books in my genealogy library. They are often not the same works.

The "essential" books - those that I need to consult on an occasional basis, include (in no particular order):

1) Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills

2) The Family Tree Problem Solver: Proven Methods for Scaling the Inevitable Brick Wall by Marsha Hoffman Rising

3) Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case by Christine Rose

4) The BCG Genealogical Standards Manual by Board for Certification Of Genealogists

5) Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills

6) The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, Third Edition by Val D. Greenwood

7) Courthouse Research for Family Historians: Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures by Christine Rose

8) Land & Property Research in the United States by E Wade Hone

9) Your Guide to the Federal Census by Kathleen Hinckley

10) They Became Americans: Finding Naturalization Records and Ethnic Origins by Loretto Dennis Szucs

The publications that have been most useful to me in my research have been specific to certain localities - especially New England, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York. They include:

1) Genealogist's handbook for New England research by Marcia Wiswall Lindberg

2) Mayflower Families Through 5 Generations (Volume Three): Family of George Soule / With Addendum by Anne Harding

3) Mayflower Families Through Five Generations (Vol. 13: William White) by Robert M. Sherman, Ruth W. Sherman, and Robert S. Wakefield

4) Mayflower Families Through Five Generations: Descendants of the Pilgrims Who Landed at Plymouth, Mass., December 1620 (Vol. 18, Richard Warren (3 Volumes) by Robert S. Wakefield

5) Mayflower Families Through Five Generations (Vol. 12: Francis Cooke) by Ralph Van Wood.

6) The great migration begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633 (3 Volumes) by Robert Charles Anderson

7) Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, 1634-1635 (7 Volumes) by Robert Charles Anderson, George Freeman Sanborn, Melinde Lutz Sanborn, and New England Historic Genealogical Society

8) The Town Records of Roxbury, Massachusetts, 1647 to 1730: Being Volume One of the Original by Robert J. Dunkle and Ann S. Lainhart

9) Plymouth Colony: Its History and People by Eugene Aubrey Stratton

10) History of the Town of Medfield, Massachusetts, 1650 - 1886 by William S. Tilden

11) Early Germans of New Jersey: Their History, Churches and Genealogies by Hermann Theodore F. Chambers

12) New England Historical and Genealogical Register (1847-2008) quarterly edited and published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society

13) The American Genealogist (1922-2008) quarterly edited and published privately.

Oops, more than ten. Oh well. I don't own all of the above - especially the Great Migration books, but I've obtained a wealth of information from them.

There are many more - I've listed my own genealogy library at LibraryThing.

Kenyatta is looking for bloggers and writers

Kenyatta Berry wrote a note on the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) mailing list this morning calling for bloggers and writers to join her in a web site and blog effort. The post is "Bloggers and writers wanted" at

She wrote:

"I am looking for content writers and bloggers for a series of blogs we are launching in the next six months. Specifically those with experience in Native American (American Indian), African American, Presidential Genealogy, Beginning Genealogy, Genetics, Family Health History and Research Methodology. We are also launching a query service for ethnic genealogy.

"This is an unpaid position and is ideal for new writers looking to broaden their reach in the genealogy community. Compensation will increase as the site grows and we start to generate revenue from advertising and sponsorships. If you are interested and looking for an opportunity to share your knowledge, please contact me off list for more details."

Kenyatta's contact information is in the mailing list post.

My read on this is that there may be a market for responding to queries by expert writers and researchers in the listed topics.

5th Smile for the Camera posted - Crowning Glory!

Who knew that there were so many different styles of hair, and hair coverings? Well, the footnoteMaven knew, and her 5th Smile for the Camera carnival post displays all of them in their crowning glory on fM's Shades of the Departed blog..

There are 52 submitters of 54 blog posts in this monthly Carnival with the theme of "Crowning Glory." I submitted two blog posts - Ada Woodward - isn't she beautiful? (the best head of hair in my photo collection) and Family Photographs - Post 22: The Boys (my brothers and I in about 1948).

The next Smile for the Camera Carnival will be hosted by Becky Wiseman on the Kinexxions blog. The theme will be Funny Bone. Show us that picture that never fails to bring a smile to your face! An amusing incident, a funny face, an unusual situation. Share! Choose a photograph of an ancestor, relative, yourself, or an orphan photograph that tickles your Funny Bone and bring it to the carnival. Admission is free with every photograph!

Your submission may include as many or as few words as you feel are necessary to describe your treasured photograph. Those words may be in the form of an expressive comment, a quote, a journal entry, a poem (your own or a favorite), a scrapbook page, or a heartfelt article. The choice is yours!

Deadline for submission is midnight (PT) 10 October, 2008.

HOW TO SUBMIT: Use the handy submission form provided by Blog Carnival, or select the Bumper Sticker in the upper right hand corner.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Polish History and Genealogical Research - SDGS Program on 13 September

I attended the San Diego Genealogical Society meeting on Saturday, 13 September. Paul Lipinski, a former President of the Polish Genealogical Society of California, spoke on Polish History and Genealogical Research. The speaker presentation summary and curriculum vitae is posted here.

Paul's presentation was in two parts - a thorough review of the history of the area of Central Europe, which includes the area now called Poland, complete with maps and boundary line changes, language changes, etc. It's very confusing for many people, including myself, but the message was clear - you really need to know the political boundaries, the cultural landscape and the time frame in order to find records for a specific ancestral village in this area.

The second part of the talk was about the format and language that records can be found in depending on the time frame. He listed records for the Prussian partition, the Russian partition and the Austria partition. During this part of the presentation, Paul showed many examples of records with people highlighted. He talked a bit about the different calendar systems, and how the Roman Catholic churches in the area switched from Julian to Gregorian in 1582, but the Russian-controlled regions didn't switch until 1918. He touched on Jewish records only briefly, noting that they can occasionally be found in the Christian church records.

Paul's handout contained references to gazetteers available on microfilm from the FHL for the Polish, Prussian/German and Austrian regions of Poland. He also provided a list of websites of interest.

We all came away with a better understanding of the complexity of the different types of records in Poland and vicinity, and an admiration for research performed in four or more languages over several centuries.

Paul's talk was about an hour in length, so after the break for refreshments, there was a panel to answer questions from the audience about genealogy in general or particular. There were five of us, including myself and Paul. I may post some of the questions and answers during the next week or so.

Thank you, blog-lovers everywhere

I have received this gadget, or whatever it's called from several genea-bloggers, including:

* Jessica Oswalt on the Jessica's GeneJournal blog on September 4

* Sheri Fenley on The Educated Genealogist blog on September 12

* Janet Hovorka on The Chart Chick blog on 17 September

* Renee Zamora on Renee's Genealogy Blog on 17 September

* somebody else and I forgot to write down the name ... please contact me in Comments. I'm sorry! If you tell me, I'll edit the post and make my embarrassment disappear!

I really do appreciate the genea-blog-love. Thank you, all.

Now my job is to pick seven more bloggers whose blogs I "love." How about "like a lot?" I'm afraid I don't love any blogs, even my own.

I have over 330 blogs on my Bloglines list and I have not kept track of the genealogy this "I Love Your Blog" award. I have no clue as to who has received it and who hasn't. I don't have the time today to do the research, and then find seven blogs to pass it to.

I'm going to pass on passing it on for now.

UPDATED: 17 September 2008

Best of the Genea-Blogs - September 7-13, 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:

* Whose Relatives? -I and Whose Relatives? - II by John D. Reid on the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog. John poses two puzzles asking readers to identify the Canadian political associated with well-known or celebrity relatives. I haven't tried to solve these - I wonder if anyone has yet?

* County Histories - Checking the Facts by Sheri Fenley on The Educated Genealogist blog. Sheri analyzes an entry in a County History book for one of her ancestors to determine if they got the facts right. It's something each of us should be doing routinely for our ancestors. Sheri followed up on several of the facts and received much more information about her ancestor.

* Tuesday Tales from the Road - Vermont by Mary Mettler on the California Genealogical Society and Library blog. Mary's travels takes her to Westford, Middlesex and Barre in Vermont. She visited some family places and some repositories.

* OMG! The most amazing thing just happened and KENNEDY vs. UPSHAW and another, Supreme Court of Texas, June 18, 1886 by Ruth Stephens on the Bluebonnet Country Genealogy blog. Ruth tried out the new Google News Archive Search and found a Texas Supreme Court document about the estate of her 4th-great-grandfather. Share her joy, and read her document - what a great trove of family history!

* Truth or Goof? Where's the Proof? by Mary Penner on Juliana Smith's 24/7 Family History Circle blog. Mary wrangles with "facts" and "truth," then analyzes a death certificate to determine if it is an original or derivative source, primary or secondary information, and direct or indirect evidence. But what if the information is incorrect?

* Beyond the Naturalization Index by Juliana Smith on the 24/7 Family History circle blog. Juliana writes an excellent article about naturalization records and the USCIS genealogy program recently announced by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

* Naked Ladies in the Hill Country Redux by Terry Thornton on the Hill Country of Monroe County Mississippi blog. I still don't know what a "naked lady" is - all I see is flowers on Terry's posts. Where oh where are they all? Actually, I just want the hits I'll get on this post from Google searchers. I think that's what Terry wants too!

* Remembering 9-11-01 by Terry Thornton on the Hill Country of Monroe County Mississippi blog. Terry's memories almost parallel my own. He also provides a nice list of other genea-bloggers posts on the subject.

* Pennsylvania Wanderings blog by Bonnie Jean MacDonald. Bonnie's entire blog is about her current research trip in Pennsylvania. This week, she went from the FGS Conference in Philadelphia, to the State Capital in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania State Library in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg, the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, and the Northumberland Historical Society in Sunbury. Her posts have pictures and many excellent comments and advice about researching in this part of Pennsylvania.

* What I learned at FGS 2008 by Anne Mitchell on the Blog. Anne watched people using the New Search features on at FGS 2008, and came back with some insights. Not enough for many readers, though - read the comments.

* Genealogical Round up (11 September) by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak on the Roots Television: Megan's Roots World blog. Megan's roundup covers FGS, RootsTV, DNA, Facebook, and much more. A nice list.

* Meet My Avatar by Lidian on The Virtual Dime Museum blog. Lidian has a favorite photograph that she uses for her "About Me" picture (I've always figured that it was a picture of her in Victorian dress!), and the card says the woman's name is Carrie Bullowa. Lidian is hunting for more information about her.

* Are You a Transitional Genealogist? by Christy Fillerup on the blog. Christy covers the Transitional Genealogists Forum (TGF) mailing list, the TG Study Group (TGSG) and the ProGen Study Group, all of which I participate in on a monthly basis. If you are interested in participating in professional development like this, join the TGF mailing list and contact the LGSG and PGSG leaders.

* Friday from the Collectors- September 12 by Joe Bott on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog. Joe discusses how he got started collecting old photographs and starting his web site with mystery photographs just waiting to be identified.

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!