Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday Night Fun - Who's Number 1000?

It's Saturday night, and I'm sitting here wondering who else is pecking away on his/her keyboard not having any real fun. So, let's play a little game with our genealogy software:

GOAL: Find out who is Reference Number 1,000 in your genealogy software.

Sounds like an easy task, right? Well, not if you have over 20,000 persons in your database like I do. I worked with Family Tree Maker 16 for almost 30 minutes trying to figure it out this afternoon, and failed. I must be looking for RINs in all the wrong places - the Help file didn't really help.

Then I tried Legacy 7 and it was fairly easy to do - [Search] > Search for [Individual], Where to Look [Individual RIN], How to Look [Equal To], What to Look For [1000] and click [Find First]. This solved in less than one second.

I tried Family Tree Maker 2009 and it was fairly easy to do also - [Edit] > [Find Individual] > put [Reference ID] in first box, put [1000] in second box, and click [Find]. This took over 30 seconds to solve, since it found not only #1000, but #10000, 10001, etc - all instances of 1000.

Family Historian 3.1 (the free trial version) can do it, but it wasn't intuitive: [View] > [Standard Lists] > [Record Identifiers]. In [Record ID] column, search for [1000]. This took about 5 seconds to solve, since I had to scroll down.

In RootsMagic 3 (I have the free trial version), it is relatively easy: [Search] > click on [Ref #] button at bottom, enter [1000] and click [OK]. This took less than one second to solve.

In Family Tree Maker 16, it turned out to be similar to FTM 2009: [Edit] > [Find Individual] > Search [Reference number] and for = [1000], click [Find Next]. This took less than one second to solve.

So who is my #1000? Fortunately, he is the same in all of my databases loaded into the different programs.

William Simonds (born 15 April 1651 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA, USA, died 7 June 1672 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA, USA, son of William Simonds and Judith Pippen.)

wasn't that fun? Aboutl ike having your wisdom teeth out, eh?

Can you find your #1,000? If you don't have 1,000 persons in your database, then try to find #100.

Tell me who they are in Comments, or blog about it yourself.

If you are using a different software program, tell me how to do this task in your program, or blog about yourself.

One Stone at a Time

I described the Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego last week on the South San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit blog. While I was there, I photographed a number of interesting stones in the Grand Army of the Republic area of the cemetery.

Here is the stone for Albert F. Dill (1840-1905) and his wife Isabelle Gay Dill (1848-1924).

The information on the stone about Albert's service reads:

"Co. E, 43rd Mass. Inf. 1862-1863
Acting Ensign U.S. Navy, 1863-1865"

I wonder how many other Civil War veterans served in more than one military service organization?

I decided to do a little research on Albert F. Dill from Massachusetts, since I have a Dill connection to Cape Cod. Is Albert a distant cousin of mine? Here is what I found in about 30 minutes of Internet research (it helped to have my own Dill database available too!):

Albert Freeman Dill was born 27 September 1840 in Eastham, Massachusetts to Freeman and Elizabeth (Collins) Dill. He married (1) Susan Horton on 6 April 1862 in Eastham, Massachusetts, and they had at least two children - Nellie F. Dill (born 1862, died ????) and Albert F. Dill (born 20 April 1864, died 7 September 1864). Did his wife and children die at a young age? I found the death of son Albert, but not the death of Nellie or his wife Susan in the Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910.

Albert served in both the 43rd Massachusetts Infantry and as an ensign in the United States Navy during the Civil War. I could not find Albert or Susan Dill in the 1870 census.

He apparently married (2) Isabella Gay (? surname?) in about 1870. There is an Isabella G. Dill, born about 1848, in the 1870 census in Providence RI. Perhaps Albert was out to sea during the 1870 census and was not enumerated.

In the 1880 US Census, Albert Dill (age 40, born MA, a sea captain) and Isabella Dill (age 32, born MA) are residing in Oakland CA with a Michael Collins family. This Collins family is from Massachusetts, so they may be related to Albert's mother.

In the 1900 US census, A. F. Dill (born Aug 1840, married 30 years, born MA, parents born MA, a pilot) and wife Isabel G. Dill (born June 1847, married 30 years, 3 children, born MA, parents born RI) reside at 239 Boston Avenue in San Diego, San Diego County, CA. They have three children, Alice L. Dill (born Dec 1882 in CA), Burt S. Dill (born Nov 1889 in CA), and Harold W. Dill (born Jan 1895 in CA).

There are two entries in the U.S. Navy Pension Index for an Albert F. Dill on - numbers 5298 and 55035.

Isabelle G. Dill was enumerated in San Diego in the 1910 and 1920 census records.

I took this picture because I wondered if Albert F. Dill, and his children, were distant cousins of mine. Since he is from Cape Cod, I am quite sure that they are, since my Elizabeth Horton Dill was born in Eastham in about 1794.

I can trace Albert's line back to Peter Dill, the immigrant in about 1660. Perhaps some of Albert's descendants will see this post and contact me at He, and they, has a wonderful New England ancestry - especially on Cape Cod and in early Plymouth!

Friday, November 28, 2008 Aunt Gerry

The Day after Thanksgiving has been suggested as a National Day of Listening - you can see the StoryCorps web page with the concept and the opportunities here.

While I haven't done this myself - telling my own memories on audio or videotape - I have written quite a bit of my autobiography on these pages over the past 30 months or so.

More importantly to me, I've been on the "Listening" end of several audiotapes done by my uncle, Ed Seaver, my aunt, Geraldine (Seaver) Remley, and my aunt, Marion (Seaver) Hemphill, all of whom passed away in the last ten years. Since my father died in 1983, before I really started my family history research, I can only find out about his life, and their parents and grandparents, by listening to his siblings.

I can hear my Aunt Gerry say these words, in her beautiful classical New England accent, about her early years:

"I was born on May 18, 1917, in the upstairs bedroom of 290 Central Street where my mother had also given birth to my brother, Edward, who was next oldest to me, four and a half years older, and where we had lived since before he was born, because my father was superintendent of the manufacturing shop which was next door.

"This house, a rather old one and included in the history of Leominster, both Ed and I have seen a picture of it as being located originally in Monument Square in Leominster, it was subsequently moved down to Central Street next to the shop we always called it, Paton's Manufacturing. My father was given the use of the house rent-free when he took this job. It was a wonderful house for he and mother to have, because there were six children and it was big enough for us and the heat came from the shop next door, it was always warm and comfortable.

"I was born into a family of adults, as they say, the nearest one to me was four and a half years older. I was the seventh child, though one brother had died when he was four and a half years old and I did not know him.

"My paternal grandparents who had lived on Lancaster Street, the dates that you have discovered on the gravestones, my grandfather Seaver died in 1922, my grandmother had died two years before that. Her mother, Sophia Hildreth, did not die until 1923. Those two sets of grandparents, the Hildreths and Seavers, had lived in the same house, as I understand it, but Sophia outlived them all. I was only three years old when Grandma Seaver died and five years old when Grandpa Seaver died, and six years old when my great-grandmother Hildreth died, and my only memory of any of them is of my great-grandmother, and I think it is because she is the one that lived the longest. But also when we used to go over there and visit, I can't remember anything about my grandfather, he evidently was a silent man, and only a slight impression of Grandma Seaver, but I have quite a vivid memory of it was always Grandma Hildreth who was kind and sweet and loving and paid me quite a bit of attention."

That is about two-thirds of one typewritten page from the transcript taken from the three audiotapes I have from Aunt Gerry, made in March of 1991. The transcript is 37 pages! The transcript I have from Uncle Ed is 15 pages, and the one I have from Aunt Marion is 8 pages. I am so fortunate to have these audiotapes and the transcripts. I wish I had even more! Needless to say, having these audiotapes, and having reviewed their photograph albums with them, and after talking to each of them for hours (a most pleasant experience!), I have a fine record of their lives and the lives of their parents and grandparents. I just wish that I had done this with my father also.

My plan is to make some of these "memories" available to my extended family (children, brothers, and cousins) by publishing them in the Seaver-Richmond Family Journal - my 16-page Christmas newsletter to the family.
If you have living relatives - parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, distant cousins, etc., I encourage you to interview them and document your interview with extensive notes, audiotape or videotape/digital tape so that you can capture their memories of their life and the memories told to them by their parents and grandparents. It is a good idea to prepare them for these interviews, and ask them to share their family papers and photographs to help their memory and to get the names and dates right.

More Interviews from RootsTelevision

As I suspected during the Wholly Genes Conference and Cruise, Dick Eastman and Megan Smolenyak were busy during the seven days on the cruise ship making videos for RootsTelevision of some of the speakers and attendees on the cruise. They include:

* John Titford - who gave two presentations on research in England, and is a really funny guy!

* Craig Scott - who gave two presentations on military records, and is President and CEO of Heritage Books, Inc.

* Cyndi Howells - who gave presentations on maps and creating family web sites, and is the web-mistress of

* John Grenham - who gave two presentations on Irish research

* Elizabeth Shown Mills - who gave two presentations on methodology, and is a highly respected author and researcher.

* Buzzy Jackson - who gave no presentations, but has a really intriguing book coming out in 2010. I wish that I had talked with her during the cruise.

I've watched and listened to all of these videos now, and am still impressed by all of these people. This was a really good collection of speakers on the conference and cruise. These videos are excellent vehicles to "meet" and "hear" some of the most informed, interesting and well-known people in the genealogy industry.

If more videos from the cruise come along on RootsTelevision, I will add them to this list.
Are you watching RootsTelevision on a regular basis? You should - it's FREE, educational and often humorous.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!


by Edgar Albert Guest (c) 1917

Gettin' together to smile an' rejoice,
An' eatin' an' laughin' with folks of your choice;
An' kissin' the girls an' declarin' that they
Are growin' more beautiful day after day;

Chattin' an' braggin' a bit with the men,
Buildin' the old family circle again;
Livin' the wholesome an' old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.

Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother's a little bit grayer, that's all.

Father's a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an' to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin' our stories as women an' men.

Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we're grateful an' glad to be there.
Home from the east land an' home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an' best.

Out of the sham of the cities afar
We've come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an' be frank,
Forgettin' position an' station an' rank.

Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,

Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers.


I Am So Thankful

--- for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

--- for my wonderful loving wife, Angel Linda, who makes every day special.

--- for my two beautiful and smart daughters, and their great husbands, who work so hard to do so well in order to live securely.

--- for my four precious grandchildren, so innocent and with so much potential, and so much fun to be with.

--- for my enthusiastic father, who provided a large New England ancestry to research and an undying love for the game of baseball.

--- for my loving mother, so patient, supportive and kind, whose ancestry provides such challenges.

--- for my brothers, their wives and children, who are interested in the family history and remember more than I do about our growing up years.

--- for my grandparents and earlier ancestors, who worked hard, played by the rules, raised healthy families, and provided a firm foundation for their children.

--- for my aunts, uncles and cousins, who opened their homes and their hearts and shared their memories.

--- for the brave passengers on the Mayflower and other early ships who colonized New England, and instilled a republican form of government based on personal freedom and responsibility.

--- for the courageous citizens who revolted to secure our freedoms, and created the institutions that are the foundations of the USA.

--- for the soldiers, sailors and pilots, of every historical time, who have defended our country and kept us safe and free.

--- for the entire Constitution and Bill of Rights - especially the freedoms of speech, religion and assembly. I am awestruck that the Founders wrote such a magnificent set of documents that have stood the test of time.

--- for educational opportunities, whereby every and any person in this country can be the best that they can be, but they have to really make an effort.

--- for the free market and free enterprise economic system that encourages and rewards work and innovation, and has allowed me and my family to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

--- for the marvels of science and engineering, that drive our health, transportation, communication and entertainment industries.

--- for the wonders of nature that beautify our world, inspire us and occasionally overwhelm us.

--- for my genealogy society colleagues, genea-bloggers and blog readers who encourage and appreciate me.

This year, we are really thankful for another beautiful granddaughter, Audrey, and for Michael's safe return in April from 7 months of duty in Iraq with the U.. Marines.

What are you thankful for on this 146th Thanksgiving holiday?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Heirloom Discovery Day" at CVGS with Georgie Stillman, ASA

The most enjoyed and anticipated Chula Vista Genealogical Society meeting of the year is the November meeting when we have member sharing. For three of the past four years, we have had Georgie Stillman, ASA, a professional appraiser of heirlooms, artifacts and ephemera, review and evaluate items brought in by the members to share. Georgie is an expert in appraising silver, china, glassware, furniture, artworks, quilts and samplers, many dolls and other collectibles.

Today, we had about 30 people at our meeting, and Georgie worked her "magic" on us once again. For each item, the member shared what they thought the heirloom was, and the provenance of the heirloom. Then Georgie told the member and the audience about the article's origin, materials, manufacture, marks, probable customer status, and an approximate value.

We had ten CVGS members bring their heirlooms for discussion and appraisal, including:

* Gary B. presented a large framed picture made from cutouts from seed catalogs and other paper pictures, all pasted down overlapping each other. Georgie thought that this was really unique, and was probably made in the 1880's, based on the frame.

* Ann S. brought a Seth Thomas mantle clock, which Georgie thought was from the 1880 to 1910 time frame.

* Virginia T. had a green carnival glass vase, which was probably created in the 1950's.

* Susan Z. displayed a wedding dress from her husband's grandmother. Georgie said it was a muslin dress from the 1890 to 1910 period.

* Susi P showed a small art deco pottery piece from her New England ancestors, and Georgie said it was a Hull piece.

* Nancy S. presented a 4th edition "American Woman Cookbook" from 1941.

* Bobbie L. showed her Bavarian glass bell, which Georgie said was pressed glass from the 1920-1930 time frame.

* Phyllis L. had 7 different hand-painted china salad plates - which Georgie dated to the 1890 to 1920 time frame.

* Terry S. showed a small hand-painted clay pitcher which Georgie said she had never seen in that form. She thought it might be Hungarian.

* Joan showed her husband's grandfather's shaving mug, and Georgie said it was from Pennsylvania in the early 1900's.

Obviously, I didn't take notes on everything Georgie said about each item - she often talked for 5 to 8 minutes about each item. I tried to take photographs of each presenter and their article with Georgie - and I'll post the ones that come out well in a later post on the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog..

Georgie's style is informal, enthusiastic and interesting - she really enjoys seeing these types of heirlooms, artifacts and "stuff" because they are, in the main, from middle-class homes from the Victorian era and later. She is used to appraising high-end items for collectors and estates. It is fascinating to see an expert appraiser at work - the words seem to flow effortlessly and I am awestruck by the expertise and knowledge level.

It was a great society program.

Family Photographs - Post 31: WW2 dads and sons

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

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

The people in this picture are (from left): Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1983), Randall J. Seaver (1943-living), Edward R. Seaver (1913-2004), and Peter R. Seaver (1942-living). The photograph was taken in early 1944 in Chula Vista (probably on Twin Oaks Avenue) near San Diego. Fred went into the US Navy in early 1944, and Ed was already in the US Navy - he visited occasionally when his ship came back to port. Obviously, Ed's wife and son came out for a family time before they both shipped out to the West Pacific.

This photograph is from the Geraldine (Seaver) Remley collection, although I think I have a copy of it in my unscanned photograph collection. It was handed down to me in 2007 after Gerry's death.

FamilySearch Research Wiki is growing

One of the additions to the LDS New FamilySearch is the Research Wiki for Family History located at The guiding policy for the Research Wiki says (in part):

"In conjunction with the mission of FamilySearch, the Research Wiki is a collaborative, shared-knowledge project designed to encourage and eventually enable all people to find their ancestors. The Research Wiki uses collaboration tools to form a community for sharing knowledge from which users may gather needed information to help locate and use records about ancestors. Ancestral research requires extensive knowledge of cultures and historical sources specific to each region, and each ethnic, religious, or political group. Such information is often written in a foreign language. Expertise on those various cultures and historical sources may be widespread and varied. Through collaboration, sharing, open-edit, and forums the community can build enough high-quality knowledge to help more family history researchers."

There is a Getting Started page that provides information on Principles of Family History Research, Research Analysis, Organization and Documentation, and Helpful Articles. There are links to wiki tutorials, glossaries, and to other online genealogy research tutorials.

On the main Wiki page, there is a search box. If you type in a state or country, you receive a list of the Wiki articles pertaining to that locality. For instance, I typed in "new jersey" and received a list of 193 wiki pages. I clicked on the first one, which was for "New Jersey," and the information portal for New Jersey opened. The page provides a list of counties (each of which has its own wiki page), a list of topics (e.g., American Indians, Archives and Libraries, Bible Records, Biographies, Cemeteries, etc.) and Research Tools.

Many of the county pages for many states have very little information on them at this time. There is a need for knowledgeable researchers to add information about genealogy research and repository holdings in the counties.

In the long term, this Research Wiki will replace all of the printed and online Family History Library Research Guides (available here) and permit much more information about how and where to perform genealogy research in every locality.

This is already a wonderful genealogy research resource - and it will only get better over the years as more content is provided. Make it a Bookmark/Favorite now and use it frequently!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday - the DeFrances

I have a list of Carringer/Smith/Vaux family members for whom I am trying to find the burial locations. I have visited Glen Abbey in Bonita, La Vista in National City, Mount Hope and Cypress View in San Diego, and Fort Rosecrans on Point Loma.

I found several of the persons on my list at Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego (see this post on the South San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit blog about the cemetery).

In Section E, Lot 33 of the Masonic Division of Mount Hope Cemetery are the graves, and gravestones, for:

* Eva Etta DeFrance (1891-1940)
* Howard M. DeFrance (1881-1937)
* Joseph W. DeFrance (1865-1937)

This area of the cemetery looks like this, looking south from the nearby road:

The in-ground gravestones for Eva, Howard and Joseph DeFrance are in the middle of the photograph.

In Section E, Lot 8 of the Masonic Division of Mount Hope Cemetery is the grave, and gravestone, for:
* Leava A. DeFrance (1866-1959)
Here stone is slightly raised off the ground, and can be seen in the foreground of the picture above, and is shown below:

Who are these relatives? I posted a list of descendants of Samuel and Mary Ann (Underhill) Vaux here. Leava A. Smith (1866-1958) was the first wife of David Devier Smith (number 3 in the noted report), and they had one daughter Eva Etta Smith. David D. Smith is the brother of my great-grandmother, Della (Smith) Carringer, and therefore my great-granduncle. Eva Etta (Smith) DeFrance is my first cousin twice removed.
Eva Etta Smith (1890-1940) married Howard M. DeFrance (1881-1937) in 1914, and they had no children.
Leava (Smith) Smith (1866-1958) married Joseph Walton DeFrance (1865-1937) in about 1908, as his second wife. They had no children.
Now I'm wondering where Joseph Walton DeFrance's first wife is buried! I don't even know her first name yet. The 1900 census says "M.L." - I wonder what the letters stand for? I didn't find a death record in the California Death Index for 1905 to 1929. She probably died between 1900 and 1908, unless they divorced in that time period.
I'm still looking for the graves of David Devier Smith (1863-1920) and his second wife, Amy (Ashdown) Smith (1877-1939), their daughter Maybelle (Smith) Milner (1902-1964) and her family, plus the graves of Mary Ann (Smith) (Chenery) (Cramer) Morrill (1866-1922) and her last husband John Frank Morrill (1852-1928).

Randy Revealed - tagged again

The meme of the week for this week is the "Eight Things About Me-Me." Thomas MacEntee at the Destination: Austin Family blog tagged me to respond to this meme. Here are the directions:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their name.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and to read your blog.

After almost 2,400 blog posts, is there anything that my devoted readers don't know about me? Or that I haven't revealed? Here are eight things about me-me (I'll bet some of you knew these things):

1) I am an avid San Diego Padres and San Diego Chargers fan - I live and die with them. We have Padres season tickets and had Chargers tickets for years. I have attended Padres games in all their San Diego venues - Lane Field (1936-1956), Westgate Park (1957-1967), San Diego/Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium (1969-2003) and Petco Park (2004 and on). I worked for the Chargers in 1963 at their training camp - slopping toilets and making beds at a dude ranch.

2) I have amblyopia. My right eye turns in and is essentially useless. My vision is uni-ocular unless my left eye is blanked off, and I can't read anything with my right eye. We didn't figure it out until I was age 11 and it was too late to correct without an operation, which wasn't done. This really affected me in baseball - I never could hit well.

3) I'm left-handed. The whole world is born right-handed - it's just that some of us overcome it. I have, but it was a struggle. Thank God for ballpoint pens and LH scissors. This also affected my hitting in baseball, since my right eye was "out front" because I was left-handed.

4) One of my major hobbies before genealogy was DXing. What in the world is that, you ask? It sounds, well, almost perverted, right? Nope - it means "distant reception" and is basically "listening to the radio, trying to hear the weak stations in between the stronger stations." My specialty was the AM band, and I heard many Asian, Oz/NZ, Pacific Island, Caribbean and South America stations, and a few European/African AM stations from San Diego, most in the middle of the night. I used to wake up at 1 AM and listen until 4 AM then go back to bed before going to school or work. I had 40 year old cassette tapes of some of my catches (recently discarded). I edited DX columns in hobby bulletins and wrote articles about AM radio wave propagation and signal strengths. I essentially gave this up for genealogy (which can be pursued in normal waking hours).

5) I love '50s and '60s pop/rock/R&B/country music. I have about 600 of them on my iPod, and know the lyrics to most of them. I'm a terrible singer, though - my key is J-sharp I'm told. Check my April 2005 archives for my favorites from this time period. While a teenager, I collected radio station surveys and made my own Top 40 music charts. A friend and I operated XELNT - "Excellent music" - a pirate AM radio station in San Diego for a few months.

6) I may have a half-sibling in central Massachusetts that nobody knows the name of, or if s/he was even born or lived into adulthood. According to family lore (and we all know how reliable that is), my father left Leominster MA in December 1940 and drove across the country to San Diego in order to escape a failed romance, and the young lady was pregnant when he left. All of his sisters claimed it was true but are short on details. His brother scoffed at the claim, saying that he would have known about it, and it didn't happen. We know the girl's name - a Catholic girl whose father forbade a marriage.

7) My first airplane ride was in 1956 with the family of my friend, Butch Craver. His parents were both pilots, and they were going to Vancouver BC and asked me to accompany them. I was an excited 12-year old boy, and my folks said yes before really thinking about it. It was great watching the earth go by from about 10,000 feet. Butch's father explained the basics of flight and demonstrated some stability and control. We visited Sacramento CA, Medford OR, Bellingham WA and San Francisco CA. After landing in Bellingham, we drove up to Vancouver BC. This sparked a lifetime interest and a 40 year career in aviation and engineering.

8) My first foray into researching family history was in 1982 when we took our little family (the girls were 8 and 5) to Massachusetts for a visit with my aunt and uncle, Jan and Ed Seaver in Leominster, and then with aunt and uncle Gerry and Jim Remley in Gardiner ME. We also got to meet the Ruth and Bowers Fischer family in Leominster (aunt and uncle, with two daughters) and the Soule family (cousins) up in Salem NH. We had a week with Ed and Jan, and on a rainy Saturday we sent the girls off to a movie and sat down to talk on audio tape. I asked questions, and he talked about his life and the family connections. I transcribed the tape and have provided it to his children and granddaughter. After the trip, Aunt Gerry made three audio tapes about her life and the family members which I also transcribed later. It took another six years for me to start doing genealogy and family history research, but this vacation was really the catalyst that provided insight into the family history.

I have lost track of who has been tagged for this meme, so I'm going to pick the following eight genealogy bloggers in hopes that they haven't been tagged previously:

* Sean Sexton of the Sean on Family History blog.
* Travis LeMaster on the TJLGenes: Preserving Our Family History blog.
* Amy Coffin on the We Tree blog.
* Larry Lehmer on the Passing It On blog.
* Lee Drew on the FamHist blog.
* Terry Snyder on the Desktop Genealogist Unplugged blog.
* Susan Barry on the SuesGenBlog blog. Sue just started blogging this week.
* Amir Dekel/Abba-Dad on the I Dream of Genea(logy) blog.

Microsoft's Deep Zoom Technology Demonstration

Sean Sexton, who writes the Sean on Family History blog has two very interesting blog posts this week --

* Deep Zooming Into a Family Photo, which describes the problems with posting photographs on the Internet - and a solution to it that can be downloaded from Microsoft.

* John Sexton, Zooming Into a Life which demonstrates how the Microsoft Deep Zoom technology. Sean provides some step-by-step directions, and then asks his readers to go on a "treasure hunt" and "trivia chase" within his collage.

Sean has posted a collage of 191 scanned or digitized photographs of his father's life - a file that is 1.44 mb. But using the Deep Zoom technology, the viewer can see much finer resolution in each individual photograph.

This process does require the user to download the Microsoft Silverlight program, but it downloads and installs easily.

Please read all of Sean's two posts - they are really interesting. I'm sure some of our photo mavens can find many good reasons to use this technology, and, hopefully, will tell us about it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Some Civil War databases free at through AccessGenealogy

The Birmingham Genealogical Society noted that some Civil War databases and images on are available for FREE through the web site Access Genealogy at Free access to the selected databases is available ONLY through that link and the links on that web page.

The free access is available through 1 December 2008. also has membership specials for Veterans ($39.95/year) and Non-Veterans ($59.95/year) until 1 December 2008 also (regular price is $69.95/year).

CVGS Program on Wednesday 11/26 - Heirloom Discovery Day

The next Chula Vista Genealogical Society Program Meeting is this Wednesday, 26 November at 12 noon, at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street in Chula Vista) auditorium. This FREE meeting will feature:

1) A short business meeting with reports of society activities

2) The election of officers for 2009 - 2010 conducted by John Finch, Nominating Committee Chairperson. The following nominations are from the Nominating Committee:

President - Gary Brock
First Vice-President Programs - no nominee
Second vice-President Membership - Virginia Taylor
Treasurer - Paul Price
Secretary - Ann Stevens

3) The "Heirloom Discovery Day" program presented by Georgie Stillman, ASA.

Georgie Stillman has been a professional appraiser since 1971. She is a Senior member of the American Society of Appraisers, past President of the San Diego Chapter, and Founding director of the International Society of Appraisers, having held many offices in each organization.

She is an expert in appraising silver, china, glassware, furniture, artworks, quilts and samplers, many dolls and other collectibles. Georgie does not appraise pre-1830 Chinese or Oriental items, oriental carpets, antiquities, fine jewelry, coins or stamps.

In today’s program, Georgie will provide an estimated value of the heirlooms brought by our members and will briefly comment on the origin of the piece.

We have 14 heirlooms from our members' households and collections lined up for Georgie's expert appraisal.

Please plan to attend this meeting. Enter through the Conference Room door in the east hallway in order to register, gather handouts, buy a drawing ticket and have a snack/drink. Guests and visitors are always welcome at CVGS meetings.

Addendum to "Best of the Genea-Blogs"

I always sign off my "Best of the Genea-blogs" posts with the statement "Did I miss a great post? Tell me!" I don't get many responses.

Today, Susan Kitchens emailed me with a link to her post from last Monday, 17 November, titled Towers of Gold: History of the man indistinguishable from the state of California from her blog Family Oral History using Digital Tools.

She's right - it is a blog post not to be missed, especially if you are a California resident interested in the history of the state. Susan's introduction in her post says:

"It’s a personal family historian’s Best of All Possible Worlds scenario — follow a hankering to learn more family history for the sake of the kids, and go to the state historical society, discover not just one but dozens of boxes of archived materials about Great-Great Grandpa, and spend the next 8 years researching and writing a book about how that Great Great Grandpa, Isaias W. Hellman, helped make California. Frances Dinkelspiel’s book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California was released last week. "

Please go read all of Susan's post (you have to click the More button to do this) for an extensive book review of the book, and Susan's tie into the man the book was written about. There are good historical, social and economic lessons in this book, and in Susan's post, for our modern times.

How did I miss Susan's post in my daily and weekly review of over 350 genealogy blogs? I use Bloglines which is very useful in bringing many blog posts to my desktop every day (about 100 to 150 posts every day). However, Bloglines brings only content from a blog post that is on the "front page" of the blog - in this case, everything above the More indicator in Susan's post. Other blogs permit only a snippet (maybe 50 to 100 words) to be captured by Bloglines (limited by the blogger's control settings). I know that I don't read everything in every blog post due to these limitations. I rely on the content in the first few lines to stimulate my further interest (which requires me to click on the blog post link). It wasn't Susan's fault, but mine.

I will add Susan's post to my Best of... list from yesterday because it deserves to be there. One of the benefits of doing the Best of... series is that I can fairly quickly find a great blog post months and even years later.

Thank you, Susan, for speaking up about your article - it certainly was worthy of being on my list and I'm sorry that I missed it the first time around. I've added the book to my Christmas wish list too!

I'm thankful for my ancestors, and repositories, and the internet, and ...

There are two Thanksgiving memes going around the genealogy blogosphere this week, and I'm late for one of them.

Julie Cahill Tarr, who writes the GenBlog by Julie blog, started a Thanksgiving Meme and Game of Tag on her blog asking readers and bloggers to write a blog post telling two things that we are thankful for, and to tag one more blogger to pass it on.

Elizabeth O'Neal is the carnival-mistress for the 13th Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy:

Even though I don't have any known Central and Eastern European ancestors, Elizabeth said that "Even if you don't have Central or Eastern European ancestors, please feel free to share a resource, tip, or process that you think might be helpful for people doing research in those areas." So I'm going to add my seven cents here anyway:

The Genealogy Research Resources that I am thankful for include:

1) The family records left, intentionally or not, by my packrat Vaux/Smith/Carringer/Seaver/Richmond ancestors - four generations of "stuff" including family Bible records, family letters and papers, many photographs, etc. I seriously doubt that, without these resources, my Geneaholism would be as grave as it seems to be.

2) The LDS Family History Library and the San Diego Family History Center microfiche and microfilms. Without these resources, my pedigree chart would have many more blank spaces on it. I spent almost every Saturday from 1988 through 2002 at the San Diego FHC, mostly working in the microfilms of land, probate and census records.

3) The Internet. I started working on the Internet in 1992 when I subscribed to the Prodigy network. I made many contacts, especially in New England, and mourned when I left Prodigy in 1995 or so. But then the Web really opened up for genealogists in the late 1990's - and research on the Internet replaced my frequent trips to the FHC (in retrospect, not a good thing!). The Internet permits me, and others, to do the "search" part of the research process much quicker than before.

4) My genealogy society programs and colleagues. I started joining societies soon after I started doing genealogy, but didn't become really active until 2002 when I retired (the first time). It's been fun being part of the CVGS leadership team, and organizing the Research Group to help others with their research. The local societies have provided opportunities for me to make presentations on a variety of genealogy topics.

5) The "conventional genealogy world" of organizers, authors, and professionals. This side of genealogy has many more participants than the Internet side, and they have done so much to grow this "hobby" into a "profession." We see it in many of the indispensable "how-to" books written over the years, the published magazines, the professional organizations, the national, regional and local genealogy societies, the national and regional conferences, etc. Many of these "conventional world" people have crossed over into the "technology" genealogy world and work in both arenas.

6) The "technology genealogy world" of genealogy software companies, commercial and free web sites dedicated to genealogy research. More and more "conventional" content is becoming available in digital format, with indexes, over time. This benefits all researchers. This "technology world" is still in a growth mode and will continue that way for a long time.

7) Genealogy bloggers and readers. Some bloggers have been doing it for years (e.g., Dick Eastman) and some started just last week. All have something to say. They often provide the services of the "canary in the mineshaft" alerting the genealogy world to a problem, or of the "town crier" telling about a significant advance in research capability. There are many excellent writers of genealogy blogs who are probably the genealogy magazine writers and society officers of tomorrow. Many young people are writing genealogy blogs and they will form the foundation of the next generation of genealogy leaders. I am really thankful for readers of genealogy blogs, and appreciate their feedback.

I know that's more than the two items that Julie asked for, but I don't follow restrictive directions well, as my devoted readers know.

So what are you thankful for?

Oh - I tag David who writes the Family History Tracing blog to write about what he is thankful for in Julie's meme.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Best of the Genea-blogs - November 16-22, 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:

* Confessions of a First-Time Conference-Goer by Colleen on the Orations of O'McHodoy blog. Colleen really enjoyed the Family History Expo in Mesa last weekend, and she tells us about it, with a lot of pictures too! I love it when bloggers meet other bloggers face-to-face - it's like we know each other well already and appreciate what we do.

* Fun & Photos from the Mesa 2009 Family History Expo by Kathryn on the Looking4Ancestors blog. Kathryn shares her pictures and adventures in Mesa with us - great work. Why is everybody msiling?

* Report from the Mesa Family History Expo by Janet Hovorka on The Chart Chick blog. Janet tells of her adventures at the FHE in Mesa also - from an exhibitor's point of view. Nice pictures, too.

* Hello Sunshine: The Family History Expo in Mesa by Diane Haddad on the Genealogy Insider blog. Diane provides another view of the FHE in Mesa, with more photos.

* My Most Rewarding Genealogy Moment (Moment 2) by Becky Jamison on the Grace and Glory blog. Becky graces us with another great research story that turns out really well. Sometimes the answer is right there and we don't see it right the first time - been there, done that!

* A Genealogy Holiday Hoe-Down by Lisa Louise Cooke on the Genealogy Gems News blog. Lisa is really creative - check out this video starring several of our favorite genea-bloggers! Check out the cartwheel!

* Online Genealogy Dictionaries and Lists by Dick Eastman on the Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter blog. This is a collection of dictionaries and lists of genealogy-related terms - excellent!

* Carnival of Genealogy - 60th Edition by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog. The topic for this issue was Alzheimer's Disease, and over 20 bloggers contributed their experiences and observations.

* Cabinet of Curiosities - 11th Edition by M. Diane Rogers on the CanadaGenealogy, or, 'Jane's Your Aunt' blog. Diane is hostess for this month's carnival which always has, um, er, well, strange and wonderful things in it. Lots of links to non-genealogy blogs here that might interest all of us.

* Free Genealogy How-To Videos all Over the 'Net by Miriam Midkiff on the Ancestories: Stories of My Ancestors blog. Miriam has a great list of genealogy related videos on the Internet. Can you add to her list?

* Working with Citations by footnoteMaven on the footnoteMaven blog. fM provides useful and timely tips to those of us who are citation-confused. She also did a parody of Good Vibrations which sealed this entry to Best of!

* World Vital Records - An Enigma and World Vital Records (FamilyLink) Responds by Tim Agazio on the Genealogy Reviews Online blog. Tim wonders why WVR does some things the way it does, and got a nice response from Whitney Ransom. It's great when companies respond in a timely manner.

* The Catholic Parish Coma by Lynn Turner on the Hispanic Genealogy blog. Lynn has a helpful and critical article about the state of Hispanic Genealogy research, and using records other than Catholic church records. This can be applied to genealogy in any place, especially as it pertains to online vs. repository research.

* Friday from the Collectors - November 21: My Family's Letters, Preserved with Digital Photography by Apple on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog. Apple tells the story, with many digital photographs, of the treasures found at Michigan libraries in recent years. The number of letters found boggle the mind (and she's not finished!. Are you reading them, almost daily, on Apple's Tree? I am!

* Nuggets from the verticle files by Travis LeMaster on the TJLGenes: Preserving Our Family History blog. Travis finds useful family information in a file cabinet at a local repository. What else lurks in these hidden treasure vaults in almost every library? Have you checked recently?

* 1620 and all that - Resources for Mayflower Research by Carolyn L. Barkley on the blog. Carolyn provides an excellent summary of what is available in print and online for studies of the Pilgrims coming to Plymouth.

* All a Twitter by Denise Olson on the Family Matters blog. Denise is one of those people I rely on to find the latest and greatest technology web site and software. She dissects Twitter with many screen shots and her own experience.

* Links to Articles by the Graveyard Rabbits, November 15-21, 2008 by Terry Thornton on The Graveyard Rabbit blog. This post has 84 links to articles posted in the past week by members of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits.

* How Genealogy Saved My Life by webduck on the iPentimento blog. Carol describes her struggle with illness and how genealogy really helped her.

* Towers of Gold: History of the man indistinguishable from history of the State of California by Susan Kitchens on the Family Oral History Using Digital Tools blog. Susan's book report about Frances Dinkelspiel's new book is must reading for California history buffs.

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!

Did I get all of the Family History Expo recap posts? If not, let me know and I'll add it to the list.

UPDATED: 11/24, 11 a.m.: I added Susan Kitchens' post about early California history.