Saturday, December 27, 2008

Grandpa Randy's Workout Regimen

Many of my readers know that I've been away from the Genea-Cave visiting family for the holidays. Thank you for your patience with scheduled posts. We should be home on Sunday afternoon, but the holiday visits aren't over - my daughter and her family from Victorville are coming for several days - we haven't celebrated Christmas with them yet.

Fortunately, I've been able to read my email and blogs while at Linda's brother Paul's house in Monte Rio, and at my daughter's home in the redwoods near Santa Cruz. I'm in a Best Western in Carpinteria tonight just east of Santa Barbara and it has free internet wireless access - cool!

Our visiting has not been all happy - my son-in-law's aunt died on Wednesday (Christmas Eve), and Linda's brother's wife Deb had strep throat. Our 5-year-old grandson has been sick with a sore throat and cough too, and I'm afraid that I have it now too.

While in Monte Rio, I talked extensively with Deb about her grandfather,
Robert Leroy Thompson - the one whom I cannot find any census record for from 1900 to 1930 (I blogged about this several times - see The Ultimate "Dodging the Census" Puzzle). We decided that we need to seek the marriage records available form the State of Tennessee to determine if it provides the parents' names for RLT. I asked her if there was a chance that RLT was orphaned and adopted by another family - perhaps surname Thompson - and she agreed that that might have happened, and so court records from the 1880 to 1900 time period need to be searched also, but we don't know which county (ies?) to check on. It was fun to share this info with Deb and to discuss our possible research avenues.

We celebrated Christmas Eve dinner at my son-in-law's grandmother's home in Petaluma (the aunt who died on 12/24 was her daughter) - she is a trouper and seemed to enjoy having all of the family around her, although it was bittersweet for her. The dinner was excellent (as always!) and the gift exchange, which focused on the kids, was wonderful. It's a beautiful family.

We drove 3 hours through the rain to Santa Cruz on Christmas Eve - we got lost coming off the Golden Gate bridge and turned into the Presidio instead of going onto 25th Avenue. We made it to the little home in the redwoods, and amid the mud and puddles (my sneakers seem to have holes in them, I found) we got into the warm house. The boys' parents got all of the Santa gifts put out around the tree, and we all went to bed by midnight. I got to write the note from Santa to the boys than king them for the cookies and milk - fun! The boys "slept in" until 6:40 a.m., and we were awakened by the patter of little feet and squeals of delight as they discovered the gifts around the tree. After two hours, the gifts were opened and the living room was strewn with paper and unopened shrink-wrapped packages. In between raindrops, I managed to get their gifts from us into the house and Round 3 began with the same results. I think the boys managed to play with everything by Christmas night! My daughter fixed a nice pot roast for dinner, and another family came over to share it with us. The kids played well together and "Grandpa Monster" came out to play too.

"Grandpa Monster" is a "fee fie fo fum" type of guy who loves to chase, catch, tickle and hide from the little boys, but not scare them. They revel in it, and I try not to knock anything over or land on anyone. These little guys are really strong and persistent. I consider this as my physical workout regimen. It includes:

* climbing up Grandpa Monster to sit on his shoulders. Then we go around the house and I usually dump them on their bed.

* riding on Grandpa Monster's back as a horsey ride. This has morphed into standing up and balancing on my back and jumping off.

* jumping on the bed and eventually into Grandpa Monster's arms. Now, the 5-year-old jumps from one bed to the other over a 3-foot chasm between beds - the 3-year-old doesn't do this yet.

* a variation of the latter is for Grandpa Monster to sit on one bed, the kid climbs up on my shoulders and stands up, and then jumps onto the other bed.

* playing hide-and-seek - the boys still think that Grandpa Monster has disappearing powers, but they are much more observant than before.

These little guys are 100% boy - they are very physical, have an endless motor, are very creative and playful, and very happy to torture Grandpa Monster every chance they get.

Needless to say, the "Grandpa Monster" loves it, although he now takes his glasses off to play and sometimes takes timeouts.

All of this "workout regimen" is part of making more family history. We will always be able to share these memories, and when I'm gone (hopefully it won't be on Christmas Eve) they can talk about the fun times with the "Grandpa Monster." Hopefully, they will also remember the family stories that I tell them at bedtime too, and perhaps one of them will pick up the genealogy and family history books I've written (and will write) and carry on where I leave off.

Didn't do much genealogy this week, but made lots of family history! My arms, shoulders, back and legs are sore - is it the "Santa Cruz crud" or the tangible result of the "Grandpa Monster" workout regimen?

Saturday Night Fun - the Genealogue collection

For Saturday Night Fun this week, I want you to go to The Genealogue blog at and tell me the funniest post you found there.

To help you, you could click on the A Few Favorites link to see Chris's favorites, or on the Top Ten Lists to find a Letterman-like list. If you're pressed for time, click on the Random Post link.

If nothing else, we'll drive Chris's traffic up for a day or two! I'm taking a big risk here - that you'll go there and not come back to play the game here. You vill kum bock, won't you?

Have fun...and please come back and post what you thought was the funniest post you read.

Table of Contents of NGS Magazine - October-December 2008

The Table of Contents of the October-December 2008 issue of the NGS Magazine (Volume 34, Number 4), published by the National Genealogical Society, includes:

page 8 - 2008 NGS Home Study Course Scholarship Winner, by Lynda Childers Suffridge

page 9 - Win a trip to the next NGS conference, by Carmen J. Finley, PhD, CG

page 10 - NGS is looking for the next generation of genealogists, by Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL

page 12 - The Building of a Nation: From Roanoke to the West, by Phyllis Matthews Ziller, MLIS

page 15 - Filby Prize winner David C. Dearborn, by Henry B. Hoff, CG, FASG

page 16 - Preserving old Texas records, by Robert de Berardinis

page 20 - Case study: Anna Mary's husbands, by Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG

page 22 - The Last Lecture, by Mark Tucker

page 24 - Riding the roller coaster of post-adoption research, by Debbie Mieszala, CG

page 28 - Locating the first courthouse of Charles County, Maryland, by Diane L. Giannini, CG

page 32 - Surname spelling variations, by David W. Webster, FSA Scot

page 35 - They went west: Colonial and territorial records, by Diane Vanskiver Gagel

page 41: Column - National Archives: New Orleans slave manifests, 1807-60, by Claire Prechtel-Kluskens

page 46 - Column - Beginning genealogy: Recording life stories before it's too late, by Gary M. and Diana Crisman Smith

page 50 - Case study: Living a double life, Cyrus Townsend of Peekskill, New York and Pittsburgh, by Rebecca Rector, MLS

page 55 - Call for papers - Salt Lake City

page 56 - Column - Software review: Review of Legacy 7.0, by Barbara Schenck

page 59 - Column - Technology: Saving the planet one family tree at a time, by Drew Smith, MLS

page 62 - Column - Writing family history - An old friend, the Ozarks, and Rising's masterpiece, by Harold E. Hinds, Jr., PhD

This publication changed its name from the NGS NewsMagazine to the NGS Magazine, which makes a lot of sense. This issue has excellent articles - I especially like the columns and the case studies in this issue.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Table of Contents for Family Tree Magazine - January 2009

The Table of Contents for the January 2009 issue (Volume 10, number 1) of Family Tree Magazine includes:


page 20 - Power Hour: Pull up a chair and partake of these 14 genealogy jobs you can do on your lunch break, by David A. Fryxell

page 26 - Writing Riddles: Are faded ink, strange words or convoluted script concealing ancestral answers in your family papers? Solve eight penmanship puzzles with our tips, by Fern Glazer.

page 42 - Family History Fiesta: Seeking your roots south of the border? Our guide to Mexican genealogy will help you celebrate new ancestral discoveries, by David A. Fryxell

page 48 - Your Guide to Google: Genealogy and Google go hand in hand - and not just for ancestor searches. Try these 13 tricks to master the Web giant's other handy family history features, by Allison Stacy.

page 54 - Getting the Message: Let's talk about how your ancestors kept in touch - and how to uncover the records their communication methods left behind, by Maureen A. Taylor.


page 4 - Out on a Limb: Holding a candle to history. By Allison Stacy.

page 5 - Making Connections: Readers respond to Family Tree Magazine.

page 8 - Branching Out: What's new in discovering, preserving and celebrating your family history, including how libraries plan for natural disasters; Family Tree Maker 2009; our Difference Maker of the year; America's first national Hispanic lineage society. Edited by Diane Haddad.

page 14 - History Matters: Gauging the development of thermometers. By David A. Fryxell

page 18 - Now What?: Our experts answer your questions about veteran's graves and illegitimate children.

page 33 - State Research Guides: Essential facts, advice and resources you need to find your family anywhere in the country. In this issue: West Virginia and South Dakota.

page 58 - Preserving Memories: Pointers for saving needlepoint. Edited by Grace Dobush.

page 60 - Everything's Relative: Tales from the lighter side of family history.

page 64 - Brick Wall Busters: Filling up the tank with research ideas. By Sharon DeBartolo Carmack.

page 66 - The Toolkit: Reviews and roundups of the latest, greatest family history resources: FamilySearch's Record Search Pilot Site; Video camera buying guide; Help Googling historical images; The Book Report. Edited by Allison Stacy.

page 72 - Uprooted: Test your genealogy IQ on William and John Kellogg's family tree. By Sharon DeBartolo Carmack.

This issue is chock full of helpful research tips and web sites. The Feature articles were all timely, and I loved the map of Mexico 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 must have disappeared with the revamp of the Family Tree Magazine web site.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!

There is a reason for the season! Thank you, God, for your Gift to the Earth.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the Night Before (the Genealogist's) Christmas

I received this parody of Clement Moore's masterpiece via email back in the mid-1990's, the author is unknown to me. Kimberly Powell at the About Genealogy page also has it on her site.

'Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
Not even my spouse.

The dining room table with clutter was spread
With pedigree charts and with letters which said...
"Too bad about the data for which you wrote;
Sank in a storm on an ill-fated boat."

Stacks of old copies of wills and such
Were proof that my work had become too much.
Our children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

And I at my table was ready to drop
From work on my album with photos to crop.
Christmas was here, and such was my lot
That presents and goodies and toys I'd forgot.

Had I not been busy with grandparents' wills,
I'd not have forgotten to shop for such thrills,
While others bought gifts to bring Christmas cheers,
I'd spent time researching those birth dates and years.

While I was thus musing about my sad plight,
A strange noise on the lawn gave me such a great fright.
Away to the window I flew in a flash,
Tore open the drapes and yanked up the sash.

When what with my wondering eyes should appear,
But an overstuffed sleigh and eight small reindeer.
Up to the house top the reindeer they flew,
With a sleigh full of toys and 'ole Santa Claus, too.

And then in a twinkle, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of thirty-two hoofs.
As I drew in my head, and bumped it on the sash,
Down the cold chimney fell Santa--KER-RASH!

"Dear" Santa had come from the roof in a wreck,
And tracked soot on the carpet, (I could wring his short neck!)
Spotting my face, good 'ole Santa could see
I had no Christmas spirit you'd have to agree.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work
And filled all the stockings, (I felt like a jerk).
Here was Santa, who'd brought us such gladness and joy:
When I'd been too busy for even one toy.

He spied my research on the table all spread"
A genealogist!" He cried! (My face was all red!)
"Tonight I've met many like you," Santa grinned,
As he pulled from his sack a large book he had penned.

I gazed with amusement--the cover it read
Genealogy Lines for Which You Have Plead.
"I know what it's like as a genealogy bug."
He said as he gave me a great Santa hug."

While the elves make the sleighful of toys I now carry,
I do some research in the North Pole Library!
A special treat I am thus able to bring,
To genealogy folk who can't find a thing."

"Now off you go to your bed for a rest,
I'll clean up the house from this genealogy mess."
As I climbed up the stairs full of gladness and glee,
I looked back at Santa who'd brought much to me.

While settling in bed, I heard Santa's clear whistle,
To his team, which then rose like the down of a thistle.
And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
"Family history is Fun! Merry Christmas! Goodnight!"

--Author Unknown

To all, I wish a very Merry Christmas, and I hope Santa brings you a special gift for your family history.

Family Photographs - Post 35: Randy and Santa Claus

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:

I just found this picture in my box of loose pictures recently - isn't it great? It was taken in the mid-1940's - I look like I'm 3 or 4 years old in this picture. I think that my mother or grandfather took the picture. I'm going to guess that it was taken with the Marston store Santa Claus - my grandfather, Lyle Carringer, worked at Marston's Department Store in downtown San Diego, and we always went there to shop.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday - Benjamin Seaver in Westminster MA

Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) and his wife Abigail (Gates) (Seaver) Seaver (1797-1867) are buried in Whitmanville Cemetery in Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts.

Whitmanville is a fairly small cemetery, and has mostly older graves. The entrance from the road looks like this - you can drivei nto them iddle of the cemetery if you want to:

Here is a view of the Seaver monument from the center of the cemetery.

The front of the gravestone looks like this:

It is difficult to read the inscriptions. They read:

Benjamin Seaver
died May 25 1825
AE. 33

wife of
Isaac Seaver
formerly wife of
Benj. Seaver
died Jan. 4 1867
AE. 69.

Benjamin and Abigail (Gates) Seaver are one set of my third great-grandparents. They resided in the northern part of Westminster on Beech Hill, where his grandfather Norman Seaver had built a house in the 1770's.

After Benjamin's untimely death at age 33 in 1825, Abigail married his brother, Isaac Seaver in 1832.

Monday, December 22, 2008

GeneaBlog Awards

The end of a year brings award nominations. Genea-Musings has been awarded the Best Daily Genealogy Blog by Tamura Jones at (you need a real browser, Tamura says - I'm using Firefox and Chrome to read his web site) in his article titled GeneaBlog Awards, dated 20 December 2008.

Tamura's comment is:

"Best Daily Genealogy Blog: Genea-Musings

An easy win for Randy Seaver, as Genea-Musings is practically the only daily genealogy blog. There is the MosGA Messenger, but there is whole team behind that one. Randy is a one-man geneablogging machine.

While others struggle to come up with one or two new posts per week, Randy easily manages one or two posts each day - even when he is on vacation! In fact, he actually writes multiple blogs, one of which is aptly called The Geneaholic."

The other genealogy blogs recognized by Tamura include:

* Best Genealogy Society Blog: MoSGA Messenger
* Best Daily Genealogy Blog: Genea-Musings
* Deepest Genealogy Development blog: Louis Kessler's Behold Blog
* Best Commercial Genealogy Blog: The RootsMagic blog
* Best Genealogy Software News Blog: Geneanet Genealogy Blog
* Best Genetic Genealogy Blog: The Genetic Genealogist
* Best Genealogy on MacOS Blog: MacGenealogist
* Best Blog: 24-7 Family History Circle
* Funniest Genealogy Blog: The Genealogue

Please go visit Tamura's web site and the GeneaBlog Awards article to read what he has to say about each blog.

Tamura also has a recent article on his site titled GeneAwards 2008 which addresses best and worst genealogy product, new genealogy product and genealogy organization.

I thank Tamura Jones for the recognition of Genea-Musings and appreciate his kind words in the award.

I congratulate all of the winners of Tamura's genealogy blog awards - each is deserving and contributes significantly to the genea-blogging world.

12 Days of a Genealogy Christmas

A genealogy oriented version of the Twelve Days of Christmas is available on the Internet - see Kimberly Powell's site at

I decided I would do my own based on using computer genealogy, my own needs and my own research:

On the 12th day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me --

Twelve RevWar pension files (12)
Eleven passenger lists (22)
Ten WorldConnect entries (30)
Nine message board postings (36)
Eight probate records (40)
Seven census pages (42)
Six deed abstracts (42)
Five blog readers (40)
Four marriage records (36)
Three family Bibles (30)
Two draft card images (22)
And a new name in my family tree. (12)

I've put the total number in parenthesis of each item - if you sing the song all the way through, going one number at a time.

My true love is a busy girl, isn't she?

But, but, but ... that would take all the fun out of the ancestor search, wouldn't it?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Best of the Genea-Blogs - December 14-20, 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:

* The Carnival's In Town. 8th Edition, Smile for the Camera, A Carnival of Images: Stocking Stuffer by footnoteMaven on the Shades of the Departed blog. This carnival of images shows photographs that the genea-bloggers wish to give to other people in their Christmas stocking. There are 25 submissions.

* 2008 Christmas Tour of Blogs by Denise Olson on the Moultrie Creek blog. 16 genea-bloggers participated in this collection of homes and families sharing their decorations and traditions, past and present.

* Do You Hear What I Hear? by footnoteMaven on the footnoteMaven blog. fM put together this carnival of blog caroling - the favorite songs of 29 genea-bloggers, usually with lyrics and sometimes with links to audio or video.

* Carnival of Genealogy, 62nd Edition by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog. The topic for this carnival was Three Wishes - sharing our holiday wishes for things from our ancestors with Genea-Santa. 36 genea-bloggers wished for gifts from Genea-Santa. Ho ho ho...

* New FamilySearch by the writer of The Ancestry Insider blog. The AI shares information about the status of New FS in an answer to a reader's question. This was new information for me because I'm not involved in the LDS church or working in New FamilySearch.

* Tuesday's Tip: Organizing Your Digital Files and Update on Tuesday's Tip: Organizing Your Digital Files by Miriam Midkiff on the Ancestories: Stories of my Ancestors blog. Miriam shares her method of organizing her genealogy files on the computer - I like it!

* Are You in Someone's Photo? by Carol Wilkerson on the iPentimento: Genealogy and More blog. Carol notes that we are all in everyone else's photos, whether we realize it or not. She links to a new site where readers can check other people's photographs for people they know.

* We All Made it to 65. We didn't all get Social Security by Linda in Lancaster on the From Axer to Ziegler blog. Linda posted photographs of nine females in her ancestry that made it to 65 - and just for her own birthday! Who do you think Linda looks like?

* ThinkGenealogy Innovator Award #1 by Mark Tucker on the ThinkGenealogy blog. Mark creates an award and gives it to someone who is really innovative - read his post to find out who.

* "What Content do you have that I can't get anywhere else?" by Whitney Ransom McGowan on the Blog. Whitney answers a reader's question with a list of unique databases at WVR. It's a nice list - one that I wish other web sites would create for their holdings!

* MyHeritage Raise MyHackles, But We Make Up and MyHeritage Replies by Craig Manson on the Geneablogie blog. Craig rants a bit about problems working in MyHeritage, and they respond.

* The Ms. Universe Party by Elyse Doerflinger on Elyse's Genealogy Blog. Elyse shares a 70-year family Christmas tradition that sounds like a lot of fun - had me laughing! It also serves as a test for prospective family members! This year's is probably this weekend - I hope Elyse shares the results with us.

* Genealogical Roundup by Megan Smolenyak on the Roots Television: Megan's Roots World blog. Megan shares her list of "must-reads" for the week.

* The Problem of Pauline - Post 8 by Sheri Fenley on The Educated Genealogist blog. Sheri shares more of her research on one of her more, um, interesting relatives. Look at all of the interesting biographical information she has about Pauline's erstwhile husband!

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!

Have you noticed that I created a blog category for all of the Best of the Genea-Blog posts in the Labels below this post? Click on it if you've missed earlier editions of BOTG-B.

NOTE: There will not be a Best of the Genea-Blogs from me next week. I'm on the road for the next ten days and will not be able to take the copious notes :) that results in this type of post. I will do it the first Sunday of January, though.

Christmas Advent Calendar - Days 4 to 1

During December 2007, a number of genealogy bloggers participated in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories hosted by Thomas MacEntee on his Destination: Austin Family blog (click on the Day of the Month - unfortunately, the images aren't there any more). Each blogger wrote an article around a meme for the day. It was great fun, but a lot of work. One of my reasons for writing these posts was to leave my memories of Christmas in an organized way for my progeny.

Rather than waste bandwidth duplicating the posts every day (since nothing much has changed since last year), I'm just going to post them week-by-week, along with my little original doggerel for each day. We are counting backwards in this Advent Calendar series - the First Day of Christmas is December 24th.

The fourth week of Advent posts include:

* Day 4 - Christmas Music

On the 4th Day of Christmas
My true love sang to me,
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"

* Day 3 - The Christmas Letter

On the 3rd day of Christmas,
our true friends sent to us
a Christmas letter to enjoy.

* Day 2 - Christmas Sweetheart Memories

On the 2nd day of Christmas
My true love spoils me
With so many Christmas gifts.

* Day 1 - Christmas Eve

On the first day of Christmas,
Anticipation was high
For Santa Claus was nigh!

If you didn't participate in this Carnival last year and you want to blog on the daily themes - go for it! Your progeny will appreciate it, and your colleagues in the Genea-Blog-world will enjoy them.