Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday Night Fun - the 6th of the 6th ...

This little exercise in computer file organization was on Facebook this week and a number of genealogy Facebookers played it.

1) Go to your My Pictures folder (or the equivalent) and pick out the 6th item in that folder. Then pick out the 6th item in that folder, and so forth, until you get to an actual picture.

2) Post that picture to your blog with an explanation of what the picture depicts, including place and date.

3) If you don't have a blog, then start one, um, no -- make a comment to this post describing your picture.

Here is my 6th item: My Documents>My Pictures>2006>2006-06june>DSCN0057.JPG on my desktop computer:

This photograph was taken in June 2006 by my wife in the family room of our home in Chula Vista. This is my 4 month old grandson Logan playing patty cake for some reason - he probably sees food somewhere. Or maybe he's watching TV - probably a Fox News info-babe.

I wonder how many naked baby shots we'll get playing this?

Are There Genealogy Research aids in Spanish?

The home base for my local genealogical society, the Chula Vista Genealogical Society, is located about 5 miles north of the US-Mexico border. The population of Chula Vista is about 50% Hispanic, which is typical of cities near the US border with Mexico. The local library has a fine selection of books in Spanish, but no genealogy research books.

Why is that? Apparently, there are no books on genealogy research available in Spanish. At least I haven't found any online. If you know of one, especially oriented towards research in Mexican records, please let me know!

Therefore, our genealogy society is paralyzed when someone comes into the library looking for help on genealogy research in the Spanish language. We have several members fluent in Spanish, but all of our resource material is in English.

This situation came to our attention on Monday when a young lady, a resident of nearby Tijuana, visited the genealogy section of the library during our Table Talk hours. She could speak English fairly well, and we tried really hard to understand her, but she couldn't read English. Her Spanish was excellent, of course, but none of us are fluent in Spanish. That's when we figured out that we needed a genealogy research book in Spanish!

While at the San Diego Family History Center today, I asked the staff if they have any genealogy books in Spanish. No, they didn't but they did have some handouts in Spanish, and they gave me several to take and use, which I really appreciate!

I emailed two Hispanic genealogy experts this past week asking questions about Hispanic genealogy research in Spanish. They weren't aware of any books in Spanish, but one said that the Family History Library is working on genealogy aids in Spanish. Perhaps this is along the lines of the Research Outlines for Mexico and Latin America. That would be a tremendous improvement!

There are several useful Hispanic genealogy web sites in Spanish - notably, and I'm sure there are more. If you know of one, please email me ( or tell me in comments.

It turns out that our library collection doesn't have any books about Hispanic genealogy research in English either, so we need to correct that flaw also.

As all genealogy societies prepare for the expected surge of interest in genealogy as a result of the Who Do You Think You Are? TV show in April, they should take inventory of their collection and skill sets to determine what should be added in order to serve their communities. For CVGS, it will be obtaining books that inform our local demographic in both Spanish and English and in both written and oral form. Network Traffic Statistics

The traffic statistics are a bit different from all other genealogy companies at this time. You'll see what I mean. has permitted Quantcast to directly measure their traffic. Therefore, there are measures for both US and World traffic.

This company started out as and that is still their flagship web site for genealogy databases. In spring 2008, they renamed the company and started the web site. For some time, the web site was for user family trees, but in fall 2008 the trees were moved to

Here is the traffic for the last 12 months for and - for the People measure:

Here is the Visits measure:

Here is the Page Views measure:

I draw two main conclusions from these charts:

* The US market is dominant for these web sites. They started adding more World content in summer 2008.

* The people, visits and page views for fell off after summer 2008 for some reason.

There is more information on Quantcast that is of interest to us. Here is a list of the five sub-domains currently measured, with a four-month average of global people:

Finally, there is a category called Syndicators. It is here that you see the basis for the traffic claims published by for their network:

If you look at the very top line (with the black background) that says Network, you see that it states 4.8 million US people and 8.6 million World people (on 1/29/09), and you can see the four-month traffic trend rising. The list below shows that generated 8.1 million of those people with the We're Related application. The rest of the We're Related application sites added another 400,000 people (approximately), and the four "traditional genealogy" sites generated just over 10,000 people on 1/29/09.

The conclusion I draw from this is that is banking on the We're Related application to bring in substantial revenue, and that will permit the "traditional genealogy" sites like, , and to continue to add content and grow. The significant reduction in traffic since summer 2008 must be troubling to the company.

Friday, January 30, 2009

TGN/Ancestry traffic statistics - Post 2

Post 1 on this subject appeared earlier today. It covered the Reach and Page View statistics for the five The Generations Network (TGN) properties for 2008, plus some relatively current statistics about Page Views per visit and distribution of visitors to different web pages.

The second traffic site I frequent is (it's free, as is

Here is a chart of the Daily People that visited,, and during 2008:

The Daily People are pretty stable for all of these sites throughout the year, with the excveption of Rootsweb people, of course. The sum of Rootsweb (about 450K) plus Ancestry (about 500K) total before March is significantly greater than the Rootsweb (about 50K) plus Ancestry (about 750K) total after April. Ancestry's Daily People fell off in the latter part of 2008 to below 650K in December.

The second Quantcast chart is the Daily Visits for the four TGN sites in 2008:

The numbers for Daily Visits are higher than Daily People, which indicates that some people visited, on average, more than once per day. The average 2008 traffic for these four sites, for US People and visits, were:

* 763.5K Daily People, 1.6 million Daily Visits

* 53.8K Daily People, 70.1K Daily Visits

* 92.1K Daily People, 132.0K Daily visits

* 32.1K Daily People, 55.9K Daily Visits

The third Quantcast chart shows the different kind of People that use

This chart indicates that "Addicts" like me are only 3% of their visitors, but account for 46% of the visits. "Regulars" are 37% of the visitors, and account for 41% of the visits, while "Passers-By" are 60% of the visitors but account for only 13% of the visits.

There's a message here for Ancestry - 40% of the visitors are accounting for 87% of the visits. They need to keep those addicted and regular customers happy while trying to create new addicts and regulars from the passers-by and those who don't visit at all (the other 99.93% of Internet users!).

The last chart describes the demographics of users at

I don't see a lot of surprises on this list. The biggest surprise for me is that 7% of Ancestry visitors are age 17 and under, and only 44% are over age 50. That is a great thing, I think - younger people are using on a regular basis.

I'll try to find information on the web sites next. I'm just going to use Quantcast for the rest of these posts.

TGN/ Traffic statistics - Post 1

I like to keep track of the genealogy providers web site traffic statistics every so often (I'm trying to do it every 6 months). I posted charts for The Generations Network (TGN) sites from late March 2008 and late August 2008.

The current data for the TGN properties will be in two posts. In this post, I will show the Daily Reach and Page Views from (in rather arcane measurements - we can't figure out exact numbers of visitors and page views because the percentages they relate to a percentage of all Internet users). I am showing these because the reader can relate them to the earlier statistics.

The first chart shows the Reach (defined as "the percentage of all Internet users who visit a given site") of five TGN properties -, http://www.rootsweb.cxom/,, www.familytreemaker/com and

The second chart shows the "Page Views (defined as "percentage of all page views on the Internet." That doesn't make sense to me... but that's what Alexa says it is. The relative numbers are what's important):

From these charts, we can clearly see the big dip in traffic when it was brought into the domain in April 2008. There is a noticeable increase in traffic in December. Ancestry reach was essentially static from April through December, but Page Views (each time a web page opens) steadily increased.

Traffic for and have basically remained static over 2008. traffic barely shows on the scale (because has so much traffic). traffic is very low now - about 10% of the Reach it had before being taken under the Ancestry domain. This tells me that there are still links on the Internet and Favorites/Bookmarks in user browsers that still call up (mine still do!).

The third chart shows statistics for

The data is given for 1-day, 1-week average, 1-month average and 3-month average for Reach (% of Internet users), Rank (for all Internet sites) and Page Views (number of views per visit). For the last week, Reach was 0.068%, Rank was 960, and Page Views were 13.6.

Below the Page Views are the percentage of users from the top five countries (USA is 67.1%) and the Traffic rank in the top five countries (291 in USA).

The last chart is the list of sub-domains visited by users to

The percentage of page views for the top 5 sub-domains are:

* - 32.7%
* - 31.7%
* - 17.0%
* - 9.2%
* - 5.7%

The remainder of the sub-domains are less than 1.1%. As you can see, the traffic percentage for Boards, Learn, Community, DNA, MyCanvas, Store, etc. on is really small.

What all of this says is that has maintained their Reach and increased their Page Views over the past year. Family trees are a big part of the page views, and Content is relatively smal. That reflects the need to click several times before you see the actual record summary and image.

The next post will show some of the data for

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Andrew County, Missouri Deeds - Samuel Vaux family

I'm still working on putting all of the information I collected in Salt Lake City at the Family History Library into my database. I finished up the Ranslow Smith probate records today and transcribed the two deeds for Samuel Vaux. I knew that the Samuel Vaux family was in Andrew County MO in the 1870 census, and was in Marshall county KS in the 1880 census.

The two deeds transcribed below provide dates for buying and selling land in Platte township in Andrew County:

Samuel and Mary Ann (Underhill) Vaux bought land in Andrew County, Missouri on 4 August 1869 from Mary Jane and L.S. Munger for $2,000. The land was the Southeast quarter of the Southeast quarter of Section 21 in Township 61 of Range 33, containing forty acres. The entry in the deed book reads (Andrew County Deed Records, 1841-1900, Book 22, page 406, clerk's copy, on FHL Microfilm 1,006,163):

[in margin]
"Mary Jane Munger et al
to Warranty
Samuel Vaux
N_o_. 1605

"Know all men by these presents. That Mary Jane Munger and L.S.
Munger of the County of Buchanan in the State of Missouri have
this day for and in Consideration of the sum of Two thousand
Dollars to the said Mary Jane Munger and L.S. Munger in hand
paid by Samuel Vaux of the County of Andrew in the State of Missouri
have granted, bargained and sold and by these presents do
grant, bargain and sell unto the said Samuel Vaux the fol-
lowing described tracts or parcels of land situate in the County
of Andrew in the State of Missouri that is to say (The South East
quarter of the South East quarter of Section twenty one (21) Township
sixty one (61) of Range thirty three (33)) To have and to hold the prem-
ises hereby conveyed, with all the rights, privileges and appurtenances
thereto belonging or in anywise appertaining unto the said Samuel
Vaux his heirs and assigns forever we the said Mary Jane Munger
and L.S. Munger hereby covenanting to and with the said Samuel
Vaux his heirs and assigns for their heirs, executors and admin-
istrators to warrant and defend the title to the premises hereby
conveyed against the Claim of every person whatsoever.

"In Witness whereof we have hereto subscribed our name and
affixed our seals this fourth day of August, 1869.
Mary Jane Munger [ seal]
L.S. Munger [seal]

"State of Missouri } ss
County of Buchanan}

"Be it remembered, that Mary Jane Munger and
L.S. Munger her husband who are personally known to the un-
dersigned a Notary Public within and for said County, to be the
persons whose names are subscribed to the foregoing deed in
parties thereto this day appeared before me, and acknowledged
that they executed and delivered the same as their voluntary
act and deed for the use and purposes theirin contained, and
the said __________________ being by me made acquanted with
the Contents of said Deed, acknowledged, on an examination apart
from the said husband: that she executed the same and
relinquishes her dower in the real estate therein mentioned, freely
and without Compulsion or undue influence of her said hus-
band. . given under my hand and Notarial Seal this fourth day of August, 1869.
W.S. Johnson[L.S.]
Notary Public

"Filed August 17th 1869 }
Wm Caldwell Recorder }
By Jno. E. Wuldins Deputy. }"

Samuel and Mary Ann (Underhill) Vaux sold land in Andrew County, Missouri on 31 January 1880 to William H. Bulla for $800. The land was the Southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 21 in Township 61 of Range 33, containing forty acres. The entry in the deed book reads (Andrew County Deed Records, 1841-1900, Book 43, page 565, on FHL Microfilm 1,006,174):

"This Indenture, Made on the _thirty first_ day of _
January_ A.D. One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty _----_
by and between _Samuel Vaux and Mary A. Vaux his wife of Andrew County and__
State_ of _Missouri_, part_y_ of the First Part, and
_William H. Bulla_
in the County of _Andrew_ and State of _ Missouri_, part_y_ of the Second Part: WITNESSETH, That the said
part_ies_ of the First Part, in consideration of the sum of _Eight Hundred 00/100_ Dollars,
to _them_ paid by the said part_y_ of the Second Part, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, do_es_ by these presents GRANT, BARGAIN AND SELL, CONVEY AND
CONFIRM, unto the said part_y_ of the Second Part, _his_ heirs and assigns, the following described Lots, Tracts or Parcels of Land, lying, being and situate in the
County of _Andrew_ and State of Missouri, to wit: All _the South East quarter of the south East
quarter of Section twenty one (21) in Township Sixty-one (61) of Range thirty three
(33) containing forty acres according to Government survey more or less_

"TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the premises aforesaid, with all and singular rights, privileges, appurtenances and immunities thereto belonging, or in anywise
appertaining, unto the said part_y_ of the Second Part, and unto _his_ heirs and assigns, forever; the said part_ies_ of the first part
_---_ hereby covenanting that _they are_ lawfully seized of an indefeasible estate in fee in the premises herein
convened; that _they_ ha_ve_ good right to convey the same; that the said premises are free and clear of any encumbrances done or suffered by _them_ or those
under whom _they_ claim; and that _they_ will WARRANT AND DEFEND the title to the said
premises unto the said part_y_ of the Second Part, and unto _his_ heirs and assigns, forever, against the lawful claims and demands of all persons whomsoever.

"IN WITNESS WHEREOF, The said part_ies_ of the First Part, ha_ve_ hereunto set _their_ hand_s_ and seal_s_ the day and year first above written.

"Samuel Vaux [seal]
Mary Ann Vaux [seal]

"Signed, Sealed and Delivered in presence of us,
J. Bonham

"This deed was recorded on 7 September 1881 at 1 o'clock 2 minutes P.M. by S.E. Seer, Recorder."

NOTE: The second deed is on a form with handwritten entries between _underscores_. It's confusing, I know.

I have separated the text for both deeds as they appear in the clerk's book (just following directions in Professional Genealogy). The deed recording form has really small type and big spaces for handwriting - that's why the lines vary in length so much.

Celia Ann Vaux married a Francis Munger in 1872, who resided next door to the Vaux family in the 1870 census. However, he was not in the L.S. Munger family. He must have been a nephew of L.S. Munger.

I found the Vaux farm on the 1877 Plat Map for Andrew County, Missouri while at the FHL. I made nice 11 x 17 copies of some of the map pages, but messed up and copied the map for Township 59 and not Township 61. Now I have to find the map book somewhere and get a copy of Township 61 (probably Platte Township in Andrew County). It's great when the townships are square!

The lesson here is to check your copies before you put the book away. I haven't been able to find the 1877 Plat Maps for this County online. I had high hopes!

Is US Content being held hostage on

What was the last database added to accessible to US Deluxe subscribers?

As of today - it was three databases with Chinese Immigration Files, New York Chinese Exclusions, and Philadelphia Chinese arrivals. They were posted on 23 January.

The next latest US content was a book about Captain John Mason on 22 January. Before that, it was the Social Security Death Index update on 20 January.

There hasn't been a really meaningful (to me, at least!) US content addition since the Selected US Naturalization Indexes on 9 January.

So we're on Day 6 of the "US Content Held Hostage" watch. And Day 20 of the "Meaningful US Content Held Hostage" watch. How long will it last?

Mr. Impatient can hardly wait for the databases on the Coming Soon list!

Is it a new moon lately? I'm really impatient these days! Have you noticed?

I tried We're Related GEDCOM Upload again - fail!

The Paul Allen (CEO of presentations I mentioned earlier this week seem to claim that We're Related is one of the most useful and used applications on social networks like Facebook, Myspace, etc. The charts in the presentation showed We're Related being used on an iPhone and other personal media devices.

Being the inquisitive joiner type, I added We're Related to my Facebook applications one year ago, and tried to use it in October by uploading a GEDCOM to it. I posted about my experience here. Unfortunately, the GEDCOM upload failed.

Then there was a WorldVitalRecords Newsletter article last week that claimed that the GEDCOM upload feature would be available on 23 January:

" We're Related on Facebook has just added a major site enhancement, which will be available by noon on Friday. Now, individuals can upload their Gedcom files (up to 8 megabytes). The process is smooth and easy. The family tree section on We're Related is also much easier to use. Plus, every person on We're Related now has their own profile page that their relatives can view.

"We're Related is growing rapidly. We're Related currently has more than 19.2 million users with 10.5 million monthly active users. It is the number five application on Facebook for the "most active users." We're Related on Facebook is free. Join today!"

I thought "great, I'll try it again." I tried on Saturday last week, and I was able to upload a 2 mb GEDCOM file to the We're Related application on Facebook. But then I couldn't figure out how to use - there are no real Help files anywhere I could find.

When I checked back on Monday, the uploaded GEDCOM file wasn't there. I have no clue where it is. And when I tried to upload a GEDCOM, I got the same message that I got back in October - "We appreciate all the feedback we've recieved (sic) from the community on our GEDCOM uploads. Our engineers are actively working to bring GEDCOM uploads to the new version of our app. In the next week, and as soon as uploading is working flawlessly, we will reactivate this feature."

This GEDCOM upload problem doesn't affect the family tree data that users input by hand to the We're Related application. I was able to add my parents to the application easily. But that method is not really time efficient when I have thousands of persons in a GEDCOM waiting to be uploaded.

Genealogists can be the ones that "seed" these the database with relatives - from there they can invite relatives with names in the database to join Facebook (or the other networks) and to use We're Related.

I, and many other genealogists, are not going to take the time to add hundreds of persons to We're Related one person at a time. Frankly, we will leap on the first Facebook application that permits a GEDCOM upload of a large database.

Obviously, has some problems with the GEDCOM upload feature. I hope the problems are solved soon. I, and others, am frustrated by the promises of "next week" and "Friday at noon" that are not redeemed.

To make matters worse for me, the other two family tree web applications don't work for me either. will not accept a GEDCOM file from me, although I can search what is already there submitted by other researchers. has my family tree information on it, but when I click Login I get "Error on Page" and it won't allow me to login. Same thing happens if I click "Join Now." There are trees being added somehow. More frustration.

I really, really want to be a successful business that brings genealogists together. The online family trees are one way to connect to other researchers and family members with common ancestors. The social networking aspects are an outstanding way to put extended family members in touch with each other in our busy and farflung world. The only site that works well at this time is, which I am glad about!

But all of the interface pieces to a web site have to work, be attractive and inviting. The family tree/social network sites and applications don't work well right now, IMHO.

Having over 19 million people signed up for We're Related won't really matter unless the system works well for everyone involved. I realize that has found a significant revenue source using this application, but frustrated users are not happy users that will click the application regularly.

Am I too impatient?

Getting Help with Family Tree Maker Issues

I ran into a problem thed other day when I was making family tree charts in Family Tree Maker 2009. The program would crash when I tried to export a family tree chart to an Image - like a JPG file. It would export fine to a PDF file, but I wanted a JPG so that I could show off the charts in this blog and on Facebook.

Where did I get help? There are two excellent resources:

1) The Using Family Tree Maker Forum message board at On this message board, Russ Worthington is the Volunteer that answers almost all of the questions about every FTM version there ever was. Frankly, I don't know how he has the patience and the resources to do this!

2) The Knowledge Base "Ask Family Tree Maker" on the FTM Customer Help web page at At this site, you can enter key words and see if they have already addressed your problem. You can also email FTM to ask a question on this site.

How did I solve my problem? First, I asked Russ on the message board. You can see the thread here with my question (sent yesterday morning), and our discussion of the problem down to resolution. Russ pointed me to the Ask Family Tree Maker Knowledge Base, suggesting article # 4087 "FTM 2008 or 2009 crashes while printing or exporting a chart/report." He also suggested rebooting my computer as a potential fix (I wonder how often this is recommended?).

The Knowledge Base article didn't really address my specific problem - exporting to an image - it dealt mostly with crashes caused by an HP printer driver that happens when the user tries to print a chart.

Rebooting my computer (I leave everything on for days at a time...) seems to have worked. I was able to create images of my charts this morning after rebooting the computer. Of course, before my problem arose, I was able to do that also - it's just that after several exports to image, the program crashed.

All of this "Help" took place over 11 hours. I posted my first question at 10:13 AM yesterday, and Russ's final response was last night at 21:00. I didn't read it last night, but did read it this morning, worked on it, and am pleased with the help.

If you are a Family Tree Maker user (any version) and have problems with or questions about the software, you can use the Knowledge Base and the Using Family Tree Maker Forum message board to get answers and results.

I appreciate the dedication of Russ Worthington to help the Family Tree Maker user community. There are over 51,000 messages on this Genforum message board, and I'm guessing that Russ has answered most of them - very patiently and completely. Russ also finds time to write on the Family Tree Maker User blog - he has been posting "how-to" articles about using FTM 2009.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 Improves Locality Search

After the big server problem in the week of 12 January, the State and Country Locality Search was useless. If you clicked on a state or country, you got the entire list of locality data. has now fixed this problem, and the State and Country Pages search is back to what it was before, with a new order, according to Anne Mitchell on the blog (read the comments too!). The new order is now Alphabetical, whereas before the service outage it was by Database Size.

Now if you click on the Search tab at the top of the home page, and then click on a State (I picked Georgia), you get a list of the database categories (Census, BMD, Immigration/Emigration, Military, etc.) for Georgia with the first five databases for each.

Here is the top of the Search page. Scroll down to see links for the States and Countries:

Here is the bottom of the Search page with links to the States and Countries:

This is the top part of the page of results for the state of Georgia:

And the bottom of the page for Georgia results:

For each database category, you can click on the "See All the Georgia ..." to see all of the databases in that category that might apply to the state of Georgia.

The results in each database category are in alphabetical order. But that's OK, since the lists are relatively short (if you have Results per Page = 50 turned on (I do).

Several commenters on Anne's blog post complained about the databases that appear on these lists that do not apply to the locality. For instance, Boston Births, Marriages and Deaths are numbers 4 through 7 on the Birth, Marriages and Death database list for Georgia. The first explicit Georgia database is at #9 - Georgia Bible Records.

This is a valid complaint, and Anne said "Redoing how the list is done is a project for another day." I hope so - and wonder when. The current alphabetical listing of state and country databases is much better than the previous versions. Deciding which databases should be put in which state or country may be a challenge, armchair genealogists notwithstanding. It seems to be very hard to satisfy everyone, no matter how hard people try.

My suggestion would be to put the locality specific databases at the top of the list - and then the others that are more general. If someone wants to search in, say, Georgia, then s/he expects to see Georgia databases at the top of the list.

The other noticeable change is that the Quick Links section, which disappeared on my screen two weeks ago, are back. Good.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" Series is coming - are we ready for it?

Who are these ladies, and why are they on my genealogy blog? Who do they think they are? Are they my cousins? I can hardly wait to find out!

The long-awaited press release announcing the NBC television series "Who Do You Think You Are?" was distributed yesterday - you can read the whole thing on Leland Meitzler's GenealogyBlog.

NBC Television has a web page up (but with lots of "lorem ipsum" words) here. The show will be produced by Lisa Kudrow and star Sarah Jessica Parker and Susan Sarandon. The first episode will air on Monday, 20 April at 8 p.m. The announcement implies that the first "stories" will be about the ancestry of Lisa, Sarah and Susan.

What does this mean for the genealogy industry and user community? Here are my thoughts:

* A lot of good exposure for genealogy research (hopefully good!). Methods, resources, and use of technology likely will be featured.

* Information about US and world history events that impacted the lives of our ancestors.

Useful research tips for current genealogy researchers.

* A huge swelling of interest in genealogy research from viewers and local media. Are our genealogy societies fully prepared to handle this interest?

* An opportunity for marketing by genealogy companies - software, databases, social networking, publications, technology. Will there be advertising for,,, GenealogyBank, Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic, The Master Genealogist, the Family History Library, NEHGS, NGS, APG, RootsTelevision, etc?

* An opportunity for professional researchers to offer their services. They need to alert local repositories of their availability and expertise.

What should local and regional genealogy societies be doing to prepare for the anticipated swelling of interest after the series starts?

* Have volunteers ready to help inquirers one-on-one with their research.

* Have beginning genealogy classes ready to roll after 20 April.

* Have a list of speakers with "how-to" presentations available for local social groups (churches, libraries, senior centers, service groups, veterans groups, etc.) to tap.

* Be prepared for media inquiries about "how-to" and the benefits of joining a local society.

What do you think about these issues? What's going to happen in the genealogy world? What else can societies do to help inquirers learn and succeed?

I'm really looking forward to seeing just how "politically correct" these shows will be. I'm also really curious to see if I'm related to these ladies of Monday nights.

I'm wondering if there isn't a reality TV show lurking in this genre - sort of a "Survivor: Family Tree" where researchers are voted out of the Archives or FHL after failing at a research task. How about a reality show called "The Genealogist" where the subject goes through interviews and dates to pick out the researcher of his/her ancestral dreams.

Family Photographs - Post 40: Lyle's Album

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.

I scanned my grandfather's (Lyle L. Carringer, 1891-1976) "Snapshots" album on Sunday during Scanfest. The photos were from about 1910 to about 1925, and were pasted onto black paper in the album. The album pages are somewhat moth-eaten around the edges and many pages were loose. I decided to take out all of the pages so that I could scan them. There are quite a few blank spots on the pages where someone has removed other photographs. I've seen many loose photos in my collection with "black paper" on the back that were probably in the album at one time.

Here is one of the photographs from the collection.

I have very few pictures of my grandfather smiling. I remember him as a happy, contented and loving man, but I don't remember seeing him smile much. I believe that this picture was taken on his wedding day, 19 June 1918, in the garden at his home at 2105 30th Street in San Diego. I am so happy that he was happy on this day - he was a loving husband to Emily Kemp Auble throughout their lives - a wonderful example to his daughter and grandsons.

The picture below is from album as it was scanned.

Lyle's picture is on the bottom of this page. Who is the guy on the top of the page? I think it's David Devier Smith (1863-1920) - the brother of Della (Smith) Carringer, and the only son of Devier and Abigail (Vaux) Smith.
After scanning the album pages as TIFF files (often 15-25 mb each in size at 300 dpi), I rotated (as required) and cropped (as required) each picture and saved tham as JPG files (resulting in 400-600 kb files). Some of the photos had short labels on the bottom edge, and a few had information on the back of them. I tried to add names, dates and locations to the JPG photos when I saved them.

I had forgotten that I had this album - I found it while looking for the envelope of cemetery pictures in the two boxes of loose photographs that I've collected since about 2000 (the last year I put photographs in the "magnetic" albums). Hmm - next Scanfest, I really should start on the "magnetic" albums. But there are so many more loose photos to scan! Then to organize them into useful digital albums and slide shows to save them for posterity. It's a lifetime of work, I think!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Genealogy Happy Dances and/or Genea-gasms!

The subject of the next Carnival of Genealogy is "Genealogy Happy Dances - the Joy of Genealogy. Almost everyone has experienced it. Tell us about the first time, or the last time, or the best time. What event, what document, what special find has caused you to stand up and cheer, to go crazy with joy?"

I made up my own name for this moment in time - I call it "The Magic of Genealogy Moment" or a "Genea-gasm." I wish I could remember all of the moments of joy and near-ecstasy I've experienced while pursuing my elusive ancestors. For sure, the "magic moments" include:

* The 1993 trip to England - researching, visiting the family church, and learning why James Richman came to America in 1855.

* The 1999 trip to Norway - seeing beautiful Voss and visiting the family farms that Linda's ancestors lived on.

* Finding the treasures in my mother's closet - my find when cleaning out my mother's closet after she died.

* Finding the Union Case with Isaac and Lucretia (Smith) Seaver - I had never seen this before it was found in my Aunt Geraldine's collection and passed to me after her death in 2007.

* Finding the box of forgotten treasures in the garage in late 2006 - this included many things from my childhood and Della's Journal for 1929, which I transcribed week-by-week in 2007.

What? Only one entry? Ooops. It said first time (I really can't remember), last time (not recently), or best time (ah, there have been more than four). This is sort of like remembering old girlfriends... they say the memory is the second thing to go, and I can't remember the first. I hope it isn't genea-gasms.

Pedigree Charts using Family Tree Maker 2009

I posted earlier about making 8.5 x 11 pedigree charts using Legacy 7/Legacy Charting, and wanted to show some of my creations made using Family Tree Maker 2009.

FTM 2009 has many of the same charting capabilities as Legacy Charting - the user can choose the number of generations, the items to show, the format of the text, lines and boxes, and the background picture (either one of their stock backgrounds or a photograph from the user's collection).

With some time investment in navigation around the program (see my series on FTM 2008 - FTM 2009 is almost the same), creating "pretty" pedigree charts is fairly easy to do. The neat thing is that you can come back to them and add more detail or colors.

Here is a five-generation chart of my father's ancestry:

And a five-generation chart of my mother's ancestry:

Five generations was the most I could get on the page and still include the dates. I sacrificed the locations for a larger type font. I could have added locations by going to a smaller font size. The alternative is a larger full-scale chart - on more than one page. These one-page .jpg files are about 1.2 mb in size.

One problem I've run into is that FTM 2009 crashes when I try to save a three-generation descendants chart as a .jpg file. It's done it several times on me so far. Unfortunately, even though I thought I saved it as a chart, the saved chart was not found when I rebooted the program, so I had to create it again...and the FTM 2009 crash happened again. Has anyone else had this happen to them?

More News

I posted A Tale of Two Companies yesterday, which provided a link to Paul B. Allen's March 2008 presentation about the development of and

Two kind email correspondents found a 21 November 2008 presentation by Paul B. Allen online that was given to the BYU eBusiness Day Fall 2008 Conference. The filers include:

* The PowerPoint presentation titled (about 6 mb)

* An MP3 audio file of the presentation (about 12 mb)

* A WMV (audio-visual) file of the presentation (123 mb - my computer couldn't handle both audio and video)

Just reading the PowerPoint is fascinating - I'm amazed by the tremendous shift in emphasis from "genealogy content on WorldVitalRecords" emphasized in March 2008 to "social networking using web sites and personal media devices" emphasized in November 2008.

The application of We're Related to Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, Orkut, Friendster, Yahoo, hi5 and iPhone is the major development shown in the presentation, and appears to be the focus of development over the past six months.

One message I received from this presentation is "a company has to do what it has to do" in order to survive and be profitable. It has to take risks, innovate, try to catch the next technology wave, etc. It appears that is riding the wave right now. Will they succeed or wipe out?

There are also some interesting charts in the presentation concerning the soon-to-appear The slides show maps on the web site and on an iPhone linked to persons in a family tree. I want to go back and listen to the MP3 to see just what Paul said about this site.

Paul Allen posted Near Death Experiences yesterday on his blog, in which he describes how close startup companies can come to failure. Near the end of his post, he wrote:

"...but (corporate site) had its own very intense near-death experience in the past few weeks. Amid the global economic meltdown, a bank loan was called, and we scrambled for weeks to find a way to pay it off. A few options emerged, some less attractive than others, and then finally, a couple of days after Christmas, we were completely delivered from our financial pressures. We have now finalized our Series B funding which will be announced shortly.

"Amazingly, at about the same time, we turned profitable. Just six months ago we were losing nearly $300,000 per month. But through a combination of very painful cost reductions and the growth in our subscription, advertising, and product revenue streams, we literally turned the corner the week after Christmas, and hope to never turn back."

That is great news from my perspective - the genealogy industry needs competition. is still the biggest bear in the genealogy woods, but competition among data providers increase the available content and subscription prices down.

What conclusions do you draw from these presentations by Paul Allen about What does it mean for genealogists?

I have my own observations, but will hold them and will post them in a separate blog and will include any comments that my readers offer. If you prefer to offer anonymous comments to me, email me at and I will post them without your name attached.

Lastly, I really appreciate that some of my readers are willing to share links with me - please continue! I also appreciate that presentations like Paul's are available on the Internet from conference sponsors.

Tombstone Tuesday - Jonathan and Amy (Champlin) Oatley

I finally found my envelope chock full of tombstone pictures that I've collected over the past 20 years - either taken by myself or sent to me by other kind researchers.

In the Bartlett Cemetery #1 in East Killingly, Windham County, Connecticut are the stones of my third great-grandparents, Jonathan and Amy (Champlin) Oatley.

Jonathan Oatley's stone is very readable:

The inscriptions on the stone reads:

was Born in S. Kingston R.I.
July 7, 1790
and died in Killingly
Aug. 10, 1872
age 82 years, 1 mo.
& 3 days
At rest in Heaven

Jonathan's stone stands right next to an unreadable stone, which I believe to be that of his wife Amy (Champlin) Oatley (1798-1863):

There is a third, smaller stone next to the unreadable stone (which may be for a child that died in infancy - perhaps G. Whittier Oatley (1837-1837)). I could not read this stone either. has a list for some stones in this cemetery - they list Amy Oatley (Mar. 1798-8 Feb 1863), wife of Jonathan Oatley, and G. Whittier Oatley (Apr. 1837-22 Sept 1837, age 5 months), son of Jonathan and Amy Oatley. There are no pictures of these stones on this site, so I can't tell if someone managed to decipher what is on the stones.

Jonathan and Amy (Champlin) Oatley had 14 children - many of them are buried in this cemetery.

UPDATE: Reader Brian Sheehan offered the list from Bartlett Cemetery #1 in East Killingly located on the Internet here. Thanks, Brian!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Photograph from TGN Visit

Here is the photograph of the genea-communicators group that met at The Generations Network offices in Provo on Friday, 9 January.

Diane Haddad sent this photo out, but someone modified one of the faces (and did a good job, I might add!). Thank you Diane and AI.

OK - Monday Night Fun - who ARE all of these people? Some are genea-communicators, some are TGN staff.
UPDATE 1/27: The Ancestry Insider has a summary post with all of the names of the people in the picture and all of the blog posts to date in his post Belated Bloggers Day Report.

"About San Diego and the South Bay" is CVGS Program on Wednesday, 28 January

The next program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society is Wednesday, 28 January at 12 noon at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street) in the Auditorium. There will be a brief business meeting before the speaker is introduced.

Ken Kramer is our featured speaker with his program "About San Diego and the South Bay." Ken is known to most San Diego residents for his "About San Diego" radio and television broadcasts that bring us interesting, humorous, historical and always entertaining anecdotes of our city and region. His series "About San Diego" has been honored by the Council of California History, the Save Our Heritage Organization, and has won several national awards for excellence in writing and reporting.

Ken has been in broadcasting since he was a kid and experimented with a home constructed radio broadcasting station. He now has more than 30 years experience and has won 10 "Golden Mike" Awards, 5 Emmy Awards and numerous local awards.

Currently, Ken is a contributing reporter for NBC, Channel 7/39 in San Diego. His "About San Diego" program airs at 6 p.m. on Saturdays. You can see video clips, take San Diego quizzes and learn more about Ken on his web page at

CVGS welcomes guests and visitors to all of our meetings. Please enter through the Conference Room door in the east hallway of the library in order to sign in, pick up handouts, have a snack and chat with genealogy friends and colleagues. The meeting will start in the Auditorium at about 12:20 p.m.

A Legacy Charting success

I posted on Friday about Legacy Charts with Picture Backgrounds. I lamented the fact that I could put only four generations, with name, birth, marriage and death date/locations) on a single page chart. I had hoped to be able to do a five generation chart on a single page.

Geoff kindly commented that I could create a multi-page chart, save it as a .jpg file and print it on a single page using my printer program. Yep, that works! Great!! I created a chart with five generations on four pages full-scale, then saved it as a .jpg file (1.59 mb), and printed it out. The resulting chart looks like this:

That's pretty much what I wanted in the beginning. On an 8.5 x 11 page, suitable for framing, the names, dates and places are almost readable - they are there if people really care. I do, but many won't.

One of the options in Legacy Charting is to order a full scale chart. The chart above (24 inches by 24 inches) on bond paper would cost $4.00 each, on Professional paper, $14; on Photo Glossy paper $28, and on Matte Canvas $50. All prices are plus shipping. It appears that when the size goes to 24 x 24, the background photo is distorted a bit. Some work on the original photograph to make a square image would return it to the correct proportions. I believe that the charts are created and shipped by Janet Hovorka's Generation Maps company.

My next project is to add thumbnail pictures of most of the people on the chart and see if I can get them added onto this chart. Or at least on a four generation chart. I haven't created the head shots yet from my photo collection - something else on my endless (it seems) to-do list.

I haven't given up on my goal to make a 10 generation chart - I'm just not ready to do that yet!

A Tale of Two Genealogy Companies

Tamura Jones emailed a link to a presentation that Paul B. Allen made on 31 March 2008 at a BYU conference. A PDF of the PowerPoint presentation is here. The title page just says "" and "" but it is much more than that - I'm thinking that it should have been called "A Tale of (Developing) Two Genealogy Companies."

There are many interesting slides in this presentation, including:

* use of the Wayback Machine to see early web pages

* the development story, 1996-2002

* the development story, 2006-present

* the goals of - the last one was "cash flow positive in early 2009"

* advice for entrepreneurs - the first one is "catch the next wave"

Looking at the presentation, it's apparent that the stock market crash and recession in early 2001 dealt a major blow to the development of

This presentation was made before the 2008 stock market crash and the current recession. I wonder if the goal of being "cash flow positive" will be met in early 2009. These are probably tough economic times for many genealogy companies.

An interesting takeaway from the presentation is the number of subscribers - WorldVitalRecords had about 25,000 in early 2008. I'm guessing that had about 800,000 subscribers in early 2008 (from what I've read). That's quite a difference, isn't it? It shows up in the Revenue projections for the two companies - Paul had a graph that showed Ancestry's revenue for 2006 was about $150 million, while WorldVitalRecord's sales revenue for 2007 was about $700,000 (obtained by adding up monthly revenue numbers from a chart).

Read more about the company's development here.

My fervent hope is that Paul's company continues to grow, becomes profitable, and becomes the second largest genealogy company on the Internet (wasn't that one of the original goals, to be #2?). The content list at is impressive, considering that the company is less than three years old. The company led the way in forming partnerships with other data providers, and is the leader in creating and installing applications on social networks like Facebook.

In recent months, we've heard about the debut of and These additional developments will add significant content and features for genealogy researchers to use. It seems that the one constant of the genealogy world on the Internet is "change."

I am a subscriber to, and have uploaded my family tree to I've tried and failed to upload my family tree data to and to the We're Related application on Facebook over the past year.

Thank you to Tamura Jones for finding this presentation and for sharing it with me.

UPDATE 1/27: A kind email friend sent this link to Paul Allen's March 2008 presentation itself - see

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Best of the Genea-blogs - Week of January 18-24, 2009

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:

* Genealogy and the economy by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on the Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog. Schelly follows up several other blogger posts with her opinions, and makes excellent sense.

* How to share your family history with your family - surround yourself by Janet Hovorka on The Chart Chick blog. Janet continues her series on sharing with great ideas. Check out the photos too.

* Putting flesh on the bones by Lorine McGinnis Schulze on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Lorine does a wonderful job of doing just that with stories of her great-grandmother and her husband, and hopes that someone in her family has pictures of her.

* Cabinet of Curiosities #13 (Baker's Dozen Edition) by Tim Abbott on the Walking the Berkshires blog. There are eight interesting curiosities presented by bloggers, and Tim added several more oddities to the list on his own accord.

* Everything you ever wanted to know by John D. Reid on The Anglo-Celtic Connection blog. John takes TGN/Ancestry to task over navigation, database content and corrections - valid points.

* Tech Tuesday: Homework (Still) Pays Off! by Denise Levenick on The Family Curator blog. Denise lists her favorite web places for technical matters - nice list!

* The key to Ireland: Genealogists seek out their Irish roots by Lisa at The Small-Leaved Shamrock blog. Lisa posted the 11th Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture, which had 16 entries from genea-bloggers. I'm green with envy - I wish I had some Irish ancestors! The next Carnival topic will be a St. Patrick's Day Parade.

* Tax Records Online by Gena Philibert-Ortega on the Gena's Genealogy blog. These are really hard-to-find records, and Gena has discussed what is available on the Internet and other sources for tax records.

* The Essence of Family Ready by the blogger who writes the Generations Gone By Weblog. What a fascinating story about GGB's mother - how she supported her family, has changed over the years since her husband died, and is a blessing to all.

* The Problem With Pauline - Part 9 - Some Fun With Dr. George B. Sanford by Sheri Fenley on The Educated Genealogist blog. Sheri takes us on a side trip to visit her dentist ancestor in this ongoing research saga.

* Mars, Venus & Genealogy by Lori Thornton on the Smoky Mountain Family Historian blog. Lori poses an intriguing question - do male genealogists hide in their caves and female genealogists share a lot? Tell her!

* The Slesinski Sisters: Part 1 - The Photographs; Part 2 - The Research; and Part 3 - Research Confirmed by Donna Pointkouski on the What's Past Is Prologue blog. Donna presents a fascinating case study about five sisters, including her great-grandmother. She shows the pictures, finds the evidence, and draws conclusions to identify all of the parties involved.

* A Shot - Part 3: The Botched Burial by footnoteMaven on the Shades of the Departed blog. fM finishes this unbelievable story about a murder in San Francisco and the outcome of the trial and burial.

* Slow Burn to War by Lee Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee discusses the events leading up to the Revolutionary War, and the parts some of his ancestors played in the war.

* Take Some Time for Relaxation – Genealogical Fiction by Carolyn Barkley on the blog. Carolyn has a nice list of genealogy-oriented fiction books, and links to other lists too. I've been waiting for someone to do this!

* Weekly Rewind by Apple on the Apple's Tree blog. Apple's weekly summary highlights many other blog posts, and provides insight into her genealogy week too. Check out her slide show too!

* The Power of Words by Sean Sexton on the Sean on Family History blog. Sean experimented with making Tag clouds of presidential inaugural speeches. He found out some interesting things!

* My Box of Blog Food by Becky Jamieson on the Grace and Glory blog. Becky hit the jackpot with a box in her dad's storage area - lots of goodies to keep her posting about them for a long time. We should all be so lucky!

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 - all bloggers appreciate feedback on what they write.

Did I miss a great genealogy blog post? Tell me!

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.

Escondido Exploits - Genealogy is really fun

I had a wonderful time Saturday at the Escondido (CA) Genealogical Society meeting at the Escondido Public Library. I got there about five minutes before opening, and was greeted by the Program Chair, Ray Raser. We went up to the meeting room, and I got the projector and laptop set up on a table - just the right distance from the large screen. There were about 25 in attendance.

After a short business meeting, I was introduced by Ray and presented my "Genealogy is Fun! Seriously!" talk. This presentation is basically a humor talk, but there are lessons to be learned in the examples - for instance, the 1880 census is the only one with the occupations indexed as keywords on It covers names, epitaphs, wills, obituaries, place names, census records, occupations, database oddities, cartoons, some of The Genealogue's Top 10 lists, and the I'm My Own Grandpa video, followed by my homemade relationship chart for the song. I ended with some wisdom and comments about what is fun for me. The audience laughed in all the right places, and seemed to enjoy it.

I provided a handout with "fun" genealogy web sites (humor, videos, merchandise, etc) on one side and some of my favorite research sites on the other (indexes, databases, links, lists, boards, etc.).

After the talk, I met Peggy and Vince Rossi (Peggy is a professional genealogist in the area, and both of them are writers), and with Ray and his wife, we walked over to a nearby deli for a sandwich and conversation (thank you for lunch, Ray!). This was a lot of fun - getting to know other genealogists is fun for me.

After lunch, we went back to the Pioneer Room, which is a local history repository that is part of the Escondido Library. It is open 16 hours a week, and I got a chance to check out the holdings, and talk to the archivist. They have a good collection of San Diego records - probably the second or third best in the county.

I had a great genealogy Saturday - so much fun and excitement that I came home and took a nap to recover!

My thanks to Ray and the Escondido Genealogical Society for inviting me and sharing some fun.