Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday Night Fun - Sing a Love Song

It's Saturday Night, and my Genea-Musings readers know what that means. Let's have some FUN!

It's also Valentine's Day, and hopefully you are with someone you love tonight (or tomorrow when you read this). If not, I'm sure that you remember someone that you loved and who loved you.

Here's the FUN part: recite a love poem, or sing a love song, to your loved one. Then tell us about it - in your own blog post or in a Comment to this post. Who, what, why...and enjoy doing it!

Here's my plan (do you remember this song?):

My absolute favorite love song (from my days of no chance for love in 1961) is I Love How You Love Me by the Paris Sisters. The lyrics are:

I love how your eyes close whenever you kiss me
And when I'm away from you I love how you miss me
I love the way you always treat me tenderly
But, darling, most of all I love how you love me
(love how you love me)

I love how your heart beats whenever I hold you
I love how you think of me without being told to
I love the way your touch is always heavenly
But, darling, most of all I love how you love me
(love how you love me)

I love how your eyes close whenever you kiss me
And when I'm away from you I love how you miss me
I love the way your touch is always heavenly
But, darling, most of all I love how you love me
(love how you love me)

I love how you hug me (love how you hug me)
I love how you squeeze me, tease me, please me
Love---how you love me
I love how you love me.

Now the challenge is to find the right time and place to recite this (I probably won't sing it - my voice isn't that high) to Angel Linda. She will be wonderfully surprised, I hope.

Interesting German genealogy site

Reader Ron Chard from Florida emailed me about a German genealogy resource he found. Here is his email:

"...I have been hunting for my wife's grandfather Detert Lueken Aden's family back in Germany for sometime now. Two weeks ago I Google'd his name (had done so in the past with no luck) and was pointed to a German website at At this website it pointed me to a link at "Ostfriesland Stedesdorf, Burhafe, Dunum (26427)". Lo and behold, there he was along with his ancestors in Ostfriesland, Prussia. When you access the Ostfriesland link, you can change the language to English, which made searching much easier for me as I have no knowledge of the German language.

"There looks to be over a hundred different databases for free access at this site, mostly in Germany, but it does include several other countries in Europe. You are provided a contact person for the database you are looking at, contact email address, and source information. I forwarded information pertaining to Detert's American family, which was quickly added to his German data.
"Thought you might want to take a look at this site and possibly pass it along on your blog to those hunting for their elusive German ancestors."

Thank you, Ron! It looks like an interesting site - but I can't figure much out without having some German language skills. I'm going to pass it along to the people in the local German Research Association also.

One of the lessons learned here, by myself, is to regularly put your elusive ancestor names into search engines. So much material is added online every day, week, month and year that you might be surprised to find a pearl in the hog trough of genealogy web sites.

Valentine's Day Musings

It's the reddest day of the year...check out the Genea-Musings color combinations - just for today!

For all of my love-ly Genea-Musings readers - here is a bouquet just for you.

You can even download it (right-click on picture, Save As Picture, put it in a file where you can find it) and send it to your favorite bloggers or email friends. How many times will I get this back?

I posted some Valentine's Day goodies in past years. See:
* Valentine's Day Censuswhacking - some love-ly names from the records

* The Best Valentine's Day Gift Ever - read about 1970.

Look for some Saturday Night Fun tonight on the topic of "Love."

Here's my "musing" for the day:

Each one of us is a product of a mother and a father, and each of them were products of a mother and a father, going back for centuries and eons of history. Almost every one of those births was the product of a "love relationship" - something that drew that man and that woman together at a point in time and created a totally unique human being.

Each set of parents had no idea what the future would hold for their child, but I think that each parent hoped for a happy and fulfilling life for their child. Did Tom and Nancy (Hanks) Lincoln ever consider that their son Abraham would become a lawyer and President of the United States? Did Bill Clinton's parents, or Barack Obama's parents, have those hopes?

I would like to think that my parents hoped that I would get an education, find a useful and rewarding occupation, meet a wonderful "love of my life," have a family that graced their lives with grandchildren, and love and honor them throughout their lives, and their memories after they passed. If that was their hopes, I think that I have fulfilled them. Those were my hopes for our children, and they are in the process of fulfilling them.

One of the reasons that I pursue my genealogy research and write about family history is so that I can tell the stories of my ancestry to my children and their progeny. When my daughter was in college, she wrote me a letter that said "tell me about your life - how were you raised, what did you do, why are you like you are?" I hope that she discovers this blog some day and marvels at the memories, the thoughts, and the wisdom imparted. I hope that she saves these posts (actually, they're on the CD-ROMs I give them every year, but I'm sure that they don't read them!) and reads them when I'm gone and remembers the good times, the fun times, the loving times.

Friday, February 13, 2009

More Tests of Family Tree Maker 2009

Hugh Watkins, on his GENEALOGE blog, post titled FTM 2009 provided a link to Arnie Krause's web page titled FTM 2009 - A comparison.

Arnie put FTM 2009 through a series of tests, and compared the results to FTM 16, FTM 2008 and Legacy 7. The comparisons are interesting to me, and probably to others as well. I suggest that interested readers check out Arnie's article.

I checked out the other parts of the Arnie Krause Genealogy Home Page web site and there are many interesting and useful pages there. He has done a nice job of putting together a site for his Krause ancestry and much more. The items that caught my eye included:

* Searching Your Roots - a "how-to" primer for beginning researchers.
* Family Tree Maker Genealogy Program - more reviews of FTM versions
* DNA Genealogy - with emphasis on the Krause studies
* PDF Books and documents - a list of Arnie's eBooks, many of them require a password for access.

I had a fun time looking for goodies on Arnie's site. What a great example of sharing genealogy research with extended family members and other researchers. Thanks, Hugh and Arnie, for brightening my evening reading.

Escondido Family History Fair on Saturday, 7 March 2009

The nearly annual Family History Fair sponsored by the Escondido Family History Center will be Saturday, 7 March at the Escondido FHC (2255 Felicita road, Escondido). Check-in starts at 8 am, the Keynote address starts at 9 a.m., and the last session ends at 4:40 p.m. Many San Diego area societies and repositories will have tables at the Fair, but nothing can be sold on the FHC premises.

The Fair is FREE to attend, but attendees need to register in order to attend. A syllabus costs $12, and a box lunch costs $8, payable in advance. The online registration form is here and a paper form, with a list of the sessions, is here. If you register online, you have to send a check with a form. Attendees are asked to choose the sessions that they want to attend for planning purposes.

There are ten excellent speakers, including the Keynote speaker, Leland Meitzler. In addition to Leland, the speakers are Barbara Renick, Debby Horton, Jean Wilcox Hibben, Daniel M. Bartosz, Ann Montgomery, Joan Lowrey, Franklin D. Chocco, Tom Underhill and Nancy D. Carlberg. There are seven classes in five time slots during the day.

This is the only all-day seminar with multiple sessions and speakers in San Diego County at this time. I urge all San Diego area genealogists to support this Family History Fair - you get a day of quality presentations by notable speakers for a very reasonable cost.

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society will have a table at the Fair, and I will hang out there in between presentations. Please stop by and say hello if you are at the Fair!

FGS/AGS 2009 Genealogy Conference Program and Registration Now Online!

“A Conference for the Nation’s Genealogists” is an annual event of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). It moves all around the U.S. and the 2-5 September, 2009 host is the Arkansas Genealogical Society (AGS) and the place is Little Rock, Arkansas. The conference theme is Passages Through Time which symbolizes the journey taken as we learn more about our ancestors, their place in history, and the lives they led.

Join your fellow family historians, librarians, editors, archivists, historians, writers, professional genealogists, software developers, book and database vendors, volunteers, and the growing number of younger genealogists as we network, learn, share, and even have some fun. You might meet a 3rd cousin you didn’t know about or someone from an ancestral home town.

The FGS conference registration system is alive & kicking. It’s simple to find: just click on this link for the FGS Conference Website Once you are on the page, the links to the conference program and registration are on the left. The registration link for the Exhibit Hall is also live.

Choose from more than 160 lectures, workshops, and other learning opportunities presented by speakers from all over the U.S. over the course of four days. With the conference in Little Rock, there are plenty of sessions related to Arkansas roots, but the program offers something for just about everyone. Lectures about research in other states, on specific ethnic groups, libraries and archives, research methodology, technology, migration, military records, and some unique topics will grab your interest. A special feature of the first day is a selection of lectures devoted to assisting volunteers running genealogy societies and their websites, publications, classes, meetings, and special events.

This year’s conference is being held in Little Rock’s Statehouse Convention Center. The Exhibit Hall, on-site registration area, and the lecture rooms are conveniently located in the same building that is easily walkable. One host hotel, the Peabody, is attached to the convention center. The Doubletree is less than a block’s walk.

Be sure to click on the button for the Conference Blog to learn more conference details, about the city of Little Rock, the hotels, the trolley for getting around and about the lectures, speakers, and special events. The blog is updated frequently.

FGS and AGS invite you to join us as we learn more about Passages Through Time.

About FGS

The Federation of Genealogical Societies was founded in 1976 and represents the members of more than 500 genealogical societies. More information about FGS is available online at


I have high hopes of attending this FGS/AGS conference on a late summer trip through the Midwest visiting friends and trying to find Samuel Vaux's gravesite.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Check out

Every once in awhile somebody puts together a really useful web site that puts information all in one place for researchers to use.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze has created the web site to gather information about all of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom census records in one place as an aid to researchers. The records for each year, the questions asked in each census year, and the web sites where indexes, images and transcriptions are available are listed.

Lorine has another "all-in-one-place" web sites too - the site. Her main web site is and she specializes in USA and Canada records.

Thanks to Lorine for the site - it is a Favorite of mine now (how have I missed it for so long?). It is my first stop when I want to find Canadian and English census records, since they are not all in one online location. Since I have an US subscription, I go to Ancestry as my first stop for USA census records.

Jana Sloan Broglin is Speaker at Hemet CA Seminar on 21 February

Jana Sloan Broglin is the featured speaker at the Hemet-San Jacinto Genealogical Society seminar and workshop to be held on Saturday, 21 February, starting at 9 a.m., at the Hemet Public Library (300 E. Latham Ave., Hemet CA 92543, 951-765-2372). Jana will make four presentations:

* Hot Off the Press - three centuries of Genealogy as Reported in the Newspapers.

* The Keys to the Courthouse - The way to unlock all the records found in the courthouse and how to use what you find!

* Hookers Crooks and Kooks: or Aunt Merle Really Didn't Run a Boarding House - A hilarious light-hearted look at searching for the black sheep in the family (done in costume).

* Land Records of the Old Northwest Territory - learn the migration, county formation, survey systems, etc, that determined the land settlement standards for much of the United States.

Pre-Registration (by 16 February) is $25, at-the-door registration is $30 (no lunch), and Luncheon tickets are $8. Make checks payable to HSJGS and mail to PO Box 2516, Hemet CA 92546. See the HSJGS web site at for more information. There are a limited number of seats available.

I saw Jana in action at the SCGS Jamboree last year doing her Hookers presentation - it was great! If you have the day free, I encourage my readers to go and enjoy Jana's presentations.

Happy 200th Birthday, Cousin Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, was born on 12 February 1809 in what is now LaRue County, Kentucky, to Thomas and Nancy (Hanks) Lincoln. He was descended from Samuel Lincoln, an early settler in Hingham, Massacvhusetts Bay Colony in the 1630's.

I looked on Rootsweb WorldConnect to see if I could a well-sourced database containing Abraham Lincoln's ancestry. There were quite a few entries for him, and several seemed to have more information than some of the others. But I could not find any that I "trust" there. There is a nice looking ancestral chart for Abraham Lincoln here, but I don't know how "right" it is.

My next stop was to look in the book Ancestors of American Presidents, compiled by Gary Boyd Roberts and published by the Carl Boyer 3rd, Santa Clarity, California in 1989 (the preliminary edition, revised). There is a fairly extensive ancestry for Abraham Lincoln, going back through Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Massachusetts for the Lincoln line and several collateral lines. Perhaps the latest edition of this work has a more extensive genealogy than was known 20 years ago.

The couple that caught my eye in the book were #142 Obadiah Holmes and his wife, #143 Katherine Hyde. I have them too!!!

The Abraham Lincoln line from Obadiah and Katherine (Hyde) Holmes is:

1. Obadiah Holmes (1610-1682) married Katherine Hyde.
2. Lydia Holmes (????-1>1693) married John Bowne (1630-1684)
3. Sarah Bowne (1669->1714) married Richard Salter (????->1728)
4. Hannah Salter (????-1727) married Mordecai Lincoln (1686-1736)
5. John Lincoln (1716-1788) married Rebecca Flowers (1720-1806)
6. Abraham Lincoln (1744-1786) married Bathsheba Herring (?) (1750-1836)
7. Thomas Lincoln (1778-1851) married Nancy Hanks (1784-1818)
8. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) married Mary Todd (1818-1882)

My own descent from Obadiah and Katherine (Hyde) Holmes is:

1. Obadiah Holmes (1610-1682) married Katherine Hyde.
2. Mary Holmes (1632->1690) married John Brown (1630-1706)
3. Sarah Brown (1662-1733) married John Pray (1653-1733)
4. Richard Pray (1683-1753) married Rachel --?-- (????-1755)
5. Sarah Pray (1734-1819) married Nathaniel Horton (1730-1819)
6. Phebe Horton (1772-????) married Simon Wade (1767-1857)
7. Miranda Wade (1804-1850) married Jonathan White (1806-1850)
8. Henry A. White (1824-1885) married Amy Oatley (1826-1867)
9. Julia White (1848-1913) married Thomas Richmond (1848-1917)
10. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) married Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1942)
11. Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1983) married Betty V. Carringer (1919-2002)
12. Randall J. Seaver - moi!

More detail on my ancestry is on my web site at - see the file for Ancestors of Alma Bessie Richmond.

Of course, all of the above assumes that there no non-paternity events in either of the ancestral lines above - what are the odds of that? Unfortunately, Abraham Lincoln had no male-line descendants past his sons, who bore no sons of their own. Therefore, there is no Y-DNA available to compare to other Lincoln descendants from Abe's male-line Lincolns. A pity, that.

So it appears that Abraham Lincoln and I are 6th cousins 4 times removed. Cool! I didn't know that until today! What does it mean? In reality, not much. We shared a small percentage of common genes (probably the beard...). It's a great conversation starter, though!

One of Lincoln's famous quotes is about family history:

" I don’t know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be."

So - a toast to Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States. Born to humble beginnings; rose to the highest office in the land through hard work and persistence, not to mention executive skills; struck down just at the pinnacle of hard-earned success. We will never know how the country would have been different if he had lived out his full measure of years.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Genealogy News Summary and CVGS Research Group Report

I posted my Genealogy News Summary for February and the Chula Vista Genealogical society Research Group Report on the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog.

Please give the Cafe some hits!

* Genealogy News Summary

* CVGS Research Group Report

I'm going to be at Disneyland in Anaheim on Thursday and Friday, celebrating the 4th birthday of my granddaughter, Lolo. We are having dinner on Thursday night with Ariel (of Little Mermaid fame) at the Princesses Theater. It should be interesting. I'll ask Ariel who her grandparents were. I hope she doesn't say Preserved Fish! I have several posts waiting to appear. I should be back on Friday night in time to figure out something for Saturday Night Fun.

Joel Weintraub is Speaker at SDGS Meeting on 14 February

The next San Diego Genealogical Society meeting is Saturday, 14 February at 12 noon at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church (8350 Lake Murray Blvd, at Jackson drive) in San Diego. The featured speaker will be Joel Weintraub on Preparing for the 1940 Census.

The presentation summary and Joel's CV are below (from the SDGS Newsletter of February 2009):

"While the 1940 U.S. Federal Census will not be available to researchers until 2012, preparations are already underway to make the geographical search tools and indexing available. Our speaker will discuss the unique aspects and questions of the 1940 Census, the 'undercount,' and divulge why we have to wait 72 years to access the Federal census returns. He will explore the Enumeration district Numbers and what the National Archives and the Morse One-Step web site are planning. Be sure not to miss this presentation so you will be ready to get the most from your census research once it is made available.

"Joel Weintraub is an emeritus biology professor at California State University, Fullerton and has won awards for his teaching science. He became interested in genealogy 12 years ago and regularly volunteers and gives workshops at NARA in Laguna Niguel. He, along with Stephen Morse, have produced a large number of online census searching utilities for both the federal and New York state censuses. He has lectured and given computer workshops on census searching to numerous genealogy societies around the country. You will not want to miss this meeting."

I hope to attend this meeting and will report what I learned from it afterwards - if I don't get waylaid by all of the Valentine's Day candy and kisses, that is! Will I see you there?

Family Photographs - Post 42: Lyle in 1908

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.

This photograph is from my grandfather's photo album that I scanned during Scanfest last month (looks like I need to crop it a bit on the right, eh?):

The note on the back of the photo indicates that it was taken at Mr. A.O. Garlock's home in Escondido in 1908. The persons in the picture are identified as (clockwise from top left):

* Roscoe Martin
* Fern Martin
* Elwood Garlock
* Lyle Carringer
* Florence Prout (?)
Taken by Mary Russ.

In this picture, Lyle is age 16 (born in November 1891) and still looks like a young teenager.

I have no other pictures of the other people. My guess is that they lived in Escondido (about 35 miles north of San Diego and about 20 miles inland east of Carlsbad) and were friends and neighbors of the Garlocks. At least one of the Garlocks lived in the Carringer's neighborhood in San Diego in the 1930 time frame - they are mentioned in Della's 1929 Journal occasionally.

This picture was in the album of Lyle L. Carringer (1891-1976), was handed down in 1977 to his daughter, Betty Virginia (Carringer) Seaver, and then to me in 1988.

Isn't this an interesting picture? Look at the big cowboy hats on the two older guys and the standing girl. And the hat on the seated girl. Lyle doesn't look very comfortable, does he, seated next to sweet-looking Florence?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

All dressed up

These are pictures of my Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond family. Thomas Richmond was born in Wiltshire in England and immigrated in 1856 to New England, and Julia was a descendant of William and Susanna (--?--) White, through Peregrine White, on the Mayflower in 1620. Their family is described in Thomas Richmond (1848-1917) and Julia (White) Richmond (1848-1913).

The picture below is from about 1887, and was probably taken on the Richmond farm in Putnam, Connecticut. The names of the family members are in this post.

In the photograph above, we see a couple and their large family dressed in their Sunday best. The baby, James (born 1885), is on his mother's lap, and is still in a baby "dress." Thomas has a nice suit and Julia appears to be in a dark-colored high-necked long dress.

The picture below is about eight years later in 1895, although it may be as late as 1900. It was taken in Clinton, Massachusetts, according to family records.

The children have all grown up a bit, and it appears that their clothing quality has improved significantly. Unfortunately, the original picture (on the wall in my memorial hallway) does not have any better details. The family resided in Leominster, Massachusetts in this time period. The oldest daughter, Annie, is seated on the far right, and is married by this time to Walter Pickford and they resided in Clinton, Massachusetts. My grandmother, Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) is the very stern-looking young lady in the high-necked white dress on the far left. She married Frederick W. Seaver in 1900.

I thought comparing the dressing styles between the two decades would be interesting. However, children's dress and young adult dress are significantly different anyway. I don't see much difference in the dress of Thomas and Julia, either.

Testing different genealogy search engines - my perspective

I posted What do you want in a search engine? three weeks ago, which listed some of my "wish list" and solicited comments from readers. Several of you responded with suggestions - Thank You! There are many more comments about Searches on the blog and on the message boards.

My plan three weeks ago was to conduct tests on a number of web sites to determine the scope of the Search capabilities on these web sites. A good thought, I guess, but I struggled to figure out what criteria to use, and what to test with, and still have not come up with a good answer.

Any comparison of genealogy database search engines is difficult because the databases on different web sites does not have, in general, similar content. I could do a comparison of, say, the 1860 U.S. census, on,, FamilySearch Record Search and HeritageQuestOnline and have a decent comparison. I will probably start out with that. That comparison would not consider the other databases on those web sites - the military, newspaper, vital records, etc. And that comparison would not consider other web sites with database search functions, such as WorldVitalRecords, GenealogyBank, GenealogyToday, etc. However, other web sites could be tested using another database that demonstrates the versatility and capability of the Search function.

The Search comparisons will include:

* Exact search vs. Fuzzy search ("Fuzzy" meaning variations in names, dates and locations that might result in a match even if the record was enumerated or indexed poorly).
* Use of a specific database vs. many or all available databases
* Use of Wild cards in names
* Use of dates and locations as search criteria

In this exercise, I need to be careful to assess only the Search function, and not the Index function. The Search function can work only on the data that it is provided - the GIGO principle (Garbage In, Garbage Out). Errors by enumerators, transcribers and indexers is a problem for the Index function, not the Search function.

What suggestions do you have? I welcome them, and if you have any other suggestions about your Search "wish list," please comment on this post or the earlier one.

Tombstone Tuesday - Richmond in Putnam CT

The Richmond stone in Grove Street Cemetery in Putnam, Windham County, Connecticut marks the resting place of a number of my ancestors.

On the side of the stone above, the following are memorialized:
* Thomas Richmond (1848-1917), my great-grandfather
* Juliet (White) Richmond (1847-1913), my great-grandmother
* Frederic J. Richmond (1870-1875), their first son
On the other side of the stone, for which I don't have a photograph, are:
* James Richmond (1821-1912), my great-great-grandfather
* Hannah (Rich) Richmond (1825-1911), my great-great-grandmother
James and Hannah (Rich) Richman emigrated from Wiltshire, England in 1856 with several of their young children, including my great-grandfather, Thomas Richman. The family changed their surname from Richman to Richmond sometime after they came to America. Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond were the parents of my grandmother, Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (1882-1962).
I guess I'll have to go back and get a photograph of the "back side." Maybe I will find a photograph in my 1990 photo album - I just thought of that - I need to check it out and save a trip! But....I really want to go back to New England sometime soon.

Monday, February 9, 2009

2009 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference is April 2-4, 2009

In addition to the two "national" genealogy conferences sponsored each year by the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), there are a number of state or regional conferences that feature many tracks of notable speakers over several days.

One of the best of these state or regional conferences is sponsored by the Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS). The 2009 OGS Conference, celebrating their 50th anniversary, is titled "Finding Genealogical Gold in the Streams of History" and will be held 2-4 April 2009, at Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, about midway between Toledo and Cleveland, with easy access from State Route 2 and the Ohio Turnpike (I-80/90).

The full conference brochure and registration form is available in PDF form here. The conference program features 38 speakers in 68 presentations and three workshops. The conference will also include inductions of new members into the three OGS lineage societies: First Families of Ohio, Settlers and Builders of Ohio, and the Society of Civil War Families of Ohio.

The society will kick off the conference with a Golden Anniversary Banquet on Thursday, April 2 from 7 to 9 pm. Guest speaker will be Ian Frazier, author of Family, a book about researching his ancestors. In it, the Ohio-born author talks about his own ancestors on a personal level, telling what he learned about how they grew up, courted, made a living, and died, and about their individual achievements and disappointments. He will speak on "Savers and Thrower-Outers: Family Dynamics and the Pursuit of Genealogy." That sounds really interesting, especially if it is from the humorist side of Mr. Frazier's experience!

2009 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference
713 S. Main St., Mansfield, OH 44907-1644
For more information email

The Ohio Genealogical Society, headquartered in Mansfield, is the largest state genealogical society in the country, with over 6,000 members, 95 chapters, nearly 35,000 books and a lending library with more than 2,000 titles and publications. Its mission is to meet the educational needs of its members and the general public through the acquisition, preservation, and dissemination of genealogical and historical information.

This looks like an excellent conference! I wish I was located in a more central part of the country so that I could attend some of these state and regional conferences!

Have you upgraded your GenSmarts lately?

I subscribe to the GenSmarts newsletter, which is issued sporadically by the creators, Underwood Continuum, LLC. The newsletter can be subscribed to by emailing

The newsletter noted that:

"This past week, we released new free updates to both Version 1 and Version 2. The latest releases are for Version 1 and for Version 2. During the past several months, we've made the following major changes, which were included in this update:

1) Added support for FTM 2008 & FTM 2009 (GS Version 2 only)

2) Added support for RootsMagic 4 (GS Version 2 only)

3) Added support for the 1911 census

4) Added many more suggestions

5) Added support for the Mid-Continent Public library

6) Added support for TMG's primary birth/death tags (GS Version 2 only)

7) The usual assortment of minor bugs and tweaks

As usual, you can use to update if GenSmarts itself doesn't notify you at start up of the update."

What is GenSmarts? Check out the FAQ here. If you want a genealogy program that creates a list of possible genealogy databases from many genealogy web sites, you might consider You can buy it at You may be able to obtain it through a genealogy software program purchase - I got my version 1 originally bundled with Family Tree Maker 2005 (I think).

When I clicked on my GenSmarts 1 icon on my desktop, my software was updated with Version, not Version 63 for some reason. I'm not complaining. I had a good time browsing through the program again, and will do some evaluation of the program in later posts.

Genealogy in the 21st Century - Predictions

I was browsing through the Ancestry Learning Center this morning and ran across an article with the title "Genealogy in the 21st Century" written by George G. Morgan on 29 December 2000 (right before the start of the 21st century). I used the search box on the Article Archive page to find articles written by George.

There are two reasons that this article is very useful and interesting:

1) It sets a benchmark of what genealogists could accomplish at the end of the 20st century. George listed three ways that researchers could do genealogy research before the Internet, and listed 15 things that could be done on the Internet at that time.

2) George listed ten "new and exciting changes" coming to researchers in the 21st century. We are 8 years into the 21st century, and several of the technologies that George highlighted are already being used. He didn't put a specific year on when these changes would be available, so some of them could still be coming - especially numbers 8 and 9.

Does anybody use the Article Archive in Ancestry's Learning Center any more? It is extremely well hidden - buried in several pages of links. But it is a wealth of genealogy "how-to" articles (1,526 as of today, since March 2000) by notable, experienced and professional genealogists. You can enter topics, authors, subject titles or keywords into the small search box. There is an Advanced Search page where you can enter topics, publish dates, article collection, author, etc.

In my opinion, this Article Archive is a tremendous resource for beginning and experienced genealogists to use to educate themselves and others. It's too bad that it is so hard to find!

On the 21st century subject, what new technology do we already have available to us that George didn't list in his "new and exciting changes?" I think he did a great job 8 years ago.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Best of the Genea-Blogs - February 1-7, 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:

* Looking for Catherine by Terry Snyder on the Desktop Genealogist Unplugged blog. This great research story has many lessons for all of us with elusive ancestors. I loved the way Terry wove the picture, and her feelings about this person, into the story.

* The Streets of San Francisco by Sheri Fenley on The Educated Genealogist blog. Sheri has a great example of showing street addresses of families on a street map of San Francisco.

* How Do You Keep Track of the Blogs You Read? by Julie Cahill Tarr on the GenBlog by Julie blog. Julie provides a great tutorial on using Bloglines to read many genealogy (or other) blogs time-efficiently. I also use Bloglines, but there are some things I didn't know in this post! No surprise, there, I guess.

* The Familiar… Grocery stores or genealogy programs by GenerationsGoneBy on the Generations Gone By's Weblog. Here is a fascinating history of using genealogy for sanity and the use of several software programs over the years. Funny, too!

* Come Dance With Me ... by Becky Wiseman on the kinexxions blog. This is the 65th Carnival of Genealogy post on the topic of "The Happy Dance. The Joy of Genealogy." There are 50 entries in this carnival, all of them about solving genealogy research problems. Excellent work by everyone, especially Becky for putting it all together.

* Ferencz Ujlaki and the trip he didn't take by Lisa on the 100 Years in America blog. This is a fascinating research story about trying to find out exactly when Lisa's great-grandfather came to America. Donna found the answer after Lisa's post - see her comment! Well done by a group collaborating with each other!

* Gleaning Information from Military Records - Part 1; Part 2; Part 3 by Wendy Littrell on the All My Branches Genealogy blog. Wendy's series (ongoing) provides wonderful examples of records and summarizes information obtained from a number of available military records. Stay tuned.

* FamilySearch news bytes by my distant cousin, The Ancestry Insider. Mr AI provides a nice summary of what's happening in the FamilySearch genealogy empire. I'm not in the LDS Church, so I have to rely on those that are for good news.

* Genetic Genealogy - Q&A Quick Reference for Newbies by Emily Aulicino on the DNA - Genealem's Genetic Genealogy blog. Emily's question-and-answers about using DNA in genetic genealogy studies is helpful and easy to understand.

* From the MONROE JOURNAL: Pet alligator wreaks havoc in Parham, February 3, 2009 by Terry Thornton on the Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi blog. Terry tells a funny, yet useful, story about his pet alligator in Mississippi, of all places.

* Some quotes about genealogy by Elizabeth Powell Crowe on the Crowe's Nest by Elizabeth Powell Crowe blog. Libbi has compiled a nice list of quotes here. My favorites are the ones by Sellner and Lippman.

* Blogging for Genealogists - The Presentation by Janet Iles on the Janet the Researcher blog. Janet shares her PowerPoint presentation given recently to a society about genealogy blogging. She did a great job covering the important issues, and used many genea-blogs as shining examples.

* Finally Get Organized! - Feb 2009 Checklist by Pat Richley on the DearMYRTLE Genealogy blog. Ol' MYRT has outdone herself again with the second month checklist of how to organize your files. I'm already a month behind on this. There is so much in the first two checklists that I'm wondering what will be left in the out months.

* Casting the Genealogical Net by Gena Philibert Ortega on Gena's Genealogy Blog. Gena's checklist of places to look for family history information is a keeper.

* Little Ones Lost by Lee Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee's memories and family stories leads him to identify family graves hidden beside a road. Watch his embedded video too - excellent. There's a good lesson here for all of us.

* The Joys of (Re)-Filing by Lori Thornton on the Smoky Mountain Family Historian blog. Lori has been trying to clean up her paper files, and made some interesting discoveries while doing it. The lesson here is to revisit your papers regularly and see what you've missed before!

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.

In work!!!

A survey

I received an email asking me to take a customer survey to determine how can best serve my needs. The questions are interesting - makes me wonder what they're thinking about! Here are the questions and the potential responses (with my responses in (parentheses):

1. Have you purchased a DNA kit to analyze your ancestral past?

* Yes, from GeneTree (my response)
* Yes, from another company
* No

2. Ancestral DNA tests typically provide both test results and DNA haplogroup prediction. With a deeper DNA test, we can make a definitive determination of your haplogroup rather than just a prediction, resulting in a more careful refinement of your deep ancestral past. We would be able to use this information to, for example, tell you specific areas of Europe your ancestors migrated to rather than just Europe in general. In addition, you’d be directed to individuals within this finer group that share a similar ancestral past. How much would you pay for this service?

* Nothing, I'm not interested
* $49 (my response, why would I want to pay any more?)
* $79
* $99
* $149

3. Would you be interested in DNA "lattice testing", where you test the Y DNA and/or mtDNA of various relatives? Lattice testing both preserves the DNA heritage of your ancestors but also helps you discover connections on more lines than just your direct maternal and paternal lines. Group discounts would apply. Example: In addition to mapping my own paternal and maternal lines with Y and mt, I can also map my mom's paternal line by testing her father or bothers, and my dad's mother’s paternal line by testing my dad's uncle. Now I have 4 lines mapped. The service identifies relatives for testing to fill in your whole ancestral lattice and a nice way to display results.

* Yes (my response)
* No

4. GeneTree is considering enhancing our DNA matching services, creating an “advanced matching service,” whereby you’d be able to combine your pedigree and DNA results to better find matches within the network. This would be an ongoing service that would notify you of new pedigree matches and multi-level DNA matches on a regular basis as new members join. Please rate how important you feel each of the following components of this new service would be (1 is not interested, 5 is very interested)

* Automatic notification when new pedigree or DNA matches show up in the system (my response = 5)
* Ability to search for others using birth/marriage/death location, date, name, DNA haplogroup, DNA haplotype (my response = 5)
* Use of a “Explore Our Link Tool” that allows you to enter any two people in our network/database and determine through DNA and genealogy how they are linked (my response = 5)
* Ability to visually map locations of matches on a map at any given time in the past (my response = 5)
* Ability to share pedigrees between two people that are matched
(my response = 5)

5. How much would you pay for this advanced matching service if it had the features you need most?

* Nothing, I'm not interested
* $5/month (my response - why would I want to pay any more?)
* $15/month
* $25/month

6. How interested would you be in paying for a Professional DNA Genealogist to take you and another individual through the process of analyzing your DNA and genealogies to determine whether you are related? (1 is not interested, 5 is very interested) (my response = 2)

7. How interested would you be in paying for a Professional Genealogist to extend your pedigree or verify your research?(1 is not interested, 5 is very interested) (my response = 2)

8. Are you more likely to purchase a DNA test if you knew that a portion of the proceeds went directly to funding university research in genetic genealogy that enhances global understanding of ancestral DNA?

* Yes (my response, sure why not!)
* No

9. What features you add to GeneTree to make your DNA a more useful tool for you?

My response = "I don't understand the question. It is not worded to be understandable. Please revise and ask again! Do you mean (added words in [brackets]: What features [would] you add to GeneTree [in order] to make your DNA [test results] a more useful test for you?

"If that's the right question, then my answer is:
* links to surname projects or haplogroup projects that have similar DNA results.
* Email links to other people with similar Y-DNA or mtDNA results.
* More educational information about each haplogroup and how to expand the DNA lattice to other family members."

That survey had some interesting questions, didn't it? From the questions, it appears that GeneTree might be moving in the direction of:

* Ancestral DNA tests for a fee
* DNA lattice testing of other relatives for a fee
* DNA matching services (they already offer one) for a fee
* professional services to help researchers