Saturday, June 27, 2009

What I did at Jamboree - Saturday - Day 2

Whew, I'm tweeted out and didn't have time to post anything today. Here are highlights for my day:

* Went to hear Ron Arons talk on Mapping Madness - great presenter, interesting topic, good audience. Ron was substitute "teacher" for this presentation, got an A+ from me.

* Got to blogger summit room, set up my laptop and worked in Twitter to live tweet it. See for the live tweeting of the Blogger Summit meeting - 2.5 hours. Others tweeted about it too - littlebyteslife, hikari17, acoffin, several others. DearMYRTLE and other bloggers have photos.

* Lunch in convention center - talked to bloggers, readers, colleagues. Ate outside - it was warm in the sun.

* Took my flash drive to GenerationsMaps and Janet loaded my GEDCOM file, and provided a 7 foot long 8-generation chart for me. She took a picture of us with the chart - see her post here. Cool - thanks, Janet!

* Walked around the exhibit area, then went to Lisa Alzo's presentation of Murder, Mayhem and Town Tragedies. Interesting talk, a complex story, and good solutions. Lisa has wonderful stories!

* Decided to go take a nap rather than go to a 3 p.m. talk - good decision!

* Went off at 4 p.m. to go to Dollarhide's talk, but room was very full. Walking back, talked to Paul Larsen about his Easy Family History book and site.

* Time for the Facebook face-to-face meeting - talked to bloggers, colleagues, etc. Had a snack to tide me over until late dinner.

* Went up to dress for dinner. Came down and sat in the cool breeze with footnoteMaven and several others, then went to Bloggers dinner. There were 33 there. Linda and I sat with Dean Richardson and shared family and genealogy stories. There were lots of pictures taken and lots of laughs, and I'm sure others will share about it.

* Got my laptop and went to lobby to write this post. Talked to Hovorkas, Buzbees and Illya D'addazio while trying to blog. Back to room by 11:30... major yawn!

My hope had been to post pictures today of the blogger events, but I'm afraid I left my camera USB cable at home - either that or I've lost it somewhere. So - pictures when I get home!

All in all - a fun day. One more day and we go home on the train. It is so much fun to put personalities to the faces and words of my blogging colleagues. There is such a wonderful camaraderie in our Genea-Blogging community - lots of support and little criticism. We've built a fun and good thing, blogger colleagues.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Which genealogist would you like to meet?

It's Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!

It's been a really fun Saturday for me so far - I'm at the SCGS genealogy Jamboree while you're reading this, and I've been talking to over 30 genealogy bloggers, attending the Bloggers Summit, enjoying the exhibits and several classes, and tonight is our Geneabloggers banquet hosted and arranged by Thomas MacEntee at the hotel.

But this is about you - here is your SNGF assignment for tonight:

1) Identify one genealogist that you would like to meet. The person could be living or deceased.

2) Why do you want to meet with this person?

3) What would you talk about? What questions would you ask this person?

4) Write about your choice on your blog or in Comments to this post.

Here is my choice:

1) Terry Thornton - writer of the Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi blog.

2) I chose Terry because he is a gifted writer and lives in a beautiful and fascinating place so different from Big City, Pacific Ocean San Diego.

3) We would talk about family, about family history, about life experiences, about food, about cemeteries, about places we've been, about people we've met and admire, about genealogy bloggers. The discussion will last a long time, I think!

I had several more people in contention for this answer, but realized that by Saturday afternoon I will have met some of them in person! [I wrote this on Thursday so that I can "enjoy" the SCGS Jamboree events.]

Friday, June 26, 2009

SCGS Jamboree Highlights - Friday Post 1

It's been a full day of talking, listening, laughing and sharing with genealogy bloggers and vendors. The highlights so far:

* The train trip from San Diego to Burbank was great - 3.5 hours to go 140 miles with a smooth ride and fun people. There were 16 on this SDGS sponsored trip.

* Meeting bloggers I had not met before - Sheri, Amy, footnoteMaven, Maureen, Thomas, Susan, Kiril, Lisa, Cheryl, Elyse, Illya, Bruce, Gini, Leslie, Jay, Lisa, and others? And those I had met before - Elizabeth, Denise, Pat, Leland, Dick, George, Drew, Ancestry Insider, Schelly, Craig, Steve, Dean, Kathryn, Jean, Arlene, Paula, Janet, Geoff, Sue B, Diane W., others? My memory of who is here is failing... That's at least 36!

* Sat in on Maureen Taylor's presentation about Photographs of Revolutionary War Soldiers - fascinating photos, great commentary. This will be an excellent book.

* Interviewed by Lisa Louise Cooke for Genealogy Gems pod/videocast. A new experience.

* Twittering is being done in exhibit hall, presentations and the bar... and shown on big screen in registration area! Best one so far was Susan Kitchens' itemizing debris found in lobby seat.

* Geneabloggers swag bag provided by Thomas and Denise includes free RootsMagic 4, free wall chart from GenerationMaps, food, water bottle, other goodies. Thomas provided Mardi Gras beads and Amy a "Rock Star" ribbon.

* Met Tony Macklin and Sharon Hoyt of Ancestry Search team.

* Tom Underhill has a couch and coffee table in his display booth for reading his coffee table sample books.

* Great show discounts - RootsMagic 4 for $20 and 3 for $50. Legacy for $20. Ancestry for $119/$239 for new members. Footnote for $50 for new members.

* Lots of people here - enthusiastic, friendly, interested. Hungry and thirsty too!

* Had dinner with Gini and Steve Webb and Elyse Doerflinger at George's Greek Cuisine in the fast food court across the street. Topped off with ice cream at Dreyers in the same center.

* The free wi-fi in the hotel lobby works fine once you figure out how to connect to it. Some can connect easily, others can't connect at all depending on their laptop settings. About 10 connected at 9:15 pm.

* Met some people who are not bloggers - Brenton Simons, Ron Arons, Cath Trindle, Julie Miller, probably others - memory fails...

UPDATED 9 p.m. to add names and dinner comments.

First look at 2010 Census Form

The 2010 United States Census form is available to see in PDF format at

It is two pages, formatted to be folded so that the "page" on the right of Page 1 of the PDF is the top page of the folder, and the "page" on the left of Page 1 of the PDF is the last page of the folder.

Only 10 questions for the head of household:

1. How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment or mobile home on April 1, 2010. (fill in number)
2. Were there any additional people staying here April 1, 2010that you did not include in question 1? (choose from list)
3. Is this house, apartment or mobile home -- (owned by you with a mortgage, owned by you without a mortgage, rented, or occupied without payment or rent). (choose from list)
4. What is your telephone number? (fill in blanks)

5. What is Person 1's name? (fill in blanks)
6. What is Person 1's sex? (check male or female)
7. What is Person 1's age and date of birth? (fill in blanks)
8. Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin? (choose from list)
9. What is Person 1's race? (choose from list)
10. Does Person 1 sometimes live or stay somewhere else? (choose from list)

The questions for Persons 2 to 6 are:

1. Print name of Person x (fill in blanks)
2. How is this person related to Person 1? (choose from list)
3. What is Person 1's sex? (check male or female)
4. What is Person 1's age and date of birth? (fill in blanks)
5. Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin? (choose from list)
6. What is Person 1's race? (choose from list)
7. Does Person 1 sometimes live or stay somewhere else? (choose from list)

For persons 7 through 12, they ask for:

1. Name (fill in blanks)
2. Sex (check male or female)
3. Age and Date of Birth (fill in blanks)
4. Related to Person 1? (check box yes or no)

Will some people object to filling this out? It seems fairly non-threatening to me.

FGS Conference Registration Discount deadline is 1 July

Paula Stuart-Warren sent this along yesterday --

It once seemed to be in the distant future. The countdown clock has been ticking. The Federation of Genealogical Societies and Arkansas Genealogical Society Conference "Passages through Time" will be here in just over two months!

July 1st is the very last day to register at a discount for this conference and save big on a full conference registration. It is only $175.00 if you register by then. Divide that amount by four full days of conference activities with all those lectures to choose from and it is a educational bargain. If you register after that date, it will cost $50.00 more.

Go to and register online with the easy to follow directions. If you print the registration form and mail it in, be sure it is postmarked on or before July 1, 2009. If you are registering online you may do that using your Visa, Master Card, or Discover charge card. The system does not accept debit cards.

Of course, registrations will be accepted after July 1 but the discount will be gone. Register now and join other family historians, professional genealogists, librarians, archivists, and writers from Arkansas and states all over the country at this genealogical, educational, and networking bonanza.

For the latest on conference happenings, tourism, transportation, and many other items, visit the Conference News Blog at

I have registered early and expect to have a wonderful time on my first visit to an FGS Conference and to this part of the country.

Thursday, June 25, 2009 Quirk - 1930 Census Index

One of the most frustrating (for me) quirks is the indexing in the 1930 U.S. census. Fewer fields were indexed for the 1930 U.S. census than were indexed in the 1920 U.S. census. For example, here is a list of the indexed and searchable fields in the 1920 and 1930 U.S. census records on (differences in red):

* First Name - indexed in 1920 and 1930
* Last Name - indexed in 1920 and 1930
* Residence - indexed in 1920 and 1930 (state, county, city or town)
* Age - indexed in 1920 and 1930
* Estimated birth year - indexed in 1920 and 1930

* Birthplace - indexed in 1920 and 1930 (but not for minor children in 1930)
* Relation to head-of-house - indexed in 1920 and 1930
* Father's birthplace - indexed in 1920, not in 1930
* Mother's birthplace - indexed in 1920, not in 1930
* Marital status - indexed in 1920, not in 1930

* Race - indexed in 1920 and 1930
* Sex - indexed in 1920, not in 1930
* Year of immigration - indexed in 1920, not in 1930
* Able to read - indexed in 1920, not in 1930
* Able to write - indexed in 1920, not in 1930

There are several other fields in each census that were not indexed, such as occupation, military service, home ownership, etc.

The one that always trip me up is the birthplace for minor children. For example: If I put a last name = "Smith," residence state = "California," birth place of "California" and birth year = "1925 +/- 5 years" in the 1930 census database, I get only 240 matches. The 240 matches are listed as students, boarders, lodgers, inmates, etc. in the relationship column, but there are some entries with son, daughter, grandson, etc. If I take out the birth place - "California," I get 7,619 matches, including the 240 noted above. Granted that not all of the 7,619 were born in California, but it's probable that almost all of them were. Wouldn't it have been an easier indexing job just to put the birth place entry in the index field? What time or money could be saved by omitting the birthplace?

Is the problem that I am spoiled by the indexes for the 1920 and earlier census records? Perhaps, because I do feel spoiled by the indexes. I think that my expectation for the 1930 census, when it was added to, was that the indexing would be as comprehensive as the indexing of the 1920 census. said some time ago that they would spend some funds and time to correct poor indexes - I hope they improve the 1930 U.S. census, if only to add the birthplace for minor children.

What about the 1940 U.S. census to be released in 2012? It's not too early to express the expectation that the indexing for that census will include all of the useful fields, including birthplace, father and mother's birthplace, immigration year, citizenship status, occupation, etc.

David Auble (1817-1894) - Gravestone and Obituary

David Auble was born in 1817 in Sussex County, New Jersey, the son of Johannes and Anna (Row) Auble. He married Sarah Knapp in Newton, Sussex County, New Jersey. David died 22 March 1894 in Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana. His tombstone is in Woodlawn Cemetery in Terre Haute.

The stone says only:

David Auble
1817 - 1894

I have not visited Woodlawn Cemetery in Terre Haute. This photograph was taken by Theresa Young Vaughn in 2006 for the project. My deepest thanks to Theresa for this service.

David Auble's obituary appeared in a Terre Haute, Indiana newspaper soon after his death. The copy I have is a clipping saved by the family.

The obituary reads:


David Auble, who died Thursday, aged 77 years, will be buried this afternoon from the family residence, 411 Chestnut street. Deceased was well-known and one of Terre Haute's most honored citizens. He has been an invalid for the past two years and was confined to his home for over a year.

He was born at Stillwater, N.J., in 1917 and came to Terre Haute in 1865. For several years he was engaged in the boot and shoe business on Main street, during which time he became widely known for his strict and honest business qualities. He was married in 1844 to Miss Sarah Knapp, of Newton, N.J., who is a sister of C.C. Knapp of this city and also a sister of Judge Manning M. Knapp, at one time an eminent jurist of New Jersey, who held the Supreme bench of that state for seventeen years and died suddenly in the courtroom two years ago.

Mrs. Auble survives her husband with five children, two sons and three daughters; William in Kansas City, Charles in Chicago, one married daughter, Mrs. Harry Huntin of Bushnell, Ill., and Frances and Katherine at home. One sister and two brothers also survive the deceased, Miss Elizabeth Auble of Philadelphia, now 80 years old, and Robert Auble of Blairstown, N.J. and Hampton Auble of Philadelphia.

Deceased was a devout member of the Centenary M.E. Church. He cast his vote for William Henry Harrison, a fact which he often spoke of with pride before his death.


David Auble was one of my second great-grandfathers, the father of Charles Auble (1849-1916) who married Georgianna Kemp (1868-1952) in 1898 and they had my grandmother, Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977) who married Lyle L. Carringer (1891-1976), the parents of my mother.

Who were Ben Kaber's parents?

I received an email several weeks ago from a man in The Netherlands who has adopted the grave of Ben Kaber, a young American Army soldier who died in Europe on 22 February 1945 during World War II. Here is Ben's gravesite in Henri-Chappelle American Cemetery in Belgium:

My correspondent asked for help in finding out more about Ben's life and family - especially a picture if there is one available.

I've searched some of the "usual" Internet sites and have found only:

* entries in four databases, in the WW1, WW2 and Korean War Casualty Listings; U.S. rosters of World War II Dead, 1939-1945; World War II and Korean Conflict Veterans Deceased Overseas; and U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1945.

* has three newspaper articles in 1944 from Greeley, Colorado that show his enlistment.

* I could not find him in the 1930 US census with a family.

* I could not find him in the Ancestry family trees with a family.

From the military records, we can glean that:

* Ben Kaber was born in 1926 in Colorado, probably in Weld County
* He resided in Mahaska, Iowa before enlistment
* He was white, a US citizen, single without dependents, and a Catholic
* He enlisted at Fort Logan, Colorado on 24 April 1944

Does any reader have any suggestions for further research? I wonder if:

* Are there newspaper archives for Weld County, Colorado in 1945?

* Are there newspaper archives for Mahaska County, Iowa in 1945?

* Are there birth certificates available for Weld County, Colorado? It appears that one must be a relative to request one in Colorado.

Any help will be appreciated by myself and my correspondent.

CVGS Program Summary - Joan Lowrey on Passenger Lists

The June program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society featured Joan Lowrey, who presented "Did They Really Come on That Ship?" Joan's CV was described here.

The presentation covered eight case studies of passenger lists and indexes that demonstrated one or more of the following problems:

* Some entries on passenger lists may be crossed out because the passenger didn't make the boat. However, they may be indexed in passenger list databases.

* Some index entries may provide wrong date of arrival. You can use several resources to try to find the correct date and find the passenger list entry.

* While a ship may have originated in one port, some passengers may have boarded at another port.

* More than one resource should be reviewed to obtain all possible information about names, ages, relationships, birthplace, etc. There may be inconsistencies between different resources because they were compiled by different entities.

* Persons not born in Germany (or earlier German entities) may not be listed in the book Germans to America, even though they boarded the ship in Germany.

* Some online passenger lists may be duplicates of an earlier passenger list of the same ship because of errors by providers, enumerators, or indexers.

* Different passenger list indexes may spell names differently. Search by ship (if known) or first name.

* Persons may have sailed on one ship, then boarded another ship in another port before landing in the USA. The departure list and arrival list may not match.

* The Castle Garden web site has more passenger records than those that arrived at Castle Garden between 1850 and 1890. The records on the website before 1850 and after 1890 may not reflect the actual arrival location.

For her case studies, Joan used the book series of Germans to America, the Ellis Island and Castle Garden websites, the USA passenger lists collection, the Hamburg departure lists on, and newspaper articles (especially The New York Times 1851-1980 archive). The San Diego Public Library in downtown San Diego has a complete collection of Germans to America in the Genealogy Room. Unfortunately, the Chula Vista library does not have this resource.

Joan's case studies demonstrated how poorly the handwriting on the lists were, and how poor some of the indexes are. Experienced genealogists know and understand this, and learn how to work with all of the available resources but novice researchers often expect perfect indexes and easily readable lists.

This was a well-done and useful presentation because it showed that the records and indexes are imperfect and that traditional resources can be used effectively with online resources to solve passenger list research problems. This is one of Joan's specialties and her counsel should be heeded!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Daily Three - 24 June 2009

I learned quite a bit today - here are three things:

1) The Passenger Lists for the USA are really messed up, according to expert Joan Lowrey. It's hard to find some listings, and impossible to find others due to bad handwriting, bad indexing, poor images, and mistakes by all of them. See CVGS Program - Joan Lowrey on Passenger Lists for details.

2) It's nice to be able to converse and share with my CVGS colleagues at the meetings now that I no longer am President. All I had to do was give a two minute report, take some photos, and take program notes for the blog and newsletter. The society runs well without me! Cool. Took me five months to figure it out.

3) Ancestry's ExpertConnect service is in beta release - there are over 400 "expert" providers signed up, but only 8 for all of California, and 2 for Mexico (both based in Utah), based on Geographical expertise.

That's not all I learned, but it's enough for tonight.

3,000 post milestone at Genea-Musings

I've been so busy that I forgot to note a significant milestone in the life of the Genea-Musings blog. I passed the 3,000 post milestone with What I Want in a Family Tree Program?

Fitting, I think, and totally unplanned. This blog started on 15 April 2006, so there were 3,000 posts in 1,165 days. That's an average of 2.58 posts per day. Not all have been cogent, grammatically perfect, or helpful, but they're all mine!

I hope that you enjoy reading Genea-Musings and continue to do so. Traffic on Genea-Musings has increased significantly over the past year due to posts on Twitter and Facebook and more exposure to the genealogy world. I appreciate your readership and encourage you to keep reading and please do comment on posts if the spirit moves you to do so. For more thoughts of mine about Genea-Musings, please read my post Genea-Musings is a 3-year old today! - some musings from 15 April 2009.

Hey - I'm still having fun reading, writing and analyzing things.

Want to Start a Genealogy Blog?

If you are thinking about starting a genealogy blog, please check out the post A Genealogy Blog Primer and the A Genealogy Blog Primer Slideshow on the website/blog. Thomas MacEntee has done a wonderful job of summarizing everything you need to know about blogs.

You can download A Genealogy Blog Primer in PDF form and as a slide presentation for genealogical societies and other genealogy-related groups.

Thank you, Thomas!!

If you've thought about being a genealogy blogger, please join in the fun!

RootsMagic 4 is updated

The RootsMagic blog announced today that RootsMagic has been updated to Version in their post here. The blog says:

"We have just released a new update to RootsMagic 4 (version If you have the RootsMagic News screen come up when you start RootsMagic, it may have already notified you of this update. If not, you can do “Help > Check for Updates” from the RootsMagic menu to download and install this update.

"You can also download the update from

"This is primarily a bug fix update and includes a couple which required some major internal code changes. If you have reported a bug that isn’t addressed by this update, don’t worry… all reported bugs have been logged and are being worked on."

The blog post has the list of fixes.

The download and installation took less than one minute and my database runs well.

Family Photographs - Post 61: Why is Betty crying?

I'm posting old family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they won't be wordless Wednesday 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 in January:

The child is my mother, Betty Virginia Carringer, in the back yard of the Carringer's house at 2054 Harrison Avenue in San Diego. The fenced area is a chicken coop, I believe. This was probably taken in late 1920 or early 1921 when she is over one year old and walking. There are several different photos of her in these clothes with the chicken coop in the picture.

Why is Betty crying? I don't know! Unfortunately, she's not here to tell me. My guess is that something was taken from her and she is reacting to it. It's a great picture, I think, because it shows emotion.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Daily Three - 23 June 2009

I didn't learn much today, but I did learn this:

1) The wiki has added a GEDCOM export capability. That's great. After visiting the site, I notice that I need to upload my ancestral database too. I only have the Seaver database there.

2) DearMYRTLE pointed me to which can create ornamental family trees for a price.

3) The ProGen folks attending the SCGS Jamboree this weekend will have identifying ribbons to display. And we will gather together at the Facebook Friends meeting on Friday evening before dinner. I need to remember this!

Like I said, nothing too earth shattering today.

What I Want in a Family Tree Program

Many of my readers know that I've been working in Family Tree Maker 2009, Legacy Family Tree 7 and RootsMagic 4 for the past few months. It is difficult to sort out which program is "best" for me. All three do most things well, but one or more programs do some things better than the others.

To help me decide, I made a list of features that I want to have in my software program and I can then judge each program on a rational basis. The list of features:

1. File management

* Able to import and export GEDCOM files
* Able to import from databases created in other programs
* Able to have several databases open at once
* Quickly opens and closes databases (like under 15 seconds for a 20,000 person tree)

2. Data Entry

* Input birth and and death dates/places in one search box
* Input spouse's name and marriage date/place in one search box
* Input additional Facts for each person
* Able to create one or more Sources for each Fact
* Use Evidence! Explained type Source templates for Facts and Media
* Use Source Quality Ratings (for Information, Sources and Evidence)
* Attach Media (image, video, audio, document) to Persons, specific Facts and Sources (from host computer files or Internet)
* Create narrative notes for Person, with basic formatting capability (font choice, font size, italics, underlining, centering, bullet points, symbols, spell check, etc.)

3. Data Views

* Person view (shows all Facts with Source and Media indicators)
* Family view (including parents, siblings, spouse(s), children)
* Relationship view (persons related to the specific person)
* Pedigree view (at least 4 generations, number selectable by user)
* Descendants view (indented)
* Timeline view of Person and Family

4, Navigation

* Intuitive menus, icons and tabs
* Minimize number of clicks to input and edit data fields
* Uses name index to navigate to selected person
* Uses pedigree chart to navigate to selected person

5. Indexes and Searches

* Persons (including birth and death dates, and spouses names and marriage dates)
* Locations
* Search for person names, and person/spouse names

6. Features

* Mapping feature that accepts alternate county/state /country locations (because places changed counties, states and countries over time)
* Relationship calculator for two specific persons
* Problem alerts for names, dates and relationships
* Day of the month/year and age calculators (able to calculate birth date from death date)
* Web search on selected database sites (with ability for user to add more)
* Ability to easily capture images from online sites
* Create web pages (or complete website) from genealogy database

7. Reports and Charts

* Ahnentafel list (names, BMD dates and places)
* Ancestor and Descendant narrative reports (with Register and NGSQ numbering systems)
* Create a narrative book with front pages, Table of Contents, Index (in HTML, PDF or MSWord format with embedded field codes) and basic formatting capabilities
* Place reports (people and events) with sources
* Source reports (with options to show Facts and Media for each)
* Media reports (with options to show Facts and Media for each)
* Custom reports (user selects fields and persons to include)
* Birth, death and/or marriage Calendars for selected persons
* Ancestor (boxes, fan), Descendant and Hourglass or Bowtie Charts (multi-pages if necessary) with basic formatting capabilities
* Charts with scalable background images with basic formatting capabilities

I think that encompasses most of my requirements (wants?). I know that I don't know what I don't know about the current software programs! There are so many bells and whistles on them that they can be bewildering to a novice and often confusing to an advanced user.

There are software comparisons at the Top 10 Genealogy Software Review. There are user reviews of many programs - both desktop programs and online applications - at Louis Kessler's GenSoftReviews site.

After this weekend's discussion of Genealogy in the Cloud here and here, I will also use this list to evaluate the readiness of online genealogy software applications to accept my precious genealogy databases.

If you have other "must-have" or "want badly" criteria for genealogy software, please let me know in Comments to this post.

UPDATED: 6/24, 9 a.m. Added words to some lines - changes in orange.

Thank you all for good comments - many I didn't consider.

Louis - I planned to make a comparison table for my list and then try to check them off for each program.

Tracy - I included the image upload in the Data Entry section.

Darlene - why stop at four colors? I agree with you, but for me it's a "nice to have"

Scott - maybe I didn't think the "multiple databases open at same time" item through clearly. It's a leftover from PAF 2 where you could have only one open at a time, so I have many databases, some with same information. I could merge them all, but would need time to do the merges. If I received a GEDCOM file I would want to have that file open to compare to my own database without merging them.

Scott - I want to attach media to Facts and Sources like Census records, Military records, City directories, cemetery records, etc. I changed the wording in the list a bit. Media to Source to Fact is OK with me - it covers more than one source for a fact that way.

Geolover - thanks for good example of reasons for multiple databases, and will have to check out your cousin marriage problem.

Eileen - good additions. Let me think about them a bit. I have no time invested in attached media because of export issues. This needs to be standardized somehow if we are going to put our databases in the Cloud. Longitude and latitude should be in mapping function output, right? Maybe they just need to be printed out. Or did you mean you want to input a long/lat? Why - a grave location, a birth hospital, or residence?

"Genealogy in the Cloud" Program Summary - Part 2

Gary Hoffman presented "Genealogy in the Cloud" at the Computer Genealogy society of San Diego (CGSSD) meeting on Saturday, 20 June. The talk description was provided here. My Part 1 review of the program is here.

"Computing in the Cloud " refers to Internet based software and web sites where the user does not use genealogy software on their "at home" or "away-from-home" computer, but uses software applications on the Internet (such as Google Docs, Gmail, Internet browser, investment management, photo management, music management, video sharing, social networks, online family trees, gaming, etc.). What else do you do with a computer?The "Internet cloud" is represented by this graphic (which Gary used):

In the second part of his presentation, Gary discussed how genealogists can, and are, and will, do genealogy research in the Cloud.

Today, most genealogists use genealogy software, purchased from a software vendor, on their desktop and laptop computers. From the software programs, users input names, dates and locations, write research notes, create source citations, upload photos and images -- it's all well organized in a super database controlled by the user. The user can create charts, reports and even books using this software.

In the Cloud world, genealogists will use online family tree applications such as Ancestry Member Trees, and FamilySearch Family Tree to add, store, and update their genealogy information, including photos and images, source citations, research notes, etc. He mentioned GenerationDB based in India and a Chinese company that has family trees in Chinese characters as up-and-comers in family trees.

Where will your data be in Cloud computing? The data will not be stored on your computer - it will be stored in data centers provided by the host company of the application. Gary made the point that the hosts will probably be located in places with cheap electric power (think hydro-electric and nuclear).

What are the issues, and what are the pros and cons of Genealogy in the Cloud?

Pro: There are no files to lose, they will always be backed up.
Con: Ownership of information is uncertain.

Pro: Users can share information instantly, and collaborate with other researchers.
Con: Other researchers can change the information - what if it's wrong?

Pro: Information can be linked to documentation and records
Con: How long will the information be available?

Pro: Family tree can be added to and shown on any computer platform

Con: Who pays? There are three business models:
* Subscription - think, OneGreatFamily, etc.
* Advertising
* Corporate sponsorship - think LDS church for FamilySearch

There is another option - to create your own web site with genealogy software like that provided by The Next Generation of Genealogy Software, PHPGedView and PedigreeSoft. The user purchases the software (if required) and buys hosting space for the web site and uploads their current data to the web site.

Gary noted that there are currently three types of genealogy family trees on the Internet:

1) Collections of family trees - examples are Ancestry Member Trees, GenCircles, and Rootsweb WorldConnect. Each tree is maintained as a separate entity and not merged with others.

2) Linked Family Trees - an example is Ancestry's One World Tree, where information in submitted trees are linked together but not automatically merged.

3) Collective Family Trees - examples are One Great Family and Geni where everybody works on one online family tree. FamilySearch Family Tree will be in this category.

For the linked and collective trees, the major issue is how to connect trees together correctly. Resolving duplicates is being done by:

* Automatically merging data - used by
* Manual tree merging -- used by
* Combining without data loss -- used by FamilySearch Family Tree (no data loss, information can be separated at a later date if necessary)

Gary finished the presentation by demonstrating how Member Trees, and FamilySearch Family Tree deal with one person in his family tree - Effie Ann Nutt. He said that he uses to do research and find records to support his research, and that he uses to share his research with his family. He showed a screen for FamilySearch Family Tree where each person will have "folders" of records, photographs, notes, etc. in addition to the names, dates and places for their life record. FS Family Tree sounds like a wiki-type of environment to me that encourages collaboration and discussion.

He said that new FamilySearch is in version 0.9 - available only to most LDS members. Version 1.0 will extend access to non-LDS members. Version 2.0 will permit links to records sometime in the 2010-2019 period. Software vendors have been invited to connect to new FamlySearch so that the data on your computer syncs to the Cloud database in FS Family Tree. Software programs such as Family Insight, Ancestral Quest and RootsMagic 4 will do this now, and other software programs will do it later.

There are, of course, other software programs and family tree sites than those mentioned here.

I do have some comments of my own about this, and will put them in a separate post later.

Note that Dick Eastman had a good article last March titled Computing in the Clouds that covered the software issues very well.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Daily Three - 22 June 2009

I learned several interesting things are three of them:

1) Family Tree Maker 2010 is available for pre-ordering on There is a FTM 2010 Platinum for $99 on (six month subscription to but not the USA for some reason. Looks like FTM 2010 will be introduced at the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank at the Bloggers Breakfast on Sunday. Found all this by Googling "family tree maker 2010"

2) Some Roman Catholic church records for Baja California and Baja California Sur are available on the FamilySearch Record Search site. They are for selected churches, are images only, and incomplete for record years. Still better than microfilms!

3) Watch for the website to add a lot of content for ethnic groupds - African-American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian, etc. The site looks promising.

That's my three - what did you learn today? Did you write about it?

"Genealogy in the Cloud" Program Summary - Part 1

Gary Hoffman presented "Genealogy in the Cloud" at the Computer Genealogy society of San Diego (CGSSD) meeting on Saturday, 20 June. The talk description was provided here.

"Computing in the Cloud " refers to Internet based software and web sites where the user does not use genealogy software on their "at home" or "away-from-home" computer, but uses software applications on the Internet (such as Google Docs, Gmail, Internet browser, investment management, photo management, music management, video sharing, social networks, online family trees, gaming, etc.). What else do you do with a computer?

The "Internet cloud" is represented by this graphic (which Gary used):

Users are connected to networks in the "cloud" to access their work and they don't really care about software downloads, where their data is stored, or how it gets to their computer to use - only that they can access it immediately and start up from where they left off.

There were two major parts to Gary's presentation about the future direction of genealogy - first about hardware and then about software. This post will discuss the hardware aspect and another post will discuss software.

Gary took the audience of about 70 on a fast trip down memory lane - from the first PC in 1981 and first Mac in 1984 with outrageous prices, to the present where our desktop machines have RAM and hard drive memory in the gigabytes, and high screen resolution all for a price of around $800 - more bang for the buck packed in about the same size case as 25 years ago.

But a counter-trend has developed - the Netbook. It's not really a computer, but a portal to the Internet without a hard drive (with flash memory so few moving parts), which sells for $200 to $400. It's lightweight, with a 9-10 inch screen, a relatively slow processor, a long battery life (goal is trans-continental 6.5 hours), wireless/cell network communications, running a light version of Windows, Linus or Mac OS X. You can read more about Netbooks on Wikipedia - see

Remember the buzz several years ago when the government announced a goal of one laptop per child for $100? This is essentially it. Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Asian manufacturers are making them now. One of the people in the audience had an Acer model that she bought at Costco for $330. There is a smaller profit margin for the hardware manufacturer because of the relatively low price.

The market is the millions of people in Asia, poor people subsidized by governments, and wealthy people who treat them as toys, throwaways or hand-me-downs when the better one comes along. Gary said that cell network providers in Japan are giving away Netbooks with provider contracts for $30 per month. Is this the future in the USA? Probably!

The "winners" in the Netbook market are the cheap manufacturers, agile websites, savvy content owners, customers, and the telephone companies with wireless and cell services.

The "losers" are traditional hardware manufacturers, traditional software and operating systems vendors, slow-to-adapt content owners, and newspapers and books.

In summary, Netbooks don't run programs, they run applications on the Internet. They need wireless and cell networks to run effectively. The next generation of users wants it now.

Where is all of your data with a Netbook? On the Internet, protected by passwords, rather than on your desktop computer with hard drives that fail regularly.

What does the future hold for genealogy users? We'll discuss that in the next post, along with Gary's experiences with doing genealogy in the cloud.

FYI - Dick Eastman had a good article last March titled Computing in the Clouds that covered the software issues very well.

Access to California Vital Records Indexes

I posted information about California Assembly Bill AB 130 for a brief time this morning, based on an analysis by Susan Park that was distributed to the California State Genealogical Alliance mailing list.

I received an email from Susan with more information this morning that seemed to make her comments moot, so I took the information down until I could analyze it myself.

The latest version of AB 130 is posted online here, effective 15 June 2009. It says that it is:

"An Act to amend Section 509 of the Family Code, and to amend Sections 102230, 102231, 103525, 103525.5, 103526, 103526.5,and 103527 of the Health and Safety Code, relating to vital records."

The California Family Code sections are available here, and Section 509 deals with obtaining a certified copy of a confidential marriage.

Sections of the Health and Safety Code 102230-102231 are printed here, and Sections 103525 to 103527 are here. They deal with obtaining birth, marriage and death certificates. There may be other Code sections that apply to Vital Records but are not being modified by AB130.

The existing law in the Codes need to be reviewed and compared to the AB 130 bill in order to determine what the changes are and what they mean.

The genealogy community needs to understand what all of this means and come to a consensus opinion that reflects the best outcome for genealogy researchers.

The Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) of FGS usually review bills of this nature and formulate a position. The last information on the RPAC page is from February 2009, so it's not clear if RPAC is aware of this issue or if they are working on it. I hope that they are aware of it and are working on this case.

UPDATED 4:15 p.m. completely revised this post again rather than post erroneous information. Subscription Rate Increased, but there is a deal

I received an email from Justin Schroepfer at saying that:

"I wanted to let you know of an upcoming change in our Annual Membership fee. On August 1, 2009, the cost of a Footnote Annual Membership will increase by $10 (about 83 cents per month). This slight increase will help us to continue to add more valuable content to Footnote and make things easier to find and use.

"To help our current Footnote Members with this transition, we are offering a window from now until the end of July where they can take advantage of a reduced price of $59.95 (a $20 discount off the new price). This will be a great opportunity for those that have not joined Footnote, or are currently a Monthly Member, to upgrade to an annual membership. Our Annual Members can also take advantage of this special offer by extending their current membership for another 12 months at this discounted rate.

"I would appreciate if you would let your visitors and members know that they can get this special offer by going to: We will be announcing this on Monday, June 22. Please don’t post anything before that date."

The special offer is a 25% reduction in subscription cost from the new price. If you are a current subscriber, then this is a pretty good deal for new or returning subscribers. I've been very happy with my subscription this year and will probably add a year before the deadline at the special offer price.

Frankly, I wish every subscription service offered a reduced price for renewals!

"Did They Really Come on That Ship?" CVGS Program on 24 June

The next Program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society is Wednesday, 24 June, at 12 noon in the Auditorium of the Chula Vista Civic Center Library (365 F Street in Chula Vista).

After a short business meeting, Joan Lowrey will present "Did They Really Come on That Ship?"

Joan Lowrey has been researching her family since 1957, and has been a professional genealogist since 1990. She specializes in Germany and the U.S., and does extensive research in San Diego County. She has a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in German from Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, and worked with analog and digital computers as an engineer in the guided missile department at RCA in New Jersey.

A charter member of the German Research Association, Joan served as president 1989– 1992 and editor of its quarterly newsletter, The German Connection, 1989–1993.

In 1986, she started a Personal Ancestral File user group and in 1988 founded the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego, of which she is a past-president. She led the PAF User Group in CGSSD until 2000, and was editor of CGSSD’s quarterly newsletter, COMPU.GEN for 13 years.

Joan’s first book, The Green Family - the Descendants of Barzilla Green and Susan Elizabeth Boyt, was self-published in 1971. She was the author of the Personal Ancestral File Users Guide (1990–1997), co-author of A Guide to Selecting Genealogy Software, and co-author of the Guide to Genealogy Software.

Since 1985 she has compiled the “Family History—Upcoming Events, Classes, Opportunities” column for the San Diego Seagull, distributes a monthly flyer with this information, which is also posted online at

Joan is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and numerous local genealogical societies. She speaks on German genealogy and computer genealogy topics nationally, and makes presentations at genealogical societies in Southern California.

CVGS welcomes and encourages guests and visitors to all society programs, which are free to attend. Please enter through the Conference Room in the east hallways in order to sign in, pick up handouts, and have a snack before the meeting. There will be refreshments after the meeting also.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"New Genealogy Websites" SIG meeting at CGSSD

During the first hour of the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meeting on Saturday, I attended the "New Genealogy Websites" Special Interest Group moderated by John Kracha. There were about 25 in attendance.

John was online on Gene Powell's computer and visited a number of web sites that he had selected before the meeting, including:

* The San Diego Public Library Digital Library Collection has an obituary index from the San Diego Herald newspaper for 1851 to 1860 and The San Diego Union newspaper from 1868 to 1915. The first page of the site is here. I could not figure out how to get there without the aid of DrWeb who commented on my post yesterday! This is a great resource for early San Diego obituaries. The Union obituaries are also on microfiche for the newspaper at several libraries, including San Diego downtown and Chula Vista and probably others too.

* The Biblio web site at has used, rare and out-of-print books available. This site has over 50 million listings and is used by used book dealers and store owners. A check of "genealogy" in the Subject field revealed over 31,000 matches, many of them for $1.

* The American Battle Monuments Commission at has burial locations for World War I, World War II and Korean War service people killed in action. The site says:

"The ABMC commemorative mission is reflected in 24 overseas military cemeteries that serve as resting places for almost 125,000 American war dead; on Tablets of the Missing that memorialize more than 94,000 U.S. servicemen and women; and through 25 memorials, monuments and markers. "

* Prey - a simple and lightweight program that will help you track and find your laptop if it ever gets stolen. It works in all operating systems and not only is it Open Source but also completely free. Download it at One person at the meeting said he had it and it works well.

* The California Digital Newspaper Collection at has over 200,000 pages of California newspapers spanning the years 1849-191l:

** the Alta California, 1849-1891;
** the San Francisco Call, 1893-1910;
** the Amador Ledger, 1900-1911;
** the Imperial Valley Press, 1901-1911;
** the Sacramento Record-Union, 1859-1890;
** the Los Angeles Herald, 1905-1907.

Additional years are forthcoming, as are other early California newspapers: the Californian; the California Star; the California Star and Californian; the Sacramento Transcript; the Placer Times; and the Pacific Rural Press.

* The Association of Public New York State Historians has a list of town historians for all of the New York towns in 12 regions - see

* The Internet Archive at provides access to digital library collections - you can search for digitized books, audio, images, video, etc. It also hosts The Wayback Machine where you can view web sites from the past.

At this point, John opened the discussion for suggested web sites. I mentioned and the County Boundary Maps there, and another person suggested for links to surnames, localities and topics.

This SIG is very useful and helpful to the attendees.

I will discuss the "Genealogy in a Cloud" presentation by Gary Hoffman in a future post.

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

* Bing vs. Google by Pat Richley on the DearMYRTLE Genealogy Blog. Pat tested Bing and Google side-by-side and had some interesting results, and had some useful comments.

* Give Dad the gift of an organized life by Larry Lehmer on the Passing It On blog. Larry has a great idea for helping your Dad with his "stuff" and spending quality time with him too. Frankly, I hope my daughters don't do this... but it's a great idea for non-genealogist fathers!

* Loveland Colorado Family History Expo by Janet Hovorka on The Chart Chick blog. Janet really enjoys meeting people at conferences - here is her summary of the Loveland Family History Expo. Great pictures, too!

* Online Death Indexes and Records - Latest Additions and Updates by Joe Beine on the Genealogy Roots Blog. Joe has added quite a bit to the site recently - one of my favorites!

* Sheri Goes To Samford - Sophomore Year, Part 2 , Part 3 , Part 4 by Sheri Fenley on The Educated Genealogist blog. We could hardly wait to read about Sheri's exploits at IGHR in Samford this year... and are entertained and informed by her first four posts about her week in Lloyd Bockstruck's class. Some pictures too! In her last episode, she went off campus for fun...

* Home Sweet Home! by Ernie Marheim on the Ernie's Journeys blog. Ernie has started posting himself after his surgery and recovery - welcome back, old friend! I hope that I have this spirit when I'm 88 (I gotta be more optimistic about life).

* The Carnival's In Town - 14th Edition of Smile for the Camera - Belle's Wedding by footnoteMaven on the Shades of the Departed blog. There were 31 entries in this carnival about pictures of June weddings.

* How to Find a Loyalist Ancestor by Lorine Schulze on the Ask Olive Tree Genealogy a Question blog. I love Lorine's question and answer blog, even more so when it really helps me understand how to research something I can relate to. This one does!

* The Brick Wall–Did We Really Knock It Down? by Craig Manson on the Geneablogie blog. Craig continues his search for Richard Gines in the records...and doesn't know if he found him or not. Stay tuned!

* Janice Brown Is Lost In The Puckerbrush and We Miss Her by footnoteMaven on the footnoteMaven blog. fM's touching tribute to Janice who "walked away" from her Cow Hampshire blog last year. We haven't forgotten.

* Carnival of Genealogy, 74th Edition by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog. There are 34 entries for the Swimsuits! edition. The topic for the next COG is Justice and Independence.

* How Do I Survey a Cemetery? by Stephanie Lincecum in her Graveyard Guru column in The Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal blog. Stephanie summarizes the methods to survey an entire cemetery based on Sharon Carmack's work.

* MyHeritage Genealogy and Translation Manager touring the US by Daniel Horowitz on The MyHeritage Blog. It sounds like Daniel really enjoyed his US tour, visiting libraries and companies, and meeting many bloggers and colleagues.

* Forbes Magazine: Genealogy doesn't exist by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog. Schelly highlights a recent magazine article that doesn't include genealogy as a hobby, and dissects it well. Several commenters said it was probably because it's an obsession and an addiction and not a hobby.

* California Bill AB 130 by Gena Philibert Ortega on the Gena's Genealogy blog. Gena publishes an analysis by Susan Park about a California legislature bill that will restrict access and information on California vital records certificates and indexes. This is important for genealogy researchers! The CA legislature is not getting this right.

* EVERYBODY’S GOT ONE by Tom Pearson on the MoSGA Messenger blog. Got what? A family tree, of course. See Tom's post for some interesting ones.

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! I am currently reading posts from over 480 genealogy bloggers using Bloglines, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.