Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday Day Night Genealogy Fun (?) - Google Yourself

It's Saturday Night, and time for some Genealogy Fun. Here are the directions (I know, not everyone follows directions to these little escapades, but what matters are the results, not being a stickler for details) for tonight's little game:

1) Google yourself at Put your first name, middle initial and last name, plus the name of your city or town in the Search box to see what other persons may have mentioned you online, or to see which blog aggregators are "collecting" you.

2) Then go to the "Images," "Videos" and "News" links and see what they show.

3) Tell us about any surprises you found, either in your blog or in Comments to this post.

Here's mine:

1) I put ["randall j seaver" 'chula vista"] into the Search box and received:

* Web: 1,530 matches (but only 24 when I scroll through them)

With ["randy seaver" "chula vista"]:

* Web: 1,670 matches (but only 97 when you scroll through them)

2) With ["randall j seaver" 'chula vista"]:
* Images: 381 matches
* Video: 0 matches
* News: 0 matches

With ["randy seaver" "chula vista"]:

* Images: 179 matches
* Video: 0 matches
* News: 0 matches

3) Surprises: My blog posts are being collected by a number of blog collectors, including:

* The Angers blog


* Official Family Site

* Ancestry World Forums

I'm sure that there are more of these types of sites - they just didn't come up with the Search terms.

I didn't find any images that were not from my blogs. Of course, by specifiying the location in the Search terms, you limit then ubmer of matches.

Not-So-Top-Secret FamilySearch Project

I really enjoyed The Ancestry Insider's review of Ron Tanner's talk, at the Utah Valley PAF User's Group meeting, in his post Top Secret FamilySearch Project.

I am not a member of the LDS Church, and therefore am on the "outside" of new FamilySearch and the associated projects at Family Search Labs, except for the ones currently available to everyone. I feel like a kid at the window waiting for the curtain to be drawn back momentarily so I can see what's going on inside. So it's great to see the onion peeled back a bit by those "in the know." It looks to me like Ron Tanner is "in the know!"

Part of Ron's talk dealt with the idea of the Source Centric Open Edit (SCOE) model. The Ancestry Insider noted:

"To set the stage, Tanner asked us what might be the capabilities of an ideal family tree system. He suggested we would ask for (contrast these with NFS, if you will),

"* The ability to easily correct information
* The ability to prove conclusions are accurate with source references and images
* Invite greater peer review and collaboration
* Allow for the evolution of a combined human family pedigree "

All of that sounds like the "online genealogy nirvana" I want to see happen in the "Genealogy in the Cloud" world.

For more information about the Source Centric Open Edit model, take a look at Ron Tanner's presentation, titled "Open Edit and Source Centric User Model for Family History," in PDF format, from the March 2008 BYU Family History and Genealogy Technology Workshop. Very interesting!

Read all of The Ancestry Insider's post, and check out the Ron Tanner presentation. I feel so "on the outside" when I read these things - but then I'm glad that there are excellent minds working to make genealogy things work well in the future.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Using GenealogyBank - Post 3: More Navigation Options

In Using GenealogyBank - Post 1: Getting Started, I described the GenealogyBank subscription site and started a search for my great-great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901). In Using GenealogyBank - Post 2: Seeing Search Results, I described and demonstrated how the results look and how to save them and print them.

In this post, I want to show some more navigation aids when you receive "too many" matches to deal with efficiently. I thought that I might get a lot of matches from the name "Thomas Seaver" so I input "Seaver" in the last name and "Thomas" in the first name Search fields:

I received over 500 matches total - and 541 in the Historical Newspaper collection (I thought that I would get thousands, but my cousin, pitcher "Tom Seaver," isn't written up as "Thomas Seaver" in the newspaper, except when his father died). Here are the matches found:

I chose Historical Newspapers, and the first five matches appeared:

541 matches, at five per page? That will take me forever to look at, even with the snippet views. How can I narrow my search? I'm looking for news items about families, and death notices, not for advertisements or political items.

Notice the list of links on the left-hand margin? This is where the user can navigate to the other collections, and the lower set of links is the different categories of the Historical Newspaper collection. The options include Advertisements, News article, Obituary (includes death notices), Letters, Marriage Notices, Legislative, Election Returns, Prices and Shipping News. There may be others, but only those are categorized for my 541 matches.

I decided to just look for "News article" and I received only 72 matches:

That is much more manageable!!! I checked those out, and found several interesting articles about different Thomas Seaver persons.

What about Obituaries? I went back to the previous screen (the one above the last one), and selected Obituary and there were only 28 to search:

I wonder why they don't keep all of the sub-categories on the list of links on the left side of the page? It would save a click several times.

I found that it was much easier to sort out duplicate matches by using the "Oldest date" sort option in the little box at the top of the page.

In the next post, we'll look at the other collections.

Genealogy Wise apology to Terry Thornton

Yesterday was a hectic day in the Genealogy Wise world - first there was a DNS server problem that confused almost everybody for awhile. Then a blog post by Terry Thornton (of Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi blog fame), along with all of the reader comments, was deleted by the website administrators for being "disrespectful and bashing." Censorship raised its head here... Terry's original post is posted in the thread here (but not the other member comments).

Consequently, Terry cancelled his Genealogy Wise account, deleted his Group on Genealogy Wise, and wrote the post My Short Tenure at GenealogyWise on his blog. A firestorm of criticism of Genealogy Wise ensued on Facebook and Twitter.

Today, Paul B. Allen (CEO of, owner of, apologized to Terry, and the genealogy community, for the actions of Genealogy Wise. You can read all of Paul's apology in his post Apology to Terry Thornton. Terry accepted Paul's apology and appreciated Genealogy Wise's gift to the Itawamba Historical Society.

That's all the hard facts - there are many more side issues here. As a result of this issue, and the poorly thought out (and now cancelled) Genealogy Wise contest, the website is asking members' opinions about content and policies. This is all for the good, I think.

There are hard lessons here for genealogy website startups - including "don't censor critical blog posts or forum discussions, the blogger network works really fast and can influence the community, and understand the needs of genealogists."

I, like most people (?) in the genealogy community, want our websites to be open and transparent, to offer useful and well-organized services at a reasonable price (we do prefer FREE), in order to enable us to pursue our genealogy and family history research. Connecting with other researchers with similar interests is one of the best ways to enable us, and websites like Genealogy Wise are essential to success. They're fun, too! Usually.

UPDATED: 1 p.m. I'm sorry that Real Life intervenes sometimes - I missed the re-post yesterday of Terry's original comments in the thread noted. I edited the text above to reflect reality. Thank you, Tamura Jones, for the correction. As Richard pointed out, members that commented on Terry's post did not have their comments reconstituted also. Not only Bruce Buzbee, but also footnoteMaven and others had their comments deleted.

This wasn't in my database... but it is now!

The beauty of newspaper research for certain names is that you find some really interesting gems - usually not for your target person, but for others with the same name.

I went searching for "Thomas Seaver" articles on GenealogyBank, and was rewarded with 540 matches. Too many, but one caught my eye:

From Page 5 of The State newspaper of Charleston, South Carolina, dated 23 August 1897:


A Judge Shot

Woodatock, Vermont, Aug. 22 -- Thomas C. Seaver, Judge of Probate for Windsor county, was shot this morning by William W. Lawrence, while standing on the plazza of his residence, the ball penetrating his right lung, lodging, under the shoulder blade. The wounded man is reported as resting quietly tonight and the attending physician thinks he will recover, although his age, beyond 60 years, will tell against him. Lawrence surrendered himself to the sheriff after the shooting and was lodged in jail.

Mrs. Lawrence some time ago left her husband, and Judge Seaver appointed a guardian for their seven year old daughter. The judge afterward issued an injunction restraining Lawrence from interfering with the child, and incurred Lawrence's hatred.


There were several other versions of this story in the GenealogyBank Historical Newspaper collection from the Duluth (MN) News-Tribune, the Aberdeen (SD) Daily News, and the Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer. The headlines are somewhat different, but the content is essentially the same.

The New York Times, dated 23 August 1897, had more details about this incident after the first paragraph:

It is alleged that the troubles which led to the crime began early in 1896, when Mrs. Lawrence left her husband and child and applied to Judge Seaver for the appointment of a guardian over the girl, who was about seven years old. Lawrence tried, it is said, to steal the child, from those who were taking care of her under the direction of the guardian, Joseph C. Enright, then State Attorney. Judge Seaver then granted an injunction restraining Lawrence from interfering with the girl in any way. At the last session of court, Mrs. Lawrence sued for a divorce, but failed to get one because of insufficient evidence. The injunction was removed, and Lawrence got permission to see his child.

He disliked Judge Seaver ever since the guardian was appointed, and this morning he called upon the Judge and had a hot discussion with him. The Judge ordered Lawrence to leave his house and followed him to the door, where Lawrence drew a revolver and fired two shots, the first of which took effect as stated. At the jail, Lawrence was searched and a quantity of morphine was found on him.

Judge Seaver is highly respected and has been Judge of the Probate Court for many years.


So what happened to Mr. Lawrence, Mrs. Lawrence, the daughter, Judge Seaver? There are no other articles about this case in the GenealogyBank Historical Newspaper collection, nor in the Newspaper collection.

I don't have any idea about what happened with the Lawrence family.

Judge Thomas Orville Seaver (note every newspaper got the middle initial wrong) was a Colonel in the Union Army during the Civil War, and lived in Woodstock, Vermont until 11 July 1912, and is buried in the River Street Cemetery in Woodstock. There is a long biography of him, with family details in the book : Biographical Encyclopaedia of Vermont of the Nineteenth Century, published Boston, Metropolitan Pub. and Engraving Co., 1885, page 247.

Posting these two stories illustrates my point that researchers cannot rely on just one historical newspaper resource - that researchers need to plumb these wonderful resources in both online and traditional repositories.

Wouldn't that be a great story to tell to your grandchildren about great-granddad Thomas, the Civil War soldier, Judge and gunshot survivor? I hope that a descendant of Judge Seaver contacts me for more information! I've left enough "crumbs" for the "Google bread trail" here, haven't I?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thomas MacEntee's 15 minutes of fame

Lisa Louise Cooke has released the second of her SCGS Genealogy Jamboree video interviews on her Genealogy Gems channel at YouTube. Her victim, er, guest is Thomas MacEntee, the writer of the GeneaBloggers, Bootcamp for GeneaBloggers, Destination:Austin Family and 8 more blogs.

The video is here (click on the center arrow to play):

The URL for the video is here. Please go watch it and get to know Thomas, who is one of the most creative, helpful and technology-oriented geneabloggers out there. He's a very friendly and nice guy, too.

Great job, Thomas and Lisa!

Using GenealogyBank - Post 2: Seeing Search Results

In Using GenealogyBank - Post 1: Getting Started, I described the GenealogyBank subscription site and started a search for my great-great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901).

There were 25 matches in the Historical Newspapers collections, so I clicked on that link. The first five matches appeared:

As you can see, each entry provides a summary of the source - the headline, the date, the location, the newspaper, and the article type. All of this information is very useful in deciding if the user wants to click on the link to read the article.

There is also a snippet of the article, which often includes one or more of the search terms (but not always!).

The user can search by "Best matches," "Oldest items" or "Newest items." That can be very useful if there are a lot of matches. Using a date range in the Search field can help narrow searches also.

I clicked on the first item on the match list, since this looked like an interesting bit of information, and the article appeared within the central frame of the website, as shown below:

The user can manipulate the image by clicking on the little squares in the Zoom function in the menu row - the image above opened with the highest zoom setting, but many images open with a really small image.

Other menu row items include Download to a PDF, Drag on mouse click (this is the "magic hand" navigation tool), Select an article from this page, Reset image view, Printer friendly display, and Maximize image view.

The image above did not show the matches for Isaac Seaver, so I used the "magic hand" to navigate down the article, and saw:

Aha! There is the note about Joseph Seaver's death, with Isaac P. Knight mentioned two lines below. The requested search terms are highlighted. You can see how the "within two words" search criteria works here - "Isaac" is within two words - vertically - of "Seaver" in this example.

Back to the list of search results - and scrolling down - see the screen below:

In the screen above, note that the user can move on to the Next matches by clicking on "Next" or selecting one of the numbers shown. Note also that the Search fields are shown at the bottom of the five matches listed.

I decided to add a Keyword to narrow the search to matches that include the town of "Westminster" - as shown above.

Since I am working in the Historical Newspapers collections, I only got two matches (I should go back to the main Search page to find all possible matches) for "Isaac" and "Seaver" and "Westminster:"

I clicked on the second match titled "The Storm," since the snippet showed that "Isaac Seaver" was together, and saw a fascinating story about a thunder and lightning storm that killed a 14-year old girl in the home of Isaac Seaver:

The best way I found to save an article was to download a PDF file of the article. Unfortunately, the PDF does not include any of the source information - the newspaper, page number, date, etc.

Printing the article is easily done by clicking on the "Printer friendly display" button in the menu row. The window shows a header that permits the user to select the paper size, paper orientation, and content (Image and citation, Image only, or Citation only). There is also a check box to Fit the Image to the page. Before printing, I check the File > Printer Preview to see how it will look, and then do a File > Print to print the article.

All of the document image views have a green navigation bar above the source information, the menu row and the image. The user can navigate to:

* Back to Results
* New Search
* Previous Result
* Next Result

I like that the articles are broken out from the entire newspaper page. However, the user can see the entire newspaper page on which the articles appear by clicking on the Page link in the left-hand column of the Document image (you can see this on the last image above).

Of all the historical newspaper sites I've seen, GenealogyBank has one of, if not the, best navigation tools. It also has one of the easiest "finding" tool of the search matches because of the highlighting of the search terms and isolation of the article on the page.

One of the comments on the first post in this series asked "Did you find your Isaac Seaver?" No, I didn't find any article about Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), at least that I could discern. I did find quite a few interesting articles as a result of this search, which I am adding to the appropriate persons in my Seaver database, just in case some other researcher can be informed by them.

This highlights the major problem with online Newspaper research: No website has images of every page of every issue of every newspaper. They are scattered about many different sites - some commercial, some freely available. And many, many, many newspapers have not been digitized or indexed, and can only be found in local libraries, historical societies or archives.

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday - Ann Montgomery on "FamilySearch"

Linda Hervig sent this information via email about the CGSSD meeting on Saturday:

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meets on Saturday, July 18, 2009 from 9:00 am to noon.

9:00 - User groups for Legacy, RootsMagic, and Special Interest Group “Web-based Genealogy”

10:00 - A break and refreshments

10:15 - Announcements followed by Program

"FamilySearch: the old, the new and the future!" by Ann Montgomery

Family Search has been a genealogist's mainstay for 10 years. Over the past couple of years, significant changes have been made to make it more complete and easier to use, and functions never seen before have been added. Ann will bring us up-to-date on the changes and applications to use in your own family search.

Ann Montgomery received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California. She has had several careers but for the last 17 years she has been involved in one way or another with family history. Ann began her own family history research by volunteering in the Carlsbad Family History Center 17 years ago under the tutelage of a professional genealogist. After working there over eight years she began working at the Carlsbad City Library in the Genealogy Division (Cole Library) and for several years has taught multiple classes about the facilities and materials available there. She enjoys teaching people how to use the collection, how to use the various subscription databases and how to do research online. She also gives tours to new library card holders. She has taught many classes for the LDS church and has spoken at several family history fairs. At present she teaches a class on New FamilySearch, including the Record Search part of the beta version of FamilySearch (http://pilot.familysearch).

We meet at the Robinson Auditorium complex on the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) campus in La Jolla. From North Torrey Pine Road turn at Pangea Drive into the UCSD campus. Free parking is available in the parking garage on the left; use any A, B, or S space. Signs will mark directions to our meeting room. Please refer to our website; or the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies website for driving directions and a map.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Putting it all together - finally!

Until yesterday, I had many different genealogy databases that I started with the best of intentions - my "master" ancestral database, my wife's ancestral database, and several one-name study databases that I had developed over the past 20 years.

I decided to put all of my ancestral genealogy databases, including the one-name studies, into one larger database that I can work with in every genealogy software package or online family tree website that I submit it to.

My goals were:

* to eliminate as much duplication as possible, since I had some persons in two or more databases. For instance, my Seaver line was in my Ancestral database and my Seaver database.

* be able to improve my source citations, coordinate my notes, and upload my images to one tree rather than several.

* exceed the capabilities of the Generation Maps chart printer (just kidding!).

Before I started, my different genealogy databases had:

* Ancestral database - 20,873 persons
* My wife's ancestral database - 2,139 persons (I had merged this one previously into the Ancestral database)
* My Seaver surname database - 10,510 persons
* My Richmond surname database - 845 persons
* My Vaux surname database - 2,728 persons
* My Dill surname database - 1,816 persons
* My Buck surname database - 908 persons

Now all of those persons are in my "Randy Seaver's Genealogy" database with 38,409 persons in it. I really didn't have many duplicates, did I?

I used Family Tree Maker 16 for my merging process, since I had an FTM file for each of the databases. The process is relatively simple:

1) I created a new, "Randy Seaver's Genealogy" data file by copying my Ancestral file. I kept this one open so that the others could be added into it.

2) To add each additional database, Go to File > Append/Merge

3) Pick the file to be appended/merged from the file folder where they reside

4) The Individuals to Include list appears, and I clicked the >> button to pick everyone, but then I moved persons out of the picked list if I knew that they were in my target database already. This included all of my ancestors and their siblings and spouses.

5) The exact match persons were identified - this took a long time to generate for the bigger databases.

6) A list of Likely Match persons was generated. I just accepted all of them because there were too many to go through one at a time. I will have to sort out the details later.

7) A list of non-matching persons come up - I accepted these without question. These can be accepted 250 at a time in FTM 16.

8) Go to Step 2) and repeat until finished.

When I was done, I had a larger database with some duplicate persons, especially as spouses of my direct line ancestors. I had to go through and merge them two persons at a time. There were also a lot of duplicate facts in the exact and likely matched persons - these need to be weeded out one-by-one.

When I was done, I realized that now I have to have the discipline to only make changes in my "Randy Seaver's Genealogy" database and in no other. I'm going to isolate the "parent" databases in a sub-directory so that I, or my heirs, aren't tempted to work in them. Out of sight, out of mind, I say! I do need to collect all of my client databases in one place too, but I'm going to leave them in separate files.

This process took me more than five hours yesterday to complete, and I worked in the new database today. When I get it "weeded," I will make a GEDCOM of it and load it into FTM 2009, RootsMagic 4, and Legacy 7, plus upload it to the online family tree sites.

Eventually, I will add photographs and record images to the database in one of the newer programs and make that newer program my "Preferred Software." I'm not ready to make that decision now.

Busy hands and minds sure make the time fly! I hardly had any time for blogging? Or checking out GenealogyWise or anything else.

Using GenealogyBank - Post 1: Getting Started

GenealogyBank is a commercial database provider of Historical Newspapers (1690-1980), America's Obituaries (1977 to present), Historical Books (1801-1900), Historical Documents (1789-1980), and the Social Security Death Index (1937-current). GenealogyBank is a part of NewsBank.

The Home Page has links for the title lists for each collection. The Historical Newspaper collection is listed here, and the America's Obituaries collection is listed here (hmm, it's the same link as the Newspapers, wonder why?).
UPDATE 16 July: Tom Kemp emailed me and said:

"I finally had them combine both lists - since researchers were always missing one or the other list. There were endless questions - which interestingly have evaporated when I combined the lists."

Thanks, Tom!
Subscription prices for GenealogyBank can be found here. Retail prices are $69.95 for an annual subscription, $19.95 for a monthly subscription, and they presently offer a 30-day trial for $9.95. I signed up last week for a free 7-day trial that was offered to SCGS Jamboree attendees. Note that subscriptions automatically renew if the subscriber does not cancel before the end of the subscription.

The Home Page for non-subscribers looks like this (two screens):

There is a link for GenealogyBank search tips here (and shown below):

This is a very handy list! Every user of GenealogyBank should understand how the searches are conducted. If the user enters a first name and a last name, the OCR search will find those combinations but also any other combination of the names within close proximity - up to two words. Therefore, the user will get many extraneous matches, but will also receive matches when a first name and last name are separated by a middle name.

There are also two advanced search fields for the historical collections. They permit Keywords (which can include names) to be "included" or "excluded" from the search results. Names, or phrases, can be put in quotes in the two Keyword fields. A date range can also be included in the search parameters.

I decided to look for articles for Isaac Seaver. I put First name = Isaac" and Last Name = "Seaver" in the search fields, as shown below:

After clicking on the green "Begin Search" button, the table of matches came up:

The search found 43 matches in the available records. 25 were in the Historical Newspapers collection and 18 were in the Historical Documents collection.

I will go exploring in the Historical Newspaper collection in the next post.

Family Photographs - Post 64: Betty and her dog

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:

This is my mother, Betty Virginia Carringer, at age 14 months (based on a label on another photograph with the same clothes) in October 1920 sitting on a bench in her pretty little bonnet with her dog (whose name I have lost in my memory, and is not labelled on any photo).
The setting is probably not at either the Carringer houses at 2054 Harrison Avenue, 2130 Fern Street, or 2105 30th Street. It may be at a picnic or other social event.
I have almost exhausted the photographs from this album in this series of posts. Never fear - I have lots more from loose pictures and other albums!


I received an email late last night from that said that their family tree web site,, would disappear as of 15 August 2009. The email said:

"Progress is constant and can make some online services obsolete. This is the case with FamilyHistoryLink. This service will be closing its doors on August 15. Please take some time between now and then to download or save any key messages that are important to you for your future reference. Then get started using GenealogyWise to see what the future holds for interactive genealogy through social networking."

Now, started out as I tried several times to upload a GEDCOM file to and could never make it work for me. So, it is no big loss for me, since I was never able to use it effectively. Now, if you were successful in uploading a GEDCOM to FHL, and that was your only online family tree, then you will need to retrieve it somehow.

The email noted that GenealogyWise was the latest thing in social networks, and that readers should join up:

"As a member of FamilyHistoryLink, we wanted to make sure you are among the first to witness the unveiling of a new social network for genealogists, GenealogyWise. This exciting new service takes off where we left off at FamilyHistoryLink to combine community interaction with tools and resources for people who are interested in researching and sharing their family history with others."

What? If they had wanted the faithful FHL users to be the "first to witness the unveiling" they would have sent this email out a week ago. They waited until over 4,000 persons signed up on GenealogyWise before sending this email to FHL users.

and later in the email:

"Join surname groups, explore ancestral records, share photos, video, and family trees. Create and customize your personal profile to tell others about your research interests and privately receive and respond to emails from other users without ever publishing your email address to the public. You can also share online family trees and personal research pages to collaborate with others. And the service is completely free!"

Hmm, "...share online family trees..." Funny, I haven't seen any online family trees - yet - at Genealogy Wise. Frankly, I hope that they permit GEDCOM uploads on Genealogy Wise so that it becomes a full-fledged social "genealogy" network, not just a social "talk" network.

Left unsaid is what happens to WebTree at This is another family tree application created by about one year ago. I was successful at uploading a GEDCOM and putting a family tree to this site, but in recent months the site has not allowed me to login and see or work with my tree.

So - goodbye - no big loss. Whither WebTree - will it persist or disappear? Will the Facebook We're Related application ever permit a GEDCOM upload? (It's useless to genealogists without one IMHO.) Is a GEDCOM upload in Genealogy Wise's future? (Will it work well?) Will ever add more vital records? When will launch? Is launched or not? (if not, then when?) Genealogists want to know these things but are struggling without a scorecard.

The genea-soap opera "As FamilyLink Turns" continues.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Genealogy Wise - One Week Later

So Genealogy Wise has been around for one week, and they finally got around to announcing its presence. all of the big-name bloggers dutifully posted the news release that came by email today (I finally found a press release posting here) - you can see it on Leland Meitzler's GenealogyBlog here.

I checked tonight, and there are now:

* 4,589 Members (but I have only 174 Friends)

* 2,306 Groups (I've signed up for 30 groups)

* 70 Discussion forum topics

* 221 Blog posts (any Member can add to the Blog stream)

* 224 Videos

* 3,319 Photos (there is a limit of 100 photos (up to 10 mb each) per Member)

I have intentionally not spent much time on Genealogy Wise recently. I try to budget my non-research time so that social networking takes 30 minutes a day or less. My opinion is that it is not well organized for gathering Friends or finding the Groups. The Members list is organized by the latest to join is at the top of thel ist. The Groups are listed by the most recent postings, it seems. You can use the Search feature to find specific names or words. An alphabetical listing of Members and Groups would be useful. Some sort of grouping by Topic would also be useful.

Posting to the Blogs is not as easy as using Blogger. To add a link to a post, my Windows gives me a warning to allow scripted windows, and when I do, then I have to highlight the text for the hyperlink again. Too many extra clicks here.

Blog posts are collected in the "All Blogs" area and also on the Member page. If a user goes to my page, they will see the Blog Posts I've written. The Member can Edit or Delete their own posts.

The Blog posts and Discussion Forum items are not found in a Google Search yet. Perhaps they will be. There are no RSS Feeds to collect blogs and forum discussions in a readable format. If someone stayed off Genealogy Wise for a day or two, they would have to browse through them all one at a time.

A set of "Next" and "Previous" buttons would be very useful for the Email, Blog and forum pages. At present, the user has to go "Back" to the list and click on the next one. Too many clicks.

I had a strange thing happen to me tonight -- I found that someone else had copied about 80% of my text (12 paragraphs) from my post Book Review: Crash Course in Family History by Paul Larsen and posted it without attribution to his own Genealogy Wise Blog. It struck me that there are probably many new bloggers using the Genealogy Wise Blog feature that don't understand copyright and fair use restrictions. I wrote my first Genealogy Wise Blog post - Please avoid copyright and fair use abuses. The other blogger edited his post to only two paragraphs from my post, and put a link to my original blog post, but didn't mention my name.

Only time will tell if Genealogy Wise survives as the next great genealogy forum where members talk about their research problems, discuss specific surname family research issues, or post some of their family photographs. It has certainly grown quickly, but it needs to sustain the growth and keep the Members interested.

One week after I wrote Genealogywise = Facebook for Genealogists that helped start the stampede over to the site, it still looks promising, at least as a Group meeting place, discussion forum site, and Blog site. It is, in my opinion, a much better site for genealogists to interact than Facebook is.

Book Review: Crash Course in Family History by Paul Larsen

Paul Larsen recently published the Third Edition of his book, Crash Course in Family History. It is a 240-page, step-by-step illustrated guidebook and comprehensive resource book. The book has a hard cover with a comb binding, in large 8.5 x 11 format, which allows the pages to lie flat for easy use on a desktop.

The Table of Contents of this book is here in PDF format:

The first page of the Introduction section, in terms of the format and appearance, is typical of the entire book:

The book uses font sizes, columns, text boxes, headers, photographs, cartoons, tables, and color very effectively. My first impression when I opened the book was "wow, this books invites me to read it - it is very attractive."

I received this book gratis from the author, Paul Larsen, at the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree. Paul was selling his book at his exhibit for I agreed to review it for Paul, and to donate the book to my local society's library collection.

The heart of the book is the 3-Easy Steps in Chapters 2 to 4:

Step 1. Identify Your Ancestors Using Your Family
-- which includes sections on finding home information, creating pedigree and family group charts, documenting your search, citing your sources, organizing your records, evaluating evidence, and providing 20 tips to help you get started.

Step 2. Add New Branches to Your Family Tree Using the Internet
-- which includes sections to see if someone else has already found information on your ancestors, searching online records for missing information, and additional ways to do online research. Included in this chapter are summaries of record availability on the Internet - descriptions of web sites listed by subject (e.g., family trees, published books, search engines, research guides, census records, military records, immigration, court, land and financial records, libraries and archives, African-American, Hispanic, Native-American, social networks, mailing lists, family associations, etc.). There are several excellent tables -- one lists census records for the US, Canada and the UK by year and database provider; another lists military records availability by time period and database provider.

Step 3. Connect With the Lives of Your Ancestors
-- which includes sections on timelines, history, photographs, videos, scrapbooking, newspapers, periodicals, maps, charts, geography, grave sites, obituaries, vital records, court, land, financial, health history, royalty and nobility, etc. In each section, websites are described to help with the specific research.

Succeeding chapters cover Family History Software and Tools, the Best of the Internet (a fairly predictable list), other valuable databases, The Best LDS Web Sites, Organizing and Archiving your Information, Leaving an Enduring Legacy, and Other Rewarding Opportunities (Sharing information, creating websites, online photo albums, etc.). A glossary of terms and an index are available.

I especially appreciated the description of LDS beliefs and practices, since I am not a Mormon and have not seen it explained well before. I also appreciated the description of new FamilySearch in more detail than I've seen before.

There is some duplication of website descriptions in the different chapters, but that is understandable because of the different focus of the chapters. Each chapter is introduced with inspirational thoughts, or insights, by famous people or LDS church leaders.

I was surprised that there was not more emphasis on finding family records in traditional sources - at vital records offices, in town halls and courthouses, on shelves at libraries and archives, in periodicals and books, at genealogical and historical societies, etc.

I was also surprised that two of the large family tree databases at (One World Tree and Ancestry Member Trees) were not mentioned. I realize that a book of this sort cannot mention every possible database, but the largest ones should be listed, in my humble opinion.

Using the LDS Family History Library and Catalog is described on one page, but the availability of many records in book or manuscript format, and on microform, at the FHL in Salt Lake City are mentioned only in passing. Visiting a Family History Center is summarized on one page, mentioning access to online databases, access to microform resources (but no mention of the rental cost), and the ongoing FamilySearch Indexing activity.

The emphasis of this book is on using Internet resources to find genealogy and family history information and solve research problems. As such, it will be very useful to the Beginning Computer Genealogist and as a teaching aid for Family History Consultants at the FHL and FHCs. A Beginning Genealogist will find this book useful as part of a collection of general genealogy books. The book is jam-packed with useful lists of websites and databases by subject, and is very easy to read and to use.

Paul Larsen, Crash Course in Family History, Third Edition, Fresh Mountain Air Publishing Company, St. George, Utah, 2009, 240 pages, hard cover, comb binding, $34.95. The book is available for purchase here through the EasyFamilyHistory website.

Lazy, Crazy, Hazy Days of Summer ... Our 1950's Vacations

My father was a very good bowler - ten-pins, that is. He participated in several bowling leagues from the 1940's into the 1970's, and was in some of San Diego's premier leagues in the 1950's and 1960's.

For several years in the 1950's, he and his team entered the California State Bowling Association tournaments in cities around California. These became our summer vacations, and were really the only long trips we took by car while I was growing up. Sacramento, San Jose, Stockton, Fresno, and Los Angeles were our destinations as I recall.

The trips into the San Joaquin Valley in July and August were taken in our 1954 Mercury without air conditioning or seat belts. We usually made the trip in one day - up Highway 101 to Los Angeles, then up Highway 99 to Fresno, Stockton or Sacramento. For the San Jose tournament, we went all the way up Highway 101. These highways were not freeways - but they were usually limited access roads. In the back seat of the car, with the windows down and the hot wind in our faces, my brother and I would play games dealing with counting different color cars, different car makes, and different state license plates. Of course, there were many arguments, but fortunately my parents in the front seats couldn't hear us due to the road and wind noise. One of my best memories is that my mother's right arm, and my right arm, always got very sunburned because we kept them on the window edge in the mornings as we went north.

The bowling tournaments themselves lasted three or four days, and were pretty boring. The real treat for us was the motel and the swimming pool - we always got a motel with a pool. The pool became our home away from home for my brother and me - having races, playing tag, splash fights, and laying out and getting really sunburned all over. My mother was the referee all day long while she struggled with my baby brother.

One lasting memory is being in the swimming pool in Stockton and seeing another boy across the pool. He looked exactly like me! Poor fellow - I wonder how HE turned out? Our eyes met and turned away, and he soon got out of the pool, and I never saw him again. But the memory lingers still for me. I wondered if he was a Seaver, or Richmond, or Carringer, or Auble, or Hildreth.

Another memory was eating out - which we never did at home. My mother always cooked meals - the only time we ate out, usually at a family-run diner, was when we were on vacation.

We did a bit of sightseeing during these trips - usually after the bowling tournament was over. I remember seeing the State Capitol in Sacramento, swimming and jumping into the Tuolumne River near Stockton, and driving along Highway 1 south of Monterey (it took forever to get home due to road construction and detours - we had to spend the night in Santa Barbara).

However, the very best family vacation was taken in 1954. My parents rented a cabin for a week at Bass Lake, a resort area just south of Yosemite National Park. We spent days hiking and swimming in the lake, paddling canoes on the lake, and fishing from the dock and from a boat. My brother and I learned to swim here. He still takes his family there on vacation occasionally.

In 1956, we didn't go to a bowling tournament because my youngest brother was an infant. However, I got to go on vacation with another family, the Cravers. My friend, Butch, lived across the street. His parents were both pilots, and they were going to fly to Vancouver BC and asked me to accompany them. I was an excited 12-year old boy, and my folks said yes before they really thought about it. It was great watching the earth go by from about 10,000 feet. Butch's father explained the basics of flight and demonstrated some stability and control. We visited Sacramento CA, Medford OR, Bellingham WA and San Francisco CA. After landing in Bellingham, we drove up to Vancouver BC. This sparked a lifetime interest in flying and a 40 year career in aerospace engineering.

Summer in San Diego was spent riding bicycles, going to the swimming pool in Balboa Park, visiting the San Diego Zoo and other museums in Balboa Park, and going to the beach with friends. When I was a teenager, we hitchhiked to Mission Beach from the Texas Street hill in the North Park area of San Diego. This was great fun, but risky, but we really enjoyed the Belmont Park rides and food along with body-surfing the waves at the beach. And watching the girls, too. Ah, another story...

Monday, July 13, 2009

GeneaBloggers Members Google Search

The inventive Thomas MacEntee has come up with another goodie - a widget that searches the blogs of over 500 geneabloggers on the Geneabloggers member list for specific search terms. See Thomas's post here.

For instance, I wondered how many posts there were for this last weekend's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, so I input the search string ["saturday night" "time travel" and received this set of matches. Pretty cool.

And if I wanted to find posts about a web site - say [genealogywise OR "genealogy wise"] the matches are here.

I wonder how many posts it will find for Genea-Musings? Here's the list! Hmm, that didn't work out well - too many people linking to it (which is good!). Ah, I'll search for [genea-gasm] - it found 7 mentions, all but two from Genea-Musings (of course, when you search, there will be eight because of this post).

Nice tool, Thomas! Thanks.

Uploading a FTM 2009 Database with Attached Media to

I was unaware, or completely forgot, that Family Tree Maker 2008 and 2009 will permit the user to upload a FTM 2008 or 2009 database to from within the genealogy software. In other words, without a GEDCOM file. I don't know how this slipped past me, but it did. I corrected my post Family Tree Maker 2010 software - what? when? today to reflect this reality.

Michelle Pfister from sent an email that corrected my statement in that post about how FTM 2010 will interact with - the user will be able to download an Ancestry Member Tree into Family Tree Maker 2010 with the attached media. However, the "attached media" is the media that the member attached, not the historical record images attached from (although sources and source citations will be included for the Facts, although the image will not be included). Confused yet?

It is important to note that only the owner of the Ancestry Member Tree can download the Ancestry tree GEDCOM file. The owner can share information with guests, collaborators and editors, but they cannot download the tree.

I wanted to prove to myself that FTM 2009 would upload a whole genealogy database with attached media to Here is how I did it:

1) I attached 24 family photographs, including some thumbnail images to use on charts and reports, as media images in FTM 2009, and hunted for how to send the file off to I finally resorted to the Help menu, and it told me to use the "Share" button in the upper right hand corner of the Person workspace (or the Places, Sources, Media or Publish workspaces), as shown below:

When I clicked the "Share" button, a drop-down list appeared, and "Upload to Ancestry" was the first item, as shown above.

2) I clicked on it and this small window opened to let me choose either the Entire file or Selected individuals, and check boxes for Privatize living people, Include private facts, Include private notes, and Include media files:

3) I clicked on the "OK" box and the file creation began. Here is a screen shot taken near the end of the file creation (not the actual upload):

4) When the file creation was completed, my Internet browser opened and the "Upload Your Family Tree" page appeared. I filled in the blanks, and accepted the Submission agreement:

The uploading of the created file to an Ancestry Member Tree began. This took several minutes for my file with 23,000 persons in it. When it was completed, I opened the Member Tree and had to connect myself (as an Ancestry member) with my entry in the Member Tree. After that, it opened in the Family Tree view and busily started creating green leaf "Ancestry Hints" for me. I noted that my attached "thumbnail" media items showed up on the tree:

I clicked on my father's name, then on the "View Profile" link on the dropdown menu, and his Person Page in my Ancestry Member Tree appeared:

There are the 9 media items for him that I uploaded to my FTM 2009 database today. The others were all in the right places too.

This process works pretty fast, even with my large database (I know, Tamura Jones would say that it is only a "medium-sized" database).

I could go further and attach all of my census and other downloaded images to my database, or use the Web Search feature to capture them from, and then upload those to also. I think I'll wait, though. I don't want to have to do this over again. I want to do it once more in a semi-final way, but I need to get my sources fixed, merge some of my other collateral databases, and attach as many images as possible. I still have much work to do in my databases! This may not happen until FTM 2012 is available!

Besides, I haven't chosen a "final" genealogy software program yet. I waver back and forth between Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree and RootsMagic. I'm currently working in all three of them, knowing that I can GEDCOM information back and forth as long as I don't attach media to them. I still add to and edit my "master" database, and many other collateral and client databases, in Family Tree Maker 16 because I am very comfortable with it.

Mystery Monday: Edward Alonzo Seaver (1845-<1920) - a Family Man?

I wrote "A Much Married Man In Trouble..." yesterday based on an 1890 Worcester (MA) Daily Spy newspaper article found on I searched on and found the same article in the Fitchburg (MA) Sentinel. Interestingly, I found no other articles about this Edward A. Seaver in either the GenealogyBank or Ancestry collections.

What about Edward A. Seaver? What do I know about his life? Here is a genealogy report for him and his family from my Seaver database (online as an Ancestry Member Tree):


1. Edward Alonzo8 Seaver (Isaac7, Asahel Reed6, Norman5, Robert4, Joseph3, Shubael2, Robert1) was born 16 March 1845 in Westminster, Worcester County, MA, and died Bef. 1920 in MA. He married (1) Celesta R. Foster 14 November 1861 in Templeton, Worcester County, MA, daughter of Seth Foster and Mary E.. She was born About 1843 in Templeton, Worcester County, MA. He married (2) Amanda M. Rollins 05 January 1870 in Brookfield, Worcester County, MA, daughter of Nathaniel Rollins and Mary. She was born About 1845 in ,,NH. He married (3) Rose E. Brown 15 October 1877 in Fitchburg, Worcester County, MA, daughter of Bakeman Brown and Mary. She was born About 1861 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA. He married (4) Julia F. McDonald About 1883 in probably MA. She was born About 1862 in Prince Edward Island, CANADA.

Notes for Edward Alonzo Seaver:


5 Jan 1870 Brookfield MA, Edward A. Seaver (resident of Westminster MA, age 25, mechanic, born Westminster, son of Isaac/Betsy Seaver) to Amanda M Rollins (resident of Brookfield, age 24, born NH, daughter of Nathl /Mary J Rollins), First marriage for both, by G.R. Bent, clergyman.


Edward A. Seaver, mechanic of Westminster, MA, enlisted as a Private in the Union Army on 14 August 1862 at the age of 18. He enlisted in Company H, 36th Infantry Regiment, Massachusetts on 27 August 1862. He received a disability discharge from the same unit on 4 December 1863 at Camp Dennison, Ohio ("Military Records of Individual Civil War Soldiers," Historical Data Systems, Provo UT, accessed at "American Civil War Soldiers" database on


In the birth record of his son Franklin Smith Seaver in 1890, Edward A. Seaver is a farmer, born in Westminster. (MA VR 405.466).


In the 1880 US Census, Edward A. Seaver (indexed on HeritageQuestOnline as "Leaver," son-in-law, married, male, white, age 33, born MA, button factory, parents born MA) resided in Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts with William Perry (self, married, male, white, age 61, born MA, comb factory, parents born MA), Mary A. Perry (wife, married, female, white, born NH, house keeping, parents born NH) and Rose Brown (daughter, single, female, white, age 31, born MA, at home, father born MA, mother born NH) (1880 United States Census, Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Population Schedule, Page 480C, National Archives Microfilm Series T9, Roll 0565).

In the 1910 US Census, the Edward A. Seaver family resided in Hubbardston, Worcester County, Massachusetts. The family included (1910 United States Census, Hubbardston, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Population Schedule, Enumeration District 1764, Sheet 6B, Dwelling #19, Family #23, NARA Microfilm Series T624, Roll 628):

* Edward A. Seaver - head of household, male, white, age 65, second marriage, married 31 years, born MA, parents born MA, a laborer, odd jobs
* Julia Seaver - wife, female, white, age 48, first marriage, married 31 years, 10 children born, 8 living, born French Canada, parents born French Canada, immigrated in 1901
* Mary J. Seaver - daughter, female, white, age 13, single, born French Canada, father born MA, mother born French Canada, immigrated in 1901
* Frances E. Seaver - daughter, female, white, age 11, single, born French Canada, father born MA, mother born French Canada, immigrated in 1901
* John A. Seaver - son, male, white, age 10, single, born French Canada, father born MA, mother born French Canada, immigrated in 1901
* Andrew Seaver - son, male, white, age 6, single, born MA, father born MA, mother born French Canada
* George Seaver - son, male, white, age 4, single, born MA, father born MA, mother born French Canada)

In the 1920 US Census, the remnant of this family resided at 3 Ash Street in Winchendon, Worcester County, Massachusetts. The family included (1920 United States Census, Winchendon, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Population Schedule, Enumeration district 189, Sheet 4, Lines 57-66, National Archives Microfilm Series T625, Roll 749):

* Julia A. Seaver - head of household, female, white, age 53, widow, born French Canada, parents born French Canada, immigrated in 1885, naturalized in 1885, rents a home
* John Seaver - son, male, white, age 20, married, born French Canada, parents born French Canada, immigrated in 1910, has papers, a laborer, works in a toy factory
* Andrew Seaver - son, male, white, age 16, single, born MA, parents born French Canada, a laborer, works in a factory
* George F. Seaver (son, male, white, age 14, single, born MA, parents born French Canada, a laborer, works in a factory
* George E. Peckham - son-in-law, male, white, age 36, married, born MA, parents born , a laborer, works in a factory
* Ethel M. Peckham - daughter, female, white, age 32, married, born MA, parents born French Canada
* Westley H. Flona - grandson, male, white, age 6, single, born MA, father born MA, mother born French Canada
* Austin F. Flona - grandson, male, white, age 4-6/12, single, born MA, father born MA, mother born French Canada
* Frances Wheeler - daughter, female, white, age 21, married, born English Canada, parents born French Canada, immigrated in 1900, naturalized in 1912
* Frank Bulger - consort, male, white, age 42, single, born English Canada, parents born French Canada, immigrated in 1890, an Alien, a chair worker, works in a shop

In the 1930 US Census, the remnant of this family resided on Hartwell Street in West Boylston, Worcester County, Massachusetts. The family included (1930 United States Census, West Boylston, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Population Schedule, Enumeration district 294, Sheet 14B, Dwelling #314, Family #342, NARA Microfilm Series T626, Roll 966):

* Robert Crawford - head of household, male, white, age 34, married, at age 29, born MA, parents born Scotland, rents for $20/month, a manager, works at a gasoline station
* Frances Crawford - wife, female, white, age 31, married, at age 26, born English Canada, father born MA, mother born English Canada, immigrated 1902, naturalized
* Julia F. Sever - mother-in-law, female, white, age 63, widowed, married at age 17, born English Canada, parents born English Canada, immigrated 1897, naturalized
* Andrew Sever - brother-in-law, male, white, age 25, single, born MA, father born MA, mother born English Canada, a roofer, works on buildings

Children of Edward Seaver and Julia McDonald are:

2 i. Edward A.9 Seaver, born 09 March 1884 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA; died 01 September 1971 in Springfield, Hampden County, MA (MA VR). He married Addie About 1915 in prob. Prince Edward Island, CANADA; born About 1887 in Prince Edward Island, CANADA.

3 ii. Ethel Marguerite Seaver, born 03 February 1885 in Westminster, Worcester County, MA. She married George E. Peckham 14 October 1904 in Marlborough, Middlesex County, MA; born About 1883 in Athol, Worcester County, MA.

4 iii. Mabel Christina Seaver, born 31 May 1886 in Westminster, Worcester County, MA.

5 iv. Frank A. Seaver, born 17 December 1887 in Westminster, Worcester County, MA; died 24 January 1888 in Westminster, Worcester County, MA.

6 v. Franklin Smith Seaver, born 16 July 1890 in Westminster, Worcester County, MA. He married Harriet/Hattie 1910 in MA; born About 1891 in MA.

7 vi. Mary J. Seaver, born 1896 in CANADA.

8 vii. Frances E. Seaver, born 1898 in CANADA. She married (1) Wheeler Bef. 1920 in prob. MA. She married (2) Robert Crawford 02 May 1925 in Providence, Providence County, RI (VR, 31:65); born 1896 in MA.

9 viii. John Angus Seaver, born 02 May 1900 in CANADA; died 14 December 1979 in Worcester, Worcester County, MA (MA VR). He married Florence Howard About 1921 in prob. MA; born 28 May 1901 in MA; died 29 June 1970 in Worcester, Worcester County, MA (MA VR).

10 ix. Andrew Seaver, born 11 August 1903 in Gardner, Worcester County, MA; died November 1960 in (SSDI).

11 x. Austin G. Seaver, born 24 July 1905 in Templeton, Worcester County, MA; died 03 March 1990 in Worcester, Worcester County, MA (MA VR).

12 xi. George F. Seaver, born 1906 in prob. Hubbardston, Worcester County, MA.


I have found no other record for the girl, Mabel Seaver, mentioned in the newspaper article.

Apparently, Edward and Julia (McDonald) Seaver took their family to Canada after 1890 and before 1896. The census records are unclear where the children were born - French Canada or English Canada. A review of the 1901 Canadian census may define a residence.

The immigration dates for Julia (McDonald) Seaver vary in the records - one census says 1885, another says 1901.

Edward owned up to only two marriages in the 1910 census record, and said they had been married 31 years (i.e., 1879). However, he was living with his third wife's (Rose Brown) family in the 1880 census, although she is listed as single and with the surname Brown, despite the marriage record in 1877 in the Massachusetts Vital Records.

What can we draw from all of this information? Did Edward A. Seaver straighten up and fly right, as my mother used to say? It certainly seems so, doesn't it? If he was abusive, why would Julia have stayed with him and why would they have many more children? Perhaps their life situation improved in the 1890's, or the stay in Canada gave Edward some purpose in life, or an occupation, that enabled him to be a father and provider for the family. I hope so, but I don't know! I guess I will have to wait for the Massachusetts Vital Records for 1910 to 1920 to come out to see when Edward died.

UPDATED 14 July: Reader Missy commented about my last paragraph, saying:

"The statement I take issue with is this: 'If he was abusive, why would Julia have stayed with him and why would they have many more children?' The problem with this statement is that you are looking at this historical situation involving abuse and neglect from a position of power and as someone who lives in the 21st century. You see options for Julia that as a woman living in 1890 she most likely would not have seen for herself, and you are making an assumption about her based on those options."

I agree with Missy, and appreciate her stepping out to analyze the situation and for providing at least two more potential scenarios for this family. I should have done a better job of analyzing this rather than my own "glass half full" scenario that put Edward in a positive light. Read all of her comment! Thank you, Missy.

GenSeekers Announced and Delayed

Dick Eastman posted about The GenSeeker Project yesterday, from a memo of some sort, which said (in part):

"The GenSeeker Project [is] a unique initiative, recruiting traveling family researchers as "GenSeekers" to introduce local communities throughout the U.S. to GenSeek, a social media website devoted to the monumental task of digitizing and sharing family histories found in small towns.

"The GenSeekers' roadshows are planned to commence in the Fall of 2009, coinciding with the scheduled launch of GenSeek. GenSeekers will teach community librarians, local historical archivists and others how easy it is to use the website to contribute to and share content found on FamilySearch's Family History Library Catalog. To learn more about becoming a GenSeeker or to register to receive notification when GenSeek is ready to launch, visit"

Read the entire post for more information about the GenSeeker Project. From that description, it sounds like:

* Several teams of "family researchers" will travel around the USA (the world?) giving presentations to librarians and archivists to introduce

* Those librarians and archivists will then be motivated to add their local collections to the GenSeek collection. Presumably, this means a link in the pages telling about the local resources (which might be in microform, book, manuscript, audio, video, or digital format), and, hopefully, a link to digitized content.

I have questions (don't I always have questions?):

* What about genealogy societies with private collections? Will society leaders be included in the GenSeekers presentations (i.e., are they the "others" mentioned?)?

* Will the GenSeekers presentations include offers to help libraries, archives and societies digitize their collections? Or provide contacts for digitizing services?

* Will genealogy researchers be recruited for the GenSeekers teams? If so, what will be the qualifications? The time commitment, the pay :).

The information above says "To learn more about becoming a GenSeeker ... visit" Well, I visited and there is only the mail registration box - nothing about becoming a GenSeeker.

Now - The "really big" news, to me at least, was the explicit definition of the launch of the web site in Fall 2009. There have been many promises made about the launch date - many of them centered on May 2009. So they missed that date... the good news is that Fall is only two months off (September 21 is when Fall starts), or then it could be December (Fall ends on 21 December). Is this a really firm commitment on's part? I hope so - the expectations for May were dashed six weeks ago - it's not good to raise the hopes and expectations of genealogists! On the other hand, they do need to "get it right" the first time out.

Some readers may be wondering "What is going to be?"

I've written several posts about it, as have other bloggers. See:

* When will be unveiled? dated 7 May 2009

* Lifting the Skirt on, dated 15 March 2009.

* A Sneak Peek at, dated 2 February 2009

* What Will GenSeek Be? dated 22 January 2009

If becomes the "window to the vast collection of genealogical resources" that is promised, then it will be a tremendous asset to genealogists all over the world.

I'm still impatient... I want it now. I know - "calm down, Seaver, you always want it now." Well, yeah!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"A Much Married Man in Trouble..."

The historical newspaper collections occasionally reveal a bit too much about some of our ancestors or distant relatives.

I signed up for the 7-day free trial for GenealogyBank, a commercial genealogy database with historical newspapers and other holdings, the other day, and entered many of my elusive ancestors, and not-so-elusive but interesting ones too, into the search engine. One article that caused a stir was this sad and disturbing one from the Worcester (MA) Daily Spy, dated 20 June 1890 (I separated it into paragraphs for readability):




Henry L. Haskell, an officer of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children , was in town recently, investigating the case of little Mabel Seaver. It appears that one Edward A. Seaver, who resides in the south part of the town, on the Seaver farm, where his father and grandfather lived before him, has had quite an experience in the matrimonial line.

It is said that 25 years ago or more, when a school boy of 16, his father came to the school house one day, and said, "Here, Ed, here's $3; go off and get married. Your school days are over." Not from choice, but of necessity, the boy was made a married man. His wife, Rosetta Foster, of Templeton, came to live with him at the old homestead, and a child was born, and a short time after, the young wife was taken in charge by others, and they parted. She is now living, married, in a neighboring town, but, so far as known, no divorce was obtained by either party.

When Seaver was about 17 years of age, he entered the army and served as a soldier, and his record does him little credit. On his return home, he was one day going to Princeton, and met a young girl alone along the road, result, three years at South Fitchburg.

Next he is brought into public notice by his marriage to a widow, Amanda Melvina Gibson, who had had six husbands and had two children, both boys. She lived with him awhile and then left, saying: "I am not going to work and support Ed Seaver any longer," and off she went.

Removing to Leominster, Mr. Seaver made the acquaintance of Rosie Baker, and soon after married her. She lived but a short time.

Then there came a handsome, buxom young woman from Boston, named Julia McDonald, who is wife No. 4 and mother to the child now brought into notice by the alleged shameful and inhuman treatment of its parents. They have three children, all older than little Mabel, who is 4 years of age. She is a poor, emaciated child, scarcely larger than a 1-1/2 years-old baby, has sores on her head and body and the marks of ill treatment are plainly visible. Mr. Haskell has thoroughly investigated the case, and the parties will change their action to the child or get into serious trouble. The affair has made a scandal in the town.


Now I need to interrogate the GenealogyBank database to see if there are more articles about little Mabel Seaver. Maybe I can find out what happened to her, and to her parents. I know I have this Edward A. Seaver in my Seaver database. I wonder if any of my Seaver correspondents have this family.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - July 5-11, 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:

* Making Connections in WeRelate by Denise Olson on the Family Matters blog. Denise walks us through how to Add a Person and search for other pages about that person in I really appreciate Denise's posts about WeRelate - I need to visit there more often.

* The State of the Genealogy Blogosphere by Chris Dunham on The Genealogue blog. Chris counts up all of the geneabloggers and how often they's hard work, but someone has to do it, and I'm glad that Chris does it.

* All sources lie by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog. James has wisdom for all of us to ponder and understand - about sources and indexes and truth and memory.

* Using Ancestry Trees by Taneya Koonce on Taneya's Genealogy Blog. Taneya uploaded a family tree to Ancestry and tells us about her finds. Oh, she has some great suggestions on how to improve the experience too! Ancestry - are you reading?

* Genealogy Societies Need To Look Toward The Future and Genealogy Societies Need To Look Toward The Future (Follow-up Post) by Elyse Doerflinger on Elyse's Genealogy Blog. These are two excellent posts about genealogy societies and young genealogy researchers. Read the comments too - they show the power of a blog post!

* Music and Culture by Jean Hibben on the Circlemending blog. Jean talks about how music influences what we see and hear, as it did for our ancestors.

* Will Genetic Genealogy Lose Its Place? by Emily Aulicino on the DNA- Genealem's Genetic Genealogy blog. Emily comments on, and posts, Dorothy Wheeler's excellent article of the same title. Y-DNA and mtDNA testing is at risk for all of us.

* Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Records Online An Essential Web Site for Genealogical Research by Caroline L. Barkley on the blog. This is a great short tutorial about the BLM GLO records and how to find, use and understand them.

* 1,000th Cousin Contact by Lee Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee has documented his extensive family correspondence over the years. I wish I had done this! It's a great idea. I love Lee's quote - "I wish all of my investments had such fantastic returns."

* Where is my family's file? by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog. Schelly publishes Daniel N. Leeson's article "Does Anyone Know Where My File is?" Daniel thought the work was all done - read his funny experiences trying to find out where his genealogy is. A keeper - share it with all new genealogists, especially.

* How Genealogists use Social Networking by Gena Philibert Ortega on the - Family History Bulletin blog. Gena asks the question, and got answers from several well-known geneabloggers.

* Top Ten Rules of Genealogy by Michael Hait on the Genealogy Wise blog. Michael provides an excellent list on this new community blog site. He says "These rules will help you to keep on the right track - they follow the philosophy, 'Work smart - not hard.' "

* The Thriller of the Hunt by Lisa Burks on the Adventures in Grave Hunting blog. Michael Jackson in a genealogy blog? Yep - read this fascinating story about media and celebrities and graves - great detective work by Lisa and her cohorts doing Graveyard Rabbit work at at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

* The Year Was 1901 by Sheri Fenley in her monthly Weekend with Shades Column The Year Was on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog. I love these photo essays about specific years - well done, Sheri!

* 10 Truths About Genealogy by Tami Glatz on the Relatively Curious About Genealogy blog. Tami has a humorous, yet truthful, list for all of us to ponder and laugh at.

* Memorial Dedication Ceremony for Private Amos McKinney, 1st Alabama Cavalry USA - A photographic essay by Terry Thornton on the Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi blog. Terry takes us to a moving memorial dedication through his pictures and text.

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 500 genealogy bloggers using Bloglines, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.