Saturday, August 8, 2009

Which Family Tree Maker version to use?

On my recent post Family Tree Maker 2010 <=> Ancestry Member Tree Synchronization, David commented:

"I am new to FTM and have a tree in of about 625 records and would like to purchase a hard copy of the FTM software. There are several versions to pick from. 2009 basic, deluxe, platinum, etc. and now 2010. What would you recommend? My main focus is my in-laws have a HUGE data base that I would like to import into mine and I was told by that the only way was to do it through an FTM product."

David, if you currently do not have any genealogy software program and want to ensure that your Ancestry Member Tree, and your in-laws Ancestry Member Tree, can be downloaded to a genealogy software program with as much retained information as possible, then Family Tree Maker 2010 is probably your best choice.

The reason for this is that the company owns Family Tree Maker software and is trying to provide an easy conversion from the online Ancestry Member Trees to FTM 2010 software on user computers, and vice versa. The user can download an Ancestry Member Tree, with attached media items (meaning images, audio, video), except for historical data records collected from databases, to Family Tree Maker 2009 and/or 2010. The user can also upload an FTM 2009/2010 database, with attached media, to a new Ancestry Member Tree.

With any other genealogy software program, the user is limited to a GEDCOM upload to or a GEDCOM download from to the other genealogy software. In a pure GEDCOM action, there are no media items transferred.

There are some things to consider:

* You need to make sure that the family tree databases you mention are in the Ancestry Member Trees, and not in the One World Tree or World Family Tree collections. Ancestry has these three sets of family trees, with the Ancestry Member Trees the collection that can have attached media.

* When you upload a GEDCOM file or an FTM 2009/2010 file to Ancestry, you must make it a NEW family tree. You cannot add more information onto an existing Ancestry Member Tree except by inputting it item by item using the keyboard. If you frequently make NEW Ancestry Member Trees, you may end up with a number of similar family trees on if you're not careful. You should delete the older ones if the newest one has the most recent changes to your database. Of course, any tree you delete on means that you will lose any media that you have attached (from your computer or record databases) to the deleted tree. That is why the upload/download feature between Ancestry Member Trees and FTM 2009/2010 is so important!

* Note that what and Family Tree Maker software are doing is not a true synchronization, where if you change data or records in one of them then the other is automatically updated somehow. That is not happening yet - but it is what many users want, and Ancestry may be working on ways to implement it.

* Every user needs to pick whether to make all of their changes to data and records in the Ancestry Member Tree database or in the genealogy software database. Then they must occasionally upload or download to the other in order to make them the same database. I choose to make my changes on my desktop computer because FTM 2009 (and any other desktop software) is much easier to use to add, edit, delete, display, save and print information than in the Ancestry Member Tree. Genealogy software has many more useful features than any online family tree system, including Ancestry Member Trees.

* Using FTM 2009/2010 as the primary data entry resource means that you will need to back it up once in awhile. That is one of the best things about the FTM 2009/2010 <=> Ancestry Member Tree data exchange - the AMT is a backup database not stored on your home computer. If your computer crashes, then you have a recent backup of your database (and attached media) on the computers. This is one reason why I'm going to buy FTM 2010.

* You will need to purchase Family Tree Maker software. You mentioned different "versions" of FTM 2009 - basic, essentials, deluxe, platinum, etc. These are bundles of the same software package (in this case FTM 2009) with extra items added on - genealogy books on CDROM, FTM user manual, and various subscriptions. You can find these "sales" at or and other discount websites. You need to decide how much "extra stuff" you want with your FTM 2010. To buy FTM 2010 now, you can go to The retail price is $39.95. If you do a Google search for "family tree maker 2010" you may current sales bundles at Amazon and other websites. I saw the FTM 2010 Essentials (just the software, nothing else) on sale today at for $29.99. The discount sites will probably bundle FTM 2010 with books on CD, an Ancestry subscription, etc. I've had good results using these sites and have saved money on software and on subscriptions.

* You said that "... I was told by that the only way was to do it through an FTM product." That is probably a true statement IF your in-laws tree is only on Ancestry Member Tree and has many media items attached to it. If they don't have any media items attached to it, then a GEDCOM download of the file should be readable on any genealogy software with a GEDCOM import function. If they have their file in some other software, then they can create a GEDCOM file and send it to you and you can import it as a GEDCOM file into your own genealogy software program (including FTM 2010).

I know this is a lot of information, but the issue is very complicated. I wanted to give you a complete answer so that you can ask more questions, make a good decision and obtain genealogy software that suits your needs. I also thought that other readers might be interested in the answers to your questions! It is possible that other software companies will come to an agreement to permit media uploads and downloads to or from Ancestry Member Trees, but I doubt that this will happen in the near future. Why? Because the Ancestry <=> FTM "synchronization" provides FTM 2010 with a unique and excellent sales point in the marketplace.

Russ Worthington is also addressing questions like this, and demonstrating how to work between and Family Tree Maker 2009/2010, on his Family Tree Maker User blog at Check out Russ's work - he does a great job of explaining things in a step-by-step process.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your 16 Great-Great-Grands

It's almost Saturday Night - time for some Genealogy Fun!

Do you have a pedigree chart that shows you as #1 and goes back five generations? If not, you should make one! Fire up your software program and create a report and save it (you'll see why in am inute!).

Here is your SNGF assignment for the evening (if you choose to accept it - this is not stump the genealogist or even Mission Impossible):

1) List your 16 great-great-grandparents in pedigree chart order. List their birth and death years and places.

2) Figure out the dominant ethnicity or nationality of each of them.

3) Calculate your ancestral ethnicity or nationality by adding them up for the 16 - 6.25% for each (obviously, this is approximate).

4) If you don't know all 16 of your great-great-grandparents, then do it for the last full generation you have.

5) Write your own blog post, or make a comment on Facebook or in this post.

Here's mine:

1. Isaac Seaver: born 16 Oct 1823 in Westminster, Worcester County, MA; married 9 Sep 1851 in Walpole, Norfolk County, MA; died 12 Mar 1901 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA. ENGLISH

2. Lucretia Townsend Smith: born bef 6 Sep 1828 in Medfield, Norfolk County, MA; died 24 Mar 1884 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA. ENGLISH

3. Edward Hildreth: born 30 Apr 1831 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA; married 25 Dec 1852 in Northborough, Worcester County, MA; died 26 Apr 1899 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA. ENGLISH

4. Sophia Newton: born 14 Sep 1834 in Springfield, Windsor County, VT; died 29 Aug 1923 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA. ENGLISH

5. James Richman\Richmond: born bef 8 Apr 1821 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; married 7 Sep 1845 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died 20 Dec 1912 in Putnam, Windham County, CT. ENGLISH

6. Hannah Rich: born 14 Apr 1824 in Hilperton, Wiltshire, ENGLAND; died 7 Aug 1911 in Putnam, Windham County, CT. ENGLISH

7. Henry A. White: born 1824 in Glocester, Providence County, RI; married 30 Jun 1844 in Thompson, Windham County, CT, (VR); died 1 Aug 1885 in East Killingly, Windham County, CT. ENGLISH

8. Amy Frances Oatley: born 1826 in South Kingstown, Washington County, RI; died bef 1870 in Killingly, Windham County, CT. ENGLISH

9. David Jackson\D.J. Carringer: born 4 Nov 1828 in Greenville, Mercer County, PA; married 16 Oct 1851 in Mercer County, PA; died 20 Jan 1902 in San Diego, San Diego County, CA. GERMAN

10. Rebecca Spangler: born 2 Apr 1832 in Mercer County, PA; died 13 Dec 1901 in San Diego, San Diego County, CA. GERMAN

11. Devier James Lamphear Smith: born 7 May 1839 in Henderson, Jefferson County, NY; married 4 Apr 1861 in Rolling Prairie, Dodge County, WI; died 1 May 1894 in McCook, Red Willow County, NE. ENGLISH ?

12. Abigail A. Vaux: born 28 Oct 1844 in Aurora, Erie County, NY; died 11 Sep 1931 in San Diego, San Diego County, CA. ENGLISH

13. David Auble: born 1817 in Stillwater, Sussex County, NJ; married abt 1844 in Newton, Sussex County, NJ; died 22 Mar 1894 in Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN.

14. Sarah G. Knapp: born Jan 1818 in prob. Woodbridge, Middlesex County, NJ; died aft 1900 in prob. Bushnell, McDonough County, IL.

15. James Abram Kemp: born 22 May 1831 in prob. Hillier, Prince Edward County, Ontario, CANADA; married 10 Mar 1861 in Middleton, Norfolk County, ONTARIO; died 19 Sep 1902 in Delhi, Norfolk County, Ontario, CANADA. ENGLISH

16. Mary Jane Sovereen: born 29 Dec 1840 in prob. Delhi, Norfolk County, ONTARIO; died 20 May 1874 in Middleton, Norfolk County, ONTARIO, CANADA. GERMAN

As far as I can tell, my ethnicity is European (Y-DNA haplogroup is R, mtDNA haplogroup is H).

My "nationalities" are 13 ENGLISH (10 from early colonial New England) and 3 GERMAN - so 81% English, 19% German. Another generation back would add a Dutch line.

This was real easy to do once I made the ahnentafel list in RootsMagic 4. I saved it as an RTF file, and copied/pasted the 5th generation into the post above. Piece of cake!

One of the great things about writing a blog post like this is that now other searchers can find you on the Internet in a search engine.

UPDATED 11 p.m. - That smart blonde Sheri Fenley figured out that there are 16 great-great-grands not 16 great-grands like I originally posted. You know, it's easy to spell check but harder to content check! Sheri gets an A+ if she posts her 16 GGGP. Some of the bloggers posted their 16 GGGPs and noted the fact, my challenge notwithstanding.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Day 5 at Grandpa Camp - Winding Down

The last full day of Grandpa Camp was pretty good - I asked Lucas what he wanted to do today - and gave him choices of the Fleet Science Museum and Theater, the Aerospace Museum, the Children's Museum in downtown San Diego. He wanted to go back to the Zoo. So we did, and had a great time.

We were there shortly after 9 a.m. (but that was after throwing the baseball around and counting the 911 call boxes all the way there), and it was nice and cool - about 70F when we got there and about 75F when we left at noon. We walked down the Tiger Trail and saw the cubs sleeping in their den, then past the empty hippo pool (apparently they are late swimmers), then saw the 2-year-old Panda, scrunched two more pennies in the machine that takes 51 cents for each one, up the moving sidewalk to the top of the mesa, across on the Skyride to the entrance, and a snack in the shade. He wanted to take the 30 minute bus tour, so we sat up top in the sun and he fell asleep about halfway through the tour. Refreshed, he insisted on riding on my shoulders to the exit and out to the car.

We were home by 12:30, had some lunch, and watched a movie (The Even Stevens?) on the Disney Channel which he thought was funny - I did too, for different reasons. Great parody! Linda came home and they decided not to go swimming, so while Linda napped, I played catch with Lucas and then actually won a soccer game. I'm so proud of myself - brute force and chicanery can win out over skill and energy once in awhile! Of course, I was exhausted by then and so we played Uno for awhile, and when Linda got up, I had an hour on the computer to work on the CVGS newsletter due to the printer on Sunday.

Linda fixed dinner, we ate out on the cool patio - a nice breeze in the shade - and then we flew the model airplane out in front and had another round of catch in back. Finally, at 7 p.m., we came in to watch the Padres game.

Lucas had his snack, watched a video, and had his bath, then we did his hair and teeth, and he was in bed at 9 p.m. And asleep by 9:15 p.m., very peaceful tonight! Cool - I went back to the Padres game and watched them come from behind 6-2 with a walkoff grand slam in the 9th.

Then this post, and I'm done for the night.

Did anything great happen in genealogy today? I read the blogs and saw nothing fantastic. I even tried the 1930 census on Footnote and couldn't get on. Ancestry has added no new American content for weeks, it seems. My correction to the 1870 census still hasn't showed up in the Ancestry indexes (it's been a week now), and the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog is still held hostage by an unseen Blogger monster. Oh well!

Tomorrow will be hectic with Lucas to the airport until 11 a.m., the SDGS meeting, and the Padres game in the evening. SNGF? Sure...hold your horses, I gotta think of something fun to do.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Day 4 of Grandpa Camp- the Decathlon

Day 4 of Grandpa Camp featured two trips out and many games played in and out... I feel like an Olympic decathlete having to do so many things in one day. Let's see - the games played by five-year-old Lucas and his real old Grandpa (well, I feel old tonight):

* Baseball in the morning, baseball in the afternoon, baseball in the summertime. Then the Padres game - which was a decathlon all to itself.

* Soccer in the morning...he won 11-7 as I recall. We go until I can't breathe then take a chocolate chip cookie break with water...he's not even breathing hard.

* Call box counting - in the car, we started playing I Spy but that quickly evolved into finding all of the 911 call boxes along the freeway.

* Counting airplanes on the USS Midway - we toured the Midway Museum today and he was bored (because he can't read everything yet, I think). So we counted airplanes and US Navy symbols. Then we went shopping and had lunch. Total gifts = 4: two airplanes, a baseball and a T-shirt.

* Back home after lunch, we played his hockey card game. He has like 200 hockey cards and knows all of the teams but not all of the players. So we try to match teams by drawing cards.

* Bottle bowling. We bowled in the family room with water bottles as pins and a baseball as the bowling ball. He's pretty good!

* Uno. He's good at Uno too, although we split four matches.

* Car counting over the back wall. We've done this since he was a baby. He picks silver cars so I pick white or black cars, and lose every time. It's cool in the shade there. We talk too.

* Piggyback riding - around the house. Not a competition.

* Quiet time - while I napped, he watched some videos on his DVD. Good boy!

Our visit to the USS Midway was pretty short - he was bored, and didn't want to listen to the docents talk, or even sit in a severed cockpit, or traipse around the sleeping quarters below decks. He wants action... and I love quiet. The pretzel was good, and the shopping was fun.

We went to the Padres game tonight on the trolley. We ate dinner at El Pollo Loco and then took the trolley to downtown San Diego, and were in our seats by 6:20. Here the feasting marathon began - ice cream cone (shared), popcorn (shared) cookie (shared), and a little candy. We managed to avoid the cotton candy and he didn't want the peanuts. We know two of the head ushers, and they both gave Lucas some ballpark swag. He wore the Chris Young glove for the rest of the game and was ready for foul balls. Then we went to the gift store and got ... baseball cards. The Padres won 8-3 and we were home by 10:30 - Lucas was sound asleep in the car.

That's my day - how was yours? Did anything great happen in genealogy today? I have no clue!

Tomorrow is Day 5 of Grandpa Camp and we're going back to the zoo I think. Lucas' choice. We can do more with just the two of us. I think Grandma is taking him swimming in the afternoon. Cool - I can work on the CVGS newsletter - or take a nap - while they're gone. Wanna bet which one I choose?

Making Family History with a five-year-old is hard work. I wouldn't miss it for the world. I get three more five-year-olds in the years ahead too, so this is good practice. Of course, as they get older, so do I. When Lucas is 18, I'll be, oh boy, 78. Hmmm, wonder if he'll remember Grandpa Camp 2009? And if so, what will be the highlights? He'll probably have to tell me all about it as I sit there drooling in my rocker at the genealogy rest home.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Grandpa Camp Day 3 - A Welcome Break

Since Grandpa had a meeting to go to at noontime, Grandma stepped in and had a fun day with Lucas. He's now calling the week "Grandpa and Grandma Camp" which is appropriate!

* He was up early again - out the front door at 6 a.m. to get rubber bands (he said...don't ask). Grandma got up and started the breakfast routine. He and I had our waffles at 7:15 or so. Lucas has a bunch of hockey cards (pictures of hockey players - you know, like the old baseball cards) and knows all of the teams and many of the players. He loves hockey! He played PBS games on the computer for awhile, then we looked at recent family pictures, and pictures of his mother's wedding. He loves to do this with me!

* After Linda left for swimming, he and I went out front to throw the ball around, then to the back yard for hitting. We also played one half of soccer before Grandpa was too hot and tired (well, maybe 10 minutes). Ah - snacks - watermelon and choc chip cookie hits the spot! This kid loves to snack! Then three games of Uno - he loves to play games!

* Linda came back and we headed out for Costco at 11 a.m. Bought a GPS unit, then had lunch (Hot dog and lemonade) there, and I went off to my CVGS Board meeting at the library, and Grandma took Lucas shopping for his birthday.

* My Board meeting was over at 2 p.m., so I was home by 2:30 and found a note that said they had gone swimming at a friend's home. Free time? What am I gonna do? I read my email and blogs, then took a nap! Answered some email, made a genealogy report for the San Francisco cousins and sent it off to them, and was ready to write a blog post when they came home. Oh well!

* Back out to the backyard to play catch and he tried to rope me into a soccer game but I resisted... we came in and had a snack and he played with his cards while I tried to make the GPS unit work. Ah, needs to be charged - plugged it into the USB port.

* Dinner time was spare ribs and green beans out in the patio. Very pleasant - he ate it all...probably hungry after all of the snacks and games. Then he helped me water the front plants and put out the trash. Came back in for dessert (angel food cake, strawberries and ice cream) out on the patio where it was pleasantly cool (maybe only 80F but shady and breezy).

* Bath time, then watch ESPN for awhile (did I mention that Lucas loves sports on TV too?), ready for bed, a story about Grandpa playing football at the park, and he conked out within ten minutes of lying down with me. Cool.

Genealogy today? Not much. Email and blogs in the morning, a blog post about the SDGS program, then the afternoon email review and genealogy reports, and that's about it.

Lots of family history made, though. Tomorrow is a big day - we go off to the USS MIdway floating museum to see an aircraft carrier and a lot of planes on the flight deck, then in the evening we'll go to the Padres game at Petco Park. He loves riding the trolley.

I hope you don't mind these daily activity reports - they will help me remember what we did, and I can send them to my daughter so that Lucas can read them in the future.

SDGS Meeting on Saturday, 8 August

The August meeting of the San Diego Genealogical Society will be Saturday, 8 August, starting at 11:30 a.m. (note the earlier time!) at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, 8350 ake Murray Blvd (at Jackson Drive).

The program will be "The Civil War: Reliving The Past" and an Ice Cream Social

Relive history with Civil War reenactors! Our presenters, in uniform, will relate a brief history of the impact of the Civil War, show some period weapons and discuss their uniforms. They will also relate an ancestor’s Civil War experience in the 2nd West Virginia Cavalry for which he was awarded a medal. This will truly make history come alive! Even if you don’t have a Civil War ancestor, this will be a most unique and memorable experience.

Tom Helmantoler serves as the commander of Sgt. William Pittenger Camp No. 21 and is a Corporal in Company G, 5th California Infantry. He is also active in Sons of Veterans Reserve and the San Diego Civil War Roundtable as well as Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge and is a Sergeant in the California State Military. Tom will be assisted by fellow reenactor, Deane Poole.

A retired Julian High School history, government and economics teacher, Tom graduated from San Dieguito High School and has a BA in History from San Diego State College and a master’s in Education from Pepperdine University.

This will also be our ever-popular ‘Ice Cream Social’ meeting where you can order up your own ice cream sundae with all the fixins. We will serve up different flavored ice cream for $1 a scoop and 25¢ for each topping. The big decision will be whether to have 1, 2 (or is that 3?) scoops -- and is that with sprinkles, fudge or caramel? A great way to cool down and kick off the summer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A hot day at Grandpa Camp

Day two of Grandpa Camp - making Family History with one special little boy (lucas is almost six) at a time - was a hot one - we had 90F+ heat with relatively high humdity and it made being in the sun difficult. But we persevered. Camp events today were:

* Playing baseball in the backyard - hitting, fielding, throwing with wiffle balls and soft rubber balls and a plastic bat. I don't have a light enough aluminum bat for him - he's only 45 pounds and the 27 inch bat we have swings him. He tries so hard!

* Playing soccer in the backyard. This kid has a motor that never stops. After ten minutes, I'm breathing hard and sweating and he's still running. He won the soccer game 7-6. He's a really good sport and a competitor.

* We went to the San Diego Zoo today, along with about 50,000 other people. We met my other daughter and her two little girls (ages 4+ and 1+) - so Grandma and Grandpa had three of the four grandkids to watch have fun. We ate lunch first. I rode the Skyfari to the far side of the Zoo with Lucas and Lauren, and then we walked the half mile of Elephant Odyssey. The kids loved the big animals they can climb on - and we took pictures. It was too hot to stop and really watch the real animals we ended up at the snack bar and had a nice ice cream in the shade and got everybody hydrated again. Lucas and Lauren played in the play area for awhile, and then we walked the mile to the entrance and came home. It was a short day at the zoo, but we go often and everybody has a pass.

* Lucas was the only one that didn't get a nap, but he watched his DVD player while everybody else snoozed. Then he and Lauren played in the kiddie pool for awhile and drew chalk pictures on the patio concrete. Audrey is just starting to walk and she really wanted to get wet too but we kept her relatively dry.

* We went out to dinner at Rubio's in Otay Ranch, and after eating the kids chased bubbles around the fountain. They had a blast doing that, and throwing coins in the fountain (of course, Lucas had to reach in and get more coins to throw back in). He really shared well with his smaller cousins, and helped me feed Audrey, sharing his burrito and drink with her.

* Back at home, Tami got her girls in and out of the bath while Linda put a small birthday party for Lucas together. Cake and strawberries and ice cream, a candle and song. Tami packed her girls up and headed home and Lucas went into the bath. We watched the Padres game after that and he fell asleep on the bed watching the game.

So Day two is done, and Grandpa is still hot, and tired out. Lucas will be ready to rumble early in the morning, so this is all the blogging I'm going to do for today.

If I'm not doing genealogy research, I really want to make great family history!

So what happened in genealogy today? I see that will have a public offering, and that they've released some income and revenue statements. My view is that we genealogists need the commercial genealogy companies to be profitable so that they'll stay in business, and we need competition in the industry in order to keep the companies vying for our subscription business. There are a lot of records that need digitizing and indexing so that they can be accessed by researchers. The database companies are doing a pretty good job of adding new content, and improving their website navigation and search capabilities. There are several excellent software companies that are continually upgrading their products, and the competition keeps them in this continuous improvement cycle. Enough for the to bed!

I'm at Grandpa Camp this week

Blogging on Genea-Musings may be lighter than usual all of this week because I am hosting Grandpa Camp. I picked my 5-year-old grandson, Lucas, up at the airport on Monday at 1 p.m. and we headed for the Miniature Golf place and promptly spent about $20 on games and things. Then it was home to have milk and cookies, then play baseball in the front driveway, and then he played Uno with Grandma while Grandpa rested his eyes.

We went out to pizza for dinner and dropped more cash in the arcade games - he likes the Race Car ones where he can drive on the sidewalk and smash into buildings - it's great fun to watch him. Hopefully, by the time he's 16, he will have had enough practice that he'll stay to the right of the centerline. He ate his pizza and we brought some home for lunches for the rest of the week.

To top off the evening, we went swimming at our friend's home - Lucas is a great swimmer - he dives, he jumps from high places, he dogpaddles furiously and swims underwater beautifully. We had so much fun. Then it was home for ice cream and watching the Padres game (Pads beat Atlanta 4-2). We put a puzzle together while watching the game.

He finally conked out at 10...which left precious little time to write anything blogwise. So you get a "new" Family History post instead of some boring "how-to" article with lots of screen shots.

Angel Linda had him guess what was in one of her four-generations pictures while we riding in the car to dinner. Then when we got home, she showed him the picture. This is his mitochondrial DNA line! I haven't told him that, of course! Yet - I better wait until he is eight and can understand genetics.

One little note - I've heard from two more descendants of Elijah and Jane McKnew and have started corresponding with them. One of them went by the San Francisco houses on Saturday and spoke to the owner. How cool is that?

One last thing - has the 1930 United States census for free access through the end of August. Try it! Here's the information they sent out:

"We will be opening the entire Interactive 1930 US Census for free throughout the month of August. All the indexes in their entirety are always free on However, for this month we will allow free access to the images as well. Visitors will need to go to and register (provide email address) to gain free access."

Monday, August 3, 2009

SCGS "The News and Notes" newsletter available

The August-September-October 2009 issue of the Southern California Genealogical Society's (SCGS) newsletter "The News and Notes" is available via a link on the SCGS webpage (

This issue is 20 pages, and is available as a PDF file here.

The summary of the Genealogy Jamboree is on Page 11. There were over 1,500 attendees at Jamboree. That is amazing! It seemed like at least that many!

I've been updating my list of videos and podcasts that were recorded at the Jamboree in my post More SCGS Genealogy Jamboree Audio/Video. If I've missed anyone, please let me know!

For what it's worth, here is another society that is putting their "newsletter" (as opposed to a magazine or journal) online for free access to interested readers. Everything in this newsletter is intended to inform existing and potential members and to encourage them to participate in SCGS activities. It's an excellent communication and marketing tool.

Same house, 103 years later? Revisited

I love it when my readers are more enterprising than me (and smarter?), and take my posts and dig a little deeper. I posted 18 April 1906 - San Francisco - They Were There! on Thursday and followed it up with Same house, 103 years later? on Friday.

This was the picture of the house at (then) 4135 19th Street in San Francisco in the days after the 1906 earthquake:

I searched for the house on Google Maps and found it in the Street View, with the address of 4131 19th Street:

Reader Pete Small saw these pictures and did a little detective work that is revealing and useful to other researchers. Here are Pete's emails to me (posted with his permission):

"First, the County (usually) Assessor-Recorders Offices around the country have, for the most part, all digitalized their property records. Some have more detail than others, but there is usually a Block and Lot map and a description of the property. Some, like my County, actually have a picture of the house (SF does not) and the original handwritten property cards back to 1938.

"The Google maps are excellent, but the addresses that appear on-screen are usually off and sometimes you don't know if you are on the right side of the street (unless you can read the house number attached to the front door). Using the county Assessors map, you can verify the exact location of the property.

"Second, some facts (?) and a fun observation.

"The 1900 Census has:

"4131 19th St McKnew, Elijah 63 and Jane 52 (+some children). Elijah owns the house and it is mortgaged.

"4137 19th St McKnew, Henry 29 and Annie 28. Henry is renting.

"* The County Assessor has 4135-4137 as a 3 family house built 1900. You can see the three entrances in Google maps street level and one of the house numbers is clearly (4137)

"The 1910 Census has:

"4103 19th St McKnew, Elijah 74 and Jane 62 (12 children 11 living) + Gladys 18 (dau) owns home-Free

"4135 19th St McKnew, Leland J 21 and Agnes 20 married 1 year and they are renting.

"*The fun part. Leland is a Wells Fargo Express Messenger. Look at the outfit on the young guy in your 1906 photo. There is writing across his chest and what may be a small shield. Also, there is a bicycle by the front door! He is also wearing leggings. I worked for United Parcel Service for 33 years as a Finance Manager. UPS got their start in 1907 Seattle, Washington as a messenger service. I have a few old photos of the original bicycle/motorcycle messengers and they all wear those same leggings.

"I have tried to enhance your photo to read the house number better, but the last digit is still unclear. It is possible it is 4131*. The house seems much closer to the curb in the 1906 photo vs Google, but may be a trick caused by the cameras of that era.

"*4131 was built 1990 according to the Assessor's Office, but I think that is because of the recent addition and it is a 3 family with 17 rooms, 6 Bdrms and 6 Baths."

After I responded commending his work, Pete wrote back saying:

"Another goodie: 1920 Jane 42 (s/b 72) a widow b. Austria (s/b Australia) owned (mortgaged) 4137 19th St and has it currently listed for $1,271,000. Always pays to be nice to your out-laws!"

I thank Pete for his keen observations and digging in the county assessor records for these properties.

Here is another Street View that shows what is currently 4131 (on the left) and 4135-37 19th Street (in the middle with the tree in front of it), and 4143 19th Street on the far right (the green house).

I can barely see the street number 4137 for the right door of the middle house above the door in the Street View. Thank you, eagle-eye Pete! Do you see two dogs on the sidewalk in the far left lower corner of the above picture? I wonder if those are the current residents of one of my wife's ancestral home?

Since the current building at 4131 19th Street is 3 units with 17 rooms, 6 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, I wondered just how far back the building goes. I used the Satellite view from Google Maps for the block and zoomed in as much as possible:

As you can see, the current 4131 19th Street (with the red stick-pin over the white roof) has the deepest lot on that side of the street, and it appears to have had a significant addition in the back, plus the front addition, if the different roof colors are any indication. The 4135-37 building doesn't go as far back as the current 4131 building does.

Finally, picking up on Pete's research in the census, it looks like the Elijah McKnew family lived in 4135 (current 4131) 19th Street in the 1900 census, and his son Henry lived in 4137 (probably current 4135) 19th Street then. In 1910, Elijah and Jane had moved down the street where it says they owned the house at 4103 19th Street, and son Leland McKnew was in 4135 19th Street. By 1920, Elijah had died (in 1912) and Jane lived in 4137 19th Street (probably the current 4135-37 address).

A review of the San Francisco City Directories for this time period may be helpful too!

To top it off, I received a response on the Scanfest Today post from a great-granddaughter of Veronica McKnew, who may have been a granddaughter of Elijah and Jane McKnew. If this anonymous poster is reading this post, please email me at and "let's talk" about the family. I have quite a bit of McKnew family history information and am married to one of your cousins.

Since I started the last paragraph (and had to go look in my email files), I received an email from Tim Cox of CGSL, who lives near this neighborhood, and he walked by the houses today and took many pictures from street level and even knocked on the door of 4135! He found the property descriptions online and sent them to me. Thank you Tim!!!

Isn't genealogy, family history and house history fun?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Where, oh where, has my little blog gone?

Where, oh where, has my little blog gone,
Where, oh where, can it be?
With its posts so short and its archives long,
Where, oh where, can it be?

Um, one of my "other" blogs - the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe (, the official blog of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society, has disappeared from the blogosphere and the Internet.

I'm not sure when it happened - my last post was Thursday, as I recall.

When I tried to read it today, I got the message from Blogger:

"Blog has been removed. Sorry, the blog at has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs. Did you expect to see your blog here? See: 'I can't find my blog on the Web, where is it?'"

I clicked on the link above and got:

"I can't find my blog on the Web, where is it?

"If you can't find your blog online and you're certain you (or one or your team members if you have a team blog) didn't delete your blog, then the first thing to do is make sure you've typed in the correct URL. If your blog is published with a custom domain or if you have an FTP blog, make sure you've correctly entered your settings in order for your blog to appear online.

"The final thing to do is review Blogger's policies to see if you may have violated our Terms of Service. If you've typed in the correct URL, haven't deleted your blog yourself, and your FTP or custom domain settings are correct, then please contact us for further assistance."

Okay - I checked with the other registrant, and he didn't delete it. I didn't delete it. Maybe someone else deleted it? Got my password and hit the big orange DELETE button?

I tried to read the mind numbing Blogger policies and Terms of Service and didn't see anything that violated them, but of course how could I tell since the $%^%$&*^$# blog isn't visible anymore?

I tried to login and see what happened and it said that the blog had been removed for review by Blogger for offensive content. Well now, I don't think there was anything more offensive on the blog than a stray "darn" or "shucks." Maybe these young snipperwhackers on this Internet thingie don't understand that type of lingo...or have visions of something else in their pointy little heads.

I was able to log in to my Google account for the society, so the username and password still work. But I couldn't get to the blog. I sent a request for a review of the decision this afternoon and haven't heard anything back yet, but it's Sunday. Those knuckleheaded TIF-throwing nerdaholics at Google are probably throwing a Frisbee somewhere and not fixing my blog back in shape.

I do have a text copy of all of my posts on the CVGC archived so I haven't lost any real content yet.

I know this has happened to others in the genea-blogosphere over the years. Any good advice?

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 26 July - 1 August 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:

* Oscar Wilde, Sonny Bono and the Naked Orphans Redux by Craig Manson in his Appealing Subjects column on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog-ezine. Craig writes about photograph copyright issues in this appealing post.

* Crossing My I's and Dotting My T's by Leah on The Internet Genealogist blog. Leah discusses handwriting here -her own, and that of her ancestors, and others too. I really identified with this post! My handwriting is atrocious now.

* Gravestone Rubbings by Midge Frazel on the Granite in My Blood blog. Midge discusses rubbings, and mentions that they are illegal in Massachusetts. I'm glad I haven't been tempted while there!

* Using the Wikipedia map tricks for genealogy by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog. James tells us about a neat trick to find the geographical coordinates of a place using Wikipedia. Superb!

* Do I need a Terms of Service agreement on my blog? by Thomas MacEntee on The Geneabloggers blog. Thomas describes blog content protections for genealogy bloggers. Wise words here.

* 25 Great Ideas for Genealogy Society Blogs by Amy Coffin on the We Tree blog. Amy has suggests that genealogy societies create blogs to reach the widest audience possible, and has content suggestions too. Excellent!

* Where Have I Been? by Renee Zamora on Renee's Genealogy Blog. I hate it when a blog goes dormant for awhile, but I love it when the blogger tells us all about their great trip. Renee had a wonderful trip for research and family - the pictures are great! I'm glad she's back among the blogging!

* Setting Your Ancestor in History by Lorine Schulze on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Lorine has great advice about how to find out about events that you ancestors may have experienced.

* Five We Like: Another week of family history goodies by Larry Lehmer on the Passing It On blog. Larry's weekly list of favorites has some interesting links - check out the beginning genealogy video.

* Sometimes "Crazy" Works by Caroline M. Pointer on the Family Stories blog. Caroline tracked down an elusive Mary in the US Census using logic and savvy.

* It's 2014! Do You Know Where Your Data Is? by Dick Eastman on the Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter blog. Dick's magnus opus (maybe his longest post ever?) discusses genealogy software, online family tree databases, data transfer and preservation. Read the comments too.

* The State of Genealogy Software Today by Louis Kessler on Louis Kessler's Behold Blog. Louis reviews today's crop of genealogy database software as it applies to data transfers and preservation.

* We Both Screamed For Ice Cream by Lisa Burks on the Adventures in Grave Hunting by Lisa Burks. Lisa haunts Los Angeles area cemeteries looking for celebrity graves. This post is typical - great pictures and a good story.

* Graveyard Rabbits Carnival – August 2009 by Julie Tarr on The Graveyard Rabbit blog. There were 19 submissions for this Carnival - the topic was "Favorite cemetery-related photo."

* No Fish Tale -- How a Lady Learned to Cast a Line and Landed Quite a Catch by Denise Levenick in her Miss Penelope Dreadful column on footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed blog-ezine. Penny Dreadful tells a fascinating story of looking for love in a pretty good place way back when. Enjoy!

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.