Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - How many ancestors did you "meet"

It's Saturday Night, time for some Genealogy Fun! Even though I'm on vacation, I don't want you to miss having some genealogy fun even if I'm away from home having fun in my "real" life.

Here is your challenge for tonight (or whenever you read this):

1) Write down which of your ancestors that you have met in person (yes, even if you were too young to remember them).

2) Tell us their names, where they lived, and their relationship to you in a blog post, or in comments to this post, or in comments on Facebook.

Here is my list:

* Betty Virginia (Carringer) Seaver (1919-2002), my mother, resided in San Diego CA her whole life.

* Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983), my father, resided in Leominster, MA until 1940 and then in San Diego until his death.

* Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976), my mother's father, who resided in San Diego his whole life.

* Emily Kemp (Auble) Carringer (1899-1977), my mother's mother, who resided in Chicago, Illinois until about 1911, then in San Diego until her death.

* Georgianna (Kemp) Auble (1868-1952), my great-grandmother (mother of Emily, grandmother of Betty), who resided in Norfolk County, Ontario until she went to Chicago, IL in the 1890s, and then to San Diego in about 1911.

* Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946), my great-grandfather (father of Lyle, grandfather of Betty). He was born in Mercer County, PA, moved to Louisa County IA in the 1860's, then to Boulder County CO in the 1870's, and then to San Diego in 1887, and he lived out his life there.

* Della (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944), my great-grandmother (mother of Lyle, grandmother of Betty). She was born in Dodge County WI, lived in Taylor County IA, Andrew County MO, Clay and Pottawatomie Counties KS, Red Willow County BE, and came to San Diego in 1887.

* Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (1883-1963), my grandmother (mother of my father, Fred). She was born in Windham County CT, resided in Leominster MA from about 1890 to her death in 1963. I only met her once - in 1958 when she came to visit our family in San Diego.

My paternal grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942), died just before my birth year of 1943.

So, I "met" eight of my ancestors. That's probably a very low number. Who will have the highest number? It wouldn't surprise me if someone comes up with 15 or 20 ancestors that they have "met."

PS - would someone please tweet this on Twitter for me? Thanks!

The Pace of Genealogy Research - Post 2

In my first post in this series, I wandered a bit through genealogy research history and noted that the use of the Internet and online genealogy databases has speeded up genealogy research in general. It also has had the effect of leaving some very experienced, but computer-leery, genealogists behind.

Today I want to address the effect of this increased pace on "new" or inexperienced genealogy researchers. In the extreme cases, these people start with online genealogy research and never get into a library, FHC or genealogy society. They happily cruise through family trees, VR indexes, census records, immigration records, online newspapers, cemetery records, etc. and proudly add information to their social network genealogy databases. They then get "ancestrally challenged" when they can't find more records to take them back to earlier generations - either because of too many or too few people found with the right name. The temptation then is to select one name that looks "right" and to continue merrily along the online genealogy highway. That part of research really hasn't changed - I think we all did this when we started out.

Fortunately, many of these new and inexperienced genealogists start to educate themselves about doing genealogy research, using online resources, reading books and periodicals at a library, or joining a genealogy society and asking for help. They often learn about the original source and primary information documents that are not online - the vital records, deeds, probates, naturalizations, town records, etc. But some of them get frustrated because they have to go to the FHC and order microfilms and wait two weeks for the films to come to the FHC, and then they aren't indexed... Welcome to Genealogy 102! It is exactly these original source and primary information documents that prove relationships and events. Some of them get it, others never do. I see both types in my local society.

One of the hazards of the increased pace of genealogy research using online resources is that the expectation level is raised - researchers want the critical document or database now, indexed, in digital form, and readable. In short - many researchers are spoiled by the riches of online genealogy resources.

Another hazard is that the every-name indexes and OCR text are imperfect - each of us needs to learn to do wild-card searches, vary the search parameters, and try to understand what is or is not available in an index. I did this yesterday - I used "Bohemian" as an origin and the record said "Hungary" (probably in error). It took an hour for me to not search for "Bohemian."

A third hazard is that not all records, for many record types, are available online or in repositories. Vital records are a great example - some states have indexes online but many don't. Not all deeds or probate records are on microfilm and very few are in online databases. Not all historical newspapers are online. Not all cemetery records are online. In many cases, you have to write to or visit the locality to find these records, often with a lot of research time.

The benefits of the increased pace of genealogy research resulting from online resources is that the availability of every-name indexes and document images has enabled researchers to find records that were difficult to find otherwise. For example, without the 1910 census index, I never would have cold searched through many microfilms of Chicago Illinois census records to find the Charles Auble family (I had checked Soundex, but he was indexed as Aubbe, and I finally found it when the index became available).

Another benefit is that the "survey" phase of the research cycle is faster and easier to do online and at home - using surname and locality books, VR indexes, census records, immigration records, historical newspapers, family trees, etc. We can find more information about a person or family faster now - often in hours. We can then move on to the "search" part of the research cycle finding and using original source and primary information documents. Unfortunately, we can also "make more misteaks quicker." The adage that "the faster I go, the behinder I get" is often true!

A third benefit for genealogy societies is that many of these new and inexperienced genealogists eventually ask for help from a society and its members. Using online resources can provide a feeling of success for the newbie and a good experience for the society member who helps. Many newbies join the society where they got help. The lesson here is that we all still need to follow the principles of the Genealogical Proof Standard - especially the first point - "doing a reasonably exhaustive search." Reviewing only online resources is not "reasonably exhaustive" - at least, not yet. Maybe in the future when the LDS has imaged and indexed their microfilm and microfiche collection, but certainly not now. In 2008, we still need to go to libraries, FHCs, and society repositories to find the critical documents that prove relationships and events.

I have several more posts planned on this topic. What other benefits and drawbacks are there because f the increased pace of genealogy research? Tell me.

NOTE: While I am on vacation, I am republishing some of my "Best of Genea-Musings" posts. This post was originally written on 24 April 2008.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Pace of Genealogy Research - Post 1

I've been thinking about how we can help society and community members find their elusive ancestors. One observation is that the "pace" of genealogy has increased significantly over time.

One hundred years ago and more, genealogy research was performed mainly in town halls, court houses, libraries, churches and in family homes. I am always amazed by how much information was obtained by researchers in those times - especially in New England. The searchers used the mail to correspond with others and horses and trains to travel from place to place.

By the 1950's and 1960's, the mode of travel had changed to automobiles and airplanes, but research was still performed in essentially the same places. Many researchers had extensive correspondence with distant cousins and others with the same family surnames. One big change was that genealogy societies and libraries flourished and many had a significant collection of books and periodicals - that was great if you lived near them. The National Archives had census and other records available, but the researcher had to travel to them.

By the time I started my research in the 1980's, the LDS church had opened Family History Centers in many locations and had created databases - the AIS 1790-1850 census indexes, the International Genealogical Index and Ancestral File - all on microfiche. You could go to an FHC and rent microfilm for many records, or you could visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Researchers still used personal correspondence with cousins, other researchers, repositories, etc. I started my research in 1988, and visited the FHC weekly and other local libraries regularly.

In the 1990's, the Internet started up and services like Prodigy, AOL and CompuServe had genealogy groups where people exchanged information similar to the way message boards are used today. Email gradually replaced written correspondence for many researchers. More records and indexes came online over the years to the point where several record types are 100% available online.

In 2008, I can do a single census lookup in minutes (sometimes it takes an hour or more to find it, abstract it, capture it, print it) that took me two to three weeks to perform in 1988 (go to the FHC, rent the film, wait for it to come in, go back to the FHC, mount the film, search it page-by-page, try to get a printout). If I was lucky, the FHC would already have it on file and the lookup would take two to three hours (assuming we didn't have a page number from an index).

The pace of genealogy research has quickened considerably. With all of the resources available online in free databases, commercial databases, contacts on message boards and mailing lists, and near instantaneous genealogy news via newsletters and blogs, a research survey for a specific research problem can be performed in hours or days. The biggest change in recent years is the increasing number of free and commercial databases available online, plus the every-name indexes for databases, newspapers, documents, etc. More is on the way as Ancestry, WVR, Footnote, FamilySearch and others add content in competition and cooperation.

On one hand, this is really great for those of us confident, enthusiastic and ept at doing online research. On the other hand, it is very frustrating for those who do not have a computer or are leery of using one. These people attend society meetings where the speaker flashes record after record on the screen and extols this web site and that (I'm guilty of this - in spades), and they wonder "has genealogy research passed me by?" They hesitate to ask for instruction from the very busy "computer-literate" society members who use the computer, or for help accessing databases online. My educated guess is that about 25% of my local society don't have a computer, and that only 25% of my local society members are really computer literate and comfortable searching online. The rest use email, try online searches don't make much progress, and admire or envy the speaker presentations, but they are really frustrated by online research.

One potential solution for this problem is to match up patient researchers who are computer literate with access to databases with those who don't have computer access, or database access, and to try to help them by sharing time with them. CVGS has a monthly "Computer Group" in which the leader demonstrates web sites and databases to the attendees, many of whom are computer-leery. One other thing we've tried at CVGS is asking an experienced online researcher to offer a "free certificate" for one hour of research consultation at the library or FHC as part of our "opportunity drawing" at our meetings. I've done this twice, and besides being fun and successful, I've learned a bit about slave research and passenger list research.

I have an appointment tomorrow at the library with a lady who called today - she needs help finding her mother's immigration record but doesn't have a computer or know how to use one. I'm willing to invest an hour with this lady, whom I've never met, because it is an opportunity for me to connect with a potential society member and to help her pursue a family history interest. I've done this type of thing before, but I've learned not to do all the research for them. Instead, I've learned to let the inquirer try and succeed at doing research with the free databases available (our library has Ancestry Library Edition).

If my society has ten people willing to do this on an appointment basis, we could probably help ten to twenty people each month. I think that we have the ten people - we need to find the people who need help. What to call it? A mentor program? It sounds too teacher-student, doesn't it? And the so-called "student" may be able to teach the so-called "mentor" a thing or two about genealogy research. A "Help me solve my genealogy mystery" program? Perhaps, but it has to be couched in the right terms to lure the computer-leery member out of their bookcases of paper and into the library.

What do you think? How have you helped people with their research? What works for you or your society? Please share it with us!

This is the first of several posts on this subject that I've been mulling for awhile - I will have more posts about the Pace of Genealogy Research.

[Note: While I'm on vacation, I'm re-posting some of my self-anointed "Best of Genea-Musngs" articles. This one was originally posted in Genea-Musings on 22 April 2008].

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Where were my ancestors in 1908?

Lisa on her blog 100 Years in America posted about "Where was your family in 1908?" the other day. Her post discusses what happened in 1908, where her ancestors lived, and a comparison of how people lived then. She challenged other genea-bloggers to write about their families also.My ancestors that were living in 1908 included:

1) My grandparents Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1942) and Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962) probably resided at 116 Lawrence Street in Fitchburg (picture included here). They had children Marion (born 1901), Evelyn (born 1903), Stanley (born 1905) and Ruth (born 1907). My father, Frederick, was still a gleam in the mind of my grandparents, and would be born in this house. The 1910 census shows them living in this house, which they owned with a mortgage. They had moved from the Hildreth home (see below) in Leominster in 1905 and moved back to Leominster in about 1912.

2) My great-great-grandmother Sophia (Newton) Hildreth (1834-1923) resided at 149 Lancaster Street, with her son-in-law Frank Seaver (1852-1922), her daughter, Hattie Hildreth (1857-1920) and grandson Harry C. Seaver (1885-1951). Sophia's husband, Edward Hildreth, died in 1899 in Leominster. The house is included here, and the family had resided here since at least 1870.

3) My great-grandparents Frank W. Seaver (1852-1922) and Hattie L. Hildreth (1857-1920) resided in the Hildreth home at 149 Lancaster Street. I have a wonderful picture of the Hildreth house with the family in front of it and will post it sometime soon - it's the only picture I have of Frank Seaver and Sophia (Newton) Hildreth.

4) My great-grandparents Thomas Richmond (1848-1917) and Julia White (1848-1913) probably resided in Killingly, Windham County, Connecticut. The 1910 census does not list the house address of the rented house. All of their children were out of the house by 1910. They had resided in Leominster MA in 1900 and for several years before - most of their children were married there.

5) My great-great-grandparents James Richmond (1821-1912) and Hannah Rich (1824-1911) resided at 1 Richmond Road in Putnam, Windham County, Connecticut. The household included their son John Richmond (age 44), daughter-in-law Mary Richmond (age 41), grandson Thomas H.M. (age 7) and daughter Louisa (age 57). This was a dairy farm that was obtained in the late 1860's and was worked into the 1980's by their son and grandson.

6) My great-grandparents Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946) and Abbie Ardell (Della) Smith (1862-1944) resided at 3002 Hawthorn Street in San Diego, San Diego County, CA. Son Lyle L. Carringer (my grandfather) (1911-1976), brother Harvey E. Carringer (1952-1946), and mother-in-law Abbie Smith (1844-1931) also lived in the house. This is the same house that was at 2105 30th Street in 1920 and 2115 30th Street in 1930, and the house shown here.

7) My great-great-grandmother Abigail (Vaux) Smith (1844-1931), the widow of Devier J. Smith, resided with her daughter's family at 3002 Hawthorn Street in San Diego.

8) My great-grandparents Charles Auble (1849-1916) and Georgianna Kemp (1968-1951) resided in Chicago with their daughter, my grandmother Emily Kemp Carringer (1899-1977). In the 1900 census, they resided at 515 West Adams Street, and in the 1910 census they resided at 611 North 70th Street in the 32nd Ward of Chicago. In the 1910 City Directory for Chicago, they resided at 611 West 76th Street in Chicago.

Lisa's post finished with a brief paragraph about life in 1908. I posted a longer article, obtained from an unknown email correspondent, about life in 1907 - see it here for more context. Interesting, eh?

[Note: This post originally appeared in Genea-Musings on 7 January 2008.]

Off on our Midwest Vacation

Linda and I are off on our Great Midwest Vacation trip - four states in 16 days. We're flying to Kansas City today, and visiting friends in Topeka, Kansas for several days. We'll spend one night in Springfield, Missouri with a genealogy friend and then hit Little Rock, Arkansas just in time for the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference. Then it is on to the Memphis, Tennessee area to visit friends, and we'll enjoy Branson, Missouri for several days before flying home from Kansas City.

I probably won't do any genealogy research on this trip, other than attend the FGS conference presentations in an effort to learn more about this wonderful addictive avocation. I will have my laptop chock full of my genealogy research databases and files, so if I do get a chance to go to a repository I should be able to find something useful to research.

I'm looking forward to seeing the genea-bloggers, my ProGen class colleagues, Genea-Musings readers, and many Genealogy 2.0 column (in FORUM Magazine) readers at FGS. Please stop me if you see me and say hello. I will be at the George Morgan/Drew Smith Bloggers event on Wednesday.

I anticipate having access to wireless internet, or friend's computers, throughout the trip, but reading, writing and tweeting will be light. If I have time, I may post some of my "Best of ..." articles again just to keep Blogger hopping - you may have missed some of my over 3,000 blog posts in the hopper.
I will try to post some Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenges, and keep the Best of the Genea-Blogs going, plus my Wordly Wednesday posts, but the Family Tree Builder 4 series will go on hiatus until I return home.

If you just have to read some Genea-Musings once in awhile, just go over to my blog Archive list by month and pick out a month and read. Or you could visit the website and read the work of one of the new geneabloggers listed there.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The ProGen Study Group

Are you thinking about being a "professional" genealogist - someone that takes paying clients, has a part-time or full-time business, obtains certification or accreditation, writes and/or edits genealogy journals and books, or want to improve your research skills?

One way to find out if this line of work is for you is to join a ProGen Study Group. It is an 18-month educational home-study course studying the book Professional Genealogy, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

I have enjoyed and been intellectually challenged by the study of the book, the monthly homework assignments, and the monthly hour-long chats with my peer group. The experience has improved my research capabilities and skills, and has helped me focus on my personal genealogy goals.

Amy Coffin has just written an excellent summary about the ProGen Study Groups, and how to join them, on the Geneabloggers blog in a post titled The ProGen Study Group – An Online Genealogy Education Opportunity.

There is a lot more information about the ProGen study group at the group website -

JMK Genealogy Gifts: Dating Tips for Genealogists

I love the humor of Jimmy Kavanagh on the JMK Genealogy Gifts web site, and have bought several of his products before.

His latest "fun" product is "Dating Tips for Genealogists" - you can get it on T-shirts, coffee mugs, mousemats, coasters, etc.

Great one! This may be fodder for a SNGF in the near future! Hmm, I wonder if he asked Pat and Gordon for some tips?

Thank you, Jimmy, for the morning laugh!

If you want some genealogy oriented T-shirts or other products, Jimmy's JMK Genealogy Gifts is a good place to start. I love wearing my T-shirts and getting, um, stares at them! [Hey, that's just one of them...]

Wordly Wednesday: Family Photographs - Post 69: The First Boy Friend?

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 loose pictures found in a box, probably from my grandfather's photo album, that I scanned during Scanfest in February:

This picture of my mother, Betty Virginia Carringer, was taken in about 1923 (she appears to be age 3 or 4 here) on the front steps of the Lyle and Emily (Auble) Carringer home at 2130 Fern Street in San Diego. I don't know who the little boy is.

Is this my mother's first boy friend? Perhaps. Check out the bow in Betty's hair, and the dress over a pair of pants and Mary Jane shoes (are they Mary Janes?). She has a book on her lap and may be "reading" to her little friend. Ah, the start of a teaching career! I know that I'm one of the biggest beneficiaries of her teaching career!

As I post these photos of "little Betty," I often think back to the times she and I sat out on her patio overlooking San Diego Bay and went through some loose photographs. Unfortunately, I wasn't smart enough to write down what she told me. She didn't want to answer questions - just look at the pictures and make comments, and I listened rather than wrote things down. I really need to write things down because I don't recall much of what people tell me.

I'm almost out of "little Betty" pictures, but I still have many "bigger Betty" pictures to share in the months ahead.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ancestry's "Coming Soon" Page - Post 2

Have you been watching the "Coming Soon" page at I have! I started back in late December 2008 when I first saw the page - see my post here. Soon after, I collected screen shots of that web page as a benchmark. changed the content of the "Coming Soon" page in August. I wondered which databases that were on the December page have been added to the available databases, which have not appeared yet, and which have been added in August.

Post 1 of this series listed Census Records and Vital Records sections of the "Coming Soon" page.

1) Here are some of the things I've found from the December list for Immigration Records and Military Records:

* U.S. Naturalization Records - Ancestry has put some of these records online, but it's still on the "Coming Soon" page.

* Slave Manifests Filed at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1807-1860 -- completed.

* U.S., Chinese Immigration Records, 1882-1924 -- This appears to be partially completed, but I cannot tell for sure.

* Immigrant Ship Photographs, Paintings and Drawings, 1850-1950 - not done to date. On current Coming Soon page.

* Canadian Border Entries, 1908-1935 - completed.

* Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 -- completed.

* New South Wales Naturalization Papers, 1834-1903 -- not available, not on current "Coming Soon" page.

* Records of Aliens Arriving in England, 1794-1921 -- not available, is on current "Coming Soon" page.

* U.S. Military Records, 1775 - present -- not available, not on current "Coming Soon" page.

* U.S. Civil War Records, 1861-1865 -- completed? I think so, but difficult to tell.

* U.S. Navy Cruise Books, 1900s -- completed? There are some, are there more to come?

* World War II Draft Cards, 1940-1947 -- 1942 is available, but that was before 2009. Not on current "Coming Soon" page.

* Interior and Virginia Pension and Bounty Land Appellate Decisions, 1887-1935 -- not available, is on current "Coming Soon" page.

* Bavarian Army Rosters, World War I -- not available, is on current "Coming Soon" page.

* War Graves of the British Empire -- not available, not on current "Coming Soon" page.

2) Immigration and Military Records Databases added to the August "Coming Soon" page include:

* New York State Passenger and Crew Lists, 1940s - 1970s

* Victoria, Australia Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839-1923

* Alsace-Lorraine, France, Citizenship Declarations, 1872

* Completion of the British Army Service Records, 1914-1920

* British Army Roll of Honour, 1939-1945

* Ireland, Casualties of World War I, 1914-1918

* Militia Records from Perth, Scotland

I have the same concerns expressed in Post 1 of this series!

FGS and APG PMC Conference Online Registration Deadline is 8/26

Debbie Parker Wayne sent this for publication:

Online registration ends August 26th for the 2009 FGS 2009 Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, including APG's Professional Management Conference (PMC) to be held Wednesday, September 2, 2009. Limited seating may be available to walk-in registrants.

For PMC program details and schedule, go to Registration for the APG PMC is $150 at the door for members and non-members alike. The lunch is $27.

To register for the APG PMC, or for the FGS conference, go to

For event information on Facebook, go to

The 2009 APG Professional Management Conference Program on Tuesday, September 2, includes:

* Writing Professionally—A Two Hour Workshop, by Thomas W. Jones, PhD., CG, CGL, FASG

* Solving Mysteries for Money: the Forensic Genealogist and Private Investigator, by Mary Ann Boyle, Ph.D., CG

* The Bachelor: Reconstructing a Solitary Life Using Obscure & Far-Flung Records, by Mary Penner

* Talking to the World, by Sherry Irvine, CG

* Elements of a Good Client Agreement, by Richard Camaur, JD, CG

* The Genealogy Consumer: Who Pays for Professional Research? by Natasha Crain

* Publish! And Supplement Your Income, by Desmond Walls Allen

* Bull’s-eye! Planning and Delivering a Winning Marketing Campaign, by Heather Henderson

* Get Paid For Your Passion: Becoming a Professional Genealogist, by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG

There are two tracks - the Boyle, Penner, Irvine, Camaur and Crain talks are in one track, the Jones, Allen, Henderson and Powell talks are in the second track.

Each of these lectures sound intriguing, don't they? I am not attending the PMC, but am attending the FGS Conference which has classes on this day in many tracks. It's impossible to do it all!

Family Tree Builder 4.0 - Post 11: Working with Photos

Previous posts in this series to evaluate Family Tree Builder are found in Family Tree Builder 4.0 - Summary of Posts.

In this post, we will show some of the ways to work with the photographs added in Post 10. I clicked on the "Photos" menu icon and the list of my uploaded photos appeared. There are five buttons at the top of this photo list - New, Edit, View, Slideshow and Delete:

I highlighted a photo in the list above, and clicked on the "Edit" button, and then on the "Associations" tab on the "Edit Photo" menu:

The screen above shows the list of persons associated with the photograph. If I select one of these persons on the list, I can "Mark Face" of one or more of these persons - to use as a thumbnail photo or in a facial recognition program. I'll do that later!

The "Options" tab has two check boxes - one for "This image is a scanned document" and the other is "Turn off automatic face detection in this photo":

I chose the latter. I wanted to check both of them, but when I check the "scanned photo" box it would not let me check the "Turn off..." box for some reason. This makes no sense to me!

Back to the main "Photos" screen, I clicked on the "View" button and saw the photo in the "MyHeritage Image Viewer:"

The photograph is in the center panel, and the Associated persons are on the right. The user can choose from the "First," "Back," "Next," "Last," "Zoom In," "Zoom out," "Actual Size," "Print," "Set as Wallpaper," "Photo Information," and "About" icons on the viewer menu row.

I "Xed" out of the Image Viewer, and clicked on the "Slideshow" button on the main "Photos" page:

A slideshow started up, showing each picture for about six seconds each. I saw no way to change the time setting, or to do anything else but to go back to the start, go back one photo, go forward one photo, go to the end of the filmstrip, or stop the slideshow. To exit the slideshow, I had to choose the "Photos" icon on the icon menu row:

When I did that, I saw the list of photos and for some reason there were only ten of them, and not the first two, including the one I worked on in the list above. Then I noticed that the top portion of the photos page has check boxes for "Photos," "Documents," and "Audio/Videos."

I unclicked the "Photos" box and clicked on the "Documents" box and saw the two "missing" photos:

I don't know if I caused this unintentionally, or if the program decided that when I clicked on "This image is a scanned document" that it put the image in the "Document" classification rather than the "Photo" classification. I just did a test, and that is what happened. The photos that I clicked on the "This image is a scanned document" box in the "Options" menu were put into the "Documents" classification. I went back and unclicked the "scanned document" box!

Over on the right-hand side of the "Photos" screen are check boxes for "Table" and "Thumbnails" with a slide bar for the size of the thumbnails. I did everything above using the "Table" box checked. When I clicked on the "Thumbnails" box, and slid the slidebar up a bit, I saw the thumbnails for all of the photos in my collection:

All of these options for the photographs are useful and helpful, and the menus and navigation are almost intuitive. Sometimes, the user has to go exploring to figure out how to do things.

In the next post, we'll look at some of the Reports that Family Tree Builder 4.0 can create.

Monday, August 24, 2009

No Family Reunions in my family

What is a family reunion? It's a meeting where lots of relatives get together and have some fun getting reacquainted, sharing stories and photos of the older generations, and maybe even putting a family history together, I guess. I don't really know - I haven't had the pleasure of attending one. Ever.

Why? Well, because I grew up in San Diego and have lived here all of my life. My father's parents and siblings lived in Massachusetts, before scattering to other states. My mother was an only child, and her parents were only children, so there were not any first cousins on her side and I don't recall meeting even a second cousin from my mother's side.

My father drove to California from Leominster, Massachusetts in 1940 and never went home. His mother, a sister and a niece came to visit in 1958, and then all of his siblings came to San Diego at one time or another, but they were not reunions. I visited Leominster twice in the 1960's and then took my family to New England in 1982 on vacation and we enjoyed meeting all of the cousins, but it wasn't a "reunion."

Probably the only real "reunion" was in August 1990 when my brother Scott and I traveled to Leominster for my aunt Janet and uncle Ed Seaver's 50th wedding anniversary. There was a church service, a nice party at the place in Sterling where they had their wedding reception in 1940, and a dinner that evening. Three of the four of my father's living siblings were there, and 9 of the 11 first cousins (grandchildren of Fred and Bessie (Richmond) Seaver) were there, and quite a few from the next two generations. It was a really fun time for me, and especially for my brother, Scott, who had never been there before and met many of his cousins for the first time. But it was only one short day, and then it was over. Linda and I have been back there several times over the past 19 years - 1991, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2004, and 2007, as I recall, and I've been able to do a lot of genealogy research, and sharing with my cousins, during those times.

So, I feel cheated! There were no great big surname get-togethers in my time, where everybody wore a family T-shirt and put their names on a big family tree, participated in massive watermelon feeds or scavenger hunt games on the family farm.

Why didn't my Carringer/Auble grandparents, and their parents, have more children who had children - I want more cousins! Oh well, my Carringer and Auble ancestors, in particular, were not too prolific, it seems. Plus the fact that they came west away from their families back in the east fueled the family isolation.

On the other hand, visiting and sharing with one or two families at a time produces more "quality time" for all of us. I cherish the times I've been to New England (and Florida, New Jersey, Arizona and South Carolina too!) and stayed with my aunts/uncles and cousins, and the food, laughs, stories, walks through the cemeteries, etc. And the visits to San Diego by the Seaver cousins, whether they are overnight or just sharing an evening meal, have been great.

We don't get to choose our ancestors, and we don't get to have lots of aunts, uncles and cousins sometimes. Having a large family living in one locality is a rarity these days, it seems. Our family is so spread out now that my daughters rarely see their first cousins, and my brothers and I rarely get together any more. I guess that is family life in the 21st century.'s "Coming Soon" Page

Have you been watching the "Coming Soon" page at I have! I started back in late December 2008 when I first saw the page - see my post here. Soon after, I collected screen shots of that web page as a benchmark. changed the content of the Coming Soon page in August. I wondered which databases that were on the December page have been added to the available databases, which have not appeared yet, and which have been added in August.

1) Here are some of the things I've found from the December list for Census Records and Vital Records:

* U.S. State Census Records - added the Alabama State Censuses (1820-1866), the South Dakota State Census (1885 and 1895), the Kansas State Census (1925) and the Florida State Censuses (1867-1945) (Ancestry's list). There are more to come, apparently.

* Improved U.S. Federal Censuses 1790-1930 - have "improved" the images on 1810, 1820, 1880 and 1900 by Ancestry's list. The current page says they will work on the other 1800s censuses in 2009, and on 1910 and 1920 censuses in 2010.

* U.S. Native-American Records from Southeastern States, 1850-1930. Not added yet, still on "Coming Soon" list, implied 2009.

* Complete Canadian Census - added in mid-2009. Done.

* Mexican Census - still on the "Coming Soon" list, implied 2009.

* Australia Electoral Rolls, 1901-1936 - still on "Coming Soon" list, implied 2009.

* United States Vital Records - still on "Coming Soon" list, implied 2009

* Contemporary Obituaries - still on "Coming Soon" list, implied 2009

* U.S. Deaf Marriages - not on "Coming Soon" list, cannot find it in database card catalog.

* U.S. Deaths Abroad - not on "Coming Soon" list, cannot find it in database card catalog

* London Parish and Poor Law Records - Ancestry added Poor Law Records, "Coming Soon" pages say they will add London Parish Records, implied in 2009.

* Italian Vital Records, 1800s-1900s - still on "Coming Soon" list, implied 2009

* England and Wales Birth and Marriage Indexes, 1916-1983 - says the 1837-2005 list of Birth, Marriages and Deaths is completed.

* Scandinavian Vital Records, 1600s-2008 - not on "Coming Soon" list, cannot find it in database card catalog

* Vital Records from Walloon, Belgium and Netherlands, 1500s-1905 - no claim by Ancestry, but there are records in the Database Card Catalog for some of these records.

2) Census and Vital Records Databases added to the August "Coming Soon" page include:

* New York Non-Population Schedules

* Lubeck, Germany Censuses, 1845, 1851, 1857, 1862

* U.S. Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880

* Social Security Death Index

* French Vital Records, 1600s-1900s

* Australian Cemetery Records

* Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany Church Records, 1876-1918

I have several concerns:

* What happened to the databases that were on the December list and are not on the August list? Were they dropped, or did I miss them in the Card Catalog (frankly, the search of the CC is difficult - I had to use the Title field to find things).

* has made a big deal about the Census images - that they are improving them. Are they just "enhancing" currently available images, or are they obtaining images from another source (like the FHL microfilms)? My worry is that pages that were available before will not be included in the new image set. Will NOT delete pages if they are not on the "enhanced" data set? This may be a non-issue - I'd like to hear explain what they are doing.

* Will all of the promised databases for 2009 actually come about? They've had almost 8 months in 2009 and have put up only a few of their promised "Coming Soon" databases from last December.

* They have updated a number of existing databases during 2009, and it is difficult to judge just how many images and indexed names were added.

If I have time before I go on vacation, I may do a few more comparisons for other record types.

I really do appreciate the daily added content on - you can see the Recent Genealogy Databases list here. Nearly all of the added content during 2009 has been for World Collection records (especially Canada, UK, Germany, France and Australia). That's fine ... but most of these records were not and are not on the "Coming Soon" list!

Capturing the Research Process - Post 1

One of the recent discussions on the Transitional Genealogists Forum mailing list has been about how to document the research process - whether it's for a client or for yourself so that you can pick up where you left off when you get new information. Linda Gardner of Massachusetts started the discussion with her message titled "Are research reports published?" Read the whole thread to discover all of the comments and suggestions.

She, and others, know that the articles published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, The Genealogist, and other peer-reviewed journals are a distillation of the research process, and apply the Genealogical Proof Standard to reach their conclusions.

There seem to be very few step-by-step examples of research processes on the Internet, other than the random blog entry by someone discussing their research progress (or lamenting their brick wall problem). I've tried, in the past two years, to describe my search for Russell Smith and Devier James Lanphear Smith, but the process has spread over months and it is not as comprehensive as it could be.

One resource that does provide a description of a step-by-step research process is Emily Anne Croom's book, The Sleuth Book for Genealogists, Strategies for More Successful Family History Research, published by Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, reprinted 2008. There are three chapters with a detailed description of the research process for:

* "Finding the Parent Generation: The Search for Isaac Heldreth's Parents" (pages 141-149)

* "Finding Slave Ancestors: The Search for the Family of Archie Davis Sr." (pages 150-162)

* "Finding the Parent Generation: The Search for Ann (Robertson) Croom's Parents (pages 163-202).

I read the last one again last night during the baseball game, and was enthralled by how the author worked her way through many records at a time when there were no census indexes or online databases.

The problem is very typical of the brickwall problems that I have, and all of us have, in the 1800 to 1850 time period when there are few vital records, the census records are head-of-household only until 1850, and the family is spread across several states and counties.

Another book with similar Case Studies is Marsha Hoffman Rising's The Family Tree Problem Solver, Proven methods for scaling the inevitable brick wall, published by Family Tree Books, Cincinnati, 2005.

Reading these books, and the journal articles, can help researchers learn methods to solve their brickwall research problems. But the actual nitty-gritty of sorting through repositories, online websites and databases, county courthouses and state offices is lost to all of us for those published case studies.

Do you write down every small task you perform on a simple research task? Do you carefully note which book you checked, which database you queried, which search terms you used? I have tried to do that, and I fail miserably at it - I am too impatient! But if we are to perform a "reasonably exhaustive search" in our work, how else can we be assured that we did it?

I will share some of my forms and charts in the next posts in this series, in hopes that they will help somebody else and that readers may make suggestions that can help me in my research.

How do you perform a "reasonably exhaustive search" for your ancestral families? If you have useful and helpful ideas, please blog about them yourself or share them in comments to this post or on Facebook. I will summarize ideas posted in comments and link to blog articles.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Best of the Genea-Blogs - August 16-22, 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:

* The Carnival's In Town , 16th EDITION, Smile For The Camera, 10 August 2009 by footnoteMaven on the Shades of the Departed blog. The topic of this carnival is Ancestor Bling - photos of jewelry, watches, tiaras and other pieces of fancy things. There were 29 beautiful entries!

* DNA: Zayde wasn't crazy! by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on the Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy blog. This fascinating post by Schelly describes the DNA study she has participated in that found that her family wasn't what they thought they were. Lots of history here, too.

* BYU Conference Final Keynote: David Rencher by the blogger who writes The Ancestry Insider blog. Mr. AI recovers his tweets about the David Rencher keynote at the BYU conference. Lots of great information here about FamilySearch plans!

* I Wear A Seat Belt When Doing Genealogy by Lee Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee's DNA test showed he might be from an alien culture - at least it's different from other Drews!

* What is a genealogical consultation? by Paula Stuart-Warren on the Paula's Genealgical Eclectica blog. Paula has advice about hiring a consultant, or visiting one at a conference.

* Carnival of Genealogy, 78th Edition by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog. The topic for this carnival was "Pony Pictures" - photos and stories about horse that we have known. There were 29 entries!

* Dangerous temptations in genealogical research by Geoff Rasmussen on the Legacy News blog. Geoff raises a good point about trusting online genealogy databases, and has a wonderful example from his own research. Read the comments too.

* The problem with standardized place names and Revisiting standardized geographic names by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog. James discusses this issue thoroughly, and has good advice for all of us, including the database and software providers, to follow.

* One way to do a Find-A-Grave Cemetery Visit by Russ Worthington on the My Tombstone Collection blog. Anyone planning on visiting a cemetery can be helped by Russ's post here, even if they're not taking pictures for someone else.

* Tombstone Tuesday: Union Army U.S. Colored Troops by Luckie Daniels on the Our Georgia Roots blog. Luckie learns about African-American soldiers in the Union Army in the Civil War, and body-servants too. Excellent post! Read the comments too.

* Back to the Land - Again by Carolyn L. Barkley on the blog. This includes a reprint of an article written by Bill Dollarhide titled "If Your Ancestor Owned Land, Then There's a Deed." A keeper!

* Don’t Expect the Genealogical Helper to Reemerge by Leland Meitzler on the GenealogyBlog blog. Leland shares the bad news that the Everton's assets are up for sale, and the Helper probably won't come back. A pity - great magazine.

* Family Reunions & Genealogy Games and Scavenger Hunt at Family Reunion by Lorine McGinnis Schulze on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Lorine seems to be an expert on this topic - excellent ideas and advice! Sounds like fun.

* Grandfather’s First Home in America, At Castle Garden and Lady Liberty in Passing by Steve Danko on Steve's Genealogy Blog. Steve has been traveling on the East Coast and visited some interesting places. Some of them are very familiar to me now! A nice picture of some genea-bloggers too!

*Twitter Best Practices for Genealogy Conferences--Some ideas by Janet Hovorka on The Chart Chick blog. Janet has reasonable ideas and guidelines for tweeting at conferences and presentations.

* How I Organized My Genealogy Paperwork (or How I spent my summer vacation!) by Tami Glatz on the relatively curious about genealogy blog. Tami has a different file organization system that works for her.

* A Festival of Postcards (4 Ed.) – Water by Evelyn Yvonne Theriault on the A Canadian Family blog. This carnival on the topic of "Water" has 37 entries - each of them interesting!

* Research in Talladega and Visiting the Plantation by Taneya Koonce on Taneya's Genealogy Blog. Taneya's on vacation in Alabama, and tells about her experience at the library and at one of her husband's family's slave plantations. I got chills up my spine reading this. Interesting and bittersweet.

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

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.

NOTE: I will be away from home on Sundays for the next four weeks - so Best of the Genea-Blogs may go on hiatus for awhile. I hate to do that, but we will be traveling and I probably won't have time to do it until 27 September. We'll see how the work load is on the road!

A Different Genealogy Society Model

I was exposed to a much different genealogy society "model" yesterday - one that really appeals to me in this day and genealogy age. Here is a synopsis of it (my version, may not be exactly what I experienced):

* Small number of organizers to keep things running - elect willing volunteers (?).

* Requires a core group of volunteers and attendees to ensure adequate support.

* No membership cards, no dues, just an email list of willing recipients.

* No paper publications. Send out an online newsletter and email messages.

* Someone needs to own a screen and a projector, and be willing to bring them to the meetings.

* Someone needs to coordinate the speaker schedule for monthly or bi-monthly meetings.

* Have meetings at a local restaurant with a large enough side room for the numbers and for a screen and projector table. [Assumes no extra charge for the side room, and a large enough room.]

* Choose a set-price menu, and tack on extra dollars to cover expenses if necessary.

* Someone needs to take reservations - use an online eVite system. Collect money at the door.

* Create a friendly atmosphere - go around the tables before the food comes and introduce yourself and discuss a "theme of the day" (e.g., "where did your families emigrate from?").

* Run a 50/50 raffle to pay for the speaker's lunch and honorarium and someone else is a lucky winner.

* Enjoy 3 hours of genealogy talk with friends, an interesting presentation, and a good meal.

Works for me!! There are some great ideas here for a relatively small group of people (say, less than 100, maybe even less than 50) interested in a common subject, whether it's genealogy in general, an ethnic or national group.

It was a really friendly and fun group of people interested in Italian and American genealogy that I spoke to yesterday in Encinitas. Thank you, Don and Leila, for the invitation, the meal and the friendship.

I'm not sure that they do all of the above, but they do it really well and it was most enjoyable. We had 25 in attendance. I sat at the projector table for the presentation so that I didn't block the view of the relatively small screen.