Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Remember When?

Hey there, it's Saturday Night, time for more Genealogy Fun!!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music!), is:

1) Remember when you were 12 years old? On a summer day out of school? What memory do you have of fun activities?

2) Tell us about that memory (just one - you can do more later if you want to) in a blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a comment on Facebook.

Here's mine:

Being a 12-year old in San Diego in summer time in the 1950's was just about perfect. The sky is blue, the temperature is about 75 F, the B-36 bombers are flying into Lindbergh Field, all is right with the world.

I jump on my bicycle, and pedal over to the Morley Field swimming pool in Balboa Park with my buddies (Butch, Gordon, Bob, Steve, brother Stan, Kert, probably others). It costs like 15 cents to get in. We spend the whole day having water fights, jumping off the high board, playing tag (Marco Polo was not invented then), and then laying out and getting sunburned. Girls? We don't need no girls - not yet, at least! Now, when I was 15... oops, digressed, but a nice thought!

On the way back home we stop at the drug store at the corner of 30th and Juniper Streets and buy some baseball cards with the pink (cardboard tasting) bubble gum. When we get home, we're famished and Mom has a snack ready for us - strawberries and raspberries and grapes.

I've paid a high price for the sunburns of course - I have spots on my head and face and arms that are pre-cancerous and probably a direct result of these swimming pool days and the beach days that came later in my life.

Genealogy Site Traffic Trends - the other FamilyLink Sites

Being a "numbers guy," I am interested in how genealogy information providers stack up against each other, and what the trends are over a period of time. I last looked at genealogy website traffic in January 2009 in a series of posts.

For this series, I am using the Quantcast statistics because they are easily understandable, and free. There are other websites that measure traffic, and their traffic statistics may be different from Quantcast. To simplify things, I will show only the number of Visits - not Persons, Page Views or other statistics available from Quantcast. has seven web sites identified - I discussed and yesterday. Here are the Traffic charts for the other five sites.

The first one is (a social networking site announced in July):

The second one is (a family tree site, still available, but nothing can be added):

The third one is (a family tree plus history site, still in beta, but available):

The fourth one is (a commercial photo printing site, thank you, Tamura Jones, for the lead!):

The fifth one is (the FHL catalog site plus, not launched yet, but available through Facebook):

The traffic summaries, for the last five months (taken directly from the charts), for all of the applications is:

* - monthly US People = 7.1 million, daily Visits = 508,000
* - monthly People = 123,800, daily Visits = 7,900
* - monthly People = 16,800, daily Visits = 1,200
* - monthly People = 2,300, daily Visits = 91
* - monthly People = 9,500 , daily Visits = 1,100
* - monthly People = 1,100, daily Visits = NA
* - monthly People = NA, daily Visits = NA

It looks to me that the GenealogyWise traffic is dropping quickly, the WorldHistory site has potential when it comeso ut of beta and is fully operational, WebTree is pretty much petrified, and GenSeek has significant potential if and when it launches.

WorldVitalRecords has lost traffic over the past year, and has only about 2.2% of the monthly People that has. is the mystery to me. Surely 7 million US people are NOT checking the web site to see if the tree that they put up on We're Related is up on yet. How, and why, does FamilyLink get so much traffic? Do they get a hit every time someone, that has the FamilyLink application on their Facebook page, logs on? That's the only thing I can think of to explain the traffic numbers.

Surname Saturday - SPANGLER

On Surname Saturdays, I am posting family lines from my own ancestry. I am doing this in Ahnentafel order, and am up to number #25, who is Rebecca Spangler (1832-1901). My ancestral line back to the first Rudolf Spengler is

:1. Randall J. Seaver

2. Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1983)
3. Betty V. Carringer (1919-2002)

6. Lyle L. Carringer (1891-1976)
7. Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977)

12. Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946)
13. Abbie Ardell Smith (1862-1944)

24. David Jackson Carringer (1823-1902)
25. Rebecca Spangler, born 02 April 1832 in Mercer County, PA; died 13 December 1901 in San Diego, San Diego County, CA. She married 16 October 1851 in Mercer County, PA.

50. John Daniel Spangler, born 09 October 1781 in York, York County, PA; died 19 July 1851 in Georgetown, Mercer County, PA. He married 12 March 1815 in York, York County, PA.
51. Elizabeth King, born 05 March 1796 in York, York County, PA; died 18 March 1863 in Conneautville, Crawford County, PA. She was the daughter of 102. Philip Jacob King and 103. Christina Johnston. Children of John Spangler and Elizabeth King are:
............ i. Anna Katrina/Catherine Spangler (1816-1816).
............ ii. Anna Maria/Mary Ann Spangler (1818-1869); married 1835 Joseph Carringer (1805-1869).
............ iii. Henry K. Spangler (1820-1820).
............ iv. Elizabeth Spangler (1822-1884); married Benjamin Robinson (1822-????)
............ v. Sarah Elizabeth Spangler (1824-1864); married 1843 John Montgomery Carringer (1822-1906).
............ vi. Dorothea Matilda Spangler (1827-????); married 1849 William E. McKnight (1824-????).
............ vii. Helen Spangler (1831-????); married 1850 James Brown (1828-????).
....25.... viii. Rebecca Spangler (1832-1901); married 1851 David Jackson "D.J." Carringer (1823-1902).
............ ix. Louisa Spangler (1839-1883); married Alexander Lefever Power (1832-????)
............ x. Margaret Jane Spangler (1841-1871); married 1862 George W. Kelso (1832-????).

100. Rudolf Spangler, born 08 August 1738 in Cambria County, PA; died 05 August 1811 in York, York County, PA. He married 01 January 1767 in York, York County, PA.
101. Maria Dorothea Dinkel, born 1748 in Strasbourg, Alsace, Germany; died 12 June 1835 in York, York County, PA. She was the daughter of 202. Johann Daniel Dunckel and 203. Maria Ursula Von Ernest. Children of Rudolf Spangler and Maria Dinkel are:
............ i. John Jacob Spangler (1767-1843); married (1) 1791 Susannah Hay (1768-1818); married (2) 1820 Catherine Allen Hamilton (1792-1873).
............ ii. Maria Catherine Spangler (1769-1824); married George Augusta Barnitz (1770-1844)
............ iii. Elizabeth Spangler (1773-1844); married William Nes (1761-1828).
............ iv. Margaret Spangler (1773-1852)l married 1807 Joseph Slagle.
............ v. Jesse Spangler (1775-1860); married Mary D. Heckert (1780-1867).
............ vi. Anna Maria Spangler (1779-1841); married 1797 Peter Small (????-1823).
.... 50... vii. John Daniel Spangler (1781-1851); married 1815 Elizabeth King (1796-1863).
............ viii. Mary Margaret Spangler (1783-1841); married 1804 Martin Kieffer (1781-1852).
............ ix. Peter Spangler (1786-1823); married 1812 Sarah Gardner (1787-1839)
............ x. Magdalena Spangler(1789-1842); married 1808 Charles Frederick Fisher (1783-1842).

200. Johann Balthazar/Baltzer Spengler, born 29 November 1706 in Weyler, Steinsberg, Hilsbach, Rhine; died 1765 in York, York County, PA. He married 29 April 1732 in Weyler, Steinsberg, Hilsbach, Rhine.
201. Maria Magdalena Ritter, born about 1706 in GERMANY; died about 1784 in York, York County, PA. Children of Johann Spengler and Maria Ritter are:
............ i. George Spengler (1732-1810); married Anna Maria Schultz (1835-1803)
............ ii. Juliana Spengler (1734-1770); married 1757 Johann Frantz Wilhelm Bickle (1734-1770)
............ iii. Johann Baltzer Spengler (1735-1798); married Christina Messerschmidt (1741-1821)
...100... iv. Rudolf Spangler (1738-1811); married 1767 Maria Dorothea Dinkel (1748-1835).
............ v. Michael Spengler (1738-1793); married Margaret Dinkel (1760-1822).
............ vi. Elizabeth Spengler (1740-1825); married 1764 Francis Koontz (1740-1804).
............ vii. Daniel Spengler (1742-1783); married 1765 Mary Elizabeth Leightner.
............ viii. John Spengler (1747-1796); married 1777 Margaret Beard (1753-1846)

400. Hans Rudolf Spengler, born About 1657 in Schoftland, Canton Berne Aargau, SWITZERLAND; died Aft. 1712 in Weyler, Hilsbach, Rhine. He married 02 November 1690 in Heidelberg, Baden.
401. Marie Saeger, born before 1670 in Duehrin, near Sinsheim. She was the daughter of 802. Hans Saeger. Children of Hans Spengler and Marie Saeger are:
............ i. Anna Maria Spengler (1693-????)
............ ii. Rudolph Spengler (1696-????)
............ iii. Jacob Spengler (1698-????)
............ iv. Hans George Spengler (1701-1744)
............ v. Johannes Henry Spengler (1703-????)
............ vi. Jorg Heinrich Spengler (1704-????)
...200.. vii. Johann Balthazar/Baltzer Spengler (1706-1765); married 1732 Maria Magdalena Ritter (1706-1784)
............ viii. Anna Elizabeth Spengler (1709-????)
............ ix. Peter Spengler (1712-????); married Margaret

Almost all of this information is from the Spangler/Spengler family history book. If there are any Spangler cousins reading this with more information, I would appreciate hearing from you via email at

Friday, January 15, 2010

Genealogy Site Traffic Trends - and

Being a "numbers guy," I am interested in how genealogy information providers stack up against each other, and what the trends are over a period of time. I last looked at genealogy website traffic in January 2009 in a series of posts.

For this series, I am using the Quantcast statistics because they are easily understandable, and free. There are other websites that measure traffic, and their traffic statistics may be different from Quantcast. To simplify things, I will show only the number of Visits - not Persons, Page Views or other statistics available from Quantcast.

The first of today's websites is the "social network" site owned by There are no genealogy databases at this site, only a family tree site that does not permit GEDCOM uploads at this time. In early December, the We're Related application on Facebook, a family tree site without GEDCOM uploads, was changed so that users went directly to claimed to have millions of hits each month on We're Related. Here is the measured traffic, both US and worldwide, for the period 01/05/2009 to 01/02/2010:

As you can see, started being measured in September 2009. The average measured traffic over the past five months, for People, is 7.1 million US, and 10.2 million globally. The daily US Visits averaged about 150,000 between October and November, but averaged 500,000 in December. Usually, the People value is significantly less than the number of Visitors during a month, since many people visit more than once. That's not the case for - for the US the total number of Visits is about 4.5 million per month, while the number of People is 7.1 million. I don't know why this happens, maybe a person can explain it.

The second chart for is the sub-domain traffic:

All of the sub-domains listed are less than 1%. The main domain isn't listed like for other websites. Where is all of the traffic coming from?

The charts above say that the Network has seven properties, and that over the last five months those properties have averaged 10.1 million US People and 14.6 million Global People each month. Those numbers are significantly higher than The information for the network says that 74% of the People have come directly to the web sites, and 38% have come from Syndicators (which I think means sites like Facebook). I don't know why those numbers don't add up to 100%!

One of the seven properties is, which is a genealogy subscription database website. Here is the measured traffic chart for WorldVitalRecords over the past three years:

The average monthly US People for WorldVitalRecords is 123,800, and the average monthly Global People is 157,400, over the past five months. The average number of daily Visits are about 15,000 before August 2009 and about 10,000 after the large August spike. The large spike in traffic in August reflects the free access to WorldVitalRecords just before the NGS Conference. Average daily Visits before 2009 are somewhat higher - about 24,000 in 2008.

The WorldVitalRecords sub-domain statistics are in this chart:

There are four pages of the sub-domains in alphabetical order. Only the Blog sub-domain is over 1%. Presumably, most of the traffic goes directly to the web site, which is no surprise.

I am really confused by the traffic statistics. On the one hand, they look really good - ranked 140 in the US for the period measured - better than But where are those People going and what are they doing? Perhaps checking their family tree?

The screens above say that there are seven sites in the Network - I can think of:

* (family tree without GEDCOM upload capability),
* (genealogy databases),
* (family tree with GEDCOM upload, but not adding new content),
* (available, but in beta),
* (not formally launched yet, available only through Facebook application)
* (social networking discussion, blog, chat and group platform)

What's the seventh? I'm guessing it is the We're Related application, but that is no longer available on Facebook and other social networks. 'Tis a mystery! Any ideas, anyone?

1950 Census Substitutes on

NOTE: See my update at the bottom of the post! Ancestry has fixed this now. The correct link for the 1950 Census Substitute collection is here.

I received an email yesterday from announcing the "1950 Census Substitute" which is probably a collection of City Directories from the 1950s. The email had a nice picture and a link to "Search now":

Being the enthusiast and Genea-geek that I am, I eagerly clicked the link which took me to the 1950 Census Substitute page on Ancestry:

I put "seaver" in the Last Name field and clicked the orange "Search" at the bottom of the Search field (why can't the orange "Search" button be put at the top of the Search box? It would save some time):

Ah, there are over 51,000 Seaver persons in the City Directories collection. I clicked the link to see which ones from the 1950s there are:

What's this? It starts with Foxboro MA 18890 (probably a typo, eh? Maybe 1889-1890?), and then lists matches from the early 1800s. I stopped there, not wanting to go through 520 screens
to find the ones I want from the 1950s. I could add a state to the Search (I used "california" and the link is to 455 entries in the City Directories collection for California, starting in 1879. The URL says "1890census" not "1950census." Looks like has a wrong link in the system for the 1950 Census Substitute.

There is a link on the email for the 1940 Census Substitute, and it links to the 1940 Census Substitute webpage. When I input "seaver" in the search field, I got a list of City Directories that takes me to City Directories from the 1930s and 1940s:

The 1940 Census Substitute search fields and pages work pretty well. The 1950 Census Substitute page doesn't, at least not yet.

These City Directories can be very useful as census substitutes. A researcher can find name, spouse's name, addresses, occupation and employer for heads of household and adult children that have their own listing.

UPDATE 1:45 p.m.: After I found this wrong link yesterday, I emailed with the problem. I received an email from Laura Dansbury of this afternoon that said the email had an incorrect link in it, and offered another link to fix the problem. The revised link is here, and it works! Thanks, Laura.

Ancestry Magazine Discontinues Publication

The excellent Ancestry Magazine will discontinue publication. The post Ancestry Magazine Discontinues Publication on the Ancestry Magazine website/blog describes the situation and reasons for this decision.

For subscribers, the post says:

"The March/April 2010 issue will be the final issue of Ancestry magazine. Subscribers to Ancestry magazine with current magazine subscriptions that will not be completed by the mailing of the March/April 2010 magazine will receive prorated refunds."

This brings the "body count" of genealogy magazines in this digital age to three:

* Digital Genealogist (an online only magazine) ceased publication in 2009.

* Everton's Genealogical Helper went out of business in early 2009

* Ancestry Magazine

In addition, the FGS FORUM Magazine went from a print format to a digital format in 2009.

Megan's new book - Who Do You Think You Are?

Along with the debut of the Who Do You Think You Are? television show in early March, there is also a comp[anion book titled: Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History. It was written by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak.

The book summary says:

"There is no such thing as an ordinary family. Each one has its own stories: the black sheep, the Civil War hero, the ancestors who fled to the United States, or the lost family fortune. No matter how plain you think your background is, chances are there is a saga just waiting to be discovered.

"The ground-breaking NBC series Who Do You Think You Are? takes seven of America's best-loved celebrities-from Lisa Kudrow to Susan Sarandon-on an emotional journey to trace their family history and discover who they really are. The revelations are sometimes shocking, sometimes heartbreaking, and always fascinating.

"With the Who Do You Think You Are? companion guide, you will learn how to chart your own journey into your past and discover the treasures hidden in your family tree. Featuring step-by-step instructions from one of America's top genealogical researchers, Who Do You Think You Are? covers everything a beginner needs to know to start digging into their roots, including:

"* Full-color profiles of the celebrities' surprising revelations
* Starting the search-it's as easy as pulling out the old family photos
* Census information-where to find it and how to use it
* What birth, death, and marriage certificates have to tell us
* How to track down immigration and military documents
* The latest breakthroughs in DNA testing
* The best online resources to conduct your searches, and store your newfound discoveries to share with family and save for future generations

"It has never been easier to bring your family history to life. You will be amazed at how much there is to discover!"

This looks like an excellent "starter" book for beginning genealogists. Genealogy societies should consider "stocking up" on this book if the expected "tide" of new genealogists rises after the TV Show airs.

Follow Friday -- TransylvanianDutch

It's Follow Friday, and today I want to highlight the TransylvanianDutch blog written by John Newmark, who lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Here is his current blog page:

John's blog is a mixture of his personal family history, issue commentary, web site use and analysis, and his own interests, which includes music and poetry.

What does the blog name mean? You'll have to read John's description in his post Belated Explanation of Blog Title.

John has his own theme going - Amanuensis Monday, meaning transcribing genealogy and family history documents.

John also writes a Weekly Genealogy Picks post that highlights blog posts and other genealogy items, which I greatly appreciate because he finds items that I haven't read.

If you're not reading TransylvanianDutch, I highly recommend that you add it to your Favorites, Bookmarks, Bloglines or Google Reader list.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

WDYTYA may actually air! - mark March 5 on your calendar

I had my head down all afternoon working on my database - adding sources, editing notes, checking names, dates and places, and so I missed the announcement that Who Do You Think You Are? - the Television show produced by Lisa Kudrow, will start airing on Friday night, 5 March from 8 to 9 p.m. EST (7 CST, 8 MST, 8 PST), and will run for eight weeks in that time slot.

The announcement says:

"Among the celebrities featured are Matthew Broderick, Lisa Kudrow, Spike Lee, Sarah Jessica Parker, Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields and Emmitt Smith. is NBC's official partner on the series."

This show has been on-again, off-again several times after the initial announcement about one year ago. Some of us were wondering if it was "vapor video."

When the first announcement was made, there was speculation by myself and other genea-bloggers that after this show starts there would be a "run" on genealogy societies and libraries by people asking for classes and help on doing their genealogy research and family history.

I think that it is likely to happen, and that genealogy societies and libraries should be ready to help and educate those folks newly inspired by the celebrity ancestral stories. That's one reason why I accepted the challenge last spring to teach an eight-hour, four-session "Beginning Computer Genealogy" class at the San Diego OASIS center (a senior education center) and have taught three classes to date, with another in February and then in June. Along with the class, OASIS offers their speakers to the public libraries for a 90-minute presentation, which I've done twice now at San Diego libraries. I see a major marketing opportunity here!

I'm ready! Bring them on... you're either for genealogy, or... um, got carried away there, sorry. Time for my meds... er, nap, I guess!

Unfortunately, I'm going to miss at least three of these shows because we are going on an extended vacation to the South Pacific in mid-March. Hopefully, there will be online access and reruns.

Thank you to Anastasia Tyler for forwarding the NBC press release this afternoon.

Genealogy Site Traffic Trends -

Being a "numbers guy," I am interested in how genealogy information providers stack up against each other, and what the trends are over a period of time. I last looked at genealogy website traffic in January 2009 in a series of posts.

For this series, I am using the Quantcast statistics because they are easily understandable, and free. There are other websites that measure traffic, and their traffic statistics may be different from Quantcast. To simplify things, I will show only the number of Visits - not Persons, Page Views or other statistics available from Quantcast.

Today's website is the commercial genealogy database web site that specializes in National Archives records. Here is the daily traffic estimate for the period 12/06/2008 to 11/30/09:'s Traffic Rank in the USA is 4,443.

The average monthly number of U.S. People visiting over the past five months was 392,000 people (which is about 7% of's visits). The graph above shows an average number of Daily U.S. Visits to be about 24,000 over the last five months. Note that this data does not include persons visiting from other countries.

Quantcast has statistics for about three years - here is the chart for since 02/05/2007: started in January 2007, so you can see the surge in activity after the startup. There were announcements of major collections, which account for some of the large surges in visits, especially in 2008. Average traffic in 2009 was about 28,000 visits per month, and was somewhat lower than the average visits for 2008, which appears to be about 32,000 per day (I'm estimating from the graph).

The sub-domain traffic share is in the graph below for the last five months:

The sub-domain traffic shares in People are:

* - 100%
* - 69.1%
* - 26.5%
* - 1.1% (is this the Facebook application?)
* - <1%

The Genea-Musings post with traffic data for in 2008 is here.

What genealogy website do you want to know about next?

Treasure Chest Thursday - Lyle's Marine Muster Roll

It is Treasure Chest Thursday - time for show-and-tell of items found in private papers or online about your ancestral families.

My grandfather, Lyle L. Carringer (1891-1976) joined the United States Marines Corps Reserve on 7 May 1917, and served for two years on active Reserve duty and two years on inactive Reserve duty.

I found these Marines Muster Rolls online in the U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls, 1798-1940 collection on This one is dated May 1919, and it transfers Private Lyle L. Carringer from Active to Inactive duty:

The entry for Lyle says:

* Enlisted: 7 May 1917
* Remarks: 1-28: SD P.X. Clerk. 29 trans to inactive status as Pvt (Prov) MCR cl 4 district #16 Los Angeles Cal. Auth. MGC #66680-150EE , 2-12-19. [note: some of the letters are difficult to decipher]

Here is the entry for May 1921, which shows that Private Lyle L. Carringer enrollment in the Marine Corps Reserves has expired:

The entry for Lyle says:

* Enlisted: 7 May 17
* Remarks: 6 May 21: "Expiration of Enrollment" Character "Excellent"

There are 24 entries for Lyle L. Carringer in the U.S. Marine Corps Muster Rolls, 1798-1940 collection on They range from his enlistment to his transfer to inactive duty on a monthly basis until 1919, and then his expiration of enrollment in 1921. They are the only record I have of his service, which was spent as a salesman at the PX on the Marine base in Balboa Park in San Diego.

While these were not found in a physical "Treasure Chest," I thought that they were a "treasure" found during my family history research. They are important factors in the life of my grandfather, all 5 foot 6 and 123 pounds of him! One of my favorite ancestors, too!

Are there records for your ancestors lurking in (or other online sites) databases that shed some light on an event or time period in their lives?

New "Digging for Answers" Column available

The latest "Digging for Answers" column in the Online Graveyard Rabbit Journal is titled Symbols & Words, What Do They Mean? by yours truly. Check it out - how to figure out what the symbols and words on gravestones mean.

The latest articles in the Online Graveyard Rabbit Journal include:

* Digging for Answers – January 14, 2010 - Symbols & Words, What Do They Mean? by Randy Seaver

* Photo Monument – December 31, 2009 - A Deeper Meaning, by Julie Cahill Tarr

* Tech T.I.P. – December 17, 2009 - Cemetery Inventories and Find A Grave, by Denise Olson

* The History Hare - December 10, 2009 - “Secure the shadow ere the substance fade.”
by footnoteMaven

* Graveyard Guru – December 3, 2009 - The Death Wail, by Stephanie Lincecum

If you have a question about cemeteries and graveyards, please email Julie Tarr ( and she will pass it on to me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gena's back at CGSSD Meeting on Saturday, 16 January

Hey San Diego area genealogists - the next meeting of the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) is Saturday, January 16, 2010.

User groups for Family Tree Maker and Macintosh, and a Special Interest Group on New Genealogy Websites begin at 9:00.

After a break and refreshments at 10:00, Gena Philibert Ortega presents the main program, “Use of Social Networking in Genealogical Research.”

Gena will discuss the increasing role genealogical networking sites play in today's world and will cover some of the more popular websites including FamilyLink, for which she is the Genealogy Community Director. In this position she works as the newsletter editor for WorldVitalRecords and manages GenealogyWise.

She holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (Psychology and Women’s Studies) and a Master’s degree in Religion. Presenting on various subjects involving genealogy, Gena has spoken to groups throughout California and in Utah as well as virtually to audiences in the United States and Europe. She is the author of over 100 articles published through the newsletters GenWeekly, WorldVitalRecords and GenealogyWise. Her writings can also be found on her blog, Gena’s Genealogy.

She is also the author of two books, Putting the Pieces Together and The Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra (Arcadia Publishing, 2007). Gena serves as Vice-President for the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She is also a Regional Director for the California State Genealogical Alliance.

An energetic and knowledgeable speaker, her GOOGLE presentation to CGSSD was one of the most popular in 2009!

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

Thank you to Linda Hervig for doing such a good job sending out these announcements. I look forward to hearing Gena talk on Social Networks - I hope I can learn to use them as well as she does!

SDGS Saturday Seminar - Post 3: The Afternoon Delights

I summarized Jean Wilcox Hibben's first presentation "Clue to Clue..." at the San Diego Genealogical Society seminar on Saturday, 9 January in SDGS Saturday Seminar - Post 1: "Our Sainted Mother" and Post 2: "Back Door" Deliveries.

The afternoon activities were threefold:

1) Lunch. After observing the two excellent morning case studies that provided much food for thought, we adjourned to a dining room for the luncheon and SDGS business meeting. There was a choice of cashew chicken, mushroom ravioli or a veggie platter. The tables buzzed with talk of ancestors and localities, and Jean’s presentations.

SDGS President Marna Clemons presided over a short business meeting in which she thanked the outgoing board members, welcomed the incoming board members, and presented the President’s Recognition Award to Peter Steelquist for his work with SDGS as President, Newsletter Editor, tax preparer and Queries Manager.

2) We moved back down to the presentation room, ready for more. Jean’s third presentation was “Communicating in Your Ancestors’ Homeland: Understanding Others Cultures can Make or Break Your Research.” Jean defined the terms “Culture,” Intercultural Communication,” “Ethnocentrism,” “Mores,” “Norms,” and “Rules,” and opened the floor for discussion of “Stumbling Blocks in Intercultural Communication.” Those "stumbling blocks" were identified as:

* Assuming similarity instead of differences
* Language differences
* Nonverbal misinterpretations
* Preconceptions and stereotypes
* Tendency to evaluate
* High anxiety

The audience had many examples of ways people react in intercultural situations here in the USA and in other countries. Jean’s points were “What was it like for our ancestors coming to the New World?” and “What was it like for the residents already in the communities they settled in?”

3) After a break, “Appalachian Ancestors: Their Lives, Legends and Lyrics” was part-lecture, part performance as Jean offered Appalachian history lessons throughout history from colonial times to recent times. After each brief lesson, she played an instrument and sang a song representative of the era, accompanied by her husband, Butch, on folk instruments like spoons and a saw.

There were 18 songs on the list, including “Skip to My Lou,” “John Henry,” “Careless Love,” “Tom Dula,” “Shenandoah,” “Will the Circle Be Broken,” and she finished with “Amazing Grace.” Jean’s instruments included banjo, guitar, dulcimer, autoharp, and a limberjack. The audience sang along on several of the more well-known songs, and marveled at the knowledge and skill displayed.

Jean received a well-deserved standing ovation after this last performance.

Summary --

There were drawings after each session for prizes donated by a number of social history and tourist organizations. Vickie Fermil won the grand prize of a seven-day free stay at the Salt Lake City Plaza Hotel, right next to the Family History Library.

All in all, it was a fun and educational day, with some entertainment too. The attendees certainly enjoyed all four presentations and learned some useful research techniques and methods through the Case Study examples. SDGS puts on a wonderful seminar every year.

On a personal note, I even got to see my mother's childhood and lifelong friend, Edwina, whom I haven't seen for several years. We talked a bit, and it was great to see her again. She offered me some photograph copies from her mother's childhood and her own childhood that show my mother and my grandmother. I hope to meet with her, and her son, in the near future.

Genealogy Site Traffic Trends -

Being a "numbers guy," I am interested in how genealogy information providers stack up against each other, and what the trends are over a period of time. I last looked at genealogy website traffic in January 2009 in a series of posts.

For this series, I am using the Quantcast statistics because they are easily understandable, and free. There are other websites that measure traffic, and their traffic statistics may be different from Quantcast. To simplify things, I will show only the number of Visits - not Persons, Page Views or other statistics available from Quantcast.

Today's website is the LDS church genealogy database and information site. Here is the daily traffic estimate for the period 12/06/2008 to 11/30/09:

The average monthly number of U.S. People visiting over the past five months was 985,000 people (note that it is about 18% of's visits). The graph above shows an average number of Daily U.S. Visits to be about 340,000 over the last five months. Note that this data does not include persons visiting from other countries.

Quantcast has statistics for about three years - here is the chart for since 02/05/2007:

This chart shows a fairly steady progression upward year-by-year for FamilySearch - the average number of Daily U.S. Visits was about 200,000 for 2007, about 300,000 for 2008, and about 340,000 for 2009.. These increases may reflect the rollout of New FamilySearch and the gradual populating of the Pilot Record Search databases. I'm interested in the variability of the data month-by-month - the dip late in each year is somewhat logical - Christmas comes and people are busy doing family things. Why is there the dip in spring and early summer? Perhaps it is spring coming, and vacations?

One of the more interesting charts that Quantcast provides is the traffic to specific Sub-domains:

The top sub-domains for over the past five months are:

* - 100%
* - 21.0%
* - 13.5%
* - 7.5%
* - 5.3%
* - 5.0%
* - 4.7%
* - 4.1%

Unfortunately, there are not separate sub-domains for the legacy LDS databases (Ancestral File, IGI, Pedigree Resource File, etc) or for the Family History Library. One calculation you can make is that there were about 71,000 visits per day to New FamilySearch each day, about 62,000 visits per day to the Pilot FamilySearch Record Search databases (adding the Pilot and Search.Labs numbers) each day, about 25,000 visits per day to the FamilySearch Wiki, and about 14,000 visits per day to FamilySearch Indexing.

The Genea-Musings post with traffic data for in 2008 is here. Last year, Quantcast had traffic data for the separate site, Now, that link goes directly to the site and is not measured by Quantcast. That may explain some of the increase in traffic.

What genealogy website do you want to know about next? Membership Special is celebrating their 3rd anniversary - and in celebration of this event, Footnote is offering an Annual Membership for only $39.95 (that's 50% off the regular price!) to the first 1,000 people who respond to this offer. The URL for the Footnote Membership sign-up is This offer probably applies only to new memberships.

The site currently shows $39.95 as the annual membership rate, which reflects the 50% price reduction. Presumably the price on the website will be $79.95 when the 1,000 people have signed up.

The email with this announcement also provided some interesting statistics about
"In 3 years has:

* Increased from 5 million historical documents to over 62 million documents
* Created unique partnerships with The National Archives and other institutions
* Nearly 1 million registered Footnote Members

Click here to see what we've added recently."

The link above leads to - which lists the new and updated databases for January 2010, plus a column for New Titles Coming Soon. The site claims that they are adding 1 million images per month to existing collections. That is a useful link!

Disclosure: I am not an employee or contractor for, and was not paid to write this post. I am a pretty satisfied member and paid for my annual membership.

UPDATED 9:30 a.m.: Just checked the link to the discount membership and it now says $79.95, so I guess they got their 1,000 new memberships. Sorry I was so late with this - but I haven't seen it on any other blog yet, which is why I posted it. The "Coming Soon" link is useful though!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Genealogy Media Day" at

For the second year, invited a number of "genealogy media" persons to come to Utah in early January to tour their facility, meet with their executives, and talk openly about issues. The tour and discussions at took place on Friday, 8 January and there were hosted dinners on 8 and 9 January.

This year, the nine "genealogy media" persons (thank you, Diane, for the description) in attendance, and their blog posts to date (and I will update this post when necessary), included (listed in no particular order):

1) Kimberly Powell, who writes Kimberly's Genealogy Blog on the About: Genealogy site has posted:

*** Insights from's Blogger Day 2010 on 11 January 2010
***'s "New" New Search on 12 January 2010

2) Pat Richley, who writes the DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog (and who I know is presently up to her neck in SLIG support work):

*** Bloggers' Day 2010 on 8 January 2010
*** Census: 1790-1840 every field index on 8 January 2010

3) Diane Haddad of Family Tree Magazine, who writes The Genealogy Insider blog:

*** "New" New Search Coming to on 11 January 2010
*** Inside an Remote Scanning Facility on 12 January 2010
*** Records Coming Soon to a Large Genealogy Website Near You on 14 January 2010

4) Leland Meitzler of Family Roots Publishing, who writes the GenealogyBlog:

*** Blogger’s Day 2010 at on 9 January 2010 (with a group picture)

5) Dick Eastman, who writes Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter:


6) The writer of The Ancestry Insider blog:

*** 2nd Annual Bloggers Day (with a group picture) on 9 January 2010
*** Bloggers Day Banquet on 12 January 2010
*** Bloggers Day: Andrew Wait on 18 January 2010
*** Bloggers Day: The Data Center on 19 January 2010
*** Bloggers Day: Data Center Tour (Part 2) on 21 January 2010
*** Bloggers Day: DPS on 25 January 2010
*** Bloggers Day: DPS (Part 2) on 26 January 2010
*** Bloggers Day: DPS Tour on 28 January 2010
*** Bloggers Day: Technology on 1 February 2010
*** Bloggers Day: Technology (Part 2) on 2 February 2010
*** Bloggers Day: Lunch with Tim Sullivan on 4 February 2010
*** Bloggers Day: Content on 9 February 2010

7) Craig Manson, who writes the Geneablogie blog:

*** The Changed Face(s) of on 10 January 2010

8) Thomas MacEntee, who writes the Destination:Austin Family blog and Geneabloggers blog:

*** Disclaimer: on 11 January 2010
*** Bloggers Day - Part 1 on 12 January 2010
*** Meeting A Genealogy Celebrity on 14 January 2010

9) Lisa Louise Cooke, who writes the Genealogy Gems Podcast blog:

*** Behind the Scenes at - Your Questions, Their Answers on 10 January 2010

I'm sure that there will be more articles forthcoming from this august crew of hearty and hardy genealogy bloggers, er, media types.

There was also a group of subscribers and Family Tree Maker users who were invited for separate meetings with the team. There are blog posts from the individuals from that group:

10) Russ Worthington, who writes the Family Tree Maker User blog:

*** Visit to Today on 9 January 2010

Read all of the blog posts listed above to learn about the important issues and "news" items learned by the participants. The discussions of the "New" New Search process, the "coming soon" databases, and the Saturday night banquet were of particular interest to me.

After last year's media day, it was apparent to me that was trying to listen to and interact with their customers more. Of course, they were trying to influence the media day attendees also.

UPDATED: 14 January 2010 to add Diane's third post.
UPDATED: 19 January to add MacEntee's third post and Ancestry Insider's third and fourth posts.
UPDATED: 27 January to add The Ancestry Insider's 5th, 6th and 7th posts. More to come, I hope.
UPDATED: 2 February to add The Ancestry Insiders 8th, 9th and 10th posts. He still has more to come. The other bloggers? Out of sight, out of mind?

Genealogy Site Traffic Trends -

Being a "numbers guy," I am interested in how genealogy information providers stack up against each other, and what the trends are over a period of time. I last looked at genealogy website traffic in January 2009 in a series of posts.

For this series, I am going to use the Quantcast statistics because they are easily understandable, and free. There are other websites that measure traffic, and their traffic statistics may be different from Quantcast. To simplify things, I will show only the number of Visits - not Page Views or other statistics available from Quantcast.

The first website for this analysis is Here is the daily traffic estimate for the period 12/06/2008 to 11/30/09:

The average monthly number of U.S. People visiting over the past five months was 5.5 million people. The graph above shows an average number of Daily U.S. Visits to be about 1.9 million over the last five months. Note that this data does not include persons visiting from other countries.

Quantcast has statistics for about three years - here is the chart for since 02/05/2007:

The average number of Daily U.S. Visits was about 1.0 million for 2007, about 1.5 million after April 2008, and 1.9 million for 2009. We recall that brought into the domain in April 2008, which accounts for the increase in April 2008. What happened in January 2009 to cause the significant jump in traffic?

One of the more interesting information that Quantcast provides is the traffic to specific Sub-domains. For, the list is more than two screens (two screens shown below):

The top sub-domains here are:

There are two sub-domains for the WorldConnect database on - the has 7.0% and the has 3.2%, or about 10% of the total traffic. The Ancestry World Tree sub-domain on has only 1.7% of the Visits.

I was amazed that about 44% of all visits to the domain were for the FREE Rootsweb sub-domains. While the Message Boards are now in the domain, they used to be in the domain, so over 50% of the visits are to sub-domains that used to be in the domain.

The January 2009 posts for The Generations Network/ were here and here.

I will try to post one of these summaries each day for another company, along with any pithy analysis I can come up with.

SDGS Saturday Seminar - Post 2: "Back Door" Deliveries

I summarized Jean Wilcox Hibben's first presentation "Clue to Clue..." at the San Diego Genealogical Society seminar on Saturday, 9 January in SDGS Saturday Seminar - Post 1: "Our Sainted Mother."

Jean's second talk was "Deliveries in the Rear! Getting Family History Information Through the Back Door." The emphasis in this presentation was finding alternative sources of information when the "conventional sources" (e.g., census, military, vital) don't answer the research questions that a researcher has. In these cases, experienced researchers identify the potential relatives (siblings, in-laws, uncles/aunts, cousins), family associates (neighbors, employers, witnesses, minister), and the historical events in the time and place that they lived (wars, migrations, events, disasters). Many researchers call this :Cluster Genealogy" when the researcher gathers records of a group of people and sifts through it to find ancestral information. It usually works, but is time consuming and challenging, especially since many records are not in
online databases.

In this talk, Jean detailed her searches for answers to questions like:

* Where did John Adam Hollander learn his trade? Turns out his brother-in-law was a barber.

* When did John Adam Hollander come to Milwaukee, Wisconsin? It was before 1862, as found in an affidavit in his brother-in-law's Civil War Pension record.

* What was the name of his business? It was the "Hollanders Human Hair Emporium" - she found newspaper articles, and then a notice on eBay for the business.

* What was place of birth, names of parents and siblings of Maria Theresa (Knoetgen) Trapschuh? Jean found family letters and photographs with names and dates, and the immigration record and passport with her birthplace.

* Did Nathan Wilcox have siblings? Jean knew about Calvin, but then found Luther through wills and deeds in county records (on FHL microfilms). An obituary card at a library had name of a descendant of Luther's, who was putting flowers on his grave - a new cousin! A local history told of Luther's parentage, and named his brother Nathan.

* Why was Nathan Wilcox in Tennessee after the Civil War? Well, he was an architect and builder, and period newspapers mentioned him in rebuilding efforts. The 1890 Veterans census identified where he was then.

* When and where did Fritz Mueller die? Jean found his Civil War Pension file, which listed his first wife's name, death date, and oldest child's name. The death place led to a record in a soldier's home in New York.

* Who was Gertrude (Wolbert) Mueller's mother? An 1880 census record for Gertrude (Wolbert) and Fritz Mueller in New York City showed Philipp and Elizabeth Wolbert in the same apartment building. Elizabeth was Gertrude's mother, but Philipp was her second husband. This connection led to many more records in Germany which defined the family.

You can see how the "delivery" of information through the rear - the "back door" if you will, can lead to solving many research problems.

Every research problem is different, and the records easily used for one problem may be useless for the next problem. Knowing what records to search for, and where to find them, is the path to solving the problem.

This presentation was inspirational in that it provided examples of problem solutions by searching for the relatives, associates and events in the locations of the "problem ancestors."

Note that this was not a talk with "linear problem resolutions" like the first presentation, so I may have some details mixed up here. My notes are not the best, sometimes!

Full disclosure: I am a card-carrying member of the Jean Wilcox Hibben fan club - because she is a really wonderful person and an excellent researcher and presenter. Doing these types of presentations are not easy, I know that from my own experience. The neat thing is that when you do present your research problems, your audience "rides along" with you and feels a closeness because of similar experiences. When you share, you may find other researchers with the same families or the same localities, and are able to help each other. The same principle applies to genealogy blogging and message boards - if you share your problem, you may get help having it solved, and meet new cousins in the process.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Using's City Directory Collection has updated their City Directories collection. It is difficult to figure out just which cities and which years were added in this latest update - perhaps they will tell us in a blog post or press release.

I wondered if the relatively new "Browse" function would work in this collection, and I wondered what directories, if any, were added for San Diego City and County. I went to the City Directories collection page, and saw:

Yes, they do have the "Browse" function operational for this collection. I selected "California" as the state in the screen above and selected "San Diego" from the city list in the screen below:

For "San Diego," the "Choose..." box showed city directories available for 1897-1901, 1936, 1937, 1938, 19040, 1942, 1943, 1944-1945 and 1947-1948, 1947-1948, 1959 and 1975. I don't recall seeing 1959 on that list previously, so I selected it from the list:

The screen then showed the link for "San Diego, California, 1959" below the browse choices:

When I clicked on that link, the first page (of 2,194 pages) opened for my perusal:

I could then "browse" one page at a time through this collection, or I could input an image number (not a page number of the directory!) to advance in the book until I found the surname or street I want to find. There didn't appear to be a way to "search" in this "browse" mode - if there is, I would love to know how to do it!

There is another way to find your people in these directories, and that is to do a Search using the Search fields on the City Directories collection page. Here, I input "Seaver" in the last name field, "California" in the State field and "San Diego" in the City field:

If I wanted to narrow the search to only one year, or a range of years, I could have entered a year in the Year field, and added a range of years. I didn't do that for this search, but that is how a researcher would narrow a search to a specific year if they desired.

I clicked on the orange "Search" button and saw the list of matches for all of the San Diego City Directories in the collection:

There were ten matches for "Seaver" from the 1959 Directory, and I finally found the right link for the alphabetical listing (on page 904 of the Directory, but image 1144 of the digitized pages):

There are three Seaver families in the Alphabetical portion of this Directory, including my parents Seaver, Fredk W. (Betty C.) a dist[rict] ag[en]t [for] Prudential Ins[urance] h[ome at] 2119 30th [St.].

Another one of the links took me to the Street Address portion of the Directory with my father's name and phone number:

Here I can see the telephone number that my family had - it was AT 1-4182 (it was the same backwards and forwards!). I can also see the neighbors on both sides of 30th Street. To see neighbors on Fern Street or another street, I have to go back to search for them or put image numbers in the search box to find them.

There is another set of pages - by phone number for San Diego - in this particular book, so there are matches in the Search Results list for these pages also.

The "Browse" function on works well for this collection - but you do have to do the browsing yourself using image numbers if you choose that option.

If you want to search a specific City Directory, then you can use the Search fields, enter the Surname, the State, the City, and the Year. The problem with this search method is if you have a common name (e.g., Smith), then you will get links for ALL of the Smith entries, including the street address pages and phone number pages. As an example - there were 1,242 matches for Smith in 1959 in San Diego - that's way too many to search one by one for the Alphabetical pages - it would be easier to browse for the alphabetical Smith pages, then browse for specific addresses. The alphabetical Smith pages are not necessarily at the top of thel ist, since the name "Smith" is also in business names or street names in the Alphabetical list.

This indexed search finds every name in the directory, unlike which finds only one name per page and makes you browse through the specific directory.

But has only selected City Directories available in the collection, while has collections up to about 1923 for many of the larger cities.

SDGS Saturday Seminar - Post 1: "Our Sainted Mother"

Jean Wilcox Hibben kept a crowd of 130 genealogists spellbound and entertained, during the San Diego Genealogical Society seminar "A Day With Jean Wilcox Hibben." Jean made four seminar presentations at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Diego on Saturday, January 9th. The seminar description was posted here.

I want to highlight some of the features of the first Case Study that Jean presented because they are examples of excellent genea-detective work and elusive ancestor identification.

In the first presentation, “Clue-to-Clue, Tracking a Family Over Time and Miles,” Jean wondered “who is the woman in that picture?” It had no name on the back, only the words “our sainted mother.” Jean's father and aunt had no idea about her identity, but the photograph was in the Wilcox family papers and photographs.

The family records, and records found online and in repositories, indicated that the "sainted mother" was probably the wife of Nathan W. Wilcox (1828-1891).

The research process then focused on two goals - what was Irena's last name, and who were her parents and ancestors. These were some of the steps taken to attain these goals:

* Nathan (age 22, born NY) and Irena (age 21, born NY) Wilcox were in the 1850 census in Decatur, Van Buren County, Michigan.

* Son Edward Wilcox's 1934 Texas death certificate his mother's name as "Irene Freeman."

* Nathan's Civil War pension record said that they were married in "Depotville, New York" in 1848. Jean figured out from "sound-alike" place names that it was really "Depauville," a hamlet in Brownville town, Jefferson County, NY.

* The USGenWeb site for Jefferson County NY had marriage records for 1848 - and there they were marrying 13 February 1848. Nathan was of Lyme, and Irene of Brownville.

* In the 1840 census, Peter Wilcox and Edward Freeman were enumerated in successive lines, and had children of the right age group.

* The Cemeteries of Jefferson county NY on the county USGenWeb page indicated that Edward was a War of 1812 veteran and died in 1856, and his wife was Susannah, who died in 1882 at age 82. Was this Irene's mother?

* The 1850 census provided listings of the current family of Edward and Susannah Freeman.

* Jean brainstormed her problem with other researchers. They suggested looking for military records (War of 1812 pension), a will, land deeds, church records, 1855 NY State census, and more.

* Jean and her husband took a road trip to Jefferson County NY. At the Flower Memorial Library in the Jefferson County seat, Watertown, she reviewed the "family books" compiled by the library staff from research in the records and from correspondence. These are unique record compilations. One slip of paper said that Edward Freeman married Susannah Dillenbeck, widow of Jacob Klock. Another paper said Edward Freeman came from Stark, NY.

* Edward Freeman's will in Jefferson County NY records mentioned Irene Wilcox, wife of Nathan Wilcox of Iowa. Property records and an 1855 map on the wall of the library pinpointed Depauville, the Edward Freeman house and a graveyard (with Edward and his wife) across the road.

* Jean also traveled to the Herkimer County Historical Society, which had a card catalog of historical events. An entry had Edward Freeman marrying Mrs. Sarah (?) Klock in 1831. So Susannah was probably not the mother of Irene.

* The NY State 1855 census lists the county of birth, and the listed children of Nathan, living with him in Jefferson County, were born in Montgomery, Herkimer, Oneida and Jefferson Counties, but Irene was not listed.

* The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYGBS) has transcribed church records from many counties. The baptisms of several children in the church records for Oneida and Jefferson counties identified Edward Freeman's first wife as "Reny" or "Regina." A Godparent for one of "Regina's" children was Francis Guiwits.

* Jean visited the Stark, New York town historian in New Jersey, who had information on the Freeman, Dillenbeck, Klock and Guiwits families in Herkimer County that showed them living in close proximity.

* The LDS Family History Library had Herkimer County, NY estate papers for Francis Guiwits of Stark, and in his 1832 will he named "Reana Freeman, deceased" as a daughter and wife of Edward Freeman. A guardian appointed by the Court named one of the Freeman daughters as "Rena Freeman."

A much more detailed, and sourced, article for this search for the name and parentage of "our sainted mother" appears in the article:

Jean Wilcox Hibben, "Investigating Irene: the New York Parentage of Irene (Freeman) Wilcox," National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 97, Pages 111-119, June, 2009.

If you have access to the NGSQ issue at home or in the library, please read this Case Study for more information and context.

Jean summarized this search by noting that researchers need to:

* Verify hearsay family stories
* Check all family information, especially contradictory records
* Join genealogical societies in localities that ancestors resided
* Use more than online databases and websites.
* Visit the localities, and their repositories, that ancestors resided
* Create timelines for your ancestral families
* Record your sources of information!

For me, this hour was a fascinating demonstration of persistence and research skill to put a name, and ancestral fmailies, to the face in the photograph. In this Case Study, Jean demonstrated some of the requirements for becoming a Certified Genealogist. It helps all researchers, novice and experienced alike, to see and hear research success stories like this one.

I hope that Jean doesn't mind my summarizing her research problem here - I thought it would be informative for my readers. There is a wealth of detail for every one of the records mentioned above that Jean could write about on her Circlemending blog, and I hope she does!

I was especially attentive to this problem because Jefferson County, New York is one of my ancestral counties - where my Devier J. Smith was born as a Lamphear and raised as a Smith, before migrating to Misconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. I was hoping for some pointerts for research on Devier's parentage, and heard several.

One more note - Jean is such a "happy" researcher and presenter. The humorous asides and self-deprecating comments are priceless, and make her instantly likeable and believable. She had the audience rapt in their cushioned seats waiting for the next "information crumb" to be found as she blazed her research trail through several states and several New York Counties.