Saturday, February 20, 2010 Family Crest Contest

The MyHeritage family tree and genealogy site recently purchased the DynasTree family tree and genealogy web site - see the press release here.

One of the DynasTree features was the creation of a Family Crest. MyHeritage is running a Family Crest creation contest until 24 February. The prize is a one-year Premium membership to the MyHeritage website. Details of the contest are on the MyHeritage blog post Design Your Family Crest CONTEST!

Here is my entry:

I tried to create a visually attractive, yet meaningful, family crest for my Seaver family.

You too can create a family crest and enter the contest, but you have to have a MyHeritage account. The Family Crest creator is a tab in the Family Tree tab of the website.
The Family Crest creator is an interactive flash program - you select the elements from the right side of the screen (seen above) and the colors from the left side of the screen. When you choose one element type from the right side, you can then choose the particular element you want of that type.

Ruth's Grandma Camp makes the LA Times

The article Camp Grandma is a win-win by Whitney Friedlander appeared in the Los Angeles Times newspaper today -

The article includes several lines about my CVGS colleague and genea-blogger Ruth Himan's Grandma Camp held over Thanksgiving weekend. I highlighted Ruth's posts in Ruth and her Grandma Genie Camp last November.

Well done, Ruth! You've made the big-time. Expect some readers to your blog.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Happy Dance, Ah-ha Moments or Genea-gasms!

Hey, it's Saturday Night (again), time for some Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, if you decide to accept it, is to:

1) Think of any number of genealogy events or moments that make you have a genealogy happy dance, an ah-ha moment, or a genea-gasm.

2) Tell us about them in a blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook.

Here's (some of) mine:

* The 1990 trip to New England where I discovered and visited my Richmond cousins.

* The 1993 trip to England - researching, visiting the family church, and learning why James Richman came to America in 1855.

* The 1999 trip to Norway - seeing beautiful Voss and visiting the family farms that Linda's ancestors lived on.

* Finding the treasures in my mother's closet - my find when cleaning out my mother's closet after she died in 2002.

* Finding the Union Case with Isaac and Lucretia (Smith) Seaver - I had never seen this before it was found in my Aunt Geraldine's collection and passed to me after her death in 2007.

* Finding the box of forgotten treasures in the garage in late 2006 - this included many things from my childhood and Della's Journal for 1929, which I transcribed week-by-week in 2007.

* Finding the will of Ranslow Smith, that indicated that Devier J. Smith was an adopted son, and that his birth name was Devier Lamphear.

Surname Saturday - DILL

On Surname Saturdays, I am posting family lines from my own ancestry. I am doing this in Ahnentafel order, and am up to number #35, who is Elizabeth Horton Dill (1794?-1869).

My ancestral line back through the five generations of the Dill families:

1. Randall J. Seaver

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

4. Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1942)
5. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)

8. Frank W. Seaver (1852-1922)
9. Hattie Hildreth (1857-1920)

16. Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)
17. Lucretia Smith (1827-1884)

34. Alpheus Smith (1802-1840)
35. Elizabeth Horton Dill, born 19 May 1794 in Eastham, Barnstable County, MA; died 28 November 1869 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA. She married 30 November 1826 in Dedham, Norfolk County, MA.

70. Thomas Dill of Eastham, Barnstable, MA. He married
71. Mary Horton, born in Wellfleet, Barnstable, MA. Child of Thomas Dill and Mary Horton is:
....35 ... i. Elizabeth Horton Dill, born 19 May 1794 in Eastham, Barnstable County, MA; died 28 November 1869 in Leominster, Worcester County, MA; married Alpheus B. Smith 30 November 1826 in Dedham, Norfolk County, MA.

Here the trail has a disconnect. I've explained the data conflicts (all data conflicts!) in my post Elizabeth Horton Dill: A Very Elusive Ancestor. If she is indeed the Elizabeth Dill, born 09 May 1791 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA, the daughter of Thomas Dill and Hannah Horton, then the ancestral Dill line is:

70. Thomas Dill, born about 1755 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; died Aft. 1830 in probably Eastham, Barnstable, MA. He married 18 May 1782 in Wellfleet, Barnstable, MA.
71. Hannah Horton, born 28 April 1761 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; died Bef. 1797 in prob. Eastham, Barnstable, MA. She was the daughter of 142. Nathaniel Horton and 143. Eunice Snow. Children of Thomas Dill and Hannah Horton are:
............ i. Ezekiel Dill, born 06 August 1784 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; married Mary Hickman December 1808 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; born 26 June 1786 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA.
............ ii. Obediah Dill, born 19 May 1786 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA.
............ iii. Seth Dill, born 15 June 1787 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA.
............ iv. Isaiah Dill, born 13 September 1788 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA.
............ v. Jabez Dill, born 11 December 1789 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; married Eliza Pratt November 1817 in Boston, Suffolk, MA; born in Boston, Suffolk, MA.
.... 35 Elizabeth Dill, born 09 May 1791 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA.
............ vii. James Dill, born 20 July 1792 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA.
............ viii. Daniel Dill, born 06 October 1793 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; married Jerusha Knowles September 1822 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; born 23 December 1800 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA.
............ ix. Asa Dill, born 17 July 1795 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA.

140. Thomas Dill, born 19 December 1708 in Medford, Middlesex, MA; died before 17 March 1761 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA. He married 17 July 1733 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA.
141. Mehitable Brown, born 01 October 1714 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; died Bef. 1758 in prob. Eastham, Barnstable, MA. She was the daughter of 282. Samuel Brown and 283. Ruth Young. Children of Thomas Dill and Mehitable Brown are:
............ i. Thomas Dill, born 11 October 1734 in Medford, Middlesex, MA; died young.
............ ii. Samuel Dill, born 10 December 1736 in Medford, Middlesex, MA; died before 03 March 1766 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; married Lydia Higgins 16 March 1762 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; born 11 March 1741/42 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA.
............ iii. Thomas Dill, born 06 November 1737 in Medford, Middlesex, MA; died young?.
............ iv. Aaron Dill, born 30 July 1739 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; died young?.
............ v. James Dill, born 15 October 1741 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; died 03 April 1816 in Wellfleet, Barnstable, MA; married Abigail Hickman 16 March 1762 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; born about 1742 in prob. Eastham, Barnstable, MA.
............ vi. Moses Dill, born Bef. 1753 in probably Eastham, Barnstable, MA; died before 31 October 1771 in Wellfleet, Barnstable, MA.
............ vii. Betty Dill, born Bef. 1755 in probably Eastham, Barnstable, MA.
....70 ... viii. Thomas Dill, born about 1755 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; died after 1830 in probably Eastham, Barnstable, MA; married (1) Hannah Horton 18 May 1782 in Wellfleet, Barnstable, MA; married (2) Ruth Linkhornew 14 June 1797 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; married (3) Susanna Hatch January 1813 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA.

280. Thomas Dill, born 27 March 1682 in Concord, Middlesex, MA; died 29 January 1717/18 in Medford, Middlesex, MA. He married 17 January 1705/06 in Woburn/Cambridge, Middlesex, MA.
281. Mary Peirce, born 31 December 1682 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA; died before 1713 in Medford, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter of 562. Nathaniel Pierce and 563. Elizabeth Pierce. Children of Thomas Dill and Mary Peirce are:
............ i. Mary Dill, born 25 October 1706 in Medford, Middlesex, MA; married James Tufts 09 August 1729 in Charlestown, Suffolk, MA.
...140 .. ii. Thomas Dill, born 19 December 1708 in Medford, Middlesex, MA; died before 17 March 1761 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; married (1) Mehitable Brown 17 July 1733 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA; married (2) Mary (--?-- ) Higgins 28 January 1758 in Eastham, Barnstable, MA (VR, int.).
............ iii. Elizabeth Dill, born 02 January 1711/12 in Medford, Middlesex, MA; died 11 October 1714 in Medford, Middlesex, MA.

560. Peter Dill, died 13 August 1692 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, MA. He married 13 October 1669 in Littleton, Middlesex, MA.
561. Thanks Shepard, born 10 February 1650/51 in Malden, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter of 1122. Ralph Shepard and 1123. Thankslord Perkins. Children of Peter Dill and Thanks Shepard are:
............ i. Peter Dill, born 16 July 1670 in Concord, Middlesex, MA.
............ ii. Anna Dill, born 21 February 1672/73 in Littleton, Middlesex, MA.
............ iii. Thomas Dill, born 29 April 1673 in Concord, Middlesex, MA.
............ iv. Thanks Dill, born 31 March 1676 in Concord, Middlesex, MA; married Philip Reade 06 December 1698 in Concord, Middlesex, MA.
............ v. Samuel Dill, born About 1678 in Littleton, Middlesex, MA.
............ vi. David Dill, born About 1680 in Littleton, Middlesex, MA; married Marey or Mercy in MA.
............ vii. Mary Dill, born 27 March 1682 in Concord, Middlesex, MA; married Robert Robbins 27 March 1697 in Littleton, Middlesex, MA.
...280....viii. Thomas Dill, born 27 March 1682 in Concord, Middlesex, MA; died 29 January 1717/18 in Medford, Middlesex, MA; married (1) Mary Peirce 17 January 1705/06 in Woburn/Cambridge, Middlesex, MA; married (2) Mary Cheney 11 May 1713 in Cambridge, Middlesex, MA.

The origin of Peter Dill, the probable immigrant to New England for this family, is unknown.

If anybody has further suggestions for solving my data conflict problem, I would certainly appreciate them!

If readers or searchers have Cape Cod Dill ancestry, please contact me. I have a significant Peter Dill family descendants report here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

First American Ancestors Magazine issue

We got home from our trip to Santa Cruz and the first issue of American Ancestors was in the mailbag. American Ancestors is the successor publication to New England Ancestors published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. This first issue of American Ancestors is Volume 11, Number 1 (Winter 2010) of the continuing series.

In this issue, NEHGS President and CEO D. Brenton Simons wrote:

"Welcome to American Ancestors.

"For ten years, our magazine has informed, educated and entertained members and the public with genealogical and historical articles of the highest caliber. Today, we are pleased to introduce its new identity, AMERICAN ANCESTORS: NEW ENGLAND, NEW YORK AND BEYOND. Beginning with this issue, our quarterly embraces a more inclusive, national mission while, at the same time, continues to provide the best resources and advice for New England and New York research. This change better reflects the sometimes peripatetic nature of family migrations, modern demographics, and is made in response to the research needs of our membership database. It is an exciting time for genealogists and we are very pleased to offer you the 'best materials to document and make accessible the histories of families in America.' "

The Feature articles include:

* Opening the Ozarks: First Families of Southwest Missouri, 1835-1839, by Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, FASG
* The Joys of Prosopography: Collective Biography for Genealogists, by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG
* The First Settlers of New York in 1624, by Henry B. Hoff
* The First Settlers of Quebec, by Michael J. Leclerc
* Tracking Migrating Families: The Records of Old Settlers Organizations, by Paula Stuart-Warren
* Garrisons in New England:... Whereto They Are Orderly Assigned," by Todd Macalister
* Looking at, by Kenyatta D. Berry and Michael J. Leclerc
* Three Generations to Scotland: A Unique NEHGS Research Tour Experience, by Megan Houlihan, Laural Porter Houlihan, and Janis Bailey
* Hair Sense and Sensibility, by Maureen A. Taylor
* Philatelic Genealogy Update: An Initial Assessment of the Genealogical Value of Old Envelopes and Postcards, by James R. Miller.

The issue also has the regular Columns, NEHGS news and announcements, and David Allen Lambert's The Online Genealogist Answers Your Questions column.

At some point in time, the NEHGS website,, will change over to If you type in the American Ancestors URL, you get the New England Ancestors URL, but that may soon change.

A Tribute to Marsha Hoffman Rising CG, FASG

I received this via email from Sandra Luebking, editor of the Federation of Genealogical Societies FORUM Magazine:

>The Federation of Genealogical Societies (, the National Archives, and the genealogical community have started a project to digitize the War of 1812 pension files--a fitting beginning to the bicentennial commemoration of this important war.

Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, FASG, died 17 February 2010. A Certified Genealogist, Marsha was a Past President (2002-04) and Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists and a contributing editor to The American Genealogist. She was a Trustee of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (2001-03). She was a charter member and the first President of the Genealogical Speakers Guild. Marsha was also a past board member of the National Genealogical Society and a Past President of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

During her tenure with FGS, Marsha strongly supported the preservation of the War of 1812 pension documents. When informed of the 2010 pension digitization project and the Tribute in her honor, she was delighted. She remarked on how helpful the pensions had been when she was compiling her book, Opening the Ozarks. First Families of Southwest Missouri (4 volumes published by American Society of Genealogists). The information contained within the pension and bounty land files helped her add much family detail and identify places of origin for the settlers.

Friends and colleagues have established this special category of contributions to the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions Fund, titled A Tribute to Marsha Hoffman Rising. Donations received in Marsha’s name will go towards making these records available online for interested researchers. A donation of $25 will digitize 50 images-- a donation of $500 will digitize 1,000 images. Mail to: FGS, 1812 Fund – Rising Tribute, P.O. Box 200940, Austin, TX 78720-0940.

The names of donors will appear in FORUM Magazine and notification will be sent to Marsha’s family.

I heartily support this effort to honor Marsha and to digitize the War of 1812 Pension documents. They are certainly one set of documents that need to be digitized so that future genealogists can access them for their genealogy and family history gems.

I did not have the pleasure to meet Marsha, but I've heard many genealogists sing her praises. I think that it is wonderful that the profession can honor her in this way.

Follow Friday - AnceStories

On this Follow Friday, I want to highlight Miriam Robbins Midkiff's excellent genealogy blog titled AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors.

Miriam has been blogging about genealogy research since January 2006 and is one of the leaders of the genea-blogging community. Her blog description says:

"Welcome to my blog about my genealogical research: my triumphs, my challenges, my research some tips and links for you."

Miriam has a number of series of blog posts going - the most significant is probably the series on 52 Weeks of Online American Digital Archives and Databases that she is posting state-by-state. There are 5 states posted so far - Alabama through Connecticut, with one added about every week. When this series is completed, it will be a wonderful compendium for all genealogy researchers. I hope that Miriam makes it into an eBook or similar, because it will be that "good" and useful.

Miriam is also noted for hosting the Scanfest chats on the last Sunday of most months. A number of genea-bloggers and readers sign in, and chat while (hopefully) scanning precious photographs and documents. The script of the Scanfest is posted on Miriam's blog - see the January 31 post at January 2010 Scanfest and January 2010 Scanfest - Part 2. We have some fun and get some scanning done too. Miriam is an excellent hostess!

If you are not reading Miriam's Ancestories blog, you should be! Add it to your blog reader!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - the Martin Carringer Bible

It's Treasure Chest Thursday, time for another document or artifact from my family history treasure chest.

My 4th great-grandfather, Martin Carringer (1758-1836), was a Revolutionary War Soldier from Pennsylvania, who applied for and received a Pension for his service. The entry in the book Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pensions Files by Virgil D. White says:

"CARRINGER, Martin, Molly, W6905 BLW 1259-100, PA line, soldier enlisted in Westmoreland Cty PA, soldier applied 12 Apr 1824 Mercer Cty PA aged 65, soldier married Mary "Molly" Hoax in May 1785 and soldier died 25 Jan 1835 in Mercer Cty PA and widow applied there 8 Feb 1839 a resident of Sandy Creek Twnshp PA aged 71 and widow died there 31 Aug 1850. Children were Jacob, born 1 Oct 1785, Lizbet born 6 Sept 1789, Katharine born 18 Jan 1792, George born 5 Sept 1795, Calli born 9 Mar 1797, Henrick born 6 June 1800, Soloman born 24 Aug 1802, Joseph born 22 Oct 1805. Also shown was a grandchild Tastet born 13 May 1811 and died 27 Aug 1820; soldier's son George signs affidavit 28 Aug 1851 Mercer Cty PA, surviving children at widow's death were Jacob Carrigan, Elizabeth McCartney deceased in 1851, Catherine Cazbe, George, Henry and Joseph Carrigan. Soldier's daughter Elizabeth McCartney died 14 Nov 1850".

Where did they get all of the name and birth date information? From a family Bible record torn out of the Bible and submitted with the pension application. I downloaded all 45 pages of the pension file from about one year ago, and included were these three pages:

The two pages above were the handwritten pages in German from the Bible. The page below is the translated summary that appears in the abstract transcribed above:

Only has the images of the complete Revolutionary War pension file. HeritageQuestOnline has ten selected pages for this pension file, including the Bible pages.

The lesson learned here is that those Revolutionary War Pension Files sometimes contain absolutely wonderful and priceless family records, such as the Bible pages above. The same thing happens in all of the pension files - there are family Bible pages in the pension files for the War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, and other wars.

If you have Revolutionary War ancestors, have you checked online to see if there is a pension file for your soldier(s), or their spouses or children? If so, the file may contain a family Bible record.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What will be the impact of WDYTYA?

I received an email from Anastasia Tyler, the public relations person at, suggesting a discussion theme for genealogy blogs about how family historians can take advantage of the popularity of Who Do You Think You Are?

Popularity of the Show in Britain -- The idea for “Who Do You Think You Are?” originated from a phenomenally successful UK show, which has traced the roots of some 50 individuals in the last 6 years. During the last season, more than 5 million viewers tuned in to watch the UK show. Nearly 12,000 Brits attended the Who Do You Think You Are? Live conference in February 2009. Of those, 84 percent say they started researching their family history since 2004. The show has generated a surge of family history interest in the UK – and the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? could net the same reaction.

Potential Impact in the United States -- The U.S. version uses the same format as the UK show – each hour-long episode taking one celebrity on a journey of family history discovery, focusing on the stories discovered in their family trees. The celebrity appeal and the family storytelling nature makes Who Do You Think You Are? perfectly poised to appeal to the masses. Naturally, the show will inspire viewers to begin thinking about and asking questions around their own family history.

Of course, the show’s format also means that the episodes do not necessarily delve in to research processes or methodology or the challenges one can face when researching. On the other hand, Who Do You Think You Are? is a fantastic opportunity to educate people about what family history is and how to successfully research their heritage.

Jan Alpert, president of the National Genealogical Society (NGS), hopes that Who Do You Think You Are? encourages people to take advantage of resources at court houses, libraries, archives and genealogy societies. She adds, “Many people are interested in knowing more about their heritage, but have no idea how to begin.”

A Suggested Discussion -- Taking this into consideration, we’d like to pose a question to the family history community and encourage discussion among bloggers and blog readers – How can family historians take advantage of the show’s popularity?

* In what ways could genealogists reach out to those who are newly interested in family history because of the show?
* How can family historians teach proper research skills and methodology to those just beginning their journey?
* What’s the best way to help beginners get started in family history?
* What ways can genealogy societies, libraries and similar organizations benefit from the show as well as reach out to those just starting?
* How can commercial websites, such as, help educate people about family history?
* What lessons from the popularity of Roots in the late 1970s could help genealogists prepare for the potential impact of Who Do You Think You Are?

Some readers will recall that genea-bloggers asked similar questions about one year ago when WDYTYA was first announced as a summer replacement show. In response to the questions, many of us said "societies need to get their Beginning Genealogy classes ready for the onslaught of interested people," "adult education classes at libraries should be planned and held" and "society members should be trained to help new researchers one-on-one."

Two of my local societies, and myself, are pretty well prepared. San Diego Genealogical Society offers four 90 minute beginners sessions on their regular monthly meeting day twice a year. These have been very well attended in the past two years, and resulted in a flurry of new members. In addition, SDGS just started their Wednesday education classes at the SDGS Library - with monthly sessions on Genealogy Methods, Computer Use, National/Ethnic Topics, and brickwall problem discussions. There are classes four times each month.

Chula Vista Genealogical Society is planning an all-day seminar for beginners as part of Family History Month in October. CVGS will probably offer a four-session eight-hours Beginning Genealogy class starting in the summer, based on my OASIS class.

My own response has been to develop the four-session eight-hour "Beginning Computer Genealogy" class at the San Diego OASIS senior adult education center in San Diego, and to speak at local libraries giving my 90-minute "Genealogy - Be An Ancestor Detective" talk. I've also developed a 45-minute version of the latter for local social, business, church, etc. groups.

What other ideas do researchers and program organizers have? Please share them so we can all benefit from them!

Thank you to Anastasia for jump starting this discussion.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 91: Leava (Smith) Smith

I'm posting 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.

I managed to scan about 100 family photographs in the Scanfest in January, and have converted the scanned TIF files to smaller JPGs, cropped and rotated as best I can.

Here is a photograph from the Carringer family collection handed down by my mother in the 1988 to 2002 time period:

This is a photograph of Leava Smith (1866-1958), the first wife of David D. Smith (1863-1920). It was taken in McCook, Red Willow County, Nebraska in about 1890. The note on the back of the card says "Leva Smith, Davie's wife" but has no date. David D. Smith was a son of Devier and Abbigail (Vaux) Smith, and a brother of my great-grandmother, Della (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944).

Leava Smith married David Devier Smith in McCook, Red Willow County, Nebraska on 20 May 1889, according to a letter from David Smith to his mother in June 1889. The letter stated that Leava had family living in Jefferson County, Colorado. David and Leava Smith had one daughter, Eva Etta, born 25 May 1890 in McCook, Nebraska. Leava divorced David D. Smith before 1900.

Leava Smith was probably the daughter of Zachariah and Nancy (Gosney) Smith; widow Nancy Smith and three children resided in Jefferson County, Colorado 1880 census.

Leava (Smith) Smith married Joseph W. DeFrance (1865-1937) in San Diego as his second wife. Eva Smith (1890-1940), daughter of David and Leava (Smith) Smith, married Howard M. DeFrance (1831-1937) in 1914 in San Diego, son of Joseph W. DeFrance and his first wife. They had no children.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday 20 February - GenSmarts

Linda Hervig of the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) passed this program notice along:

The next meeting of CGSSD is Saturday, February 20, 2010.

The User Group for RootsMagic and Special Interest Groups on DNA and begin at 9:00. In the DNA SIG, Corlee Morris will analyze your DNA results. Notify Corlee at HMorris575[at] if you would like your DNA results analyzed. Check the CGSSD website,, for last minute changes.

After a break and refreshments at 10:00, Aaron Underwood presents the main program, “GenSmarts.”

Aaron Underwood is the developer of GenSmarts, an inexpensive software “add-on” that uses artificial intelligence to analyze your existing genealogy file and produce research suggestions. It helps you generate and track to do lists, print worksheets to record your search results, and plan research trips to libraries, court houses, etc. It directly integrates with Family Tree Maker, RootsMagic, and many other popular genealogy programs, and features direct integration with, and several other popular research web sites. A free trial version is at

After many years of doing commercial software products for the corporate world, Aaron branched off with his own company. Underwood Innovations was created to provide highly innovative products for everyday people. Genealogy, his long-time hobby that became a passion, was a good fit. The first product, GenSmarts, is inspired by the “to do” lists Aaron created for his father’s genealogy research trips.

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.

I hope to see all of my San Diego readers at this meeting!

The GenealogyToday Subscription Winners Are...

I had 52 entries for the GenealogyToday subscription contest, and used the random number generator at to pick the winners.

Here are the eight names randomly selected for the trial subscriptions:

Vickie Everhart
Sheri Bush

Celia Lewis
Sue Maxwell
Anne Kerr
Linda Brousseau
David Shirey
Linda Robbins

Illya D'Addezio has contacted each of the winners and has set them up with their nine-month trial subscription to the GenealogyToday and GenWeekly databases.

Congratulations to the winners, and a big THANK YOU to Illya D'Addezio for offering the subscriptions to his databases and website.

Disclosure: I did not receive any money or services to host this contest, nor did I receive a free subscription from Illya. I have used his sites before and I think that they are an outstanding example of what an individual can do with brains and hard work to create a useful subscription database site. This was Illya's idea, and his unsolicited offer to me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Genea-Musings blogging will be "light"

This will be a light blogging week for Genea-Musings... Linda and I are off on Tuesday morning to celebrate grandson Logan's 4th birthday in Santa Cruz. I am not taking the laptop, and am not sure that their Internet connection is working. If so, I may be able to read and blog. If not, I'll have a lot of emails and blog posts to read when we get back on Friday afternoon!

I have written a few blog posts - one for each day, just to keep the blather-pump primed here at Genea-Musings.

Will this be the week that Ancestry releases a major new database, or their improved search engine? Will GenSeek be launched this week? What else could happen?

Enjoy my light blogging week - I'm going to. My grandsons have all kinds of plans for me - I've heard about baseball in the back yard, soccer in the front yard, hockey in the living room, Grandpa Monster in the bedroom... I'll come home tired and happy, full of family history memories.

Joe Beine's Research Guides and Indexes

Genea-blogger Joe Beine has modified some of the URLs for his fine collection of genealogy guides and online database link websites. He has three main sites now --

1) Genealogy Research Guides, Tips and Online Records at There are links for:

* Birth, Marriage and Death Records - Vital Records:
** Birth, Marriage and Death Records - Finding Vital Records Research Guide

* Cemeteries and Obituaries:
** Cemeteries and Obituaries Research Guides and Online Records

* Census Records:
** US Census Records: Research Tips and Clues 1790-1930 with links to online indexes
** Some Free Online Census Records and Indexes - USA
** State Census Records Guide - Includes Some Online Indexes for censuses taken between or separate from the Federal census
** Genealogy Research Guide - Census Records

* Free Genealogy Software, Charts, Forms and Online Records:
** Free Genealogy Stuff - Free Online Records, Databases and Software
** Free Blank Genealogy Charts and Forms from includes an ancestral chart (or "pedigree chart" - this is a basic family tree chart), family group sheets, census and research forms, and more (these charts can be downloaded for free and printed out)

* Military Records:
** Online Military Indexes, Records and Rosters of Soldiers from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam, includes the Civil War, World War One and World War Two
** How to Find World War One Draft Cards 1917-1918
** Information about Ancestry's World War II Draft Cards Collection
** Civil War Pension & Service Records - the Basics with links to indexes

* Naturalization Records:

** Naturalization Records - Genealogy Research Guide

* Newspapers
** Historical Newspapers on the Internet
** for obituaries see the Obituaries and Cemeteries section

* Passenger Lists - Immigration Records

** Ship Passenger Lists and Immigration Records - Research Guide for finding records online and off
** Early Immigrants to Pennsylvania 1600s and 1700s

* People & Places:
** Finding People - Tips for Finding Living and Recently Deceased People in the USAincludes online address and telephone directories, vital records indexes, and other resources
** Finding Places - Online Gazetteers & Town/County Locators

* Using the Freedom of Information Act for Genealogy Records:
** Research Guide: Using the Freedom of Information Act for Genealogy Records

* Genealogy Guides for Beginners:
** Genealogy Guides for Beginners

* German Genealogy Research:
** German Roots - German Genealogy Resources - Research Guides, Passenger Lists and More

* Irish Genealogy Research:
** Genealogy Research Guides - Irish Genealogy

* United Kingdom Genealogy Research:
** Online Census Records and Indexes for England, Scotland and Wales 1851-1901

2) Resources for German Genealogy on the Internet:

* German Genealogy Resources - a directory of online resources

* Search Online Genealogy Records- death indexes, military records, more...

* Finding People and Places - maps, phone books, town locators

* General Genealogy Resources - FamilySearch, Cyndi's List, more...

* Emigration & Immigration Records - passenger lists, naturalizations...

* Census Clues and Links - online records, soundex info...

* German Genealogy Bookstore - how to books, dictionaries...

* Online Searchable Military Records - includes the Civil War, WWI, WWII & more...

* Basic Research Guide for German Genealogy - for beginning & intermediate researchers - includes records in Germany

3) Genealogy Articles, Tips & Research Guides:

Most of the links for the first and second websites are referred to in the third website. A careful researcher will have to search all three, however.

I find these websites immensely useful, and they are usually my first choice to find information about one of the topics above. I appreciate Joe's hard work to organize these links into useful lists and to keep them updated.

If you haven't visited these sites before, please spend some time looking through them - then bookmark or favorite them and use them!

Amanuensis Monday - Isaac Buck Revolutionary War Affidavits

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme several months ago called Amanuensis Monday. I loved the idea, and recently decided to follow it in order to share ancestral information and keep the theme going, and perhaps it will expand to other genealogy bloggers.

What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

Today's transcription involves the Revolutionary War Pension File for Isaac Buck (1757-1846), a soldier in the Continental Army. The Revolutionary War Pension Abstract for Isaac Buck reads:

"BUCK, Isaac, S34136, Cont & MA Line, appl 8 Apr 1818 Worcester Cty MA aged 60 a res of Sterling MA, in 1820 sol had a wife Patty aged 60 and a son Isaac 14 his only child living at home" (Virgil White, "Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pensions", Vol. 1; p. 450).

The Revolutionary War Pension file for Isaac Buck indicates that for his service, he was awarded a pension of $8 per month commencing 8 April 1818.

The Revolutionary War Pension File for Isaac Buck is 17 pages, all of them available on On the third image of the file, Isaac Buck testifies to his service and life situation in his application in 1818:

"I, Isaac Buck, a citizen of the United States, now resident at Sterling in the County of Worcester in the State aforesaid, do on oath testify and declare that in the War of the revolution in the month of December in the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy nine, I entered and engaged in the land service of the United States on the continental establishment, and served accordingly from that time to the end of the war as a private against the common enemy without any interruption or absence, that I belonged to Captain Jackson's company of Artillery in Colonel Crane's Regiment under the command of General Knox, and that I left the service in the month of June 1783 at West Point when the Army was disbanded, and that by reason of my reduced circumstances in life and poverty, I stand in need of assistance from my country and support being now of the age of sixty years - and I hereby relinquish all claims to every pension heretofore allowed me by the laws of the United States if any may be or hath been allowed. My discharge was lost from my pocket many years since and is not in existence."

/signed/ Isaac Buck.

The sixth image of the file on includes an affidavit, probably written by someone on behalf of Isaac Buck, that includes a schedule of the property belonging to Isaac Buck of Sterling as of May 1 1820:

The property includes:

"one cow - one clock - one table - one looking glass - one chest - one shovel - one tongs - crockery - glass stemware - one old axe - one hoe - one old plough - one old wagon - one pot - one kettle - one pair of dogs - three old chairs - six knives and forks - $30.25"

The schedule also says, apparently written for Isaac Buck:

"The said applicant is a farmer, but wholly unable to labour the present season on account of a wound in his shoulder in May last - and never expects to perform much labour hereafter. His wife named Patty Buck is aged 60 years - is barely able to do the work of her house. I have but one child at home named Isaac Buck aged 14 years and performs as much labour as other farmer's boys at his age, but does nothing toward my support. This is the whole of my family.

/signed/ Isaac Buck."

My best guess is that the first affidavit above is written by Isaac Buck, since there is no indication of a mark. However, it may have been written by another person (but not the person who wrote the second affidavit in 1820).

Look at that property schedule - they had precious little to their name, did they?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Best of the Genea-Blogs - February 7-13, 2010

Hundreds of 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:

* Madness Monday - "Point and Click Genealogy" Was A Bad Idea by Linda McCauley on the Documenting the Details blog. Linda bemoans the presence of some really bad family tree data in online databases, and the lack of sources in many family trees. Rant on, Linda!

* New Angles on Old Problems: A Benefit of Putting Your Genealogy Online by Chris Staats on the Staats Place blog. Chris comes at the family tree data and source discussion from the attitude of "put it out there" and "let's talk about it."

* Who Do You Think You Are? by Tim Agazio on the Genealogy Reviews Online blog. Tim has some comments about WDYTYA and expresses some wishes...good stuff.

* Madness Monday: Open Letter To The Genealogy Community – Help Me To Understand! by Luckie Daniels on the Our Georgia Roots blog. Luckie asked "Why isn’t there ever ANY mention of {or events to address} the very present slave history in this community OTHER than from an African-American author?" Many genea-bloggers answered, and a new genealogy Carnival may result. Cool.

* Interview Questions of the Future by Leah on The Internet Genealogist blog. Leah gives us a sample of an interview with an ancestor about what it was like living in those ancient times - you know, the early 21st century. Good one!

* Become an Evangelist for Genealogy by Paula Hinkel on the Southern California Genealogical Society and Family Research Library blog. Paula challenges all of us, and our societies, to promote the two TV programs. Excellent ideas.

* Bloggers Day: Content and Bloggers Day: Content (Part 2) by the writer of The Ancestry Insider blog. Mr. AI has more information about Blogger Day 2 than all of the other attendees combined. Thanks!!!

* Faces of America: Episode 1 by Taneya Koonce on Taneya's Genealogy Blog. Taneya has the best summary of the PBS program IMHO, and has suggestions for improving interactions with people interested in tracing their ancestry.

* The Labors of Hercules by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John said he didn't have any information about slaves in his family in a comment on Luckie's post, and 16 hours later he received some in the mail. And posted it on his blog. Well done!

* Let Your Light Shine. Let Their Light Shine II. by Bernie Gracy on the HistoricalTownMaps Blog. Bernie has a fascinating story about what customers really want and what vendors think they want. Good advice for the conference exhibitors.

* Shades The Magazine - February Issue edited by footnoteMaven on the Shades of the Departed blog. The Shades team of excellent writers has produced another magnificent online magazine. I love Penelope Dreadful!

* What I Did During the Blizzards of 2010, Part I and What I Did During the Blizzards of 2010, Part II by Missy Corley on the Bayside Blog. Missy stayed in Washington DC during the two blizzards and lived, barely, to tell about it. Fascinating slice of life in a snowy city...what would our ancestors have done?

* Genealogy News- A Television Show, A Chat Room, A Podcast......and some new records! by Lynn Palermo on The Armchair Genealogist blog. Lynn posted a nice summary of the highlights of her genealogy week.

* Researching William Dikes leads to Texas History Lesson by Ruth Himan on the Genealogy is Ruthless Without Me blog. Ruth got sidetracked and had a lot of fun learning about the places her Dikes family lived. She's still searching for Mr. Dikes, though.

* Footnote, FamilySearch and the Power of APIs by Dean Richardson on the Genlighten Blog - Genealogy Documented. Dean visited with Footnote and FamilySearch about APIs, and has some ideas for the content/database providers.

* Weekly Genealogy Picks by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John finds more interesting posts, stories and media that I miss - thanks, John!

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

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.

Lisa Kudrow on Lisa Cooke's Genealogy Gems Podcast #81

Lisa Louise Cooke's latest Genealogy Gems Podcast, Number 81, is a Valentine's Day treat for all of us - it features a length telephone interview with Lisa Kudrow, the producer, and one of the subjects, of the coming NBC-TV show, Who Do You Think You Are?

Listen to the podcast - it's great. Lisa Kudrow is so excited about her show, and knows that all of us in the genealogy world are also.

You can see a short clip of Lisa Kudrow and the other subjects of WDYTYA on Lisa's Genealogy Gems Podcast blog here.

There is more information about the TV show at The show will run on Friday nights at 8 pm. starting on March 5th through April 23rd.

Thank you to Lisa Cooke for the podcast and to Lisa Kudrow for the TV show. I can hardly wait!

Happy Valentine's Day Genealogy Lovers!

Happy Valentine's Day to all Genealogy Lovers ... here is a bouquet of roses for you:

And to my Genea-Musings readers ... I hope that you have a lovely day with your friends and loved ones today.

SDGS Program Summary - Caroline Rober

Caroline Braxton Rober gave two linked presentations to about 120 attendees at the San Diego Genealogical Society meeting on Saturday - "Analyze - Key to Further Research" and "Land and Probate Records: Twin Headaches." Caroline's curriculum vitae and short program summaries were published here.

In both talks, she used case study examples from her own research to demonstrate her points. In the Analyze talk, Caroline noted that a good researcher is always analyzing and organizing the information s/he obtains, ideally right after finding new information. She recommended using your pedigree chart to determine what information is missing, trying to find primary information (records made at the time of the event) rather than secondary information (records made years after the event), resolve evidence conflicts by comparing and analyzing record sources and details, and to not take another researcher's word for an event (name, date, place, etc.). By finding the original records such as land and probate records, which are usually not online, the researcher can often solve the research problem.

In one case study, she found a birth date in a death certificate, the 1900 census and a gravestone, all secondary information records. However, a Missouri birth record index provided primary information. In another case study, a search for a death record turned up several persons with the same name, but a funeral home record, found from the listing for a husband and child, resulted in an obituary which gave the death date. Caroline didn't believe what eight other researchers told her was the father of a female ancestor, and uncovered a will that identified the correct father that used the daughter's married surname. In another case, she had to find and transcribe 54 deeds in order to determine the father of an ancestor, and found the name of the mother, and two sets of grandparents, by looking at all of them.

After the case studies, she concluded by saying that analyzing records is the key to solving research problems, and provided these recommendations:

* Start with what you know and work backwards in time.
* Gather all records available for the surname, place and time.
* Make a chronological list of all sources and records found.
* Extract all records for a child before looking for the parents.
* Analyze each piece of evidence as it pertains to the whole picture.
* Update your records after every information search.
* Use all of the records together, they may lead you to the information you need.
* Transcribe all documents found, especially deed and probate records.
* Write a research report for yourself every time you work on the family.

In the second presentation on the Twin Headaches, Caroline said that land ownership was important, that land produced wealth, wealth produced taxes, property comprised an estate, and all of those items produced records for researchers to find and use. Most of the people named in deeds are kinfolk.

She went through some of the definitions for the legal terms used in land and probate records, described probate records in some detail with several examples, and demonstrated finding these records, either in a local courthouse, or repository, or in the LDS Family History Library Catalog in order to obtain them on microfilm. She noted that:

* There is not always a probate record for a person, and some probate records may be found in land records.
* A probate packet may contain a number of different documents and may be available only at a courthouse or historical society. All records in a packet should be obtained.
* Records may or may not be indexed, and may or may not be microfilmed.
* Records may cost money to obtain, but are well worth the cost.
* Probate and land records are often hard to read and understand.
* The researcher needs to understand the laws of the state at the time of the record.
* When there are no probate records available, land records often provide useful information.
* Records may be in parent counties that a current county was formed from after the record was made.

Caroline's five-page handout provided basic information about land and probate research that wasn't in the presentation due to time constraints. Topics included the two American land survey systems, the Federal Land Patents, genealogical data that can be found in deeds, land measurement terms, and more.

These two presentations were interesting and challenging, and demonstrated the types of information that can be found in land and probate records to prove relationships, names, dates and places of family members. The use of case studies to illustrate the concepts and show actual records was extremely effective.