Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - If you won...

It's Saturday Night, time for more Genealogy Fun!

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

1) If you won the grand prize in the Ultimate Family History Journey Sweepstakes of $20,000 for genealogy travel to places of your choice, where would you go, and what would you do?

2) Tell us of your dream genealogy trip using the prize money in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this post, or in a comment on Facebook.

Here's mine:

A two-month sojourn in England would suit me just fine. I would try to take an NEHGS genealogy tour, attend the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! conference in London, do extended research in Wiltshire (Richman, Marshman, Rich, etc.) and Somerset (Vaux, Palmer, Laver, etc.), and visit the towns of my colonial ancestors in Hampshire, Berkshire, Kent, Sussex, Essex, Cambridge, Norfolk, Lincoln, Yorkshire, etc. I would try to visit local Family History Society meetings also in order to meet other genealogists and learn advanced research techniques in English records.

Can I survive on $20,000 for two months in England? After airfare for two and the NEHGS tour, that leaves about $16,000 - or more than $250 per day for lodging, food, transportation and entertainment.

What would you do with $20,000 in travel funds?

The Demise of not?

Megan Smolenyak Smolenytak announced that the Roots Television website, at, would be leaving the digital universe on 10 March. The announcement is at It says:

"Dear Viewer,

"It's with mixed feelings that I'm sharing the news that I will be closing (RTV) as of March 10th. Back in 2006, RTV was launched to fill a void. As I wrote at the time:

'We've been perplexed for a long time. These days, there's a horse channel, a wine channel, a sailing channel, a poker channel, a guitar channel, and even a shipwreck channel. So why, we wondered, isn't there a channel servicing the millions of people interested in genealogy and family history?'

"The good news is that this yawning gap is now being filled. Genealogy is finally going mainstream. Some of you are probably already watching Faces of America on PBS and The Generations Project on BYU. And many, I'm sure, have heard of the imminent launch on NBC of Who Do You Think You Are? (a series I'm proud to be affiliated with, and for which, I wrote the companion book). The non-genealogical world is finally waking up to the long overlooked potential of what we roots-sleuths do on a daily basis, as you can read in this article: Roots TV Becomes New Branch of Reality TV

"I'm honored to have had the opportunity to fill this void for more than three years. I hope that you have enjoyed the hundreds of high quality videos that has produced or selected. From the viewing numbers and kind comments, I know that many of you have. It's been a privilege to give the genealogical community this resource, but this seems the appropriate time to move on. Thank you for your viewership and friendship. Og and I will miss you!

Megan Smolenyak2


"P.S. If any genealogical entities would be interested in "adopting", I would be open to that possibility, but would need to hear from you immediately ( "

I've been really sad ever since I read this about 30 minutes ago. Roots Television was one of those really wonderful sites that expanded my genealogy education and introduced me, through interviews, to many of the brightest and best people in the genealogy world.

My first hope is that some really smart genealogy company will step up and save this wonderful collection of genealogy videos and use them to further the genealogy education of millions of genealogists to come in future years.

My second hope is that the owners of the videos will create some CDs or DVDs with selections from the video collection - a beginning genealogy series, an interview series, an Annie Moore series, etc. might be attractive for genealogists at conferences and by mail order. A video collection could serve as genealogy education classes or as programs for genealogical societies struggling to find speakers.

I don't totally agree with Megan's statement that genealogy is going mainstream. For several weeks in the winter and spring of 2010, this is true. However, my guess is that the audience for "Faces of America" has not been large opposite the Winter Olympics, and Friday night on network TV is not a wonderful time slot for WDYTYA?, which is basically a substitute program for another failed prime-time show on NBC following the Winter Olympics. The one episode of The Simpsons may have had more viewers than all of the "Faces of America" episodes combined. What's next? Will WDYTYA? continue on NBC? We can only hope so.

Thank you to Megan Smolenyak and Marcy Brown, and many others like Dick Eastman who did many of the interviews, for the enjoyable hours of genealogy television when there wasn't any.

Why did Roots Television fail? I don't know for sure. However, with the ability to create "do it yourself" videos and post them on YouTube and other free video channels, genealogy videos are more easily made than the Roots Television videos with heavy video equipment and the costs associated with travel, shooting =, editing and posting the videos. However, the quality of Roots Television videos were excellent, the quality of YouTube genealogy videos is not as good.

The costs associated with the Roots Television business model must have outweighed the benefits to the owners of the service. While Roots Television had some commercial sponsors on the website, it's likely that the income never exceeded the expenses. No business can survive without a profitable bottom line for very long.

Lastly, I'm really bummed that I never got to meet Og! What will happen to him? Back in the genealogy cave?

Surname Saturday - SAWTELL

On Surname Saturdays, I am posting family lines from my own ancestry. I am doing this in Ahnentafel order, and am up to number #37, who is Hannah Sawtell (1787?-1857).

My ancestral line back through the seven generations of the Sawtell 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)

18. Edward Hildreth (1831-1899)
19. Sophia Newton (1834-1923)

36. Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857)
37. Hannah Sawtell, born 06 November 1789 in Brookline, Hillsborough County, NH; died 13 January 1857 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA. She married 21 October 1810 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA.

74. Josiah Sawtell, born 24 January 1768 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA; died 07 December 1847 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA. He married 05 February 1789 in probably Raby, Hillsborough County, NH.
75. Hannah Smith, born About 1767 in prob. Raby, Hillsborough County, NH; died 08 February 1827 in Townsend, Middlesex County, MA. Children of Josiah Sawtell and Hannah Smith are Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857); Josiah Sawtell (1791-1????); Mary Sawtell (1793-1831); Chester Sawtell (1795-1875); Esther Sawtell (1797-1852); Horace Sawtell (1799-1825); Neuma Sawtell (1803-1826); Walter Sawtell (1806-1857); Price Sawtell (1810-1891).

148. Ephraim Sawtell, born 18 January 1734/35 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA; died About 1800 in probably Brookline, Hillsborough County, NH. He married 22 December 1757 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA.
149. Abigail Stone, born 02 December 1736 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA; died before 1800 in probably Brookline, Hillsborough County, NH. She was the daughter of 298. James Stone and 299. Mary Farwell. Children of Ephraim Sawtell and Abigail Stone are: Abigail Sawtell (1758-1817); Lucy Sawtell (1760-????); Josiah Sawtell (1762-1766); Molly Sawtell (1763-????); Eli Sawtell (1765-????); Josiah Sawtell (1768-1847); Ephraim Sawtell (1770-????); Sarah Sawtell (1772-????); John Sawtell (1773-????); Ede Sawtell (1778-????)

296. Hezekiah Sawtell, born 02 March 1702/03 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA; died 18 March 1779 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA. He married 01 August 1723 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA.
297. Joanna Wilson, born 06 January 1700/01 in Billerica, Middlesex County, MA; died 11 September 1786 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA. She was the daughter of 594. John Wilson and 595. Elizabeth Foster. Children of Hezekiah Sawtell and Joanna Wilson are: Jonathan Sawtell (1724-1801); Hezekiah Sawtell (1725-????); Elnathan Sawtell (1728-1758); Hannah Sawtell (1730-1762); Obadiah Sawtell (1732-1819); Ephraim Sawtell (1735-1800); Richard Sawtell (1737-1815); Elizabeth Sawtell (1739-1804); Nathaniel Sawtell (1743-1825); Esther Sawtell (1745-????); Rebeckah Sawtell (1747-????)

592. Obadiah Sawtell, born 14 September 1648 in Watertown, Middlesex County, MA; died 20 March 1740/41 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA. He married about 1680 in Watertown, Middlesex County, MA.
593. Hannah Lawrence, born 24 March 1661/62 in Watertown, Middlesex County, MA; died after 1726 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA. She was the daughter of 1186. George Lawrence and 1187. Elizabeth Crispe. Children of Obadiah Sawtell and Hannah Lawrence are: Nathaniel Sawtell (1681-1742); Elnathan Sawtell (1683-1717); Ephraim Sawtell (1685-1768); Josiah Sawtell (1687-1690); Hephzabeth Sawtell (1689-????); Esther Sawtell (1690-????); Josiah Sawtell (1691-1752); Zachariah Sawtell (1693-1730); Hannah Sawtell (1695-????); Abigail Sawtell (1697-1787); Mary Sawtell (1699-1766); Obadiah Sawtell (1701-1749); Hezekiah Sawtell (1703-1779).

1184. Richard Sawtell, born before 07 April 1611 in Aller, Somerset, ENGLAND; died 21 August 1694 in Watertown, Middlesex County, MA. He married about 1637 in Watertown, Middlesex County, MA.
1185. Elizabeth, born in ENGLAND; died 18 October 1694 in Watertown, Middlesex County, MA. Children of Richard Sawtell and Elizabeth are: Elizabeth Sawtell (1638-1692); Jonathan Sawtell (1639-1690); Mary Sawtell (1640-1665); Hannah Sawtell (1642-1723); Zachariah Sawtell (1643-1692); Bethia Sawtell (1647-1714); Obadiah Sawtell (1648-1741); Ruth Sawtell (1650-1720); Richard Sawtell (1653-1676); John Sawtell (1655-1700); Enoch Sawtell (1656-1742).

2368. John Sawtell, born about 1570 in Aller, Somerset, ENGLAND. He was the son of John Sawtell and Agnes. He married 09 October 1599 in Aller, Somerset, ENGLAND.
2369. Agnes Pittard. Children of John Sawtell and Agnes Pittard are: John Sawtell (1600-????); Dorothy Sawtell (1602-????); Robert Sawtell (1604-????); Henry Sawtell (1605-????); Elizabeth Sawtell (16067-????); Ann Sawtell; Richard Sawtell (1611-1699); Thomas Sawtell (????-1651); Elizabeth Sawtell (1621-????).

Are there any Sawtell cousins out there, especially descendants of Josiah and Hannah (Smith) Sawtell? I don't know for sure who the parents are of Hannah Smith - I think they are Joshua and Hannah (Baldwin) of Raby, NH, but have no evidence.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Using GenSmarts - Post 2: First Looks

I received a copy of the latest version of the GenSmarts family tree analysis software last weekend - see CGSSD Program Review - Aaron Underwood - GenSmarts for my summary of the meeting. GenSmarts is a Windows only computer program.

In the first post, I demonstrated the "File Open Wizard" that gets a genealogy database file (in my case, from Family Tree Maker 16) into the GenSmarts program.

The same database will open every time you start GenSmarts until you select a different database. It remembers where the database is located, and uses the latest version of the database.

In this second post, I want to explore the opening screen and some of the program tabs. The GenSmarts program opens to the master "To-Do" tab list:

This screen has the list of research helps for everybody in the database. For my file of over 39,000 persons, it found over 169,000 research helps. I highlighted a research help for a person on the list (Abbie Ardell Smith [5138] (Carringer) ) and information for that particular research help appeared in the bottom panel of the screen above (labelled "Explanation"). We'll explore items in the "Explanation" area a bit later in this post.

I wanted to obtain research helps for one particular person, so I clicked on the "My Genealogy" tab and saw this list of all of the persons in my tree, listed alphabetically, last names first:

I entered "carringer, david" into the "People" search box, and two matches came up in the left-hand panel. I clicked on my second great-grandfather, David Jackson Carringer [5150] (note the number 5150 is the RIN number of the person in my database), and a narrative summary of the known Facts about him appeared in the right-hand panel, as shown below:

I double-clicked on David Jackson Carringer's name on the list above, and all of the research helps for his family appeared in the top panel. There were 71 suggestions for this search, which included himself, his parents, his spouse and his children.

I clicked on the first suggestion - for "Mercer [County] Pennsylvania Marriage Records for Heinrich Henry Carringer [5154] and Sarah Feather [5155], David Jackson Carringer's parents. The "Explanation" section in the bottom panel has a number of information items about this record and how it might be found (two screens below)

There are text areas in the "Explanation" section in the bottom panel (in the two screens above) for:

Researching the Mercer Pennsylvania Marriage Records makes sense because he was married in BEF. 1825 in Mercer County, PA.

Missing Source
This suggestion is important because it appears to be either a source for an event where you have no sources, or because there is a high probability that it will be an additional source to what you currently have.

Some background on Heinrich Henry Carringer [5154]: He was born on 6-JUN-1800 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA, and he died on 10-AUG-1881 in Columbus City, Louisa County, IA. He married Sarah Feather [5155] on BEF. 1825 in Mercer County, PA, and had the following children: Eliza [2575] (1827), David [5150] (1828), George [2576] (ABT. 1832), Cornelius [2577] (1834), Mary [2578] (1835), Sarah [2579] (ABT. 1837), Henry [2580] (ABT. 1839), Louisa [2581] (ABT. 1842), Matilda [2582] (1845), and Harvey [2583] (ABT. 1848). His parents were Martin Carringer [5169] (b. ABT. 1758 in prob. PA, d. 25-JAN-1835 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA), and Mary Magdalena Molly Hoax [5170] (b. ABT. 1768 in MD, d. 31-AUG-1850 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA).

Finding Aids
Here is a recap of some of the people and places that might be involved in searching a Marriage Records
Person:Carringer, Heinrich
Spouse:Sarah Feather [5155]
Inlaws:Cornelius Feather [5165] and Mrs. Unknown [15231]
Parents:Martin Carringer [5169] and Mary Magdalena Molly Hoax [5170]
Brothers:Johann Jacob Carringer [5171], George Carringer [5174], Soloman Carringer [5176], and Joseph Carringer [2584]

Research Locations
This record can be researched at the following location:
1) Salt Lake City UT
This information might be found on 1 Microfilm at the Family History Library. The volumes for these are:
MF Roll: 383437 Title:Will abstracts and vital records of Mifflin and Mercer Counties, 1793-1880
The internal GenSmarts inventory id for this record set is 14673.

The information above summarizes why I might want to find this particular record, notes that I'm missing a source for the marriage, provides a concise list of the relatives of this person, provides some finding aids, and provides a specific research location for the particular record.

Frankly, I have never seen that particular specific microfilm for will abstracts and vital records of Mifflin and Mercer Counties, 1793-1880. It may well have this record.

I can go down each item on the list of 71 suggestions and see what research ideas that GenSmarts offers.

How can I keep track of all of these suggestions - what have I already researched and found, or not found, what ones should I plan to search for, etc.? In the next post, we'll explore how we can code the research suggestions in the To-Do tab list to organize our research.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of GenSmarts from Aaron Underwood, the developer of GenSmarts. I made no commitment to him to review the program or say nice things about it. The opinions expressed in this post are solely my own based on my own experiences. Contest - Travel Money Plus...

Jeanie Croasmun's post today on the Blog is titled See Grandpa’s Homeland – On Our Dime. From her post about the Ultimate Family History Journey Sweepstakes.

"Grand prize should cover your trip, regardless of your family’s place of origin — $20,000 in travel cash. Don’t know where they’re from? That’s covered too: you get genealogy and local experts to help you out. And if, after visiting, you tire of that family line, you can easily switch to researching another since the grand prize winner and five of his or her family members score annual World Deluxe subscriptions to, gratis.

"The sweepstakes is running in conjunction with the series Who Do You Think You Are? which airs Friday nights on NBC beginning March 5. And like all good contests, there are some official rules to read before tossing your cappello in the ring. Rest assured that your chances are even better since, as an employee of, I can’t actually enter to win. But you can – and often: once each day now through April 30.

"Enter the sweepstakes and learn more at"

Hmmm, Where do I want to go...England, Germany, Holland, Norway, New England, Wisconsin, where? Uh oh, guess I need to win the prize first. Then I could add a really neat section to my family tree, and to my "Genealogy Vacations" presentation as well.

Entering the contest is painless - name, address, email, phone, birthdate, and check the box that says you've read the Terms and Conditions (the link is the same as the main T&C page). You do become a registered user of too (I wonder what happens to those of us who already are?). And if you refer one or more of your friends (name and email address), you get a bonus entry in the Sweepstakes. Cool.

Wouldn't it be neat if they announced the winner on the last Who Do You Think You Are? episode? Uh oh, entries are open to 30 April, last show is scheduled for 23 April. It would be even neater if they did a show around the winner of the contest - you know, a "regular person" who has ancestry just as interesting and challenging as the celebrities on the show.

I need to make my updated to-do list and add the contest link to my list for every day until 30 April! Wonder how I can do this when I'm Down Under next month?

SCGS Genealogy Jamboree Brochure is available

The 20-page brochure of the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS) Genealogy Jamboree was released yesterday.

Paula Hinkel summarized the brochure in her blog post Jamboree Program Available for Download on the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree blog.

The PDF brochure can be downloaded here.

There are some interesting events scheduled for the 2010 Genealogy Jamboree, including:

1) Two Blogger Summit events on Saturday, 12 June:
*** 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. - SA-034 Blogger Summit Part 1: From Novice to Reader to Blogger in Sixty Minutes. (Doerflinger, MacEntee, Midkiff, DearMYRTLE, Seaver). Watch as the mystery of genealogy blogs is revealed before your very eyes. You’ll learn what blogs are as well as how to read blogs to find genealogy research leads. Finally, you’ll see how easy it is to create a blog in under 5 minutes! [BI].
*** 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - SA-042 Blogger Summit Part 2: Now that You’re a Genealogy Blogger. (Cooke, Dardashti, Doyle, MacEntee, Manson). So you have a blog? Now what? Learn how to make blogging fun with tips from our panel of expert genealogy bloggers. You’ll learn about keeping posts fresh, making blogging beneficial to your genealogy research and possibly profitable as well, with tips on marketing your blog. [I]

2) There are a number of Mini-courses and Computer Labs (limited seating, free), including:
*** Blogger for beginners (Thomas MacEntee)
*** WordPress for beginners (Thomas MacEntee)
***Using Excel in genealogy (Sam Ward) - two sessions
*** Using your computer, video camera and YouTube (Elyse Doerflinger)
*** Writing your family history using Microsoft Word (Rhonda McClure)
*** Skype - the cool new way to talk to the grandkids (George G. Morgan)
*** Google Docs for beginners (Thomas MacEntee),
*** Using Google Earth to map your ancestor's home (Anne Miller)
*** Platting your ancestor's land (Anne Miller, David Armstrong)
*** Second Life: a new world of online genealogy (DearMYRTLE)
*** FindaGrave (Cheri Mello)
*** Scanning tips and tricks (Andrew Pomeroy)
*** Google Reader for beginners (Drew Smith)

And lots more - 13 time slots with eight or nine presentations, plus breakfasts, luncheons and evening dinners with interesting speakers. And the exhibit hall too!

See all of the presentation schedule and the speaker biographies in the brochure.

I've heard nothing yet about special genealogy blogger activities - I'm sure that Thomas MacEntee is planning something, probably with a lot of help from a number of geneablogger-conspirators!

This is the premier genealogy conference in Southern California each year, which had about 1,500 attendees last year. The Genealogy Jamboree is a wonderful experience - I'm going to enjoy attending this one and hope to see many of my genea-blogging colleagues (we had 35 last year!) and Genea-Musings readers there.

Follow Friday - MoSGA Messenger

It's Follow Friday - my chance to highlight one of my favorite genealogy blogs from my list of over 600 that I read using Bloglines.

This week, my choice is the MoSGA Messenger blog edited by Tom Pearson:

This is the official blog of the Missouri State Genealogical Association, and has been providing information to Missouri ancestor seekers since November 2007.

Tom Pearson takes a totally different tack on this blog from almost every other genealogy blogger. He usually writes a short one or two line summary and posts a link to the topic. While some posts concern Missouri genealogy research and MoSGA events, most of them are of general genealogy and history interest.

For me, this blog provides many useful genealogy and history links in one place. I love browsing through the posts and clicking the links. I find many unique resources and interesting articles using the MoSGA Messenger blog.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How Deep?

My latest Digging for Answers column in the Graveyard Rabbits Online Journal is posted here.

The question this month was: How deep must bodies be buried to prevent health problems and/or scavenging?

You already know the answer right? But why is it that deep?

Read the column for the answers.

Using GenSmarts - Post 1: Loading a Database File

I received a copy of the latest version of the Gensmarts family tree analysis software last weekend - see CGSSD Program Review - Aaron Underwood - GenSmarts for my summary of the meeting. GenSmarts is a Windows only computer program.

I loaded it immediately, and worked in it a bit on Sunday. In this series, I am not going to do a comprehensive review of every feature - just some posts to help a reader get started and to understand how the program works and how it can be used effectively to help researchers find genealogy resources.

In this first post, I want to give my readers some idea of the setup of the software after it is installed. There is a "File Open Wizard" that opens when it is time to load a genealogy database file:

In Step 2, this wizard lets the user choose the program for which the database is available - the choice is Family Tree Maker (.FTW, .FTM), PAF 5 (.PAF) , TMG (.pjc, .TMG), RootsMagic (.RMG, .RMGC), Legacy (.FDB), Ultimate Family Tree (.UFT), Brother's Keeper 6 (folder), Ancestral Quest (.AQ), Ancestry Family Trees (.AFT), and Other Programs (.GED, need a GEDCOM file).

I chose Family Tree Maker. The Step 3 window lets the user choose whether to find the database file by browsing or letting the program search for the database files. I chose to browse myself, and quickly found my database in my computer folder:

The Step 4 window tells me that it found my file:

When I clicked on the "Finish" button, my FTM database started loading. My file has over 39,000 persons now, and it took over two minutes to load. Here is the progress screen about half way through the database load:

In the next post, I'll explore how to use some of the major tabs on the GenSmarts screen.

There is a GenSmarts manual (PDF format) here. However, it is mostly text and doesn't show screen shots of the features. GenSmarts also has a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page here.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of GenSmarts from Aaron Underwood, the developer of GenSmarts. I made no commitment to him to review the program or say nice things about it. The opinions expressed in this post are solely my own based on my own experiences.

"Faces of America" Profiles and Family Trees

After three episodes of the PBS series, "Faces of America," hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., I was curious if there were family trees posted on the PBS site, or any other website, for the twelve subjects of the series.

During the show, we see a family tree depiction briefly when an ancestor is highlighted. So they must have the family tree documented to put in the book handed to each subject.

The PBS website for "Faces of America" has profiles for each of the subjects, but does not have a family tree posted. The profiles for each subject are here:

* poet and professor Elizabeth Alexander,
* chef Mario Batali
* comedian Stephen Colbert
* novelist Louise Erdrich
* journalist Malcolm Gladwell
* actress Eva Longoria
* musician Yo-Yo Ma
* director Mike Nichols
* Her Majesty Queen Noor
* television host/heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz
* actress Meryl Streep
* figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.

Are there family trees published online for each of these persons? If so, where?

I have watched all three episodes, and have seen very little about Elizabeth Alexander, Malcolm Gladwell, Mike Nichols, Queen Noor, and Mehmet Oz. They have been introduced, but I don't recall an in-depth interview, opening the book, and ah-ha moments for them. Perhaps they will be featured in the fourth episode.

Other genealogists have commented that the show doesn't dwell on the research process performed for these celebrities. They receive a book of the collected research, and sit with Gates to learn of their ancestry. Gates goes to the foreign countries, not the subjects. Some of the subjects do visit American ancestral places - Eva Longoria and Meryl Streep did in the third episode. However, Gates was the one who went to China to find Yo-Yo Ma's genealogy - how much better would it have been for Yo-Yo Ma to go along?

Treasure Chest Thursday - Richmond Obituaries

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

I was fortunate that my Aunt Geraldine (Seaver) Remley was the Seaver/Richmond family historian. She received all of the artifacts, papers and photographs when her mother, Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver died. One of the papers had four newspaper articles pasted on one piece of paper:

The articles are:

* An obituary for Julia (White) Richmond, wife of Thomas Richmond, who died 4 October 1913 in Putnam, Connecticut. I don't know which newspaper it was clipped from, and have not been able to find it in an online newspaper database.

* An article about a Bible donated to St. Phillips Episcopal Church in Putnam in honor of Juliett (White) Richmond.

* An obituary for Thomas Richmond, who died 9 November 1917 in Clinton, Massachusetts. I don't know which newspaper it was clipped from, and have not been able to find it in an online newspaper database.

* An obituary for James H. Richmond, the youngest son of Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond, who died in late 1913 after his mother's death.

Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond are one set of my great-grandparents. In each case, this information is most of what I know about the lives of these persons.

Do you keep an obituary file for obituaries of family members and close friends? I have not, and I should have over the past twenty years. Fortunately for me, my mother kept the Carringer stash of family papers including obituaries, and Aunt Gerry did the same on the Seaver family.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ancestry Magazine Article: Ten Places You Didn't Think to Look

The Ancestry Magazine blog had an article today titled 10 Places You Didn’t Think to Look that links to a PDF with the same title.

While some of the 12 items are fairly well-known, there may be some ideas and suggestions to help researchers up against the research brick wall.

I printed it out and put it in my genealogy bookbag just in case I need something to read while I'm waiting somewhere.

Even though Ancestry Magazine will cease publication soon, I hope that they leave the existing digital issues on their website so that researchers can find the useful articles there.

Active World Archives Projects

I was curious about the status of the World Archives Project. This is a volunteer effort by users, and participating organizations like genealogical societies, to index genealogy and family history records. The World Archives Project summary page is here.

The Active World Archives Projects include (with notations about Easy, Average or Advanced Skills required, and the percentage complete):

1) Available (The "Available" project list means that a project is available for download for keying or arbitration):

* Tarjetas Postales Antiguas de Mexico (Mexico Historical Postcards) -- Easy -- 38%
* Canada Historical Postcards (Les Cartes Postales du Canada ) -- Easy -- 71%
* Michigan Passenger and Crew Lists, 1902-1954 -- Easy -- 54%
* Les Cartes Postales de la France(France Historical Postcards) -- Easy -- 38%
* N. California Naturalization Indexes -- Easy -- 88%

* Dictionary of National Biography, Volumes 1-20, 22 -- Advanced -- 51%
* Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Piemonte, Italia: Registri di Matrimonio e Morte, 1866-1937 (Italy: Marriage and Death Records) -- Advanced -- 96%
* Värmland, Sverige: Husförhörslängder, 1694-1895 (Värmland, Sweden: Household Examination Records) -- Advanced --1%
* Lübeck Volkszählung 1851 (Lübeck Census 1851) -- Average -- 63%
* Lübeck Volkszählung 1857 (Lübeck Census 1857) -- Average -- 36%

* Lübeck Volkszählung 1862 (Lübeck Census 1862) -- Average -- 7%
* Pavia, Lombardia, Italia: Registri di Matrimonio, 1866-1937 (Registers of Marriage) -- Advanced -- 7%
* Pavia, Lombardia, Italia: Registri di Morte, 1866-1937 (Registers of Deaths) -- Advanced -- 14%
* Varese, Lombardia, Italia: Registri di Matrimonio, 1866-1937 (Varese Marriage Registrations) -- Advanced -- 3%
* Varese, Lombardia, Italia: Registri di Morte, 1866-1937 (Varese Death Registrations) -- Advanced -- 10%

* New York, U.S. Naturalization Records - Original Documents, 1795-1972 -- Average -- 10%
* California, U.S. Naturalization Records - Original Documents, 1795-1972 -- Average --33%
* Pennsylvania, U.S. Naturalization Records - Original Documents, 1795-1972 -- Average -- 31%
* Jacksonville, Florida Area City Directories -- Average -- 59%
* Cartoline storiche d'Italia (Italy Historical Postcards) -- Easy -- 80%

* British Postal Service Appointment Books -- Average -- 45%
* RI, NJ, CT - Returns from US Military Posts, 1800-1916 -- Advanced -- 5%
* IL, MI, IN - Returns from US Military Posts, 1800-1916 -- Advanced -- 10%
* VA, WV, NC, SC - Returns from US Military Posts, 1800-1916 -- Advanced -- 11%
* TX - Returns from US Military Posts, 1800-1916 -- Advanced -- 12%

* KS, NE, OK - Returns from US Military Posts, 1800-1916 -- Advanced -- 6%
* CO, ID, NM, UT, MXB - Returns from US Military Posts, 1800-1916 -- Advanced -- 3%
* CA, HI, AK - Returns from US Military Posts, 1800-1916 -- Advanced -- 1%
* Tax & Rent Records Perth, Scotland -- Advanced -- 1%
* Valuation Registers Perth, Scotland -- Average -- 12%

* UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books, 1802-1849 -- Average -- 5%
* Ohio State Directories, 1902-1933 -- Average -- 62%
* Lorain County, Ohio, City Directories, 1903-1960 -- Average -- 39%
* Canada, Nominal Rolls and Paylists for the Volunteer Militia, 1872-1914 -- Average -- 2%
* New South Wales, Australia, Police Gazettes, 1854-1930 -- Average -- 7%

* London, England, School Admissions and Discharges, 1841-1911 -- Average -- 5%
* Sydney and New South Wales, Sands Street Index, 1861-1930 Part 2 -- Average -- 67%
* Buffalo Soldiers, Returns from Regular Army Cavalry Regiments, 1866-1916 -- Average -- 7%
* Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves, 1936-1938 -- Average -- 47%

For most of these databases, the images are already online at and are available for browsing through the images. Since the indexes have not been completed, a general search will not find matches in these databases.

The list above changes regularly, so check back on the Ancestry World Archives Project page for regular updates.

The page also has several other categories:

2) Unavailable (The "Unavailable" project list contains projects that aren’t available for keying or arbitration because all of the image sets have been checked out. Projects on this list may re-appear on the Available list as image sets are rejected or expire without being keyed.):

* Southern California Naturalization Indexes -- Easy -- 100%
* NYC Naturalization Indexes -- Easy -- 100%
* Washington and Montana Naturalization Indexes -- Easy -- 100%

3) In Processing (The "In Processing" list contains projects that have completed keying and arbitration by the community. These projects are now being worked on by the Ancestry team to prepare the indexes and images to go live on the site as searchable, indexed databases.).

4) Live (The "Live" project list contains links to all projects keyed by the World Archives contributors that are live and searchable on the site.).

This is a very worthwhile volunteer indexing project and there can be significant rewards on for those that key a lot of entries. Read more about the Ancestry World Archives Project here.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 92:Carringer House in 1926

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 picture of the Austin and Della Carringer house situated at 2105 30th Street in San Diego in the year 1926. The entry way is on the northeast corner of the intersection, and by 1926 the street was paved and the concrete sidewalks were installed. The landscaping around the house is fairly mature - and the palm tree in the front yard is growing.

For comparison purposes, the same house viewed in the late 1890s is shown here. The house was moved to the middle of the block, on the east side of 30th Street, in late 1926 or early 1927. A view of the house after the move is shown here. The lower flat address is 2115 30th Street and the upper flat address is 2119 30th Street.

This house is still there, but it is really difficult to ascertain that it once was a gingerbread Victorian!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So what happens to DynasTree family trees?

Earlier this month, announced the acquisition of OSN ( which included the DynasTree family tree website. With this acquisition, became the largest international website dedicated to families (With 13 million family trees, 47 million members and 530 million profiles).

But quite a few researchers had family trees on the DynasTree website. What happens to those trees? I have not seen any press release, announcement or blog post answering the question posed above.

As a DynasTree family tree owner, I received an email the other day from DynasTree and MyHeritage telling me what would happen. Here is what it said:

" is being moved into, and our team is merging with the team of For the next 6 months, until August 18 2010, your data will still be on, and you can view it and export it to your personal computer, but it cannot be edited any more. The data has also been safely and securely placed on its new home at, and this is where you should go from now on to continue to use it and grow it. All family tree data has been transferred, including the family tree information, photos, albums, tags, members, etc. Family pages and unaccepted invitations were not transferred.

"On you will find a similar site for growing your family tree and sharing family photos, with several exciting new benefits for you to enjoy.

"As a bonus of this merger, if you had a paid Premium status on, you receive a Premium status on for free until December 31 2010, even if you had bought Premium for only 1, 3 or 6 months on You will not be billed automatically on; your payment info was not even transferred to

"If you were not a Premium member on, don't worry. We have decided to give all trees on an unlimited capacity of individuals and a photo storage capacity of 2GB for free, without any time limit. This is because family trees did not have a capacity limit on and promised its users that this would remain free. So even though the usual business model has a family tree capacity limit of 250 individuals and 250MB of storage on the free plan, these limits do not apply to the trees imported to We are giving you this gift because we have listened to many requests and feedback from users on this matter. This means you will be able to keep your family tree on and continue to grow it regardless of its size, without having to pay anything. You can still decide to purchase a Premium subscription on for extra premium features. Please note that no family trees on have ever reached a 2GB storage capacity and if you wish to exceed this storage on, the PremiumPlus subscription will provide you unlimited storage.

"We have also decided to give you gifts as part of this merger, that you have never enjoyed before, for free:

• You can now do unlimited PDF chart exports on for free
• You can now generate unlimited ancestor and descendant list PDFs on for free
• You can now do a GEDCOM export with photos for free

" has free benefits. PDF charts are free on, and so are family statistics and family tree hints (Smart Matches). All of those were Premium-only features on When a user buys a Premium subscription on, all his/her family members automatically enjoy Premium status for free. now has more than 540 million profiles in family trees ( contributed 100 million profiles). This allows better matches between trees so you are likely to receive free matches soon with other family trees, and you will be able to make new discoveries or find relatives you may not have known before.

" has many new features that did not have yet, such as:

• better facilities for uploading photos: upload multiple photos at once, import from Facebook, even upload photos from email or mobile devices or enjoy cool photo slideshows
• automatic tagging of people in photos with face recognition technology
• sharing of videos and documents
• a powerful home edition software called Family Tree Builder that is free and synchronizes with your online family tree

"There is an interactive Timeline, a beautiful Timebook, enhanced family tree statistics, support for 35 languages and many more features. We're sure you'll enjoy this!

"Some features that has and are missing on will find their way to soon. The Family Crest Builder for example has already been moved. So you can expect to become the best of both. Not each and every feature that had, will be available on It is a different platform, but we will do our best to listen to requests and ensure that the important aspects are available on, to keep you happy. Some features are missing only temporarily. For example, poster printing on will be available in the next few months. For more details on features that are available or missing, see our blog.

"Privacy is very strictly enforced on, none of your data is accessible to anyone except you and your family members; whoever could see your data in can see it on You are the owner of your data and you can ask for it to be deleted at any time from, just like it was on The privacy policy is very similar; you can view the privacy policy here. is a very good steward for your data, it was founded in 2003 and it was trusted by 36 million users worldwide even before the merger with, and now there are 47 million users on the combined platform.

"IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Terms and Conditions of the service are now about to change. This serves as an official notice of 30 days in this matter, which will end on March 18, 2010. The previous Terms and Conditions were found here and the new Terms of Conditions of are found here. You have the right to object to the change and to the transfer of the data to in this case, send an email to, describe your request, and your account and data will be fully deleted from immediately, and you will receive an email confirmation. It is not possible to continue working on as the site is being discontinued in 6 months. If you were a paying member of and are unhappy with the changes, you may contact and you will receive a full refund.

" strictly protects the privacy of your information, and in addition to the 100 million profiles of, it is the home for 440 million additional profiles contributed by its other users, in Europe, the USA and all over the world. is financially robust, it is funded by two of Europe's strongest investors - Accel Partners and Index Ventures (the investors of Facebook and Skype), and it has raised more than $24 million since its foundation in 2003, in total six times more funding than You can see a photo of the MyHeritage team and read about its management team.

"To sum up:

• You may export your family tree with the photos, from the family tree settings on
• You may write to with any questions or if you want your data to be deleted.
• It is difficult to move 11 million users and 100 million profiles. There were problems with the migration for some users, many of which we have already been fixed, like the way last names of married women were displayed. Please be patient and give us a bit more time, our engineers are working hard to provide a smooth transition. You should also allow yourself some time to get used to the new service on, as some aspects of the service are different.
• If you are one of the 600,000 users who had an account on before, note that your family tree was added to your existing ones, so when you log on to MyHeritage, you will have the choice to visit the former sites or the new one from
• If this still wasn't enough info, you can read through the press release that we have issued.

"Our goal is to build the best international platform for family trees on the Internet and we hope to keep you as a satisfied customer for many years to come.

"Sincerely, The combined team of and"

I am very pleased that DynasTree and MyHeritage have worked together to combine the assets of both companies and websites. In my case, I had free accounts on both sites, but with two different databases. I clicked on the links above to go to my MyHeritage site and both of my family trees are there. That means that other researchers can search them and perhaps find a common ancestor or two - and then contact me to share information.

Thank you, DynasTree and MyHeritage!

UPDATED: Edited 24 February to eliminate links to my own database on MyHeritage.

GenerationMaps Announces Family ChArtist

The Generation Maps website and Janet Hovorka's The Chart Chick blog have announced the pending release of Family ChArtist - a new website to help you quickly and easily create beautiful genealogy charts.

The press release can be read at Family ChArtist--Release Date and Press Release on The Chart Chick blog. The website will be demonstrated at the St. George (Utah) Family History Expo this coming weekend, and will be released to the public on 8 March 2010.

Mark Tucker has created an eight-minute YouTube video introducing Family ChArtist, demonstrating some of the features, and providing a how-to tutorial for getting started on the program. The video can be watched here on Janet's blog, here on Mark's ThinkGenealogy blog, and here on YouTube.

I look forward to testing the site and making some free charts. And eventually having Janet create some really big ancestral charts for me. I'm still in the research and "fixing my database" process - it seems endless!

Is this why they came to San Diego?

Once there were roads, and railroads west, my Carringer, Smith and Auble ancestors moved westward with alacrity.

My Carringer line went from Pennsylvania (1795) to Iowa (1859) to Colorado (1873) to San Diego (1887). My Smith line went from New York (1790s) to Wisconsin (1843) to Iowa (1867) to Missouri (1873) to Kansas (1875) to Nebraska (1885) to San Diego (1895). My Auble line came from New Jersey (1750s) to Indiana (1865) to Illinois (1890s) to San Diego (1911).

My Seaver line came from Massachusetts (1600s) to San Diego (1940). My father drove across the country in three days. He always claimed he was tired of shoveling snow for his sisters.

Why? Land? Opportunity? Jobs? Weather?

Perhaps the weather? Winter in all of those places without indoor plumbing must have been chilling. Of course, there were always chamber pots, but someone had to dump them. And where could the man who wanted to have a few minutes of peace and quiet away from the family to read the paper go?

What Does It Take To Be A Successful Genealogist?

The Genoom blog occasionally asks bloggers questions about genealogy - this month the question was What Does It Take To Be A Successful Genealogist?

Megan Smolenyak, Miriam Midkiff, Leland Meitzler and Randy Seaver offered some ideas.

What do you think? What would you add to the list? Please comment on the Genoom post.

My thanks to Bob Samii of Genoom for asking me to participate and for printing my response.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ancestry - NEHGS "Family History Day" a Smashing Success

I was 2,500 miles away from the genealogy event of the weekend - the "Family History Day" held in Boston on Saturday, 20 February, hosted by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) and Tom Champoux, the NEHGS Marketing Director, passed along some notes and photos from the event:

"New England Historic Genealogical Society and are extremely pleased and thrilled to announce that Boston’s first “Family History Day,” held Saturday, Feb 20th at the Westin Copley Place hotel brought in more than 700 people from all across New England and New York.

"Registrants had opportunities to listen to talks by both and NEHGS." Here is a picture of Rhonda McClure's talk on "Organize, Organize, Organize:"

"Registrants also had an opportunity to sign up for 15-minute, 1-on-1 consultations with expert genealogists from NEHGS and APG-New England Chapter. In the end, more than 500 consultations were given by more than 30 professional genealogists."

The book sales tables were a big hit:

"They were also invited to bring in family papers, documents, and photographs for free scanning into electronic format. Ancestry tells us that they scanned more than 2,000 documents and photos for about 125 people – breaking Ancestry’s all-time record for one day of scanning."

Tom's overview:

"It was a remarkable day, in that we organized the entire event in mid-December, giving us about 2 months of planning time to pick a venue and create the day’s events. Ancestry was incredibly pleased that we were able to help bring 700+ people to the hotel for the day. It should be worth noting that we had another 300 people on a wait-list, and the hotel received more than 150 additional phone calls from people wanting to register."

My thanks to Tom Champoux for forwarding his comments and the pictures.

It may well be that one-day events like this - held in a population center with a nominal registration fee ($30 in this case) - are the future of big-city genealogy conferences. Whether two speaker sessions or 60, it makes a lot of sense to me. There are no airfare, hotel, banquet, and other costs for the attendees - and it seems like the attendees got their money's worth with the speakers, book sales, scanning sessions and consultations. You do need a host society to organize it, a venue large enough to accommodate everybody, and corporate sponsors to offer events like the scanning services and consultations. has held several similar events over the past year, including this past January in San Diego which was a major success. Many local and regional societies sponsor one-day seminars and conferences to "feed the hunger" of their local researchers and members.

I think that genealogy researchers are "hungry" for opportunities like this, even in a "genea-resource-rich" place like Boston.

Genea-Musings made the Top 40 Blogs list

Congratulations to all of the genealogy blogs that made the Family Tree Magazine's list of the Top 40 genealogy blogs. You can see the list in Diane Haddad's The Genealogy Insider post titled Announcing the Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs.

The Family Tree Magazine article, which will be published in the May 2010 issue, can be read at Fab Forty by Maureen A. Taylor.

Maureen said this about Genea-Musings:

"Legions of fans love longtime super-blogger Randy Seaver’s news updates, software and website reviews, family tributes, personal research reports, society meeting recaps, weekly Best of the Genea-blogs lists and more. On weekends, you can join in his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun blogging prompts—it’s on many a blogger’s calendar of can’t-miss events."

I appreciate the legions of fans that voted for Genea-Musings as one of the four best All-Around genealogy blogs, and thank Maureen for capturing the essence of Genea-Musings in 60 words or less! It would have taken prolix me about 200 words, I fear!

For me, there were no real surprises to the Top 40 list. I read each of those blogs and appreciate the talent and creativity of the writers. Of course, there are many more genealogy blogs that have wonderful posts on a regular basis that could have made the Top 40 list.

The one quibble I have is that Maureen credited footnoteMaven with being The Graveyard Rabbit blogger (she isn't, Julie Cahill Tarr keeps things running there, and should get credit for it) in the Shades of the Departed blog description, and the "Weekend with Shades" online magazine has been replaced with the "Shades - the Magazine" monthly online magazine. I understand that the blog world often moves quicker than a magazine deadline allows! Hopefully, these small errors can be corrected in the magazine.

The article also has good advice for those that want to start writing a genealogy blog - select the right name, be kind to your readers, understand copyright laws, stay on topic and ask permission to use family pictures.

Amanuensis Monday - Martin Carringer's Will

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 is the will of my 4th-great-grandfather, Martin Carringer (1758-1835), who died on 25 January 1835 in (then) Sandy Lake township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

The will of Martin Carringer reads (from Mercer County, Pennsylvania Will Book, Volume 2, Pages 33-34, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,878,967):

"In the name of God, amen. I Martin Carringer of Sandy Lake township Mercer County and State of Pennsylvania being old and infirm in body though sound in mind and memory do make and publish this my last will and testament. And first I commit soul to God who gave it and my body to be buried in a decent and becoming manner. Next, it is my will that my funeral expenses and lawful debts be paid first out of my worldly substance.

"Next I give and bequeath to my son Henry one hundred and fifty acres of land laid off the east end of the plantation whereon I now live including my improvements except the back room where I now live which I reserve for the use of my beloved wife Mary as long as she shall live. Also he is to provide all necessaries of life for her and keep her decently as long as she lives and to her in a horse and saddle and two cows for her use and privilege to take what fruit she pleases for her own use. The horse and cows to be Henry's at her death. Also I give her all her household furniture, beds and clothes to be at her disposal, also he is to keep four sheep for her use as long as she lives.

"Next I give to my son George the residue of the aforesaid plantation also a lot in the town of Greenville, the choice to be decided by putting the numbers four which I own into a hat -- and he to draw the first ticket and the no. he draws to be his lot. Next I give to my son Joseph two hundred acres of land lot No 965 in the fifth district donation land in said county.

"Next I give to my son Jacob one hundred acres of land on which he now lives. Next I give my three daughters Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary each a lot in the town of Greenville, the choice to be decided as above directed. Next I direct my son Joseph to sell a lot of land which I own in the state of Ohio and keep the proceeds provided he loses the land above named and if he holds the land the money to be equally divided among my three daughters above named. Next I constitute and appoint my son Joseph and Francis Beaty to be executors of this my last will and testament.

"In testimony hereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this third day of March eighteen hundred and thirty."
............................................................. Martin Carringer (seal)

"Signed and sealed in presence of Henry Williamson, David Beaty Mercer County.

"This fourth day of Feby 1835 personally appeared before me, Samuel Holstein registrar for the probate of wills in and for said county, Henry Williamson and David Beaty the subscribing witnesses to the annexed will who after being duly sworn according to law did depose and say that they were present and saw the testator Martin Carringer sign the annexed will and heard him acknowledge the same to be his last will and testament and that at the time of his so doing the said Martin Carringer was of sound mind, memory and understanding to the best of their knowledge and belief. Registered Feb 14th 1835. Saml Holstein register letters testamentary issued so dis. to above executor."

I note that only seven children - Henry, George, Joseph, Jacob, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary are listed in the will. Son Solomon is not listed, and I have no other record of him. The daughter Calli (listed in the family Bible pages found in Martin Carringer's Revolutionary War Pension File) is not listed by name either. I don't have any other data for a daughter Mary - I wonder if Calli was known by Mary at some point in time.

I have not looked for the land records for the lot in Ohio (perhaps Trumbull or Warren Counties?) or the lots in Greenville. I do have a copy of the 1860 plat map for Perry County that shows the residences of George, Joseph, Henry and Cornelius Carringer on or near the Martin Carringer donation land.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"An Ancestry of African-Native Americans" article in Smithsonian Magazine

The current online issue of The Smithsonian Magazine has an article titled "An Ancestry of African-Native Americans" by Katy June-Friesen, dated 17 February 2010, with an extensive interview of author and genealogist Angela Walton-Raji talking about her African-Native American ancestors that were slaves of Choctaw Indians in the South and freed in Indian Territory in 1863.

Angela talks about her start in family history research, saying:

"I was inspired to begin the research because it’s part of my family history. I’m originally from western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, right there on the border. My great-grandmother Sallie Walton was born in Indian Territory, in the Choctaw Nation. She died in 1961 – I knew her very well. She was my babysitter until I went to kindergarten. [Her Choctaw heritage] was widely known in terms of family history. And growing up in a city such as Fort Smith, Arkansas … if you’re on the north side of the city, you can look at the Cherokee Nation, and if you’re on the south of the city, the bordering community is the Choctaw Nation.

"I did have in my possession some family papers – a small land allotment record from [Sallie] that she had obtained from the Dawes Commission. I had been doing genealogy for many years but was curious, “Gee, is there more information out there to be found?” I really didn’t know what there was to find. So when I moved to the Washington, D.C., area and had access to the National Archives … I went and started looking and found family records, and I was just amazed."

Read the entire, two-page, article - it is inspiring, and an example of how digging deeper into family papers and government records can bring our ancestors to life, and can help all Americans understand our collective history.

CVGS Program on 24 February - "Wrong Name, Right Man - Right Name, Wrong Man"

The February 24th Program Meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society features a presentation by Margaret Lewis titled “Wrong Name, Right Man – Right Name, Wrong Man.” The meeting is from 12 noon until 2 p.m. in the Chula Vista Civic Center Library Auditorium (365 F Street in downtown Chula Vista).

The program description and Margaret's CV include:

"This program concerns names and their variations. Genealogists often disregard valid information for an ancestor because of the way a given name or surname is spelled. Surnames were spelled by literate record takers primarily by sound, and the spelling of a particular name would vary depending on who was speaking and who was translating the sound into written form. Record takers would spell names as they heard them. In this talk, African-American names, Native American names, Hispanic names, translated or abbreviated names, first and middle names, senior and junior, nicknames, initials for names and traditional naming patterns will be discussed.

"Margaret Lewis is the Vice President of the San Diego African American Genealogy Research Group (SDAAGRG). She is a compelling and influential voice in the genealogy community and advocates for the study of Family History. Her genealogical specialty is in Military and Slave Research. She is known for her boundless enthusiasm, and has provided genealogical workshops and presentations in California, Arizona and Nevada.

"Her love for genealogy is expressed through her many published articles, and a family poem “Ancestral Roll Call.” Margaret volunteers as a contributor to the Find-A-Grave web site transcribing obituaries and family photos. She is also a consultant at the San Diego Family History Center on Thursday evenings as a Consultant on African-American Genealogy.

"Margaret was honored with an “Outstanding Community Service Award” by the Lambda Kappa Mu Sorority, Alpha Gamma Chapter, for her contributions to African-American Genealogy Research. She is a certified member of the International Society of Sons and Daughters of Slaves Ancestry and the Daughters of the Union Veterans Nancy Hanks Lincoln Tent #5, and a member of the Ninth and Tenth Horse Cavalry Association of the Buffalo Soldiers."

Please enter the auditorium through the conference room door (on the east hallway at the library) in order to register your presence, pick up a handout, buy an opportunity drawing ticket, and have a snack before the meeting. Refreshments will be available after the meeting in the Conference Room.

For more information about this program, or about the Chula Vista Genealogical Society, please contact Barbara (email, phone 619-477-4140).