Saturday, March 6, 2010

SNGF - The Stars of My WDYTYA? Show

My entry for this week's wonderful Saturday Night Genealogy Fun mission suggested by some Top 40 genea-blogger is to:

1) Pretend that you are one of the subjects on the Who Do You Think You Are? show on NBC TV.

Okay - the charming and personable, yet humble, star of this week's WDYTYA? show is none other than unknown Chula Vista, California genealogist and family historian, Randy Seaver!

2) Which of your ancestors (maximum of two) would be featured on your hour-long show? What stories would be told, and what places would you visit?

The life of Devier James Lamphear Smith (1839-1894) would be told in its entirety, highlighting:

* An adopted child of Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith in Jefferson County, NY. Who were the parents?

* Moving with his family to Dodge County, Wisconsin, and growing up in his father's "Four Mile House" hotel and working in his own livery business. Officially changes his name from Lamphear to Smith after adoptive father writes his will.

* After the railroad comes to town, he moves with his wife and young children to Taylor County, Iowa, then to Andrew County, Missouri, then to Concordia, Cloud County, Kansas, and finally to McCook, Red Willow County, Nebraska. In these years, several more children are born, and several children die. He proves his father's will in Andrew County, Missouri.

* The "Four Mile House" hotel that Devier grew up in Dodge County, Wisconsin is a living history museum building at Old World Wisconsin in Eagle, Wisconsin.

* Starts a livery business in McCook, but is also an inventor, a snake-oil salesman and a land speculator.

* Buys land in Wano, Cheyenne County, Kansas and builds a ranch. Daughters star in prairie melodramas in a small playhouse, which leads to the wedding of darling daughter Della to Austin Carringer. Writes family information in the family Bible.

* Death in McCook and burial there.

I would visit all of the above named places, plus the Family History Library and the Wisconsin State Historical Society. I hope that the professional genealogists, sparing no expense, can find the names of Devier's birth parents, land records in all of those places, and a probate record in McCook.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your own WDYTYA?

Hey genea-people - it's Saturday Night, time for more Genealogy Fun!!

You outdid yourself last week with the posts about the "If You Won the contest."

Tonight's mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1) Pretend that you are one of the subjects on the Who Do You Think You Are? show on NBC TV.

2) Which of your ancestors (maximum of two) would be featured on your hour-long show? What stories would be told, and what places would you visit?

3) Tell us about it on your own blog, in comments to this blog post, or in a Note or Comment on Facebook.

I will post mine in a separate blog post on Saturday night (of course!) - after my full day at the Escondido Family History Fair.

Surname Saturday - BUCK (of Massachusetts)

On Surname Saturdays, I am posting family lines from my own ancestry. I am doing this in Ahnentafel order, and am up to number #39, who is Sophia Buck (1797-1882).

My ancestral line back through the eight generations of my Buck ancestral 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)

38. Thomas J. Newton (ca 1795-????)
39 Sophia Buck
, born 03 May 1797 in Holden, Worcester County, MA; died 06 January 1882 in Westborough, Worcester County, MA. She married (1) Lambert Brigham before 22 February 1817 in Sterling, Worcester County, MA. He was born 07 June 1794 in Westborough, Worcester County, MA, and died about 1831 in prob. Sterling, Worcester County, MA. He was the son of Phineas Brigham and Lydia Batherick. She married (2) Thomas J. Newton before 1832 in probably Worcester County, MA. He was born about 1795 in ME. She married (3) Jonathan Stone 07 July 1862 in Westborough, Worcester County, MA.

78. Isaac Buck,
born 27 September 1757 in Southborough, Worcester County, MA; died 07 February 1846 in Sterling, Worcester, MA. He married 18 May 1780 in Lancaster, Worcester County, MA.
79. Martha/Patty Phillips, born 20 August 1757 in Shrewsbury, Worcester County, MA; died after 1820 in probably Sterling, Worcester County, MA. She was the daughter of 158. John Phillips and 159. Hannah Brown.

Children of Isaac Buck and Martha Phillips are: Polly Buck (1782-????); Silas Buck (1784-1863); Pliny Buck (1789-1874); Martha Buck (1791-????); Sally Buck (1794-????); Sophia Buck (1797-1882); Isaac Buck (1807-1871); Leander Howe Buck (1810-????).

156. Isaac Buck, born About 1732 in prob. Wilmington, Middlesex, MA. He did not marry.
157. Mary Richards, born 27 September 1733 in Southborough, Worcester, MA. She was the daughter of 314. Joseph Richards and 315. Mary Bowden.

Child of Isaac Buck and Mary Richards is: Isaac Buck (1757-1846).

312. Isaac Buck, born about 1706 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA; died 19 May 1780 in Framingham, Middlesex, MA. He married 03 December 1729 in Reading, Middlesex, MA.
313. Ruth Graves, born 10 January 1709/10 in Lynn, Essex, MA. She was the daughter of 626. Thomas Graves and 627. Ruth Collins.

Children of Isaac Buck and Ruth Graves are: Thomas Buck (1730-????); Isaac Buck (1732-????); Esther Buck (1734-????); Susanna Buck (1736-????); Ebenezer Buck (1738-1827); Joseph Buck (1740-????).

624. Ephraim Buck, born 13 July 1676 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA; died January 1720/21 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA. He married 01 December 1696 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA.
625. Esther Waget, died before 19 December 1748 in Wilmington, Middlesex, MA.

Children of Ephraim Buck and Esther Waget are: Sarah Buck (1697-????); Hester Buck (1700-????); Ephraim Buck (1702-????); Susanna Buck (1705-????); Isaac Buck (1706-1780).

1248. Ephraim Buck, born 26 July 1646 in Cambridge, Middlesex, MA; died January 1720/21 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA. He married 01 January 1670/71 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA.
1249. Sarah Brooks, born 21 November 1652 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter of 2498. John Brooks and 2499. Eunice Mousall.

Children of Ephraim Buck and Sarah Brooks are: Sarah Buck (1674-1734); Ephraim Buck (1676-1721); John Buck (1678-1678); John Buck (1680-1752); Samuel Buck (1682-????); Eunice Buck (1685-????); Ebenezer Buck (1689-1752); Mary Buck (1689-????).

2296. Roger Buck, born about 1617 in ENGLAND; died 10 November 1693 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA. He married about 1640 in Cambridge, Middlesex, MA.
2297. Susanna, born about 1618 in ENGLAND; died 10 September 1685 in Cambridge, Middlesex, MA.

Children of Roger Buck and Susanna are: Samuel Buck (1643-1690); John Buck (1644-????); Ephraim Buck (1646-1721); Mary Buck (1649-1669); Lydia Buck (1650-????); Ruth Buck (1653-1683); Elizabeth Buck (1657-????).

4592. William Buck, born About 1585 in ENGLAND; died 24 January 1656/57 in Cambridge, Middlesex, MA.

Child of William Buck is: Roger Buck (1617-1693)

I've written about Isaac Buck (1732-???) and Mary Richards in two posts titled "Isaac Buck in the Woodpile - Part I" and "Part II."

Are any readers and genea-bloggers descended from William Buck and Roger Buck? There were several other Buck families in the mid-1600s in New England.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are? Episode 1 Recap

Tonight I watched with much anticipation the first episode of the new NBC-TV series, Who Do You Think You Are?

My hopes were that the show would show genealogy and family history research in a positive way, and that the actual documents and the search process would be shown realistically. The first hope was met - Sarah Jessica Parker participated in the research to some extent, was very enthusiastic and emotional during the episode, and was a good first subject. My second hope was only partially met - and that was because they don't have enough time to show the actual research process and all of the documents, so they picked the "low hanging fruit" of Sarah's Gold Rush miner and accused Salem witch.

For a summary of the episode, check out the blog post titled Who Do You Think You Are? Episode 1 – Sarah Jessica Parker by Heather Erickson.

Anastasia Tyler, the Public Relations Manager, sent an email with useful information - Thomas MacEntee published it in his post on the Geneabloggers blog titled The Research Process for Sarah Jessica Parker’s Genealogy.

Many geneabloggers wrote comments about this episode. Thomas MacEntee collected them into the post Who Do You Think You Are? Episode 1 Review on the Geneabloggers blog.

My grade for this episode was a B+. I want to save a little room for a really outstanding episode.

I also had hoped that in the first episode that they would say just a bit about the family tree, show - for example, "if you go back 10 generations that each of us has potentially 1,024 ancestors in that generation and 2,047 overall, and we're going to show you only some of them due to time constraints," and show a family tree graphic. Then at the end of the show, I hoped that they would show the ancestors they focused on in relation to the rest of the family tree. Not everybody who watched the show will understand that, and will think that all they have to do is go down to the library, log onto and find notable ancestors hanging from the family tree.

My wife watched this episode in the bedroom - and when I went in to ask her if she enjoyed it, she was peacefully snoozing all warm and toasty under the covers. Surely she didn't miss the Salem witch documents, did she? I'll have to ask her in the morning what she liked about the show, and if she saw the records of the Salem witch being executed. :)

Using GenSmarts - Post 4: Research Locations

I received a copy of the latest version of the GenSmarts family tree analysis software last month - 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. In the second post, I explored two of the program tabs - the "To-Do List" and "My Genealogy File" tabs. In the third post, I demonstrated using the To-Do list for a specific person.

In this post I'm going to demonstrate how the user can determine which records might be found in which research library or website using GenSmarts "Research Locations" list for a specific person.

I'm still working with the David Jackson Carringer family. From the last screen, I clicked on the "Research Location" tab, and saw a list of research facilities and libraries in the top left box on the screen. I selected the "Family History Library" from the list. In order to find suggestions for David Jackson Carringer, I typed "david jackson" into the search box below the list of locations:

The program found seven suggestions for David Jackson Carringer - I highlighted the first one above and the right side of the screen showed me the FHL microfilms for Mercer County PA land records. With a research location selected, and a specific record selected from the list, the program usually shows information about that record at the research location. Sometimes, the program shows only the address of a research library and no further details.

If I had had more than one person with the words "david jackson" in their name, the program would have provided me with all of the suggestions. I initially had a hard time getting results here, and had to retype at least a part of the name for each locality.

What if I had typed in "d.j." which is part of the name in my database? I did that, and it
gave me the same seven suggestions:

D.J. Carringer is RIN number [5150] in my database - I found it works to input just this number (enclosed by brackets) to get information for a specific person in my database:

The above method of using the RIN number may be the best way to isolate suggestions about a specific person in the database. Note that the program uses the person's name in the database, not in the actual records. If I were to search on or for David Jackson D.J. Carringer, I would have to use all of the tips in my bag of search tricks to find him in the records.

This method of finding which records for a given person are in which research location is fairly cumbersome. The user has to go one-by-one in the Research Location list to find results. The should be a way to get information about:

* A specific person in all research locations
* A selected number of persons (e.g., all of a surname, all in a family, all in an ancestral group, or all in the database) in one research location

There are several better ways to do this task, and I'll demonstrate them in one of the next posts.

Fearless Females - March 5: How did they meet?

The Fearless Female blog prompt for today is:

March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

Did you read my post yesterday - Treasure Chest Thursday - "I'll be out to see you" - and wonder how my father met my mother?

Here's the next chapter of the story.

My father, Fred Seaver, arrived in San Diego just before Christmas 1940 and lived for awhile with the George and Emily (Richmond) Taylor family (Emily was Fred's Aunt, sister of Fred's mother), which included their daughter's family, Marshall and Dorothy (Taylor) Chamberlain and their daughter Marcia. They lived at 4601 Terrace Drive in the Kensington community of San Diego. Fred got a job with his cousin-in-law, Marshall Chamberlain and eventually moved into an apartment.

My mother, Betty Carringer, graduated from San Diego State College in June 1940 and embarked on a public school teaching career, starting at Woodrow Wilson Junior High (on El Cajon Boulevard in San Diego, about one mile from Terrace Drive) in September 1940, teaching English and Art. She resided at her parents home at 2130 Fern Street in San Diego, about four miles from the school (I'm sure that she took the bus, since she never drove or had a license).

Dorothy (Taylor) Chamberlain (1904-1988) told the story about how Fred met Betty every time we visited her in her later years:

"After some time, Fred announced at the dinner table 'I need a girl friend.'

"Marcia, age 14 at the time and attending Wilson Junior High School, said 'I know a nice teacher. I know her from my Art class.'

"Fred sent flowers to Betty through Marcia, they had a miniature golf date in Balboa Park with the Chamberlains as chaperones, a romance blossomed, resulting in their marriage in July 1942."

Dorothy would tell this story each time we would take her on an outing in her later years, and I always wondered about the truth of it. So I asked her daughter, Marcia, about it. Cousin Marcia wrote several letters to me about her memories of my father, after he arrived from New England in December 1940, that describe this event.

So that's the story - he wanted a girl friend, sent flowers, and romance bloomed in San Diego.

Follow Friday - Creative Gene

It's Follow Friday - time for a look at one of my favorite blogs.

The Creative Gene blog is authored by Jasia, the beautiful and mysterious photographer from Detroit and now St. Joseph, Michigan. Jasia is of Polish ancestry, and claims that her ancestral research is completed.

Jasia's Creative Gene blog was started in March 2006, and is best known for hosting almost all of the Carnival of Genealogy. There have been 90 editions of this Carnival, comprised of genealogy-related blog posts on a specific topic, published twice a month (starting summer 2006). In the early days of genealogy blogging, the Carnival was the main "community-building" event for genea-bloggers. The really neat thing about starting and participating in the Carnival was that the topics emphasized family history, photographs and stories and we all got to know each other as colleagues and friends rather than as competitors. Jasia did it!

But Creative Gene is more than the Carnival of Genealogy - on her blog, Jasia shares her family stories and comments on genealogy research. Jasia is one of the genea-bloggers that I haven't met in person, but she's on my genea-blogger bucket list! Of course, I won't recognize her, unless she's holding her camera up to her face.

If, by some chance, you don't have Creative Gene on your blog reader, please go visit and add Creative Gene to your reading. You will totally enjoy her blog.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book Review: Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are? The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History, by Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and published by Viking/Penguin Group, was released today to the public, and is available on Amazon Books in hard-cover book and Kindle format, and in major bookstores.

The book is a companion guide to the NBC Television series Who Do You Think You Are? that starts on March 5 and runs through 23 April (8 p.m. EST/PST, 7 PM CST/MST) in seven episodes. The episodes feature celebrities Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Susan Sarandon, Lisa Kudrow, Spike Lee, Brooke Shields and Emmitt Smith.

For genealogists, the profiles of the celebrities is interesting and fine examples of genealogy research. However, the celebrities are not the major part of this book. Each one has two or three pages that summarizes their heritage and their ancestral search. All of that will be covered in the television series, of course.

The real purpose of this book is to provide a basic introduction to genealogy research for readers/viewers who are interested enough in their own ancestry to buy or borrow the book. The book contents include:

* Preparing for your ancestral hunt - start with what you know, go on a treasure hunt, talk to the folks, organize and chart your findings, don't believe everything you hear, and all about names.

* What resources are online? - a brief review of,,, USGenWeb and rootsweb,,, and, government records, Google, libraries, archives, societies, ethnic, magazines,,,,,,,, genea-bloggers (7 of them, not Genea-Musings), and several social networks.

* Chapters about the Census Records, Military Records, Vital Records, Military Records, Immigration and Naturalization Records, other records (brief summaries for church, newspapers, court, cemetery records), and DNA testing.

The "Sleuthing in Action" chapter describes Megan's research on President Obama's Irish roots and finding the "real Annie Moore" as success stories.

The last chapter is "Passing it On" - advice to ancestry-seekers on how to protect, preserve and share the results of their sleuthing.

* There is no index in this 204 page book, but it is laid out very clearly and probably doesn't need one.

Throughout the chapters, Megan uses illustrations of records for famous people (arts, politics, and her own family) to demonstrate the record types and their value. These are really interesting, and made the book intriguing for me - I could hardly wait for the next illustration! Online resources are mentioned in every chapter, but the reader is advised that many records are not yet online.

In summary, this is a very readable genealogy tutorial book which beginning genealogists can use to get them started in their research. Intermediate genealogists will find it useful for the up-to-date treatment of repository and online records. Advanced and experienced researchers will not find anything to help them with specific research problems or new methodologies. The book is intended to be a "getting started" or "get going again" tutorial and succeeds.

It would be excellent as the first genealogy book on the shelf of a new researcher trying to learn the methodology and record types involved in genealogy research. It should be on every library's genealogy book shelf and on their circulation shelf too! It would be very helpful as a guide book for a beginning genealogy class sponsored by a library or a genealogy society.

Wouldn't a DVD with the book set be great as a birthday or Christmas gift for a grandparent or adult child to try to get them interested in family history?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in the mail earlier this week, through Megan Smolenyak's good efforts. I have received no money or other remuneration (not even a mention in the book) for writing this review. I really liked this book (could you tell?), and hope that it educates many new genealogists!
UPDATED 6:30 p.m. - added a line about advanced genealogists in response to Mary's comment.

I'm Puzzled by DNA Claims on "Faces of America"

UPDATED 5 March, 10 p.m.: Blaine Bettinger on The Genetic genealogist blog has posted an accurate summary of the DNA tests and discussions shown on this show. Please see his post titled Faces of America and Genetic Genealogy Testing. I really got some of the details wrong in my original post - my apologies. The lesson learned here is "take notes." Thank you, Blaine!

I watched the four episodes of "Faces of America" on PBS over the past four Wednesday nights - and tried really hard to follow what was said by the subjects, by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and by the analysts. I realized last night that I should have taken notes...

I agree with some other genea-bloggers that the episodes were disjointed - each episode had a common theme and not every subject was included in each episode. While we saw glimpses of the "family tree" of the subjects, the research process was not the focus - the theme for each episode was the focus, and the subjects "just sat there and emoted" in brief video clips about the family history book compiled for them. Gates essentially played the "revealer of ancestral truths" and really enjoyed the role. How much better would the show have been if the subjects had been able to accompany Gates to the ancestral homelands rather than just see pictures and read from their book?

Last night, there were at least three sets of DNA results provided to almost all of the subjects (Louise Erdrich refused to have DNA tests done).

The first was the Knome "Know Thyself" company that does a full human genome on subjects. They performed and analyzed this for Henry Louis Gates and for his father. There have been only 50 or so individual genomes sequenced so far because of the complexity and the costs. For me, the most impressive result from this application was the ability to see which genes were inherited from Gates' mother and from his father.

The second DNA test result shown was the Autosomal test, wherein the company 23andMe (I think!) analyzed the subjects' DNA and estimated the percentage of European, Asian, and African genetic makeup for each subject. The most useful result is probably identifying the potential medical problems inherited from your ancestors.

The third set of tests was the most intriguing to me, mainly because some of the results did not make sense. I believe that the text compared the DNA of each pair of subjects, and claimed that some of them had a common ancestor within the last 250 years (less than ten generations). Was this the 23andMe's Relative Finder test? The results that made little or no sense to me were:

* Steven Colbert and Elizabeth Alexander were matched - the intrigue for me wasn't because Stephen is "100% white man" according to the tests, or that Elizabeth was 66% European, it was that there would be a match in the last 250 years. I guess it's possible that one or more of Elizabeth's slaveholding ancestors came from the same family as one of Stephen's colonial American, French or Irish ancestors, but it seems a stretch to me. I would understand 500 years or 1,000 years.

* Yo-Yo Ma and Eva Longoria were matched - the intrigue here for me is that Yo-Yo's ancestry is 100% Chinese - he is the emigrant...which means that one of Eva's ancestors had to come from China in the last 250 years and from Yo-Yo's ancestral families. I can see it if the claim is 2,000 years past, or maybe even 1,000 years past. Eva had 27% Asian (including Native-American) ancestry, so there should definitely be some link, but 250 years is just not believable to me.

* Was the third pair Mario Batali and Meryl Streep? Mario is 100% Italian heritage, and Meryl had a significant English and colonial American ancestry, but we didn't see much of her European heritage lines. While there were some Italian immigrants before 1800 into America, I doubt that these two have a common ancestor in the past 250 years. Again, within 1,000 years, probably no doubt.

These comparisons were made by comparing the autosomal DNA collected from the subjects.

I am not an expert in the DNA and genetic subjects, and I hope that some of my genea-blogging colleagues who are experts in DNA and genetics can sort this out for me. I used Google to try to see if there was information about the test comparisons but the subject must be too new, or my Googling skills too primitive, to help me this afternoon.

As a genealogist, I would like to see the family trees, and the DNA Autosomal results, posted along with the profiles on the Faces of America website.

UPDATED 4 p.m. Martin set me straight on Meryl Streep and Mike Nichols in comments...Streep has Dutch Jewish heritage. He also said that Alexander's mother was white, so perhaps there is a realtively close connection with Colbert. So Alexander's mother's ancestry should be findable, as should Colbert's, if they are American cousins. But probably not if they're Irish cousins. The puzzler for me is still Ma-Longoria. Thanks for the help, Martin.

Treasure Chest Thursday - "I'll be out to see you"

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to "show and tell" a goodie from the ephemera, papers and artifacts collected over several lifetimes by members of the Seaver and Carringer family trees.

Today the adage that "There are things that happen in a second that take a lifetime to explain" rings loud and clear with this letter from my Father, Frederick W. Seaver, dated 18 December 1940, to his aunt and uncle, George and Emily (Richmond) Taylor in San Diego:

Fred wrote this from Columbus, Ohio on 18 December 1940, and he said that he hoped to arrive on Sunday, 22 December. This was going to be a big surprise to the Taylor family, of course! He had the foresight to warn them, at least. Here is the face of the envelope:

At least he sent it air Mail! I wonder when it arrived? Probably December 20 or 21.

Why did Fred leave New England? There are two stories. The "official" story is that he got tired of shoveling snow at his sister's house. The "non-official" story, the one told by his sisters and their daughters - every one of them - is discussed in A Challenging Moral Dilemma.

This decision by my father to drive west to San Diego , for whatever reason, changed his whole life. He ended up 2,500 miles away from the only family he'd ever known, yet he never went back. He didn't know what the future held - work, marriage, children, military service, interests, retirement, sickness, death. But I'm happy that he made it to San Diego and that the rest is history. See what I mean by "There are things that happen in a second that take a lifetime to explain?"

In many cases, genealogists and family historians don't have an explanation of how or why our ancestors migrated from one place to another. In some cases, there are immigration records so we can pin down a date, but we often cannot pinpoint a year, or a month in a year, when a migration took place.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fearless Females - March 3: Unusual Names

The Fearless Female blog prompt for today is:

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

No, I don't share a first name with any of my female ancestors. My first 15 female first names in ahnentafel order are:

3. Betty Virginia Carringer - my mother
5. Alma Bessie Richmond
7. Emily Kemp Auble
9. Hattie Louisa Hildreth
11. Julia White
13. Abbie Ardell Smith
15. Georgianna Kemp
17. Lucretia Townsend Smith
19. Sophia Newton
21. Hannah Rich
23. Amy Frances Oatley
25. Rebecca Spangler
27. Abigail A. Vaux
29. Sarah G. Knapp
31. Mary Jane Sovereen

The only "fairly different" name in that group is Lucretia (1827-1884), the second wife of Isaac Seaver.

There are some "fairly different" names back about seven generations from me - Content Tucker (1695-1738) who married Benjamin Wing (1698-1776) in Bristol County, Massachusetts; and Renewed Smith (1717-????) who married Daniel Carpenter (1712-????) in Washington County, RI.

I guess my ancestors were not very adventurous or original in naming their daughters! Frankly, I would love to have any ancestor named in my collection of Census Whacking names just so I could say that I'm descended from one of them!

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 93: Catherine Buntin

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:

The name of Catherine Buntin is written on the back of this picture, and the photographer's name on the front of the card is Sexton in Bushnell, Illinois.

Catherine Buntin was born in May 1897 to Henry S. and Anna (Auble) Buntin, their third child (after sons David and Henry). The family is enumerated in the 1900 US Census in Bushnell, McDonough County, Illinois. In the 1910 census, Anna is a widow and the three children are still living with their mother. The child in this picture appears to be about age 1 or 2 (she can sit up and smile for the camera!), so the picture was likely taken in 1898 or 1899.

Anna Auble (1860-????) was the daughter of David and Sarah (Knapp) Auble, and was born in Newark, New Jersey. The Auble family moved to Terre Haute, Indiana before 1870, and David Auble (1817-1894) died there. I don't know where Sarah died, but it may have been in McDonough County, Illinois. Anna Auble is the sister of my great-grandfather, Charles Auble (1849-1916), who married Georgianna Kemp (1868-1952) and had one daughter, Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977), my maternal grandmother.

So Catherine Buntin, and her brothers, were first cousins of my grandmother. I have not followed the Buntin children yet - I might be surprised to find some third and fourth cousins still living. And if it is daughters of daughters then there might be a mitochondrial DNA lead for this female line. I hadn't thought of that before!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Retention of 2010 US Census Data

There have been several blog posts in recent weeks about possible destruction of the 2010 US Census - e.g., Save 2010 Census - no images to be preserved on the Cape Cod Genealogical Society blog. Dick Eastman posted 2010 Census: No Images to be Preserved? expressing doubt that that was the case. The fear was that the actual census forms submitted by residents were not going to be preserved after the statistical data was obtained from them, and that genealogists would not be able to access any information about their ancestors.

The blog post NARA and the 2010 Census on the NARAtions blog by Paul Wester today seems to put those fears to rest. It states:

* The 2010 census is planned as an all-electronic census which will affect the format in which permanent records are preserved. The Census Bureau will scan the respondent questionnaires as part of its business process for compiling the census. The draft schedule calls for the permanent retention of the scanned digital images. These scanned images are the 21st century equivalent to the microfilm copies of census forms generated for previous decennial censuses.

* In addition, the Census Bureau is also proposing permanent retention for the unedited file containing response data, with linkage information to the scanned images. This means that once the census is opened to the public 72 years from the enumeration date of the 2010 census, genealogists will have two means of searching for their ancestors. They can search the database, which will contain all the data (including names and addresses) from the respondent forms. They can also use the database to locate and retrieve images of the forms themselves.

That seems very clear and concise - the 2010 census forms will be preserved in a digital format and there will be a digital index of the pertinent response data. And it will be made available in 2082. Case closed?

Fearless Females - March 2: Ancestral Photo

The Fearless Female blog prompt for today is:

March 2 - Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

I couldn't resist showing two of the absolute favorite females in my life (there are now seven of them!). This picture is of my mother, Betty Virginia Carringer, born in 1919, and her mother, my grandmother, Emily Kemp (Auble) Carringer, born in 1899.

This picture was taken in 1930 according to a note on the back of the photograph. Betty was age 11 and Emily age 31. Emily is younger in this picture than my two daughters are now. I look at my daughters and say "Wow, what beautiful and wonderful women they are." And then I think - "No wonder, they are descended from these two women, and from my wife and her family too."

I selected the photograph because it shows the beauty, innocence and hope of my mother and grandmother at this point in their life. At this time, their life was pretty good - they had a home of their own, Betty's father was working as an accountant, three of Betty's four grandparents were living on the same block in San Diego, and they had a fine set of friends and relatives. They did not know what life held for them - about the Great Depression, World War II, marriage, births, deaths, education, occupations, interests, social events, etc.

1000 Years of Family History in 37 Minutes?

The Mormon Times website has an article today titled A thousand years of family history in 37 minutes by Emily Schmul. The article highlights a 37 minute YouTube video (in four parts) put together by Clayton Brough, the current President of the Richard Brough Family Organization.

There is a transcript of the video on the Richard Brough Family Organization on their website.

I am genea-smacked by two things about this organization and the video created by it.

1) Look at the Richard Brough Family Organization website. What a wonderful tribute and work of family history by a group of family historians. Absolutely wonderful. What a great example of what can be done when a family organization works together.

2) The video and script are absolutely beautiful! What a story to be able to hand to their children, grandchildren and future generations.

I admit to being impressed by family history efforts such as this. Are there other works similar to this one? There are many family history associations and organizations available for membership and participation - but I fear that their activities are not as well attended or supported as they were in the past, before the Internet explosion of genealogy.

Hat tip to Dianne Simpson @FamilyTree101 who posted about this on Twitter this morning. Nice find!

Tombstone Tuesday - Rebecca (Towne) Nurse (1621-1692)

I ran out of gravestone and tombstone pictures of my own several months ago, so I am reduced to finding pictures of my ancestors' graves on the Internet. Surprisingly, there are quite a few, especially of my early colonial New England ancestors.

Rebecca (Towne) Nurse (1621-1692) was hanged in 1692 after being accused and convicted of being a witch during the Salem witch trial hysteria in Salem Village (now Danvers), Massachusetts.

Rebecca is buried on the Nurse Homestead in Danvers in an unmarked grave. There is a memorial standing in the homestead burying ground that commemorates her life. You can see pictures of the memorial on the Find-A-Grave web site here. There are pictures of all of the graves in the Nurse Homestead burying ground on the GraveMatters web site here.

The Rebecca Nurse Homestead graveyard web page is here.

The two sides of the memorial read:

Rebecca Nurse
Yarmouth, England
Salem Mass
O Christian Martyr
who for Truth could die
When all about thee
owned the hideous lie!
The world redeemed
from Superstition's sway
is breathing freer
for thy sake today

Accused of Witchcraft
She declared
"I am innocent and God will
clear my innocence!"
Once acquitted yet falsely
condemned She suffered
death July 19, 1692
In loving memory of her
Christian character
even when truly attested by
forty of her neighbors
This monument is erected
July 1885

Rebecca (Towne) Nurse is one of my 9th great-grandmothers. My line from her to myself is (with Ahnentafel numbers for the direct line):

1. 2395 Rebecca Towne (1621-1692) m. 1644 Francis Nurse (1618-1695)
2. 1197 Sarah Nurse (1648-????) m. 1669 Michael Bowden (1651-1740)
3. 598 Michael Bowden (1673-1741) m. 1697 Sarah Davis (1676-1754)
4. 299 Mary Bowden (1705-????) m. 1726 Michael Bowden (1703-1748)
5. 149 Mary Richards (1733-????) and Isaac Buck (ca1730-????)
6. 74 Isaac Buck (1757-1846) m. 1780 Martha Phillips (1757-1820)
7. 37 Sophia Buck (1797-1882) m. ca 1833 Thomas J. Newton (????-????)
8. 18 Edward Hildreth (1831-1899) m. 1852 Sophia Newton (1834-1923)
9. 9 Hattie L. Hildreth (1857-1920) m. 1874Frank W. Seaver (1852-1922)
10. 4 Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1940) m. 1900 Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)
11. 2 Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1983) m. 1942 Betty V. Carringer (1919-2002)
12. 1 Randall J. Seaver (1943- )

Are any Genea-Musings readers also descended from Rebecca (Towne) Nurse (1621-1692)? I think that there are several. Tell me in comments.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Using GenSmarts - Post 3: To-Do List Actions

I received a copy of the latest version of the GenSmarts family tree analysis software last month - 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. In the second post, I explored two of the program tabs - the "To-Do List" and "My Genealogy File" tabs.

In this post I'm going to demonstrate how the user can keep track of their research using the GenSmarts To-Do list for a specific person.

At the end of the second post, I had created a To-Do List for a specific person - my second great-grandfather, David Jackson Carringer. There were 71 suggestions in the To-Do list, including items about his parents, his spouse and his children.

In the screen below, the Mercer County PA Marriage Records "suggestion" for David's father, Heinrich Carringer is highlighted. There are a number of small icons to the left of the suggestion in the list, including: Available Online; Available Online (Fee); Missing Data; Missing Source; Direct Ancestor Root; Direct Ancestor; Found; Not found; Plan to Search; Ignore; and Revisit Later. Every entry in the To-Do list may have some of these icons. The first six icons are created by GenSmarts based on the content of the genealogy database. The last five are user-selected based on the status of their research.

I have a choice of actions to make for each one of the To-Do List items for the specific person using the five buttons (Found; Not found; Plan to Search; Ignore; Revisit Later). For the Mercer County PA Marriage Records "suggestion," I clicked on the "Not Found" button and the red icon (a box with an X) appeared next to that item, as shown below:

I clicked on "Not Found" for the second item too, and for the third item - the 1850 US Census record for David Carringer, I clicked on the "Found" button because I have already found that resource. The green icon (a box with a check mark) appears next to the item (see below):

I can go down the list of 71 items clicking on the correct box to my heart's content. In the screen below, I clicked "Plan to Search" for the Colorado Land Patent for David Carringer:

Over on the right of the screen, under the list of icons, is a box that has "Available Online" highlighted in Bold IF the item is online. The screen above indicates that the Colorado Land Patent database is online, so I clicked on the "Available Online" link and saw:

A separate window opened for the BLM General Land Office records website and the program filled in the blanks for State = Colorado, Last Name = Carringer and first Name = David, as shown above.

I clicked on the "Search" button and this screen appeared:

No matches were found in the Colorado Land Patents for David Carringer. I went Back a page and put First Name = Jackson" with no matches, and then searched for no First Name, and there were no matches for my David Jackson (or D.J.) Carringer.

I closed the BLM GLO website window and clicked the "Not Found" button for that item (see below):

I worked my way through the entire list of 71 suggestions clicking the buttons based on my knowledge of the research for David Carringer.

I want to create a shortened To-Do list for the "Plan to Research" items on the list and take that to a repository. In the next post we'll take a look at the Repositories on the list with "Plan to Research" items for David Carringer.

I mentioned before that the GenSmarts program loads your genealogy database every time you start the program. It remembers any of the Actions you took (Found, Not Found, etc.) even if the database was modified after the last time it was used in GenSmarts.

Do you see how powerful this program can be? It can be used to organize your research for specific persons and/or at specific repositories (e.g., the Family History Library,, etc.).

I know that the screens above are fairly hard to read unless you click on them, but you should be able to follow my actions by reading the text descriptions. You can click on the figures and see them fairly clearly.

Fearless Females - Abigail (Vaux) Smith

The Fearless Female blog prompt for today is:

"March 1 — Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check."

My "favorite ancestors" are usually the ones that overcome hardship and persevere throughout their life.

I had thought of saying that my "favorite female" was Della (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944) because I know so much about Della and her life because of the ephemera and papers I have from the Treasures in the Closet, including her 1929 daily journal.

However, I'm going to say that it is Abigail (Vaux) Smith (1844-1931), daughter of Samuel and Mary Ann (Underhill) Vaux, wife of Devier J. (Lamphear) Smith (1839-1894), and mother of Della (Smith) Carringer. Abbie is my second great-grandmother on the maternal grandfather's side of my ancestry. I posted Abbie (Vaux) Smith for the Carnival of Genealogy two years ago and haven't added much, if any, information to that available then. I ended that article with:

"What a life. Abby experienced so many joys, sorrows and hardships that I can hardly imagine them. She moved her household at least eight times and probably more. She observed and experienced travel improve (?) from coaches and wagons to steamships and railroad trains to automobiles and trolleys to airplanes. She witnessed communication improve from letters to telegraph to telephone to radio. She lived on farms, in towns, on a ranch, and in a growing city.

"She "worked" in the house to the end of her life - doing the things that she learned to do at her mother's knee and taught her daughters to do.There are big gaps in my knowledge about Abby's life - I don't have any letters from the 1860 to 1887 time frame, or from about 1900 to 1929. The Letters from Home and Della's Journal are just short moments in time - snapshots of life in a place and time. But they are precious to me and invaluable to my family history.

"What a life! How I wish she had left some memoirs - they would be worthy of a book."

Since I wrote that article, I discovered the Devier and Abby (Vaux) Smith photograph from the 1870 time frame in my treasure boxes.

What other records could I look for? I'm not really sure. The 19th century and early 20th century wives are almost always ignored in the public records unless there is a scandal or a recordable event like a deed, death or estate probate. I have Abbie's death certificate - it provided the maiden name of her mother - Mary Ann Underhill.

The one record that might exist that I have not searched for is a probate record for Abigail (Vaux) Smith in San Diego County - I need to do that in the near future (as well as probate records for several other families that died in San Diego).

Celebrate Women's History Month - blogging prompts

March is National Women's History Month, and author/geneablogger Lisa Alzo (The Accidental Genealogist) has written the post Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month to help us celebrate the month, and write about our fearless female ancestors.

Lisa has listed thirty-one blog prompts for geneabloggers to use to tell their readers about special women in their ancestry.

Here is the prompt for March 1 (today):

"March 1 — Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check."

Please go read Lisa's blog post to see all of the prompts.

Nice work, Lisa!!

Amanuensis Monday - Inventory of Robert Seaver (1702-1752) Estate

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."

I am enthralled (and sometimes perplexed) by the estate property inventories prepared as part of the probate process. Some are very short (written on one sheet of paper), and some are extensive (taking several pages to list each piece of property). One that is relatively short, but instructive, is that of Robert Seaver (1702-1752), my 6th great-grandfather.

Robert Sever, bricklayer of Narragansett No. 2 (now the town of Westminster, west of Fitchburg in Massachusetts), died in early 1752 intestate (Worcester County Probate Records, Packet 52,920, accessed at Worcester County Courthouse in 1991). Robert's wife, Eunice (Rayment) Seaver was appointed administratrix. An inventory was taken by Oliver Wilder, David Hoar and Joseph Miller on 26 September 1752. The inventory included (listed in pounds:shillings:pence format):

The Real Estate ............................................................................. 66:13:04

To Personal Estate:
To one note of Hand 8/ & to apparel 24/........................................... 1:12:00
To bedding and furniture 40/ To 2 chests one old Corboard 8/ ........ 2:08:00
To five old chairs one old Table 5/ To one spining wheel 6/ ............... 0:11:00
To one Tubb one nail, one Pigon 5/1 ..................................................... 5:01
To pewter and wooden Platts ............................................................... 8:08
To Two Iron Potts one frying pan ......................................................... 4:06
To old axes one shavy two stone hammers ........................................... 13:05
To Two Trowells 3/ to old books and shoes 4/4 ..................................... 7:04
to one Staple and Ring and two Cart Boxes one Chain ........................... 9:04
To one narrow hoe and old iron ............................................................ 1:08
To one plow & five plow irons ............................................................. 16:00
To Knives and forks and Razor ............................................................. 1:02
To Bible and other books 12/6 ............................................................ 12:06
To one Saddle one pitch fork two Rakes ............................................... 14:11
To Shovell 2/ To one yoke of oxen L8:13:4 ........................................ 8:15:04
To Two Cows L6 To one Horse L6:5/ .............................................. 12:05:00
To Two Calves 20/ To Hay L2:13:4 ................................................... 3:13:04
To Two Shoah 12/ To 4 thousand of brick 42/8 ................................ 2:14:08
To Bettle Ring 1/8 To 1750 feet of boards 35/ .................................... 1:16:08
To Seven Cherry Tree Boards and Logg ................................................. 3:00
To three thousand of Shingles .......................................................... 1:04:00
Entire estate: ................................................................................ 106:13:06

The debts apparently exceeded the value of the personal effects that could be sold, so Eunice sold the property to pay off the residual debts. The 60 acres of land in Lot 70 were sold in two lots to Luke Brown of Worcester for 20 pounds and to Ezra Taylor on 7 April 1755 for a total of 54 pounds, 8 shillings, 10 pence (Worcester County Deeds 36.270, 36.281, accessed on LDS Microfilm 0,843,173). Eunice Seaver's account was allowed on 21 August 1755.

[Due to the formatting limitations of Blogger (I cannot use tables for some reason in Old Blogger), I tried to make the numbers in the list above line up. I did my best! The originals did not have the periods I've inserted to make the numbers line up. I could have "whited out" the periods but that was too much work.]

This family had a father, a mother, and at least seven children living at home when Robert Seaver died. They had bare bones "old" furniture - and look at the values. The sum of the furniture total was less than three pounds; The kitchen stuff was worth about one pound; the tools were worth less than two pounds. The family had some books and an old Bible (what I would give for that!!! Was Robert was literate?). The farm animals were worth about 23 pounds; the brick, wood and shingles were worth about 6 pounds total.

Was this family rich, middle class or poor? They did own real property, but that had to be sold in order to pay the debts, which are not listed. Were the farm animals raised to be sold off or eaten? Perhaps both - the cows gave milk, the oxen and horse worked the land, but the shoahs (pigs) and perhaps the calves may have been raised for food supply.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Best of the Genea-Blogs - February 21-27, 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:

* Canadian Genealogy Carnival 8th Edition by Kathryn Lake on the Looking 4 Ancestors blog. There were five entries in this carnival on the theme of Winter Sports in the Great White North.

* “Just in Time” Genealogy Document Digitization Dean Richardson on the Genlighten Blog - Genealogy Documented blog. Dean always has interesting ideas on how to provide records to customers. This one is a big winner, I think!

* Announcing the Family Tree Magazine 40 Best Genealogy Blogs by Diane Haddad on the Genealogy Insider blog. This post got the geneablogger world in a flutter all week - did you miss it?

* A Success Story: A Graduation Class Identified by Maureen Taylor on the Photo Detective with Maureen A. Taylor blog. What an interesting photo and method to solve the question, and the last story is pretty cool too.

* Family ChArtist Video by Janet Hovorka on The Chart Chick blog. Janet has been unveiling her new product, Family ChArtist all week, and this post features Mark Tucker's video of how to use it.

* Social Networking for Genealogy by Cyndi Howells on the Cyndi's List blog. Cyndi ponders how to categorize different social networking sites, and tries to find some common theme.

* Sentimental Sunday: Savannah Bound ~ The Arrival, Memorable Monday: Savannah According To Luckie ~ Oh The Fun!:-), and Paying Homage To The River ~ Leaving Savannah… by Luckie Daniels on the Our Georgia Roots blog. Luckie describes the exploits of Sandra, Bernard, Felicia, Mavis and herself on a genealogy meetup in Savannah. Sounds like they had a lot of fun!

* What Does It Take To Be A Successful Genealogist? by the Bob S of the Genoom Blog. Megan, Leland, Miriam and Randy offer advice on the topic. Read the comments too.

* Are There Common Traits All Genealogists Share? by Elyse Doerflinger on Elyse's Genealogy Blog. Elyse analyzes the post above, then herself and adds her list of traits that genealogists share - good work!

* A Baker's Dozen - Traits Of A Family Historian by footnoteMaven on the footnoteMaven blog. fM made an excellent list of traits to supplement the other two posts above.

* The revolutionary challenge of New FamilySearch, Additional thoughts on the revolutionary challenge of New FamilySearch and New FamilySearch Questions finally get public airing by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog. James is keeping the rest of us informed about New FamilySearch. I really appreciate the effort.

* Strategies for Starting Your Family History: Evidence Analysis by Donna Moughty on Donna's Genealogy Blog. Donna's series is excellent - in this post she looks at evidence analysis using a document for one of her ancestors.

* Genealogical Workflow: Step 2 of 5 – Gather by Dan Lawyer on the FamilySearch Labs Blog. Dan's next post in the series addresses obtaining records and information.

* A Genealogy Timeline - More Than Just a Pretty Face by Lynn Palermo on The Armchair Genealogist blog. Lynn discusses different kinds of timelines, and offers her own chart to help.

* 10 Things Genealogists Can't Live Without by Pat Richley-Erickson on the DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog. Pat's list includes some websites, databases and research tools. What do you think of her list?

* Bloggers Day: Search and Bloggers Day: Search (Part 2) by the writer of The Ancestry Insider blog. These are the latest installments of the detailed summary of Blogger's Day back in early January. Great job!

* Closing Ceremonies – Winter 2010 GeneaBloggers Games by Thomas MacEntee on the Geneabloggers blog. The GB Games have ended - there were 51 participants, see who won medals! Check out those ancestral flags, too!

* Weekly Rewind by Apple on the Apple's Tree blog. I'm glad apple is back from vacation because she always finds posts that I've missed!

* Weekly Genealogy Picks by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John's weekly picks and other genealogy news keeps me informed.

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

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.

The Menu at the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe

Have you checked in recently at the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe, the blog of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society?

Posts this past week have included:

* 2/24 CVGS Program Summary - Margaret Lewis -- we had our monthly program meeting on Wednesday, 24 February. Margaret spoke on "Right Name, Wrong Man -- Wrong Name, Right Man."

* CVGS 2009 Annual Report -- CVGS writes a one-page report to summarize the year - read the one for 2009. Do any other societies do this? It makes an excellent historical summary.

* CVGS - Doin' Things Right! - Ahnentafel Lists -- the entry for the new Carnival of Genealogy Societies. CVGS has members' Ahnentafel lists online for other researchers to find through online searches.

* 2009 CVGS Program List -- a list of the speaker programs provided by CVGS to the San Diego genealogy community in 2009.