Saturday, July 10, 2010

San Diego Area Genealogical Society News

I just returned from the monthly San Diego Genealogical Society meeting where these announcements were made:

* Some of the book collection of the South Orange County, California Genealogical Society (SOCCGS) at the public library in Mission Viejo, California will be transferred to the San Diego Genealogical Society Library. The Mission Viejo library needed the space.

* The book and periodical collection of the now-defunct British Isles Genealogical Research Association (BIGRA) in San Diego will be transferred from the San Diego Family History Center in Mission Valley to the San Diego Genealogical Society Library.

* There is a proposal to combine the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) with the San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) effective 1 January 2011. The CGSSD board and membership need to approve the combination. One of the major problems for CGSSD after 1 August 2010 will be the parking fees at the University of California San Diego. Heretofore, Saturday parking on-campus has been free; effective 1 August, the parking fees go up to $9 per car, which is really untenable.

* SDGS has created a committee to search for a larger and more technological venue for the monthly meetings. The current venue has limited seating (about 150) and some classrooms, but does not have Wireless Internet. This becomes more important if the CGSSD and SDGS merger goes through, growing SDGS from about 450 members to about 600 members.

* The SDGS Seminar on Saturday, 9 October will feature speakers from the National Archives branch in Perris CA and form on "What's Hiding in the National Archives - Learn How to Find It!" That sounds like a great marriage of classical resources and online resources.

My opinion is that the parking problem at UCSD is a crippling blow to CGSSD, unless they can find another venue that has sufficient web-enabled space for the monthly meeting. The UCSD venue is outstanding - free parking and free use of the lecture halls, all with wireless Internet and ceiling-mounted LCD projectors. A replacement free venue will be difficult to find.

My opinion is that merging the two societies can be a positive thing. It will bring a significant number of new members to SDGS, including many younger members. However, there is the possibility that those of us that are members of both societies will have our educational options reduced. Let me explain (and I did to Marna Clemons, SDGS President, and Del Ritchhart, CGSSD President, today):

CGSSD has had 2.5 hours of programming each month on the third Saturday of each month. This is usually an hour-long user group or class, and an hour-long speaker presentation. SDGS has had 4.0 hours of programming each month on the second Saturday of each month. This is a 1.5 hour class or user group meeting, and two hour-long speaker presentations (either two different speakers, or one speaker on one or more topics). Both societies have short business meetings each month. A member of both societies can have 6.5 hours of education and networking each month, and receives two newsletters (the SDGS newsletter is a monthly 8 pages, the CGSSD newsletter is a 24 page quarterly). There is some overlap in the software user groups also. If the combined society keeps only the SDGS schedule, then there will be only 4.0 hours each month.

The ideal situation might be to have two program meetings each month - but that might incur additional costs for the society program venue and speaker honorariums. The SDGS Library might be able to be used for more special interest classes and user groups. They already have classes every Wednesday on different topics.

On the other hand, the membership cost to a member of both societies would be reduced.

We will have to see what shakes out of the CGSSD and SDGS merger. I have a lot of admiration and confidence in the leadership of both societies.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Write A Genealogy Clerihew

Hello genea-poets - it's Saturday Night, are you ready to rumble and have some Genealogy Fun?

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

1) Write a Genealogy Clerihew (and what is a "clerihew" you ask? See Jim Smith's post today for more details and his clerihew (briefly, a clerihew is a four-line irregular poem or verse that follows an AABB rhyme scheme. It is named for the birthday of Edmund Clerihew Bentley the inventor, aka writer, aka poet."). If you're feeling especially creative, write two or more!

2) Show us your genealogy clerihew in a blog post of your own, in a comment on this blog post, or in a Facebook comment or update. C'mon, dazzle your readers and friends with your poetry and creativeness.

Here's mine:

Pondering the Randy Seaver ancestral chart
Twenty two years after an enthusiastic start,
The encouraging thought dawned on me,
That I will never finish my family tree.

Randall J. Seaver (c) 2010

Thank you, Jim Smith, for the poetry lesson for the day! By the way, have you seen what Jim is doing with his transcriptions of Grenada records on his blog? Fascinating work! What a collection of records to sort through for the right James Smith.

Surname Saturday - SMITH (NH > MA)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I'm up to number 75, who is Hannah Smith (1768-1827), one of my 4th-great-grandparents.

My ancestral line back through, um, one generation of SMITH is:

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. Harriet Hildreth (1857-1920)

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

36. Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857)
37. Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857)

74. Josiah Sawtell, born 24 January 1768 in Groton, Middlesex, MA, died 7 December 1847 in Townsend, Middlesex, MA. He was the son of 148. Ephraim Sawtell and 149. Abigiail Stone. He married 5 February 1789 in probably Raby, Hillsborough, NH.
75. Hannah Smith, born about 1767 in probably Raby, Hillsborough, NH, died 8 February 1827 in Townsend, Middlesex, MA.

Josiah Sawtell and Hannah Smith had 9 children: Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857); Josiah Sawtell (1791-????); Mary Sawtell (1793-1831); Chester Sawtell (1795-1875); Esther Sawtell (1797-1852); Horace Sawtell (1799-1825); Neuma Sawtell (1803-1826); Walter Sawtell (1805-1857); Price Sawtell (1810-1891).

I don't know the parents of Hannah Smith. I suspect that they are Joshua Smith and Hannah Baldwin, who were the only Smith family in Raby (now Brookline NH) in the 1760 to 1780 time frame. I have uncovered quite a bit of information about Joshua Smith, but have found no records to date that name Hannah (Smith) Sawtell as his daughter. Joshua Smith resided in the southeast part of Raby on the road towards what is now Pepperrell, Massachusetts. There are many town records for Joshua Smith, and the town history names his two wives, but he apparently left no probate record. I wrote up joshua smith - in raby/brookline 1769-? several years ago with what I knew about Joshua Smith.

Most of the data about the Josiah Sawtell family comes from a Boston Transcript query that reads (Boston Transcript (4th Series, entry #3534):

"(3534) 1. SMITH, SARTELL, BISHOP. Hannah Smith, born Jan. 1 1768, at Amherst, Mass., married Feb. 5, 1789, at Amherst, Josiah Sartell of Hollis, Mass. I wonder if her parents were Noah Smith and Mary, daughter of Edward Elmer, who were married in Amherst in 1766 at Amherst (probably). If this is true, who were Noah Smith's ancestors? The children of Hannah Smith and Josiah Sartell were:
(1) Josiah, Jr. born Brookline, N.H. Nov. 26, 1791 (I believe married Rebecca Manning).

(2) Hannah, born Brookline N.H. Nov. 6, 1789, married Zachariah Hildreth, who was born Townsend Mass.and died at Townsend Jan. 22, 1857; Hannah died at Townsend Jan. 13, 1851, children: Aaron, Clarissa, James, Clarissa 2d, Elizabeth, Milo, Moses, Edward, Harriet and Moses.
(3) Mary (Lee), born Townsend April 11, 1793, and died at Pelham, May 26, 1831, children Enos, Edwin, Samantha.
(4) Chester, born Townsend Aug. 6, 1795, died April 19, 1875; children Sophia and Mrs. Bizel.
(5) Esther, born Townsend May 13, 1797, died Amherst Mass. March 5, 1859.
(6) Horace, born Ashburnham, Mass. July 9, 1799, died Mason, N.H. May 21, 1825, married Sally Saunders, had daughter Elizabeth.
(7) Neuma, born Townsend June 6, 1802, and died Mason, N.H. Aug. 11, 1826.
(8) Walter, born Townsend, March 21, 1806, and died Townsend, Aug. 26, 1857, married Louisa Adams; had a son Perry.
(9) Price, born Townsend, Feb. 2, 1810, married Eliza Bishop at Watertown, N.Y., Feb. 21, 1831, who was born Dec. 12, 1806 at Westmoreland, Vt., and died Feb. 14, 1875 at Milwaukee; Price died Milwaukee, June 5, 1891. (Who were the parents of Eliza Bishop?)."

The writer of this query probably confused Amherst, Massachusetts (in western Massachusetts) and Amherst, New Hampshire (just north of Brookline, New Hampshire), and Hollis, Massachusetts (is there one?) with Hollis, New Hampshire (also near Brookline in New Hampshire). Noah Smith and Mary Elmer resided in Amherst, Massachusetts and had a daughter named Hannah Smith born 1 January 1768, but this family remained in Amherst, Massachusetts and that Hannah Smith did not marry Josiah Sartell.

There were several other Smith families in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire in the 1760 to 1800 time frame, but I cannot find my Smith/NH notebook or folder in the piles in the Genealogy Cave. Maybe it's time to start working on the Cave "archives" .... another significant task that's taken a backseat to blogging and speaking.

If there are any SMITH descendants from Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, I would really appreciate hearing from you, especially if you can identify the parents of my Hannah Smith.

Friday, July 9, 2010

"Using Effectively" Presentation at Corona CA on Monday, 12 July

Genea-Musings is taking a short road trip on Monday, 12 July - visiting the Corona Genealogical Society in Riverside County. The meeting is in the Community Room of the Corona Public Library, 650 S. Main St., Corona CA 92882. The doors open at 6:00 p.m., and the program at 6:30 p.m.

I will be presenting my 90-minute "Using Effectively" talk, highlighting the Member Trees, Database Searching and the other features.

Jean Wilcox Hibben, who writes the wonderful Circlemending blog and presents programs all over the country, is President of Corona Genealogical Society, and sent this invitation to her members yesterday:

Have you ever gotten on line with, looked at all the options available, and either shook your head or just ignored them. What do they all mean? How can they help with your family history? Yes, most of us are familiar with the census, military, and immigration records, but there is so much more! What about the family trees? All those other data bases? The resources they boast about?

How can one learn about all these things? Simple! Attend this Monday evening's Corona Genealogical Society meeting in the Community Room of the Corona Public Library, 650 S. Main St., Corona (92882). Doors open at 6pm to allow time for networking, getting your name tag, finding a good seat, etc. Then the meeting will begin at 6:30pm with a short business portion (very short - everything will be available on the printed agenda so we can keep our remarks to a minimum). We want to have that part of the meeting completed within about 20 minutes so that, after a short recess, we can launch right into our very special program with our esteemed speaker -- RANDY SEAVER!

Randy is past president and board member of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (that's south of San Diego, so he's coming a long way just to educate us). He maintains a marvelous blog ( and is on top of virtually everything in the genealogy community (and, especially, the virtual portion). This man has stayed up to date on the changes at and comes with the most current information. We are so fortunate that he has agreed to make the trek north to educate us, so we hope he is rewarded with a large crowd! Bring your genealogy-minded friends & family!

My thanks to Jean for the invitation to speak, the wonderful presentation summary - she really raised expectations, didn't she? Linda and I look forward to meeting new friends at Corona and enjoying their hospitality.

Disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate of, and have received no remuneration for this article. I am a fully paid US Deluxe subscriber to

Follow Friday - Greta's Genealogy Bog

It's Follow Friday - and my choice this week is Greta's Genealogy Bog blog, written by Greta Koehl, who lives in northern Virginia. [I would post an image of the blog page, but Blogger is acting up for me this morning.]

Greta's blog description is:

"A place to share information on the families and areas we are researching, tips on useful research techniques, tools, and websites, and the joys, problems, and pitfalls of family research."

Her "About Me" section says:

"After spending my formative years paying no heed to all the family stories, I got hooked on genealogy later in life and am now trying to catch up. My husband and I had long ago developed an interest in graveyards and have enjoyed visiting them while on vacation. I have started two Graveyard Rabbit blogs as a way, in addition to my participation in Findagrave, to help make information to other people who are researching their family history. "

Greta participates in several of the weekly blog memes, and posts about her own research frequently. The posts that I like best are her Follow Friday posts - Greta highlights one blog, lists her favorite genealogy blog posts for the past week, and then lists the new blogs that she is following. This is a wonderful use of the Follow Friday meme!

Why did Greta name her blog "Greta's Genealogy Bog?" You'll have to ask her - I can't find the explanatory post now!

I encourage my readers to add Greta's Genealogy Bog to their blog readers and enjoy Greta's posts.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What I Do... Technosaurus?

Thomas MacEntee on the Geneabloggers blog has started a blog meme titled What I Do. You basically list what you use in terms of technology to either run your genealogy business or pursue your family history as a hobby." Click here to see what other GeneaBloggers Do.

Here is my list, such as it is:

* Hardware: Dell D3000 Desktop Computer, Pentium 4, 2.8 ghz, 1.6 gb RAM, 64 gb hard drive, 22-inch monitor. Dell Inspiron laptop computer. Netgear wireless router
* External storage: 256 gb external drive, 16 gb USB drive, 4 gb USB Drive
* Online storage: Google Docs, Picasa photos, no online file storage
* Backup: external hard drive, laptop computer, USB drives, Google Docs

* Firewall: McAfee Security Suite
* Virus protection: McAfee
* Spyware: McAfee
* File cleaner: none

* Printer: HP Photosmart C6350 All-in-One printer, scanner, copier
* Phone: Land line; Motorola cell phone with Verizon service
* Mobile media: none
* Music player: iPod 30 gb (with photos too)
* Car audio: AM/FM radio

* eBook Reader: none
* Browser: Internet Explorer 7, Firefox Mozilla occasionally
* Blog: Blogger
* RSS: Bloglines
* FTP: none

* Text editor: MS Word 2002, MS Notepad, Open Office Write, email
* Graphics: Microsoft Digital Image Editor, MS Paint
* Screen capture: PrintScreen + paste into Open Office Impress

* Social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
* Social bookmarking: none
* Social profile: none
* URL shortener: TinyURL

* Office suite: OpenOffice 3.2
* E-mail: Outlook Express, Gmail
* Calendar: wall
* Accounting: MS Money
* PDF generator: CutePDF, OpenOffice

* Genealogy database: Family Tree Maker 16, RootsMagic 4, Legacy Family Tree 7, Family Tree Maker 2010, Ancestry Member Tree, MyHeritage,, other online services
* Genealogy tools: GenSmarts, Google Maps, books, periodicals, journals, magnifying glass
* Genealogy website subscriptions:,,,,
* Periodical Subscriptions: NGS Magazine, NGS Quarterly, NEHGS American Ancestors, NEHGS Register, Internet Genealogy, FGS FORUM, Family Tree Magazine.
* Other tech stuff: Olympus Voice Recorder, Nikon Coolpix S3000 Digital Camera, Flip Video Camera, Magellan RoadMate GPS

So am I a technical dinosaur? Not really, I guess - I just don't have the need for, or expense of, a mobile media device or a lot of fancy software programs.

Is the IGI on the FamilySearch Beta Site?

I've read two genealogy articles recently that claimed that portions of the International Genealogical Index are now available on the LDS FamilySearch Beta website.

However, I can find no databases in the FamilySearch Beta (or Record Search Pilot site) that are taken from the International Genealogical Index. Are there any, yet? If so, which and where?

The International Genealogical Index is still available on the "old" or "classic" LDS FamilySearch site, included in the "Advanced Search" list of collections. The FamilySearch Wiki describes the IGI as:

"The International Genealogical Index is a computer file that lists several hundred million names of deceased persons from throughout the world. It also lists some vital information from a single event, such as a birth or marriage date and place. Many names in the index come from vital records from the early 1500s to 1885. Others have been submitted by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With the variety of sources, duplicate information for a single individual is common."

The extracted vital records were indexed from microfilms of original source vital records. Unfortunately, the submitted vital records include many duplicate entries and many erroneous entries. It is nearly impossible to separate the wheat (the extracted records) from the chaff (the submitted records) in results from the current IGI database on the site.

My understanding was that the extracted vital records (from the 1500s to 1885) would be in one or more databases on the FamilySearch Beta site and that the submitted vital records (mainly submitted by LDS church members) would be included in the New FamilySearch Family Tree, attached to specific persons.

The extracted vital records are extremely useful - they are one of the significant online database for records in many states (e.g., Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and New Jersey town records before 1850, New York church records before 1850) and countries (e.g., English parish records before 1837!). While the IGI extracted records are not original source records, they are often reliable derivative source records obtained from an original source. As such, the IGI extracted records are excellent finding aids for the original records in the original sources. I look forward to using them when they are available on the FamilySearch Beta site.

Does any reader or LDS church member know if, or when, these extracted IGI Records will be available on the FamilySearch Beta site? Will they be provided by US state and/or country?

Treasure Chest Thursday - James Richman Passenger List

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to open the treasure chest of family history records.

My latest immigrants to the United States are James Richman (1821-1912) and Hannah (Rich) Richman (1824-1911) of Hilperton, Wiltshire, England.

James Richman came first, on the ship Calhoun, departing from Liverpool in England, arriving in New York City on 22 October 1855. The record summary from is shown here:

Here is the first page of the ship manifest of the Calhoun (captured and shown in order to document the ship's name, the departure and arrival ports, and the column headings):

James Richman is on page 4 of 4 of the ship's manifest:

James Richman is listed as age 34, male, a laborer, a citizen of England, he wishes to be an inhabitant of the USA, and he came in Steerage.

Listed immediately after James Richman is Samuel Richman (age 22, male, an engineer) - this is actually his brother-in-law, Samuel Rich, son of John and Rebecca (Hill) Rich, and brother of Hannah (Rich) Richman.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

SDGS Meeting on Saturday, 10 July, Features Gena Ortega

The July meeting of the San Diego Genealogical Society is Saturday, 10 July. The meeting is at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, 8350 Lake Murray Blvd, corner of Jackson Dr., in the San Carlos area. Park in the south lot, enter the south door. Contact: Sue Aprea,

The program includes:

* 10 a..m. - User group for RootsMagic, and Class 1, "Genealogy Basics," of the Beginning Genealogy series

* 12 noon - Speaker: Gena Philibert Ortega on “Understanding Copyright and Plagiarism”

* 1 p.m. - Ice Cream Social

* 1:30 p.m. - Speaker: Gena Philibert Ortega on “Privacy Concerns: What you Can & Cannot Disclose"

What privacy issues should genealogists be aware of as they publish and share family history
information on the internet and in print? We will look at copyright and what information will need a copyright, why it is important for the family historian and being alert to this as you conduct research and find resources on the Internet. Learn the impact of citing sources, the most important aspect of finding, storing and sharing information.

Gena Philibert Ortega is Genealogy Community Director for FamilyLink. She is newsletter editor for WorldVitalRecords and manages GenealogyWise. She holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and Religion. She presents on genealogy topics in the US and Europe. Gena publishes in GenWeekly, WorldVitalRecords and GenealogyWise newsletters. See
Gena’s Genealogy blog.

A published author, Gena is Vice-President for Southern California Chapter of Association of Professional Genealogists. She is a Regional Director for the California State Genealogical Alliance.

July 10th will also be the ever-popular ‘Ice Cream Social’ meeting where you can order up your own ice cream sundae with all the toppings. They will serve up different flavors of ice cream for $1 a scoop and 25¢ per topping. The big decision will be whether to have 1, 2 (or is that 3?) scoops -- and is that with sprinkles, fudge or caramel? It’s a great way to cool down and kick off the summer.

Gena, genealogy and ice cream? It's a no-brainer, folks! All you San Diego area genealogists - come on down and enjoy Gena's talks and the ice cream to boot. Do I dare go for 3 scoops and all of the toppings?

101 Best Genealogy Sites for 2010 - from Family Tree Magazine

The September 2010 issue of Family Tree Magazine contains the 2010 list of the 101 Best FREE Genealogy Websites. The site says:

"In a bumpy economy, is there any more welcome word than free? When we took a break from checking our credit-card balances and 401(k) accounts to consider this year’s 101 Best Websites, the theme was as obvious as the lint in our wallets: the best free genealogy sites."

The websites are listed by category:

* The Big Picture: Big, free genealogy sites
* Records Resources: Great sources of free online records
* Uncle Sam's Best Sites: Research resources from the US Government
* East of the Rockies: Sites for finding Eastern ancestors
* Western Research Roundup: Help researching in the Western United States
* O Canada: Great places to find Canadian roots
* African-American Roots: Resources for tracing African-American ancestry
* History Lessons: Where to learn about social history
* A Nation of Immigrants: Sites for researching immigrant ancestors
* Great Britain Expectations: Help for genealogists with UK and Irish roots
* European Ops: Sites for researching in Continental Europe
* High-Tech Tools: Online tools that make genealogy easier
* Share and Share Alike: Places for genealogists to gather and share online

Within each category, the top websites are listed alphabetically. There is no list from 1 to 101 - only a number of websites in each of the 13 categories.

My observations:

The emphasis seems to be on websites that provide databases and information about specific topics, although there are some purely social networking and family tree sites (like, and that don't have "databases") on the list. I didn't see on the list, and it offers a super surname search engine plus free family tree features.

There is at least one links site - - but I didn't see any of Joe Beine's sites on the list (which are indispensable to me). Likewise, there are no podcast (Genealogy Gems, Genealogy Guys) or videocast (Roots Television) sites on the list.

I saw only one blog - The Ancestry Insider - on the list (and why in the High-Tech Tools section?), since there was no category for news and opinion. Of course, Family Tree Magazine provided a list of the Top 40 Genealogy Blogs earlier this year.

There are several websites that are not specifically for genealogy research on the list (e.g., Facebook, Diigo, Evernote), but are used extensively by genealogists to pursue their research.

What other FREE genealogy website wasn't listed that you think should have been listed, and why? Which website was listed that you think should not have been included on the list?

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 110: Pentecost Children

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. Many of these were "new" to my digital photograph collection.

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

This is a photograph of Walter Auble Pentecost (age 6) and Vernon Francis Pentecost (age 2), as noted on the back of the photograph in the hand of either their mother, Bessie Auble Pentecost, or my grandmother, Emily (Auble) Carringer. It was taken in the 1909 to 1910 time frame.

Walter was born 8 December 1904 in Illinois, and Vernon was born 26 January 1906 in Illinois, according to the California Death Index, 1940-1997, on They were sons of George William Pentecost (1869-1953) and Bessie (Auble) Pentecost (1881-1969). The Will Pentecost family resided in Whittier in Los Angeles County in the 1930 to 1950 time frame. My grandparents would visit them occasionally on their trips to the Los Angeles area.

Bessie Auble was the daughter of William A. Auble (1845-1901) and Mary S. Thompson (1860-1927), who resided in Vermilion County, Illinois. William A. Auble was the brother of Charles Auble (1849-1916), the father of Emily Kemp (Auble) Carringer. Therefore Bessie and Emily were first cousins. Walter and Vernon are my second cousins, once removed.

I don't know anything more about Walter and Vernon Pentecost. If there are Pentecost family members (my cousins!) who would like a digital copy of this picture, please contact me at I may have other pictures of this Pentecost family.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Recent Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe Posts

Recent posts on the Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe blog (a voice of the Chula Vista Genelaogical Society!) included:

* June 2010 Issue of CVGS Newsletter is Online posted 8 June

* CVGS Research Group meeting summary posted 10 June

* New or Updated Genealogy Databases - June 2010 posted 16 June

* "Infectious Diseases of the Civil War" Presentation by Barbara Hemmingsen posted 30 June

* Genealogy Days in Chula Vista - July 2010 posted 3 July

* New Chula Vista Library Hours posted 5 July

If you live in the San Diego area and want a friendly and active genealogical society to belong to - please consider coming to our meetings. The Genealogy Days in Chula Vista - July 2010 post lists days, time and places for all of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society meetings.

Wills and Probate Databases on

... has so many databases (now 29,856 as of today) that it is difficult to find some of the most useful ones in their collection.

For instance, there are 959 databases in the Tax, Court, Land and Wills collection. I wondered how many databases there were for probates and wills for Massachusetts. In the Ancestry Card Catalog for all databases, I put:

* "probate" in the Title field, and there were 31 matches (not all Massachusetts, of course)
* "probate" and "massachusetts" in the Title field, and there were 10 matches
* "will" in the Title field, and there were 23 matches
* "wills" in the Title field, and there were 178 matches (which did not appear to include the 23 "will" matches!)
* "wills" and "massachusetts" in the Title field, and there were zero matches
* "probate" in the Title field, and "massachusetts" in the Keyword field, and there were 11 matches (the 10 in the first search, plus Suffolk County Wills which is the one I was looking for!)
* "will" in the Title field and "massachusetts" in the Keyword field, and there were 3 matches (none of which was specifically for a set of Massachusetts wills)
* "wills" in the Title field and "massachusetts" in the Keyword field and there were 10 matches (including Suffolk County Wills)

The screen below shows the results for "probate" in the Title field and "massachusetts" in the Keyword field - 11 matches:

There are probate indexes for Bristol County, Essex County, Middlesex County, Norfolk County, Suffolk County and Worcester County, all in Massachusetts, in the list above. Unfortunately, the Probate Register for Suffolk County, 1639-1799, does not have many entries - there are only 105 pages available (I wonder if there are many more volumes? I would have thought that there would be over 100,000 entries in a probate register for those years).

The Suffolk County [MA] Wills book was not included in the list above.

The search for "wills" in the Title field and "massachusetts" in the Keyword field resulted in this screen (21 matches):

The list includes books for specific families, in addition to seemingly unrelated English will books. The Suffolk County Wills book was #19 on the list. It has 435 records, which usually indicates the number of pages. Here is the database search page:

A user could put a name in the search fields, or click on one of the links in the Browse box on the right. The links include the Title Page, the actual transcribed text, and the Index. I recommend using the Index to see if your persons are in the book, and consider name spelling variations for these early records. If the user puts a surname in the search field, then snippet views of the matches in the book are shown.

Here is the title page image:

Page 1 of the book has the earliest entry, the will of Richard Eles:

The user can navigate within the book by using the right and left arrows in the upper right corner of the image (next to the "Go" button) or put a page number in the Page field (to the left of the "Go" button).

My lessons learned from this exercise include:

* Search from the Card Catalog page in addition to the specific database collection. You may be surprised!
* The "Title" search field provides matches only for what is in the Title of the database. Fort instance, if Massachusetts is not in the title of the work, the search will not find the database.
* Using a word (such as "Will") in the Title field and another word (such as "Massachusetts") in the Keyword field works well. Obviously, the search is only as good as the Keywords entered by for each database.
* The probate and will books found in this search were for indexes and abstracts. These are not the actual records, but they are excellent "finding aids" for the actual records. Knowing a probate packet number or a probate court book volume and page number are very useful. Finding the actual records requires a visit to the probate record repository or use of the Family History Library microfilm collection.
* Many of these books have a wealth of local historical information about the early history of the court system that can help readers understand the records themselves.
* I'm concerned that many of these databases on are "hidden" from users who only search by name from the Home or Search page. Users need to learn to use the Ancestry Card Catalog to seek out resources for their ancestral localities, and then learn how to search the specific databases. The latter is like finding a book on the shelf in a library - you note the Source information, check the Table of Contents, and check the Index.

Disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate of, and have received no remuneration for this article. I am a fully paid US Deluxe subscriber to

Tombstone Tuesday - Paul G. Lind (1974-2005)

I ran out of photographs of my ancestors gravestones several months ago, so I'm occasionally posting photos gleaned from "other sources" - many of them are humorous or really different.

Here is one that is really creative and different:

Paul G. Lind (born 2 February 1974, died 29 March 2005) is commemorated with a Scrabble board with descriptive words.

Where is this stone located? It was easily found on in Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon.

Below Paul Lind's name is the inscription "Ebbighausen" - I wonder what this means? Is it a birth name?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Will I Ever Finish My Family Tree?

I've written a bit about what a mess my family tree database was, and even devoted a section of my 2010 Goals and Dreams to it, saying:

* Continue converting existing sources in my database to actual sources (with author, title, publisher, date, page, comments, etc.).
* Eliminate duplicate persons and facts, and add specific page numbers to existing source citations.
* Add sources to unsourced information in my database.

Once in awhile, between preparations for the next two or three classes and presentations, I've found time to work on the genealogy database. The problems I've been working on include:

* When I combined my six separate family tree databases into one database (over 38,000 persons), quite a few duplicate persons were created because they were in more than one database. I'm still trying to weed out the duplicates, and have been making good progress.

* For over twenty years, I used a widow's married name when she married again - such as "Alvina (Bradley) Lewis (because the source invariably used the married name in the record). Of course, she should have been listed as Alvina Bradley with a first marriage to Joseph Lewis. I'm still working on these items, and have been making good progress.

* I have many English baptisms and burials in my database (due to having so many early American colonial ancestors), but they don't show up in the birth and death fields. I've been going through and adding dates like "Before 4 June 1613" for the baptisms and christenings that I have - that way they show up in the person index. I add these as I find them, but have many more to find and add. I'm also adding a Source to these entries when I have information about the Sources.

* When I changed from Personal Ancestral File to Family Tree Maker in 1998, a number of "artifacts" came with the information. Specifically, a "Master Source: PAF" appeared in the FTM "Notes" section, which I've tried to eliminate. Also, double dates (for example, for "24 January 1664/65") came across as, "24 January 1663/64 - 24 January 1664/65." Needless to say, this was a real pain in the database...I'm weeding these out too.

* When I had my database in PAF, I added vital records source information to the place name field, so many place fields have entries like "Westminster, Worcester, MA (VR 235)." That meant, of course, that the record was found on page 235 of the Westminster MA Vital Record book. I've been adding the Master Source and volume/page numbers for the citations, and deleting the "shorthand source" citation in the place field.

* This was easiest done by creating a "shorthand Master Source," e.g., "Westminster MA Vital Records" and at some point adding the author, title, publisher, date, online access, repository, etc. to the Master Source. I have lots of "shorthand Master Sources" still and need to work on getting the Master Source Information into the appropriate Master Source fields. I also have some duplicate Master Sources that need combining.

* Over the years, I have put many source citations in the "Notes" section when I've abstracted or transcribed information from books, census, military, probate, land and other records. I'm trying to add Facts to my database for many of these, but have left the abstracts and transcriptions in the "Notes." The challenge is to get the Source citations in Notes copied into the Fact source citation.

Unfortunately, I started doing these tasks randomly about two years ago, and have actually gotten quite a bit done, but I still find whole sections of the database with the sources in the place name, and I'm still finding the duplicate names and widow's names that need to be fixed.

Several months ago, I decided to be more disciplined in my approach, and started doing one alphabetical letter at a time in the index. I started with Z, and have worked my way up through G. I'm trying to do all of the tasks above when I go through one of the letters, but I miss some of the entries. I'll have to do another run through the index when I'm done.

Lastly, I need to do a Data Error search to find the "leftover" Name problems, the "leftover" "double date problems, the "child's birth after father or mother's death," and the "child's birth to a mother older than age 50" problems. Those will take some research to determine why my database has the problems and determine, if possible, the correct information.

I have been doing all of these corrections in Family Tree Maker 16 for several reasons: I am very familiar with it; the name, date and place data entry is efficient, navigation is easy, I can add source citations and Master Sources easily; the index lists name, spouse, birth date and death date for each person; and it runs fast. The index information is really the big reason I chose to do this in FTM 16.

When I get the database in some semblance of good order, then I will import it into my other software programs (Family Tree Maker 2010, RootsMagic 4 and Legacy Family Tree 7) and do a Place Name resolution so that my cities/towns, county/province, state and country citations are consistent.

Of course, there are still many ancestral families with sparse, or no, notes. Information for many of these families were "taken" from published books or online family trees and I need to find original and derivative source information for the facts and stories of their lives. That is a never ending battle, it seems. And I'm still doing research, and adding data whenever I find useful information about my ancestral families.

Then there's the issue of attaching photographs, document images and the like to persons in the tree. I really don't think my computer storage is big enough for the scans of the 40 linear feet of paper I have in the Genealogy Cave! I will save this task for after I have the database in decent order! Maybe, and will have all of those documents online by then!

So - will I ever finish my family tree? Are you kidding me?

"As I pondered my ancestral chart,
Twenty two years after a fateful start,
Finally, it clearly dawned on me,
I will never finish my family tree."

I still have many blank entries in my pedigree chart from the 6th generation and on back from me. There is much research work to be done, and I look forward to the challenge of doing it. Or challenging my grandchildren to do it!

But I'm trying to make the family tree database better. It will never be perfect. But it could be worthy of publication at some future time. And saved for posterity in many online family tree databases!

How about you - is your family tree finished? Are you working on it? Are your sources and citations up to snuff? Do you have original source, or authoritative derivative source, information for each of your facts in the tree?

Amanuensis Monday - Peter Putman's Rev War Pension Affidavit

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme many months ago called Amanuensis Monday. 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."

My subject today is an affidavit included in the Revolutionary War Pension File for Peter Putman (1760-1835), who served in the Revolutionary War in the state of New Jersey (obtained from

"State of New York County of Steuben: On this second day of February 1825 personally appeared in open Court being a court of record for said County Peter Putman aged sixty five years resident in the town of Barrington in the said County who being first duly sworn according to law doth on his oath made the following declaration in order to obtain the provision made by the acts of Congress of the 18th March 1818 and then 1st May 1820. That he the said Peter Putman enlisted for the term of two years during the revolutionary war on or about the 5th day of March 1778 in the State of New Jersey in the company commanded by Captain Holmes in the 2d Regiment commanded by Colonel Dayton in the line of the State of New Jersey on the continental establishment: that he continued to serve in the said corps until about the 1st October 1780 when he was discharged from the said service at Princeton in the State of New Jersey from the hospital that he was in the battle of Monmouth and also in another battle which was fought in the State of New Jersey, which battle used to go by the name of the Pompton battle: that he received a written discharge from said service signed as the declarant believes by the said Colonel Dayton and which discharge was delivered to him by the Surgeon and which discharge he has long since lost and cannot now produce: that he has no other evidence now in his power of his said services except the affidavits of Moor Wilson & John Jolly, that the said Moor Wilson is very old and infirm and is now confined to his bed in consequence of a fall; and that the said John Jolly now resides fifty four miles from Bath in the said County of Steuben, is old and very weak and infirm and cannot as this declarant believes endure so long a journey - That the family of this declarant consists of himself and his wife Sarah aged 64 years, neither of whom are able to work much being afflicted with rheumatism. That he made a declaration in writing of his said services before Thomas McBurney Esq. first Judge of the County of Steuben on the 3d February 1920: that he hereby relinquishes every claim whatsoever to a pension except the present: that his name is not on the roll of any State except that of New York, and that the following are the reasons for not making earlier application for a pension: that he did not wish to be dependent on his country while he was able to maintain himself and wife: that owing to sickness and misfortunes he has become unable to work and is quite reduced in his circumstances - and in pursuance of the act of 1st May 1820 I do solemnly swear that I was a resident citizen of the United States on the eighteenth day of March 1818 and that I have not since that time by gift sale or in any manner disposed of my property or any part thereof with intent thereby so to diminish it as to bring myself within the provisions of an act of Congress entitled "An act to provide for certain persons engaged in the land and naval service of the United States in the revolutionary war" passed on the 18th day of March 1818 and that I have not nor had any other person in trust for me any property or securities contracts or debts due to me nor have I any income other than what is contained in the schedule hereto annexed and by me subscribed. That I am a farmer by occupation but owing to my advanced age and rheumatic complaints I am not able to do much labor.
........................................................Peter Putman
"Sworn to and declared on the 2d day of February 1825 before me: John Metcalfe, Clerk of Steuben County."

"Property in former Schedule
Real estate I have none
Personal estate
one cow which will be 8 years old next spring $10
two calves which will be one year old next spring $8
four sheep common blood $4
Ten pigs four or five months old very small $2
One old feather bed - been in use thirty years small Slight $4
Two old and worn blankets & one coverlet also old & worn $1.50
Two old linen sheets $0.50
An old indifferent ash bedstead $0.35
An old 3 pail kettle & one other old small kettle both cracked & hooped $1.50
An old table broken & split cost one dollar when purchased $0.25
An old chest been in wear thirty years $0.25
An old small trunk been in use as long $0.13
Three pewter plates $0.38
4 small earthen plates $0.12
2 old knives & 3 forks $0.12
6 old iron spoons $0.18
3 old earthen tea cups & saucers $0.06
One old axe & one old hoe $0.75
One old worn out mowing scythe $0.25

"Schedule of property
Real estate I have none
One two year old steer $8
One yearling heifer $6
Three shotes $3
One chest $1
One small trunk $1
One dinner kettle $1
One tea kettle $1
One pan $0.75
Six earthen plates $0.37
Three chairs $1
One table $1
Three tea cups & saucers $0.12
One large wheel $1
Two earthen crocks $0.25
One bucket $0.25
One churn $0.50
Two Barrels $1
Several knives & forks say 5 $0.25
Two basons $0.50
Two bowls $0.12
One old waggon $15
[Total owned"] $43.62

"And that since the exhibition of the former schedule the following changes have taken place in my property -
The Cow mentioned therein died last spring
The two calves have been killed for provisions for my family
The four sheep have been sold for grain for the use of my family
The four pigs have been killed for provisions for the use of my family

"That I am indebted to Abraham P. Vosburgh Esq. of Penri Yaw for a plough which I have since parted with to pay Doctors bill $14
To Daniel Shannon for carding & fulling $12.80
To William Babcock for pork for provisions for my family $10
To Mrs. Ellsworth for do for do $5
[Total owed] $41.80"

The affidavit itself is fairly standard - it appears that it was dictated by the declarant to the amanuensis, and the signature of Peter Putman is in the clerk's hand, not Peter Putman's.

There are two lists of the property - the first one is a list prepared several years earlier, and the second is the one created at the time of the present affidavit.

The list of the personal "stuff" belonging to Peter Putman is fascinating and sad - they had so little, and yet lived for years using their stuff. It reads as if they finally decided to apply for the pension because they were destitute, having killed their calves and pigs, and sold their sheep, to eat.

Sunday, July 4, 2010 Offering 15% Savings on NEW Subscriptions

The weekly PARADE Magazine, which comes in the San Diego Union-Tribune and many other Sunday newspapers, had a spread about Included was a 15% off a membership to

The "membership" deal is on this page on An annual U.S. Deluxe membership would be $132.00, and an annual World Deluxe membership would be $254.40. Similar reductions are available for a three-month or one-month subscription. However, full membership prices are in effect after the end of whatever term a subscriber chooses.

There is a restriction for this deal -- to persons that have not had an subscription in the last 90 days. That lets me out.

The deal expires 10 July 2010 at Midnight (presumably, that is midnight after 9 July?).

There seem to be few, if any, other subscription deals available at this time for new subscribers or for renewing subscribers.

This is pretty smart marketing by I wonder why they did it in early July instead of during or right after the Who Do You Think You Are? TV series? Perhaps the summer is a historical low period for new subscriptions.

The Parade article has a link to the article How to Build Your Family Tree, with a three-step research process, which includes this quote:

"...You can search for historical records at family history sites like (in fact, your family tree at will search the records for you automatically). Start with a parent or grandparent and you may discover marriage details, military records, passenger lists, census records and more. And forget about paperwork: online historic records can be viewed directly from your computer and saved in your family tree for easy access."

I almost fell off my pedestal laughing ... but would have been buried under my paper mountain, little of which was obtained, or can be obtained, from online record sources.

Disclosure: I am not an employee, contractor or affiliate of, and have received no remuneration for this article. I am a fully paid US Deluxe subscriber to

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 27 June - 3 July 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:

* Evidence Management Diagram Revisited by the writer of The Ancestry Insider blog. The latest in Mr. AI's series...the diagram is being refined. Good comments too.

* Family Finder Testing Series: Sharing your genealogy research by Emily Aulicino on the DNA -Genealem's Genetic Genealogy blog. Emily continues her series about autosomal DNA tests with practical advice about sharing your genealogy so that cousins can find you.

* Bloggers at the Colorado Family History Expo by Amy on the Family History Expos blog. Amy summarizes the blog posts from the Loveland CO Expo last weekend.

* Five Golden Rules for Growing "Healthy" Family Trees by Kimberly Powell on Kimberly's Genealogy Blog. Excellent advice about our family trees - you need to click on the
attention to the basics link to see them.

* What Genealogy Taught Me about Being a Canadian by Lynn Palermo on The Armchair Genealogist blog. Lynn celebrates Canada Day, and explains why.

* How To Reconstruct a Family pt. 1 -- Playing Detective! and pt. 2 -- Play Detective! by Patti Browning on the Consanguinity blog. Patti lets us look over her keyboard while she sniffs out some Browning ancestors. This is excellent "show us what you found" stuff.

* "You Want to Move Where?" - Traveling Back in Time by Terri Kallio on The Ties That Bind blog. Another in Terri's series - she's trying to understand how her ancestral families lived. A good one!

* Treasure Chest Thursday ~ Doubt Social Networking Benefits Your Genealogy? by Cheryl Palmer on the Heritage Happens blog. Cheryl did a happy dance when she found cousins through Facebook.

* The GeneaTweets: 02/07/2010 by Robert on the MyHeritage Blog. Robert found some interesting and funny Twitter updates this past week about genealogy and family history.

* Family Tree Friday: Why do immigration records start in 1820? by John on the NARAtions blog. An interesting summary answering the question, and more.

* The Grand Genealogy Journey 2010 (Virtual Edition) Starts Anew, GeneaBlogie Grand Genealogy Journey – Day 1: Sacramento and Grand Genealogy Journey: Aboard the California Zephyr by Craig Manson on the Geneablogie blog. Craig starts his virtual genealogical dream journey after some technical difficulties - I'm looking forward to the rest of this series.

* So, I get this phone call Monday ..... by Russ Worthington on A Worthington Weblog. Russ was almost too busy for his great adventure, but he's really glad he took the time. More to come!

* Review: Genealogy Database by Joan Miller on the Luxegen Genealogy and Family History blog. Joan reviews using some of her ancestral names - very helpful discussion too.

Other "Best of ..." posts can be found at:

* Weekly Genealogy Picks by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog.

* Follow Friday - 2 July 2010 by Greta Koehl on Greta's Genealogy Bog.

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

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.

My Revolutionary Ancestors

I am posting my list of ancestral Revolutionary War soldiers in order to honor them for their service:

* Martin Carringer (1758-1835) of Mercer County PA (RevWar Pension file)

* Jacob Philip Row (1752-1817) of Hunterdon County NJ (RevWar Pension File)

* Peter Putman (1760-1835) of Hunterdon County NJ and Yates County NY (RevWar Pension file)

* Stephen Feather (17??-1804) of Middlesex County NJ and Westmoreland County PA

* Rudolf Spengler (1738-1811) of York County PA

* Philip Jacob King (1738-1792) of York County PA

* Burgess Metcalf (1741-1816) of Piermont, Grafton County, NH

* Isaac Buck (1757-1846) of Lancaster and Sterling, Worcester County, MA (RevWar Pension File)

* Thomas Dill (1755-1830) of Eastham, Barnstable County, MA (RevWar Pension File)

* Norman Seaver (1734-1787) of Westminster, Worcester County, MA

* Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) of Westminster, Worcester County, MA

* Zachariah Hildreth (1728-1784) of Westford, Middlesex County, MA

* Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828) of Townsend, Middlesex County, MA

* Amos Plimpton (1735-1808) of Medfield, Norfolk County, MA

* David Kirby (1740-1832) of Westport, Bristol County, MA

* Joseph Oatley (1756-1815) of South Kingstown, Washington County, RI.

* Joseph Champlin (1758-1850) of South Kingstown, Washington County, RI (RevWar Pension File)

Amazingly, each of them survived their wartime experiences.

I thank God for these men, the families that nurtured them, the wives that supported them, and the children who learned from them the importance of service to their country.

I continue to pray for the health and safety of all of our armed forces personnel, for the wisdom and perseverance of our leaders, and for the patience and understanding of our citizens as we continue the battle to keep America safe and free.

May God continue to bless the United States of America.

Eleven Score and Fourteen Years Ago...

Eleven score and fourteen years ago our forefathers brought forth a new's our BIRTHDAY!!

What a magnificent work that Thomas Jefferson penned ... see the text here.

And the Trumbull painting of the signing...

Thank you, gentlemen. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Freedom is so precious. May our leaders be wise enough to preserve it, and may our citizens be brave enough to defend it.

For the Seaver folks in Chula Vista, today will be a day of rest. We will go to church, enjoy our granddaughters one last day, and then go to church for a picnic with friends capped by the fireworks display at 8:30 p.m. over the Country Club grounds - less than a quarter mile away. Big booms.