Saturday, August 21, 2010

CGSSD Lives to see another day...

I attended the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meeting today. During the first hour, there was a civil discussion about the call for a vote to merge CGSSD with the San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS). I posted The Proposal to merge CGSSD with SDGS - Pros and Cons and I Support the CGSSD Merger with SDGS on Thursday.

CGSSD President Del Ritchhart moderated the meeting. He opened with the statement that the CGSSD members present would vote yes or no to merge with SDGS at the end of the discussion. Del asked for a show of hands of those who had read the Pros and Cons article sent out by the CGSSD Board, and almost all in attendance had read it. Therefore, Del did not review the points in the article.

Del opened it up for discussion by the attendees. There were handouts stating opposition from two CGSSD members - Joan and Joann. They each took about five minutes to review their statements of opposition. Several others spoke up in opposition, and only two or three spoke in favor of the motion.

Several assertions were made by some of the speakers, including:

* San Diego Genealogical Society wants to take over all genealogical societies in San Diego County, and the other societies need to watch out. Pam, who is on the SDGS Board, assured the attendees that this was not the case - there is no grand plan, and SDGS is not competing with other societies. She said that SDGS wants to serve the interests of all genealogists. As a long-time Board member of one of the other societies, I have not heard of this before this week, and do not believe it to be true.

* When the British Isles Genealogical Research Association (BIGRA) merged with SDGS in late 2009, they were apparently promised a number of programs each year, a number of newsletter pages each year, and SIG group meetings. Del noted that he was told by SDGS Board members that the BIGRA members have not provided the speakers and newsletter articles requested by SDGS.

Several of the speakers noted that CGSSD is a viable and stable non-profit organization, and that the programs, user groups and membership was significantly different from SDGS programs, user groups and membership.

When the merger proposal was suggested and the Pros and Cons article was drawn up, CGSSD faced three immediate problems:

* The University of California San Diego, where CGSSD has enjoyed a free Saturday meeting venue for several years, with wireless computer access and theater-style meeting rooms, was going to start charging $9 for parking on Saturday on 1 August. The date was postponed to 1 September, and at the meeting the date was slipped again to perhaps 1 January.

* CGSSD has use of the UCSD venue because member Gary Hoffman works there. However, Gary may retire in a future year, and finding another venue with sufficient space and wireless access may be a challenge. CGSSD and SDGS have committees looking for alternative venues.

* CGSSD has had trouble finding volunteers to fill all of the Board positions, and therefore faces an uncertain future. Del passed a sign-up sheet around to determine if people who want CGSSD to remain will volunteer in order to support the society.

After a very intense hour of discussion, the vote was called for and taken. The ballots were counted and the vote for merger was YES = 26, NO = 43, with one blank ballot. So CGSSD will continue on, hopefully with a stable venue and energetic leadership.

I am glad that some of the more urgent issues facing CGSSD have been given more time to resolve, but they are all still of concern. If there will be a high parking charge in 2011, that will almost surely kill UCSD as a venue, and another venue will have to be obtained.

What would have made a difference in the outcome? I think that three things could have been offered to CGSSD members that might have resulted in a positive merger vote (these were all raised at the meeting today, but not in the Pros and Cons article):

* Have a second Saturday meeting each month devoted to computer genealogy topics, user groups, etc., like CGSSD currently has. That way, members of both societies could take advantage of all the merged society had to offer.

* Have a separate quarterly publication similar to the current CGSSD newsletter, COMPU.GEN. Perhaps send it as a PDF to the membership by email, or send it by postal mail to others for an additional fee.

* A better explanation about SDGS programs, user groups, classes and library privileges. The article mentioned these in passing, but they were not expounded upon.

I know -- that's Saturday Night Quarterbacking after losing the big game... but it is lesson for other societies considering a merger. A true merger benefits all parties - I think that many in CGSSD felt that they would lose something helpful and educational to them and that CGSSD would be submerged into a larger, more impersonal, society with fewer educational opportunities.

I thank Del ritchhart, the CGSSD Board and members, the SDGS Board and members, the proponents and the opponents for their civility and good cheer during this hour. It was handled very well. I sincerely hope that both groups will be successful beyond their dreams in future years - San Diego area genealogy researchers will benefit if they are.

Interesting genea-tweets... you can't make this stuff up!

From recent Twitter feeds... I don't follow any of these folks!

RCSeth Evolution goes to the heart of who we are, what we are. It is my family geneology, and I am learning all I can about who/what we all are..

itsAsyaLyn 2day i went 2 a geneology place&found out im Canadian thts so kewl!Wen thy told me i was jumping&screaming"THATS WERE @justinbieber IS FROM"

DeeLovem I want someone to trace my geneology all the way back..#nw #WhoDoYouThinkYouAre

MedinaJ_ RT @SuckaFreeLA: RT @MedinaJ_: -Papa was a rolling stone, it's in my ancestry...---Medina Hendrix!

ScottHabowski #Republicans are the best proof of ape-like ancestry for humans. They're scared of new things and fling poop at anything they don't like.

diorama oooh how exciting! I got an email from a possible relative of a very dead maybe related relative on

goNEMO lol he's not italian lol he's greek...either way theyr ancestry is a random one lol

iscoff I visited and discovered that I'm descended from a long line of intergalactic sex criminals!

colsonwhitehead Always knew dad was lying when he said we had no inbreeding in our ancestry.Then why do I look like my sister's sister?

LaceyWaters ancestry is so boring. Out of all of these photos some are 100 years old and as yet NO ONE IS BLONDE

KnoxvilleRob Just joined a team of grizzled paper bonehunters at the Convention center for day. (@ Knoxville Convention Center)

CoachDanFoster I'm officially addicted to What a great site. I've traced back three lines to the 14th century. Amazing history!

AndySDavies good grief it's warm, my welsh ancestory isn't designed for these tempretures, then you add in the English, Scottish and Scandinavian!

Ancestoryfamily Check out my free (beta) multi media family tree builder add film sound pics, pdf,s doc's & geo-tags very cool

agirlinglass Treat the earth well...We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,we borrow it from our Children. ~Ancient Indian Proverb

Drys Walk round Bloomsbury with friend doing her "where my ancestors lived" research means I look at an area I know well w/ new eyes. #genealogy

Yoli7794 If you trace your family tree back 25 generations, you will have 33,554,432 direct ancestors - assuming no incest was involved. #randomfact

shotgunconcepts interesting to think about @jeffpulver's idea that future generations will use your web statuses as geneology research about you #140conf

I thought that my readers would be interested in seeing what is being posted on Twitter these days. This was a selection using keywords, and I tried not to include offensive tweets. All misspellings are not mine! There is some wisdom and humor on Twitter about genealogy, but also some fairly disgusting and useless chatter. I like the last one best!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Wild and Crazy Genealogist?

It's Saturday Night -- time for lots more Genealogy Fun!!! Hey there, geneabloggers and musings-readers, come on down!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, comes from a post by Lynn Palermo on The Armchair Genealogist blog titled Monday Madness - The Craziest Thing You've Done in the Name of Genealogy?

* What is the most wild, crazy, off-the-wall, or really stupid thing you have done in pursuit of your ancestral families and their family history?

* Tell us about it in your own blog post, a comment to this post, or a comment or status on Facebook.

Here's mine:

Like Lynn, I'm a pretty methodical person. I don't do dangerous or criminal things on a whim (well, um, there were times when I was younger and drank more than I should have). I am also a fairly shy person - I don't like striking up conversations or meeting people I don't know, although that was worse when I was younger.

I started doing genealogy research in 1988, and had found quite a bit of information about my Seaver and Richmond lines in New England, although I couldn't figure out where the Richmonds came from in England. My brother and I traveled to Massachusetts in August 1990 to attend our uncle's 50th wedding anniversary, and I was able to talk to a number of the aunts, uncles and cousins about the Richmond family down in the Killingly CT area.

We had a free day, so my brother and I took off from Salem NH for Killingly, and stopped at a motel in Putnam CT, the town just north of Killingly. We had dinner, noticed a graveyard right next to the motel, and decided to cold call the Richmond people in the phone book. We hit gold on the second call - second cousins of ours with some family information. Russell was deaf, so we talked to his wife, and arranged for Russell to meet us at the Grove Street Cemetery right next to the motel. He came at the appointed hour, and showed us the graves in the cemetery. We hoped that he would take us out to their home and show some of the family treasures with us. He did, and we had a splendid time talking about the Richmond family line. We gathered some of the papers and photos up and went down to a local drugstore to copy them. Linda and I stopped by to see Russell and Helen several times since then, and Russell died several years ago.

I'm sure that many of my readers have been more adventurous and outgoing than I have been in my genealogical pursuits!

That's not too wild and crazy,

Surname Saturday - HOAX/HOUX (MD > PA)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 97, who is Mary Magdalena Hoax or Houx (1768-1850), one of my 4th-great-grandparents.

My ancestral line back through one generation of HOUX families is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

2. Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983)
3. Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002)

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

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

24. David Jackson Carringer (1828-1902)
25. Rebecca Spangler (1832-1901)

48. Heinrich Carringer (1800-1881)
49. Sarah Feather (1804-1848)

96. Martin Carringer, born about 1758 in probably PA; died 25 January 1835 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA. He married March 1785 in probably Westmoreland County, PA.
97. Mary Magdalena Hoax, born about 1768 in MD; died 31 August 1850 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA.

Children of Martin Carringer and Mary Hoax are:

i. Johann Jacob Carringer, born 01 October 1785 in Westmoreland County, PA; died 03 September 1865 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA; married Elizabeth about 1808 in probably Westmoreland County, PA; born 19 September 1785 in PA; died 09 October 1868 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA.

ii. Maria Elisabetha Carringer, born 06 September 1789 in Westmoreland County, PA; died 20 November 1850 in Perry, Mercer, PA; married McCartney before 1815 in prob. Mercer County, PA.

iii. Katharine Carringer, born 18 January 1792 in Westmoreland County, PA; died after 1860 in Conneaut, Crawford County, PA; married Abraham Kazebee before 1825 in prob. Mercer County, PA; born in NY; died Bef. 1850 in Mercer County, PA.

iv. George Carringer, born 05 February 1795 in Westmoreland County, PA; died 30 January 1876 in Perry, Mercer, PA; married Isabella Montgomery 25 January 1821 in Mercer County, PA; born 1803 in Westmoreland County, PA; died 24 September 1888 in Mercer County, PA.

v. Calli or Clara Carringer, born 09 March 1797 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA; died before 1810 in Mercer County, PA.

vi. Heinrich Carringer, born 06 June 1800 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA; died 10 August 1881 in Columbus City, Louisa County, IA; married Sarah Feather before 1825 in Mercer County, PA.

vii. Soloman Carringer, born 24 August 1802 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA; died after 1820.

viii. Joseph Carringer, born 22 October 1805 in Sandy Creek, Mercer County, PA; died 08 June 1869 in Columbus City, Louisa County, IA; married Anna Maria Spangler about 1835 in Mercer County, PA; born 10 January 1818 in Winchester, Frederick County, VA; died 30 December 1869 in Mercer County, PA.

I don't know the parents or siblings of Mary Magdalena Houx. The surname could be Haag, Haak, Hack, Hawk, Hoak, Hoax, Hock, Hoke, Houck, Houk, Houx, Huck, Hux, and probably several others, plus the plural form - Hacks, Hawks, Hokes, etc. I note that Hokes is close phonetically to Hoax, at least in English.

I have written about Mary Magdalena Hoax or Houx in other blog posts - see The Elusive Mary Hoax (ca1768-1850, wife of Martin Carringer), Searching for Mary's Parents - Post 1, and Searching for Mary's Parents - Post 2. I'm afraid that Post 3 is still waiting to be written!

Before I wrote those posts and pursued that research, I searched for books and periodical articles about the Hawk, Hoke, Houk, etc. families, especially those that might have a Maryland or Westmoreland County PA connection. I found quite a few, searched them diligently, and found no indication that Mary Magdalena Hoax was part of any of those families.

The very best clue is that Martin and Mary (Hoax) Carringer married in March 1785 in Westmoreland County PA, and had four children there. The godparents of the first child were Nicolaus and Barbara Hack; I can't find Nicolaus in any resources either!

If any researcher has more information than I do, I would love to hear from you via email at

Friday, August 20, 2010

Exploring - Post 2: Mass. VRs to 1850

The New England Historic Genealogical Society unveiled their new website yesterday - and I explored the Home Page and Explore page in Post 1.

In order to use the site to search for records, a user must register. If the user is a member, they can login with their member name and subscription number. If a user is not a member, they can register for access to the free databases and other free features.

There are a number of Free databases available on the site - from the Explore page I clicked on the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database. This is a collection of images from published books for many of the towns of Massachusetts up to the year 1850. In most cases, these books have sections for Births, Marriages and Deaths, and the information is printed alphabetically by surname. Not all Massachusetts have had books published with their vital records, but many have. These records were extracted from the handwritten town records, from available church records, and available cemetery records.

Here is the Search form for the Vital Records of Massachusetts to 1850 database:

I filled in the "First Name" field with "Isaac" and the "Last Name" field with "Seaver." The system had already filled in the database name for me, so I only receive matches from this specific database. There is a check box for "Use Soundex" and the user can specify a year range, or a city or town, or a volume and page number if known. I clicked on the "Search" button at the bottom of the search box, and I received 21 matches in all of the available town lists (two screens shown below):

There is a match for my Isaac Seaver in the Leominster vital records book (for his gravestone), and one for him in the Westminster Vital Records book (for his birth). The entry in the book is shown on the search results page above, along with a link to the actual book page (the red link to Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850) and a link to a description of the book for the specific town.

Here is the image of the book page for Isaac Seaver in the Leominster book:

In the image above, the portion of the page shown in the image box is shown in the upper left hand corner. There are icons in the lower right-hand corner of the page image frame can be used to Save the image, rotate 90 degrees CCW, rotate 90 degrees CW, Zoom In, Zoom Out, Switch On/Off Full Screen Mode, and Return Image to default zoom and location.

The user can use the "magic hand" to manipulate the image of the page to show the entries of interest. for instance, I found the Seaver entries at the bottom of the page image by using the "magic hand" (left-click hold and move):

Below the screen image is an index of the entries on the page (two screens below), with columns for Names, Original Text, Start Date, Location and Record Type:

The extracted records on the web pages have a link to the Town book information - here is the page for Leominster (which opens in a new window):

This page provides the title and publication information for the book, but not a perfect source citation. There is also detailed information about the records included, the abbreviations used, the town book start year, population statistics for the town, and the number of births, deaths and marriages recorded.

This free database will be very useful to all researchers with Massachusetts ancestors before 1850. There are free images of some of these Vital Records books on John Slaughter's Massachusetts Vital Records site at but not all towns are available.

In the next post, I'll determine what other free databases are available on the site.

200 million more records on FamilySearch?

FamilySearch sent out a press release on Wednesday that said, in part:

"SALT LAKE CITY—As the nation’s genealogical societies gather in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference this week to share tips and tricks for finding one’s elusive ancestors, there will certainly be some clamoring over an unexpected gift from FamilySearch, a world leader in historic records preservation and access. FamilySearch announced the addition of over 200 million new searchable historic records online representing 18 countries. The new records were added to the hundreds of millions FamilySearch published earlier this year at a similar event in Salt Lake City, Utah. The total number of records on the pilot site totals 700 million.

"The latest deluge of records includes 53 new or updated collections from the United States, and over 100 million new records from Europe, Scandinavia, and Mexico. The United States collections include the 1910 U.S. Census, and states’ birth, marriage, and death records. There are 10 million new records for New Jersey and Michigan respectively, 4 million from Tennessee, an amazing 41 million from Massachusetts, and much more from other states."

Unfortunately, they didn't say WHERE the records were, so I went and found them on the Record Search Pilot - They are not yet on the Family Search Beta site at

Reading the press release, one gets the message that these are brand new records released just this past week or so. Well, not really. Looking at the list of records available for Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Tennessee (the states listed in the press release), I see that (with record counts rounded off):


* Birth and Christenings, 1639-1915, 6.0 million records updated last on 6 May 2010
* Deaths and Burials, 1795-1910, 3.7 million records updated last on 14 May 2010
* Deaths, 1841-1915, 58% (no record count) updated last on 24 May 2010
* Marriages, 1695-1910, 3.0 million records updated last on 7 May 2010
* Marriages, 1841-1915, 27% complete (no record count), updated last on 5 May 2010


* Births and Christenings, 1775-1995, 1.6 million records updated last on 4 May 2010
* Births, 1867-1902, unknown number, updated last on 5 May 2010
* Deaths and Burials, 1.4 million records updated last on 4 May 2010
* Deaths, 1867-1897, unknown number, updated last on 5 May 2010
* Marriages, 1822-1995, 1.9 million records updated last on 4 May 2010
* Marriages, 1868-1925, unknown number, updated last on 5 May 2010


* Births and Christenings, 1660-1980, 2.3 million records updated last on 6 May 2010
* Deaths and Burials, 1.1 million records updated last on 6 May 2010
* Marriages, 1678-1985, 0.9 million records updated last on 7 May 2010


* Births and Christenings, 1828-1929, 0.2 million records updated last on 7 May 2010
* Deaths and Burials, 1874-1955, 1.5 million records updated last on 4 May 2010
* Deaths, 1914-1955, unknown number, updated last on 12 August 2010
* Marriages, 1796-1950, 1.7 million records updated last on 15 May 2010
* County Marriages, 1790-1950, 1% complete (no record count), updated last on 29 April 2010

As you can see, there is only one database added in the last week or so - the Tennessee Deaths. The other databases have been available for researchers to use since mid-May, at least for the four states mentioned.

The FamilySearch press release was not inaccurate - they have released these records recently, just not all in August (except for one of the Tennessee datasets), as the press release implies. And they are "new" records since they haven't formally announced them previously. I couldn't find them in any of the monthly announcements of new or current projects, except for one of the New Jersey databases.

The press release also mentioned the 1910 census - it is now 56% complete as of today, with records for 33 states and territories. What it didn't mention, and what is really important for users to understand, is that there are no images for the 1880, 1910 and 1920 U.S. census records on FamilySearch yet, and the search results provide records for only individuals, not individuals in families. I've written about this before in U.S. Census Records on

Overall, the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot site has 447 databases, while the FamilySearch Beta site has 289 databases. The search process and search results for the two different collections are somewhat different, as I've written in Searching Collections on FamilySearch Beta and Record Search - they're different!

I know that FamilySearch is trying hard to bring new database collections online as quickly as possible, and that all of the datasets will eventually be on the FamilySearch Beta site, but it's easy to be confused by a press release that doesn't say where the records are located (presumably because they are going to be moved from the Pilot site to the Beta site in the foreseeable future).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Support the CGSSD Merger with SDGS

After reviewing and digesting the Pros, Cons, and the Discussion points provided in Proposal to merge CGSSD with SDGS - Pros and Cons, here are my analyses, thoughts and opinions:

* For the CGSSD only member, a merger is an emotional loss of something valued and enjoyed, although the promises of continuing many CGSSD activities within SDGS may be fulfilled. CGSSD was essentially a one day a month morning with a user group and a speaker.

* For the SDGS only member, a merger means that there will be more learning opportunities and more variety in the classes, programs and newsletter (if the promises are kept).

* For the person with membership in both CGSSD and SDGS, the merger takes away a day of San Diego genealogy learning and networking, although some of this may be replaced by more learning opportunities. Basically, it cuts total society meeting attendance from six hours to three. It will mean a net reduction in dues paid each year. It will also mean one more Saturday in which to pursue personal or client research.

* For the collector of San Diego genealogy newsletters, it means the end of the COMPU.GEN quarterly newsletter as we know it - chock full of computer genealogy information. The promises that content similar to what is in COMPU.GEN will be included in the SDGS Newsletter may be fulfilled, but adding more pages to the monthly SDGS Newsletter will be a cost and editing challenge for SDGS. An email only newsletter sent to interested members may be a solution. An active SDGS blog with helpful computer genealogy information may be a better solution.

* There are three major problems with CGSSD continuing as we know it: the lack of volunteers to lead the society, the parking problem at UCSD, and the lack of another venue with sufficient meeting spaces with wireless computer access if the society leaves the UCSD venue. The parking problem is a killer for meetings at UCSD, and the society will lose UCSD as a venue if and when Gary Hoffman retires from UCSD. Using another venue, and having to pay rental fees, would probably increase in CGSSD membership costs. CGSSD is working the venue problem.

* The major problem with a combined society as SDGS is that the current meeting venue is not satisfactory for user groups like CGSSD was hosting, and the main meeting area may be overcrowded with another 150 members (not all will attend, of course, but many will). The challenge is to find a larger venue with several meeting rooms, and all with wireless computer access. SDGS is working this problem.

* It is possible, even likely, that the SDGS Library could accommodate more user groups and computer classes on Saturdays (except for the SDGS program meeting day) or another day of the week.

* A benefit for SDGS is that the average age of CGSSD members is significantly lower than that of SDGS members, so SDGS may "look" younger, and be able to tap into some of the computer knowledge of CGSSD members.

* A benefit for current CGSSD-only members is exposure to the broader genealogy world of research in repositories, program speakers, seminars and conferences on all genealogical topics.

* The Discussion indicated that the current San Diego-area genealogical meeting calendar at will be incorporated into the SDGS website. There has been some discussion of a members-only area on the SDGS website - I really don't like members-only areas; I never used the CGSSD members-only area, and wonder if anyone did? I guess the SDGS Board thinks that
there may be a financial gain to be made with such a members-only area, but I'm not sure how much use it would get.

* The current leadership of SDGS is very forward thinking, energetic, enthusiastic, supportive and nurturing. SDGS provides two yearly seminars with renowned speakers, takes yearly trips to the Genealogy Jamboree, Los Angeles Public Library, Allen County Public Library and the Family History Library, and currently has weekly Wednesday morning classes at the SDGS Library. They are excellent fundraisers, and have kept SDGS solvent through occasional lean times over the past 20 years, even with the library rental space charges. I have high confidence in the ability of SDGS to make the merger happen efficiently so that it is a major plus for all members.

* The challenge for the merged society will be to keep everybody happy - current and new SDGS members - by providing more user groups and classes at the SDGS library, more computer oriented speakers at the program meetings, perhaps more hours on the program Saturdays, and a larger venue with wireless computer access.

* I support the merger of CGSSD and SDGS for the reasons stated - especially because of the problems with UCSD parking and leadership, but also because of the potential opportunities for education of all San Diego area genealogists in both traditional and computer genealogy research.

How do my SDGS and CGSSD colleagues feel about the merger? What would you suggest SDGS do to make the merger a success?

Disclosure: I am a dues-paying member of both CGSSD and SDGS, and enjoy both meetings tremendously. I have written articles for both society newsletters and have made presentations at both societies. I look forward to writing more articles and making more presentations and teaching as opportunities permit.

Proposal to merge CGSSD with SDGS - Pros and Cons

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) members will vote on a proposal to mergew CGSSD with the San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) on Saturday, 21 August at UCSD at a 9 a.m. meeting.

An email was sent by President Del Ritchhart to the CGSSD members two months ago, and appeared in the July 2010 COMPU.GEN newsletter published by CGSSD, received this past week. The contents of the email and newsletter article includes:

"Marna Clemons, President of the San Diego Genealogical Society, and two accompanying board members presented a proposal to the Board of Directors of the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego at our May 15 meeting that the CGSSD merge into SDGS. Following her presentation, the board asked Marna several questions and then, after dismissing her from the meeting, discussed the proposal within the board. It was the consensus of the board that the issue should be taken to a vote of the membership of the society.

"Our by-laws require that written notice be given to the members at least 10 but not more than 90 days before a meeting that would involve “Electing to wind up and dissolve the corporation; or” other additional items including removal of a director, filling board vacancies, etc.

"Following are pros, cons and discussion points regarding the proposed merge.


"--The two organizations combined would be stronger in membership and skills than operating separately. The SDGS currently has a membership of 450 and ours is at 222 members. About 75 of our current members also belong to the SDGS.

"--CGSSD was originally formed to focus on improving our membership’s knowledge and capabilities concerning the use of computers in genealogical research and documentation. At that time this focus was not being provided by SDGS or other societies in the San Diego area, nor did they seem to have an interest in computer genealogy. That is no longer the case in SDGS (or other area Genealogy organizations), as most members conducting research about their family history these days use computers in their research and to document their findings.

"--Over at least the last three years, the board of the CGSSD has had difficulty recruiting members to serve on the Board of Directors. In fact, at the present time we have vacancies on the Board for the Vice President Administration and Program Chairman. Combining the organizations should provide a larger pool of talent to serve the organization in leadership positions.

"--The combined organization should have more financial resources to help increase the pool of potential speakers we can attract to San Diego. In most cases the two societies are limited to speakers who live in the Southern California area. We are fortunate that there are a number of very talented people to draw from; but being able to pay more for travel expenses will help broaden the scope of speakers we can attract.

"--For some people who already belong to both SDGS and CGSSD, it will free up one day a month and be one less meeting to attend.

"--The Southern California Genealogy Society has been very successful in combining several diverse genealogy organizations into one and to continue to serve the unique needs of them all. They are a good example of the positive results that could be achieved.

"--With the newly-instituted change to parking rules and fees at UCSD on weekends, CGSSD meeting attendance may fall significantly; a change of venue could be very attractive to members. In any event, the UCSD venue will certainly evaporate when Gary Hoffman retires in a few years. When this occurs it will inevitably mean an increase in dues unless another free location can be found.


"--When two organizations combine, there is always the chance that the identity of the lesser organization will be lost. We have discussed ways to overcome this with the SDGS; but it remains a concern.

"--For various reasons, it is likely that some of our members will not join the new combined organization. Thus, we will miss the opportunity to serve them and interface with them.

"--While it is listed as a “Pro” that combining the organizations will reduce the number of meetings members will have to attend each month; some members might enjoy having the additional opportunity to hear speakers and interface with fellow members on a more frequent and diversified basis.

"--The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego will no longer exist as a separate identity and we will no longer have a separate organization, venue and newsletter. Thus, there will be one less option available for people in the San Diego area who are interested in genealogy. But, it is likely that the SDGS Newsletter will capture the kinds of articles written for CompuGen now, and will serve the same purpose as CompuGen has done, requiring some input from the contributors currently serving in that capacity for CGSSD.

"--To continue to provide the same kinds of SIG and interest group presentations, a more tech-friendly venue for SDGS / CGSSD meetings will be necessary. If the current venue is kept, there will be a significant change in the way the interest groups are handled.


"At our August meeting we will hold a general meeting of the members from 9-10 AM in place of normal SIGs and User Group meetings. This subject will be discussed and at the end of the meeting a vote will be held to determine whether or not the members want to merge with SDGS.

"On June 25 members of the boards of CGSSD and SDGS met to discuss issues concerning how the merge would be handled should it be approved by the CGSSD members. Following are items that were discussed:

"--Since CGSSD handles dues on a 12-month basis i.e., June through June; and SDGS handles dues on a calendar year, Jan through Dec; the following was generally agreed upon. Regardless of when CGSSD members paid their dues in 2010, the dues would be good through the end of 2011. Thus, if a CGSSD member paid their dues in February 2010, he or she would not have to pay dues again until January of 2012. Current SDGS annual dues are $25 and for a second member of the family it is only an additional $15—thus it is $40 for two members of a family.

"--SDGS has formed a committee to search for a new, more centralized venue for meetings. One of the criteria will be more spaces for simultaneous user group and SIG meetings prior to the monthly meetings. They currently meet the 2nd Saturday of the month at the St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 8350 Lake Murray Blvd.

"--A SDGS Board Position will be created for the Computer Genealogy Committee. That position will be filled by a current CGSSD member.

"--SDGS normally has a two hour segment for their featured speaker at their monthly meetings. A balance will be maintained between presentations on computer and non-computer oriented topics. For example, a speaker might give the first presentation on “Researching Your Irish Ancestors” and the second presentation on “Great New Websites for Conducting Irish Research”. In other cases two separate speakers might give presentation—one about genealogy in general and the other more oriented toward computer genealogy.

"--There was some discussion of switching to a morning schedule similar to CGSSD’s. No final decision was made realizing that the schedule might be dictated by the venue selected.

"--Articles that normally would have been contained in CompuGen will be gladly accepted by SDGS for incorporation into their monthly newsletter. It will be incumbent on CGSSD members to compose and submit the articles just as they have done in the past.

"--SDGS recently moved their library to a more centralized location at 7343 Ronson Road in the Kearny Mesa area. Members have 24-hour access to the library and its facilities which are equipped for wireless connectivity. They conduct regular classes on Wednesday mornings at 10 AM at the library, as well as beginner classes in the mornings prior to the monthly meetings. They sponsor annual trips to the Salt Lake City Family History Library, Los Angeles Public Library and to the SCGS Jamboree and every-other-year to Allen County Public Library. All of this will be available to CGSSD members.

"--SDGS is strongly considering changing their web site so as to have a “members only” section similar to ours at CGSSD. They are very receptive to incorporating a Detailed Calendar of Events similar to that currently provided on our web site by Joan Lowery.

"--Should the membership of CGSSD vote in favor of merging into SDGS, the target date for consolidating operations is 1 January 2011.

"--We have learned that the UCSD management has decided that, commencing 1 September 2010, parking will no longer be free on Saturdays. After that date members will have to deal with the regular rates: A one-day parking pass is $9.00. The hourly rate, payable at the machine in the Pangea structure, is $2.00 per hour. There are some other options, but they involve group purchases at $8.00 per day. There is no half-day rate, even though the evening rate is $5.00.

"This could have a serious impact on our future meetings. Car pooling is a possibility; but it is doubtful that many members will find that option very attractive. Finding a new meeting place is a possibility; but past efforts at this have shown it to be a real challenge and would probably involve paying a fee for use of the facilities."

I will comment on the proposed merger in the next post.

Exploring - Post 1

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has launched their revamped website named American Ancestors - today. The press release is here.

The website design is completely different from the previous site design - here is the home page (two screens, some overlap):

There is a row at the top right for "Login" "Join" "Free Registration" "Visit NEHGS" and "Text Size." Under the logo is a menu for "NEHGS News" "Explore" "Connect" and "Store." Each menu link has a dropdown menu for different features within that category.

Under the menu is a Search field to enter Keywords (names, dates, or events) and under the Search field are links for "Popular Databases" and "Free Databases."

Under the Search Box are three columns - one for daily columns, the middle one for upcoming NEHGS events, and the right column for NEHGS on Facebook, including photos of some of the NEHGS Facebook Fans (I tried to get mine to come up - are they only the most recent fans?).

From the Home Page, I clicked on "Explore" and saw (two screens below, some overlap):

The top of the Explore page says:

"The NEHGS website is one of the most widely used online genealogical resources in the country. More than 15,000 members research on the website every day. This site features nearly 3,000 unique searchable online collections, offering information on more than 135 million people. The extensive NEHGS Library catalog is also fully searchable through the site."

The "Popular Databases" listed on the page include (note these can be accessed by members only):

The "Free Databases" listed on the page include (note these can be accessed by any registered user - not just members only):

Over on the left sidebar is a list of more pages to explore - for Resources (Advanced Search, Articles Index, Database Catalog, External Databases, Hire the Experts, Learning Center, Library, Library Catalog, Publications, Special Collections) and for Connect (NEHGS Experts, NEHGS on Facebook, Photos from Past Evets, Related Links, Research Services, Virtual Tour of NEHGS).

Back on the Home Page is an educational boxes for The Daily Genealogist (a brief fact or article - like a blog):

Just below The Daily Genealogist feature is David Allen Lambert's "Question of the Day" feature where David answers a question about genealogical research and resources:

Over on the right-hand side of the Home Page is a box showing the latest article on the "NEHGS on Facebook" page at I wrote about the opportunity to ask research questions, and receive answers form NEHGS staff or other researchers, on the NEHGS Facebook page in NEHGS Using Facebook Page as a Message Board.

There are many more pages to explore on the web site, and I look forward to doing that in future posts here on Genea-Musings. I am especially interested in the search capability, the image viewer, faster navigation and the unique content mentioned in the press release.

My first impression of the revamped website is that it is a winner - fairly spare face, excellent contrast, great use of graphics, loads quickly, intuitive and quick navigation, and technologically aware. Other than that, I like it!

Treasure Chest Thursday - Lyle's High School Graduation Certificate

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - and a chance to show one of the documents or artifacts in my ancestral history.

Today, it is Lyle Lawrence Carringer's graduation certificate from San Diego High School:

The certificate is date 26 June 1914. Lyle was age 22 at this time. I don't know if he started school very late due to being held back due to illness or some other reason. He was a very slight boy and man, and may not have matured as quickly as other boys his age. He started working at Marston's Department Store in downtown San Diego in 1905, so that may have held him back for one or more years.

I am quite sure that Lyle was the first person in his family line to graduate from high school (mainly because there were so few children in his line!). His future wife, Emily Kemp Auble, also graduated from San Diego High School, as did his daughter, Betty Virginia Carringer, and as did his three grandsons, Randy, Stanley and Scott Seaver.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Caleb Johnson's Site

Do you have Mayflower 1620 passengers in your ancestry? If so, you may want to check out Caleb Johnson's wonderful website at The home page looks like this:

There are sections for the:

* Introduction (" is the Internet's most complete and accurate web site dealing with the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, and early Plymouth Colony")

* The Mayflower Passenger List

* Pilgrim History (the ship, the pilgrims, the voyage, life in Plymouth, the Wampanoags, modern Plymouth, exploring Cape Cod, and additional readings)

* Mayflower Genealogy (including genealogies)

* Primary Sources and Books (texts of Plymouth records)

* Societies and Museums

* Bookstore and Gift Shop

All in all, a nice one-stop website for everything related to the Mayflower passengers in 1620, and to Plymouth Colony in general.

The Primary Sources and Books link interested me today - there was a link to a page for Primary Sources: Writings of the Pilgrims:

Both of those pages have active links to full text books on Google Books for many of the primary source books listed. For instance, here is the Google Book screen for the first book on Plymouth Records:

There are many more gems hiding on these web pages. For instance, every passenger on the Mayflower in 1620 has a web page that provides basic information along with a short biographical sketch.

If you find in your genealogical research that you have passengers on the Mayflower in 1620, or even residents in Plymouth in the 17th century, Caleb's Mayflower History website is a good place to start finding more information about them.

My ancestry has at least six Mayflower 1620 passengers (William White, Elizabeth (--?--) White, George Soule, Francis Cooke, John Cooke, Richard Warren) and probably several more (through my Dill line on Cape Cod, and my Martin line in Woodbridge NJ). There are, of course, authoritative genealogies for each of these ancestors, mainly in the periodical literature and the "Silver Books" and pamphlets put out by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday 8/21: "Looking Up My Ancestors"

The next meeting of the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) is Saturday, August 21, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. to noon.

NOTE: Parking will be free. The previously announced charge for parking will not be in effect until September 1.

A special member’s meeting to discuss and vote on the proposal to merge with the San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) will be held from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. The User's Groups will not meet.

After a break and refreshments at 10:00, Gary Hoffman will present “Looking Up My Ancestors: Genealogy in the Cloud.”

Computing focus is rapidly transitioning from devices to cloud services. That is, innovations in cloud computing are replacing the concept of applications on individual computers as a way of delivering services to users. This change has implications for where, how, and when we can access information about our ancestors. New devices like iPhone, iPad, and netbook are changing our concepts of computing and changing how we use data, including genealogy data. Can we be part of this change or will we be left behind?

As past president and current webmaster for CGSSD, Gary has promoted genealogy access via the Internet since the birth of the World Wide Web. Gary learned the value of keeping good genealogy records as a youth raising prize-winning pedigreed livestock in Northern California. He earned a degree in broadcasting from Brigham Young University as a preface to his career as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. He later worked in high technology and communications while earning MBA and JD degrees. He is currently the Chief Technology Officer for the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California San Diego.

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

I will post a message from CGSSD President Del Ritchhart in a later post, and my own comments about the proposed merger of CGSSD into SDGS.

Gary Hoffman's programs are one of the highlights of the genealogy year for me. I hope that SDGS continues the tradition of having Gary talk about computer trends and genealogy databases in future years.

Thank you to Linda Hervig for providing these meeting notices via email to all CGSSD members.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 116: Betty and the Flivver

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:

I love these pictures of my mother as a baby, and the pictures of the family car. This is a two-fer - both in one picture!

The little girl is my mother, Betty Carringer, and probably was taken by my grandfather, Lyle Carringer, in 1920 when she was about one year old. The automobile is probably the one I posted in Lyle was Driving. I don't recognize the house in the background - it may have been one belonging to the extended family or family friends, or it may be a neighborhood house on 30th Street in San Diego.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Checking out the new MyHeritage Profiles

I received an email last week from saying (in part):

"We wanted to let you know about the new enhanced Web profiles we've recently added to the site. This is a completely free feature.

"Every person in your family tree now has an enhanced profile with all biographical info available in one attractive and convenient page. The new profile page includes a map showing the geographical trail of a person through life, and a list of close family members, each with a link to their enhanced profiles.

"Also note the new page we've added for editing profiles. It can be accessed by clicking 'Edit profile' in the new profile page. The new editing page provides 8 convenient tabs for entering richer info into each profile. You can now enter additional names like a nickname, former name and religious name; enter marriage info (including civil marriage) and witnesses; specify adoption and foster parents and document a person's favorites. You can include in-depth information for each person: from writing their biography and documenting their education and career – to providing a rich array of contact information.

"Flexible date entry is now supported in Web profiles including entering non-exact dates like 'Circa 1920' and 'Before 1980'.

"More enhancements in this area are on the way, including sources and citations, embedding YouTube videos and other Web content in profiles, and the addition of many more fact types."

I decided to see what the profiles looked like. I have a free account at MyHeritage with two family tree databases on the site. I went to and logged in. I selected the "Family Tree" tab from my web site page, and saw my pedigree chart. I selected Frank Walton Seaver from the tree and saw:

Basic information about the highlighted person in the tree is shown in the panel on the left side. This area has space for a picture, shows the Facts for the person, and has a "View Profile" button. I clicked on the "View Profile" button and saw:

On the Profile for Frank Walton Seaver, it lists the immediate family - spouse, children, siblings and parents. Further down the page is the "Info" tab with further information - education, work, favorites, contact information, personal info and biography:

As you can see in the screen above, the research notes that I have in my database are in the Biography section. I could edit any of these sections with one click.

There is an "Events" tab also, which looks like:

In this tab, each Event in the file for Frank Walton Seaver is listed, with a small map with stick-pins showing the persons birth, marriage and death events.

Frankly, I don't remember how detailed these person profiles were in earlier versions of

These current features provide a state-of-the-art presentation for person profiles. There are no sources or citation features yet.

Navigation is fairly easily and pretty quick in this system - you can click on persons in the family tree and see their information, and in the Person Profiles, you can click on the spouses, parents, siblings or children to see their profiles.

In summary, if you have an online family tree at, they have improved the navigation and display to information in person profiles. We still have to wait for sources and some other features.

NEHGS Using Facebook Page as a Message Board

Many genealogists have a Facebook presence in order to stay in contact with family, friends and genealogy colleagues. Many genealogy societies and companies have Facebook pages to make announcements, but very few are really "active" with helpful discussions between the entity and their readers.

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) has a Facebook page and has actively engaged their fan community by encouraging research questions and providing short but helpful answers. Here is the top of their page this morning:

As you can see, there are a number of queries posted by researchers. They are usually answered by NEHGS staff members (often by David Allen Lambert, the NEHGS Online Genealogist).

Increasingly, readers of the NEHGS Facebook page are engaging in the responses, as you can see in this query posted on Saturday:

This works for NEHGS because it has a critical mass - it has a large Facebook audience (over 5,000 fans), a large membership (over 25,000 members), and a staff that has actively embraced using Facebook to engage with their readers and members. It's a superb customer-company interface for this type of interaction. Kudos to NEHGS, and David Lambert, for finding a way to effectively use social networking to interact with genealogy researchers in an immediate and helpful manner.

Over the past week, there were 15 queries posted on the NEHGS Facebook page. One was an NEHGS announcement, and 3 have not been answered yet. NEHGS staff answered 10 of them, and other researchers answered one of them before NEHGS staff could. The NEHGS staff response was usually within three days of the initial query.

Do other genealogical societies have Facebook interactions like this? I checked a few that I know about, and didn't see any that had this type of interaction. If you know of other societies that invite and respond to queries like this, please let me know.

What about genealogical companies? has a Facebook page with about 90,000 fans. There are many queries posted every day (many of them from beginners) and there are very few responses from readers, and even fewer from staff.'s Facebook page has posts from the company.

This is an excellent model for a genealogical society with a state-wide focus (enough members, limited focus) and persons willing to contribute expertise and opinion to answer queries and drive readers to society membership.

Tombstone Tuesday - A Cowboy's Gravestone?

It's Tombstone Tuesday, time to post one of the pictures of gravestones in my collection. Unfortunately, I ran out of pictures of my own ancestral families months ago, so I'm posting pictures of "interesting" gravestones that I've collected over the years.

Some people think that this is the coolest gravestone saying ever:

I've seen this before, and wondered if it was real, or if it was a faux gravestone created by a clever photo artist. It is real, and I recently found out whose gravestone it is. It was erected to commemorate a World War II Navy sailor, Russell J. Larsen (1921-1983) and is standing in the Logan City Cemetery in Logan, Cache County, Utah. The entry on Find-A-Grave has photographs of both sides of the stone.

I wonder if he wrote this epitaph himself, or if his good buddies heard him say it and put it on his gravestone?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mea Culpa: Genealogy Database Errors

In my post Surname Saturday - KENYON (England > RI) on Saturday, I listed my Kenyon ancestry, including the assertion that John Kenyon (1655-1732) of Rhode Island was the son of James and Esther (Smith) Kenyon, and was born in Oldham parish, Lancashire, England.

In a comment to that post, Martin Hollick (who is a professional genealogist, published author and writes The Slovak Yankee blog) commented that:

"In a series of articles in TAG in 2003-4 the Kenyons' English origins were disproved. 1521. becomes [blank] Mumford, daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Sherman) Mumford. And 1520 is the end of the line. It's my book which you have."

Martin's excellent book is New Englanders in the 1600's, A Guide to Genealogical Research Published Between 1980 and 2005, Boston, Massachusetts, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2006.

The entry in Martin's book noted:

"KENYON, JOHN, b. ca. 1657, d. Westerly, R.I., 1732. TAG 78:222-27, 79:207-8 (revision of English origins and early generations)."

I have edited my Surname Saturday post to reflect the revisions noted in the two articles from The American Genealogist periodical. I appreciate Martin's help in leading me to more information about this family in scholarly publications.

I've spent all morning in my genealogy database trying to correct the Kenyon family entries. Here is the introduction to my Notes about John Kenyon (ca 1647-1732):

The English background, vital records and family history for this family were published in the book American Kenyons: history of Kenyons and English connections of American Kenyons, genealogies of American Kenyons of Rhode Island, miscellaneous Kenyon material by Captain Howard N. Kenyon, published in Rutland, Vermont, by Tuttle & Company, 1935. Unfortunately, much of what was published in this work about the English ancestry of this John Kenyon are wrong. A John and Anna Kenyon family in Oldham, Lancashire in England was conflated with the John Kenyon family in Rhode Island.

Further information was published in the article "ENIGMAS #17: Revisiting the English Origin of John-1 and James-1 Kenyon of Rhode Island," by Gerald J. Parsons, FASG, in The American Genealogist, Volume 78, Number 3, pages 222-227, July 2003. In this article, the author describes the Oldham, Lancashire family of James Kenyon, which includes a summary of the parish register entries in Oldham (which includes children John, Sarah and James). The Parsons article also addresses the possibility, in some detail, that this John Kenyon married an unnamed daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Sherman) Mumford of Kingstown, Rhode Island.

Subsequently, Michael J. Wood wrote "ENIGMAS #17: Revisiting the English Origins of John-1 and James-1 Kenyon of Rhode Island" in The American Genealogist, Volume 79, Number 3, July 2004, pages 207-208. In this article, Mr. Wood finds more information in the Oldham, Lancashire parish registers that indicate that the John Kenyon family of Oldham left more records there into the 1730s, including a burial record of "Old John Kenyon in Glodwick" on 11 March 1731/2, and the burial of "Anne Kenyon in Glodwick, widow" on 28 August 1732.

These two articles certainly support the third scenario provided in Parson's article, that:

"3. John Kenyon of Glodwick in Oldham parish 1681-87 is not the Rhode Island man. As far as I have been able to discover, no record has been found in Rhode Island pointing to John-1 Kenyon's origins in England. Thus the John Kenyon of Glodwick may very well not be the Rhode Island man, and thus the wife Anna (seen by this name only in English records) does not belong to the immigrant. While the given name of John Kenyon's wife has not been found in Rhode Island records, he certainly married a daughter of Thomas Mumford at some point."

Researchers should read the full text of both articles.

In my database, I detached the children, including John Kenyon of Rhode Island, from James and Anna Kenyon of Lancashire, and changed the birth year of John Kenyon to "about 1647" since he testified in 1717 that he was about 70 years old. I modified my notes to reflect the latest information.

How did this situation happen to me? Here is the list of events as I recall them:

* When I started my genealogy search, I found the American Kenyons... book and believed everything in it. I copied the pages, added the information to my pedigree chart and family notebook, and didn't think much more about it. "It's published, right? Looks good. The guy did a lot of work - look, the names of the two sons match!"

* I entered the vital information and notes into my genealogy database in about 1991, when I was using Personal Ancestral File.

* In the late 1990s, there was a spirited discussion about Hannah Mumford, the wife of John Kenyon who he married in about 1678, and how could she be the daughter of Thomas Mumford of Rhode Island when she was having babies baptized in Oldham in Lancashire in the 1680s. From this, the wife of John Kenyon in Rhode Island became "Anna" to match up with the woman in Lancashire. The argument was "well, John Kenyon made several trips between Rhode Island and Lancashire, had babies there, then brought the family to Rhode Island in 1687."

* The two articles in The American Genealogist appeared in 2003 and 2004, and I read them, copied them and put them in my stack of information to be added to my genealogy database (now in Family Tree Maker).

* On Saturday, I posted my Kenyon ancestry, which elicited the comment from Martin Hollick and my modification to my database for the early Kenyon families in my ancestry.

In other words, I never did any scholarly research in original sources, or in authoritative derivative sources, on my own. I relied on the scholarship of others, and trusted it. Some of the scholarship was wrong, and I wasn't experienced enough, or smart enough, to seek it out myself over the past 22 years. Eventually, somebody else did it for me.

Early colonial American records in New England are prolific - many towns have town council, land records, probate records and other records dating back to the founding of the town, and almost all of them are on microfilm at the LDS Family History Library, and available for loan at a local Family History Center. There are some published books that index this information, but not all towns or ocunties are covered. It's a genealogy wonderland if the records survived intact and if you can read the handwriting. For example, I have been trying to find, copy and abstract or transcribe the land and probate records for my New England ancestral families, and am still in that process. In other words, I'm not done.

The English church parish records are another challenge. While many of them are on FHL microfilms, the entries before 1700 are often in Latin, and in the "secretary" hand which continues to baffle me. Therefore, I have relied on the work of others more skilled in the art of reading the "secretary" hand, and on the entries in the FHL extractions from the church parish registers or Bishop's Transcripts. Other than my Richman/Rich research in Wiltshire, I have done no original work in English church records.

In my defense, I am so blessed with a fine New England ancestry (well over 60% of my families are there ten generations back) that I am overwhelmed with ancestral families and information about them.

What I'm saying here is that I have done a lot of searching for previously published, filmed, indexed and digitized work, but have done virtually no original research on my colonial ancestral families, other than finding land and probate records for some of them. I've been spoiled by the abundance of published surname books, published town vital records, published family genealogy articles, and the like.

That doesn't excuse me from my errors, but it explains my reliance on the published work of others, who had more experience and more resources at hand to write books and articles about my ancestral families.

Most "genealogists" start out as name collectors and fact collectors, and eventually understand that they need to fact check the information they enthusiastically gleaned from published books and periodicals, online genealogy databases and online family trees. Some "name collectors" become "family historians" and gather factual and anecdotal information about the lives of their ancestors. Some genealogists eventually understand that original source material needs to be found to support the assertions of facts for each ancestor. In many cases, the original source material is found only in the handwritten records found in town halls, court houses, attics, basements, historical societies, and the LDS microfilms. This is what many "Internet-only" genealogists don't understand, and what they need to understand.

I'm embarrassed by my lack of scholarship in this specific instance, and I know that there are hundreds of other ancestral families that feature the same lack of scholarship in my database. All I can say is "I'm aware of it, and I'm working on it. It takes time!"

So why publish anything about my ancestors at all? We've discussed this before - as "cousin bait" to find other researchers with the same families, and as an example for others to be helped by or be inspired by. In the process, errors of omission and commission are found by readers and, hopefully, discussed and/or corrected. In the end, I figure that if I publish it and it is wrong, then someone will read it and correct it. At worst, I can always be a bad example!

Do you, the patient reader, have the feeling of "there but for the grace of God go I?" I hope so. And I hope that you take my lesson to heart. I think that almost every one with a genealogy database, published book, published or online article, website or blog has errors in their work, and they are displayed for readers to believe, test or criticize. That's really the scientific process, isn't it?