Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Make Your Own Poster

It's Saturday Night - is everyone ready for some Genealogy Fun?

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (and I hope that you do... because this one is really cool!), is to:

1) Go to the website and explore their FREE offerings. Click on the "Create" button, or choose to make a slideshow or posters from their main page (there are more than one screen of poster backgrounds).

2) Make one or more posters or other creation - perhaps they relate to genealogy or your own family history. Save them to your computer (right click, Save as Picture for Windows users).

3) Show your creations to us... in your own blog post, on a Facebook post, etc. If you make a really neat one and want to show it to the world but don't have a way to do it, send it to me ( and I'll show it off for you in a blog post.

My thanks to Sheri Fenley (by the way, where are you Fenley, on vacation?) for showing us her ImageChef creations in her post How I Spent My Sunday Evening And So Should You! last April, and being the inspiration for this SNGF challenge.

Here's mine:

1) I had to have a "Wanted" poster. Devier J. Smith was adopted and I don't know his parents names:

2) I've always wanted to be on television talking about genealogy (not sure about the rabbit ears, though):

3) Wouldn't you have loved to have this in the background at a concert? I wanted to put the caption "Genealogy Rocks" on the image but it obscured the show title:

Like Sheri said, you can spend hours playing around with this site, and the others she mentioned! Be creative! Enjoy!

Surname Saturday - DINKEL (Germany > PA)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 99, who is the wife of Cornelius Feather (1777-1852), whose name I do not know. So I will move on to #101 - Maria Dorothea Dinkel (1748-1835), one of my 4th-great-grandparents.

My ancestral line back through two generations of DINKEL 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)

50. John Daniel Spangler (1781-1851)
51. Elizabeth King (1796-1863)

100. Rudolf Spangler, born 08 August 1738 in Cambria County, PA; died 05 August 1811 in York, York County, PA. He was the son of 200. Johann Balthazar Spengler and 201. Maria Magdalena Ritter. He married 01 January 1767 in York, York County, PA.
101. Maria Dorothea Dinkel, born 1748 in Strasbourg, Alsace, Germany; died 12 June 1835 in York, York County, PA.

Children of Rudolf Spangler and Maria Dinkel are:
i. John Jacob Spangler, born 28 November 1767 in York, York County, PA; died 08 June 1843 in York, York County, PA; married (1) Susannah Hay 05 May 1791 in York, York, PA; born 16 August 1768 in York, York, PA; died 24 February 1818 in York, York, PA; married (2) Catherine Allen Hamilton 23 May 1820 in E. Cocalico, Lancaster, PA; born 13 November 1792 in Paxton, Bucks, PA; died 12 June 1873 in York, York, PA.
ii. Maria Catherine Spangler, born 31 December 1769 in York, York County, PA; died 27 December 1824 in York, York County, PA; married George Augusta Barnitz in York, York, PA; born 18 February 1770 in York, York, PA; died 19 April 1844 in York, York, PA.
iii. Elizabeth Spangler, born 23 February 1773 in York, York County, PA; died 14 April 1844 in York, York County, PA; married William Nes; born 13 July 1761 in York, York, PA; died 19 July 1828 in York, York, PA.
iv. Margaret Spangler, born 14 March 1773 in York, York County, PA; died 15 April 1852 in Winchester, Frederick County, VA; married Joseph Slagle 22 September 1807 in York, York, PA.
v. Jesse Spangler, born 05 July 1775 in York, York County, PA; died 12 September 1860 in York, York County, PA; married Mary D. Heckert; born 19 March 1780 in York, York, PA; died 13 January 1867 in York, York, PA.
vi. Anna Maria Spangler, born About 1779 in York, York County, PA; died 1841 in York, York County, PA; married Peter Small 27 April 1797 in York, York, PA; died 1823 in York, York, PA.
100 vii. John Daniel Spangler, born 09 October 1781 in York, York County, PA; died 19 July 1851 in Georgetown, Mercer County, PA; married Elizabeth King 12 March 1815 in York, York County, PA.
viii. Mary Margaret Spangler, born About 1783 in York, York County, PA; died 1841 in York, York County, PA; married Martin Kieffer 1804 in York, York, PA; born 1781 in York, York, PA; died 1852 in York, York, PA.
ix. Peter Spangler, born 16 May 1786 in York, York County, PA; died 22 May 1823 in York, York County, PA; married Sarah Gardner 15 October 1812 in York, York, PA; born 1787 in York, York, PA; died 19 August 1839 in York, York, PA.
x. Magdalena Spangler, born 24 June 1789 in York, York County, PA; died 15 May 1842 in York, York County, PA; married Charles Frederick Fisher 02 October 1808 in York, York, PA; born 03 August 1783 in York, York, PA; died 26 August 1842 in York, York, PA.

202. Johann Daniel Dunckel, born in Germany, died before 07 November 1755 in York, York County, PA. He married 7. Maria Ursula Von Ernest before 1736 in Germany.
203. Maria Ursula Von Ernest, born 02 April 1713 in Colmar, Alsace, Germany; died 29 September 1793 in York, York County, PA.

Children of Johann Dunckel and Maria Von Ernest are:
i. Margaret Salome Dinkel, born 06 April 1736 in Strasbourg, Alsace, Germany; died 29 June 1813 in York, York, PA; married Philip Caspar Spengler; born 1730 in Germany; died 1782 in York, York, PA.
ii. Anna Maria Dinkel, born about 1738 in Strasbourg, Alsace, Germany; died 23 February 1797 in York, York County, PA; married Philip Albright.
iii. Johan Daniel Dinkel, born 17 June 1741 in Strasbourg, Alsace, Germany; married Anna Margaret Ruhl or Riehl Bef. 1758 in York, York County, PA.
iv. Peter Dinkel, born 11 July 1742 in Strasbourg, Alsace, Germany; died 22 December 1827 in York, York County, PA; married Eliza Wolf 15 February 1767 in York, York County, PA; born 1748; died 07 May 1830 in York, York County, PA.
v. Maria Catherina Dinkel, born 22 June 1746 in Strasbourg, Alsace, Germany; died 22 March 1831 in York, York County, PA; married David Candler 30 October 1763 in York, York County, PA; born 28 April 1740 in Schlotterdam, NJ; died before 04 August 1801 in York, York County, PA.
101 vi. Maria Dorothea Dinkel, born 1748 in Strasbourg, Alsace, Germany; died 12 June 1835 in York, York County, PA; married Rudolf Spangler 01 January 1767 in York, York County, PA.

Everything I know about this Dunckel/Dinkel family line I learned from the book:

Samuel Small, Jr., Genealogical Records of George Small, Philip Albright, Johann Daniel Dunckel, William Geddes Latimer, Thomas Bartow, John Reid, Daniel Benezet, Jean Crommelin, Joel Richardson; Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott Company, 1905. This work can be found online at the website.

It's interesting to note that my third great-grandfather, John Daniel Spangler, was named after his grandfather Johann Daniel Dunckel.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Confessions of a Name Collector - Adding Families to my Database

After the rather depressing realization that I had all of those poor Sources in my database for hundreds of 16th and 17th century English families (see Confessions of a Name Collector - English Sources), I have had an enjoyable three hours adding information to my database from scholarly publications whose veracity I trust.

My pile of "to be entered into the database" was reduced today by addition of the information in these sources today (names, dates, places, relationships, a summary of the publication and family):

* Richard L. Bush, "English Ancestry of Bennet Hodsoll, First Wife of Edmond Freeman of Sandwich, Massachusetts," New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 164, Number 2 (April 2010), Pages 104-111.

* Jan Porter and Daniel F. Stramara, Jr., "The Origin of Gabriel Whelden of Yarmouth and Malden, Massachusetts," New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 163, Number 4 (October 2009), Pages 253-261.

* Jane Fletcher Fiske, "The English Background of Richard Kent Sr. and Stephen Kent of Newbury, Massachusetts, and Mary, Wife of Nicholas Easton of Newport, Rhode Island," New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 162, Number 4 (October 2010), Pages 245-254; Volume 163, Number 1 (January 2009), Pages 51-65.

* Eugene Cole Zubrinsky, "The Immigration and Marriage of William Carpenter of Amesbury, Wiltshire, and Providence, Rhode Island," New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 164, Number 1 (January 2010), Pages 36-40.

* John Insley Coddington and Maclean W. Maclean, "The Blossom Family of Cambridgeshire, England, and New England," The American Genealogist, Volume 63, Number 2 (April 1988), Pages 65-77.

These articles are all from scholarly sources that have excellent research summaries, significant family history items like will and land records, and citations to original sources. I will never be able to duplicate the research performed by these researchers in the years I have left.

My hope is that by posting the citations for these articles that other researchers may find them using search engines and be lead to the article that might help them. It's sort of like paying it forward, and giving credit to those that have done the work.

Now don't worry about my doomy comments recently, there are no medical problems, knock on wood! I'm just thinking that my life expectancy is about 10 years and I'd rather do something other than turn microfilm reels in unreadable English parish registers.

Confessions of a Name Collector - English Sources

I started out in genealogy being a "name collector" in 1988. I totally relied on the published work of other researchers to provide information about many of my ancestors - from books, periodicals, the LDS International Genealogical Index (IGI) and the LDS Ancestral File. I wrote it down, put it in my research notebooks, and added it to my genealogy database on Personal Ancestral File (without source citations).

I think that most of us start out this way, once we get past the family sources and obtaining vital records for our 20th century families. Eventually, we understand that in order to find those elusive ancestors - the ones that aren't in books, periodicals or the IGI - and substantiate the assertions made in those derivative sources, that we need original source material with direct evidence to support our "facts" - names, dates, places and events. When we find them, they are usually in church, military, town, tax, court, land and probate records.

Fast forward 22 years, and aging Randy has over 39,000 persons in his genealogy database in Family Tree Maker (and other programs, but I still use FTM 16 for my database add/edit/delete functions). Some of them have a birth or baptism, marriage, and death or burial date, and those often have a place associated with the date. Over time, I added shorthand source citations to the place name (e.g., Westminster, Worcester, MA (VR, 197) - denoting Westminster MA Vital Records, page 197). I am still finding and correcting these "errors of judgment" from years ago - putting the source and citation in my source field and deleting it from the place field. In addition, I had plenty places denoting (gravestone), (will proved), (admin filed), etc. Most of these source citations are now nearly correct, except I don't have page numbers for many of them. That's one of the next tasks to do... after I finish the Data Error resolutions.

One large set of source citations is a major challenge: English church parish records. I am blessed with a large number of early American colonial ancestors, many of these lines stretch back into England in the 1500 to 1650 time frame. During the name collecting phase, I took as fact those baptisms, marriages and burials that I found in the derivative sources - my thinking was "somebody smarter than me found these records and I'm glad they wrote them down."

My guess is that almost all of the names, dates and places are correct, but who knows? I haven't verified them for myself, but they're in my database and I'll be darned if I'm going to take them out. Rather than cite the actual work where I found them (the surname book, the journal article, the LDS IGI, etc.), I have, over the years, put a source in my database titled something like "Bury. St. Edmunds, Suffolk Parish Registers." I know, that's a mistake. But how do I fix it?

Trying to correct my genealogy database for "posterity" I have the problem of "How do I cite those sources well and accurately?" For the English parish records, my choices seem to be:

* Cite the derivative source work - surname book, journal article. After all, that's where I found the information, and those sources can be found by another researcher. But the data is in about 30 linear feet of notebooks stuffed with paper (plus the "to be filed" pile). Big job.

* Order the FHL microfilms for each set of church parish records and search them for the entries that may or may not be there, and cite the microfilm and original record if found. This would be the best "original source" material available (short of going to each record office in England....). This is the "right" thing to do, but may take more than my lifetime to finish. I have at least 400 "master sources" of the English parish records. Bigger job! Boring and expensive too...

* Cite the entries from the LDS IGI - almost all of them are in the IGI, whether extracted or submitted - and let others follow the trail if they care to. A manageable job, but not something to be proud of!

* Keep the "master source" entries as I have them, but add the comment "consult the LDS IGI for the extracted record, and consult the microfilm from which it was extracted to see the actual record" to each "master source" entry. This is easier to do, but not something to be proud of.

* Don't worry about it, and WGASA (anybody know what this means? I'll tell you in comments later!). This method conveys the messages "It's my imperfect database, and people who use it can figure it out" and "There's no such thing as a useless database, it can always be used as a bad example!" This is the easiest choice of all!

The exception to all of this is the English parish records that I have actually searched on microfilm at the Family History Center and in several County Record Offices in England. For those, I can cite the actual records from the original source microfilm images that I consulted. If I can find them.

How have you sourced English parish records? What would you do in my situation?

Exploring - the Learning Center

One of the FREE areas of the New England Historic Genealogical Society website at is the Learning Center.

There are three major pages on the Learning Center page:

1) Getting Started -- provides five basic steps, and five tips for success. The basic steps have links to forms, key genealogical sources, and software programs. There is a special Getting Started for Young People page also, with a Bibliography for Young People and Families.

2) Online Seminars -- Seminars (you can view the presentation and hear the speaker) are offered on Getting Started (3 videos), NEHGS Resources (3 videos), Irish Research (1 video), Records and Resources (2 videos), and Strategies and Methodologies (6 videos)

3) Articles -- this article archive covers a variety of topics, including: Mayflower research, computers and genealogy, professional development, Canadian family history and much more. You can sort articles by topic, author or location.

Perhaps the most interesting new article I saw on the site was this one:

"#87 Royal Decents, Notable Kin, and Printed Sources: Gary Roberts asks for Help (on his Patrilineal Ancestry): A Likely Solution—I Hope—to My Longest Genealogical Quest.
Toward a “Brick-Wall” Solution: The Elusive Patrilineal and Native American Ancestors of Calvin Henderson Roberts" by Gary Boyd Roberts and K. Todd Johnson.

Gary Boyd Roberts is one of the most well-known and acclaimed genealogical researchers in the business, and he is stuck on the ancestry of his great-great-grandfather, Calvin Henderson Roberts (1827-1892). There are plenty of clues, but not enough to satisfy a proof standard. He is asking for help. It's nice to see that the experts have their own research problems and can ask for help from the genealogy community.

The Learning Center also has a monthly calendar which describes all of the learning programs at NEHGS in Boston. You can see the next months by clicking on the right arrow next to the "Today" item in the calendar header.

If you are looking for information about beginning genealogy, learning new methodologies, or reviewing case studies, the Learning Center on has some interesting material.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

CVGS Annual Picnic - "Wheel of Fortune Surname Game"

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) Annual Picnic on August 25th featured an audience participation game called the "Wheel of Fortune Surname Game." CVGS President Gary Brock devised this game featuring information taken from surnames and information taken from the participant's five generation pedigree chart.

Gary created a 16 segment "Surname Wheel of Fortune" with randomly distributed numbers corresponding to randomly distributed numbers on a large map of the USA and the World. The Wheel was spun, and the first audience member, who had an ancestral family on their chart that resided in the selected geographical area, that stood up was selected to be the contestant.

The contestant then explained information about their selected surname, the research performed, and answered questions about the surname and their research. Points were awarded for 11 criteria, including:

* the number of times the selected surname appeared on their pedigree chart (up to a 7 generation chart);
* the number of generations with the surname that the contestant has photos for;
* the number of generations with the surname that the contestant has newspaper clippings for;
* the number of audience members with the same surname on their chart;
* the number of audience members with names on their chart with the same region as the contestant.
* number of centuries in which the selected surname appears on the chart
* number of lines on the chart with the selected surname
* possession of primary information on the selected surname
* selected surname appears in a published book or journal article
* completion of five-generation chart with at least a name and date or place.
* Pedigree Chart has been submitted to CVGS collection.

Points were awarded for each response and added, using a spreadsheet, to provide each contestant's score. Mary P won with 78 points for her Hatch surname in the New England region. Randy S. was second with 76 points for his Smith surname in the New England region. Myrna G was third with 73 points for her Beach surname in the Midwest region. The lowest scores were 28 for surnames in the Pacific Island region and the Eastern European region. 18 attendees participated in the game and a good time was had by all.

The Annual Picnic also featured a very short business meeting, a duplicates book sale, and a white elephant gift exchange in addition to the bring-your-own lunch.

Surnames used for the game were L'Magdalen (UK/Canada), Erdman (Mid-Atlantic), Beach (Midwest), Whittle (Pacific), Quintero (South America), Page (Pacific), Smith (New England), Self (South), Bellwood (West), Hoffman (Mid-Atlantic), Bricvan (Eastern Europe); Hildreth (UK), Weber (West), Busing (Western Europe), McCall (Mid-Atlantic), Hatch (New England), Tway (West) and Inbody (Midwest).

The origin and meaning of these surnames will be discussed by Gary in his Weekenders presentation at the Chula Vista Civic Center Library at 1 p.m. on Sunday, 29 August.

Periodicals on the Site

There are quite a few Periodicals and Journals on, the revamped New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) website. They are imaged and indexed.

The periodicals and journals include (from the Database Catalog page - select Periodicals, Journals and Articles from the dropdown Category list):

* American Ancestors Journal -- Volume 163 (2009)
* Connecticut Nutmegger -- Volumes 1-40 (1970 to 2009)
* Death Notices from the New York Evening Post , 1801-1890
* Deaths in The Christian Intelligencer (Reformed Dutch Ch.), 1830-1871
* Deaths Reported in the Boston Recorder and Telegraph, 1827 and 1828
* Essex Antiquarian -- Volumes 1-13 (1897 to 1909)
* Marriage and Death Notices Published in New Hampshire Newspapers -- 1848, 1856 (partial)
* Marriage Notices from the New York Evening Post, 1801–1890
* Marriages and Deaths from the Springfield [MA] Republican, 1847
* Marriages and Deaths in New York State from the New Canaan [CT] Era -- 1868-1871

* Marriages in the Boston Recorder and Telegraph, 1827-1828
* Marriages in The Christian Intelligencer (Reformed Dutch Ch.), 1830-1871
* New England Ancestors -- Volumes 1-6 (2000 to 2005)
* New England Historical and Genealogical Register -- Volumes 1 to 164 (1847 to 2010)
* New Hampshire Gazette: Vital Records, 1756–1800
* New Netherland Connections -- Volumes 1-12 (1996 to 2007)
* Otsego County, NY: Newspaper Records -- 1808-1812, 1828-1831
* Record of Deaths and Marriages from the Albany Argus, 1826–1828
* Search for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements, 1831-1920
* The American Genealogist -- Volumes 9-43 (1932-1967)
* The Virginia Genealogist -- Volumes 1-30 (1957-1986)

I took the volume numbers and the years included from the web page, so they may be imperfect.

Access to these online journals and periodicals, with an every name search function, is a tremendous membership benefit and research asset for the NEHGS member.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Charles Auble (1849-1916) Death Certificate

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time for another document or artifact from my collection of "stuff" collected on my ancestral families over the past 22 years.

Here is the Death Certificate for my great-grandfather, Charles Auble (1849-1916).

The information on this death certificate includes:

* Full Name: Charles Auble
* Place of Death: Agnew Hospital, Ward 4, City of San Diego
* Sex, Color or Race, Marital Status: Male, White, Married
* Date of Death: Mar. 23, 1916
* Husband of: Georgia K. Auble
* Date of Birth: Oct. 31, 1854
* Age: 61 years, 4 months, 24 days
* Occupation: Painter
* Place of Birth: New Jersey
* Name of Father, and Birthplace: Auble, New Jersey
* Name of Mother, and birthplace: Knapps, New Jersey
* Length of Residence: 5 Years at Place of Death, 5 Years in California
* Informant: Emily K. Auble, 14th & F St., City
* Cause of Death: ???? Cystitis, ???? shows -- Gall bladder ruptured, accidental fall
* Contributory: Accidental fall, 3 months
* [Doctor's] Signature: G.W. Compton, M.D.
* Place of Burial or Removal: Masonic Cemetery
* Date of Burial: Mar. 25, 1916
* Undertaker: Bradley & Woolman, San Diego

The family of Charles Auble still thought that he was born in 1854 rather than in 1849 as all of the census data before 1900 states (1950, 1860, 1870 and 1880 all indicate a birth year of about 1849). His 16 year old daughter, Emily, was entrusted with providing all of the information, so it's no surprise that she didn't know the first names of his parents, David Auble and Sarah Knapp. The home address is given as 14th and F Streets in San Diego.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

CVGS Weekender Program on "Surnames" - Sunday, 29 August

The August Weekender Program for the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) will be on Sunday, 29 August, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street in Chula Vista).

The program speaker will be CVGS President Gary Brock on the subject of "Surnames: Origins and Meanings.”

In this talk, Gary will discuss the origins of some of the different languages, their different migration patterns and how naming conventions in these different languages have influenced many of the surnames and given names we see today. Then he will analyze each of the surnames collected at our annual picnic and see if we can discover what language it most likely originated in, how it may have evolved and why it takes on the form we see today.

Gary grew up in Michigan and was relocated to Miramar Naval Air Station by the Navy in 1957. After discharge in June of 1960 he returned to Michigan for six months during which time he met and became engaged to his wife of 49 years, Wanda. When January arrived in Michigan, he convinced Wanda to accompany him back to California where they settled in Santa Monica. He attended Santa Monica City College and later was employed at the UCLA Physics Department engaged in Nuclear Physics research. After five years at UCLA he transferred to UCSD and continued research in Nuclear Medicine for another five years. He left the University in 1973 to start his own data processing business, San Dieguito Data Services, based in Carlsbad, CA. In 1979, he and Wanda moved to the Bay Area where he started another data processing consulting business, Brock & Associates, which he still operates on a reduced basis after retiring in 2002.

Gary is an ex-president of San Dieguito Little League in Encinitas, CA., ex-member of the Town Council, Encinitas, CA., an ex-commissioner, Boys Scouts of America, San Diego and current president of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society, Chula Vista, CA. He is an avid gardener and a Life Member of the Handyman Club of America.

This program should be of interest to all all persons interested in genealogy and family history are invited to attend this meeting - it is FREE to attend. There will be snacks and refreshments at "halftime."

For more information about this presentation and about CVGS, please contact Barbara at 619-477-4140 or

Using America's Historical Newspapers on

I posted yesterday about the External Databases on the NEHGS website. One of them is the Early American Newspapers, Series I, 1690-1876 provided by Newsbank (and probably accessible through, a commercial service).

I clicked on the link for this database on the page for External Databases, and saw the Newsbank page with the link for the America's Historical Newspapers database:

I clicked on the link and the database description with a Keyword search box appeared. For this search, I input the name "jonathan lewis" (in quotes) plus "richmond" (where he lived) to see if there were any articles about Jonathan Lewis of Staten Island in Richmond County, NY. I have three ancestral families headed by a Jonathan Lewis there, so I thought there might be a good chance of finding an article. Here is the screen:

I clicked on the "Search" button and received 21 matches - the top of the page is shown below:

Each match of the search criteria provides a summary of the source citation and a thumbnail image of the record that might include one or more of the search elements. The user can click on the "View Article" link, the "View Full Page" link, or the thumbnail image to see the article.

There were several articles that concerned Jonathan Lewis who died in 1785 in Richmond County, NY. Here's what one of them looked like on my screen:

The user can zoom in or out, move the image around with the "magic hand" feature, save the image or print the image. Source citation elements are provided above the image area.

The executors of Jonathan Lewis's estate were trying to sell the property. The article above described the location, the size, the buildings and other personal property that were up for sale. I quickly opened my Family Tree Maker program and transcribed the contents of this article into the Notes for Jonathan Lewis, using my "side-by-side" method of transcribing from image to program notes. Note that I manipulated the image to the far right of the screen, and reduced the window size for the FTM program so that I could see the image and type into the Notes:

I spent an enjoyable hour or more in this database looking for articles about ancestral families. There were at least three articles about the Jonathan Lewis who died in 1785, and one article about the Jonathan Lewis who died in 1764. All of them shed more light on the property owned by both men.

Membership in a genealogical society often includes much more than the society newsletter, journals and program meetings. Some societies, such as NEHGS, and libraries offer access to online databases that contain useful information about our ancestral families. Check them out! You may not need separate subscriptions for several historical newspaper collections - they may be available through your membership in societies or libraries.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 117: Betty in her Buggy

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 picture of my mother, Betty Virginia Carringer, in her baby buggy out on a stroll, probably with her mother and father. She looks very comfortable, doesn't she? She's bundled up pretty good, but doesn't have mittens on.

This photograph was probably taken in early 1920, when Betty was between the ages of 6 months and 12 months, in San Diego.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Exploring - Post 4: External Databases

I've been exploring the new website (from the New England Historic Genealogical Society) - here are the earlier posts in the series:

* Post 1 - the Home Page
* Post 2 -Mass. VRs to 1850
* Post 3 - Exploring the Databases

In this post, I wanted to find out what external databases are available on for NEHGS members (of which I am one).

From the Explore menu item on any page, the dropdown menu includes "External Databases" so I clicked on it. The External Databases page notes that:

"Please note that these databases are third party operated sites and NEHGS is not responsible for the functionality, accuracy, quality or timeliness of any content contained on third party web sites linked from this page. Correspondence pertaining to the functionality, accuracy, quality or timeliness of content contained on third party web sites should be directed to the operators of the third party sites."

The page looks like this (two screens):

There are three External Databases available for NEHGS members, including:

* 19th Century U.S. Newspapers -- "The 19th Century U.S. Newspapers database provides access to approximately 1.7 million pages of primary-source newspaper content from throughout the 1800s. It features full text and images from hundreds of papers from every region in the U.S., and it contains a wealth of genealogical content, including birth, death, and marriage notices. A few of the New England and New York papers are: Boston Daily Advertiser, New Haven Palladium, Bangor Daily Whig and Courier, New Hampshire Statesman, Providence Patriot, Vermont Chronicle, and New York Herald."

* Early American Newspapers, Series I 1690-1876 -- "Explore your early American ancestors and the America of yesterday! The New England Historic Genealogical Society is excited to offer to its members an invaluable resource,Early American Newspapers, Series I 1690-1876.Based largely on Clarence Brigham's "History and Bibliography of American Newspapers,1690-1820," this collection offers a fully text-searchable database of over one million pages, including cover-to-cover reproductions of historic newspapers! It contains a comprehensive listing of marriage, death, and court records found in early American periodicals such as the Boston Gazette, Gazette of the United States, New-York Evening Post, and many more. For genealogists and scholars alike, Early American Newspapers, 1690-1876, offers an unprecedented look back into the extraordinary past of the United States!"

* Marquis Who's Who -- "Marquis Who’s Who features comprehensive profiles on over 1.4 million individuals from all fields of endeavor. It includes biographies from Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in the Midwest, and many other Who’s Who titles.
PLEASE NOTE: This database limits access to five simultaneous users. If you are unable to access it when the limit has been reached, please try again later."

I've had wonderful success researching in the two newspaper databases above, especially for my Seaver family one-name study. I even found many articles about Benjamin Franklin Seaver that formed the basis of a chapter in Gardner Russell's book, Timely Heroes, Under the Southern Cross . My series is listed in I Read about Benjamin Franklin Seaver in the newspapers.

These external databases are one of the benefits of NEHGS membership - if you are a member and haven't used them before, you might see if there are articles or information about your ancestors in them. You never know what goodies you're going to find!

"A Brief History of Common Surnames" by Ralph Taylor

The ADVANCED-RESEARCH mailing list recently had an interesting series of posts about the origin of surnames. Ralph Taylor started the discussion, and has written an article about the subject. He has posted his article at

Ralph's summary about English surnames says:

"We have, hopefully, shown that surname practice in England followed this progression:

o Surnames had begun in the Norman nobility by the 1086 Domesday Book and become more common among them by the 1215 Magna Carta.
o Surnames were not used by commoners before the Plague of 1348/1349.
o The Plague of 1348/1349 -- a catastrophe of epic proportions -- was an immense upset to the pre-existing order and a threat to all social order, requiring new means of dealing with a freer population. Surnames for everyone, including commoners, was one of those means.
o There was at least some use of surnames by commoners by 1367.
o The Poll Tax of 1377 implies the ability to identify every person, in order to record who's paid and who's not.
o Surnames were a well-established practice for everyone including commoners by 1400."

Please read the whole article. If you have comments, you could email Ralph or join the ADVANCED-RESEARCH mailing list and post comments.

Perhaps even more important for those of us with English ancestors, the summary of English history, social structure and landowning in medieval times is instructional and interesting.

Tombstone Tuesday - Charles H. Salmon (1858-1884)

It's Tombstone Tuesday - time to share a picture of a tombstone or gravestone. I ran out of family and ancestral gravestone pictures several months ago, so I am posting pictures of "interesting" gravestones collected over past years.

Today's tombstone is for Charles H. Salmon (1858-1884). This stone rests in Succasunna United Methodist Church Cemetery in Succasunna, Morris County, New Jersey. The Find-A-Grave entry shows the stone and the newspaper article about the death.
What is the story behind this stone? The Weekly Wisconsin newspaper, dated October 22, 1884, on page 6 has this article:

Kansas City, Mo., Oct. 14 – Yesterday morning Charles H. Salmon died through the carelessness of a drug clerk. Salmon had been suffering from a chill, and going to a drug store called for eighteen grains of quinine. At 4 o’clock he took eight grains of the drug given him, and at 8 o’clock he took four more. An hour or so later he began to grow stupid and sleepy, and Drs. Freymann and Stanley Field, whose offices are near by, were hastily called in under the impression that the patient was suffering from a congestive chill. The doctors gave him a hypodermic injection of morphine, and the young man soon relapsed into a state of unconsciousness, and sank rapidly in spite of all efforts to save him, and about 12:30 he breathed his last. After his death the discovery was made that the drug clerk had carelessly put up a large dose of morphine instead of quinine. The victim had swallowed the entire dose, and then, by a combination of disastrous mistakes, the physicians called to save his life had cut in two the slender thread by which he then hung by giving him more morphine. When this discovery was made the brother of the deceased, with whom he lived, almost went crazy with grief, and the friends and neighbors who had gathered in were scarcely less horrified."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Exploring - Post 3: Using the Databases

The New England Historic Genealogical Society unveiled their new website last week - and I explored the Home Page and Explore page in Post 1, and the Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 database in Post 2.

Today, I want to explore the Search fields a bit more and determine the best way to navigate around the site. I logged in as a member, so I could access more of the databases, and clicked on the "Advanced Search" link on the "Explore" menu. The Advanced Criteria"form looks like this:

There are fields for First Name, Last Name, Year Range, Category, Database, Record Type, Country, Province/Country/State, and City/Town. There is a checkbox above the Last Name field for Soundex. There are eleven Categories:

* Atlases, Maps and Reference Materials (2 databases)
* Census, Tax and Voter Lists (25 databases)
* Court, Land and Probate Records (22 databases)
* Diaries and Transcripts (7 databases)
* Genealogies, Biographies, Heraldry and Local Histories (42 databases)
* Immigration Records (5 databases)
* Journals, Periodicals and Articles (21 databases)
* Military Records (12 databases)
* Societies and Organizations (6 databases)
* Town Records (10 databases)
* Vital Records (including Bible, Cemetery, Church and SSDI) (about 200 databases)

If you choose one of the categories to limit your search, then you can choose "All" databases or select one of the databases in the Category (by clicking in the Database field), as shown below:

In the screen above, I chose the "Vital Records" category, and then selected the "Dedham MA: VRs, 1635 to 1845" Database, entered the Last Name = "Seaver." The Search screen looked like this:

Note that the the bottom of the Search field box is "Search Tips." The Search Tip for this database is that the user should "Search First Names in the Keyword Field." That works. However, if I search for First Name = William" and Last Name = "Seaver" in the Search box above, I do not receive any matches. So the Search Tip is right.

This is a Search Field nuance that is not obvious. I checked to see if a general search of all databases with First Name = "William" and Last Name = "Seaver" picks up this entry in the Dedham MA Vital Records. It should, but it doesn't.

When I did a Keyword search for "William Seaver Dedham" in the simple Search box on the Home Page and in the "Advanced Criteria" Search box, it found the Dedham MA records.
I clicked on the "Search" button, and received five matches in this one database:

In the first match, I clicked on the underlined link and saw:

As in Post 2, the screen that shows the document page can be manipulated to zoom or move around on the page, and the index for the page is shown below the image above (but the index does not seem to capture all entries on the selected page).

Down at the bottom of this Results page is a detailed description of the history of the source material that includes the specific record, and a source citation for the source material is included at the bottom of the web page.

In this case, the source citation was provided as:

Vital Records of Dedham, Mass. 1635-1845 (Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2007), (The Record of Births, Marriages and Deaths, and Intentions of Marriage, in the Town of Dedham. Volumes 1 & 2. Editied by Don Gleason Hill, Dedham, MA, 1886)

Navigation within the Advanced Search pages has a learning curve. My navigation comments include:

* The "Search" key is "below the fold" on my computer screen - it should be placed near the top of the Search Box so that users don't have to scroll down to find it. The user can fill in some blanks and press the "Enter" key to initiate the search.
* When in the "Database Results" screen, the user can get back to the "Advanced Criteria" field by clicking on the "Advanced Options" button on the right side of the screen near the top. The "Back" button on the Internet Explorer menu doesn't seem to take you back to the "Advanced Search" screen - it should! If you click on the "Advanced Options" button, you have the "Advanced Criteria" fields filled with your last search entries.
* There is a "Save this Search" button on the top right line of the "Advanced Criteria" and "Database Results" screens - you have to specify a search name for the web page.
* There is a "New Search" button on the top right line of the "Advanced Criteria" and "Database Results" screens that provide you with blank search fields.
* When in the specific Results screen (with the page image, the index and the source data), the user can click on the "Back to Search Results" link above the page image field.

By far the most important Search tip is to be sure to read the Search Tips for specific databases. I would not trust a general search of all databases with a First Name and Last Name because apparently some databases are not indexed by First Name (see my example of William Seaver in the Dedham VR book noted above).

By the way, did anyone catch the typo in the source citation noted above? My spell-checker did!

American Ancestors Magazine - Summer 2010 Issue Table of Contents

The Summer 2010 issue (Volume 11, Number 3) of the magazine American Ancestors, New England, New York and Beyond, published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, is available:

A summary of the contents for this issue was found here, with a link to a PDF of the magazine here.

The Table of Contents includes:


* page 5 -- Greetings from NEHGS
* page 6 -- In This Issue
* page 7 -- Letters & Feedback
* page 8 -- Announcements
* page 13 -- Education Programs & Tours

* page 16 -- The Online Genealogist, with David Allen Lambert


* page 17 -- Images of the Revolutionary War Generation, by Maureen A. Taylor
* page 21 -- Strategies for Tracing Revolutionary War Veterans, by David Allen Lambert
* page 25 -- The Collections and Publications of the DAR Library, Washington, D.C., by Eric G. Grundset
* page 27 -- Revolutionary War-Related Research Problems? These Articles May Help, by Henry B. Hoff
* page 28 -- From the North Atlantic to the Great Lakes: Researching U.S. Naval Service During the War of 1812, by John P. Deeben
* page 32 -- Country Life in New England — Then & Now, by Louise Heath Miller

* page 35 -- Boston’s Holy Trinity German Church: Its Formation and Its Records, by Michael E. Hager
* page 38 -- Documenting a German-American Jewish Family: The Obermayers, by Lynn Betlock
* page 40 -- Piecing Together My Nova Scotia Ancestry — Online, by Lynn Mastrangelo
* page 42 -- Seen Elsewhere: New York-Related Articles in 2008–2009 Issues of Some Non-New York Journals, by Henry B. Hoff


* page 45 -- Genetics & Genealogy: Sewall Family DNA: A Project Status Report, by Eben W. Graves
* page 47 -- Manuscripts at NEHGS: Revolutionary War Collections at NEHGS, by Timothy G. X. Salls
* page 50 -- Diaries at NEHGS: Excerpts from the Diary of Brigadier General Jedidiah Preble (1707–84) of Falmouth, Maine, by Robert Shaw
* page 52 -- Tales from the Courthouse: From Mann Hill to Cowen Rocks: A Tale of Early Scituate, by Diane Rapaport
* page 54 -- Focus on New York: Peopling New Netherland, by Dorothy A. Koenig

This was an enjoyable issue to read. Maureen Taylor's article has a few of her images, and the articles about Revolutionary War records and research are helpful.

Amanuensis Monday - the will of Susannah (West) Barber (1666-1756)

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 the will of Susannah (West) Barber (1666-1756), the widow of Moses Barber (1652-1733), who died in Charlestown, Rhode Island. Moses and Susannah (West) Barber had 14 children.

Susanna Barber, widow of Charlestown, died testate, having written a will dated 21 September 1755, which was proved 4 April 1756. The will (transcribed from "Charlestown (RI) Probate and Town Council Records, 1738-1916," Volume 1, pages 292-295, accessed on FHL Microfilm 2,319,104) reads (spaces and paragraphs added for readability):

"In the Name of God Amen This 21th Day of September in the 29th year of his Majesties reigne Georg the Second King over Great Briton AD 1755 - I Susannah Barber of Charlestown in Kings County and Colony of Rhodeisland widow Beeing in Helth of body and of Perfect mind & memory Thanks bee Given to almighty God. Therefore Calling to mind the mortality of my body & Knowing that it is appointed for men Once to Die do make and ordain this my Last will and Testament That is to Say Principally and first of all I Give & Recommend my Soul into the Hands of Allmighty God that gave it and my body I Recommend to the Earth to bee buried in Christian Decent Buriel at the Descrestion of my Executor Nothing Doubting but at the General Resurection I Shall Receive the Same again by the Mighty Powr of God and as Touching Such Worldly Estate Wherewith it Hath Pleased God to to Bless me with in this Life I Give Demise and Dispose of the Same in the Following manner and forme.

"Imprimus My will is and Hereby Order my Executors to pay all my Just Debts and Funeral Charges out of my Estate

"Item I Give and Bequeath unto my beloved Daughter Anne Kinyon My Great Bible Whose name is written in Said Bible and to be Delliverd to her by my Executor Before my Other Estate to my Children hereafter Named.

"Item I Give and bequeath to my beloved Daughters (viz.) Dinah Wilcocks & the heirs of Lyda Mory and to Susannah Perry widow to Martha Parker to Ruth Bently Marey Teft and Ann Kinyon all the Remainder of my Estate to bee Equally Devided between them them to them and theire Heirs for Ever.

"Lastly I Constitute make and ordain my beloved Son Benja Barber to be my whole and Soul Executor to this my Last Will and Testament and the Reason I Know make this will is because I Ca???? ?? Have my former Will when Requested hereby Revoking Disallowing and Diaannulling all other former Wills Legacies and Bequeaths by me before maid Ratifying & Confirming this and no other to bee my Last Will and Testament With?? Where of I Have Herewith Set my hand & Seal the Day and year first before Written Signed Sealed Published Pronounced and Declared by the said Susannah Barber as her Last Will and Testament the presence of we the Subscribers
......................................................................................... her
.......................................................................... Susannah S Barber {seal}
Timo Perce ...................................................................... mark
Jos Park
Benja Park
Jos Willcock
Joseph Crandal"

"Personally appeard in Councill Benja Park Jos Crandal Jos Willcocks and Declard on oath that they Saw Susannah Barber Deceasd Seign Seal Publish pronounce and Declare the Will as they Seignd as witnesses to bee her Last Will and Testament and She was in her perfect mind and memory at the Same time according to the Best of theire Judgment. The above Evidances (viz.) Benja Park Joseph Crandall Jos Wilcocks further Declard oath that they Saw Timothy Perce Josep Park Seign as Witnesses at the same time with them. Before Banja Hoxie President of the Council The above ???? ???? ???? Kings County and Coloney of Rhodeisland. {seal}

"By Vertue of Power Granted to the Town Councill of Charlestown in the County of Kings County and Coloney of Rhodeisland for the Probate of Wills and of Granting of Letters of Administration within sd Town ????

"To all people to whome these presence Shall Come Greeting wee the Town Councill of the Town of Charlestown aforesaid according to the Power by Law Invested in us Do hereby Give Grant and fully Impower Mr. Benja Barber of Hopkinton in the County & Coloney abovesaid Executor to the Last Will and Testament of his mother Susannah Barber Late of Charlestown Deceased to administer on all and Singulart the Estate Goods Chattels and Credits of his mother & to act and Do what Power is Needful Nessary & propper to bee done Recaling the promises agreeble with the Law of this Coloney in Such Cases maid & provided &c.

"In testamoney of which and in Confirmation of the Promises & by order and in behalf of the Towne Councill I Have Given forth the Powr of Administration under my hand and seal in said Charlestown Apr the 4th AD 1756 B Hoxsie C Clerk."

"An inventory of all and Singular the Goods Chattels Rights and Credits of Susanna Barber Late of Charlestown Deseased Taken by us the Subscribers Aprill the 3 Day AD 1756 as followeth viz L.S.d."

The inventory is three columns long and is quite detailed. The personal estate of Susannah Barber totalled 1351 pounds, 10 shillings 0 pence. Joseph Crandall and Stephen Sanders were the Apprizers. The Inventory was approved by the Charlestown Town Council on the last day of April 1756.

The beauty of this will is that it names all of the living daughters in September 1755 - Ann Kinyon (my ancestor, wife of Sylvester Kenyon), Dinah Wilcocks, heirs of Lyda Mora [Mowry], Susannah Perry, Martha Parker, Ruth Bentley, and Mary [Mercy?] Tefft. She also mentions her son Benjamin Barber.

The inventory of her personal property shows a significant value - over 1,300 pounds. The daughters like received quite a nice inheritance, although it may have been in possessions and not money.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Adopt-a-Page at FamilySearch Wiki

The FamilySearch Wiki has announced a new program for societies and organizations to "adopt" one or more state and/or county pages on the FamilySearch Research Wiki. This is a great idea!

The Adopt-a-Page information is at and looks like this:

The site answers the question "What is page adoption" with:

"Societies, archives or other family history organizations who wish to adopt a page will have their society logo and links to their society web page prominently featured on the page they adopt. You can see an example of what an adopted page might look like
here. "

The sample adopted page is shown below:

This is a tremendous opportunity for societies and organizations to provide accurate and up-to-date content on the FamilySearch Research Wiki. There are some guidelines for what societies and groups have to do:

"While anyone can contribute to any page in the wiki, societies/organizations who adopt a page provide oversight to ensure that the content on that page is a) comprehensive (they add information and links to other resources that might be missing) and b) accurate (they correct anything that might be wrong). "

Read the who web page for the Adopt-a-Page program. Frankly, quite a bit of the needed material is already on pages and on the web pages of local, county and state genealogical and historical societies.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 15-21 August 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:

* Tombstone Tuesday - 17 August 2010 - Remembering a forgotten grave, Nathan W. Wilcox by Jean Wilcox Hibben on the Circlemending blog. Jean arranged to have a tombstone placed for her third great0grandfather who was a Union Civil War soldier and died in Tennessee. A wonderful tribute to the man.

* Tombstone Tuesday: Bitten While Hiking to Shoot a Family by A.S. Eldredge on the Geni Tales blog. Here's a story of persistence in finding a cemetery after the directions failed. Well done!

* Twice Told Tuesday - Marvels in Matchboxes by footnoteMaven on the Shades of the Departed blog. fM took a picture of two matchbox creations, researched the art form, and wrote a beautiful article about matchbox architecture. Fantastic work - both the matchbox architecture and the article.

* Association of Professional Genealogists PMC - Recap Part 1 and Part 2 by Amy Coffin on the We Tree Genealogy Blog. Amy, and several other genea-bloggers, attended the APG Professional Management Conference in Knoxville last week. Thank you Amy for the report.

* Tuesday Tech Tip: Google's "Site:" command is not always better by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John works in Google's site command with some interesting results.

* Do the DNA Results Support the Story? by Mavis Jones on the Georgia Black Crackers blog. Mavis is doing a fine job trying to work out her genetic makeup using DNA testing. It's not easy, but it's a fine example of using every available resource.

* Family treasures: What’s in your attic? by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog. There are two stories in this post - Schelly's own experiences, and a link to a fascinating story in the Austin TX newspaper.

* A Rabbit's Tale 8/19/2010 - Developing a Cemetery Walk by Sandy Peavey on The Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal blog. What a helpful and interesting post - Sandy did it, and it's something that other historical societies should consider.

* Unknown Child on the Titanic - Part 1, Part II, Part III and Part IV by Colleen Fitzpatrick on the Identifinders blog. Colleen's new blog features some of her amazing research results, including this series about finding the resting place of Sidney Goodwin.

* The Archives Just Aren’t the Same by J.L. Bell on the Boston 1775 blog. J.L. goes to the nearby National Archives branch and finds some of his favorite microfilms are gone... progress?

* Find-a-Grave Gold by Lee R. Drew on the FamHist blog. Lee encourages readers to contribute to Find-A-Grave and "pay it forward" and describes his rewards from doing so.

* How do we know what we know? by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog. It's an interesting question, and one we should ask every time we find a "fact" in the form of a name, relationship, event, place and date.

* This Jamison Story Needs to be Told by Becky Jamison on the Grace and Glory blog. Becky has researched three Samuel Jamisons - this one has a most interesting story, and well documented by Becky.

* Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Wild and Crazy - House Hunt and Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Wild and Crazy - House Hunt - The REST of the Story by Carol on the Reflections from the Fence blog. This has to be the wildest story so far in response to my Saturday Night Genealogy Fun theme - great one, Carol!

Other "Best of..." weekly pick posts are here:

* Weekly Genealogy Picks by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John also links to several other weekly pick posts.

Many genealogy bloggers writing about their experiences at the Federation of Genealogy societies Conference in Knoxville TN this past week. Thomas MacEntee's post on Geneabloggers has a list.

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

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.