Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Genealogy TV Show

Hey genealogy buffs sitting there in your pajamas (or whatever) on a Saturday Night - it's time for more Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (and I REALLY hope that you will, because I know how creative my genea-readers are) , is to:

1) Create a Title and outline an episode of your own Genealogy television show. Be funny, crazy or serious, it doesn't matter!

2) Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, a comment on this blog post, or in a status or comment on Twitter or Facebook.

This idea was prompted by a long thread on Facebook on Paula Stuart-Warren's page - her comment was:

"A new reality show -- the Housewives of Genealogy. Imagine the possibilities. Sitting at a computer, standing at a copier, scanning a document, attending a conference, data entry, and the big draw would be trying to top each other with stories of the horse thieves, murderers, farmers, shopkeepers, and soldiers in our past." And it took off from there... into cabana boys and all sorts of funny ideas.

Thomas MacEntee listed some candidate television show titles back in February with this post, spurred by Donna Pointkouski's post here, if you want some ideas to embellish upon.

Here's mine (an oldie but a goodie, which I've used before):

"Desperate Genealogists": where the sexy ladies on Wisteria Lane compete with each other to find the male with the best pedigree (hmm, related to the Queen, descended from Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, Washington, Jefferson, or maybe fathered the most children through a sperm bank), or conspire with each other to hang a loser (maybe with a horse thief or a black sheep in his ancestry) on one of their "friends." There are plenty of potential episodes in this show idea, eh? Maybe they'll even romance the librarian in the process. Or a fsemi-amous genea-blogger and researcher.

Surname Saturday - Ruth (in PA)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 103 - Catherine Ruth (1770-1813), one of my 4th-great-grandparents.

My ancestral line back through one generation of RUTH 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)

102. Philip Jacob King, born 24 February 1764 in York, York County, PA; died 02 March 1829 in Springgarden, York County, PA. He was the son of 204. Philip Jacob King and 205. Maria Barbara Wilhelm. He married before 1790 in probably. York County, PA.
103. Catherine Ruth, born 10 March 1770, perhaps in Berks County, PA; died 08 December 1813 in York, York County, PA.

Children of Philip King and Catherine Ruth are:
i. Catherine King, born About 1792 in York, York County, PA; died young.
ii. George King, born 23 February 1794 in York, York County, PA; died 17 July 1860 in York, York County, PA; married Rachel Johnston in York, York, PA; born 19 January 1800 in York, York, PA; died 01 July 1874 in York, York County, PA.
iii. Elizabeth King, born 05 March 1796 in York, York County, PA; died 18 March 1863 in Conneautville, Crawford County, PA; married John Daniel Spangler 12 March 1815 in York, York County, PA.
iv. Sarah King, born 22 November 1797 in York, York County, PA; married Jacob Ehrhart.
v. Lydia King, born 27 October 1799 in York, York County, PA; died young.
vi. Catherine King, born About 1801 in York, York County, PA; died young.
vii. Jacob King, born 05 September 1803 in York, York County, PA.
viii. Rebecca King, born 10 December 1805 in York, York County, PA; died young.
ix. Anna Maria King, born 26 January 1806 in York, York County, PA; married George Kann.
x. Barbara King, born 02 February 1808 in York, York County, PA; married Peter Zacharias January 1829 in York, York, PA.
xi. Julia Anna King, born 06 September 1810 in York, York County, PA; died About 1825 in York, York County, PA.
xii. Henry King, born 07 February 1813 in York, York County, PA.

All of my information about Catherine Ruth was obtained from the book The Kings of York County: Pioneers, Patriots and Papermakers by Richard Shue, York, Penn., 1959 (accessed at York County [PA] Historical Society. This work provides Catherine's name, birth date and birth place, but no parents names, no marriage date or marriage place. The name and birth date and place must have come from a family record handed down over the generations. York County is about 50 miles from Berks County. There may have been family connections between the King and Ruth families in earlier generations back in Germany or Pennsylvania. Or perhaps one of the Ruth families moved from Berks to York before 1790.

There were Ruth families in Berks County, Pennsylvania in the 1770 time period, including:

* Johann Christian Ruth and Maria Barbara Epler had children born there between 1759 and 1771.

* Johann Jacob Ruth and first wife Anna Elizabeth Schell had children born there between 1762 and 1770, and with second wife Catherine Crick had children born there between 1776 and 1791.

* Johann Michael Ruth and Anna Maria Moser had children born there between 1752 and 1777.

In Bucks County, Pennsylvania in the 1770 time period, there were:

* George Johannes Ruth and Christina Klinker had children between 1771 and 1795.

* Christian Ruth and Barbara Lapp had children born between 1751 and 1770.

There was a James Ruth who had a son Samuel Ruth born in 1788 in York County, Pennsylvania.

All of the above is from mining the Rootsweb WorldConnect database for Ruth families in the specific counties. There may be more families in these places.

Of course, I was hoping to a clear cousin link to George Herman "Babe" Ruth, the baseball player.

Are there any Ruth family researchers that can help me identify the parents of Catherine Ruth (1770-1813), the wife of Philip Jacob King? If so, please email me at

Friday, September 3, 2010

CVGS Fall Seminar - Where Do We Go From Here?

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) will celebrate National Family History Month in October by providing our Annual Fall Seminar, featuring noted genealogical conference speaker Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG, and Alfredo I. Pena, an expert on Hispanic genealogical research. The program details include:

* Location: Norman Park Senior Center, 270 F St., Chula Vista

* Seminar Theme: Where Do We Go From Here?

* Date and Time: Saturday, October 2nd, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


*** 8:30 a.m. -- doors open, Registration
*** 9 a.m. -- Keynote address by Jean Wilcox Hibben, Ph.D., M.A., CG.
*** 9:30 a.m. -- "Introduction to Chula Vista Genealogical Society" - Gary Brock
*** 10:15 a.m. -- Session 1 - “Backdoor Genealogy” by Jean Wilcox Hibben, Ph.D., M.A., CG.
*** 11:30 a.m. -- Catered lunch (provided by CVGS)
*** 12:30 p.m. -- Session 2 - “Moving from Paper to Electronic Records” by Jean Wilcox Hibben, Ph.D., M.A., CG.
*** 1:30 p.m. -- Break: book sales, computer research.
*** 2:30 p.m. -- Session 3 - "Coming to the New World After the Conquest, 1600-1900" by Alfredo I. Pena, head genealogist for CorGoMiUri.
*** 4:30 p.m. -- end of seminar.

This program is designed to help people just getting started in Genealogy, New Members of our Society and Oldtimers who want to catch up on new resources.

Opportunity drawings will take place throughout the day, and a door prize will be awarded.

Used Genealogy books will be on sale and speaker's materials will be available for purchase.

* Registration Fee: Registration includes refreshments and catered lunch. $25.00 per Person until September 20, and $30.00 per person thereafter.

* To register, please print out flyer (Click here), fill out the form and mail to remittance address on bottom of form.

* A confirmation packet will be returned by email if you include an email address, or by US Postal Service with last-minute parking and shuttle information.

For further information, contact Susi Pentico at (619-690-1188), or email at
Or contact Virginia Taylor at (619-425-7922) or email at

Checking out the People Finder

I like to check the website from time to time to see what new databases have been added since my last check. Here's the Collections page at

The graphics tell us that there are now 120 databases available at, and that there are over 1 billion records now available. The counter increments every two seconds or so (I wonder if records are really added one at a time?).

The list of databases appears below the header, and there is a list of highlighted new or updated databases on the right sidebar. The latest "New!" database is "Living People Records" so I clicked on that link:

There are over 200 million entries in this database. I clicked on the "Search" link and saw:

I added my first name and last name, and narrowed the search to California in the dropdown Location field, clicked on "Search" and saw:

There were three entries in California for my name, including myself in two entries - one with my middle initial and one with my middle name, but neither lists my age. The third entry was for another person with my first name and middle initial. My first entry lists my mother's name and my wife's name.

There are two links to the right of each entry - one for "View contact Info" and the other for "View Public Records." I clicked on the "View Contact Info" link and saw this screen:

The top of the screen says:
br<"You've selected to view an advanced Contact Information Report.
Contact Information Reports are special reports which provide contact details for living and recently deceased US residents. This data is not freely available. Thus, for us to access this information on your behalf, we must pay access fees."

The screen indicates that this report can be obtained for 5 credits. apparently, provides 25 credits to subscribers as a subscriber benefit. I passed on this report, since I know where I live.

Clicking on the "View Public Records" link on the Results page provides:

The page above says that I can receive a Public Records Report for $29.95, and I have to use a credit card (no credits here, presumably because I don't have enough yet). The description of the Public Records Report is:

"To find more information about Randall J Seaver, confirm your billing details and click "View Report". Your public records report will show available information for the following:
* Up-to-date contact info (address + phone)
* Criminal records (state + nationwide)
* Address history, household members,and relatives
* Bankruptcies, liens, and judgments
* Property records
* Business positions and ownership"

Again, I'll pass on this, since I'm pretty sure that I know all about these items about myself.

What about the Credits? How much do they cost? There is a link on these last two pages for "Click here to learn more about credits." I clicked on it, and saw:

There's the Credit price list: The Contact Report and Phone Report cost 5 credits each and the Public Records Report costs 30 credits. At the bottom of the price list above is a button to "Add Credits." I clicked on it and saw:

To add 25 credits costs $19.95, and to add 100 credits costs $74.95. Credits expire 12 months after purchase.

So this website offers 25 free credits for subscribers to use (and they are worth about $20 total at the 20% discount value). They also offer to sell more credits at a 20% to 25% discount.

Is this a good deal? I don;'t know since I haven't compared similar offerings from other commercial People Finding websites. I recall that some of them offered a daily rate and a monthly rate that persons could buy to search for people. Some of my colleagues have used a service like this to find classmates for a school reunion.

Has any reader used this service yet, and want to tell about it? Or has any reader used another commercial People Finder service and want to share their experience?

Disclosure: I received a free subscription from for being an NGS member several months ago. I have not been remunerated by for writing this blog post.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Content Wars - my thoughts

Thomas MacEntee has posted Open Thread Thursday: The Content Wars on the Geneabloggers blog for discussion. He wants to know what readers think about four issues (Questions in red, my responses in blue):

1) Once a collection of documents is digitized and indexed, should they be made available to researchers for free or for fee? This means they would either follow the FamilySearch (free) or the Ancestry (fee) models. Note: there are many other vendors and providers both free and fee – I am only using the most recognizable vendors as examples.

RS: It is up to the owner of the document collection and whatever contract or license agreement made between the owner and the digitizer/indexer (if they are not the same entity). Collecting, preserving, organizing, digitizing and indexing cost money to perform, and the contract should define the ultimate form of the online document collection, whether it is to be free or fee, and the length of the time period for it to be accessible. There is no law that says "online genealogy data has to be free for access and downloading or copying." Every entity has to make the free or fee decision for themselves, based on their mission and costs.

2) Does it matter if the documents themselves are in the public domain when it comes to charging a fee for access? Does a good index and search mechanism add value to the record set, to the point of justifying a fee for access?

RS: No it doesn't. "Public domain" as I understand it means that there is no copyright holder. The holder of the documents can choose to hide the documents from private or public view, or make them freely available, or any other decision between hidden and open. Charging a fee for access, or providing the documents under contract or license to a company that charges a fee for access is solely the document holder's decision. A good index and search engine also costs money to create, test, improve and provide and does add value to a record set, and does justify a fee for access.

3) Think about the holdings that genealogical or historical societies have. Should they place access behind a members-only website, even if the documents are in the public domain? What about making the index free but the images members-only?

RS: The decision to provide access to the holdings of a genealogical or historical society is solely up to the society. "Public domain" documents can be owned by a person or an entity like a society, and they should choose their access rules. Some societies keep document collections in paper format only in their repository, some digitize and index them, some provide the digitized records behind a member-only firewall, some make the document collection publicly available for a fee or for free. Ownership or licensing of the documents is what is important, not copyright issues, although copyright issues may restrict what a society can offer online. A wise and enterprising society would create an index of their records, post the index on the Internet, and say "hey come on down, we have what you want" in an effort to gain members or subscriptions.

4) Let’s say that 20 years from now, most records of use to genealogists are digitized and accessible – either free or fee. What will genealogy vendors need to offer consumers to keep them engaged in genealogy? What will genealogical societies need to do to survive if their public domain holdings are made available for free?

RS: Genealogy vendors will have to continue to offer consumers (customers) something of value for their fees or subscriptions - continue to add content, continue to improve indexing, continue to improve search capabilities, continue to try to connect researchers to each other. Once a vendor stops adding content or improving their product, they will lose customers and market share, especially if another vendor is more innovative, or adds more or better content.

RS: In order to survive, genealogical societies need to broaden their member services, in terms of more or better programs, classes, printed or website information, in-house and online database access, and more member-to-member interaction. Successful societies in the 21st century offer programs and classes that help members deal with beginning research, different record types, online record access, and one-on-one mentoring. They need to make wise business decisions about their owned or licensed database collections, and offer them to their members, and the larger genealogical community, in ways that serve the needs of the society.

In these questions, there is the underlying idea that "public domain" means that the document should be freely available to whoever finds it, wherever they find it. That is not the case in our free market, capitalist society. Repositories and companies have acquired the collections by contract or license, and therefore can dictate the access and use of the collection, and charge fees if they wish. Local, state or national governments that have document collections do not have to make them available for free, even if taxpayer dollars or user fees paid for collecting them. The facts are not copyrightable, but the records are obtainable for a fee.

Almost every document collection offered by an organization or a company for a fee is available (perhaps for a fee) in its original form (or in a microform) from a repository (library, archive, agency, etc.). The problem is that the researcher has to find out where the document is held, how to access it, travel to access it (or pay someone to access it), and then make a transcription, abstract, extraction, digital image or photocopy of the document. What the commercial companies offer is the ability to access and capture records in a less costly and time consuming way, for a fee. An U.S. subscription costs about 42 cents a day, and less than $3 a week. If you use it often, it is an excellent bargain.

So the researcher has choices:

1) To travel to distant repositories to find the information they need in paper or microform format

2) To subscribe to one or more commercial database providers and obtain the information at their home (or at a local library) fairly quickly.

* To sit back and loudly complain about the terrible companies making a profit or the government hiding public information.

If it wasn't for the commercial database providers, there would be a lot less online access to document collections because non-profit repositories and government offices are a lot less nimble and proactive, and in times of economic distress they cut back on public services and raise fees on existing services. The National Archives has digitizing and indexing contracts with a number of commercial companies (e.g., Ancestry, Footnote) or non-profit entities, e.g., FamilySearch) in order to bring document collections online faster. These contracts specify free access within the National Archives facilities, and access for a fee outside of the buildings. My guess is that we will see many more of these types of arrangements as data collections are digitized and indexed.

I recently saw the comment by Gordon Clarke of FamilySearch that only 5% of all genealogy documents are digitized at this point in time. There is a long way to go before "everything," or even 50% of "everything," is digitized. Even if FamilySearch successfully digitizes and indexes every one of their microfilms, microfiches and books, there is still a wealth of genealogical material held by individuals, local, regional or national societies, state and national archives, and private companies to find, access, extract from, and use.

My two cents... what's yours?

UPDATED: 3 PM: Added a bot of content, and made editorial corrections.

Checking out the Immigration Collection announced yesterday that they have added or updated several databases to their Immigration collection, and that the entire collection is available for FREE access through 6 September 2010 (see here for the press release). The major additions include:

* The Ellis Island Oral Histories, a collection of more than 1,700 recorded oral histories from immigrants who arrived in the United States through Ellis Island. This database will always be free on

* Added nearly 2 million new U.S. naturalization record indexes, thanks to the World Archives Project. The indexes span 11 states (AK, CA, CT, HI, LA, ME, MT, NY, PA, TN, WA).

* Added nearly 2 million records documenting crew members on ships who arrived in the port of Boston. The records were added to an existing collection of over 3.8 million records from Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943.

To honor our nation's immigrant heritage, opened up its entire U.S. Immigration Collection so that it can be searched free through Labor Day. To begin exploring your family's journey to America, visit

Okay, sounded good. I'm especially interested in the Naturalization Records for Southern California, since several of my society colleagues have been looking for their ancestors who naturalized here.

The top of the special Immigration Collection page looks like this:

I put Last Name = "seaver" and picked "San Diego County, California" in order to narrow the search.

Further down the page is an interesting timeline - the user can use the "magic hand" feature to advance it one way or another:

Over on the right-hand sidebar are links to articles and research tips. There was a link for a slide show about the Ellis Island experience, which was 14 slides with limited explanations, but it was interesting:

Back to my search for Seaver persons naturalized in Southern California. I received 151 matches for my query - here's the top of the page:

I clicked on the entry for William Seaver (the fifth one down) so as to see what information is provided. Here is the image:

For William Seaver, it says:

* Applicant = Seaver, William
* Native Country = Ireland
* I (intentions) A (application) = I
* Date = 12 - 3 - 1888 (I)
* Record Vol. = 25
* Record Page = 145

The source citation for this particular database is listed over on the right sidebar. It says:

" National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Naturalization Index of the Superior Court for Los Angeles County, California, 1852-1915 (M1608); Microfilm serial: M1608; Microfilm roll: 1."

This particular record is an index item, meaning that the microfilm serial number and roll noted in the source above are for the index entry, not for the original record.

The description page for this database explains the naturalization process and how to obtain the original naturalization record. The page notes that:

"Because this database only contains indexes, you will need to order a copy of the original paperwork from the National Archives. The regional offices of the National Archives most often are the repository where the records are now located. In some cases the original records may be available on microfilm at the Archives in Washington, D.C. See below for addresses of where to request copies of original documents. This index will give you the information you need to obtain the copy of the original paperwork. It is always best to provide the Archives as much information as possible when requesting a record."

For this particular record, the National Archives branch where the record is stored is probably at:
br>"National Archives – Pacific Alaska Region (Riverside)
23123 Cajalco Road
Perris, CA 92570
Phone: (951) 956-2000

William Seaver in the above example is not my ancestor or a close relative. However, I am interested in every person with a Seaver surname, and this information might aid another researcher who is a descendant of William Seaver.

If you do not have an subscription, this free period through 6 September is an excellent opportunity to explore the collection for your relatives and ancestors.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver's Death Certificate

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to display a document or artifact from my boxes of family treasures.

The death certificate of my grandmother, Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (1882-1962) from the records of Leminster, Massachusetts was in the box of treasures passed down from my Aunt Geraldine (Seaver) Remley, who was her youngest child:

The nest thing is that every line is filled out, and it is very readable, being typed. The information includes:

1. Date of Death = June 29, 1962
2. Name, and Maiden Name = Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver, Richmond
3. Sex, and whether Single, Married or widowed = Female, Widowed
4. Age = 80 Years, 4 Months, 13 Days
5. Color = White
6. Disease or Cause of Death = Carcinoma of Gall Bladder
7. Residence = Leominster, Mass
8. Occupation - Ret. Piano Teacher
9. Place of Death = Leominster Hospital, Leominster, Mass
10. Place of Birth = Killingly, Conn.
11. Name of Husband or wife = Frederick W. Seaver
12. Name of Father = Thomas Richmond
13. Name of Mother, (Maiden Name) = Julia White, White
14. Birthplace of Father = Liverpool, England
15. Birthplace of Mother = Connecticut
16. Place of Interment = Evergreen Cemetery, Leominster, Mass

The death certificate was obtained, presumably by the family, from the Leominster City Clerk on 12 November 1965.

If I was looking for the birth date (calculated from age at death), birth place, parents names, cause of death and place of interment of this person, this death certificate would provide many excellent leads. The only item that is wrong on the certificate, to my knowledge, is the birthplace of her father, Thomas Richmond - it is Hilperton in Wiltshire, rather than Liverpool, which is the port of departure for Thomas Richman in 1856.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Was Charlotte on the Orphan Train?

Several months ago, a lady, that I met while giving my "Be An Ancestor Detective!" presentation to a civic group, asked me to check out her family story - was it true?

The basic elements of the family story were:

* It is rumored that my Great-grandmother was adopted and perhaps put on the orphan train from New York to Kansas.
* She was born in 1850 on a ship, her mother died in childbirth, and her father died sometime later when she was young.
* Her name was Charlotte (Lottie) Knight, born to Captain Knight and Gaton (a last name, I think)
* She was adopted by a couple with the last name Green in Kansas.
* We know that she married David Hoke and had nine children (producing my grandmother).

That sounded like a fun challenge. I figured that I could learn more about immigration, orphan trains and adoptions, and help out a potential genealogist in the process, dazzling her with my research prowess.

There were several excellent clues - a spouse's name, the adoptive family's surname, the birth father's surname, an approximate immigration date, etc. Over several weeks, I plumbed the depths of the genealogy databases on the Internet, and gradually turned up these clues:

1) I could not find David Hoke or Charlotte Hoke in the 1920 US Census (accessed on

2) In the 1910 US Census, the David N. Hoke family resided on Sixth Avenue in Ward 3 of Oswego, Labette County, Kansas (dwelling #460, family #469, Page 23B, Enumeration District 142, NARA Microfilm T624, Roll 443, accessed on The household included:

* David N. Hoke - head of household, male, white, age 67, first marriage, married 41 years, born OH, parents born VA/VA, a carpenter, works on houses.
* Charlotte Hoke - wife, female, white, age 59, first marriage, married 41 years, 8 children born, 8 children living, born OH, parents born England/England, a hairdresser.
* Valentine Hoke - daughter, female, white, age 25, single, born KS, parents born OH/OH
* Freda (?) O. Brown - daughter, female, white, age 34, a widow, born IN, parents born OH/OH, a dressmaker, works at home
* Kenneth Hoke - grandson, male, white, age 5, single, born KS, parents born IN/US

The 1910 census says Charlotte was born in Ohio, and her parents were born in England.

3) In the 1900 US Census, the David N. Hoke family resided in Fairview, Labette County, Kansas (dwelling #100, family #101, page 6A, enumeration district 109, NARA Microfilm Series T623, Roll 485, accessed on The household included:

* David N. Hoke - head of household, white, male, born Mar 1843,, age 57, married, for 33 years, born OH, parents born VA/VA, a farmer.
* Charlottie Hoke - wife, white, female, born Nov 1854, age 45, married, for 33 years, 8 children born, 8 living, born at sea, parents born England/England
* Effie Hoke - daughter, white, female, born Jul 1878, age 21, single, born IN, parents born OH/at sea
* William C. Hoke - son, white, male, born Jun 1879, age 20, single, born IN, parents born OH/at sea, a farm laborer
* Joeseph A. Hoke - son, white, male, born Jan 1882, age 18, single, born IN, parents born OH/at sea, a farm laborer
* Bessie Hoke - daughter, white, female, born Aug 1884, age 15, single, born KS, parents born OH/at sea
* Valentine Hoke - daughter, white, female, born Feb 1894, age 6, single, born KS, parents born OH/at sea.

The 1900 census is the only one that lists Charlotte's birth "at sea" with parents born in England. Perhaps she gave the information to the enumerator.

4) There are no 1890 US Census records available

5) In the 1880 US Census, the David Hoke family resided in Cromwell, Noble county, Indiana (dwelling #176, family #179, page 425D, Enumeration District 70, NARA Microfilm Series T9, Roll 302, accessed on The household included:

* David Hoke - white, male, age 37, married, a gunsmith, born OH, parents born OH/OH
* Charte Hoke - white, female, age 26, wife, married, keeping house, born OH, parents born OH/OH
* Jennie Hoke - white, female, age 12, daughter, single, born IN, parents born OH/OH
* Manford Hoke - white, male, age 10, son, single, born IN, parents born OH/OH
* Milo Hoke - white, male, age 8, son, single, born IN, parents born OH/OH
* Effie Hoke - white, female, age 3, daughter, single, born IN, parents born OH/OH
* William Hoke - white, male, age 1, son, single, born IN, parents born OH/OH

6) In the 1870 US Census, the David Hoak family resided in Sparta, Noble County, Indiana (dwelling #168, family #168, page 284A, NARA Microfilm Series M593, Roll 347, accessed on The household included:

* David Hoak - age 24, male, a carpenter, $150 in real property, $200 in personal property, born OH
* Charlotte Hoak - age 19, female, keeping house, born in OH
* Jennie Hoak - age 2, female, born IN
* Manford Hoak - age 6/12, male, born IN

7) In the 1860 US Census, David Hoke resided in Perry, Noble County, Indiana in the Gideon Scholterbach family (dwelling #190, family #186, page 118, NARA Microfilm Series M653, Roll 285, accessed on The household included:

* Gideon Scholterbach - age 49, male, a farmer, $11000 in real property, $1500 in personal property, born PA
* Mary Scholterbach - age 48, female, born OH
* Henry Scholterbach - age 20, male, a farm laborer, born IN
* Eli Scholterbach - age 19, male, born IN
* Amelia Scholterbach - age 17, female, born IN
* Adam Scholterbach - age 15, male, born IN
* Ora Scholterbach - age 9, male, born IN
* Emma Scholterbach - age 7, female, born IN
* David Hoke - age 19, male, born OH
* Daniel Hoke - age 16, male, born OH
* Sarah Hoke - age 12, female, born OH
* Eve Engle - age 77, female, born PA

Note: Mary Scholterbach is probably David Hoke's mother married to her second husband.

8) In the 1860 US Census, the Charles Green family resided in Sparta, Noble County, Indiana (dwelling #416, family #416, page 152, NARA Microfilm Series M653, Roll 285, accessed on The household included:

* Charles Green - age 40, male, farmer, $4000 in real property, $600 in personal property, born OH
* Jane Green - age 39, female, born OH
* Charlotte Wight - age 9, female, born OH.

I searched for a girl born about 1850 with the first name of Charlotte living with a Green family in Noble County IN and this is what came up. I am 99% sure that this is the Charlotte "Knight" or "Wight" who is the foster or adopted daughter of Charles and Jane Green. The circumstances are just too strong here. Charlotte married David Hoke in 1867 and they are in Noble County, Indiana in the 1870 and 1880 census before moving to Kansas in the early 1880s.

I searched for other Knight and Wight families in Noble County, Indiana in the 1860 census and found none. Of course, the father and other children might be anywhere in the USA, in Canada or even back in England, or dead.

9) There is an Ancestry Public Member Tree (member DianeElliott1005) that has essentially the same information: David Noble Hoak (born 4 March 1843 Champaign Co OH, died 5 June 1911) married Sept 1867 in Noble County IN to Charlotte Knight (born 25 Nov 1850 at sea, died 21 Jan 1923). The note for Charlotte's birth says: "born on a ship coming across the ocean to America from England. Her mother, named Gaton, died in childbirth, leaving 8 children." The tree lists these children for David and Charlotte (Knight) Hoak: Jennie Hoke (1868-1943), Manford Erasmus Hoke (1870-1954), Milo Hartel Hoke (1872-1966), Effie Hoke (1876-1955), William Chester Hoke (1879-1938), Joseph Hoke (1882-1953), Bessie Hoke (1884-1972) and Valentine Hoke (1895-1982).

The eight Knight children are given as (with no birth dates other than Charlotte's): Becky, Charles, Ed, Hannah, Mollie, Rhoda, Will and Charlotte. She has no first name for the father or the mother of these children.

10) There is another Ancestry Public Member Tree (member jcain271) that lists Charlotte Knight (born 1850, died 1923) as a daughter of James C. Knight (born 1813 in England, died 1870) and Sarah Gaton (no birth/death years).

11) I searched the immigration records on for Charlotte Knight and Charlotte Wight born 1850 and found no matches. But she would not be on a ship manifest if born at sea. Unfortunately, the passenger list records are incomplete. I searched for James Knight, Sarah Knight and Rhoda Knight and got no matches. I did the same for James, Sarah, Rhoda and Charlotte Wight and got no matches.

The research summary that I passed to my correspondent said:

* It appears to me, as an objective observer, that Charlotte was a foster or adopted child of Charles and Jane Green, that they lived in Noble County IN in the 1860s, that Charlotte married David Hoke in Noble County IN and the family moved to Kansas in about 1884.

* From the evidence at hand, Charlotte may have been born at sea or in Ohio, her parents were born in England, and perhaps her mother died after childbirth.

* It is possible that Charlotte was adopted in Ohio, which is where the Greens were born. We don't know when, or if, she was adopted, or was a foster child. Was she on an orphan train? Perhaps - we'll have to see if there were orphan trains to Ohio and Indiana before 1860.

* It's very clear to me that she was NOT on an orphan train to Kansas as the family story relates.

I also emailed Diane with the Ancestry Member Tree who had the same family story, asked her if I could connect her to my correspondent, and she agreed. They are second cousins and did not know of each other before this. Hopefully, they are sharing family stories and photographs.

There are, of course, other research avenues to pursue after this general "low-hanging fruit" record search, including:

* There are probably 1841 census records for the Knight or Wight family, and Civil Registration birth records for Charlotte's siblings in England.

* There may be guardianship or adoption records for Charlotte that would more clearly define her birth name, reasons for adoption, and adoption circumstances. There may be orphan train records for her.

* There may be land and probate records for David Hoke and/or Charlotte Hoke in Indiana and Kansas.

* There may be newspaper articles or county history books about the adoption of Charlotte by the Greens, about the Green's deaths, and about the lives and deaths of David and Charlotte Hoke.

* There may be family papers available from other descendants of David and Charlotte Hoke that might provide more details and context to the family story.

My hope is that, by posting this research summary, that other descendants of Charlotte (Wight?) Hoke might read it and also contact my two correspondents and share whatever information they may have about her life. If you have such information, please contact me at and I will connect you with my two correspondents.

This post was written for the 97th Carnival of Genealogy with the theme of Research From Scratch! Here's an opportunity to put on your research caps and delve into a whole new family history.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 118: The Carringer House

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 photograph is of the Carringer house that stood on the northeast corner of 30th Street and Hawthorn Street from 1895 to 1927. I posted an earlier photograph, from the late 1890s, of the house in The Carringer house in San Diego. My estimate of the time frame for the picture above is about 1905 to 1910.

The persons in the photograph above are (from the left):

* Far left in a uniform of some sort - probably Harvey Edgar Carringer (1852-1946), brother of Henry Austin Carringer
* Woman standing sideways - Abigail (Vaux) Smith (1844-1931), mother of Della (Smith) Carringer
* Woman seated - I don't know who this is. She may be Harriet (Vaux) Loucks, a cousin of Della (Smith) Carringer who visited often and was heavy-set.
* Woman standing - Della (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944), wife of Henry Austin Carringer and mother to Lyle Lawrence Carringer
* Young man standing - Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976), son of Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer. Lyle was probably age 15 to 18 in this photograph, based on his slight stature in other pictures.
* Man standing on right - Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946), husband of Della (Smith) Carringer and father of Lyle Lawrence Carringer.

This picture shows a view from the middle of 30th Street of the house, and shows the extent of the upper floor to the north - it was not possible to tell in the other photograph. I must have scanned this photograph many years ago - I saw it today browsing through the digital collection and did not recall seeing it before. Funny how that happens!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Keeping up with FamilySearch

It has been a challenge for me to stay up-to-date on what's happening with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) FamilySearch website. I am not a church member, but I am very interested in the free offerings from FamilySearch - the database records, the family tree, the Research Wiki, the library offerings, etc.

I was unable to attend the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference two weeks ago in Knoxville, or the Family History Expo held last weekend in Sandy, Utah.

Fortunately, at least two genea-bloggers shared some information from the Family History Expo over the weekend:

1. The Ancestry Insider blogged about FamilySearch In a Corner which summarized Ron Tanner's comments (Ron is the go-to guy for Family Tree now). The comments included:

* "... stated goal for the Family Tree is that it be so genealogically correct that even the best of genealogists will want to use it."

* "...admitted that the current design didn’t go far enough from changing 'my tree' and 'your tree' into 'our tree' since it maintains 'my conclusion' and 'your conclusion.' "

* "... future direction is to change the Tree so that anyone can correct it. Anyone can contribute to it. Anyone can contribute artifacts to it. Anyone can change the information that you contributed to the Tree—maybe for the better."

Read all of The Ancestry Insider's post - there is a lot more there to ponder over! It sounds like there will be a significant change in some FamilySearch features by the end of September.

2) Renee Zamora on Renee's Genealogy Blog posted Salt Lake Family History Expo 2010 - Day 2 that has some interesting nuggets, including:

* "...Only 5% of all genealogy records are online" per Gordon Clarke. I'm glad to see this value - it's what I've been guessing recently!

* Gordon Clarke also said (perhaps in jest) that "... technology will advance to the point that we all will have our own 'seer stone' that we could view our family histories, that are stored in the cloud."

* "Legacy's NFS feature operates as an add-on program. It will launch a separate window to access it. Very similar to how Legacy Charting works." according to Leonard Plazier who presented "Legacy Family Tree and new Family Search."

Please read all of Renee's posts about the Family History Expo.

There were several other genea-bloggers at the Family History Expo, but I haven't read any comments yet about the FamilySearch plans. If you were there and posted something about FamilySearch, please let me know!

My thanks to The Ancestry Insider and Renee Zamora for the up-to-the-minute news about FamilySearch.

For the record, there were 453 databases (33 with red stars) today on the FamilySearch Record Search Pilot site, and only 289 databases at the FamilySearch Beta site (Historical Collecitons).

I'll wait on Family Tree Maker 2011 announced the release of Family Tree Maker 2011 today - Miriam Midkiff has the press release on her Ancestories blog here. The Blog also has a post about it.

I don't see many significant changes in the descriptions provided. I rarely use the features that are claimed to be improved. For instance, media management: I don't have many media items attached to persons in my own genealogy database yet, and I won't until I get the genealogy database in better order. It is not a priority for me in my genealogy life. To each their own.

Concerning uploading and downloading to I don't add content or media to my Public Member tree on because I want to keep control of my latest database on my own computer. When Family Tree Maker is able to synchronize a family tree database with Ancestry Member Trees, then I will do more media attachments.

What do I mean by "true synchronization?" In FTM 2011, as in previous versions, the user has to upload a whole family tree file from Family Tree Maker to, or download a whole family tree from into Family Tree Maker. It becomes a new tree file, whether on or in Family Tree Maker. If a user is changing data in both places, some of it may be lost or will have to be re-entered. A true synchronization would find changes in one place (either in the software database or the Member Tree database) and add or edit information in the other place without creating a new file. Perhaps even automatically at login. When a true synchronization is available, then Family Tree Maker will have a significant market edge. has released a new version of Family Tree Maker every year since 2008, and has charged users each time. The major Windows competitors, RootsMagic 4 (released in early 2009) and Legacy Family Tree 7 (released in summer 2008) , have updated their offerings many times since the initial release without charging users, their retail price is lower, the software runs faster and they offer equal or better features.

I still use Family Tree Maker 16 to manage my genealogy database because I am very familiar with it, and it serves my purposes well. I have and use RootsMagic 4 and Legacy Family Tree 7 for specific tasks, including unique reports and charts. I appreciate that they both offer free versions of their software with some crippled features - and I recommend them to beginning genealogists to start a family tree database.

So - I will wait to order Family Tree Maker 2011 until I am convinced that I really "need" it.

Information about Family Tree Maker 2011 can be found at The Store has it for sale at a retail price of $39.95, and has an upgrade for current Family Tree Maker users for $27.97.

Disclosure: I have purchased every version of Family Tree Maker from Version 10 to 2010, and have received free copies of Family Tree Maker 2008, 2009 and 2010 from at promotional events and conferences. I have donated the free copies I received from to my local genealogical societies or have given them to society colleagues. My comments above are my own and I have received no remuneration or considerations for writing them.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Citing My English Sources - My Preference

I wrote Confessions of a Name Collector - English Sources last week in an attempt to determine how I should deal with the thousands of "source citations" in my genealogical database that say essentially "Hilperton, Wiltshire Parish Registers," without a page number, church name, church record, Record Office, film number, or IGI entry. I listed several options to consider, and received a number of comments, which I really appreciated.

The comments by David Newton and Christine (RootsSearcher) in England suggested sourcing the information to the original or derivative material held in the relevant diocesan record offices, expressed in David's comment reprinted below:

"The best way to cite English parish registers I have found is to have the repository as the relevant diocesan record office (almost always a county record office or a unitary authority record office) and then to cite it based on the catalogue call number there and then the page number and entry number in the register if possible (ie post 1812 in most cases). If dealing with earlier registers then the call number in the record office is just as valid and then cite the date in the register if that is the only distinguishing thing."

Christine suggested "...ask the Record Office of the county of where your UK ancestors were if they will take a copy of the page or couple of pages in the parish register..."

Both are excellent suggestions, and I sincerely appreciate them because they expanded my knowledge and appreciation for those records and the efforts made by many persons to collect and preserve them. If I resided in England, this is what I would do, I think, because it is manageable and is the best practice.

However, as Martin pointed out in his comment, I am not in England, the people who might benefit by my public database will be overwhelmngly American, and noted that "... I don't see anything wrong with citing to a scholarly article and saying, 'and the sources cited therein.'"

Several genea-bloggers have commented on this problem of mine. Perhaps the best suggestion was by Bart Brenner in his post Name Collecting - "Mythology" or the "Pirates of the Caribbean" option (GeneaPopPop) on his Stardust 'n' Roots blog, saying:

"What I have come to realize is that I have chosen to take the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' option when approaching the GPS and source citations - that is, they are not so much 'laws' (to be slavishly followed) as they are 'guidelines' (to assist us). This may not measure up to the standards of a professional genealogist. It may not seem very 'professional' - that is, it may be less than desired. I do understand that data without primary sources cited are simply clues to direct further research. I am opting (a) to present primary source data, well cited, wherever I can and (b) to present and site the sources for undocumented data that provides clues for future research. My genealogical research is just that - research. It is always in process. "

I went to the fount of all genealogical source wisdom, the book Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills, and noted the two elements below:

in "1.19 Indirect Sources (page 27)


"Citations are built on the principle that we cite only what we have used. It is a sound practice to identify, in our research notes, the sources on which other authors base their assertions or conclusions. Sound practice then dictates that we actually consult those sources that are relevant to our works. We need to confirm the accuracy of what other writers report and glean additional perspectives those earlier sources can offer. For credibility and integrity, we should not borrow sources from other writers or present what amounts to hearsay as credible fact.
(See also Citing the Source of a Source, 2.21.)"


"2.21 Citing the Source of a Source (page 51)

"We do not cite sources we have not used. 'Borrowing' sources from other writers is both unethical and risky. When we use the work of others, we cite what we actually used. When other authors identify their source for a detail that is relevant to us, we should add to our note a statement such as,

"The author cites 'Register 3, page 235, St. Peter’s Parish, Wilmington, Delaware.'

"Credit should always be given where it is due. By the same token, we would not wish to assume the blame for an error another writer made in using a record we have not seen."

In my specific case for these English parish records (mostly before 1650), I have, almost entirely, used published book and journal articles to add events and notes to my database. In my present situation, if I were to follow the EE 1.19 and 2.21 dicta, I should cite what I actually used, but should make the effort to find the original source as time permits. I think that doing that, in my specific case, is logical, reasonable and manageable for me to do in the coming years. In many cases, the books and journal articles that I used do refer to the relevant diocesan record office (although some may be out of date).

Citing to the sources I used for the English records is consistent with many of my other citations I use for American records - such as the Massachusetts Vital Records books (extracted from original town records), New England state vital records indexes, state online genealogical index and record databases, etc. They are all derivative sources yet considered authoritative, they are what I've used, and they can be found by an interested researcher.

I feel a lot better now about this issue. I am very grateful to the commenters for their wisdom and advice,

I need to get to work on correcting the English source citations. It may not be too hard - many of my Notes for the immigrants to colonial America refer to the published book or journal article that I used.

Amanuensis Monday - Newspaper Advertisements for Property Sales

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."

The subject today is the property of two Jonathan Lewises that was advertised for sale in New York City area newspapers. I found these on the America's Historical Newspapers, 1690-1876 database on Newsbank, through the NEHGS's External Databases collection last week.

1) Jonathan Lewis (1688-1764) died on Staten Island, Richmond County, New York, leaving a will that required the executors to sell his property. The executors placed this advertisement in the newspaper:

A newspaper article in the New York Gazette newspaper, dated 18 March 1765, Issue 328, Page 3 (accessed on the "America's Historical Newspapers" database on describes public sale of the estate of Jonathan Lewis:

"To be Sold, at Publick Vendue, on the Premises on Thursday, the 28th of March next, to begin at Ten of the Clock in the Forenoon;

"The Farm or Plantation, which belonged to Jonathan Lewis, late of Staten Island, in the Province of New-York, deceased, containing upwards of two hundred acres, whereon is a good House, Barn, and Orchard, of five hundred bearing Apple Trees, with a variety of other Fruit Trees, a sufficient Quantity of Fresh (or English) and Salt Meadow, to keep a good Stock of Cattle, all adjoining; well-timbered and watered, a constant Brook running through the Land, and a very good Landing, where Boats of ten Cords Burthen, or upwards, frequently load for New-York Market. It is conveniently situated, lying at the Fresh-Kill, on the main Road from the Narrows to the Blazing Stars Ferry. -- There will be sold at the same Time and Place, the Stock of Cattle, Horses, Sheep, and Hoggs, farming Utensils, and Household Good. Likewise, two Negroe Men, one of them understands House-Work, was bred in Town, and both used to farming Business.

"February 23d, 1765
Joseph Bedell, Silas Bedell, Benj. Seaman, Executors."

2) Jonathan Lewis (1715-1785) of Staten Island, Richmond County, New York, the son of the above Jonathan Lewis, died in late 1785. His executors placed these advertisements in the local newspapers:

A newspaper advertisement in the Loudon's New-York Packet newspaper, dated 30 January 1786, Issue 563, Page 3 (accessed on the "America's Historical Newspapers" database on describes the attempted sale of the estate of Jonathan Lewis:

"To be Sold, at Public Vendue

"On Monday, the 20th day of March next, on the premises (if not disposed of before at private sale,)

"The valuable MILLS, with the lot of ground and meadow adjoining the farm; containing about forty acres. There are on the premises a good dwelling-house, barn and out-houses, belonging to the estate of Jonathan Lewis, deceased, and commonly known by the name of Beadle's Mills, situated on Staten-Island, near Richmond town. -- As this place is well calculated for a store-keeper, and many advantages arising from the situation, any person inclining to purchase, may know both situation and terms of sale, by applying to Mr. Abraham Bond, in New-York, near the White-Hall, or to the subscribers residing on the premises.

"Jonathan Lewis, David Lewis, Executors
Richmond county, January 26, 1786."

A subsequent article for the sale of the farm was placed in The New-York Journal, & Patriotic Register newspaper, dated 10 March 1792, Volume XLVI, Issue 20, Page 4 (accessed on the "America's Historical Newspapers" database on It reads:


"Two Valuable FARMS

"ON Staten-Island, pleasantly situated within one mile of the village of Richmond, one late the property of Jonathan Lewis, deceased, the other of John Laforge, deceased; the two containing two hundred and twenty-five acres of land and salt meadow; one being bounded, in front, by the Fresh Kill Creek and the main road from New-York ferry to the Old Blazing Star; the other bound, in front, by the main road from New-York ferry to Perth Amboy, and joining in rear; there are on the said farms two good dwelling houses, almost new, two good barns, and out houses of every kind, with a sufficient proportion of fresh meadow and wood, with post and rail timber of the best kind; likewise, an excellent stream and situation for a grist mill, with a landing place, navigable for vessels of fifty tons burthen. The said farms are in good repair. Any persons inclining to purchase, may know the terms, by applying to the subscribers, on the premises.

"Jonathan Lewis, David Lewis, Executors
Staten-Island, Dec. 31, 1791."

It is unclear to me if the three advertisements above are for exactly the same property or if they are for different, but close, properties. Deed and probate research would likely uncover many more details. The first Jonathan Lewis above had, apparently, only one son, the second Jonathan Lewis above. The second Jonathan Lewis had five sons, including first-born Jonathan Lewis and second-born David Lewis. Those are the two names listed as executors for the second Jonathan Lewis; however, the third Jonathan Lewis is said to have died in 1781 in Dutchess County, before his father died in 1785.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 22-28 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:

* Shepardizing Your Genealogy by Martin Hollick on The Slovak Yankee blog. This is an important post for researchers with colonial American ancestors. Do you have these three works in your library that Martin mentions?

* How do we know what we know in genealogy? by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog. This is the sequel to James's earlier post and explains "We begin to know what we know when we recognize that what we think we know may not be correct. "

* People's Cemetery by Janet Iles in the "International Rabbit" column on The Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal blog. This is a wonderful article by Janet showing graveyard records and the stones of a mysterious family (one of hers? it's not clear).

* The Trouble With Harry by Silver Ravenwolf on the Gravediggers Blog. What a fascinating hunt to find a set of grandparents burial spot.

* Sweet Lemonade by Caroline M. Pointer on the Family Stories blog. Caroline's story is about turning a family tragedy into a success story - it's a good one. There is more than one story here, and a good research tip too!

* Playing The Genealogy Board Game - What Fun! by Lorine McGinnis Schulze on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog. Lorine has too much fun with her grandchildren playing her newly created game. Read the whole series - what a wonderful idea to get our grandkids interested in genealogy.

* Ellis Island: A rose by any other name... by Schelly Talalay Dardashti on the Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog. This is an important post for everyone working with immigration records - Schelly takes the New York Times to task for publicizing the myth that names were transliterated at Ellis Island.

* Where do genealogists meet on the internet? by Marian Pierre-Louis on the Roots and Rambles blog. An interesting question - I hope Marian gets many more responses!

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.

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.