Saturday, October 2, 2010

CVGS Seminar Featured Jean Wilcox Hibben and Alfredo I. Pena

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Fall Seminar titled "Where Do We Go From Here?" (a sequel to "Who Do You Think You Are?") was today at Norman Park Senior Center in Chula Vista.  There were about 50 in attendance.  See CVGS Seminar -- Where Do We Go From Here?  for the program schedule.

The speakers, the titles and brief summaries of their talks are in Jean Wilcox Hibben is Featured Speaker at CVGS Fall Seminar on 2 October and Alfredo Pena to Speak at CVGS Fall Seminar on 2 October

Jean's first presentation was "Graveyard Gumshoe: Lessons Written in Stone" which had the audience in stitches as she regaled us with examples of her taphophilia.  Did you know that on her honeymoon they visited graveyards from the California Gold Country to Tombstone, Arizona (fitting, eh?).  She managed to show us many ancestral gravestones and the stories that went with them, plus provide advice on searching for them.  At the end, she sang an original song of hers about gravestones of young children in one of her families.

Gary Brock provided a short summary of what the Chula Vista Genealogical Society offers to members - monthly Wednesday programs, monthly weekend programs, a research group, a computer group, a newsletter, website and blog, plus a group of enthusiastic and helpful genealogists.

Jean's second talk was "This is Not Your Grandma's Genealogy: Making the Move from Paper to Electronic Record Keeping."  This presentation covered decisions to be made, equipment to consider, and approximate cost estimates.  A list of pros and cons about using a computer to organize your genealogical records was provided.  Equipment discussed included computer systems (desktop, laptop or netbook) with pros and cons, Printers (inkjet or laser), Scanners (flatbed, handheld, or all-in-one), Storage media (external drive, USB drive), GPS systems, Digital Cameras and Mobile devices (PDAs, Camera phone, smart phone, etc.). 

Lunch was provided by Jimmy's by the Park, a local restaurant, which served club sandwiches, Mexican pizza, spicy meatballs and cheesy bread, with a peach cobbler dessert. 

Jean's third presentation was "Deliveries in the Rear! Getting Family History through the Back Door."  She explained that her grandfather always said that "The best things come through the back door."  She described searching for information to fill missing events in the lives of five ancestors - and finding data in newspaper articles, in military pension records, on eBay, in family letters, in wills and probate records, in local history books, in census records, in cemetery records, and many more.  Often, the key to finding the records was the siblings, neighbors or associates of her ancestors.  Jean sang an original song about the lives of some of these ancestors.

After a break, Alfredo I. Pena presented "Coming to the New World After the Conquest, 1600-1900" about Spanish and Mexican genealogical resources.  Resources discussed included the Gary Felix Genealogy Page (, the websites for databases and microfilm access, and the Portal de Archivos Espanoles (PARES, website for Spanish records.

Throughout the day, there were opportunity drawings for research services, books and genealogical supplies.  The Door Prize was a one-year subscription to 

Jean Hibben's music CDs, CVGS books, genealogical forms, Chula Vista library  information, and a computer table for research consultations were available at breaks throughout the day in an adjacent room.  Several students from Chula Vista High School helped with the sales and information tables. 

It was a major effort by CVGS to produce this seminar - the first held offsite in about ten years.  The efforts of many CVGS volunteers were coordinated by Susi Pentico, the Seminar chairperson.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Best Genealogy Advice

Calling all Genea-Musings readers - it's Saturday Night, time for more Genealogy Fun!!

Are you ready?  Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Leah over at The Internet Genealogist blog, wrote The Best Genealogy Advice I Ever Got Was earlier this week.  I thought that it would be a good challenge for SNGF.

2)  Tell us what genealogy advice you received that helped you improve your understanding, knowledge and skills in genealogy research.

3)  Write it up in your own blog post, in a comment to Leah's blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook. 

Here's mine:

Early in my genealogical research, a wise San Diego Family History Center volunteer named Ray Dawley told me to use the Family History Library Catalog to find land records and probate records for my ancestors because they provide excellent original source material to prove relationships - especially for married daughters. 

I have tried very hard to do this for all of my ancestral families and have crashed through several brick walls doing so.  Of course, not everybody left these records, and that's why I still have quite a few brick wall ancestors.

Surname Saturday - SMITH (NJ)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 115 - Maria Smith (1753 - ca 1842), one of my 4th-great-grandparents.

My ancestral line back through one generation of New Jersey SMITH 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)

14. Charles Auble (1849-1916)
15. Georgianna Kemp (1868-1952)

28. David Auble (1817-1894)
29. Sarah Knapp (1818-ca1900)

56. Johannes Auble (1780-1831?)
57. Anna Row (1787-1860)

114. Philip Jacob Row, born about December 1752 in prob. NJ; died 09 January 1817 in Tewksbury, Hunterdon County, NJ. He married  July 1772 in probably Hunterdon County, NJ.
115. Maria Smith, born About November 1753 in probably NJ; died about 1842 in Hunterdon County, NJ.

Children of Philip Row and Maria Smith are:

.....i. Mary Row, born 19 July 1773 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ; married John Hubert March 1794 in Oldwick, Hunterdon County, NJ.
.....ii. Elisabetha Row, born 13 January 1776 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ; married Jacob Apgar.
.....iii. John Jacob Row, born 07 April 1779 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ; married Rebecca Vesselus 19 April 1823 in Oldwick, Hunterdon County, NJ.
.....iv. Peter Row, born about 1782 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ; married Catherine Case 12 March 1808 in Oldwick, Hunterdon County, NJ.
+... v. Anna Row, born about 1787 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ; died 12 June 1860 in Stillwater, Sussex County, NJ; married Johannes Auble 15 July 1804 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ. Phillip Johannes Row, born 11 October 1791 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ; died 30 September 1858 in Des Moines County, IA; married Sophia Gray 06 February 1833 in Morris County, NJ; born 15 March 1815 in Morris, NJ; died 27 August 1879 in IA.
.....vii. Johannes Row, born about January 1795 in New Germantown, Hunterdon County, NJ.

The only record I have of Maria's maiden name, marriage date and approximate birth date is her affidavit taken in 1840 from the Revolutionary War Pension File for her husband, Philip Jacob Row.  It does not provide the parents names for either person.

It is very likely that both Philip Jacob Row and Maria Smith were of German heritage, and therefore Maria's maiden name might be Schmidt. 

If any researcher has more on Maria's ancestry, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you at

Friday, October 1, 2010

CVGS Program Review - "What Was Great-Grandpa Really Like?"

Paula A. Sassi, a Master Certified Graphologist, dazzled the audience of 50 at the 29 September program meeting of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society with her presentation of "What Was Great-Grandpa Really Like?"  You can read the description of Paula's program and her curriculum vitae here.

Paula said that a master graphologist can "see into the souls of your ancestors" - and can find clues to the intellect, personality, education, physical and emotional control, self-image and ego, and social tendencies of a person, based on their signature and their writings by hand.

Her presentation including different handwriting styles from the 17th century to the present, detailing colonial writing, copperplate and English round writing, Spencerian writing, Copybook and Palmer method handwriting styles. Examples of famous people from each time period were shown, with comments about what their writings reveal. The signers of the Declaration of Independence, George Washington (from youth to elder), Abraham Lincoln, Jesse James and others were some of the examples discussed. She said that signatures reveal a public self-image, but writings often reveal much more than a signature does.

Baseline slope (up indicates optimistic, down indicates pessimistic), letter slant (to the right indicates future-oriented and concern for others, to the left indicates past-oriented and concern for self), relative size of ascending or descending parts of letters, form control (consistency in writing), letter size, connectivity and shape, writing pressure (light or heavy), g and y descender details, loops in lower case d's and t's, shape of capital I's, and several more indicators tell the graphologist about the person. Paula has some free handwriting insights on her website at She also sells a kit called Handwriting Insights - 64 connected, illustrated cards that teaches handwriting analysis as you use it.

After the formal presentation, Paula analyzed about 15 writing examples submitted by the audience. Gary scanned them into his computer, and then projected them on the screen while Paula analyzed each one. This was fascinating! Some attendees brought whole pages of writing, others had only signatures or entries in a vital or church record.

For instance, I presented a page from a family Bible that had the writing and signature of Devier J. Smith, his second great-grandfather. Based on the writing, Paula said that Devier was down-to-earth, logical, analytical, enthusiastic for ideas, opinionated and controlled.

Paula is an excellent presenter, an expert in her field, and her presentation and analysis of the writings was a big hit with the attendees.

UVPAFUG Presentations

The Utah Valley PAF User's Group (UVPAFUG) has monthly meetings in Provo, Utah, and has an archive of some of the presentation handouts and some of the PowerPoint presentations in PDF format. 

The Presentations page is at and is up-to-date.  Some of the more interesting (to me!) presentations in 2010 have been:
There are earlier presentations available in handout or PowerPoint format. 
Not every presentation has a handout or presentation provided.  However, most of the programs listed since 2007 have a DVD available for a small cost to LDS church members here
Some of the presentations available concern LDS church activities related to genealogy and family history, but the more general presentations are interesting and useful to researchers like me that are curious about FamilySearch projects and genealogy research in general. 

"Information, Please" article about NewsBank operations

My distant cousin, Tom Kemp, passed along the article "Information, Please" written by Ken Picard, which appeared in the 29 September 2010 issue of the 7 Days online newspaper, published in Vermont.

The article highlights the operations of NewsBank in Chester, Vermont, which is the largest and oldest of their sites.  The behind-the-scenes look at how the company operates is interesting and useful to understand.

The article notes:
NewsBank Inc. is the nation’s largest digital archiving service for the newspaper industry. Its on-site computers store 350 terabytes of information — that’s more than double the amount of data housed at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Each day, it archives the printed and online content of more than 2000 newspapers, magazines, wire services, business journals and other publications from around the globe — adding 1.2 million new articles to its database each month.
The article describes how NewsBank has adapted over the years in order to stay in business, and highlights some of the technologies that are used to convert printed material to digital images that can be searched online.

As many readers know, Tom Kemp is the Director of GenealogyBank, which is one of the companies owned by NewsBank, Inc.

Disclosure:  I have a complimentary subscription to, but have not been otherwise remunerated by NewsBank or anybody else to write this post.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Whittle Research Compendium

I've written so much in the past three weeks about Jane (Whittle) McKnew and her ancestry - especially about the lives of her parents, Alexander and Rachel (Morley) Whittle who were born in England, married there, emigrated to Australia in 1841, had six children, emigrated to California in 1850 and died there, leaving three children that went on to have large families.  Jane (Whittle) McKnew was my wife's great-grandmother. 

Here is the compendium of posts that is included in this Whittle research saga:

* I Found Rachel in the 1852 California Census where I found Rachel "Wadle" and three children in San Francisco in the 1852 California State Census on

* Jane's Birth Record, and more... - I found out that Jane's parents were Alexander and Rachel Whittle, not Joseph and Rachel.

* Finding the Whittles in Australia highlighted some of the newspaper articles about the family in The Sydney Morning Herald in the 1840 to 1850 time frame from the Historic Australian Newspapers , 1803-1954, Trove website.

* The Whittles Migrating to Australia - a Forrest Gump Genealogy Moment in which the immigration record was found and analyzed.

* Lesson Learned - Check the Image too! in which I learned (again!) that not all information on the immigration record was in the FamilySearch index entry.

* Whittle Marriage Record in England - I found the marriage of Alexander Whittle and Rachel Morley in Lancashire in two places online - the English Civil Registrations and the LDS IGI (and on the  site).

* Whittle Birth Records in Australia - birth records for the Whittle children were online in the FamilySearch Beta Australian Birth and Baptism collection

* Whittle Birth and Marriage Records in England - Alexander's birth record and his parent's marriage record were found in the English Birth and Christening Collection

* Rachel Morley's Birth and Parents which finds Rachel Morley's baptism record and her parents marriage.

* More on Rachel Morley's Parentage in which I find a record that indicates Rachel was illegitimate.

The elder Alexander Whittle in English Census Records - Alexander's parents were found in the 1841 and 1851 English census records.

What happened to Rachel (Morley) Whittle? - Rachel was in the San Francisco and Sacramento newspapers several times with the police involved, and then disappears without a trace.

Alexander Whittle dies in California's Gold Country - the title says it all, plus Rachel's marriage to Thomas Spencer made the newspaper.

The Children of Alexander and Rachel Whittle - Elizabeth - Elizabeth Whittle married twice and had 13 children.  Her family had a mine in Tuttetown in Tuolumne County in California's Gold Country.

FamilySearch Beta Fail? Lack of Patience? Success! - I found the death notice of Thomas Spencer, Rachel's second husband, but it wasn't easy.

The Children of Alexander and Rachel (Morley) Whittle - Joseph Whittle - Joseph Whittle married and was a successful miner in Angel's Camp, Calaveras County, California.

The Children of Alexander and Rachel (Morley) Whittle - Jane - Jane Whittle married Elijah McKnew and raised 11 children in Calaveras and San Francisco Counties, California.

Whittle Children Deaths in Australia - Reader Cheryl Bailey obtained digital images of death records for two Whittle children in Australia.

Whittle/Mansley/Morley Baptisms in Parish Register Records - digital images of parish register records.

The Marriage Record of Alexander Whittle and Rachel Morley in 1840 - the parish register record.

Elizabeth Whittle's Baptismal Record In Lancashire - Elizabeth may not have been Alexander's child.

Jane (Haslam) (Bury) Morley (1780-1834) Summary - a summary of what I know about Jane Whittle's grandmother.

*  California Voter Registers, 1866-1898 on - information about the McKnew family in Tuolumne and San Francisco.

*  California Pioneer and Immigrant Files, 1790-1950 Database on - information about Elizabeth (Whittle) Swerer's life, including parents names, spouse's names and marriage information, immigration and education information.

Most of the family history research performed on this family since 9 September has been done in online record collections.  Further research in the English parish church registers, the Lancaster Record Office archives, the New South Wales, Australia birth records, the California newspapers, especially in the gold country, San Francisco and Sacramento, and much more is still necessary to pursue in order to conduct a "Reasonably Exhaustive Search." 

One of the unique features of this particular research quest is the active participation of some of my wonderful readers - especially Rod Van Cooten (in Australia?), Sharon (in Australia), Aussiemandas (in Australia), Cheryl Bailey (in Australia), bgwiehle (in ???), Geolover (in the USA),  Magnus Persson (in Sweden) and Lorine McGinnis Schulze (in Canada).  Thank you all for your suggestions and contributions - I never would have found some of the Australian and English records without your guidance.

I will update this list as necessary.  The last update was 28 July 2011.

The Children of Alexander and Rachel (Morley) Whittle - Joseph Whittle

Alexander and Rachel (Morley) Whittle brought three children to California from Australia.

The only surviving son, Joseph Whittle, was born 30 May 1843 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia (Australia Births and Baptisms, 1792-1981, accessed on, extracted from FHL microfilm993955-6.), the son of Alexander and Rachel (Morley) Whittle.

Joseph married Mary Ann Quig on 29 October 1868 in Angel's Camp, Calaveras County, California (I don't have a source for this - it's probably an online family tree).  Joseph and Mary Ann (Quig) Whittle had at least nine children together.

I don't have a death date for either Joseph or Mary Ann (Quig) Whittle.  Joseph died before 1900, since Mary Ann is a widow in the 1900 U.S. Census.

I have found no record for Joseph Whittle as a young man in the 1860 U.S. Census.

In the 1870 United States Census, this family was enumerated in Township #8 (Copperopolis post office), Calaveras County, California. The household included (1870 U.S. Census, Calaveras County, California, Population Schedule, Township #8, Page 230B (stamped), dwelling #243, family #204, accessed on, citing National Archives Microfilm Series M593, Roll 70):

* Joseph Whittle - age 27, male, white, a farmer, $600 in real property, $740 in personal property, born in Austria, both parents foreign born
* Mary Whittle - age 21, female, white, keeping house, born New York, both parents foreign born
* E. Whittle - age 11/12, female, white, at home, born California, father foreign born, born in July
* D. Miller - age 22, male, white, works on farm, born Austria, both parents foreign born
* C. Essex - age 62, male, white, works on farm, born Missouri
* Michael Quig - age 22, male, white, works on farm, born New York, both parents foreign born

In the 1880 United States Census, this family was enumerated in Angel's Camp, Calaveras County, California. The household included (1880 U.S. Census, Calaveras County, California, Population Schedule, District 43, Page 408A (stamped), dwelling #333, family #565, accessed on, citing National Archives Microfilm Series T9, Roll 64):

* Joseph Whittle - white, male, age 37, married, a farmer, born Australia, parents born England/England
* Mary Whittle - white, female, age 30, wife, married, housekeeping, born NY, parents born Ireland/Ireland
* Lizzie Whittle - white, female, age 11, daughter, single, born California, parents born Australia/New York
* Henry Whittle - white, male, age 9, son, single, born California, parents born Australia/New York
* Joseph Whittle - white, male, age 6, son, single, born California, parents born Australia/New York
* Katie Whittle - white, female, age 2, daughter, single, born California, parents born Australia/New York

In the 1900 United States Census, the remnant of this family resided on Albany Flat in Township #5 (part of Angel Town), Calaveras County, California. The household included (1900 U.S. Census, Calaveras County, California, Population Schedule, Enumeration District 142, Page 25B (stamped), dwelling #520, family #536, accessed on, citing National Archives Microfilm Series T623, Roll 84):

* Mary A. Whittle - head, white, female, born Jun 1849, age 50, widow, for 9 years, 10 children born, 9 living, born New York, parents born Ireland/Ireland, owns farm free of mortgage
* Henry Whittle - son, white, male, born Feb 1871, age 29, married, born California, parents born Australia/New York, a quartz miner
* Joseph Whittle - son, white, male, born Sept 1875, age 24, married, born California, parents born Australia/New York, a laborer
* Mary H. Whittle - daughter, white, female, born Jan 1881, age 19, single, born California, parents born Australia/New York
* Adelia Whittle - daughter, white, female, born Feb 1883, age 17, single, born California, parents born Australia/New York

Their daughter, Elizabeth Whittle (born July 1869), married Frank Reister and they have six children in the 1900 census in Calaveras County.  Daughter Catherine Whittle (born April 1879) married William Carpenter, and they have two small children in the 1900 census in Calaveras County.
According to family papers, Joseph and Mary Ann (Quig) Whittle also had triplets in 1885, but one or all may have died soon after. 
An article in the Sacramento Daily Record-Union newspaper (Sacramento [Calif.]) 1875-1891, dated November 11, 1885, page 5, notes (from the Tuolumne Independent newspaper), accessed on the Library of Congress Chronicling America site:
"It is reported that Joseph Whittle, the author of the famed triplets, has just struck another pocket in his claim, near Albany Flat, from which he has taken the large sum of $35,000."
Unfortunately, I can't find an article about the triplets themselves - there is probably an article in a smaller local newspaper that is not digitized and indexed yet.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Betty's Baptismal Record

It's Treasure Chest Thursday, time to share a document or artifact that provides genealogical or family history information.  At last Sunday's Scanfest, I scanned a number of documents found in a notebook hidden in my bookcase. 

Here is the baptismal record of my mother, Betty Virginia Carringer:

The transcription of this record is:

In the Name of the Father,
And of the Son, and of The Holy Ghost, Amen.
"We do Certify:
That, according to the ordinance of Christ Himself, we did
administer to
_Betty Virginia Carringer_
the Sacrament of
Holy Baptism
thereby making _her_ a member of Christ, the Child of
God, and an Inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven; on the
_First_ day of _July_, in
the Year of our Lord, One Thousand Nine Hundred and
_Forty two_; the said administration being
in _All Saints Episcopal_ Church,
_San Diego - California_ in the
Diocese of _Los Angeles_
(Signed) _Frederick Y. Stevens_
Parents {_Mr. Lyle Lawrence Carringer_
_Emily Kemp (Auble) Carringer_}
Sponsors or witnesses {_Parents &_
_Mr. F.W. Seaver_}
Date of birth: _July 30 / 1919_ Place _San Diego, Cal._

The _underline symbols_ denote areas that are handwritten.  

I did not know that my mother was ever baptized.  I assumed that she had been because that was the custom, but figured it was performed when she was a child.  For this baptism, she was 22 years old, and on the verge of being married on 12 July 1942 to Frederick Walton Seaver. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Google Earth for Genealogy Video Released

Lisa Louise Cooke of the Genealogy Gems Podcast sent along this promotional video of Google Earth for Genealogy:

Lisa Louise Cooke has produced two videos about using Google Earth for Genealogy.  She just sent out this press release:

The Google Earth for Genealogy Video Series Expands with Brand New Volume

Second Installment by Genealogy Gems Podcast Host Lisa Louise Cooke

SAN RAMON, CA, September 29, 2010 – Genealogy Gems announced today that the second installment of the Google Earth for Genealogy video series has been released at

“Google Earth has the power to geographically document and tell the stories of our ancestors' lives, and in this new video I show you how to do just that,” said Lisa Louise Cooke, Genealogy Gems owner and producer and host of the popular Genealogy Gems Podcast at and in iTunes. “I’m excited to be expanding on the concepts covered in the first DVD, and in Volume II we take Google Earth from family history research tool to compelling genealogical storyteller.”

In the brand new step-by-step tutorial DVD Google Earth for Genealogy Volume II Cooke shows you how to:

• Pinpoint your ancestors’ property using land patent records
• Locate original land surveys
• Customize Google Earth place marks with photos and documents
• Add video to your Google Earth maps
• Incorporate custom and ready-made 3D models to your maps to add a new dimension
• Add focus with polygons and paths
• Pull it all together to tell your ancestors’ stories in riveting ways by creating and sharing Family History Tours

In addition to the seven videos, the DVD (for PC use only) includes an introduction video, a menu with convenient links to the websites mentioned in the tutorials to help you quickly get started, and a bonus podcast interview.

Watch the video at the Genealogy Gems YouTube Channel to see it in action:

About the Author:

Lisa Louise Cooke is the producer and host of the internationally popular Genealogy Gems Podcast , an online genealogy audio show. A national speaker, video producer, author and online instructor, Lisa's passion for geographic genealogy is out of this world!

Contact: Lisa Louise Cooke at
Phone: (925) 272-4021

Disclosure:  I enjoyed Lisa's first Google Earth video, which I received from Lisa for free at the SCGS Jamboree in June 2010.  I have received no other remuneration for writing this post.

FamilySearch Beta Fail? Lack of Patience? Success!

I was searching the California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1835-1931 on the FamilySearch Record Search site because I prefer that search engine over the current FamilySearch Beta search engine. 

I wanted to see if there was a funeral home record for Thomas Spencer, the second husband of Rachel (Morley) (Whittle) Spencer.  On the Record Search site, I selected the specific database and entered Thomas Spencer in the search fields, received one match for "Thos Spencer" and saw this record:

There is a death date of 18 April 1858 in San Francisco in this record, and there is an image icon over on the right margin, so I clicked that and saw:

The image isn't on the Record Search site any longer - the screen above says that "You might be able to  see the image at http:///"  Okay - I understand, the records are in the process of being moved.

Over to the FamilySearch Beta site, and selecting the Funeral Home Record collection from the list, I entered the name "Thomas" "Spencer" in the search fields (but left the "exact match" boxes unchecked.  There were four matches:

None of the four matches were for "Thos Spencer" who died in 1858.  Why is that?  I searched for "Thos Spencer" with the exact match boxes checked and received no matches.  I thought that maybe the first match was the one, so I clicked on that and saw:

It says "Oops...You have encountered an error. We have been notified and it should be corrected shortly. No further action is required on your part."

This has happened three days in a row now.  There is a record with no image on Record Search, and no record on FamilySearch Beta, and the images on FamilySearch Beta are unavailable, but they know about it. 

My best guess is that the last addition of records to this specific collection was loaded onto Record Search on 15 September, but this particular record, or the index for it, has not been copied over to FamilySearch Beta yet.  That may be  why the search on the Beta site failed at this time.  It doesn't explain why there are no images on the Beta site for the records that are already there. 

The description of the database says "Images for all years in collection can be browsed, but name index currently covers only years 1896-1931."  Oh.  Perhaps the index on Record Search has been expanded to include the 1858 record, but the index is not on FamilySearch Beta yet. 
I need to be more patient with online databases - they are often imperfect.  There is so much available now that my expectation is that everything will work perfectly - the imaging, the indexing, the record summary, the search and the image display.  FamilySearch Beta is a "beta site" - meaning that it should work well but it may have glitches occasionally. 
Back on the FamilySearch Beta collection page I noted that the user could browse the images available.  Here is the screen - I chose the San Francisco records:

Then it told me that I had to sign in to see these images.  I recently obtained a FamilySearch account as a member of the general public, so I signed in and was able to get to the images for this collection.  Because, they were not indexed on this site, I had to browse the images.  What page was it on?  The Record Search record summary indicates image #208.  I put that image number in the box, and it was records for 1860. 

The records seem to be in date order, so I quickly was able to find the right image on Image #118:

The record says:
*  Date = April 18, 1858
*  Name = Thos Spencer
*  Age = 38
*  Nativity = England
*  Cause of death = Hypertrophy of Heart
*  Place interment = 46 . 4 . LGR (Gray)
I'm not sure what LGR is, perhaps a cemetery name, or a section of a specific cemetery.  "Gray" is the name of the funeral home. 
Is this the spouse of Rachel (Morley) (Whittle) Spencer?  I think that it probably is, but have no other information yet.  There may be an obituary or death notice in the San Francisco newspapers that has more information.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 122: At the Birdbath

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.

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

Who do you think is this little boy, sitting on his tricylce, washing his hand in the birdbath in his grandparents front yard?  One guess!  The frog on the birdbath edge is not real.

I'm about two or three years old in this picture, so it must be from 1946 or 1947.  The birdbath was in the front yard at 2115 30th Street, right where the walkway made a left turn to go up to the front porch.  My grandparents had to put water in it every day, and it attracted quite a few birds.  It was big enough so that pigeons could sit on the lip, and there were always plenty of smaller birds flitting about.  I don't recall a bird feeder, but there must have been one in the yard.  To a little boy, the water was an attraction.  I must have made it my own personal drinking fountain too.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Family Tree Maker 2010 and 2011 Webinars occasionally provides a Webinar ("Web seminar") about their products on their Learning Center.  The last two webinars have concerned the Family Tree Maker software.  These webinars can be viewed for free by anyone.

1)  Family Tree Maker 2011

 Date of Presentation: Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Join our product experts as they demonstrate how to get the most out of the exciting new features available in Family Tree Maker 2011. In this webinar you'll learn how to:
  • Use Smart Stories - a new tool for creating and sharing family stories
  • Create new fan charts
  • Add photographs and embellishments to charts
  • Use the new Surname Report
  • Add your own historical events for timelines  
2)  Family Tree Maker 2010 Advanced Topics

 Date of Presentation: Wednesday, June 16, 2010
 Have you mastered the basics of Family Tree Maker and you're ready to learn more? In the webinar we will share tips on features like these:

  • Publishing charts and reports
  • Working with Web Search
  • Merging
  • Exporting different branches of your tree
  • Using keyboard shortcuts
  • Attaching and detaching people
  • Choosing relationship types (for spouses and children)
  • Resolving unrecognized place names
To watch and hear either of these archived webinars, you have to register and then you can launch the presentation.  They are approximately 60 minutes long, and usually feature questions submitted by the attendees who participated live in the webinar.

The Children of Alexander and Rachel Whittle - Elizabeth

Alexander and Rachel (Morley) Whittle brought three children to California from Australia.  The oldest child, Elizabeth, was born 1 June 1839, and baptized 14 July 1839, in Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire, England (English Births and Christenings, 1538-1991,  (Database on, accessible on FHL Microfilms), "Electronic," birth record as Elizabeth Morley, mother Rachel Morley, born 1 June 1839, christened on 14 July 1839 in St. Peter's, Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire, England).

She married William Baker Ray, perhaps around 1855, perhaps in San Francisco.  They had at least three children, Adelia C. Ray (born ca. 1856), Mary C. Ray (born ca. 1858), and Caroline Ray (born ca. 1859), all born in California (San Francisco? Tuolumne County?). 

In the 1860 U.S. Census, this family resided in Township No. 2, Tuolumne County, California, Shawsflat Post Office (1860 U.S. Census, population schedule, Tuolumne County, California, Page 399, Lines 26-31, Dwelling #3774, National Archives Series M653, Roll 71, accessed on The household included:

* W.B. Ray - age 30, male, a miner, born NY
* Elizabeth Ray - age 21, female, born England
* Delia C. Ray - age 4, female, born CA
* Mary C. Ray - age 2, female, born CA
* Caroline Ray - age 8/12, female, born CA
* Jane White - age 13, female, born Australia

The 13 year-old "Jane White" is almost certainly Elizabeth (Whittle) Ray's sister, Jane Whittle, born in August 1847 in Australia. 

Either Mr. Ray died, or he and Elizabeth divorced, and Elizabeth (Whittle) Ray married William Swerer on 8 June 1863 in Sonora, Tuolumne County, California.  They had at least ten children, all born in Tuolumne County, California.

In the 1870 U.S. Census, this family resided in Township No. 2, Tuolumne County, California, Columbia Post Office (1870 U.S. Census, population schedule, Tuolumne County, California, Page 353A, Dwelling #1330, Family #595, National Archives Series M593, Roll 93, accessed on The household included:

* Wm Swerer - age 47, male, white, a grocer, $200 in real estate, $1000 personal property, born PA
* E.C. Swerer - age 31, female, white, keeping house, born England
* A.C. Swerer - age 14, female, white, at school, born CA
* M.A. Swerer - age 12, female, white, at school, born CA
* C.C. Swerer - age 10, female, white,.at school, born CA
* Wm. A. Swerer - age 8, male, white, at school, born CA
* Shelton Swerer - age 5, male, white, at home, born CA
* Frank Swerer - age 3, male, white, at home, born CA
* A.J. Swerer - age 2, male, white, at home, born CA

The first three children in this list are the children of Elizabeth (Whittle) (Ray) Swerer, by her first husband, W.B. Ray. The initials correspond to Adelia C. Ray, Mary A. Ray and Caroline C. Ray - not exactly the same, but close enough, I think.

In the 1880 U.S. Census, this family resided in Township No. 2, Tuolumne County, California, Columbia Post Office (1880 U.S. Census, population schedule, Tuolumne County, California, Page 176A, Dwelling #406, Family #408, National Archives Series T9, Roll 85). The household included:

* William Swerer - age 57, white, male, a sheep farmer, born PA, parents born PA/PA
* E.C. Swerer - age 41, white, female, wife, keeping house, born England, parents born England/England
* William A. Swerer - age 16, white, male, son, single, born CA, parents born PA/England
* Milton A. Swerer - age 15, white, male, son, born CA, parents born PA/England
* Franklin E. Swerer - age 13, white, male, son, born CA, parents born PA/England
* Albert J. Swerer - age 11, white, male, son, born CA, parents born PA/England
* Cassius M. Swerer - age 9, white, male, son, born CA, parents born PA/England
* Millard F. Swerer - age 7, white, male, son, born CA, parents born PA/England
* David B.T.H. Swerer - age 5, white, male, son, born CA, parents born PA/England
* Elisabeth Swerer - age 3, white, female, daughter, born CA, parents born PA/England
* Baby Swerer - age 11/12 (June), white, male, son, born CA, parents born PA/England

In the 1900 U.S. Census, this family resided in Township #4, Tuolumne County, California (1900 U.S. Census, population schedule, Tuolumne County, California, Township #4, Enumeration District 127, Page 10B, Dwelling #227, Family #236, National Archives Series T623, Roll 116, accessed  on The household included (indexed on as "Suearer"):

* William Swerer - head, white, male, born Apr 1823, age 77, married 36 years, born Pennsylvania, parents born Pennsaylvania/Pennsylvania, a grocer, owns home.
* Lizzie Swerer - wife, white, female, born Jun 1839, age 60, married 36 years, 12 children born, 12 living, born England, parents born England/England, immigrated in 1849, a resident for 50 years
* William Swerer - son, white, male, born Mar 1864, age 36, single, born California, parents born Pennsylvania/England, a farm laborer.
* Frank Swerer - son, white, male, born Nov 1866, age 33, single, born California, parents born Pennsylvania/England, a farm laborer.
* Alferd Swerer - son, white, male, born Jun 1880, age 19, single, born California, parents born Pennsylvania/England, a farm laborer.
* Lizzie Swerer - daughter, white, female, born May 1877, age 23, single, born California, parents born Pennsylvania/England, a farm laborer.
* Mable A. Swerer - daughter, white, female, born Aug 1882, age 17, single, born California, parents born Pennsylvania/England, a farm laborer.

In the 1910 U.S. Census, this family resided in Tuttletown, Tuolumne County, California, (1910 U.S. Census, population schedule, Tuolumne County, California, Tuttletown District, Township #2, Enumeration District 166, Page 4A, Dwelling #54, Family #54, National Archives Series T624, Roll 111, accessed on The household included (indexed on as "Snow"):

* Elizabeth Swerer - head, female, white, age 70, widow, 13 children born, 12 living, born England, parents born England/England, immigrated in 1849, owns home free of mortgage.
* Alfred A. Swerer - son, male, white, age 30, single, born California, parents born Pennsylvania/England, a miner, works in a gold mine
* Stephen J. Davey - son-in-law, male, white, age 32, first marriage, married for six years, born England, parents born England/England, immigrated in 1884, a naturalized citizen, a miner, works in gold mine
* Mabel A. Davey - daughter, female, white, age 27, first marriage, married 6 years, no children born, born California, parents born Pennsylvania/England

An Ancestry Member Tree - the "Swerer Family Tree"  by user chalicia - has birth and death dates, spouses names, and other information about the William and Elizabeth (Whittle) Swerer family.  The death dates of William Swerer (16 September 1905) and Elizabeth (11 November 1912), probably in Tuttletown, Tuolumne County, California.  This tree has Elizabeth's parents as Alexander (1820-1876) and Rachel (Morles) Whittle, but does not include the first family by W.B. Ray.

An Ancestry Member Tree - the "Baker Family Tree" by user vhuss - has information about the family of Adelia Church Ray, the daughter of William Baker and Elizabeth (Whittle) Ray, but no information about Elizabeth's ancestry. 

An Ancestry Member Tree - the "Seabury Family 2008" by user mseabury133 - has information about the family of Diantha Caroline Ray, the daughter of W.B. and Elizabeth (--?--) Ray, but no information about Elizabeth's ancestry.

The Seabury Family 2008 tree also includes Mary C. Ray as a child of W.B. and Elizabeth Ray, but no further information.  She may be the Mary C. Lord (age 23, born in CA, parents born in England/England in the 1880 U.S. Census) married to William J. Lord, with a 3-month old daughter, Mabel Lord residing in Sonora, Tuolumne County, California.  There are several other Mary's in Tuolumne County that may be Mary, but this is the only one with the middle initial C. and the mother was born in England.  And she may not be living in Tuolumne County in 1880. 

There may be other family trees with some of these persons on Ancestry and other family tree sites.  The ones above were the "low hanging fruit."

All of this information about Elizabeth Whittle and her descendants are a fertile field for further research.  My hope is that one or more of these cousins will Google their ancestral Ray or Swerer name and find my series of posts and be helped by the information gathered to date about their ancestors.  Perhaps they can help me also with more information about the lives of Elizabeth (Whittle) (Ray) Swerer and her descendants.   If you have information to share, please contact me at

Tombstone Tuesday - Henry Smith (1680-1743) of Medfield MA

Marina Pierre-Louis on her The Symbolic Past blog posted a photograph of the gravestone of Henry Smith, who died in 1743, yesterday. 

Henry Smith (1680-1743) is buried in Vine Lake Cemetery in Medfield, Massachusetts.  His stone is fairly rough-hewned and carved crudely, but it's still standing! 

Here is the stone - thank you, Marian for the permission to use it:

The gravestone reads (thank you Marian, again!):

"Here lies

ye body of Mr Henry
smith Dec[eased] Ap
ril 14 1743"

If you have early Medfield ancestors (and I have a bunch!), you should check Marian's blog to see if she's photographed and posted the gravestone of your ancestor yet.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Table of Contents -- FGS FORUM Fall 2010 Issue

The Fall 2010 issue of the FGS FORUM magazine, published by the Federation of Genealogical Societies,  is available to subscribers on the FGS web site (  The Table of Contents includes:

*  page 3 -- FGS Conference: Pathways to the Heartland, by Thomas MacEntee

*  page 8 -- Your Society and Genealogy’s Primetime Debut, by D. Joshua Taylor
*  page 12 -- Locating Living Americans, by Gary Mokotoff
*  page 17 -- Thoughts from an Editor, by Henry B. Hoff
*  page 19 -- Estate Planning for Genealogists: What Will Happen to Your Research? by Frederick E. Moss

*  page 23 -- NGS Seeks Nominations for 2011 Genealogy Hall of Fame
*  page 24 -- Malcolm H. Stern NARA Gift Fund Dollars for Documents
*  page 27 -- News in Brief
*  page 29 -- State Reporting
*  page 30 -- Society Spotlight: Research Booklets - A Practical Project

*  page 33 - Records Preservation & Access, column by Linda McCleary
*  page 35 -- Ethnic & International
*  page 37 -- Family Associations, column by Christine Rose
*  page 38 -- Strays
*  page 39 -- Genealogy 2.0,  "Online Family Trees" column by Randy Seaver

*  page 42 -- Board Bytes
*  page 43 -- Book Reviews, column by Paul Milner
The FGS FORUM is edited by Sandra Hargeaves Luebking, FUGA, who does an excellent job of getting everything fit to print.  The Production Manager is Gary Mokotoff.   With the change to online publication of FORUM as a PDF has come use of more color and more graphics which enhances the product. 
In my Genealogy 2.0 column in this issue, I discussed "Why put your family tree online," "Where to put your family tree online,"  "Accuracy of Family Tree Data," "Is a Large, Combined Family Tree the Answer?" and "What Can We Do?"
Visit to download a free copy of FORUM. This is your chance to read 50+ pages of current news and informative articles and columns. Because we are sure you will want to subscribe, there is a special discount subscription rate available at the website here.

Do you want to subscribe to the FGS FORUM Magazine?  Go to and click on the FORUM link - a one-year (four issues) subscription is $15 and a two-year subscription is $25.

Alexander Whittle dies in California's Gold Country

Last week, we learned that Rachel (Morley) Whittle probably married again to Thomas Spencer, according to several California newspaper articles.

What about Alexander Whittle?  Did he die before she married Thomas Spencer?  Did he never show up again in any record and Rachel remarried without knowing if she was a widow?  Did Rachel take up with Mr. Spencer while she was married to Alexander Whittle?

While searching for the fate of Alexander Whittle in the different historical newspaper databases, I found this article in the 19th Century U.S. Newspapers external database through the NEHGS' website.  Here is the top of the web page I found:

The article is from The Weekly Herald of New York City, dated Saturday, June 11, 1853, Issue 24, Column A titled "Nine Days Later from California, "Arrival of the El Dorado and Prometheus."  The tidbit about Alexander Whittle is at the bottom of the middle column below:

The tidbit reads (under the heading of "Calaveras County"::

"SUICIDE -- On Tuesday morning an inquest was held by Justice Tuffs, near Angel's Camp, on the body of Alexander Whittle, a native of England, who committed suicide Monday evening, about 8'o'clock, on Six Mile creek."

The newspaper published on Saturday, 11 June, and it took nine days to get to New York, so the actual date of death, Monday two weeks before, may have been 30 May 1853.  Or perhaps an earlier Monday, 23 May or even 16 May depending on the publication schedule of the original newspaper.

I lamented in an earlier post that I did not have access to GenealogyBank, and my readers came through for me again.  Reader Magnus Persson of Lund, Sweden checked GenealogyBank for me, and commented:

I have been reading your blog with great interest for the past year, keep up the good work!  I have a subscription to Genealogybank and thought that I should see if I could lend a hand.  When searching in Genealogybank I found an article about the death of an Alexander Whittle in 1853.

It was published in the Daily Placer Times and Transcript on 10th May 1853 and reads:

"A man by the name of Alexander Whittle, aged about thirty five, committed suicide in Calaveras last week. Cause, an absconding wife and liquor."

Simultaneously, Lorine McGinnis Schulze saw my post on Facebook, and found the same information and passed it on to me.

THANK YOU to Magnus and Lorine!!!  I continue to get ahead with lots of help from my genea-readers and friends.  

So what is the death date?  The publication in the Daily Placer Times and Transcript was on Tuesday, 10 May, so "last week" on Monday should be Monday, 2 May 1853. 

Oh no, Alexander committed suicide!  Caused by an "absconding wife" and "liquor."  Apparently, he did this near Angel's Camp in Calaveras County in the California Gold Country. 

My first reaction was "poor Alexander" - but then I wondered if he had neglected Rachel back in San Francisco.  Did they ever make contact again?  It would seem so, if he blamed an "absconding wife."  We cannot know the interaction between Alexander and Rachel in California because of the dearth of records.  Was Alexander consumed by "gold fever?"  Did Rachel take up with other men in San Francisco?  It would make a great "write your own ending soap opera," wouldn't it?
Magnus and Lorine also found another article on GenealogyBank.  Magnus comment on my earlier post said:

I also found the matrimony notice for Rachel Whittle and Thomas Spencer in Alta California on 1st March 1854. It reads:

“In Trinity Church, by the Rector, on the 19th instant, Thomas Spencer, to Mrs. Rachel Whittle, both of San Francisco.”

Lorine's comment on Facebook to me noted that this was in the Alta California newspaper.  But I looked for over an hour at the 1 March 1854 issue of the Daily Alta California newspaper in the California Digital Newspaper Collection (CDNC)  and did not find this particular notice.

Is the Alta California newspaper on GenealogyBank different from the Daily Alta California newspaper on CDNC?
I checked Miriam Midkiff's Online Historical Newspaper Databases site for California, and saw:
*  The Alta California newspaper for 1849-1891 is available on the CDNC site
*  The Alta California newspaper for 1850-1861 is available on GenealogyBank
*  The Alta California newspaper for 1849-1861 is available on NEHGS 19th Century Newspapers
*  The Weekly Alta California newspaper for 1850-1854 is available on GenealogyBank.
*  The Weekly Alta California newspaper for 1854 is available on NEHGS 19th Century Newspapers (only 1 issue)
It seems to me that the article about Rachel Whittle's marriage to Thomas Spencer is from the Weekly Alta California newspaper, rather than the (Daily) Alta California newspaper, but I could be wrong.
It looks like widow Rachel Whittle married Thomas Spencer in Trinity Church in San Francisco on 19 February 1854 (although I don't see why it says "instant" which usually means "the current month," unless it was written in February and to the writer that would be "instant" rather than "ultimo"). 
From the post What happened to Rachel (Morley) Whittle? we know that Rachel (Morley) (Whittle) Spencer was in Sacramento, California in the 1858 to 1860 time frame, but she doesn't appear on the 1860 U.S. Census (at least I can't find her as an Rac*, an R, a Whit*, a Spen*, a Tras* or a non-name born in 1822 +/- 5 years in England in Sacramento, Calaveras, Tuolumne or San Francisco counties. 
Where is she in 1860?  She was alive in April 1860 in Sacramento.  We'll see if she's near her children in the 1860 U.S. Census - I've found all three living children in this census, and later census records.

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Jonathan Keyes (1722-1781)

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 probate file of Jonathan Keyes (1722-1781) of Westford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, one of my 5th great-grandfathers.

Jonathan Keyes died testate, and his extensive probate papers are in Middlesex County Probate Records, Packet #13,192 (accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,416,784). He wrote his last will and testament on 21 July 1777. It reads:

"In the Name of God Amen, I Jonathan Keyes of Westford in the County of Middlesex and State of the Massachusetts Bay in New England Husbandman being of sound disposing mind and memory, thanks to God therefor but calling to Mind the Frailty & Mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all Men ones to die, do make and Ordain this my last Will and Testament.

"First and above all I Give and Recommend my Soul Into the hands of God that gave it and my Body to the Earth to be buried in a decent Manner at the discretion of my Executor hereafter named nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I Shall receive the same again by the Almighty power of God.

"And Touching Such Worldly Estate as I am now or Shall hereafter be possessed of I give bequeath and dispose of in the following way and manner.

"First my will is and I order that all my Just Debts & Funeral Charge shall be paid &c and then my legacies &c by my Exector hereafter named.

"Also I give and bequeath to my well beloved Wife Elizabeth Keyes the Improvement of one Third part of my place where I now dwell (Commonly called Long Sought for) with the use and Improvement of Two good cows & one Horse kind to use at her discretion during her Widdowhood to be provided her by my Executor here after named, also I give and bequeath to my said wife all the Household furniture she brought to me to be to her her heirs and assigns forever.

"Also I give her the use and Improvement of one Third part of all my Buildings on the Premises and in the Cellar under the Dwelling House so long as She shall remain my Widdow, and in case She shall see cause to Marry after my Decease that my Executor Shall pay her Twenty Pounds Lawfull Money in three months after marriage & at Marriage to quit the Premises with all her Household furniture that is to say to have the liberty to carry away all her furniture Cloathing &c at Marriage & the use & Improvements of the premises & the Cows & Horse kind to cease as to her after that time & this is so to be understood & my will is that it shall be deemed to be her full Dower out of my Estate Marry or not.

"Also I give and bequeath to my Eldest Son Joseph Keyes one Pound Ten Shillings Lawfull Money to be paid him by my Executor in Twelve Months after my Decease and this with what I have heretofore given and done for him is his full double portion out of my Estate.

"Also my will is and I do hereby order and Impower my Executor hereafter named to make sale of all my land & Buildings at Francis Hill & my outlands at Flushing so called in Westford aforesaid & to give good and legal titles of the same to any Person or Persons that shall appear to purchase the same (if the same are not sold by me in my lifetime) to Enable him my said Executor to pay my just debts and Funeral Charge & my legacies to my children & my sd Wife in Case she should marry &c.

"Also I give and bequeath to my youngest son Jonathan Keyes Jun^r all my lands and Buildings where I now dwell called Long Sought For as aforesaid to Wit the other two thirds not bequeathed to my wife as aforesaid during her widowhood & after her decease or Intermarriage the other Third that is to say the Whole of my Intrest in all the Lands & Buildings at Long Sought For & he complying with what I have hereafter ordered to be done as to ye distribution of my Estate to and among my other Children to Wit Joanna Keyes Elizabeth Keyes Hannah Keyes Lydia Keyes Lucy Keyes Miriam Keyes Pattee Keyes & Frances Grant Keyes.

"Also my Will is and I do order my Executor to cause a True and Just appraisal to be made and an inventory Taken of all my Real and Personal Estate after my decease that I Shall die seized and possessed of and if my lands & Buildings &c at Francis Hill and Flushing are not sold at the time of my decease I order my Executor to sell them for the most they will fetch & then after he has so done after my just debts & funeral charges are paid to make an Estimate of the remainder of my Estate both Real & Personal (omitting ye one pound Ten shillings I have order to be paid to my Eldest Son Joseph Keyes) and the one Third of my Real Estate & the two Cows and one Horse kind I have willed to my wife, & when my said Executor has so done then to pay Each of my Daughters before named to wit Joannah Elizabeth Hannah Lydia Lucy Miriam Pattee & Frances Grant after the rate of Thirteen Pounds Six Shillings & Eight pence out of Every Fifty Three pounds Six Shillings & Eight pence out of my estate and my will is & I do order that in case my personal Estate after my Lands at Francis Hill & Flushing are sold as aforesaid shall be sufficient to pay off my Daughters as aforesaid to wit Thirteen Pounds Six Shillings & Eight pence per piece or more then my will is that my son Jonathan Keys Shall have & Enjoy the Two Thirds of my lands & buildings at Long Sought For as aforesaid and in case their should not prove to be personal Estate to pay each of my Daughters as aforesaid if my said son shall make up & pay the remained to them as aforesaid then the said two thirds of the premises aforesaid to be to him his heirs & assigns forever but in case my said son Jonathan shall refuse to pay as aforesaid then my will is & I do order my said Executor to make sale of the said two thirds & to give good & authentick deeds of the same and then to make a distribution of the same to and among my said Daughters& my said son Jonathan as aforesaid to wit to my said son Jonathan after the rate & proportion of Thirty four Pounds out of every Fifty Three pounds Six Shillings & eight pence, & my said Daughters after the rate of Thirteen Pounds Six Shillings and Eight Pence per piece as aforesaid that is to say & my will is my said son Jonathan to have Three times as much as each of my Daughters and Each of my Daughters one forth as much as my said son Jonathan & my will is that in case any of my said Daughters should die & leave issue their heirs to have the same part & proportion out of my Estate as their Mothers if living and in case any of them die without issue then my Estate to be divided as before the Daughter surviving to have each one Quarter part to & that my son Jonathan & he to have Three forth more than each of them & after my Wifes decease my will is and I do order that the other Third be divided to and among said Daughters their heirs &c & my said son Jonathan as aforesaid but in case my said son Jonathan see cause to keep the Thirds and pay my said Daughters their heirs &c according to the proportions as aforesaid that the Thirds shall after my sd wifes decease be apprised at he shall have the liberty so to do & then the said Thirds to be to him his heirs & assigns forever & in case my sd wife should marry after my Decease & my sd son shall pay her the aforesaid sum of Twenty pounds as aforesaid and after that sum is paid her & then pay my sd Daughters their parts & proportions of the remained of the value of said Thirds in proportion as aforesaid then the said Thirds to be to him his heirs & assigns forever but in case my said son shall refuse in Either case then my will is & I do order my said Executor to make sale of the same & pay the Twenty pounds to my widow as aforesaid and make distribution to & among my said Daughters their heirs &c & my said son Jonathan in proportion as aforesaid.

"And my Will is & I do order that in case my said son Jonathan shall die and leave no issue that then his part out of my Estate shall be divided to & among my said Daughters their heirs &c and my said son Joseph his heirs &c in equal shares &c, and this with what I have heretofore done for and Given to my said son Jonathan & my said Daughters is each of their full parts & portion out of my Estate.

"And I do hereby Constitute and appoint my Trusty & well beloved Friend Timothy Prescott of Westford aforesaid yeoman my sole Executor to this my last Will and Testament hereby disannulling all former wills & bequests by me heretofore made and Given Ratifying and Confirming this & this only to be my last Will and Testament In Witness whereof I the said Jonathan Keyes the Testator have hereunto set my hand and seal this Twenty first day of July Anno Dom. 1777.

"Signed Sealed Published Pronounced
and Declared be the same Jonathan .................................... Jonathan Keyes
Keyes to be his last Will & Testament
In Presence of us --
Ephraim Wright
Nathan Wright
Caleb Trowbridge."

On 17 September 1781, the heirs petitioned the Court:

"To the Honourable Oliver Prescott Esq. Judg of probate for the county of Middlesex, We the subscribers heirs to the Estate of Jonathan Keyes Late of Westford Deceased agree to have the will past by and desire that Mr. Timothy Prescott may be put in Administrator for said Estate. Westford, September 17, 1781.
..................................................... her
.............................................. Betty + Keyes
..................................................... mark
........................................... Joseph Keyes
......................................... Zechariah Hildreth
.............................................. Uriah Pike
............................................ Joanna Page
.......................................... Jonathan Keyes"

On the same paper,

"This to let your Honnour know that the widdow desires that Mr. Nathanel Bointon Mt Thomas Read Mr Timothy Spaulding Should be appointed to set out her third and all parties consent."

On 19 September 1781, the heirs at law petitioned the Court:

"Know all men by these presents, that we Joseph Keyes, yeoman, Joanna Keyes spinster, Uriah Pike yeoman & Hannah his wife, all of Westford, & Zechariah Hildreth of Townsend yeoman & Elizabeth his wife, all of the County of Middlesex & Commonwealth of Massachusetts & heirs at law to the estate of Jonathan Keyes late of said Westford yeoman deceased & Zaccheus Wright of said Westford Esq. guardian for the said Jonathan's six children under the age of Twenty one years, do agree with each other to request the Hon-ble Judge of Probate &c for said County to set aside & disallow the said deceased's last will & Testament on account of the many Inconsistencies in it which render it unintelligible & impossible to be executed, and that he will be pleased to appoint Timothy Prescott of said Westford yeoman to be administrator of the said Deceased's estate. And to issue a commission for setting of his widow's dower. And whereas it appears to have been the intention of the said deceased that his son Jonathan should have a larger share of his estate than either of his daughters we do further agree that the said Jonathan shall have as much land set to him by the Commissioners to be appointed as aforesaid for setting off the said widows dower as shall be equall to double the share of any one of the daughters in the said deceaseds whole estate, & that the widow's dower be made subservient to that end, the widow having agreed to relinquish her right to the improvement of such part of her dower as shall be sufficient for the purpose, so that the said Jonathan is to be put into immediate possession of his part, provided that the said Commissioners shall run the division lines in such manner as to make the least possible interference between the said Jonathan's part & the rest of the estate. And in order to ascertain a daughter's share in the said estate, We the above named parties do agree to account for all such items of money, lands, or other estate as were advanced to either of us as part or portion by the said Deceased in his lifetime. And the said Joseph being the deceased's eldest son agrees to rest satisfied with such share of the estate as shall be equal to what by this agreement is to be set to the said Jonathan.

"In witness whereof we hereunto set our hands & seals, this ninettenth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred & Eighty one, five interlineations being first made.

"Signed & sealed in ............................................ Joseph Keyes
presence of ..................................................... Zechariah Hildreth
Jon^a Eames .................................................... Zach^s Wright
James Winthrop"

On 19 September 1781, the Judge of the Probate Court ordered that the will be set aside and declared it null and void, and that the estate be settled in every respect according to law as an intestate estate, as if the will had not been written.

Timothy Prescott was appointed Administrator of the estate of Jonathan Keyes, late of Westford, yeoman on 19 September 1781. Timothy Prescott, yeoman of Westford as principal, Nathaniel boyneton, gentleman of Westford, Joseph Keyes, clothier of Westford, posted bond of 50,000 pounds.

Nathaniel Boynton, Thomas Read and Timothy Spaulding, gentlemen of Westford, were appointed and empowered to take an inventory on 19 September 1781 of the estate of Jonathan Keyes, late of Westford.

In a separate document, these three were also named to be the Commissioners to divide the estate according to the heirs agreement and the Court's order.

An extensive inventory of the estate of Jonathan Keyes, late of Westford, was taken by Nathaniel Boynton, Thomas Read and Timothy Spaulding on 1 October 1781. The personal estate was apprised to be 147 pounds, 13 shillings, 3 pence. The real estate was appraised on 5 October 1781 by the three appraisers. The real estate inventory totalled 797 pounds.

This will, and the actions taken by the heirs to make it null and void, is interesting.  The heirs state that is is inconsistent and unable to be unintelligible and unable to be executed.

Heirs mentioned in the will and in the affidavits presented after the will include:

*  wife Elizabeth ("Betty") Keyes (she is the second wife of Jonathan Keyes)
*  eldest son Joseph Keyes (born 1746 by his first wife)
*  youngest son Jonathan Keyes (born 1763 by his second wife) 
*  daughter Joanna Keyes (born 1757 by his first wife)
*  Elizabeth Keyes (born 1759 by his first wife)
*  Hannah Keyes (born 1761 by his first wife)
*  Lydia Keyes (born 1765 by his second wife)
*  Lucy Keyes (born 1765 by his second wife)
*  Miriam Keyes (born 1767 by his second wife)
*  Pattee Keyes (born 1769 by his second wife)
*  Frances Grant Keyes (born 1771 by his second wife)

I will save the inventory and the distribution of the estate for another post. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

CVGS Program on Wednesday - "What Was Great-Grandpa Really Like?"

The September general society program of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) is on Wednesday, 29 September at 12 noon in the Auditorium of the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street in Chula Vista).

After a brief business meeting, Paula A. Sassi will present "What Was Great-Grandpa Really Like?"

The study of Genealogy helps people locate and track their ancestors, however, what if you could really gain insight into their true personalities including how they thought, processed feelings and interacted with others.

In this presentation, Paula A. Sassi, Certified Master Graphologist, will show you how the basic tenets of handwriting analysis can be applied to the research and study of your ancestors. By analyzing old documents, records and letters, you can discover what great grandpa was really like as well as many other people in your family lineage.

From colonial times to the present, you will learn how to discern personality and behavior from the strokes of writing no matter what the time period or heritage of the person. The information you learn at this presentation will allow you to gain further insight into your research efforts.

Paula has offered to analyze handwriting of your ancestors – please bring documents with ancestors’ handwriting with you, and sign up for it to be analyzed at the meeting.

Paula A. Sassi has worked professionally in the field of handwriting analysis since 1980. Owner and director of her own corporation, Paula serves a diverse group of clients in the area of personnel selection, behavioral profiling, and compatibility analysis. Top businesses and corporations seek her services for help in hiring and promoting personnel as well as in conflict resolution. Author of "Better Handwriting in 30 Days" and editor of "Handwriting Insights", Paula has been featured on national and local television and radio broadcasts where she analyzed the handwritings of the famous and the infamous. Author, consultant and lecturer, Paula will show you how to gain insight into yourself and others through the art and science of handwriting analysis. She offers you one sure guarantee - you will never look at handwriting quite the same again.

All CVGS programs are FREE and open to the public - visitors and guests are welcome!

Please enter the auditorium through the Conference Room on the east hallway to register your attendance, pick up handouts, and have a snack before the meeting. There will be refreshments after the speaker also.

For more information about this program, or any CVGS program, please contact Barbara I at or 619-477-4140.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 19-25 September 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:

Confession: I Hired a Genealogy Psychic and Was The Genealogy Psychic Worth It? You Be The Judge. by Kerry Scott on the Clue Wagon blog.  A fun and humorous experiment here on an interesting research problem. 

Things to Do When the Pension File Arrives by Liz Haigney Lynch on The Ancestral Archaeologist blog. Liz's inventory list is a winner here, in additon to the sage advice. 

Evidence Management and Member Trees by the writer of The Ancestry Insider blog.  Mr. AI had several other posts on this subject several months ago - this post presents some conclusions and an evidence management conclusion table which looks useful.

My Second Blogiversary Dedicated to my Son by Becky Jamison on the Grace and Glory blog.  Becky's story is heartwarming and rewarding, plus she has pictures of six generations.  How cool is that?

*  .  My Tangent – Speech Recognition and My Genealogy Transcription Project  by Jim Smith on the A Genealogy Hunt blog.  I've wondered how Jim has been transcribing so many documents so well, and this post tells how. 

Have You Looked at Passport Records Yet?  by Carolyn L. Barkley on the blog.  Carolyn shows how useful passport records can be with examples, and notes how to obtain them.

*   Is there an economy of scale in genealogical records? by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog.  James ponders the acquisition of iArchives (and footnote).  Good analogy and interesting questions here.

Grand Genealogy Journey: The Research-Rich Environment of Kansas City by Craig Manson on the Geneablogie blog.  Craig's train finally got to Kansas City where he explores the research centers in the area.

Identity, Tradition and Preservation Discussed at Storytellers Conference by Angela Y. Walton-Raji on the African-Native American Genealogy Blog.  Angela's conference summary highlights activites at this Muscogee, Oklahoma conference.

Sharing Genealogy by JL on the JLog blog.  JL analyzes her own family situation relating to sharing genealogy.  It sounds like everybody else's!  She has an interesting and simple chart to whet the family's family history appetite. 

Other weekly "Best of..." genealogy blog posts include:

Follow Friday: 24 September 2010 by Greta Koehl on the Greta's Genealogy Bog blog.  Greta's weekly reader picks are often differnet from mine and John's.

* Weekly Genealogy Picks by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog. John highlights blog posts, carnivals, press releases and more, plus he 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, Google Reader, RSS 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 670 genealogy bloggers using Google Reader, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.