Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun- What are you thankful for?

Hey Genea-Musings readers, it's Saturday Night (again) -- time for more Genealogy Fun (again!).

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

1)  Make a list of Genealogy-oriented people or things that you are thankful for.  Any number -- 1, 10, 100, whatever.

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

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Here's mine:

1.  I am really thankful for my genealogy friends - Genea-Musings readers, genea-bloggers, Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers, society colleagues, authors and editors of magazines and books, etc.

2.  I am really thankful for the efforts of,,,, and other free or commercial websites that obtain, image and index genealogy records.

3.  I am really thankful for the opportunity to do genealogy research and writing for 8 to 12 hours a day - is this a great country, or what?  A special mention for my Angel Linda who lets me work in the Genealogy Cave for hours on end. 

I could list many more, but I won't do it now. 

Surname Saturday - REED (England > MA)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 133, who is Susannah Reed (1745-1833), one of my 5th-great-grandmothers. [Note: The 5th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts]

My ancestral line back through six generations of REED families is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

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

4. Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942)
5. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)

8. Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922)
9. Hattie Louise Hildreth (1857-1920)

16. Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)
17. Lucretia Townsend Smith (1827-1884)

32. Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825)
33. Abigail Gates (1797-1869)

66.  Nathan Gates (1767-1830)
67.  Abigail Knowlton (1774-1855)

132. Simon Gates, born 1739 in Stow, Middlesex County, MA; died 11 March 1803 in Gardner, Worcester County, MA. He was the son of 264. Amos Gates and 265. Mary Hubbard. He married  27 May 1766 in Marlborough, Middlesex, MA.

133. Susannah Reed, born 04 December 1745 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA; died 18 December 1833 in Gardner, Worcester, MA.

Children of Simon Gates and Susannah Reed are:  Nathan Gates (1767-1830); Elizabeth Gates (1769-1778); Susannah Gates (1772-1778); Simon Gates (1774-1778); Anna Gates (1777-1778); Simon Gates (1779-1852); Daniel Gates (1782-1847); Gerry Gates (1784-1784); Reuben Gates (1786-????); Ezekiel Gates (1789-1809); Elizabeth Gates (1794-1819).

266. Nathan Reed, born 03 January 1718/19 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA; died 03 September 1795 in Washington, Sullivan, NH. He married  09 February 1741/42 in Boston, Suffolk, MA.
267. Susannah Wood, born 06 March 1723/24 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter of 534. Josiah Wood and 535. Ruth Walker.

Children of Nathan Reed and Susannah Wood are: Nathan Reed (1744-????); Susannah Reed (1745-1833).

532. Ebenezer Reed, born 06 March 1689/90 in Woburn, Middlesex County, MA; died 09 July 1767 in Woburn, Middlesex County, MA.  He married about 1714 in probably Woburn, Middlesex, MA.
533. Huldah Blodgett, born 09 February 1688/89 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA; died 11 May 1777 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter of 1066. Samuel Blodgett and 1067. Huldah Simonds.

Children of Ebenezer Reed and Huldah Blodgett are: Ebenezer Reed (1715-????); Huldah Reed (1717-1775); Nathan Reed (1719-1795); Abigail Reed (1721-1806); George Reed (1723-1804); Eliphaz Reed (1726-1776);

1064. George Reed, born 14 September 1660 in Woburn, Middlesex County, MA; died 20 January 1756 in Woburn, Middlesex County, MA.  He married 18 February 1684/85 in Woburn, Middlesex County, MA.
1065. Abigail Pierce, born 20 November 1660 in Woburn, Middlesex County, MA; died 09 September 1719 in Woburn, Middlesex County, MA. She was the daughter of 2130. Thomas Pierce and 2131. Elizabeth Cole.

Children of George Reed and Abigail Pierce are: Abigail Reed (1686-1767); Ebenezer Reed (1690-1767); George Reed (1697-1697); Elizabeth Reed (1700-1786).

2128. George Reed, born before 04 October 1627 in Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, ENGLAND; died 21 February 1705/06 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA.  He married  04 October 1652 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA.
2129. Elizabeth Jennison, born 04 April 1637 in Watertown, Middlesex, MA; died 26 February 1664/65 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter of 4258. Robert Jennison and 4259. Elizabeth.

Children of George Reed and Elizabeth Jennison are: Elizabeth Reed (1653-1718); twins Reed (1654-1654); Samuel Reed (1656-1709); Abigail Reed (1658-????); George Reed (1660-1756); William Reed (1662-1718); Sarah Reed (1665-1703.

4256. William Reed, born about 1587 in ENGLAND; died before 17 February 1661/62 in Newcastle-on-Tyne, Northumberland, ENGLAND. He married about 1626 in probably Hertfordshire, ENGLAND.
4257. Mabel Kendall, born 1605 in ENGLAND; died 15 June 1690 in Woburn, Middlesex, MA. She was the daughter of 8514. Henry Kendall and 8515. Gabriel Armstrong.

Children of William Reed and Mabel Kendall are: George Reed (1627-1706); Ralph Reed (1630-1712); Justus Reed (1633-1633); Sarah Reed (1636-1681); Abigail Reed (1638-????); Bethiah Reed (1640-1717); Israel Reed (1642-1711); Rebecca Reed (1647-1734).

Sources for the first generations include:  Nora Emma Snow, The Snow-Estes Ancestry, Hillburn, N.Y.: Snow, 1939;.pages 323-327.

And for the later generations:  the Vital Record books of the various Massachusetts towns.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Using the FAN Club Principle - Thomas J. Newton, Father of Sophia Newton (1834-1923) - Post 1

In my post Target the FAN Club to tackle "Elusive Ancestors" problems, I described Elizabeth Shown Mills "Bullseye" concept to help researchers solve elusive ancestor problems using the "FAN Club Principle."

I decided the only way I was going to get going on my elusive ancestor problems was to do it, and I might as well share the experience with my readers.  Perhaps my readers will have some ideas to help me along my research journey. Hint hint!! 

The research problem I chose to start with is Thomas J. Newton.  I wrote about my research and the information I've collected in Mystery Monday - Thomas J. Newton of Maine (19th century).

Applying the Bullseye concept, here are the first three circles (with known assertions):

1.  Target Ancestor:  Thomas J. Newton

*  Birth: born in the 1790-1810 time frame in Maine to unknown parents
*  Residences: may have resided in Oxford County, Maine, Lamoille County VT, and Worcester County MA between 1790 and 1850.
*  Death:  Death date and place unknown - any time after 1834, probably in New England. 
*  Marriages:  Married Sophia (Buck) Brigham in 1830 to 1835 time frame, probably in Worcester County MA

2.  Known Relatives and In-Laws

*  Parents: Unknown, very likely surname Newton
*  Siblings: Unknown
*  Spouse:  Sophia (Buck) Brigham, born 3 May797 in Holden MA to Isaac and Patty (Phillips) Buck; married (1) February 1817 in Sterling MA to Lambert Brigham (1794-ca 1832), and had two children, Augustus Brigham (1820-1909) and Aurelius Brigham (1822-1878); married (2) Thomas J. Newton in 1830 to 1835 time frame, had two children, Thomas J. Newton (1832-1915) and Sophia Newton (1834-1923); married Jonathan Stone 7 July 1862 in Westborough MA; died 6 January 1882 in Westborough MA.
*  Children: 
** Thomas J. Newton: born 3 June 1832 in Cambridge VT; died 31 May 1915 in Albany VT; married Amanda Proctor (1841-1920) on 22 November 1864 in Worcester MA; had two adopted children.
** Sophia Newton: born 14 September 1834 in Cambridge VT; died 29 August 1923 in Leominster MA; married Edward Hildreth (1831-1899) on 25 December 1852 in Northborough MA; had two children:
*** Hattie Louisa Hildreth (1857-1920), married Frank Walton Seaver in 1874
*** Clarence Edward Hildreth (1874-1878).

3.  Others of Same Surname

*  Newtons in Maine:  there are 5 heads of household in 1800, and 12 in 1820.  There seem to be two major groups in Oxford County ME before 1800: 

** Nathan Newton (1764-1832, son of Joshua and Mary (Bellows) Newton) and (1) Anna Brigham (1761-1794, daughter of Noah and Miriam (Allen) Brigham), married 1784 in Marlborough MA; had 3 children born in MA, but resided in Andover, Oxford, ME:
*** Hildreth Newton (1788-????); Winthrop Newton (1790-1853); Clarissa Newton (1792-1832).
** Nathan Newton (1764-1832) and (2) Dorothy Wood (1771-1859), married 1794 in Marlborough MA; had 9 children, all born in Andover, Oxford, ME:
***Lambert Newton (1795-1873); Nathan Newton (1797-1`872); Sophia Newton (1799-????); Anna Newton (1801-????); Benjamin Newton (1809-1885); Lydia Newton (1810-????); Silas Newton (1812-1812); Albert Newton (1814-1896); Dollie Newton (1817-????).

** Levi Newton (1746-1837, son of Gershom and --?-- Newton, born in Southborough MA) and Elizabeth Woodward (1743-1837, daughter of Jonas and Mary (Cook) Woodward) married 1769 in Sutton MA; resided in Dixfield, Oxford County, ME after 1786; had 7 children (all born in Sutton MA, except for the last who was born in ME):
*** John Newton (1770-????); Elizabeth Newton (1771-????); Simeon Newton (1774-1866); Levi Newton (1776-1858); Isaac Newton (1778-1863); Jacob Newton (1784-1865); Abraham Newton (1787-1842).

More information about these two Newton families in Maine can be found in Steve's Rootsweb WorldConnect database "5 New England Newton Families" - Nathan here and Levi Newton here.

*  Newtons in Vermont:  There are many Newton families that reside in Vermont in the 1800-1840 time frame (46 heads of household in 1800,  104 in 1840) - too many to list here.  Lamoille County and Windsor county are of special interest because they are mentioned in the marriage and death records of the children if Thomas J. Newton.

*  Newtons in Massachusetts:  There are hundreds of Newton families that reside in Massachusetts in the 1800 to 1840 time frame (111 heads of household in 1800, 215 in 1840).

Many of the descendants of Richard Newton of colonial Massachusetts are chronicled in the book:

Ermina Newton Leonard, Newton genealogy, genealogical, biographical, historical: being a record of the descendants of Richard Newton of Sudbury and Marlborough, Massachusetts 1638, with genealogies of families descended from the immigrants, Rev. Roger Newton of Milford, Connecticut, Thomas Newton of Fairfield ..., Published by B. A. Leonard, 1915

In succeeding posts, I hope to discuss the localities involved, the records available and reviewed, and try to identify potential records that might help me find the parents, birth date and birth place of Thomas J. Newton.

New England Historical and Genealogical Register - Volume 164, Number 4 (October 2010) Table of Contents

The October 2010 issue (Volume 164, Number 4, Whole Number 656) of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (NEHGR) is available to NEHGS subscribers online, and should have been received by subscribers who receive it by postal mail.  The Table of Contents includes:

page 243 - Editorial

page 245 - The Cheshire Home and Family of William Hough, 1640 Immigrant to New England; by William W. Hough

page 250 - Reinterpreting the Vital Dates of William Hawes and His Wife Ursula From Their Memorial Brass; by John C. Brandon

page 254 - Reuniting the Family of Lt. John Waterbury (1753-1829); by Frederick C. Hart, Jr.

page 266 - Some Employers and Suppliers of Services to Thomas Fayerweather of Boston and Cambridge, 1753-1802; by Eric G. Grundset (continued from 164:206)

page 273 - Nathaniel and Esther (Carpenter) (Bardeen) Bowen and Their Family; by Cherry Fletcher Bamberg (continued from 164:218)

page 281 - The Brothers William and Daniel Harris of Middletown, Connecticut; by Gale Ion Harris (continued from 164:174)

page 292 - Additions and Corrections

page 298 - Reviews of Books

page 301 - Index of Subjects in Volume 164

page 304 - Index of Persons in Volume 164

page 345 - Annual Table of Contents of Volume 164

page 349 - American Ancestors Journal, Second Annual Supplement to the Register

You can read the current issue Table of Contents and the Editorial (which summarizes each article) at [Note that the Editorial for this issue will disappear after January 2011].

While the Table of Contents lists the American Ancestors Journal, it is not included in the online PDF file of this NEHGR issue for some reason.  It is not available online at the American Ancestors Journal page yet, either.

I wish that NEHGS would email subscribers that have chosen to access NEHGR online that the latest issue has been posted.  I only remembered today to look for this issue.  Perhaps it was just posted.  I do note that the Table of Contents were included in the 17 November issue of The Weekly Genealogist (Volume 13, Number 46), the email newsletter for NEHGS.

UPDATED 23 November:  The American Ancestors Journal for October 2010 is now available on the American Ancestors Journal page.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Checking out the new MyHeritage Charts

MyHeritage has announced a new family tree chart feature on their blog post Create a Beautiful Family Tree Chart Online & Print it as a Poster and in a press release.  The blog post shows 13 different family tree chart types and 18 new chart styles.

I did a little experimenting with the family tree I have on MyHeritage, and quickly had some fairly nice charts in PDF format.  I don't have any photos uploaded to MyHeritage so the thumbnail pictures of my ancestors aren't included.

When I'm in my account, here is the screen showing the charts that I've created so far:

Here is a five-generation ancestor chart (a 708 kb PDF file, sized 31.5 inches by 18.1 inches):

Here is a seven-generation ancestor chart (a 694 kb PDF file, sized 137.75 inches wide and 14.03 inches high):

A closeup of the latter chart, in the middle, shows some of the detail:

As you can see, the only information shown is the person's name, a thumbnail picture if available, and the person's birth and death years.  Some chart styles may provide the capability to add actual dates and localities.  Perhaps MyHeritage can explain how to add those details.

I didn't try to create a 12-generation ancestor chart... but I think that MyHeritage can do it!

UPDATE:  It can, a 1 mb file 198 inches wide and 3.3 inches high.  Hard to read full scale!  That would be about 600 inches wide if it was 10 inches high!

Janet Hovorka, on The Chart Chick blog, just announced in Generation Maps Partners with My Heritage that Generation Maps is partnered with MyHeritage to create beautiful family charts.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: Widow's First Declaration

For Treasure Chest Thursday, I am presenting and transcribing papers from the Civil War P:ension File of my Second Great-Grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901).  I presented Isaac's Declaration for Invalid Pension last week

This week, I'm presenting the first Declaration for a Widow's Pension, filed by Isaac's widow, Alvina M. (Bradley) (Lewis) Seaver.  I scanned this paper in two parts at the October Scanfest, and stitched the two parts together to make one image (however imperfect!).

The transcription of this document is (handwritten information in italics and underlined):

ACTS OF JUNE 27, 1890, AND MAY 8, 1900
State of Massachusetts, County of Worcester, SS;
On this 22 day of March, A.D. one thousand nine hundred and
one, personally appeared before me, a Notary Public, within and for the
County and State aforesaid, Alvina M. Seaver, aged 67 years, a
resident of Leominster County of Worcester, State of
Massachusetts who, being duly sworn according to law, declares that she is the widow of
Isaac Seaver 3d, on the ____ day of _____, A.D.
1864, as a Member in Company H, in the 4th Regiment of
Mass. Hvy Art'y Volunteers, and served at least ninety days in the late War
of the Rebellion, in the service of the United States, who was HONORABLY DISCHARGED June 17,
1865, and died March 12, 1901.  That he was never employed in
the military or naval service otherwise than as stated above ______________
That he was never employed in the military or naval service of the United States after the 17th
day of June, 1865.  That she was married under the name of
Alvina M. Lewis to said Isaac Seaver, on
the 15th day of September A.D. 1888, by Rev. J.P. Dunham
in St. Regis Falls, N.Y. there being no legal barrier to such marriage; that she had not
been previously married; that her said husband had not been previously married. (4) Her former husband
died June 5, 1882 at Worcester, Mass. Soldier's wife died Mar. 24, 1884 at Leominster.
That she has not remarried since the death of the said Isaac Seaver.
That she is without other means of support than her daily labor and an actual net income not exceeding $250 per
year.  That the names and dates of birth of all the children of the soldier, now living, and under sixteen years
of age, are as follows:
There are no children under sixteen years of age
to claim pension for.
That no prior application for pension has been filed by herself or the soldier a
pension under Act of June 27, 1890 by Certf. No 850,736
and claim form was pending on a ?????? of being over 73 years of age.
That she makes this declaration for the purpose of being placed on the pension roll of the United States, under
provisions of the acts of June 27, 1890, and May 9, 1900.  She hereby appoints, with full power of subst-
itution and revocation, i.e.
Charles W. Kendall of Fitchburg, Mass.
her true and lawful attorney to procesute her claim, the fee to be TEN DOLLARS, payable as prescribed by law.
That her POST OFFICE ADDRESS is #7 Cedar Street Leominster, County of
Worcester, State of Massachusetts
Geo. S. Lewis  .................... Alvina M. Seaver
Eva T. Gray.
Alvina wasted no time in filing for her Widow's pension.  Isaac died 12 March 1901 and she filed on 22 March 1901. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday, 20 November Features ... elections

The next meeting of Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) is Saturday, November 20, 2010.

PARKING NOTICE: Parking will be free. The previously announced charge for parking has been postponed indefinitely.

The schedule for the November meeting is as follows:

9:00 - User Group for Legacy, and SIGS for and New Genealogy Websites

10:00 - A break and refreshments.

10:15 - Announcements followed by the annual meeting, elections and sharing. Gary Hoffman will also give a short presentation explaining the features and capabilities of our web site.

11:15 (approx.) – Light buffet lunch, including sandwiches, salad, chips, dessert and beverages.

The election of officers for 2010 will be held. Join your fellow CGSSD members to elect the new board and to meet them during the buffet lunch. The nominees for the board positions are listed below. Nominations will also be taken from the floor.

*  President – Judy M. Jiru

Judy has been a long time member of CGSSD. Previously she served as our Treasurer. She became interested in genealogy back when CGSSD started offering The Master Genealogist (TMG). She was involved in the German Research Association. Being adopted she was interested in finding out information about herself. Most of her genealogy research was in Wisconsin, Czech Republic, Ohio and Pennsylvania. She works as a system engineer and lives in Poway.

*  Vice President for Administration – Judy Davis

Judy has been a member of CGSSD since 2006 and has agreed to be our Vice President of Administration for 2011. Having pursued her family history for thirty years, she currently utilizes Roots Magic as her preferred genealogy tool. Those locations in which she has a personal research interest are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Germany (and its extended historical regions), Norway and Sweden, along with other places into which she has delved on behalf of family members and friends. She makes her home in the Golden Triangle area of San Diego.

*  Vice President for Membership – Dale Nesbit

I became interested in genealogy when my father gave me a pedigree chart with only three generations of Nesbits. I wanted to know more but he didn’t want to do any research. So what was I to do? I heard about CGSSD from Lance Doha at a computer convention in 1995. The first meeting I went to was at the LDS Church in Mission Valley. After the meeting I went to the FHL and learned about some beginners classes. The rest is history. I joined CGSSD in 1995. I have been the membership guy for the last five years.

*  Secretary – Sandra Scott

I use Roots Magic primarily, although I have used Family Tree Maker and Heritage Family Tree Deluxe. I enjoy the programs that are given through the society and I like the user group meetings about Roots Magic. I am at home in Fallbrook, CA.

*  Treasurer – Louise Guilbault

Louise has been a member of CGSSD since 2000. She enjoys the many speakers that are available at the meetings and sharing information with other genealogists. She has been our Treasurer twice during that period for a total of six years. She has also led the Legacy Users Group for all but the first year of its existence. She is at home in Poway with her husband and her cats.

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

Thank you to Linda Hervig for providing publicity for CGSSD programs.

The Genealogy In Time Advanced Genealogy Search Engine

I read the recent press release highlighting the Advanced Genealogy Search Engine provided by the Genealogy In Time online magazine.  The publicity says, in part:

"GenealogyInTime?, a free online genealogy magazine, has launched a major new genealogy search engine. Called the Advanced Genealogy Search Engine, it is a stronger and more powerful alternative to traditional searches using Google. The Advanced Genealogy Search Engine not only searches over 1.2 billion historic source records, it is fast, convenient and free."

That sounds interesting - historic source records, more powerful than Google searches, fast, free.  Wow.

The Advanced Genealogy Search Engine page is here.  I input my favorite ancestor, "Isaac Seaver", in the Search field in quotes, and received over sixty matches, including:

*  An article in the CVGS Newsletter I wrote about GenForum message boards (on
*  Many entries in digitized books on
*  Several entries in the WorldConnect family tree database on

Hmmm, when I click on the next 10 matches, I get only five matches, and one is the same as in the first list.  I tried to go back to the first ten matches, and the system kicked me back to the Genealogy in Time home page where I had to select the Advanced Genealogy search Engine again, fill in the search field again, and try to get more results.  FAIL. 

From what I can tell, the only websites that the "Advanced Genealogy Search Engine" searches are (message boards, mailing lists, websites, WorldConnect) and

Are those really "1.2 billion historic source records?"  Perhaps 1.2 billion is the number of names in the Worldconnect database plus the number of website pages, message board and mailing list messages, and book pages?  Are these really "historic source records?"  Not in my book - family tree data and name/date/place/relationship assertions are hardly historical "source records."

Is this search "stronger and more powerful alternative than traditional searches using Google?"  Give me a break!  Google searches the entire Internet for the search terms requested.  A search for "Isaac Seaver" yields 903 matches, including many to my own blog where I've written extensively about Isaac Seaver.

Nice try, Genealogy In Time, but no cigar here.  Words mean something - "source records" means something.  "stronger" and "powerful" mean something. 

I hope that they modify their publicity to reflect the reality of the search.  It would help genealogy researchers to know which websites are actually searched by the Advanced Genealogy Search Engine.  It would help genealogy researchers if they would fix their search engine and website so that users could see all of the search matches.

I do appreciate, subscribe to and read the Genealogy In Time newsletter, and find their articles and lists of updated and new databases to be very useful. 

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 129: Lyle and Emily in Love

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 Carringer family collection handed down by my mother in the 1988 to 2002 time period:

This is a photograph of my grandparents, Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977) and Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976) taken in 1918, probably before their wedding on 19 June 1918.  Lyle was in the Maine corps at the time stationed in San Diego, and he may be in his uniform in this photo.  Emily is wearing a long dress and has a headband low on her forehead.

The happiness on their faces is obvious, isn't it?  Little did they know what the life together would bring over the next 58 years.

I don't recognize the setting for this photograph.  It may be at either the Carringer home at 2105 30th Street, the Auble home (I'm not sure where that was in 1918) or a public place. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Book Review - "If This Land Could Talk" by Judy R. Cook

The publicity for the book says (in part):

"Millions of settlers flocked westward for homesteads, taking advantage of the free land opened to settlement by the expanding railroads.  Few remained there, but author Judy Cook's family never lost faith in the land.  Cook's Dakota roots inspire this compelling story of her grandparents homesteading experiences in North Dakota.

"If This Land Could Talk provides a riveting look at three generations of life on the northern plains, where Cook spent her formative years.  Her candid portrayal brings to life her four grandparents, who carved a living from the inhospitable prairie, and her parents, who continued to farm on the same land.  She offers a poignant yet entertaining glimpse into her ancestors' daily lives.  The author recounts growing up on the same land in the 1950s, shaped by a way of life long since vanished. 

"Based on meticulous research, personal experiences and stories passed from family to family, If This Land Could Talk resonates with a powerful sense of place, an enduring love of the land, and reverence for the family."

Judy Cook traces the lives of her grandparents and her parents through a mixture of local history and family stories, and her own life story.  Kidder County, North Dakota has a population density of 2 persons per square mile.  Think about it - the neighbors were far away, it was almost always cold, roads were often impassable, electrification didn't occur until the 1950s, services were in distant towns, etc.  These situations contributed to the hardiness, the sense of personal responsibility, and the feelings of satisfaction of the settlers as they created homes and businesses, and lived their lives on the prairie. 

We meet the four grandparents one at a time, and learn their life stories:

*  Adria Williams (born in Dakota Territory, but her family was from colonial New England) became a schoolteacher and then the Kidder County Superintendent of Schools.

*  Thomas Arthur Price (born in Michigan, but his father was from England) homesteaded in 1905 and became Sheriff of Kidder County in 1915.  He married Adria in 1919 at the age of 50, and they had two children, including Bruce Arthur Price, Judy's father.  For a period of time during the early 1930s, they lived in California but moved back to North Dakota as the Great Depression wore on. 

*  Gustav Shirley (born in Minnesota of Norwegian parents) homesteaded in 1905 also, and brought his first family soon after to live in a tent.  His first wife died, and he married again.

*  Petra Hanson (born in Norway, immigrated alone to America) became a live-in helper during the illness of Gust's first wife, and married him in 1911, and they had nine children, including Judy's mother, Evelyn Shirley.

I really enjoyed this book.  Using short chapters, Judy introduces her family members and tells their stories in a way that conveys how life was really like for the times.  The reader feels a witness to local history and family history while understanding the events and forces that molded the people and their communities.  Judy's early life experiences were much different from my own, and it was interesting to see how she thrived in her surroundings, and how she appreciates the life lessons learned. 

The stories continue through the lives of the grandparents and then into the lives of Judy's parents, and then to Judy's life experiences in North Dakota.  She says "I carry within my DNA my grandparents' love for the land.  My rural heritage stirs in my soul.  I am and always will be a farmer's daughter."

This is the kind of book that many genealogists wish that they could write so as to further their family's interest in family and local history.  It is a fine example of what a talented writer can produce about "normal life" and "non-famous"  ancestors. 

Judy R. Cook
If This Land Could Talk; Homesteading on the Northern Plains
New York, Bloomington.
iUniverse, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-9352-7897-9 (paperback).
217 pages.

The book is available in Perfect Soft Cover, as an eBook, or as a hardbound book on the iUniverse website, on, and at Barnes and Noble's website.

Disclosure:  Judy Cook contacted me via email and offered a complimentary review copy of her book, which I accepted.  The opinions expressed in this review are my own, and I received no compensation for the review.  I will donate the book to my local library so that other genealogists have the opportunity to read it.

Thank you, Judy, for sharing your family stories with us!

Tuesday's Tip - Family History Wiki is FREE

Today's Tuesday's Tip is to use the FREE Family History Wiki to learn more about genealogy research methodology and resources.

There are three main collections at present on the Family History Wiki:

1)  The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy -- The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy is a reference book published by Ancestry Publishing. The first edition was published in 1984 and was edited by Arlene H. Eakle and Johni Cerny. A revised edition, edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, was published in 1997. The current edition, the third, was published in 2006 and was also edited by Szucs and Luebking.

This book is separated into chapters dealing with specific research topics (e.g., census, church, court, military, etc.).  A reader can use this book to learn about genealogy research techniques and record types.

2)  Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources --  Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources is a reference book published by Ancestry Publishing. The first edition, called Ancestry's Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources was published in 1989 and was edited by Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG. A revised edition was published in 1992. The current edition, the third, was published in 2004 when the title was changed to simply Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This book provides summaries of resources available in each American state, broken down by research topic.  A reader can learn about the history, record availability, and specific research opportunities in each state.

3)  Other content added by and other contributors.  One major area added so far is the United States County Lists.  There are lists of counties for each state, and a wiki page for each county in each state.  However, most of the County pages have not been fully populated with information about resources and repositories.   
Contributors can add content to any of the Family History Wiki pages.  See the Main Page for information on how to contribute.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nominate your favorite genea-blogs for the Family Tree Magazine Fab 40!

Family Tree Magazine announced the 2011 Family Tree 40 contest today - see Diane Haddad's The Genealogy Insider blog post here.

When you nominate a blog, provide the title and URL, optionally tell why you’re nominating it, and put it into one of these eight categories (a few have changed from last year’s Family Tree 40):

*  Local/regional history and genealogy: blogs focusing on research in a specific county, state or region. Most library and archive blogs, as well as many local historical and genealogical society blogs, would go here.

*  Heritage groups: Blogs focusing on the family history of a specific ethnic, religious or national background (such as African-American, Jewish, Polish, etc.)

*  Research advice and how-to: Blogs that primarily explain how to research, analyze photos or perform various family history tasks. The blogger offers tips, strategies and examples; explains genealogical concepts; and writes about how to use new resources.

*  Cemeteries: These blogs feature content primarily about cemetery research and visiting cemeteries. Many feature tombstone photos and transcriptions, with information about those interred.

*  “My Family History”: Blogs about the blogger’s own roots, including accounts of personal research, their own family photos and heirlooms, stories, recipes, etc.

*  “Everything” blogs: Blogs that cover it all—genealogy news, research advice, opinions, local history, family stories, etc.—go here.

*  New blogs: Was the blog you’re nominating launched during the past year? Categorize it here, even if it would also fit into another category.

*  Technology: Blogs focusing on genealogy websites, software, DNA testing or other aspects of technology as it relates to genealogy.

There are four Family Tree 40 panelists:

Genealogy Gems blogger Lisa Louise Cooke,
Genea-Musings blogger Randy Seaver,
*  Myrt of the DearMyrtle blog
*  Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers

Family Tree Magazine editors and the Family Tree 40 panelists will winnow out any blogs that aren’t qualified (see below) and, if necessary depending how many blogs are nominated, narrow the list of nominees based on the quality of the blogs’ content.

From December 13 to 20, you all will vote on those finalists for the final Family Tree 40 blogs. The Family Tree 40 blogs, featuring five winners per category, will be revealed in the July 2011 Family Tree Magazine.

Qualifying blogs must:

*  be primarily about genealogy.
*  have original content (aggregators featuring posts from other blogs will be disqualified).
*  belong to a private individual or individuals, not to a business (a change from last year’s Family Tree 40). They may not exist primarily to market products.
*  be active, having at least four posts per month for the past three months (or, for blogs newer than three months, four posts per month since the blog has been in existence).
*  contain or link to information about the blogger(s), such as an “About Me” page.
*  not be hosted by a Family Tree 40 panelist or by Family Tree Magazine.

Nominate your favorite genealogy blogs for the Family Tree 40 here.

Note:  Because I am one of the panelists, none of my genealogy blogs are eligible for nomination or awards.  These include:

The Geneaholic
South San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit
Chula Vista Genealogy Cafe.

There's one in every family!

As genealogists, we all hope that there is one in our family too!  Or more than one. 

Who?  The spinster aunt who keeps track of all of her siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews and revels in meeting them and sharing with them.  She is usually fiscally responsible and perhaps even wealthy, and has often taken care of her aging parents before they passed away, sometimes for decades.  Lastly, they usually have the family collection of photograph albums and family papers.

In my father's family, this person was his youngest sister, Geraldine Seaver.  Aunt Gerry graduated from college as a music teacher, and her father died in 1942 just after she left home to start her career.  Because her five siblings had married and had children, she continued to live with her mother until her death in 1962.

Gerry finally married in 1970 at age 53 to James Remley, a widower who was her supervisor in Newton (MA), High School.  They both retired, and moved to Florida, while maintaining a summer home in Maine.  She stayed in contact with her siblings and nieces and nephews, and they traveled quite a bit to visit them, and they visited the Remleys also.  She exchanged Christmas cards and letters with everybody and wrote "pomes" to commemorate birthdays and anniversaries of her family members.

She had kept her mother's papers and photo albums, and had photo albums of her own with photos and information about the extended Seaver family and her Remley family.  She also had memories, including her mother's family stories, and was not shy about sharing them with the family.

When I started my genealogy research quest, I asked each of my father's living siblings to write down or make tape recordings of their family stories and memories.  Aunt Gerry was the champion in this field - she organized her thoughts and made three hour-long audio tapes about her life, her parents' lives and the lives of her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings.  The transcription of these tapes is 37 pages single spaced.  They are invaluable to me and to my cousins for understanding some of the family dynamics and personalities.  She was so happy that another family member was carrying on the family history, and was supportive of my efforts to find more about our ancestral families.

Gerry died in 2007, and I requested that any family papers or photographs that the Remley family did not want be forwarded to me.  I received two boxes of paper and photo albums.  I have shared quite a few of these photos and papers on Genea-Musings, and also in the yearly 16-page Seaver-Richmond Family Newsletter that I send to the extended family each Christmas.  Aunt Gerry's legacy is living through these efforts.

I greatly appreciate the life of Geraldine (Seaver) Remley (1917-2007) because she was the one who kept my San Diego Seaver family in touch with the New England family for many years.  She was unique, very intelligent, with a great sense of humor, and a wonderful aunt.

Written for the 100th Carnival of Genealogy with the theme of "There's one in every family."

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Andrew Phillips (1661-1717) of Charlestown MA

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 Andrew Phillips (1661-1717) of Charlestown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, one of my 7th great-grandfathers.  Andrew Phillips, son of Andrew and Elizabeth (--?--) Smith of Charlestown,  married 11 November 1683 in Charlestown to Sarah Smith (1661-????), daughter of Michael and Jane (--?--) Smith of Malden.

Andrew Phillips of Charlestown died testate (Middlesex County (MA) Probate Court Records, Packet #17,297 on FHL Microfilm 0,421,489). The will of Andrew Phillips of Charlestown MA reads:

"In the Name of God Amen. Ye fifth Day of December 1717: I Andrew Phillips of Charlestown in ye County of Midalsix in New England Husbandman being very sick & weak of Body But of perfect mind & memory Thanks be to god for It. Therefore Calling to Mind ye Mortallity of my Body & knowing yt it is appointed for all Men Once to Dy, Doo Make & Ordain ys My last will and Testament yt is to say principally & first of all I Give & recomend my Soule into ye hands of God yt Gave it and my Body I Recomend to ye Earth to be Buried in a Decent Buriall at ye Discression of my Executor nothing Doubting but at The General Resurection I Shall Receive ye same Again By ye Mighty power of god, & as Touching Such Worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life: I Give Demise & Dispose of ye Same in ye following Manner & form:

"Imprimus I Give & Bequeath to Sarah my Dearly Beloved Wife One third of ye Income of my Estate Dureing her naturall life & all ye Moveable Goods within My house & Ten Cord of Wood yearly Cut & brought to her house & ye Best Room in my house as long as she remains my widow.

"Item I give to my Well Beloved Son Andrew Phillips ye Summ of forty pounds; Ten pound of the sd forty to be paid Two years after my Decease & Ten pounds a year yearly after Sarah my Dearly Beloved Wives Decease till ye whole be paid.

"Item I give to my Well Beloved Son Ebenezer Phillips thirty three acres of land lying & being in Charlestown Butted & Bounded Northwardly by Peter Hay & Ebenezer Damon, Southwardly by the highway and Andrew Phillips & ye highway Eastwardly by ye land of Henery Phillips, Westwardly by Peter Hay & part of a lot I Bought of Elias Brigden Butted & Bounded Northwardly be ye land of Thomas Miller, Southwardly by ye land of Andrew Phillips, Eastwardly by ye land of Thomas Miller, Westwardly by ye highway And Henery Phillips Togeth with all Timer and Standing lying or Being yt on, to him & to his heirs forever, & one third part of ye moveables upon my place without Doors I alsoe Doe give to my son Ebenezer Phillips. I Doe also will yt my son Ebenezer Doth Cut and Bring to ye house of Sarah my wife five Cords of wood yearly So long as she Remains my Widow. I Doe also Will yt my Son Ebenezer Shall pay to his Brother Andrew Phillips ye Summ of Twenty pounds to Be paid five pounds two years after my Decease & five pounds a year after Sarah My Wives Death yearly till ye Whole Summ of twenty pounds be paid to ye sd Andrew Phillips or his heirs or assigne. Also to pay to my Daughter Johanna Phillips ye Summ of fifty pounds & also to be paid Twenty five pounds at my Decease & ye Cow & ye Rest part of ye fifty pounds, Ten pounds a year yearly after Sarah my Wives Decease till ye Whole Summ of fifty pounds in Mony be paid.

"Item I Give to my Son Samuell Phillips Twenty two Acres of Land wth a house Orchard & all ye Buildings upon Bounded Southerly by Kendal Parker & Peter Hay Northwardly by ye highway Eastwardly by ye land of James Taylor Westwardly by ye highway, & Seven Acres I Bought of Thomas Eaton Butted & Bounded Eastwardly by ye highway Westwardly by ye Land of James Hay Southwardly by ye land of Peter Hay, also Six Acres of land Butted & Bounded by ye land I gave to my son Ebenezer Phillips before mentioned & expresed, westwardly by Peter Hay Northwardly (Eastwardly) by Ebenezer Phillips Southwardly by ye highway, also five Acres offe yt lott I Bought of Elias Brigden also one third part of ye moveables without Doors Belonging to my Estate. I Doe also Will yt my Son Samuell Phillips shall pay to Sarah my Wife five Cords of wood a year yearly to be Cut and brought to her house as long as She Remains My Widow & if She be maried to again yt Utterly to faill, & alsoe Samuel Phillips my son Shall pay to his Brother Andrew Phillips twenty pounds wch is to be payd five pounds Two years after my Decease & five pounds a year after Sarah my Wives Decease till ye whole summ of twenty pounds be payed, also to pay to my Daughter Johanna Phillips ye Summ of fifty pounds, & also (to be payed) twenty five pounds & ye cow at my Decease & ye Rest part of the fiftie to be paid Ten pounds a year yearly after Sarah my Wives Decease till ye whole be paid.

"Item I Give to my sons Ebenezer Phillips & Samuell Phillips ye Summ of fourtenn pounds Mony yt is Due by a Bond to me from Ebenezer Knight Bearing Date May 1715 Togather with all other Debts Due and oweing to me to be Equally Divided Betwen them.

"Item I Doe give to my Well Beloved Daughter Johanah Phillips ye Summ of One Hundred pounds in Mony & Two Cows to be paid to her by my sons Ebenezer Phillips & Samuell Phillips as it is afforementioned & Specified in this will. The Reasons why I Doe Not Give to my son Andrew Phillips no more is, first Because he hath Received thirty eight pounds in mony already, also ye help of Building of his house & Breaking up of land & also the Selling of Wood & Timber of off my land & also his goeing away from me at ye Age of Nineteen years.

"Item I Give to my Well Beloved Son Ebenezer Phillips Whom I likewise Constitute Make & Ordain My Only & Sole Executor of this my last Will & Testament. I furthermore Will yt ... monie is in the House Doe Not pay the funerall charges & yt my Sons Ebenezer Phillips & Samuell Phillips Shall pay Equally ye part of yt funrl Charges & I Doe hereby utterly Dissallow, Revoke & Disanull all and every Other former Testament, Wills & Legasies Bequests & Executors by Me in Any Ways Before ye Time Named Willed & Bequeathed Rattifying & Confirming this & no other to be my last Will & Testament In Witness Whereof I have Set My hand & Seallo ye Day & Year Above Written.

"Signed Sealed Published & Pronounced &
Declared by ye sd Andrew Phillips as his last
Will & Testament in ye Presence of us ye
Subscribers  .................................................................... Andrew Phillips

Daniel Gould
Thomas Miller
Nathaniel Cowdrey"

The will was proved at Cambridge on 17 December 1717, with Ebenezer Phillips posting a 500 pound bond, and with the consent of Samuel Phillips, the widow Sarah Phillips, and Joanna Phillips.
The four children of Andrew Phillips were relatively young when Andrew died in 1717.  The oldest son, Andrew was born in 1687, so he was 30 years old, but apparently estranged from his father because he left home at age 19.  Ebenezer (born 1695), Joanna (born 1697) and Samuel (born 1699) were in their early adulthood, and received sizeable (for the time) inheritances.  Note the requirement for the children, especially Ebenezer, to support their mother.  Thdere is no inventory, so it is impossible to know if the estate had sufficient assets to permit the heirs to inherit the money they were bequeathed.

The FHL microfilm for these Middlesex County, Massachusetts probate records contain the full packet of original papers, making them original source material, not record copies of the original source.  Unfortunately, these early probate packets usually contain only the will and the probate court affidavit proving the will.

Ebenezer Phillips (1695-1746) was my descendant ancestor from Andrew Phillips. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

SDGS 11/13 Program Review - Heirlooms and Cemeteries

Attendees at the San Diego Genealogical Society meeting on Saturday, 13 November, were treated to two well-prepared presentations by Hal Horrocks, who is active with the Orange County, California Genealogical Society.  He spoke on two subjects:

1)  Preserving Your Heirlooms:

Deciding what to save, give away or toss is difficult because there are emotional considerations along with financial considerations.  As the curator of "the museum of you" you need to make these decisions.  Make a list and ask Who, What, When and Where, then prioritize the most important items.

Preserving artifacts, heirlooms and photographs is a challenge because of light, humidity, temperature, contamination, biological attack, and use or handling.  There is a reason that museums allow little external light and have darker rooms and a controlled environment.  Cool temperatures and low humidity are recommended.  Keeping heirlooms in archival boxes prevents insects and rodents from damaging them.  Wool corrodes most metals, silver tarnishes in air, plastic cling wrap is corrosive for metals, and body oils and duct damage photographs.  The more use and handling that heirlooms experience, the more likely damage is to occur.

Different types of photographs and film need different handing and care.  Photographs used for display should be duplicated from negatives if possible, or a digital copy made, and the originals preserved.  Photo albums and archival storage should be acid-free, and any plastic sleeves should not be polyvinyl chloride.  Slides, negatives and movies should be stored in a cold place. 

2.  Cemeteries - What They Tell Us

There are four general types of cemeteries - government owned (national, state or local); church owned; business owned; family cemeteries.  Each type presents unique problems and opportunities.  Death and burial customs vary over the years and by religion and culture.  Many older cemeteries have tombstone symbols on the gravestones to convey a message. 

Exploring a cemetery with the eye of a detective may yield names of persons buried, their family relationships, their religious beliefs, their social standing, their cultural symbols and their artistic ideals.  When exploring a cemetery, observe without altering anything; take photographs, make sketches or notes; note the cemetery setting, layout, surroundings and marker types.  Attempt to determine the history of the cemetery, and of the locality that it serves. 

Hal visited Key West, Florida on vacation and used that cemetery as his example for the presentation.  His observations of the history of Key West, the layout of the cemetery, the type and size of the markers, the information on the markers, the use of family plots, the condition of the cemetery grounds, and other factors can be noted.

A short list of online cemetery records was provided (including,,, was provided.

Hal's 11-page handout consisted of most of the text from his presentations, and may be available on the SDGS website (

FREE Lecture on 18 November - Genealogy: Be An Ancestry Detective!

Have you always wondered what information is available in records and on the Internet about your family? How much do you really know about your family? Now is the time to find the answers to questions about your ancestors: where they lived, how they lived, how they came to the U.S. and lots more. Knowing your ancestors is knowing yourself.

Chula Vista native Randy Seaver, a San Diego area speaker and teacher on genealogy research and family history, will present a two-hour lecture;  the details:

Presentation:  Genealogy - Be An Ancestry Detective!

Date:  Thursday, 18 November 2010
Time: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Location: Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street, Chula Vista CA 91910) in the Auditorium
Reservations requested: 619-691-5089

The lecture will cover how and where to begin (always with yourself!). One warning should be given to prospective attendees: This is a very addictive hobby—once started, the need to know more grows and grows. Come find out how you can learn how you came to be you.

Fully underwritten by the Friends of the Chula Vista Public Library and San Diego OASIS.

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 7-13 November 2010

Due to the visit to the grandgirls, and then my desktop computer problems, I failed to keep an up-to-date list of my favorites for this week.  I hope to write the usual column next Sunday.

Therefore, I don't have a list, but I will refer you to others that took the time to define their picks for the week:

* Friday Newsletter and Follow Friday by Greta Koehl on Greta's Genealogy Bog.

* Best Bytes for the Week of November 12, 2010 by Elizabeth O'Neal on the Little Bytes of Life blog.

Follow Friday: Around the Blogosphere - November 12 by Susan Petersen on Long Lost

Genealogy News Corral - November 8-12 by Diane Haddad on The Genealogy Insider.

Please visit these hard-working geneabloggers - it takes a significant amount of time to put these posts together. I really appreciate them, and hope that you will visit their blogs and comment on their efforts.