Saturday, December 18, 2010

SNGF - Dear Genea-Santa

Dear Genea-Santa,

I tried so hard to be a good genea-boy this year.  I worked hard speaking all over Southern California and teaching at OASIS and CVGS, serving my local societies, wroting my society newsletter, FGS FORUM Genealogy 2.0 columns, Graveyard Rabbit Online Journal columns, and over 1,500 blog posts, attending two genealogy conferences, and helping several friends and colleagues with their research.  In addition, I added many more sources to my database, standardized all of my place names, fixed thousands of name and date errors, and added more names to my database. 

Did you read my 2009 Dear Genea-Santa letter?  I only asked for some hint as to the parents of Devier J. Lamphier Smith, Thomas J. Newton and Elizabeth Horton Dill.  I guess you were too busy delivering toys and technology items to all the other good genea-boys and girls.  My genea-stocking on Christmas morning didn't have any wonderful hints in it, only lumps of coal, some new white socks and some M&Ms.  Are you trying to tell me something?  You even ate and drank all of the goodies I left for you.  I hope you didn't give any of the beer to the reindeer.

I still BELIEVE!!!!!  Come on, Santa, all I want for Christmas for 2010 are:

*  A nifty presentation laser pointer and slide advancer gizmo. 

*  A new genealogy travel radio - the AM/FM/SW one I've used forever crapped out in Salt Lake City after getting real wet somehow in my suitcase (probably sat on the baggage cart in the rain). 

*  A genealogy T-shirt that has an image of Rodin's Thinker on it that says something like "Genealogy Rocks."

Thank you, Genea-Santa, for listening to my pleas. I will leave a nice personal meat-lovers pizza in the freezer for you (you can heat it in the kitchen microwave), a rosy red apple and some delicious chocolate chip cookies on the fireplace hearth, and some eggnog (in the refrigerator) for you on Christmas Eve just in case you need fortification. You can get a yummy Dove chocolate ice cream bar out of the refrigerator if you'd like. Nothing's too good for Genea-Santa - mi casa es su casa.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Dear Genea-Santa

It's Saturday Night - take some time from the Christmas shopping and wrapping frenzy - and have a little Genealogy Fun!!

Come on, everybody, join in and accept the mission and execute it with precision.  Here's your chance to sit on Genea-Santa's lap (virtually) and tell him your Christmas genealogy-oriented dreams:

1)  Write your Genea-Santa letter.  Have you been a good genealogy girl or boy?  What genealogy-oriented items are on your Christmas wish list?  They could be family history items, technology items, or things that you want to pursue your ancestral quest.

2)  Tell us about them in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook status or comment to this post.

I will post mine in a separate blog post later this evening.  I have to go shopping today!

Surname Saturday - PRESCOTT (England to Massachusetts)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 141, who is the unknown mother of Thomas Dill, father of Elizabeth Horton Dill (1794-1869).  #143 is the unknown mother of Mary Horton, mother of Elizabeth Horton Dill. I am unsure who their parents are, so I will skip them.  Next in line is #145, Elizabeth Prescott (1734-1812), one of my 5th-great-grandmothers. [Note: The 5th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts]

My ancestral line back through five generations of PRESCOTT 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)

18.  Edward Hildreth (1831-1899)
19.  Sophia Newton (1834-1923)

36.  Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857)
37.  Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857)

72.  Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828)
73.  Elizabeth Keyes (1759-1793)

144.  Zachariah Hildreth, born 28 Dec 1728 in Chelmsford, Middlesex County, MA; died 18 Apr 1784 in Westford, Middlesex County, MA. He was the son of 288. James Hildreth and 289. Dorothy Prescott. He married  12 Apr 1753 in Westford, Middlesex County, MA.

145. Elizabeth Prescott, born 15 Sep 1734 in Westford, Middlesex County, MA; died 01 May 1812 in Westford, Middlesex County, MA.

Children of Zachariah Hildreth and Elizabeth Prescott are:  Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828); Elizabeth Hildreth (1755-1803); Hannah Hildreth (1758-1836); Esther Hildreth (1760-????); Timothy Hildreth (1760-????); James Hildreth (1762-1789); Lucy Hildreth (1764-1845); Jonas Hildreth (1766-1808); Ruth Hildreth (1768-1829); Edy Hildreth (1771-1819); Jesse Hildreth (1773-1840); Mehitable Hildreth (1775-1819).

290. Jonas Prescott, born 26 Jan 1702/03 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA; died 09 Sep 1784 in Westford, Middlesex County, MA. He married  07 Mar 1730/31 in Westford, Middlesex County, MA.
291. Elizabeth Harwood, born 28 Jan 1700/01 in Chelmsford, Middlesex County, MA; died 27 Dec 1739 in Westford, Middlesex County, MA. She was the daughter of 582. Nathaniel Harwood and 583. Mary Barron.

Children of Jonas Prescott and Elizabeth Harwood are: Elijah Prescott (1732-????); Elizabeth Prescott (1734-1812); Isaac Prescott (1737-????); Benjamin Prescott (1739-????);

580. Jonas Prescott, born 26 Oct 1678 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA; died 12 Sep 1750 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA. He married  05 Oct 1699 in Concord, Middlesex County, MA.
581. Thankful Wheeler, born 03 Jun 1682 in Concord, Middlesex County, MA; died 06 Nov 1716 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA. She was the daughter of 1162. John Wheeler and 1163. Sarah Larkin.

Children of Jonas Prescott and Thankful Wheeler are: Ebenezer Prescott (1700-1771); Jonas Prescott (1703-1784); Thankful Prescott (1705-????); Mary Prescott (1711-1793); Sarah Prescott (1712-1737); Dorcas Prescott (1714-1803).

1160. Jonas Prescott, born Jun 1648 in Lancaster, Worcester County, MA; died 31 Dec 1723 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA.  He married  14 Dec 1672 in Lancaster, Worcester County, MA.
1161. Mary Loker, born 28 Sep 1653 in Sudbury, Middlesex County, MA; died 28 Oct 1735 in Groton, Middlesex County, MA. She was the daughter of 2322. John Loker and 2323. Mary Draper.

Children of Jonas Prescott and Mary Loker are:  Mary Prescott (1674-1735); Elizabeth Prescott (1676-1744); Jonas Prescott (1678-1750); Nathaniel Prescott (1680-1681); Dorothy Prescott (1682-1722); James Prescott (1684-1704); Sarah Prescott (1686-1716); Abigail Prescott (1688-????); Martha Prescott (1690-1774);  Susannah Prescott (1691-1771); Deborah Prescott (1694-????); Benjamin Prescott (1696-1738).

2320. John Prescott, born about 1604 in probably Lancashire, ENGLAND; died Dec 1681 in Lancaster, Worcester County, MA. He married  11 Apr 1629 in Halifax, Yorkshire, ENGLAND.
2321. Mary Gawkroger, born before 07 Feb 1612/13 in Sowerby, Yorkshire, ENGLAND; died 1674 in Lancaster, Worcester County, MA. She was the daughter of 4642. Abram Gawkroger and 4643. Martha Riley.

Children of John Prescott and Mary Gawkroger are:  Mary Prescott (1630-1716); child Prescott (1631-1631); Martha Prescott (1632-1656); child Prescott (1634-1634); John Prescott (1635-????); Sarah Prescott (1637-1727); Hannah Prescott (1639-1697); Lydia Prescott (1641-1712); John Prescott (1643-1718); Jonathan Prescott (1645-1721); Jonas Prescott (1648-1723).

There are many sources of information about the English ancestry and New England life of John Prescott.  In my opinion, the most authoritative work is from the book:

MaryLovering Holman, The Ancestry of Colonel John Harrington Stevens and his wife Frances Helen Miller, Concord NH : Rumford Press, 1948. 

One line of the John Prescott family was treated in the book:

Joan S. Guilford, The Ancestry of Dr. J.P. Guilford, Sheridan Psychological Services, Inc., 1990, Volume 1.

I suspect that there will be many readers that are descended from John Prescott, but not too many that are descended from any of the three Jonas Prescotts.

Advent Calendar - 18 December: Christmas Stockings

This is the 18th of 24 posts for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, a Geneablogger tradition.

On the 7th Day of Christmas,
my true love said to me
"You'd better fill that up, honey!"

1) Did you have a stocking?

Every year ... from childhood to now. Not the same one, of course.

2) Where did you hang it?

When I was a kid, my parents hung it by my grandparents chimney - probably on the firescreen.

Since we've had our own home, the stocking is hung from a nail in the beam over the fireplace.

3) What did you get in it?

When I was a kid, I received little toys, fruit, gum, candy, etc.

As a married adult, the stocking has candy (lots of candy!), socks, small gifts, and sometimes a charcoal briquette (the proverbial lump of coal in San Diego). My favorite candies are See's Peppermints, orange slices, Hershey kisses, gum drops, M&Ms, etc. All of this makes me a really "sweet-lovin'" guy. And adds several pounds each year, but hey, I'm in shape (pear is a shape, right?).

Linda sometimes gets jewelry, lipstick, nail clippers, and candy in her stocking. She used to get panty-hose (hey, a stocking in a stocking, right?) and sexy panties, but she won't let me shop for those any more.

Friday, December 17, 2010

15 December FamilySearch Bloginar is Available to Watch/Listen

FamilySearch conducted an online presentation and discussion for genealogy bloggers and other communicators on 15 December.  The remote audience dialed in on the telephone to hear the presenters, and connected via Adobe Connect to see the presentation slides and screen.  The agenda was:

12:00 Welcome. FamilySearch Bloginar Overview

12:05 New Online Collections
Indexing Update
RootsTech 2011 Update

12:15 Next Generation ( Latest Tips and Tricks
November Upgrade(s)
- Catalog place search
December Upgrades
- New search forms
- Date context fixes
- Other search results improvements
Upcoming Changes (January/February)
- Filters
- Collection specific search
- Exact/close/partial controls

13:00 Questions and Answers

The presentation slides and the audio/video of the online demonstration of the improved FamilySearch website are available at  Here is a screen view of that page:

The presentation slides were presented by Paul Nauta of FamilySearch, but the audio was not recorded.  You can see the slides here.  The first slide looks like this:

The demonstration of the content and search capabilities of the improved FamilySearch site was presented by Robert Kehrer, with Jim Ericson moderating the chat area that had participants asking questions and making comments.  The link for this presentation, including audio, is here.  

I found the interactive presentation by Robert Kehrer to be very helpful in understanding the different methods to search and find historical records, Ancestral File entries and FHL library catalog items. 
Mote that this bloginar did not include any information on New FamilySearch.  Hopefully, when it goes live to the world they will do something similar to inform users of the Family Tree capabilities and usage.
If you have a spare hour to watch this, it should be worth your time.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" Returns on 4 February to NBC-TV

NBC-TV announced the return of the hit series, Who Do You Think You Are?, on Friday, 4 February 2011 at 8-9 PM ET and PT, with shows featuring the family history of these celebrities:
  • Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Tim McGraw
  • Rosie O’Donnell
  • Steve Buscemi
  • Kim Cattrall
  • Lionel Richie
  • Vanessa Williams
  • Ashley Judd.
The press release can be read here.  It is not yet on's Press site for some reason (as of 9 a.m. on 17 December).

You can see more information on the NBC-TV show website at

On the site, there are photo albums for the eight celebrities featured in 2010, and video of each show can be seen at

Many genealogical societies saw an upsurge in interest in genealogy and family history research from the general public, and adjusted their programs and classes to accommodate the upsurge.  Will this same phenomena happen again?  I hope so, and will highlight the program when I teach my Beginning Computer Genealogy classes in February and my local Chula Vista Genealogical Society is planning a Beginners Class in March.

I'm really looking forward to this season, even though I know little about any of the celebrities.  We don't watch movies or much network TV these days.  I've heard the names, but don't know much about them.  Now I'm wondering if any of them are my cousins.

Will there be a WDYTYA? viewing party at RootsTech on Friday, 11 February?

Don't forget to Vote for your Favorite Genea-blogs

Voting for your favorite genealogy blogs, sponsored by Family Tree Magazine, is still open - and will be until Monday, 20 December.  The poll is at

Who are the nominees?  You can see the list of 117 in eight different categories, along with the blog author and a link to each nominated blog, in the post FT40 Listing – With Blog Authors at Geneabloggers blog, written by Thomas MacEntee.

Please review the list in Thomas's post, and click on the blog links of those that you're not familiar with, and then vote for your favorites.

Advent Calendar - 17 December: The Family Journal

This is the 17th of 24 posts for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, a Geneablogger tradition.

On the 8th day of Christmas,
I sent to all my relatives
this year's Family Journal.

1) What helps you remember Christmases past?

My Christmas gift to my cousins, brothers and children is a 16 page (usually) family journal, called the "Seaver-Richmond Family Journal." This is my 23rd year of doing this family journal. I end up sending about 20 copies out every year to the extended family. This is my way of "connecting" to my extended family and sharing some of my family history research.

Fred Seaver and Bessie Richmond married in 1900 in Leominster MA and had seven children, 6 of whom lived to adulthood and married, five of whom had a total of 11 children. This family line is 3/4 New England colonial immigrant (Seaver, Hildreth and White), and 1/4 English immigrant (Richman/Richmond, immigrated in 1855).

The content of my family journal has changed over time. I used to print more lines of descent from famous or notable people, and more lines from immigrant ancestors to my grandparents generation. However, I ran out of these types of articles several years ago - I had covered all of the family lines with 5-generations or more.

In recent years, I've added more family photos - both of the older generations and the new generations - young families with babies and the like. I've also written more memorials as the aunts and uncles have died.

This year, the Table of Contents looks like:

* 2010 Family Search - page 1
* What's Inside? - page 1
* Seaver/Richmond Ancestry on the Internet - page 2
* Online Genealogy Record Collections
* Seaver Family Photographs from Aunt Gerry's Collection - pages 3 and 4
* Geraldine (Seaver) Remley's Autobiography - Part 3 - pages 5-7
* Juliet (White) Richmond's Death Certificate - page 8
*  Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) of Westminster, Massachusetts - pages 9-10
* Immigrant Ancestors - Edward Gray (1623-1681) of Plymouth -  pages 11-13
* Where Did the White and Oatley Families Live in Killingly? - page 13
* All Our Cousins - Descendants of Fred and Bessie - pages 14-16
* Finis - page 16

The production process is pretty simple. I use last year's MSWord document as a template - but delete the content and save it as a new document. Then I add content over a 7 to 10 day period, based on family papers and photographs, material from my blog, the Internet or my genealogy databases. When the content is completed, then I print off 25 copies (16 pages, in color, two-sided). I save it also as a PDF file to put on CDROMs to give to family members who want one.

It's funny - even though I ask the family for pictures and stories, either by snail mail, email or in person, I never receive anything from them. Maybe they are bored by it all; maybe it slips their mind or they think they don't have anything to contribute. I do get compliments in the Christmas cards I receive, so I think they appreciate the effort.

I sent the Family Journal, along with our family Christmas letter, off to the cousins last Monday. I have copies at home for my brother, my niece and my daughters and will gift them with it when we see them to celebrate Christmas. Hopefully, we will share stories and memories of our parents and grandparents.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Adventures in FTM 2011 - Creating a Source Citation

I've had Family Tree Maker 2011 for a few weeks now and have it installed on my new desktop computer running Windows 7 and on the laptop running Windows XP. 

Over the past two weeks, I've been happily standardizing my place names and am almost finished with that task.  The next task is to "fix" more of my sources before I create many more of them. 

I wanted to practice creating a new Source, and a newly-found distant cousin (yep, he found me through my Genea-Musings blog posts!) sent me pages from a family history book for one of his surnames.  So I wanted to enter the new information from the book for his family line.  This gave me the perfect opportunity to Add a Source to my database using the much-heralded Source citation templates that follow Evidence! Explained standards. 

From the Person workspace, I wanted to add a Source citation to the marriage Fact, so with the Fact highlighted I clicked on "New" on the Sources tab in the right-hand panel.  The "Add Source Citation" box came up, and I clicked on the "New" button in that window to get to the Source Template shown below:

I had to select a Source Template, so I chose the "Publications - Books, CDs, DVDs, Maps, Leaflets and videos" from the "Source Group" dropdown list, then selected "Print Publications" from the "Category" dropdown list, and then "Book - Basic format" from the "Template" dropdown list.  After clicking "OK, I  entered all of the information in the template fields:

After clicking "OK" I then entered the page number in the "Citation Data" field:

So what does my source citation look like for this Fact?  Here is the Person screen with the Marriage Fact highlighted and the citation in the Source area of the right-hand panel:

The source citation reads:

"Marjorie E. Doctor, Descendants of Alexander Doctor & Catherine Powrie Doctor: Scotland & Scotch Plains, Kansas (Lawrence, Kansas, USA: M.E. Doctor, 1987), page 479."

Now I wanted to see if it shows up in the list of Sources, so I clicked on the "Sources" workspace tab in the top menu, and scrolled down the "Source Groups" list on the left and highlighted this source:

The middle panel shows the Facts attributed to this source, and the source information is in the right hand panel.  It says:

"Marjorie E. Doctor, Descendants of Alexander Doctor & Catherine Powrie Doctor: Scotland & Scotch Plains, Kansas (Lawrence, Kansas, USA: M.E. Doctor, 1987), page 479."

However, in the list of "Sources Groups" it is listed as:

"Doctor, Marjorie E., Descendants of Alexander Doctor & Catherine Powrie Doctor." 

If I want to seek it out in the Source Group list again, I need to remember that it is listed with the author's last name first.  I did that for the other Facts that I added or revised in my database.

Why does it list the Source with the author's last name first? All of the other Source Groups that imported from my Family Tree Maker 16 file are in the "Source Group" listing by the title, not the author's name.  So to be consistent, I have to go back and change the other 640 Source Groups to use the template forms to standardize my source citations.  Or I could just leave them alone, since they print out perfectly well right now. 

But what will happen if I export the file and import it to another software program or to  I'm going to experiment a bit with this before I take the time to convert the Source Groups to the Source Templates.  I'll probably convert a number of them - different Source Group types, and see how they translate through the export/import process.  

The devil is in the details, isn't it?

That was really pretty easy.  And it didn't take very long, as long as I had the pages from the source document on my desk. 

UPDATED 7 p.m.:  One paragraph was out of place, and one figure (the third one) was wrong - corrected and now it makes much more sense, even to me!  sorry for the confusion.  Did anybody really see the problems?

I'm an Official RootsTech 2011 Blogger, but can't attend

My thanks to FamilySearch for naming me as an Official RootsTech 2011 Blogger. 

You can see all of the details at

The first annual RootsTech Conference will be a gathering of both family history enthusiasts and technologists from around the world. Genealogy hobbyists and professionals alike will discover new and emerging technologies that will improve and simplify their activities. At the same time, technology providers will enjoy a rare, face‐to‐face opportunity to interact with family history enthusiasts to better understand their needs.

Combining the Conference on Computerized Family History, the Technology Workshop, and the FamilySearch Developers Conference, RootsTech will foster innovation for years to come as genealogists looking for solutions share their challenges with high‐tech innovators eager to develop new applications for their technologies.

Dozens of classes, workshops, lectures and discussion will be held over the three days of RootsTech. A selection of the topics covered:
  • Applying social networking techniques and technologies to collaborate as families and societies
  • Cameras, scanners, and preservation devices
  • How to use cloud computing to deploy highly reliable, scalable systems
  • Using standards and authorities to enhance applications and search techniques
  • Handwriting recognition and automated transcription
  • Search engines and finding tools
  • GPS mapping
  • Tricks and travails in embedding external components
  • Leveraging records digitization and preservation
  • Media capture and conversion
  • Available APIs and Web services
  • Understanding new markets
  • Mobile devices and smartphone applications
  • Much, much more!
The scheduled sessions for each day are listed for each day at the bottom of this page.  click on a specific day and see the list.  wow!

Who Should Attend?  Is that you?  It certainly is me.

See the Accommodations page for information about hotel space.

BUT, I cannot attend due to a schedule conflict.  I committed several months ago to do a presentation on Saturday morning, 12 February to my local San Diego Genealogical Society and don't want to break that commitment.  I considered going for the Thursday and Friday sessions and flying home on Friday night, but I'll miss half the conference, and if the weather is bad in SLC and my flight is cancelled, then I would miss the SDGS meeting.  So, I decided to not attend RootsTech.

Apparently, There are some sessions for remote access, and I will try to attend some of them. 

I will have more information on RootsTech in the two months until the event.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: 1900 Status Report

For Treasure Chest Thursday, I am presenting and transcribing papers from the Civil War Pension File of my Second Great-Grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901). In previous posts, I've presented:

*   Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Pension Declaration,
Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: Widow's First Declaration,
*  Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: General Affidavit #1
Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: General Affidavit #2

 I'm going to back up here, and show the first item in the packet, which is a status report of the soldier's status:

The transcription of this form follows (was this a folded piece of paper?):

[left-hand side]

East Div., N.L.R., Ex'r

Department of the Interior
Bureau of Pensions,
Washington, D.C.  Sept 28, 1900

Respectfully referred to the Chief of the
Record and Pension Office, War Department,
requesting a full military and medical his-
tory of the soldier at this date
also his age and
personal description
at date of enlistment

(2 inclosures)

No other report on file.
Cert. No. 850,736
Name, Isaac Seaver 3rd
Co. H 4" Reg't Mass. H. Art.

[signed] N. Olney Evans, S.S.

[Right hand side]

Record and Pension Office
War Department

Respectfully returned to the
Commissioner of Pensions

Isaac Seaver
Co. ___, ____ Reg't Mass H.A.
was enrolled Aug 10, 186_
and M.O. June 17, 186 5
with Co. H 4 Mass
H A to which Chgd
about Nov 18.64 as
Isaac Seaver 3d

From Enr, 186 _ , to MO., 186_
he held the rank of, Pvt

and during that period the rolls show him present
except as follows ________________
Pers desc. Age 40 yr
Blacksmith, Eyes blue
comp light, hair sandy
5 ft, 10 1/2 in.

This was dated 28 September 1900, and the Pension Office apparently wanted to make sure that Isaac was still alive. 

The personal description at the bottom of the right-hand panel is the most useful part of this document - Isaac's physical description at enlistment would be my own physical description at age 40.

Advent Calendar - 16 December: Christmas At School

This is the 16th of 24 posts for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, a Geneablogger tradition.

On the 9th day of Christmas,
I got dressed up as a tree
for the school play pageantry.

1) What did you do to celebrate Christmas at school?

My elementary school days were in 1948-1955, and I really don't remember much about Christmas activities at school. We must have made Christmas cards for our siblings and parents and grandparents. And paper chains to decorate the Christmas tree or the house. We probably made "hands" in clay, or paperweights with our picture on them, or some little gift like that for our parents. We probably sang some Christmas songs - especially the secular ones like Frosty, Jingle Bells, Rudolph, etc.

2) Were you ever in a Christmas Pageant?

Again, I don't recall (perhaps conveniently?). If I was, it was probably as a tree or a shepherd or a wise man with no speaking part. I was terribly frightened of public speaking until after college.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blog Caroling - Angels We Have Heard On High

Our dear footnoteMaven is warming up the Choir of GeneAngels for this year's sing-along of Christmas Carols. We are supposed to claim our favorite Christmas Carol. The collection of songs from genea-bloggers should lift all of our spirits as we shop until we drop.

Mine is still "Angels we Have Heard On High" - maybe because of the Latin in it? Or because I can sing it in J-sharp and no one notices because of the joy it brings everyone else? Most likely because Linda collects angels and is referred to as Angel Linda by friends. The rumor that the first angel she collected was me is untrue.

Angels We Have Heard on High

Angels we have heard on high,
Singing sweetly through the night,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their brave delight.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why these songs of happy cheer?
What great brightness did you see?
What glad tiding did you hear?

Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Come to Bethlehem and see Him
whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee
Christ, the Lord, the new-born King.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

See him in a manger laid
Whom the angels praise above;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While we raise our hearts in love.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.


Musicologists have decided that this anonymous French tune was probably created around the eighteenth century. Some legends place its origin as as early as the second century.

Traditional French Carol

Words: Tra­di­tion­al French car­ol (Les Anges dans nos Cam­pagnes).Trans­lat­ed from French to Eng­lish by James Chad­wick (1813-1882); ap­peared in Crown of Jesus, 1862.

Music: “Gloria (Barnes),” French carol melody; ar­ranged by Ed­ward S. Barnes.

Recorded/Performed: Andy Williams - 1970

Also recorded by: Tennessee Ernie Ford; Mormon Tabernacle Choir; Tommy Greer; Clancey Brothers; Scarlet Rivera; Eric Rigler; Madeline McNeil; Sandi Patty; Nat King Cole; Lorie Line; Connie Brown; Scott Miller; Vienna Boys Choir; Percy Faith; Collin Raye; Frankie Gavin; Texas Boys Choir; Mel Weston; Donny Osmond.

Building a Better GEDCOM - my ruminations

I mentioned the Build a Better GEDCOM Wiki over a month ago and urged genealogists interested in improving genealogy software to participate in the discussions, the testing and development of an improved standard that all genealogy software can use. The discussions are ongoing about not only GEDCOMs, but also genealogy research standards.

One of the most interesting pages on the site is the What's Wrong with GEDCOM? page.  Click on the Discussion tab and see what people are saying.

And now there is a Build a Better GEDCOM Blog, with DearMYRTLE, GeneJ and Russ participating.  Russ used a small GEDCOM file from Family Tree Maker 2011 and imported it into a number of other programs, with interesting, and different, results.  These tests highlight the problems with current genealogy software, I think.  Read their posts and comment if you have a question or suggestion.

From my own blog posts about FTM 16, FTM 2011, RootsMagic4 and Legacy Family Tree 7, readers can see some of the problems I've encountered, both real and imagined. 

It's a given that most researchers don't really care about the standards, they just want software that works for them - is easy to use, is quick, looks good, produces decent reports and charts, and creates a GEDCOM file that can be shared with other researchers, ported to another program or uploaded to a website. 

I think that most researchers buy one program and use it and hope that the GEDCOM it creates will be adequate for uploading to a website or importing to another program.  Implicit in that is that the GEDCOM from one program can be read and understood by another program.  Also implicit is that the GEDCOM file created uses standard terminology.  The current GEDCOM de facto standard is apparently 5.5. 

It's apparent to me that not every software program can accurately create a GEDCOM file fully complicit with GEDCOM 5.5 standards.  If so, then the data in my GEDCOM file from FTM 16 would translate into exactly the same information in FTM 2011, RootsMagic or Legacy.  It doesn't.  I don't know whose fault that is, but I would like to find out.

Shouldn't every genealogy software program provide a fully compatible GEDCOM file to the 5.5 standard?   Which ones do?  I don't know, but I'd like to find out.  What would be left out if they did? 

I understand that this is not simple, and I understand that the different software companies have added content specific to their own programs in order to add features not incorporated in the GEDCOM 5.5 standard. 

I've invested several months of time to improve my own database - fixing data errors, adding many sources for facts, standardizing place names, etc. I found that adding and editing sources and source citations was easily handled by FTM 16.   In order to do the standardizing place names task as quickly and easily as possible, I imported the FTM 16 file into Family Tree Maker 2011.  Am I now "stuck" with using FTM 2011 forever now?  I guess I am if the task to correct the GEDCOM creation and exportation errors in FTM 2011 or the GEDCOM importation and translation errors in another program is too onerous to pursue. 

One method that looks like it might transcend GEDCOM is a program like GenBridge, which reads genealogy software databases in their native format and creates a database file in the native format of another genealogy software program.  That sounds wonderful, but is it sufficiently developed to be offered commercially, and will it be continuously updated as genealogy software programs mature and change over time?

Build a Better GEDCOM envisions a much larger task, and it is a significant challenge to complete.  If you have some expertise in this area, I hope that you will participate in the discussions and creating solutions.  I am heartened to see Bruce Buzbee of RootsMagic and Louis Kessler of Behold! at least reading and commenting on the site and the blog. 

If you have a problem with one or more aspects of GEDCOM or with a specific software program, then raise your issue at Build a Better GEDCOM and volunteer to help solve it.

UPDATE 16 December:  For some reason, Blogger did not accept a comment from Tamura Jones on this post.  He tried six times, and I received the comment in my email each time, but the comment disappeared shortly after it was posted.  I don't know why and did not delete the comments myself.  The comment was cogwent and helpful.  Here it is:

Tamura Jones has left a new comment on your post "Building a Better GEDCOM - my ruminations":


I announced the Building a Better GEDCOM blog more than a week ago, in the best way possible; inside the third GeneaBlog Awards :-)
GeneaBlog Awards 2010

My recent Direct Import article discusses the pros & cons of direct import over standardised formats. This is a general software architecture article, not specific to genealogy, but it does discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a third party component for direct import.

- Tamura

All I Want for Christmas is... Isaac's Civil War Pension File!

Devoted readers of Genea-Musings will recall that I'm transcribing the pages that I have from my second-great-grandfather Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File.  However, I'm pretty sure that my uncle Ed Seaver ordered and received the Pension Documents Packet and not the complete file back in 1990.

So - for my belated Christmas present, I'm ordering Isaac Seaver's complete pension file online and should receive it on a CD or DVD in 6 to 20 weeks.  In the process of ordering, I made some screen shots of the process that show off the new National Archives website and the online ordering process.

Here is the newly designed National archives home page at

I was interested in the Civil War Pension File, so I clicked on the "Veterans Service Records" image:

On the "Veteran's Service Records" page above, under "Research using Military Records" there is a link for "Locate older (pre-World War I) service records"  and I clicked on that to see (two screens below):

The page above provides information on ordering the older military records, and in the "Military Pension/Bounty Land Warrant Applications" box at the bottom of the screen above is a link to "Order Online."  When I click on that, I get:

On this page above, I can order a number of different records online.  I chose the "Federal Military Pension application - Civil War and Later Complete File - (NATF 85D)"

The first order page looks like this:

I chose to order the file via "CD or DVD (Determined by File size and Availability)" rather than via a paper copy.  I clicked on the "Add to Cart" button and filled out the form with the Soldier's information:

I needed to know Isaac's Pension File number, his birth date and place, his death date and place, the war he fought in, and his company, regiment and branch of the service. 

Then I clicked on the "Continue to Pay and Ship" button, registered with NARA, and filled in the shipping and billing information. 

That took all of about five minutes to order the file.  NARA has made this a very easy ordering process.  I look forward to a surprise in my mailbox next February or March! 

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 133: Randy and Santa

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

This photograph was probably taken at Marston's Department Store in downtown San Diego where my grandfather worked for 55 years. This photo was probably taken in the 1947 to 1950 time frame. My guess is that my grandfather, Lyle Carringer, took this picture, although my mother may have taken it.

It looks like Santa has a good hold on me - an arm around my waist and a hand holding down my left arm. I was never scared of Santa Claus, so my smile is genuine and anticipatory. Either that, or someone made a funny face at me when the picture was snapped.

Advent Calendar - 15 December: The Holiday Happenings

This is the 15th of 24 posts for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, a Geneablogger tradition.

On the 10th Day of Christmas,
my true love inquired to say
Did any ancestors marry on Christmas day?"

1) Select one or more December to mid-January birthdays and/or anniversaries on your family tree.

This, of course, requires knowledge of the birthdays, and anniversaries, of my ancestors and other relatives. What better way to find out than to exercise my genealogy software programs. The RootsMagic 4 program easily makes a list of persons born on specific days and couples with specific wedding days.

In my 39,537 person database, there are 48 persons born on 25 December, but only one of my known ancestors - Benedict Oatley (1732-1815) - was born on Christmas Day.

Likewise, in my database, there are 40 couples married on Christmas Day. Only one known ancestral couple - Edward Hildreth (1831-1899) and Sophia Newton (1834-1923) was married on Christmas Day.

I  had to use the Custom List in RootsMagic 4 to look for the 40 people that died on 25 December, but I found that none of my known ancestors died on that date. I did find that my ancestor, Thomas Wheeler (1621-1704) died on 24 December.

2) Write a short tribute to or memory of those birthday guys and gals and write a toast to the anniversary couples.

I am, of course, thankful that each one of my ancestors were born on the day that they were born, and that they were married on the day that they were married. There are things that happen in a moment that take a lifetime to explain - a birth, a conception, a marriage, a death, or any of the events that each individual experiences in their lifetime.

I wonder if my great-great-grandparents Edward and Sophia (Newton) Hildreth had some sort of special way each year to celebrate their marriage on 25 December 1852. I hope so! They shared 46 wedding anniversaries together.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The new is live!

I was alerted to this by James Tanner's post Beta FamilySearch replaces old FamilySearch and soon saaw Paul Nauta's post Website Changes on the FamilySearch Blog

I typed in my browser address line and saw:

Okay.  So where are the old sites that were useful, like the International Genealogical Index and the other databases?  I found that the URLs I had in my Favorites still work and take me to the old FamilySearch Search,  News, Library, Education, etc.

But there's a link on the new home page at the top right - see the "Changes at" and "What's New" button?  Click on that, and you go to Paul Nauta's post on the blog (two screens below):

On the blog post are links to some of the old sites, including:

Go to Prior Version of

* Go to Popular FamilySearch Downloads
* Search the IGI (International Genealogical Index)
* Search Ancestral File
Search Historical Books
Search Community Trees

 Here is the screen for the Go to Prior Version of link:

Everything seems to work as before, although the screens have changed a bit, and there are links to the FamilySearch Beta site (and still works).

The Record Search Pilot site is still active, but has only 402 databases at this time.  The site has 508 historical collections listed today.

Tuesday's Tip - Use the FamilySearch Library Catalog and FHL Microforms

This week's Tuesday's Tip is to:  Use the FamilySearch Library Catalog (formerly the Family History Library Catalog) to find resources that are located at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, or on microfilm or microfiche that can be ordered at a local LDS FamilySearch Center.  Order microfilm or microfiche for those items of interest to you in your family history and genealogy research.

To reiterate an earlier Tuesday's Tip - all of the information you need to research your genealogy is not online, and it never will be!  There is a wealth of material from all parts of the world available on microfilm or microfiche at the FamilySearch Library. 

Some of the most useful records that can be obtained to perform a Reasonably Exhaustive Search are vital, probate, land, tax, town, church and similar county and state records.  These are available in the FamilySearch Library Catalog for many counties, states and countries, and are not available, in general terms, in online historical record databases. 

Ordering the microfilms and microfiches at a local FamilySearch Center can provide valuable research evidence for your elusive ancestors, but they cost about $6 for a limited time to review them.  However, for me, that is more time efficient and cost efficient than going to Salt Lake City for a week or more at the Family History Library. The exception is if you need to access a large number of different microfilms - that is when you go to SLC.

The good news is that in the future a researcher will be able to browse through many of the microfilmed records on the website.  There may even be indexes for the records.  But there are few of the probate, land, tax, and town records available online at present.

Am I preaching to the choir here?

Advent Calendar - 14 December: Fruitcake - Friend or Foe?

This is the 14th in a series of 24 posts for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. 

On the 11th Day of Christmas,
some joker sent to me
the biggest fruitcake I ever did see!

1) Did you like fruitcake?

I don't recall ever eating more than one bite of fruitcake, so I don't know if I like it or not. I think probably not...

2) Did your family receive fruitcakes?

As a kid, I don't think so. We didn't get many gifts from out of town, and no one here, except probably Cousin Dorothy who was "different," received them.

3) Have you ever re-gifted fruitcake?

I recall that Linda and I received one by opening a gift at a Christmas party, and we promptly re-gifted at the New Years Party - to much laughter. We had to disguise it in a box, though.

4) Have you ever devised creative uses for fruitcake?

Of course...examples --

*  Petrified Fruitcake (surprise your favorite geologist)?
*  Fruitcake fights (hidden in a snowball)?
*  Fruitcake-eating contest (go for a Guinness world record)?
*  Juicy-Fruitcake gum (hide it under your best friend's desk)?
*  Scantily clad girl surprises 90-year old on his birthday by jumping out of a large fruitcake (Ah, the mind wanders, er, well, I should be so lucky in 25 years)?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Managing Repositories in Family Tree Maker 2011

You would think that I had learned my lesson from Saturday (see Be Careful with the Publish button...),  and would check the Help file in Family Tree Maker 2011 before I tried to fix all of my Repository listings.  But, alas, no.  I messed around trying to Edit the Repository in specific source citations and finally managed to crash the program... several times.

I had several nearly duplicate Repositories in my list, and many of them had been screwed up when I exported my database from FTM 2010 back to FTM 16 several months ago.  When I imported the FTM 16 database into FTM 2011, the screwed up Repository listings were still there (of course).  So, I wanted to fix them, and clean up the duplicates in the process.

I figured that there was a better way, so I broke down and consulted the Help files.  I searched for "replace repositories" in the Help Search screen, and saw several results, including this summary about "Repositories:"

It gives directions for different Options - New, Edit, Replace, Delete and Usage. At the bottom is the key - "To open the Repositories dialog box, click Edit and Manage Repositories.

Okay, that's simple... I tried that and the list of my Repositories opened:

If you look closely, you can see that many of the Repositories in my database had the blasted "NAME" in front of many Repositories, and had "ADDR EMAIL PHON" after the name of the Repository.  After about an hour of effort, I had edited the Repository items to eliminate those offending terms and had also eliminated duplicate Repository entries by using the Replace button.

Here is my cleaned up list of Repositories:

Now I'm not sure what the "standard" repository citation is - should I name the repository itself and the location of the repository, e.g., "Carlsbad Georgina Cole Library, Carlsbad, California, USA" or should I put the city, state, country in the Address field in the Repository dialog box? 
What about online databases?  I have adopted using the name of the database with the website in parentheses - e.g., Find-A-Grave ( without a place name for the company.  Is that appropriate?
I hear a little birdie telling me "you dummy, you should have looked in the Bible of genealogical source citations, Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills."  Okay, I did, and see the same thing in the QuickSheet:  Citing Databases and Images.  A typical citation for a census record looks like:
" 'Washington Deaths, 1890-1907,' database, (" with an "accessed 22 January 2009), entry for ..." after.  The Repository bit is the Item ("database") and the Website title and URL (", (").  I've been putting the access date and specific entry information into the source citation detail.
So I've messed up again - I need to edit the Repositories, and more importantly, all of the Source definitions to meet the EE and QuickSheet standards.  Drat! 
I will learn the right way, and the easy way, to do this sometime, I hope!  Perhaps I should use the Source template function.  But I have 640 Source Groups already and about 40 Repositories to Edit.  Or I could just leave them alone and they'll serve as a bad example.

Amanuensis Monday - the Probate Records of Simon Gates (1739-1803) of Gardner 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 Simon Gates (1739-1803) of Gardner, Worcester County, Massachusetts..  He was married to Susannah Reed (1745-1833) in 1766, and they had eleven children (Nathan (1767-1830), Elizabeth (1769-1778), Susannah (1772-1778), Simon (1774-1778), Anna (1777-1778), Simon (1779-1852), Daniel (1782-1847), Gerry (1784-1784), Reuben (1786-????), Ezekiel (1789-1809), Elizabeth (1794-1819).  Only six children were living when Simon Gates died, and three were minors.

Simon Gates of Gardner died intestate, and left a sizable estate. The original probate records can be found in Worcester County Probate Packet No. 23,252 at the Worcester County Courthouse in Worcester, MA.   Each record in a Worcester County probate packet is also recorded as clerk's copies in the county probate court records, which are available on FHL microfilms.  I have summarized the contents of the records in the probate packet below:

The packet includes a letter of administration naming the widow, Susanna Gates, as administratrix on 6 April 1803 (Worcester County Probate Records, Volume 125, page 62). A $10,000 bond was posted by Stephen Miles and Stephen Hoar, sureties (Worcester County Probate Records, Volume 171, page 27).

An inventory was taken on 14 May 1803, in the sum of $5,636.17 by Stephen Miles, Stephen Hoar and Levi Fairbanks; the inventory was accepted by the Court on 19 May 1803 (Worcester County Probate Records, Volume 32, page 28).

A warrant of partition was issued to Aaron Wood, Matthias Mosman and Stephen Hoar on 7 September 1803. Their report was filed and allowed on 17 May 1804 (Worcester County Probate Records, Volume 33, page 9).

The administratrix filed her account and it was allowed on 17 May 1804, with the balance of $599.65 to be distributed to the heirs as ordered (Worcester County Probate Records, Volume 33, page 16). Receipts were received from Simon Gates, Elizabeth Gates, Daniel Gates, Merari Spaulding and Merari Spaulding (guardian) on 17 May 1804 (Worcester County Probate Records, Vol. 32, page 436).

The partition of the estate was very detailed and very complex, due to the large landholdings of Simon Gates. The land included:

1) The home farm in the northeastern part of Gardner, 98 acres and 23 rods of mowing, plowing, orcharding, pastureland and woodland, together with two dwelling houses, barn and other outbuildings. The land was bounded southerly by Josiah Kendall, southeasterly by Josiah Kendall, a town way, Daniel How, and widow Ray, northerly by John Owens, and westerly by Edward Jackson. This home farm was appraised at $2,525.

2) 30 acres of pasture and woodland, called the Conant lot, in the eastern part of Gardner, bounded northerly by a town road, westerly by John Pierce and William Chappel, southerly on fourth division land, and easterly by Edward Jackson. This land was valued at $330.

3) The Marshall lot in the southeastern part of Gardner, comprising 48 acres and 149 rods of mowing pasture and woodland, bounded northwesterly and southwesterly by David Read, southeasterly by Ephraim Pratt, John Pierce and Jabez Bigelow, and northeasterly by William Penniman. This land was appraised at $490.

4) Two Fourth Division lots numbers 99 and 100 in Gardner, containing 34 acres; valued at $185.

5) A tract of 18 acres of swamp land in the northwestern part of Westminster, called the Coburn Swamp, appraised at $190.

6) Pew number 15 in the Gardner meeting house, valued at $44.

7) A pew in the galleries of the Gardner meeting house, valued at $27.

8) A horse stable near the meeting house valued at $5.

The entire real estate totalled $3,796, of which the widow's one-third dower rights amounted to $1265.33-1/3.

The appraisers set off to the widow, Susanna Gates, one half of the dwelling house, 32 acres of the home farm, the 30 acre Conant lot, one half of pew 15 in the Gardner meeting house, and one half of the stable near the meeting house. This added up to $1,265.33-1/3.

The remaining amount was $2,530.66-2/3 to be divided amongst the children.

The oldest child, Nathan Gates, had received the sum of $266.67 from his father, and was indebted to the estate by $747.04 principal and interest, totalling then $1,033.72. By agreement with the other children and heirs of Simon Gates, Nathan Gates agreed to quitclaim any further real or personal estate of his father in return for being relieved of all demands from the estate. Therefore, he was not considered to be part of the distribution of the remaining estate.

Each child - Simon Gates, Daniel Gates, Elizabeth Gates, Ezekiel Gates and Reuben Gates - was to receive $506.13-1/3.

Elizabeth Gates was apportioned the other half of pew 15 in the Gardner meeting house ($22) and $484.13-1/3 to be paid by her brothers Simon and Daniel Gates.

Ezekiel Gates was apportioned $506.13-1/3, to be paid by his brothers Simon and Daniel Gates.

Reuben Gates was apportioned the Marshall lot ($90) and $416.13-1/3 to be paid by his brothers Simon and Daniel Gates.

Simon and Daniel Gates were apportioned the other half of the dwelling house and the remainder of the home farm (98 acres plus), the two Fourth Division lots, the Coburn Swamp land in Westminster, the gallery pew in the meeting house and one half of the horse stable. Their portion amounted to $2,018.66-1/3. They were directed to pay their siblings the amounts listed above.

The personal estate was listed in a detailed inventory, and totalled $1,887.25. The widow, Susanna Gates charged herself with this amount, and filed the account listing the charges and debts paid to many people, totalling $1,287.62. This left a balance of $599.63 to be distributed to the heirs. She was granted her one third share ($199.88), and was directed to pay the other five children $79.95 each.

Receipts for their shares were signed by Simon Gates, Daniel Gates, Elizabeth Gates, and Merari Spaulding, the guardian of Ezekiel Gates and Reuben Gates.

This probate process shows that estates can be divided up fairly evenly, and logically.  My ancestor, the eldest son Nathan Gates, was given a break by his mother and his siblings - he owed more than his share of the inheritance.  The two sons that received most of the real estate, Simon and Daniel, were young men at the time, but soon married.  I wonder if they were able to pay their siblings the money owed to them?  Perhaps they sold some of the land to raise the money.  The mother of the children, Susannah (Reed) Gates, died in 1833, and only three of her children survived her.  I should check for a probate record or for land records for her.

Vote for your favorite Genea-Blogs NOW!

 Family Tree Magazine has just announced the nominees for its 40 Best Genealogy Blogs contest with results to be announced in the July 2011 issue!

The list of 117 candidate blogs in eight categories are listed, with links, in the post Family Tree Magazine’s 40 Best Genealogy Blogs – Vote For Your Favorite  on Geneabloggers

You have until 11:59 p.m. Monday, December 20th to vote for your favorite genealogy blogs.

The survey form is at

A number of genealogy blogs were not eligible for nomination - any blogs associated with Thomas MacEntee, Lisa Louise Cooke, DearMYRTLE or Randy Seaver because they agreed to serve as Family Tree 40 blog panelists.

Do your duty, and go VOTE!

Advent Calendar - 13 December: Holiday Travel

This is the 13th of 24 posts for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories, a Geneablogger tradition.

On the 12th day of Christmas,
we packed up the car to go
All the way to San Francisco.

1) Did you travel anywhere for Christmas?

As a kid, we never traveled anywhere for Christmas, other than to Cousin Dorothy's, my grandparents and the Christmas tree lot.

After we were married, we would alternate Christmas between San Diego and San Francisco, because Linda's parents and brother were there. They would come to San Diego one year, and we would go to San Francisco the next year. Until the kids were older, we usually flew to San Francisco on Christmas Day and returned before New Years Day. As the kids grew older, we would drive to San Francisco, usually leaving on the 23rd and arriving on the 24th. This let us do some winter vacationing in Yosemite and other places.

We tried each year to have a get-together and dinner with my brothers here in San Diego. If the girls were here, then we would have a Christmas Day dinner at our house or my brothers' house.. If we were going north, we would get together with the brothers the weekend before Christmas.

Our daughters started their own families, and so now we have to juggle everybody's schedule. Last year, Lori and her family flew down for several days, and Tami and her family came down for Christmas Day.  This year, we are going to Tami's home in Victorville, then to Linda's brother's home in Monte Rio north of San Francisco, and we'll get to Lori's home on Christmas Day, and be home by New Year's Eve.

2) How did you travel and who traveled with you?

We either flew to San Francisco and were picked up by Linda's father or brother, or we drove the 550 miles, usually up Highway 101 because it wasn't as subject to snow, ice and fog like Interstate 5 was. Now, we almost always drive alone, as described above.

3) Do you remember any special trips?

The trip to Yosemite after Christmas in about 1985 was the best! The girls were pre-teens and loved to travel. We stayed in a motel, but were able to wander around the lodge, see the waterfalls, bike around the valley, and go to the ski resort. There, we did some sliding on mats (I think), had snowball fights, watched the skiers, and enjoyed hot drinks in the lodge. That night, we visited Linda's cousin in Fresno and stayed the night, and headed home the next day.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

CVGS Holiday Luncheon is Wednesday, 15 December

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society Holiday Luncheon is on Wednesday, 15 December from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Chula Vista South Branch Library (389 Orange Avenue, on southeast corner of Orange Avenue and fourth Avenue; the parking lot entrance is on Orange Avenue east of Fourth). Park in the west end of the parking lot, near Fourth, and enter through the door facing the parking lot.

The event will feature a slide show on the theme of “Out of the Past and Into the Future.” There will be an Officer Installation with past society Presidents doing the honors.

The luncheon will have turkey, ham, and drinks provided by CVGS. The pot luck breakdown for the rest of the meal will be (for last names starting with):

* A-F: salads, rolls, butter;
* G-K: snack trays, condiments, olives, pickles, cranberry or apple sauce;
* L-P: potatoes (regular or sweet), vegetables, or casseroles;
* Q-Z: desserts.

Please call Virginia (619-425-7922, or email to coordinate potluck dishes.

Members are requested to bring canned food and/or unwrapped toys for donation to the Salvation Army.

A gift exchange will be held (maximum value $10): bring a wrapped gift in order to draw one.

For the Door prize: everyone gets a free ticket to win a Santa or an Angel.

Opportunity drawing (tickets available for purchase): to win centerpiece decorations.

Meat leftovers will be auctioned off to the highest bidders.

I hope to see you there!

Best of the Genea-Blogs - December 5-11, 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:

Some of My Favorite Texas Resources by Greta Koehl on Greta's Genealogy Bog blog.  Thank you, Greta, for the nice list of resources!

For better or worse? Unusual names in our marriage records  by Jess Moore on the findmypast blog.  A funny survey of English marriage records.

A Date With An Old Photo by footnoteMaven on the Shades Of The Departed blog.  I knew fM would love the historical Sears Catalogs on - see what goodies she highlights in this post.

*  Kudos: Michael Hait  by Craig Manson on the  GeneaBlogie