Saturday, January 8, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What are they searching for?

It's Saturday Night again - time for more Genealogy Fun!!!

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

1)  Go to your Blog Statistics website (e.g., StatCounter, Google Analytics, etc.) and find the page for "Keyword Searches" done on your blog.

2)  Tell us some of the funniest or most interesting keyword searches and your reaction to them.  Write your own blog post or put them in a comment to this post, or in a comment or status on Facebook.

Have fun!

Here's mine:

I use StatCounter ( as one of my statistics pages, and it has some interesting searches over the past day or two (keyword search terms in quotes below):

*  "most kids fathered" - they found my post  - 867!  more or less...

*  "ken kramer about San Diego is he Jewish" - I don't know... and my post doesn't tell him.

*  ""marchoine 1878" - the page that came up has nothing like this on it.  What were they looking for?

*  "reuben glazier rutland Massachussetts" - they got a match even if they spelled Massachusetts wrong.  Not sure it helped them though.

*  "abraham lincoln and obadiah holmes" - not sure that these two knew each other...but Abe and I have Obadiah as an ancestor, as shown in

*  " complaints" - I have them too - they found - I hope it helped them.

*  "what does the abbreviation FNU mean in a family tree" - I hope my post was helpful... I thought everybody knew this!

*  "data management on a computer see some genealogy file" - if you type enough words in a query, you're bound to have a million hits to check.  My blog post was #1 on the Bing parade.

*  "will of Ephraim Dunham" - they found which didn't have a will.  Oh well.  sorry!

*  "leontine albina" - who?  Oh, the mom with the most kids - see - the answer is 64 kids borne. 

*  "huge naked women genealogy" - uh oh, it found but it was in comments, not my writing, whew!
*  "table of consanguinity california" - huh?  It's different for California?  My post is on the first page of matches.

*  "i am my own own grandpa pedigree" - they found my chart, and the lyrics, in

That's enough - you get the idea!

Surname Saturday - STONE (England to colonial Massachusetts)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 149, who is Abigail STONE (1736-1800), 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 STONE 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)

74.  Josaih Sawtell (1768-1847)
75.  Hannah Smith (1768-1827)
148. Ephraim Sawtell, born 18 Jan 1735 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA; died about 1800 in probably Brookline, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA. He was the son of 296. Hezekiah Sawtell and 297. Joanna Wilson. He married 22 Dec 1757 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA.
149. Abigail Stone, born 02 Dec 1736 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA; died before 1800 in probably Brookline, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA.

Children of Ephraim Sawtell and Abigail Stone are: Abigail Sawtell (1758-1817); Lucy Sawtell (1760-????); Josiah Sawtell (1762-1766); Molly Sawtell (1763-????); Eli Sawtell (1765-????); Josiah Sawtell (1768-1847); Ephraim Sawtell (1770-????); Sarah Sawtell (1772-????); John Sawtell (1773-????); Ede Sawtell (1778-????).
298. James Stone, born 23 Jan 1702 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA; died 27 Feb 1783 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA. . He married  28 Dec 1726 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA.
299. Mary Farwell, born 05 Feb 1709 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA; died after 27 Feb 1783 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA. She was the daughter of 598. Joseph Farwell and 599. Hannah Colburn.

Children of James Stone and Mary Farwell are:  James Stone (1727-1788); Mary Stone (1729-????); Jonathn Stone (1731-????); William Stone (1734-1757); Abigail Stone (1736-1800); Sarah Stone (1739-????); Joel Stone (1742-1806); Salmon Stone (1744-1831); Hannah Stone (1747-????); Levi Stone (1750-1830).

596. John Stone, born 23 Jul 1658 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA; died 1735 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA.  He married 16 Dec 1698 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA.
597. Sarah Nutting, born 29 May 1663 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA. She was the daughter of 1194. John Nutting and 1195. Sarah Eggleton.

Children of John Stone and Sarah Nutting are:  John Stone (1699-1784); James Stone (1702-1783).

1192. Simon Stone, born about 1630 in Boxted, Essex, England; died 27 Feb 1708 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA.  He married  about 1655 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA.
1193. Mary Whipple, born before 20 Feb 1635 in Bocking, Essex, England; died 02 Jun 1720 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA. She was the daughter of 2386. John Whipple and 2387. Susanna.

Children of Simon Stone and Mary Whipple are: Simon Stone (1656-1741); John Stone (1658-1735); Matthew Stone (1660-1743); Nathaniel Stone (1662-1662); Ebenezer Stone (1663-1754); Mary Stone (1665-1735); Nathaniel Stone (1667-1755); Elizabeth Stone (1670-????); David Stone (1672-1750); child Stone (1674-1674); Susanna Stone (1675-1754); Jonathan Stone (1677-1754).

2384. Simon Stone, born before 09 Feb 1586 in Great Bromley, Essex, England; died 22 Sep 1665 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA. He was the son of 4768. David Stone and 4769. Ursula. He married  04 Aug 1616 in Great Bromley, Essex, England.
2385. Joane Clark, born about 1596 in England; died before 1654 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA. She was the daughter of 4770. William Clark and 4771. Joane Stone.

Children of Simon Stone and Joane Clark are: Frances Stone (1619-????); Mary Stone (1621-1622); Anne Stone (1624-1665); Simon Stone (1630-1708); Mary Stone (1632-1684); John Stone (1635-1691); Elizabeth Stone (1639-1665).

There are two classical Stone genealogy works:

1)   J. Gardner Bartlett,  Simon Stone Genealogy, Ancestry and Descendants of Simon Stone of Watertown, Mass. 1320-1926, published by the Stone Family Association in Boston, 1926. 

2)  David H. Brown, Dea. Simon Stone of Watertown, Mass., and Some of his Descendants, published in the New England Historic Genealogical Register, Volume 53, page 345, July 1899.

As you can see, I'm using my standardized place names in this series now.  It makes the post a bit longer, but more consistent.  Of course, "Massachusetts, USA" didn't exist as a state for much of the time period considered, but all of the towns mentioned did.  Purists can substitute "Massachusetts Bay Colony, North America"  if they wish!

Friday, January 7, 2011

New or Updated FamilySearch Historical Record Collections

I last listed the new or updated collections on the FamilySearch website on 2 December, when there were 499 collections on the list.  Since then, these Historical Record Collections have been added or updated to make a total of 519 collections:
There are 67 items on the list above, but only 20 were added databases since 2 December 2010.  I wish that FamilySearch would also indicate which databases are newly "Added" rather than just "Added or Updated."

More News about the 1940 U.S. Census Release

Longtime readers of Genea-Musings will recall that I reported on Joel Weintraub's  presentation to the San Diego Genealiogical Society about the 1940 Census release in February 2009 (see Joel Weintraub at SDGS on "Preparing for the 1940 Census") and provided more information to my readers in November 2009 in 1940 U.S. Federal Census Information.

Dick Eastman's post on Wednesday, NARA to Release 1940 Census Records?, noted a Federal News Radio report (see and wondered if the 1940 census would be released to the National Archives (NARA) web site.

Joel Weintraub commented on Dick's post, noting that:

"For the most recent formal information about the 1940 census and NARA... I suggest readers refer to a meeting on the 1940 census hosted by NARA last fall ....
and look at the Powerpoint Presentations contained in the above site."

Rebecca Warlow of the National Archives also commented on Dick's post, noting that:

"The sentence from Federal News Radio story, referred to in the blog post above, was missing a few key words. NARA will make the digitized copies of the 1940 Census population schedules available to the public, free of charge, on April 2, 2012 through our new Online Public Access search ("

That clarifies the issue, I think.

The $64,000 questions then become:

* Who will index these records?
*  Will NARA permit an early indexing (before April 2012) of these records by a commercial or non-profit vendor?
*  Will NARA permit commercial or non-profit vendors to put the 1940 census images on the vendor site or will researchers be driven by the indexes to the NARA site?

What other questions, and answers, do we have?

Useful Genealogy Resources Website

Reader Lauren contacted me with information about a Genealogy Resources webpage she has created on the  site - see  The page looks like this:

There are categories, with links to web sites, for Genealogy Search, Land Records, Historical Records and Genetic Analysis.

Two of the "Historical Records" sites are to "private detective"-type pay sites, including one for and  Here is the screen for the Police Records site, which leads you to pay for criminal and other information:

There are many similar sites, and the reader needs to be careful with them.  They can be very useful if you need the type of information they offer.

The gem of this website, for me, was the link to the National Resource Directory - Military Service Records site of the National Archives.  This site lists many of the records available from the Archives for military servbice records:

My thanks to Lauren for offering a link to this genealogy resources page.  I hope that she adds more links to her site in order to broaden the coverage - for instance, links to these sites might be worthwhile: - a subscription site specializing in historical government records, city directories, etc. - a subscription site with historical records - a subscription site with historical records - a subscription site for historical and current newspapers - the updated FamilySearch site with many more historical record collections and links to the Research Wiki, Family History Library, and much more. - a free site with user-submitted databases and information, including the Social Security Death Index - free site with links to online historical vital, military, census and immigration records - a free people search site with links to pay sites for more information

What other links should Lauren add to her website?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Table of Contents - Winter 2010 Issue of FGS FORUM

The Winter 2010 issue of the FGS FORUM magazine, published by the Federation of Genealogical Societies,  is available to subscribers on the FGS web site ( 

The Table of Contents includes:
*  page 3 - Sandra Hargreaves Luebking Retires as FORUM Editor, by Loretto Dennis Szucs (that's Sandra on the cover!)
*  page 4 - Farewell from the Editor: A Quarter Century, by Sandra Hargreaves Luebking
*  page 5 - Genealogical Community Thanks Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, by Jana Broglin
*  page 12 - FGS 2011: Springfield, Illinois, by Thomas MacEntee
*  page 20 - We Dreamt It... We Planned It... We BUILT It! by Margaret Cheney

*  page 21 - Mothers' Pension Records, by Pamela J. Cooper
*  page 22 - ROOTS TECH 2010
*  page 22 - Digital Tombstones
*  page 23 - FGS Presents Annual Awards
*  page 27 - News in Brief

*  page 27 - Malcolm H. Stern NARA Gift Fund
*  page 29 - Society Spotlight: Do I Need My Local Society, by Dan Kane
*  page 31 - State Reporting
*  page 32 - Records Preservation & Access column, by Linda McCleary
*  page 35 - Ethnic & International

*  page 37 - Family Associations column, by Christine Rose
*  page 38 - Genealogy 2.0 column: The Seduced Genealogist, by Randy Seaver
*  page 41 - Board Bytes
*  page 44 - Book Reviews column, by Paul Milner

This is the last issue of FGS FORUM edited by Sandra Hargeaves Luebking, FUGA, who has done an excellent job of getting everything fit to print for 25 years.  The new FGS FORUM editor is Matt Wright (see the FGS Voice blog post here). The Production Manager is Gary Mokotoff.   With the change to online publication of FORUM as a PDF has come use of more color and more graphics which enhances the product. 
I was very happy that Sandra was honored with a cover picture, a tribute article and six pages of thank yous from many of the leading lights in the genealogical community.  It was well-deserved, and illustrated to me, a randy-come-lately, how one person can influence and contribute to the community.  I look forward to seeing Sandra at future conferences and discussing more genealogy subjects with her.

In my Genealogy 2.0 column in this issue, I discussed "The Seduced Genealogist."  The column addressed the common problem of some researchers only working with online resources, and what experienced researchers, and genealogical societies, can do to help those researchers.

Visit to download a free copy of FORUM. This is your chance to read 50+ pages of current news and informative articles and columns. Because we are sure you will want to subscribe, there is a special discount subscription rate available at the website here.

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

To stay up-to-date with Federation of Genealogical Society news, put the FGS Voice blog, authored by several persons, in your blog reader. There is an FGS Conference News Blog also, authored by Paula Stuart-Warren.

Using to Convert PDF Files to JPG Images

When I wrote My Christmas Present Came Today - Oh Boy! about receiving the Isaac Seaver Civil War Pension File from NARA on a CD, I was in a quandary as to how to convert the PDF file to individual images of the 81 pages so that I could store and share them as page images. 

My readers had many excellent ideas in comments, and I want to highlight two of them that I'm using:

1)  Linda McCauley commented that:

"You can clip from a PDF file. Go to "Tools" > "Select/Zoom" > "Snapshot Tool". Then highlight the area you want to save as a photo file (similar to how you crop a photo in a photo editor). You will get a message that it's been copied. Then go to your photo editing software and paste it to a new file."

I didn't know that - it works very well and I will use it for one-off clipping from PDF files. 

2)  Eileen noted that:

"There are several PDF to JPG (or other image formats) converters available for free; just do a Google search on PDF to JPG."

and Diane Bowen suggested in an email that:

"That snapshot tool is a pain in the neck - I have to use it at work.  I just googled 'pdf to jpg' and came up with this - sounds good!

I followed Diane's link and quickly found a list of articles and websites that will do the job.  I tried and had great success.  Here was the process:

1)  At the Zamzar site, I browsed my files and selected the name of the NARA PDF file sent to me, selected to receive JPG files, put in my email address and clicked on the "Convert" button:

2)  It took about a minute to upload my 10 mb PDF file.  The screen below shows the message about the conversion process:

3)  The screen above says that it will take some time to convert my file, and they will send me an email with a link to the JPG files when it is available.  This was Tuesday night, and within two hours I had an email with the link:

4)  The email said that I had to access the files :within one day, so I hopped right to it.   I clicked the link in the email, and the files stored on Zamzar appeared:

5)  I had the choice of downloading a ZIP file of all of the images, or of downloading 81 image files one at a time.  I chose the ZIP file, selected the computer file folder to put it in, and watched the files download (65 mb worth).  The resulting unzipped file folder looked like this:

6)  The individual images are named "page0001.jpg" and so on up to "page0081.jpg." I clicked on one of the images to see if they were really there, and saw:

Yep, they're all there.  I can now rename them to something meaningful, although I'm not sure exactly how I want to do this yet.  Probably something like "Isaac Seaver 1823-1901 CWPF -page0001-date-description.jpg."

My estimate is that from the PDF file to 81 saved JPG files using the clipping tool would have taken about 3 hours of work time, while the Zamzar method took about 10 minutes of work time.  It took me longer to capture the images above than to perform the task.  I love time efficiency!

Now I'm wondering what other files I have that might benefit from the Zamzar treatment.  Zamzar will accept and convert files from or to image formats, document formats, music formats, video formats, e-book formats and other selected formats.  There is a 10 mb limit on the file uploads for unregistered users, and up to 1 gb for users with an account.  This is on my Favorites list now!

Thank you to my readers that commented and provided tremendous suggestions to this technology-limited geneablogger.

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1888 New York Marriage Record of Isaac Seaver and Alvina Lewis

It's Treasure Chest Thursday, time to share one of the documents or artifacts in my family history collection.  In previous posts, I have displayed documents from the Civil War Pension File of Isaac Seaver, my second great-grandfather. 

I received the complete Civil War Pension File for Isaac Seaver on Monday - see my post My Christmas Present Came Today - Oh Boy! - and it has 81 pages in the file.  Many of them have little or no information on them.  I'm going to cherry-pick some pages for this and later Treasure Chest Thursday posts.

Today, the marriage record of Isaac Seaver and Alvina Lewis on 15 September 1888 in St. Regis Falls, Franklin County, New York:

The information on this marriage record includes:

State of New York - Bureau of Vital Statistics
County of:  Franklin
Town of:  Waverly
Village of:  _____________
City of: _______________
Registered No. 28

I hereby Certify, that Isaac Seaver and
Alvina M. Lewis were joined in Marriage
by me in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, at St. Regis Falls
this 15th day of September 1888

Witnesses to the Marriage: _____________________________
Signature of person performing the Ceremony: Rev. J P. Dunham

Date of Marriage:  Sept. 15th 1888
Groom's Full Name: Isaac Seaver
Residence of Groom:  Leominster
Age:  65
Occupation: Blacksmith
Single or Widowed: Widowed
Birthplace of Groom:  Mass.
Father's Name: Benj. Seaver
Mother's Maiden Name: Sarah L. Palmer
Number of Groom's Marriage: third
Bride's Full Name: Alvina M. Lewis
Residence of Bride:  Mass.
Age:  41
Single or Widowed: Widowed
Birthplace of Bride: N.Y.
Father's Name: Harry H. Bradley
Mother's Maiden Name: Hulda Clancy
Number of Bride's Marriage: second
Name of Person Performing Cer'm'ny:  Rev. J.P. Dunham
Official Station: Pastor M.E. Church
Residence: St. Regis Falls
Date of Local Registration:  Oct. 6

This is the first New York marriage certificate that I've seen in my research (I know, I'm spoiled by Massachusetts records). 

There is one error in this record - the maiden name of Isaac Seaver's mother.  I have no idea who Sarah L. Palmer is!  His mother was Abigail Gates (1797-1867), who was married to Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825),and I have the birth certificate to prove it.  Who is Sarah L. Palmer?  Was she the wife of Isaac's legal guardian after 1836 - his uncle Jeremiah Knowlton Gates (1808-1845)?  The record I have is that his wife was Sally (--?--) Spalding (1800-1865).  It may be that she was born Sarah L. Palmer, married a Spalding before marrying Jeremiah Gates at age 34. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

RootsTech Early Bird Registration Deadline Is Soon

This press release was sent from the RootsTech Conference Media folks:

The $99 Early Bird Registration for RootsTech 2011 in Salt Lake City Ends Soon!
  • $99 early bird registration ends January 15, 2011 ($150 afterwards)
  • Only $35 for students!
  • February 10–12, 2011
  • Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Walking distance from the Family History Library

SALT LAKE CITY—The $99 early bird registration for the RootsTech 2011 Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, ends January 15, 2011. RootsTech is a completely new conference focused on bringing technology creators together with genealogy technology users to learn together and identify solutions to family history research challenges. Genealogists and family historians will discover exciting new research tools while technology creators will learn the latest development techniques from industry leaders and pioneers.

The registration fee includes three full days of conference attendance, conference materials, entry to the Clarke Planetarium dinner event, extended access to the Family History Library, admission to the closing reception event, eligibility for prize drawings, and admission to the Community Zone (exhibition hall).

Advancing technology is becoming an integral part of the future of genealogical research. Whether a person is new to genealogy or is an experienced researcher, RootsTech is the ideal place to discover the latest family history tools. In addition, technology creators will learn the skills needed to deliver innovative applications and systems, and they will have the opportunity to receive instant feedback from peers and users on their ideas and creations.

Keynote speakers at the conference include Shane Robinson, Hewlett Packard chief strategy and technology officer; Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and digital librarian; Jay L. Verkler, CEO of FamilySearch International; and Curt Witcher, Historical Genealogy Department manager for Allen County Public Library.

About RootsTech

RootsTech is a new conference designed to bring technologists together with genealogists to learn from each other and find solutions to the challenges faced in family history research today. The conference’s activities and offerings are focused on content that will help genealogists and family historians discover exciting new research tools while enabling technology creators to learn the latest development techniques from industry leaders and pioneers.

SDGS Seminar on 8 January Features Marcia Melnyk

The San Diego Genealogical Society Annual Seminar and Luncheon is on Saturday, 8 January from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Mission Valley (2270 Camino del Rio North).  Advance reservations were required   The $40 member fee includes a seated luncheon.  The seminar announcement is here.

The Seminar features Marcia Iannizzi Melnyk whose four presentations include:

Don't Reinvent the Wheel -- Tapping into the Knowledge of Others.  Somewhere there is an individual, ore a group, who can assist and teach you how to access or use a new database, record, or foreign records.  Tap into their knowledge and further your research.

Investigation the Dash (1842-1929): An Ancestor from Cradle to Grave --  Through a case study of one individual's lifetime, you will learn how to rearrange and review the data you have, and determine the holes in your information.  What records can be used to fill in those blanks?  What data might you have missed?  Can you follow them from cradle to grave using a timeline of their lives?  This presentation will change the way you look at records, new and old, and provide a more thorough life story of your ancestor.

Illustrating Your Family Heritage --   When you share your genealogical research with relatives, do you get that blank stare from some of them?  How can you tell the family story in a more engaging way?  Using images, photographs, and artful presentation can transform a boring list of names and dates into a mini-history lesson telling how your ancestors fit into their world.  This can be done in a scrapbook format or simply added to your documents outlining their lives.  I guarantee that you will engage them the next time you share!

Immigrant Research Strategies --  Researching a new ancestor or locale can be difficult.  Knowing where to search for existing data, other researchers, and books can make your search more successful!

About the speaker:

Marcia Iannizzi Melnyk  is a professional genealogist and author who has taught beginning and advanced genealogy courses for more than 18 years all over the United States and Canada.  She is a former reference librarian for the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston and the creator and teacher of their popular Genealogy 101 program.

About SDGS:

The San Diego Genealogical Society will unveil their new website at at the meeting.  There will be a Salt Lake city Trip drawing (need not be present to win) and other door prizes.

I look forward to this meeting - I've never heard Marcia speak, but I'm sure that I will learn quite a bit from her four topics.

More on Standardizing Place Names in FTM 2011

Interested readers will recall that I've been trying to standardize and geocode the place names in my ancestral database using Family Tree Maker 2011.  Previous posts on this topic include:

Standardizing Place Names in my Genealogy Database
Standardizing Place Names - Using FTM 2011 to Merge Place Names
Standardizing Place Names - Using FTM 2011 to Fix Non-standard Place Names

My goal in this work was to create place names in my database that would be acceptable to the FamilySearch Labs Standard Finder

I completed the task of standardizing over 6600 place names recently, but noted that I had quite a few place names like:

*  2115 30th Street, San Diego, San Diego, California, USA
*  Evergreen Cemetery, Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
*  Zion Lutheran Church, Loonenburg, Greene, New York, USA

I saw Russ Worthington's post Further Place Names in a GEDCOM file - a Follow Up on the Build a BetterGEDCOM blog, and decided that I should do what he did - put the detail information into the "Description" field for the place name.  So I did that yesterday.

The resulting Family Tree Maker 2011 file of 39,561 persons now has 4,486 place names, almost all of which are standardized and geocoded.  The exceptions are that many of my Norwegian farm names, some German town names, and some English village names are not in the FTM Place Name file.  I was able to find some of them on the maps and geocode them using the stickpin. 

I thought my readers might appreciate knowing how to put the addresses and other information in the "Description" field, so here are some screen shots:

1)  In the "Places" workspace (top menu), the place names are shown in the left-hand "Places" panel, the map is shown in the middle panel, and the usage of the highlighted place is shown in the right-hand panel:

The screen shot above shows a long list of places starting with the word "Old" including a number of cemeteries.  By double-clicking on the place name, a "Change Place Name" window opens and the user can change the place name and add the description (first by clicking on the "Add description text..." box).  Here is the screen before editing the Place Name for "Old Cemetery, Townsend, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA):

After checking the "Add description text..." box, I added "Old Cemetery" to the "Description" field, and highlighted the text to be deleted in the "New Place Name" field, as shown below:

After deleting the cemetery name, the Place Name reverted to the standard town name.  How is the "Description" seen in a person's list of Facts?  Here is the "Person" screen for James Hildreth in the "People" workspace, with his Burial Fact highlighted:

In the Fact list, the "Description" is shown after the town name.  The Description field in the right-hand panel has the cemetery name in the field.

The screen below shows the Person screen for Henry Austin Carringer with a number of entries in the "Description" field for several Facts:

I also used the "Description" field to add a note about the modern name of a defunct town, noting that "town renamed Brookline in the 1790s" for Raby, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA.

The major problem for using the modern, standardized and geocoded, place names is that the historical names for towns, counties, states or countries is lost.  Since my database was very inconsistent and full of errors for these historical places, I chose to standardize to the modern place names, but keep defunct historical town names (mainly in New England).

One more problem:  The FamilySearch Standard Finder seems to require "United States" rather than "USA" for the country name (and some say that "USA" is a standard abbreviation for the Union of South Africa).  I experimented with using an Edit == Find and Replace and that worked, but when I looked at the Places list, the geocodes disappeared!  The places were no longer "Standard" in Family Tree Maker 2011.  Why doesn't FTM 2011 use "United States" rather than "USA?"  Perhaps because it uses Microsoft's Bing Maps?

The bottom line is that I now have an ancestral database with standardized and geocoded place names (with exceptions).  That is a big step, I think, in being able to add content to the FamilySearch FamilyTree when it becomes available to non-LDS church members.  What else do I need to do to ensure that the data will be accepted in the FSFT?

Disclosure:  I received a gratis copy of Family Tree Maker 2011 from  I purchased previous versions of family Tree Maker myself, but also received gratis copies of some versions from (which I donated to a local genealogical society).  I try very hard to be objective in my comments about Family Tree Maker software.

Memorial Grant to Assist Young Genealogists Attending 2011 SCGS Jamboree

Genea-blogging colleague, Denise Levenick, author of The Family Curator blog, has sent this press release about a wonderful opportunity for a young genealogist:

January 5, 2011 – Student genealogists interested in attending the 2011 Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree

Suzanne Freeman was the mother of blogger and writer Denise Levenick, The Family Curator, and a lifelong volunteer who worked with many youth organizations in the capacity of leader, organizer, and administrator. She also developed a strong interest in family history, and enjoyed the growing number of young student genealogists. At the time of her death in Tucson, Arizona August 28, 2010, Suzanne was still searching for her elusive Winsor cousins.

Genealogy bloggers came to know Suzanne the past two years at the SCGS Jamboree where she enthusiastically joined the GeneaBlogger Welcome Bag project, assisting in the assembly and distribution of gifts to attending genealogy bloggers.

are invited to apply for the 2011 Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant established by friends and family to honor Suzanne’s Freeman’s lifetime of service to young people and to assist young genealogists seeking to advance their genealogical education.
To honor her support of the SCGS Jamboree, the first Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Grant will be awarded to a student attending the 2011 Jamboree. The grant includes a check for $500 toward conference expenses.

Applicants need not be a currently registered student, but must have been a enrolled at a college, university, or secondary school within the last twelve months, and be between the ages of eighteen
and twenty-five.

Complete guidelines and application are available online at The Family Curator blog  Deadline for applications is February 15, 2011; the award recipient will be announced March 1, 2011.

Suzanne Winsor Freeman was born January 5, 1933 in Olathe, Kansas to Arline (Kinsel) and Frank Ammi Brown, and grew up in Orange and Santa Ana after her family moved to California in 1937. She purchased property in Green Valley, Arizona in 1982 and became a full-time Arizona resident in 1997.

The Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Fund honors her love of service and of family history. The purpose of the fund is to assist young genealogists by offering grants to advance their genealogical education, including funds to attend genealogy conferences and workshops.

Suzanne enjoyed researching family history online and frequently posted queries that resulted in new family connections. She supplied stories and anecdotes for, the blog written by her daughter Denise Levenick, and also appeared as a guest blogger at

Donations to the Suzanne Winsor Freeman Memorial Student Genealogy Fund may be made at any Wells Fargo Bank c/o Wells Fargo Bank, Green Valley, Arizona 520/625-1222.

For More Information Contact: Denise Levenick,
Suzanne Winsor Freeman Obituary:, 626/ and Green Valley News

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 134: Mom and Me

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:

I love finding pictures like this in my photograph collection.  This is me as an infant with my mother, Betty Virginia (Carringer) Seaver beaming (?) at her little darling.  Little did she know what the future held for her, and for me.  I estimate that I am one to four months old in this photograph.

This photograph was taken in late 1943 or early 1944, probably by my father or my maternal grandfather, and probably in front of the Lyle Carringer home at 2130 Fern Street in San Diego.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Answers to my Questions

I posted Dear Randy:'s Shared Family Tree a week ago, and George Gearhart of tried to respond in Comments.  Unfortunately, some of the Comments did not publish on the blog post (I don't understand why this happens to me, others have had the problem too.  I do get the comments in email soon after they're posted). 

George is the host blogger on the revamped and more active blog, and responded to my questions on 29 December with his post: Response to Randy Seaver: 12-29-2010.  Here are his responses:

Hi Randy,

First, let me clarify a little bit about the Curators. Here’s a link to read more about them. When we decided to create Curators, we modeled them closely after Wikipedia Administrators. They have access to a few tools that other users cannot access, but their primary role is to guide and assist the community, and to establish best practices for collaboration on Geni. We work very closely with the Curators, and many tweaks and small features (including our API that we recently released) are driven by the demand of Curators and some of our other power users.

I don’t know if any other genealogy sites have roles like Curators or Administrators. I’m not familiar with any that do.

* If there is a conflict of information, which data is selected for display, and how is the decision made?

We have a fairly advanced system in place for determining which data is selected by default, but the important thing is that data is never lost on Geni. After two profiles are merged together, our users can always select the alternate data after the merge.

* Is there a discussion process involved – does the curator collaborate or consult with the submitters?

Short answer: yes :)

Users can create a discussion for every profile on Geni. All managers/editors of a given profile are notified when someone creates a discussion for that profile.

Discussions aren’t required, and they aren’t used in every case that a Curator merges profiles or makes adjustments in the tree. But they are common; both public and private discussions are a very significant part of Geni, and our users are very active and quick to respond.

* Is there an appeal process for curator’s decisions?

There isn’t a formal appeals process, but there are a lot of informal ones. Curators follow a pretty standard code of conduct (see the first link at the top of my comment), so appeals don’t actually happen that often.
There is also a lengthy public discussion that users and Curators use as a hub for these types of conversations.

And there are a lot of private messages that flow back and forth with the Curators and other users.
Most importantly, our engineers have been working really hard for the past year to create a data structure that will make the appeals process “insignificant”, for lack of a better word. We have already released the ability for users to see revisions for many text fields on Geni, and our users have the ability to revert to an older/different version of a text field.

Over the next few months, we will be releasing additional versioning features that allow users to revert complex things such as a merge that a Curator performed. With these new features, every action performed to publicly accessible data on Geni will be completely transparent, and completely reversible.

* Can a submitter remove his online tree or make it a private tree after it has been shared?

You can make any of your “close” relatives private at any time (we define “close” as 4th cousins or closer, as well as 3rd great grandparents and closer).

You can also make any living person private if you have permission to edit their profile.

I hope this answers any questions that you and your readers have about the email we sent.


I appreciate George's quick responses to my questions about the shared World Family Tree and the role of curators.  I hope to investigate the World Family Tree in the coming weeks.

Some City Directories Online at DonsList

Have you looked for online City Directories at DonsList (

I saw a San Diego county Mailing List message from Don Krieger that noted that he had added directories for:

*  San Diego: 1887-1925
*  San Francisco: 1880, 1887, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1981, 1935 by Phone
*  Oakland/Alameda/Berkeley: 1869-1915, 1938 by Address

The message says:

"For the San Diego and Oakland directories, I put more than one into single volumes.  That makes them easier to search.  In addition you can use the  "SEARCH SELECTOR" pull down menu near the top of the left frame to search groups of volumes, e.g. all the San Diego books at once.  I've separated the San Francisco group search into decades because there are too many books to search at once."

The DonsList page has 2,979 titles totalling 2,524,521 pages as of December 2010.
The DonsList site Directory page looks like this:

I clicked on "CA" for California and saw this list:

I was interested in San Diego City Ddirectories, so I clicked on the 1919-1920 link:

The first page of the directory appears in the lower frame above.  There is a small search box in the upper left of the top frame.  I put "Carringer" in the search box and saw:

The search results are in the right-hand part of the upper frame.  There was an interesting entry there -

"0239 SanDiegoCA1919 cigar mkr Carringer Emily Mrs" 

This means on page 0239of the 1919 directory that there is a listing for Mrs. Emily Carringer a cigar maker.  Huh?  I didn't know that!  I clicked on page 0239:

The top of the page quickly appeared.  At the top of the large lower frame is the "NEXT" and "PREVIOUS" links so the user can advance page-by-page if desired.  I scrolled down to see the Carringer listings:

The entry I noted above says:

"Carringer Emily Mrs, with the Marston Company, r 2100, 1st"

What happened to the cigar maker?  It was for the previous entry - Julian Carrilly.  Oh well!

The DonsList website works extremely well - the name search works with links to specific pages, the site works very quickly, and the site is FREE!

I wish that some subscription services with City Directories worked this efficiently and fast!

Tuesday's Tip - find Online Historical Newspapers

This week's Tuesday's Tip is to find newspaper articles about your ancestors in online record collections.

1)  Miriam Robbins Midkiff has an Online Historical Newspapers Website in progress at  Online newspapers are listed by country, then state, then county.  Free and subscription websites are listed and linked to.  Currently, there are listings for many US states, some Canadian provinces and some Australian states.  However, the listings do not include items on NewspaperARCHIVE and several other subscription sites.

2)  Joe Beine's Research Guides website has a page for Historical Newspapers and Indexes on the Internet for the USA at

3)  The University of Pennsylvania Library website has a listing of free online historical newspapers at

What other online historical newspaper index sites are there?

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Christmas Present Came Today - Oh Boy!

My last Christmas present - the one from me to myself and I -  came today in the mail in a nice little package from the National Archives.  I wrote about this in All I Want for Christmas is... Isaac's Civil War Pension File! back on 15 December.

In the package was a CD with a 10 megabyte PDF file with 81 pages from the Pension File of my second great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1813-1901), my only known Civil War soldier.  I ordered online, coughed up $75 on my credit card, and it took all of 19 days!  Pretty quick...and efficient!  It's nice to see government bureaucrats providing excellent service!

Since I also have the "selected papers" version on paper, I'll be interested to compare the two sets. 

I briefly scanned the contents and saw many more affidavits than I previously had, and there are several medical history reports about Isaac that I didn't have before.  Unfortunately, there were no affidavits from relatives, friends or service comrades attesting to his life situation and service. 

I will probably transcribe some of these records for Amanuensis Monday or Treasure Chest Thursday posts in the coming months, and i'll definitely show them off at the CVGS Research Group meeting next month.

My biggest problem is how to obtain images from the PDF file so I can post them - I guess I can print them and scan them, which seems a waste of valuable time.  Oh well!

1 January 2011 Benchmark Numbers

I'm still a "numbers guy" and like to try to keep track of various numbers in the genealogy world.  So this is a list of genealogy numbers as of 1 January 2011:


*  30,006 Databases in the Card Catalog
*  1,263,587,509 persons in Public Member Trees
*  308,674,051 persons in Private Member Trees


*  519 Historical Record Collections online
*  46,002 Research Wiki articles
*  109 Research Courses
*  64 Community Trees


*  509 sets of original documents (counted)
*  71,731,610 images online


*  3.6 million records
*  1 billion newspaper articles


*  140 databases
*  1,158,738,805 records


*  over 4,600 newspapers
*  over 700 million records


*  630,984,813 persons in WorldConnect family trees
*  430,030 WorldConnect databases
*  195,536,463 records in FreeBMD database


*  almost 3,000 databases


*  16,306,687 Family Trees
*  645,780,280 individuals in family trees


*  404,837,225 individuals in family trees
*  over 200 million records


*  over 90 million profiles in family trees
*  over 50 million profiles in Big World Tree

12) wiki

*  1,960,000 persons in family tree


*  11 million family trees
*  752 million names in family trees


*  54 databases listed
*  over 70 million names in family trees


*  over 650 million family history records


*  over 180 million names

17)  www.Cyndi'

*  291,330 genealogy links


*  9,239,987 genealogy links

I obtained those numbers from publicly available information on the websites. 

What other websites and what other numbers should I be benchmarking?  Are some of the numbers wrong?  Please tell me in Comments and I will edit the list above!