Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Count Your Trees

Hey genealogy buffs, it's Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!

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

1)  Open your genealogy database in the software of your choice, and use the Help function to determine if your software can count the number of separate family trees you have in that database.

2.  Follow the directions if the program can do it, and Count Your Trees.

3)  Tell us about how many trees you have, and who is the "root" person in the biggest tree.  Tell us if you have any big surprises - did you find any disconnected trees that should not have been disconnected?

4)  Write your own blog post, write a comment on this post, or write a Facebook status or comment.

Here's mine:

I exercised RootsMagic 4 to do this (Tools == Count Trees, and the list opens showing the root person in each tree and then umber of persons in that tree), and found that I have 239 separate trees in my "Master" database.  I wrote about it in Dear Randy: Are all of the people in your family tree related to you?  93.6% of the persons in my database are in my biggest tree, with 37,210 persons.  The "root" person in that tree is "Unknown" - the third and last wife of Robert Seaver (1608-1683).  I have no idea why she is #1, but she is. 

I need to go through all of those other trees and determine if I have disconnected persons.  The RootsMagic system lets the user click on one of the root persons and see their information.  To see another tree, you have to Count Trees again.  Legacy showed me the same number of disconnected trees in my database as RootsMagic did.

In Legacy Family Tree 7, go to View and select Tree Finder.  The first time through took awhile for my tree, but when you have it done, you can go back to it (using the View == Tree Finder link) quickly.

In Family Tree Maker 2011, I could find no way to do this.  In my humble opinion, it should be added to the next upgrade, since it's a useful tool.

In Family Tree Maker 16, I could find no way to do this. 

Surname Saturday - LADD (England > RI)


It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 185,  who is Elizabeth LADD (1735- 1814), one of my 5th-great-grandmothers. [Note: The 5th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts] 

My ancestral line back through four generations of LADD 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)

10.  Thomas Richmond (1848-1917)
11.  Julia White (1848-1912)

22.  Henry Arnold White (1824-1885)
23.  Amy Frances Oatley (1826-before 1870)

46.  Jonathan Oatley (1790-1872)
47.  Amy Champlin (1798-1865)

92.  Joseph Oatley (1756-1815)
93.  Mary Hazard (1765-1857)

184. Benedict Oatley, born 25 December 1732 in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States; died 01 August 1821 in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States. He was the son of 368. Jonathan Oatley and 369. Deliverance. He married 02 October 1755 in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States.
185. Elizabeth Ladd, born 09 July 1735 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died 27 November 1814 in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States.

Children of Benedict Oatley and Elizabeth Ladd are:  Joseph Oatley (1756-1815); Rhoda Oatley (1758-????); Abigail Oatley (1760-1831); Susannah Oatley (1762-????); Jonathan Oatley (1764-????); Lucy Oatley (1766-1814); Benedict Oatley (1773-1849).

370. Joseph Ladd, born 19 October 1701 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died  before March 1748 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States. He married 25 August 1731 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
371. Lydia Gray, born 16 October 1707 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; She was the daughter of 742. Samuel Gray and 743. Deborah Church.

Children of Joseph Ladd and Lydia Gray are: Deborah Ladd (1732-????); Joseph Ladd (1733-????); Elizabeth Ladd (1735-1814); William Ladd (1737-1800);  Lydia Ladd (1740-????).

740. William Ladd, born about 1665 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died before 21 October 1729 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States. He married  17 February 1695 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
741. Elizabeth Tompkins, born 1675 in Little Compton, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died Aft. 1729 in Rhode Island, United States. She was the daughter of 1482. Nathaniel Tompkins and 1483. Elizabeth Allen.

Children of William Ladd and Elizabeth Tompkins are:  Sarah Ladd (1696-????); Mary Ladd (1699-????); Priscilla Ladd (1700-????); Joseph Ladd (1701-1748); Samuel Ladd (1703-????); Elizabeth Ladd (1704-????); John Ladd (1706-????); Catherine Ladd (1707-????); Lydia Ladd (1711-????); Hannah Ladd (1712-????); Ruth Ladd (1714-????).

1480. Joseph Ladd, born in England; died before 24 July 1683 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States. He married
1481. Joanna, died after 1669 in Portsmouth, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.

Children of Joseph Ladd and Joanna are:  Mary Ladd (1654-1728); Sara Ladd (1657-????); Joseph Ladd (1660-????); William Ladd (1665-1729); Daniel Ladd (1668-????).

The only surname book I've found to date is:

Warren Ladd, The Ladd Family, A Genealogical and Biographical Memoir of Daniel Ladd, of Haverhill, Mass.; Joseph Ladd, of Portsmouth, R.I.; John Ladd, of Burlington, N.J.; John Ladd, of Charles City Co., Va. (New Bedford, Mass.: Edmund Anthony & Sons, 1890).  The section on Joseph Ladd of Portsmouth starts on page 287.

The Ladd family website seems to have only data from this book, at least for the early generations of Joseph Ladd of Portsmouth.

UPDATE:  I just cannot get the formatting right in Blogger for some of these families.  I cut and paste from an FTM 16 ancestors report in RTF format right into Blogger and some of the lines indent.  I guess I'll have to edit the RTF file first.  It may be an OpenOffice problem.  Drat.

The second problem is the color of the names from 1 to 93 above.  When I edit it blogger, I Bold then make then red.  But they come out half black and half red for some reason.  It probably has to do with the order of doing the steps - it works best when I bold first, then make them red.  But I copied this part of the post from last week's post.  Double drat (I'd use stronger words but someone may Google this family and be unimpressed by my elocution).  Thank you, Blogger, for all of this frustration today.

Friday, February 25, 2011

WDYTYA - Kim Cattrall - Deja Vu!

I had a tremendous sense of deja vu watching Who Do You Think You Are? tonight.  Here's why:  Last March, Linda and I took a three week holiday in Australia and New Zealand.  We flew on an A380 (the biggest commercial aircraft) on Qantas Airways from Los Angeles to Sydney - a really long flight.  The aircraft had a wonderful entertainment system, even in coach, and I quickly found several British Who Do You Think You Are? episodes, and watched two of them.

One of those episodes was Kim Cattrall, searching for her grandfather.  I didn't remember all of the details I saw tonight, but I did recall many of the scenes and the family members shown tonight.  By 15 minutes into the show tonight, I knew that it was essentially the same show as I'd seen last year on the airplane.

It appears to me that almost all of the scenes we saw in tonight's episode were from the English show which was probably produced two or three years ago.

I really enjoyed the show tonight - again - because it shows how difficult it is to track people who lived during the 20th century.  There are records available, but they are not always easy to find because of our mobility.  A man in 1939 could run away from one family and start another in a city just 150 miles away and live with some confidence that he would never be found.  In the worst case, they could change their name and never be found. 

Some comments about the show:

*  It was never said how they knew that this was the same George Baugh.  It turned out to be, but it would have helped if they had corroborated the birth date or his parents names as being identical to prove that it was the same person.

*  It was amusing to me that the best clue to the second family was a telephone book in a pub.  Kim was lucky to have known the Oliver name, and to have looked for it.  It was also good luck that Maisie had not married again.  Serendipity... they didn't mention it, but it played a part in this show.

*  I was really confused by the "Cattrall Family" family tree on Ancestry.com which showed that George Baugh had died in 1974 and Isabella had died in 1990.  Was there another Cattrall researcher who owned the tree and knew these facts?  Or was this added by the show's researchers after some research in Australian records? 

*  Why were the three Baugh sisters in Vancouver at the end of the show?  Is that where Shane really lived?  Didn't Kim confer with them in Liverpool at the start of the show? 

*  I wasn't surprised that the graphic at the end noted that the three sisters had been in contact with their half-siblings in Australia.  After all, it's been two or three years since the show was filmed. 

Dear Randy: Are all of the people in your family tree related to you?

Reader Mary asked in a comment to my post "Steadily Improving my Family Tree Database":

"Are all of your almost 40,000 names in your database related to you?" 

The short answer is YES, since we're all part of the human family, and I think that I only have persons that lived or are living in my database. 

Modifying the question to "Do you have a genetic link to all of the persons in your database" the short answer is NO.

Let me explain:  I have 39,719 persons in my database at present.  I did a tree count recently and found that there are 239 different "trees" in my database.  This means that, in addition to my own ancestral families and my wife's ancestral families, that I have many little trees (some only with two or three persons) and some fairly large ones.  The reason I have so many trees is that I've added data for a number of one-name studies - for Seaver/Sever, Carringer, Vaux, Buck, Richman, Dill, Smith, Auble, Bresee, McKnew and probably several others that I don't remember. 

About two years ago, I combined all of my "ancestral" trees into one large tree so that I had no duplication of effort.  This resulted in a lot of work to find and merge duplicate persons and eliminate, or enrich, duplicate Facts for merged persons.  But I'm glad I did it, I have one master database to use.

I used RootsMagic 4 to help me determine how many persons are in some of my ancestral families and the one-name studies.  The results:

*  Randy Seaver's Family Tree (includes collateral lines) - 37,210 persons

*  Randy's Ancestral families (20 generations, includes children of ancestors) - 7,280 persons

*  Linda's Ancestral families (20 generations, includes children of ancestors) - 790 persons

*  Robert Seaver (1608-1683) descendants - 7,390 persons

*  Martin Carringer (1758-1835) descendants - 440 persons

*  John Vax (1562-????) descendants - 2,250 people

*  Andreas Able (????-1752) descendants - 340 people

*  Peter Dill (????-1692) descendants - 570 people

*  William Buck (1585-1657) descendants - 880 persons

*  Jeremiah McKnew (1640-1700) descendants - 480 people

There are many overlaps between each of those "collections," since I, or my wife, have each of those "first generation" ancestors in our ancestry, and some of them share descendants.

There are 37,210 people in my family tree, which includes all connections, including my wife's ancestral families.  That's 93.7% of the persons in my database, so I'm related to almost everyone in my database either directly or by marriage.

I have many "unattached" Smith people in my database because I was searching for connections to my Devier J. Smith for many years.  I have many unattached Richman people in my database because I added every baptism and marriage of Richmans in Wiltshire from 1538 until 1850.  I have done quite a bit of research on my Elizabeth Horton Dill - if she is the one born in 1791, then I have 470 people in her ancestral family to add to my database.  I used to have connections to other families in my tree, but I disconnected them over time because I proved to myself that they weren't "mine," and they are still in the database. 

I attempt to define at least the spouse and children of the children in my ancestral families, and those are not included in "ancestral families."  However, those should show up in the descendants list above.

The list above doesn't come close to covering all of the persons in my database for some reason - I wonder why that is?

Thank you, Mary, for a challenging question!

Keeping Genealogists Informed

There are a number of websites available to help genealogists be informed about different subjects.  For instance:

1)  GeneaPress (www.GeneaPress.com) is a blog for media press release information.  Thomas MacEntee set it up, and many geneabloggers contribute to it.

2)  Adventures in Genealogy Education (http://genealogyeducation.blogspot.com/) is a blog by Angela McGhie to highlight educational opportunities.

3)  GeneaWebinars (http://blog.GeneaWebinars.com) is a blog set up by DearMYRTLE to announce and list webinars (online seminars).

4)  FGS Voice (http://voice.fgs.org/) is a blog for news from the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

5)  Upfront with NGS (http://upfront.ngsgenealogy.org/) is a blog for news from the National Genealogical Society.

6)  NARAtions (http://blogs.archives.gov/online-public-access/) is the blog of the United States National Archives.

7)  Genealogy Tip of the Day (http://genealogytipoftheday.blogspot.com/) is written by Michael John Neill.

8)  GeneaBloggers (www.geneabloggers.com) is the genealogy community's resource for genealogy blogs, written by Thomas MacEntee.

9)  GenSoftReviews (http://www.gensoftreviews.com/) is for reviews of genealogy software, hosted by Louis Kessler.

What other aggregation blogs do we have available?  What other aggregation blogs do we need? 

There are a number of websites dedicated to specific types of historical records.  I'll try to summarize them in another post.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2010 Year Financial Results for Ancestry.com

Ancestry.com has just reported its 2010 financial results in a press release Ancestry.com Inc. Reports 2010 Financial Results on the GeneaPress blog.  There will be an investors telephone call at 2 p.m. PST - see the press release.

Tim Sullivan, Ancestry.com CEO, is quoted saying:

"2010 was a productive and very successful year for Ancestry.com. We drove substantial gains in our subscriber base both domestically and internationally, delivered strong financial results and executed on our plan to position the Company for long-term growth," said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry.com. "Highlights included investments in our product and our talent base, the completion of three complementary acquisitions, and our highly successful partnership with NBC in bringing Who Do You Think You Are? to the U.S. The hard work will continue in 2011, but we believe these achievements give us a solid foundation for growth in the coming year and beyond."
Some selected financial results:

*  For the full year 2010, total revenue was $300.9 million, an increase of 33.8% over the full year 2009, with Ancestry.com Web site revenue growth of 37.7%.

*  For the full year 2010, operating income was $60.6 million compared to $32.0 million for the full year 2009.

*   For the full year 2010, net income was $36.8 million, or $0.76 per fully diluted share, compared to $21.3 million, or $0.51 per fully diluted share, for the full year 2009.


My comments:

*  Net income was 12.2%, which is healthy.  This is good, because they have resources to continue to advertise, acquire content and provide services.

*  Year-over-year growth in revenues was 33.8%, which includes acquisition of Footnote.com and ProGenealogists.  No information was provided about those properties. 

There are also some interesting statistics:

"- Subscribers totaled 1,395,000 as of December 31, 2010, a 31% increase over the end of 2009 and up modestly since the end of the third quarter of 2010.

"Gross subscriber additions were 203,000 in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to 165,000 in the fourth quarter of 2009 and 252,000 in the third quarter of 2010.

"Monthly churn[1] was 3.9% in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to 3.6% in the fourth quarter of 2009 and 4.0% in the third quarter of 2010.

"Subscriber acquisition cost[2] in the fourth quarter of 2010 was $96.87, compared to $85.21 in the fourth quarter of 2009 and $81.58 in the third quarter of 2010.

"Average monthly revenue per subscriber[3] in the fourth quarter of 2010 was $17.78, compared to $16.67 in the fourth quarter of 2009 and $17.75 in the third quarter of 2010."


"Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with nearly 1.4 million paying subscribers. More than 6 billion records have been added to the site in the past 14 years. Ancestry users have created more than 20 million family trees containing over 2 billion profiles. Ancestry.com has local Web sites directed at nine countries that help people discover, preserve and share their family history, including its flagship Web site at www.ancestry.com."
My takeaways here are:

*  Churn continues at about 4% - that's a 4% loss of subscribers every month, which is overcome by new or returning subscribers.  A 31% increase in subscribers in 2010 is a net of about 330,000 subscribers, or an average of about 27,000 per month.  So they lose an average of 55,000 subscribers each month, but gain 82,000 subscribers per month (my estimates) 

*  Advertising works!  But the breakeven time for a new subscriber is about six months (my guess).

*  The number of online trees (20 million) and profiles (2 billion) is impressive.  Even so, each tree contains an average of only 100 persons.

Adding a Smart Story to Family Tree Maker 2011 - Post 1

I answered a reader's query on Tuesday in Dear Randy: I Want Better FTM/Ancestry Synchronization.  In the post, I noted that a "Smart Story" created and added to the Media tab in Family Tree Maker 2011 will be uploaded to an Ancestry.com Member Tree and placed in the Media tab, but only if the database file is uploaded using the FTM 2011 "Share" button.  If a "Story" is created in the Ancestry.com Member Tree and  saved, and then the Ancestry.com Member Tree is imported into FTM 2011 using the FTM 2011  "Download a tree from Ancestry" in the "Plan" workspace, then the FTM 2011 file will have a "Smart Story" in the "Media" tab.

Creating the "Smart Story" in Family Tree Maker 2011 is a fairly complicated process.  I checked the "Help" file before I tried to do it:



I searched for "smart story" in the Help "Search" tab, and the text said at the top of the article:

"Smart Stories allow you to compose documents that include free-form text as well as fielded text and images from the records of the people in your tree. Fielded text (presented in the Options pane) is linked to the facts, events, notes, and source citations for the individuals in your tree and is automatically updated in your Smart Story when any of its associated date is changed. Smart Stories can be saved as media items linked to people or as publications and can be included in books."

That sounds pretty good - a user can add content to a "Smart Story" and a narrative will be created, and the user can edit the "fielded text" (meaning facts, events, notes and source citations) and the Story will change.  And, as we've seen, the "Smart Story" can be uploaded to an Ancestry.com Member Tree and show up in the "Media" tab for the Person there. 

The Help screen describes several ways to add a "Smart Story" in the "People" workspace and "Person" tab, select the "Media" tab and choose "New (Create new Smart Story);" in the "Publish" workspace, select the "Other" item in the "Publication Type" list and choose "Smart story (text item);" in the "Media" workspace, select the "Media" menu and select "Create a New Smart Story."

On my great-grandfather's Person page in the "People" workspace, I chose the first method and saw:



The options in the dropdown menu includes "Create New Smart Story" so I clicked on that:


The popup menu gives me the choice between "Auto-populate" or "Blank page."  I chose to Auto-Populate the page.  When I clicked on the button, the "Smart Story Preview" page appeared.  The larger panel shows the top of the Smart Story with the "Personal Biography" created from the person's "Facts" - this is done automatically:


More information can be added to the Smart Story using the drop-down menu in the right-hand panel - the "Facts," the "Notes," and the "Fact Sources."  In the drop-down menu shown above in the right-hand panel, I chose "Notes" and the person "Notes" appeared in the right-hand panel (with blue background).  To add all of the "Notes" to the Smart Story, the user has to click the "Insert" button at the top right of the right hand panel, or you can drag the "Notes" into the Smart Story.  It appears that you cannot select only part of the "Notes."  I clicked the "Insert" button and saw:


The "Notes" were added to the Smart Story, as shown above.  However,  the start of the "Notes" was added to the end of the "Personal Biography" paragraph.  The user can go into the Smart Story at any time to add a line break between the two sections.  Frankly, I think that it should be "automatic."

I went back to the dropdown list in the right-hand panel, and clicked on "Fact Sources:" 


The list of Person "Facts" show up in the right-hand panel (see above).  By clicking each "Fact " the bottom of the right-hand panel indicates if there is a Source Citation for that Fact.  To add each Source Citation to the Smart Story, the user has to click on each one and then click on the "Insert" button.  The screen above shows all of the selected "Fact Sources" in the Smart Story.

However, the Fact Sources are all run together - the start of the second is put at the end of the first Fact Source in the Smart Story, and so on, as shown above.  In my opinion, this should be "automatic" - each element of the Smart Story should be put on a new line in the Smart Story.

Fortunately, the user can go in and put line breaks between each Fact Source.  I even added source numbers in parentheses at the beginning of each Fact Source, as shown below:



The Fact Sources in the Smart Story are, of course, exactly what is in the source fields in the program.  I imported a RootsMagic 4 GEDCOM file to FTM 2011 and so the Fact Sources are fairly mangled.  They do include the master source elements, the repository, and the source details, in that order.

Some points to make here:

*  The Person's Facts in the "Personal Biography" can be deleted or moved to another location using Cut/Paste.  Line breaks can be added between elements.  Added words can be typed into the Story.  However, the elements added automatically cannot be edited - the user has to edit or add information to the "Facts" and then create a new Smart Story.

*  The Person's Notes cannot be edited at all - you have to go back to the "Notes" and edit them, then create a new Smart Story.  You can add text at the beginning of the "Notes" or at the end of the "Notes," but not within the "Notes" in the Smart Story.

*  The Person's "Fact Sources" cannot be edited at all - you have to go back to the "Source" for each "Fact" and edit it.  As noted, you can add text before each "Source Fact."  You can delete "Source Facts" in the Smart Story one at a time.

In the next post in this series, I will determine if the Smart Story really changes when new information, or edited information, is added to the Facts.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension Papers: Widow's 1908 Affidavit

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 3 January - see my post My Christmas Present Came Today - Oh Boy! - and it has 81 pages in the file.  Some 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.

Last week, we saw that Isaac's widow, Alvina Seaver, applied for a pension on 29 July 1908 after the Act of April 19, 1908 required widows of soldiers to have been married to the soldier before 27 June 1888 and to not have married again.

The "Treasure" this week is the General Affidavit of Alvina M. Seaver in 1908 once again requesting a pension based on her husband's Civil War service.

The transcript of this page is (filled in lines underlined, handwritten items italicized):

GENERAL AFFIDAVIT

State of Massachusetts, County of Worcester, SS:
In the matter of Original Widow's pension claim No. 738,086 Alvina M. Seaver
widow of Isaac Seaver, 3d Co "H" 4th Regt Mass Vol Hy Art'y,
on this 26 day of October, A.D. 1908, personally appeared before me
a Justice of the Peace in and for the aforesaid County, duly authorized to administer
oaths: Alvina M. Seaver aged 59 years, a resident of Dickinson Centre
in the County of Franklin, and State of New York,
whose Post-office address is Dickinson Centre New York,
well known to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declared in relation to aforesaid
case as follows:  that, in response to the Bureau of pensions
requirement dated October 17, 1908, I the above named
Alvina M. Seaver, do solemnly swear that to the best of
my knowledge and belief, my first husband was in the
Military or naval service of the United States during the War
of Rebellion, this I gained from hearing him say that he
was in the service in those years, but what the service was
I do not know; that during the time I lived with him
I never knew of his being in receipt of a pension in the
War of Rebellion or at any other time before or after Civil War;
that if he had been in receipt of such pension
it seems as if I would have been likely to have known
of it.  That I never made an application for pension as the widow
of Joseph P. Lewis.  That the only application for pension
I ever made was as the lawful widow of the aforesaid
Isaac Seaver 3d filed March 25, 1901 under the Act of Jan 27, 1890
supported by evidence 2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 (Rejected) and
again July 3, 1908 under Act of April 19, 1908 supported by
evidence B.  I supposed the Act of April 19, 1908 was intended
to relieve such cases as mine without all this annoyance
and expense In  g???? of faith I abided by it asking nothing else.
I further declare that I have no interest in said case and I am not concerned in its prosecution.

........................................ Alvina M. Seaver
........................................ (Signature of Affiant)

Note that this Affidavit was taken and signed in Worcester County, Massachusetts, even though Alvina was a resident of Franklin County, New York at the time. 

The "evidence B" is the Declaration for Widow's Pension of 29 July 1908 (transcribed last week), which was taken in Franklin County, New York.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Steadily Improving my Family Tree Database

I haven't updated my readers about the status of my genealogy database recently.  I'm presently working with my master database in RootsMagic 4, having decided that it was the easiest program for me to use to create master source citations.  In the process, I've found some problems with it, and am not sure that I will always use it, but for now, it is my software of choice.  I also have Legacy Family Tree 7 and Family Tree Maker 2011.

I consciously chose to try to improve my database, rather than start over new.  With over 39,000 people and over 100,000 events, that was easier than starting with a new, clean, well-sourced database. 

In the past few months, I have done these tasks:

*  Standardized all of my place names using Family Tree Maker 2011.  It seemed the easiest program to use for this task.  However, it made all of the USA entries end in "USA."  I also geo-coded as many of these place names as I could.  As I recall, I was able to reduce the number of place names from about 6,500 down to about 4,400, and standardize them.  One problem here is that I lost all of my "historic place names" (places that are now named something else, or are in another jurisdiction (county, state, colony, country, etc.).  Frankly, I didn't have many of those, and I used them inconsistently, so it was not a big loss. 

*  Created quite a few source citations in FTM 2011 before I did the GEDCOM studies in FTM 2011, LFT 7 and RM 4.  When I found that FTM 2011 really mangled source citations in GEDCOM files, I chose RootsMagic 4 to do this task because it didn't mangle sources in GEDCOM.

*  I found out that the FamilySearch Standard Finder, which presumably will be used in the FamilySearch Family Tree, uses "United States" as the standard country, so I used Edit = Find and Replace to change my "USA" place names to "United States."  This worked well.

*  During the Seaver Source Citation Saga, I decided that, based on my findings, that I should use Free-form citations in order to assure that at least Footnotes get passed through GEDCOM correctly.  I created "straw-man" Template Sources for a number of my source types, and used them to model the other 650 master source citations. 

*  I worked my way through all of my Master Sources, trying to edit them to put them in the proper sequence (e.g., for books - author, title italicized, publication information in parentheses).  I had quite a few master sources without any source elements at all, except, for example, "California Death Index"  or "Mass VRs."  I added "need data" or "need FHL film" to those to deal with later on.  This Master Source exercise took me over two weeks, and I'm still trying to fix the "shorthand" master sources by going to the website for online resources or WorldCat for book sources. 

*  I had a two inch stack of "to be added to the database" paper from research trips and online printing, so I added what I could to the database, including source citations when available.  The two inches of paper is now in the "to be filed" stack, which is now about two feet high. 

*  Once in awhile, I go to one of my online historical collection providers and search for newly added databases.  I often will mine them for Seaver data and add it to my database as I do it (adding source citations too!).  This is sort of therapy from all of the boring GEDCOM and source citation work. 

So now I have a database in RootsMagic 4 with:

*  People: 39,719
*  Families: 15,745
*  Events: 104,857
*  Sources: 679
*  Citations: 20,192
*  Repositories: 57
*  Places:  4,487
*  Multi-media Items: 0

As you can see, I have a long way to go with source citations.  I'm almost up to 20% coverage of all events.  But it's a start.

When I finish the Master Source editing task, the next big task is to dive into my 40 linear feet of paper in folders, notebooks and the "to be filed" stack to add source citations to many of the unsourced events in the database. 

Long-term, the plan is to go "data mining" in the online databases on Ancestry.com, Footnote.com, WorldVitalRecords.com, GenealogyBank.com and FamilySearch.org to add more sourced events to the existing people and families. 

Eventually, I will be satisfied with what I have, and will proudly upload it to the various online family tree websites.  Probably in about 2020, just before they cart me off to Happy Acres Home for Addicted Genealogists (HAHA-G).

More on "Software Programs, GEDCOM Files, and Source Citations"

In my recent post "Software Programs, GEDCOM Files and Source Citations - Some Recommendations," I made some recommendations concerning these issues.  I received only three comments, but I want to discuss the issues raised in those comments:

1)  Geolover commented: 

"...Now the question is, will the developers be willing to give up having proprietary variants, even if the present groups of "revisionists" (concerning existing GEDCOM or a suitable replacement) should agree on very workable code?"

Randy's comment:  If my recommendations were adopted, the software developers could keep their proprietary variants intact, but add code that would transfer whole source citations without the receiving program or website having to interpret the source citation elements. 

2)  Louis Kessler commented:

"I don't agree with your conclusions.

"1. Putting all info into one field is wrong. Reading programs will not be able to interpret what is there. The various parts of the source citation must be identified, and placing them in the various fields: Author, Title, Publication, etc. is the way that reading programs can understand what is there.

"2. Fields like Footnote, Subsequent footnote, and Bibliography are not data unto themselves. They are basically formatting and template information. Those are not data, and they are not tags in GEDCOM. Those are personal preferences for how you want your data displayed. Doing the formatting should be the job of the program. As long as it receives all the data it needs and understand the concept of that data, then it can format it appropriately to any template you want that it supports.

"3. Italics is another example of formatting. It is not data. This is the same as number 2. The receiving program should do your formatting.

"You've done an incredible job testing out the inputs and outputs of transferring the source citations between these 3 program. Thank you.

"But you really need to simply identify whether or not these programs are transferring the data correctly, which is THE ONLY important thing. And ignore whether or not any formatting is being transferred, since it shouldn't be.

"Then, given the correct data, you can see if the program can format the source citation correctly with the templates it allows.

"Remember, GEDCOM is to transfer data. The only formatting it should transfer is formatting embedded in notes and data to allow those to look as much as possible like the original. But how to make everything else appear should be up to the program. The program that does the latter job the best for you will then should earn your favor and become your program of choice."


Randy's comments:  I greatly appreciate Louis's comments, because he is both a software developer and a genealogy program user. 

I would completely agree with him IF the software developers and website programmers consistently used the appropriate GEDCOM fields to represent source citation elements.  As I've demonstrated in my little studies, they don't.  And the resulting citations are often mangled when transferred via the current GEDCOM. 

In a perfect genealogy software world, there would be ONE agreed upon (from professional down to beginner, from software user to software developer and website programmer) set of Source Templates that would create "perfect" citations.  The genealogy software and website world is imperfect.  Realistically, the developers won't sacrifice their proprietary source templates.  However, they might be willing to add complete source citations created by their software so that source citations were transferred "perfectly."

Using the Evidence! Explained models, the software companies have created hundreds of different templates, each with unique field names.  The template types and data fields in RootsMagic 4 are somewhat different from those in Legacy Family Tree 7, and Family Tree Maker 2011, and all other programs.  Nothing is exactly the same, nor do they always use similar GEDCOM tags.  Creating a comprehensive list of source citation tags for the "next GEDCOM" would be an onerous task, and then the software companies and website developers would have to agree on them.  Will that ever happen?

When there are four different elements in one Source Template in one program, and ten elements in another template in the same program, and another software program has different fields, it becomes too unwieldy to deal with using hundreds of GEDCOM tags.  There is no master "translator" for all of the software programs and online family tree websites.  There likely will be none in the foreseeable future.

Any attempt to force this source template information into the existing GEDCOM tags likely will result in source mangling and bad formatting when read and then published by another software program or family tree website.  An alternative to creating many more source tags might be to add new GEDCOM tags for Element 1, Element 2, Element 3, etc. These Elements would represent the different source citation fields and would be created in the order that the Source Templates create the citation.  However, that would still cause formatting problems for the reading program or website, unless formatting indicators (italics, underline, bold, etc.) were included. 

That's why I recommended what I did - to create new GEDCOM tags that seamlessly transfer whole citations with formatting, and be able to attach them to Evidence, Conclusions and Assertions (AKA Facts).  These "Facts" clearly have definite data fields - names, dates, places, relationships, etc.  The different software programs do this pretty well because the fields for them were defined in the GEDCOM development back in the 1980's.  They don't transfer Source Citations well because the genealogy technology (Source Templates) has now exceeded the GEDCOM system capabilities.

There is no requirement in my recommendations that users use the Source Templates provided by the software developers, or that they follow any model at all.  If a user wishes to source a birth record with "Westminster MA book" or "birth certificate found in Aunt Mary's attic," that's fine.  It's a source citation, and would be put into the TITLe tag in GEDCOM by every program.  It's user's choice, and the current GEDCOM will transfer it well, because it is very simple. 

However, "quality" source citations are not simple - see Evidence! Explained.  It is the de facto genealogy standard, whether some users like it or not.  My online family tree will be judged by others based on its content, including the source citations.  In all likelihood, most genealogists will have to go through what I've been doing in my own database - making "shorthand" source citations into "quality" source citations.  It's user's choice.

I think that what the users want is simplicity and ease-of-use - to be able to use the fill-in-the-blanks source templates fields, or use free-form fields, and create whole source citations that can be transferred from one program or website to another program or website, without losing or mangling the citation elements and format.

Your comments are welcome!  What do users really want?  How can it be done?

Will the Seaver Source Citation Saga continue?

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 141: Lyle's Birthplace

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 has several bits of writing on the margins of it.  At the bottom, it says "Birthplace Lyle Carringer, 16th & H. San Diego, Cal."  In the upper right, it says "picture taken 1918."  In the upper left, it looks like "????cis E. Piper tree in rear."

My working hypothesis is that this is the house that Lyle L. Carringer (1891-1976, son of Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer) was born in, that it was located at 16th and H Streets in San Diego, that the picture was taken in 1918.  Lyle Carringer is my maternal grandfather.

I checked the San Diego city directories, and found:

1889-1890:  H.A. Carringer resided at 3rd Ave between 16th and 17th  in National City

1892-1893:  H.A. Carringer resided at 28th and Logan Avenue in San Diego.

There is no directory for 1891 available. 

If I believe the notes on the picture, which are in Lyle's own hand, probably written in 1918, then this is another ancestral home.  This area near downtown San Diego is now an industrial area, and I'm quite sure that the house no longer exists.  H Street in San Diego in 1891 (and 1918) is now Market Street.  I checked Google Maps Street View for this intersection and see a Collision Repair place, a Moving Supplies page, a Mexican restaurant at street level below condominiums, and a Gasoline Station on the four corners.  Nope, not there, it seems.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dear Randy: I Want Better FTM/Ancestry Synchronization

Reader Lenny commented on one of my posts recently that:

"... I have an Ancestry.com tree. I also own FTM2010. The integration is pretty good. But...(it had to be coming) I want simple narrative notes about people's lives that are 1) visible to 'guests' on Ancestry.com (or possibly anyone) and 2) download ok to FTM and can be printed on a report. This doesn't seem to exist. Maybe some of your blog readers have ideas. General person notes on A.com are visible only to 'editors'. 'Comments' don't appear to download to FTM. I've thought of creating a new fact type called 'notes' - but that seems a little clunky if a better answer is available. Perhaps something new in FTM 2011?"

Lenny is absolutely right - my comments:

Ancestry.com does not show the Notes in the Member Trees to anyone but "editors."  Is it just too hard?  Or is it an attempt to minimize scraping of information (and possible copyright infringement) by other researchers?  Other trees on Ancestry.com (the Ancestry World Tree) show the Notes in the database.

Ancestry.com does permit the addition of a "Story" to the Media Gallery on a Person Page in the Member Trees.  However, it appears that it will download to Family Tree Maker 2011 (only!) directly, but not to another program in a GEDCOM file.

*  The integration of FTM 2010 with Ancestry.com is "pretty good."  The native Family Tree Maker file (for 2009, 2010, and 2011 versions) can be uploaded directly to Ancestry.com.  However, that action requires creating a NEW Member Tree.  The uploaded file cannot be integrated into an existing Member Tree.  Similarly, downloading an Ancestry Member Tree into Family Tree Maker is easy to perform, but it forms a new Family Tree Maker file.  That file can be, of course, merged into another FTM file in the program.  True synchronization has been desired for awhile by many users, but it has not yet been achieved.  Will it ever be? 

There is something "new" in Family Tree Maker 2011:  One of the new features is "Smart Story."  I've been working with it, and will blog about it in a future post.  If the "Smart Story" is added to the "Media" tab in the FTM 2011 "Person" tab in the "People" workspace, then that "Media Item" will be uploaded to the Ancestry.com Member Tree in a direct upload from Family Tree Maker 2011 (not in a GEDCOM upload).  In addition, a "Story" created in an Ancestry.com Member Tree will be included in a Family Tree Maker 2011 file when downloaded directly from within FTM 2011.

So the answer to Lenny's query is:  YES, a "Smart Story" created in FTM 2011 will upload to an Ancestry.com Member Tree, and vice versa, but only from within FTM 2011. 

However, the "Story" on Ancestry.com, or the "Smart Story" in FTM 2011, need to be created separately from the "Notes" (i.e., the ones created in "Notes" in Ancestry.com, or in the "Notes" tab in FTM 2011).  The "Story" on Ancestry.com can be added by copy and paste methods into the "Story" field.  The "Smart Story" in FTM 2011 can be added using the "Smart Story" creation process, or by doing a copy and paste from another resource.  You only have to do it once - either in Ancestry.com or Family Tree Maker 2011.

Tuesday's Tip - Use the WorldCat Catalog to find genealogy books

Today's Tuesday's Tip is to:  Use the WorldCat website (http://worldcat.org) to find genealogy books of interest.


What is WorldCat?  "WorldCat is the world's largest network of library content and services. WorldCat libraries are dedicated to providing access to their resources on the Web, where most people start their search for information."

I use WorldCat to:

1)  Search for published books for specific family names or specific localities.

2)  Search for libraries that have the books of interest.

3)  Find source citation material for the sources in my database for which I used "shorthand" citations. 

To find specific family genealogies, put the surname and the word "family" or "genealogy" in quotes - e.g., "seaver family" or "seaver genealogy."  Or use a locality along with a surname.

A neat thing about WorldCat is that when you find a book that you want to obtain, the site provides a list of libraries that have the book available.  For instance, I did a search for "Hale family" today and found a book The Heald-Hale genealogy : John Heald of Concord, Massachusetts, and some of his descendants (six generations) which looked interesting.  It is available at the New York Public Library and at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston.

You might want to check to see if your local library holdings are included in WorldCat.  for instance, my local city library, the Chula Vista Public Library, has 306,011 items listed in WorldCat today.

The source citation information for this work provides:

The Heald-Hale genealogy : John Heald of Concord, Massachusetts, and some of his descendants (six generations)
Author: Clarence Almon Torrey
Publisher:  Boston : C.A. Torrey, 1940
Edition/format:  Book : English

There are often different editions or formats of the books.  If the book is available on microfilm or microfiche, or is available as an eBook, that information is noted.  It appears that not every eBook on Google Books and Internet Archive, or other book sites, is included.

Unfortunately, the LDS Family History Library holdings are not included, unless a patron has submitted it to WorldCat.  Also, not every article in genealogy periodicals are included - only those submitted by readers and WorldCat users.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day!

Since it is President's Day today (and George Birthington's Washday on Tuesday), I thought I would list all of my known relationships to American Presidents.

JOHN ADAMS - 4th cousin, 8 times removed
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS - 5th cousin, 7 times removed
FRANKLIN PIERCE - 5th cousin, 7 times removed
MILLARD FILLMORE - 7th cousin, 5 times removed
ABRAHAM LINCOLN - 7th cousin, 4 times removed (assuming his father was Thomas Lincoln)

ULYSSES S. GRANT - 7th cousin, 5 times removed
RUTHERFORD B. HAYES - 7th cousin, 4 times removed
GROVER CLEVELAND - 7th cousin, 3 times removed
JAMES GARFIELD - 8th cousin, 3 times removed

CHESTER A. ARTHUR - 8th cousin, 4 times removed

WILLIAM H. TAFT - 7th cousin, 4 times removed
WARREN G. HARDING - 8th cousin, 2 times removed
CALVIN COOLIDGE - 7th cousin, 3 times removed
HERBERT HOOVER - 8th cousin, 3 times removed
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT - 7th cousin, 4 times removed


RICHARD M. NIXON - 10th cousin
GERALD R. FORD - 10th cousin, once removed
GEORGE H.W. BUSH - 8th cousin, once removed
GEORGE W. BUSH - 8th cousin

BARACK OBAMA - 8th cousin once removed

I figured these out by comparing my ancestral name list to the charts in the book Ancestors of American Presidents by Gary Boyd Roberts (with the exception of Barack Obama). Obviously, having this many Presidential cousins relates to my extensive New England ancestry. Like my relationships to GWB, I share many colonial ancestors with some of the guys above.

I have no doubt that I could find more cousinships to the ones not on my list if I had longer ancestral name lists for their ancestors back into the English royal lines.

I may try to figure out my relationships to the Vice-Presidents (I know I'm related to Dick Cheney) and Presidential spouses (I know about Barbara (Pierce) Bush) some day.

My New England cousins were impressed by the list. Reciting these to anyone but genealogists seems to make their eyes glaze over.

I often think about what my early colonial ancestors would have thought if they knew that their descendants would be famous and/or leaders of a nation. The colonial guys would not have understood - the King was the leader of the Empire, and they had no relationship to the King, as far as they knew. Of course, some of them were cousins to the King also!

How about you? Any Presidential cousins? Tell me about them.

UPDATED 1:15 p.m.:  The Geni.com blog has a post about how George Washington is related to all of the other U.S. Presidents.  Note that some are not biological relationships. 

I Wish I Had Swedish Ancestors! The Great Swedish Adventure

I received a lead to The Great Swedish Adventure from reader Kaisa Kyläkoski (http://sukututkijanloppuvuosi.blogspot.com/). 


The Great Swedish Adventure is "searching for Americans with Swedish ancestry for a new reality TV-show, set to be filmed in Sweden!"  The site says:

"The Producers of the Swedish version of “American Idol” and “Minute to win it” are coming to the U.S. to find fun, outgoing Americans with Swedish ancestry to participate in their new reality television series “The Great Swedish Adventure.”

"Americans will travel to Sweden and participate in an exciting reality television series. Showcasing everyday Americans as they journey throughout Sweden to discover their land, roots and cultural heritage.
Meter Television is conducting a nationwide search for fun, outgoing and adventurous Americans with Swedish ancestry (even a little bit counts), with a burning desire to find their roots and see their motherland.

"Chosen participants will compete in extreme cultural challenges to discover their rich and fascinating roots while trying to win the grand prize; MEETING THEIR SWEDISH RELATIVES."

and:

"Produced by Meter Television, who produces the Swedish version of 'American Idol,' and 'Minute to win it.' 'It’s sort of like ‘The Amazing Race’ with a ‘fish out of water’ hook,' says Christer Ă…kerlund, producer of the project."

You can apply on the Great Swedish Adventure website. 

Thank you, Kaisa, for the link.

I sure do wish I had Swedish ancestors!  My wife has Norwegian ancestry, as do my children, but close doesn't count in genealogy, I fear!  This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for researchers that have Swedish ancestry and want an expenses-paid trip to Sweden.

Amanuensis Monday - Probate Records of Richard Pray (1683-1755) of Scituate RI

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started a 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 Richard Pray (1683-1755) of Scituate, Rhode Island.  He married Rachel --?-- before 1725 (she died before 1755), and they had three daughters: Rachel Pray (ca 1725-????), who married a Hinds; Mary Pray (ca 1728-????), who married Ezekiel Hopkins; and Sarah Pray (1734-1819), who married Nathaniel Horton.

Richard Pray, yeoman, died testate.  He wrote a will, dated 15 March 1755, which was proved 10 November 1755.  The Court orders, will, and inventory (transcribed from Scituate (RI) Probate Court, Probate and and Council Records Volumes 1-3 (1731-1799), Volume 1, Page 250-252, on FHL Microfilm 0,941,155) read as follows:

"The Last Will and Testament of Richard Pray Late of Scituate aforesaid Yeoman was presented to the Council and was Read in the Following Words (Viz.) ---

"In the Name of God Amen:  The Fifteenth day of March 1755:  I Richard Pray of Scituate in the County of Providence Yeoman being Very Sick and Weak in Body of Perfect Mind and Memory.  Thanks be given unto God.  Therefore Calling unto Mind the Mortality of My Body and Knowing that it is appointed for Men once to die do Make and ordain this My Last Will and Testament that is to say I give and Present (?) My Soul into the Hands of God that gave it and My Body to the Earth to be Buried in Decent Christian Burial at the Discretion of My Executors hereafter Named and Touching Such Worldly Estate where with it hath pleased God to bless me in this present Life I Give Demise and Dispose of the same in the Following Maner and Form --

"Imprimis  I give and bequeath to my Daughter Sarah Pray all my House Hold goods and all my Moveable Estate of whole sorts ????? the same may be --

"Item  I give and bequeath to My Daughter Rachel Hinds the sum of Five Shillings in Money Equal to old Tenor to be paid by My Executor --

"Item  I do hereby order and Impower My son in law Ezekiel Hopkins Junr to Sell and Dispose of all My Land as Conveniently May be after my Decease.  and the Deed or Deeds by him given shall be Good and Effectuall to the hereafter and hereby thereof whom I do Likewise Constitute Make and ordain My Sole Executor of this my Last Will and Testament ---

"Item  My will Further is that after all My Just Debts and Funerall Charges are all paid out of the Effects of the Sale of My Land and the Remainder to Be Deposited as Followeth ---

"Item the one Half of said Remainder I give and bequeath to My sd Daughter Sarah Pray to be paid to her by my said Executor ---

"Item I give and bequeath to my Daughter Mary Hopkins the wife of My said Executor part of the Remainder of the Effects of the Sale of My Land ---

"Item I give and bequeath to My Daughter Rachels Children the one quarter Part of the Remainder of the Effects of the Sales of My Land to be Equally Devided amongst them and to be paid by My said Executor as They Shall Severally attain to the age of Twenty one years or at the days of Marriage with the Intrest Thereon arising ---

"And I do heby Utterly Disallow Revoke and Disannull all and Every other ????? Testaments wills Legacies and bequests and Executors by me in any ways before Named Willed and Bequeathed Ratifying and Confirming this and no others to be my Last will and Testament:  In Witness whereof I have hereunto Set My hand and Seal the day and year above Written ---

"Signed Sealed Published Pronounced and Declared
By the said Richard Pray as his Last Will and .............................. Richard Pray  (seal)
Testament In the Presence of us the Subscribers -
Charles Harris George Westcot Wm Wilkinson.


"Charles Harris George Westcot and William Wilkinson all Personally appearing in Council Declared upon their Severall Engagements That they Saw the above Subscriber Richard Pray Sign Seal and Declare The above Written Instrument to be his Last Will and Testament and That he was then of a Sound and Perfect Mind and Memory and That They and Each of Them Did at the same Time Subscribe their Names thereunto as Witneses in the Presence of the said Testator and of Each Other ---

"Whereupon it is Voted that the above Will be Accepted and allowed To be a Good and Lawfull Will and be Recorded -----
Test. Gideon Harris Council Clerk.


"And Ezekiel Hopkins Junr Personally appearing in Council Accepted said Will and prayd That he might have Letters of Administration on the Personall Estate of the said Richard Pray agreeable to said Will Which is Granted in the Following Words ---

"These are in his majestyes Name George the Second King over Great Britain &c to Authorize order and Impower you the said Ezekiel Hopkins Junr to Take into your Possession Care and Custody all and Singular the Goods Chattles Rights and Creadits of the said Richard Pray Decesd and the same To Administer acording To Law and the Will of your Testator and in all Things To Act and Do as the Law Directeth and Impowerth as Executor Relating the Premises and True and Perfect acounts to Render to this Council or their Successors When you are Thereunto Lawfully Called how you have administered said Estate And For your so doing Shall be good Sufficient Authority --

"Given att a Town Council held in Scituate in the County of Providence &c on the Tenth Day of November in the 29th Year of his Majesties Reign George The Second King over Great Britain &c Annoqu Dom. 1755 ---

"Signed By order of said Town Council and Sealed With their Seal
Test. Gideon Harris Their Clerk."


"And the said Ezekiel Hopkins Junr Exhibited an Inventory of the Personall Estate of the said Richard Pray in the Following Words (Viz.) ---

"A True Inventory of all and Singular the Goods and Chattels and Credits of Richard Pray of Scituate In the County of Providence Who Departed this Life on the Tenth Day of July Annoque dom: 1755.---

"Apraised November the 8th AD 1755 By us Barnard Haile Reuben Hopkins
Imprimis His wareing apperil ...................................................  24:10:00
Item To one Bed and Furniture ................................................  18:00:00
Item To one warming ............................................................  06:00:00
Item to one Tramel Ax and fire Tongs 30/
and Fire Shovel 15/ all ........................................................... 04:05:00
Item to Two Iron Kettles one at 30/ the other @ 10/ all ................. 02:00:00
Item to one old Frying Pan 15/ two axes 45/ all ............................ 03:00:00
Item to one Pair of Bottle Rings and one Pair of Pinchons ............... 00:17:00
Item to Two Iron Pips ........................................................... 00:16:00
Item to old hoa?? a Gimblett and other old Iron  .......................... 00:12:00
Item to one Table 5Lb and one old Chest at 50/ In all ................... 07:10:00
Item to Two Old Chairs 12/ and Three Knot Dishes @ 15/ all ........... 01:07:00
Item to Two Trays 30/ and one Wooden Bowl at 20/ all ................ 02:10:00
Item to one Looking Glass 20/ and one old Sive at 6/ all ................ 01:06:00
Item to one Puter Quart Pott ................................................ 01:00:00
Item to one Quart Basen 16/ Two old Plats at 21/ all ................... 01:17:00
Item to one Large Puter Platter .............................................. 02:15:00
Item to old Puter ................................................................ 01:02:00
Item to one old Bellmettle Skillit 24/ and Two Spoons 6/ all ............. 01:10:00
Item to one Pitchfork 8/ Three old Barels and one half Barel ........... 02:05:00
Item to one Pair of Spotilles ................................................... 00:05:00

Item to money Due by Book ...................................................  02:15:00
Item to one Pick measure ...................................................... 00:10:00
...................................................................................---------------
........................................................................... Total Lb  91:09:18
Barnard Haile
Reuben Hopkins


"Ezekiel Hopkins Junr Personally appearing in Council Declared upon Engagement That he had Put all the Personall Estate of the said Richard Pray Deceased into the within Inventory That has come to his Knowledge and That if any thing more thereof Doth hereafter appear or come to his hands he add the same to said Inventory ---

"And Personally appearing in Council Declared upon their Several Engagements That the within Inventory is a Just and True apprisal of all That Was Set Forth to them to be of the Personall Estate of the said Richard Pray Decesd---

"Whereupon it is Voted That the Within Inventory be Excepted and allowed to be A Good and Lawfull Inventory and Be Recorded --
Test  Gid. Harris Council Clerk"


My ancestry is through the daughter, Sarah Pray, who married Nathaniel Horton in about 1755. 

There is a record for Rachel (--?--) Pray, which I listed in The Elusive Rachel --?-- (ca 1705-ca1755, wife of Richard Pray).  From that record, it is apparent that Rachel Pray likely was living apart from Richard Pray starting in 1741 when she took her children from Smithfield to Scituate.  One possibility is that Rachel's parents or siblings may have lived in Scituate at that time.  I don't know when Rachel died, or when Richard Pray moved to Scituate.

The probate record above is one of the only records I have of the existence of Richard Pray.  The other one I have is the will of his father, John Pray (1653-1733) of Smithfield, Rhode Island.  I should pursue land records in Smithfield and Scituate to add more evidence to my Pray family history.

CVGS Meeting on Wednesday, 23 February: Margaret Lewis on Military Records

 February 23th Program Meeting 
at 12 noon at the Chula Vista South Branch Library
(389 Orange Avenue, Chula Vista) Conference Room
"Identifying and Researching Your Ancestors Who Served in the Military”
presented by Margaret Lewis

Margaret Lewis is the Vice President of the San Diego African American Genealogy Research Group in San Diego, California. Marti is a compelling and influential voice in the genealogy community and she advocates for the study of Family History.

Her genealogical specialty is in Military and Slave Research. She is known for her boundless enthusiasm, and has provided genealogical presentations and workshops statewide in California, including Arizona and Nevada.

Marti's love for genealogy is expressed through her many published articles: "A Soldier's Story;" "My Family Link;" "He Touched Me;" and a family poem "Ancestral Roll Call."

She volunteers as a contributor to the “Find A Grave” web-site transcribing 100’s of obituaries and photos. She is also a consultant on African American Genealogy at the Family History Center in San Diego CA. During the month of February, Marti will be teaching classes in “Researching Your Roots” with Particular Emphasis on the Challenges Unique to African Americans, every Thursday, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Family History Center, 4195 Camino Del Rio South, in San Diego.

One of Marti's greatest feats was fulfilling a genealogical research request from an inmate in Norco State Prison. In a 12 hour period with only 3 names, she was able to add 5 generations dating back to 1795 to his very prestigious family tree.

In July of 2010, Marti was contacted by the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio, Texas, to see if she would be willing to share her personal story and documents on her great great grandfather Jacob Wilks, to be featured in an exhibit, which highlights the 9th U.S. Cavalry. The exhibit opened in July, 2010 through January 3, 2011. Marti is also featured in the exhibit. Two local newspapers from San Antonio, Texas, contacted Marti for telephone interviews about her contribution to the exhibit. See stories on links below.

Please note that this program is at the South Branch of the Chula Vista Library for this month only.  It will be in the Conference Room at the west end (near Fourth Avenue) of the building. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 13-19 February 2011

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:

The Week My Outlook on Genealogy Changed: RootsTech 2011 by Polly Kimmitt on the Pollyblog blog.  This is probably the best post I found explaining what RootsTech was really all about.  Polly gets it.

New Developments at FamilySearch by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog.  I appreciate James ferreting out information about what FamilySearch is doing.

3,000+ Genealogists at the RootsTech Conference (with Pictures) by Dick Eastman on the Eastman's Online genealogy Newsletter blog.  Dick has a great summary of RootsTech!

Graveyard Rabbit Carnival - February 2011 edited by footnoteMaven on The Graveyard Rabbit blog.  The theme of this carnival was "The Oldest Stone."  There were five entries this month.

Remembering My Great Grandfather - Valentin Kocevar by Tessa Keough on the Scandia Musings & More blog.  Tessa celebrated her great-grandfather's birthday (Valentine's Day!) with this post about  his life in documents and stories.  A beautiful job!

RootsTech 2011: My report to management by Pat Richley-Erickson on the DearMYRTLE Genealogy blog.  Pat summarizes her views on the best features of RootsTech and has many suggestions for improvement.  Kudos to FamilySearch for asking the presenters.

Source Citations in Genealogy: Church or Cult? by Kerry Scott on the Clue Wagon blog.  Kerry believes in source citations, wants everybody to cite their sources, but doesn't want Citation cops.  Read the many comments too.

My Amazing Phone Call by Leslie Albrecht Huber on The Journey Takers blog.  Research for ten years.  Write the great book.  Receive ancestral letters from hitherto unknown cousin.  Leslie got lucky a year too late!  A sequel?

An Interview with Maureen Taylor by Lucie LeBlanc Consentino on the Acadian Ancestral Home blog.  Lucie does a Q&A with Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective.

Committed to seamless genealogy file sharing by Pat Richley-Erickson on DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog.  This is the best post so far about WHY we need a Better GEDCOM and how to pursue it.  I hope FamilySearch, Ancestry, and the software companies are reading.

Where I Get My Information by Marian Pierre-Louis on the Marian's Roots and Rambles blog.  Marian lists her online genealogy information sources - some good examples here.  I'm doing pretty much the same thing.

Rootstech Takeaways: High Tech High Touch by Joan Miller on the Luxegen Genealogy and Family History blog.  Joan has started her series of presentation summaries with this one on Curt Witcher's FGS Luncheon talk. 

Interactive Online Family History Photos by Mark Tucker on the ThinkGenealogy blog.  Check out Mark's post - this is really cool photo technology.  Got any photos that you would like to Zoom-It in on your blog?

Fly on the Wall of the RootsTech Debriefing Meetings by Anne Roach on The TechnoGenealogist blog.  Here's the "inside RootsTech" perspective - read all of Anne's post this past week for more.

Several other genea-bloggers wrote weekly pick posts this week, including:

Friday Newsletter and Follow News: 18 February 2011 by Greta Koehl on Greta's Genealogy Bog blog.

Follow Friday: This Week’s Favs by Jen on the Climbing My Family Tree blog.

Follow Friday (on Sunday): Around the Blogosphere - February 20, 2011 by Susan Petersen on the Long Lost Relatives.net blog.

I encourage you to go to the blogs listed above and read their articles, and add their blog to your Favorites, Google Reader, RSS feed or email if you like what you read. Please make a comment to them also - all bloggers appreciate feedback on what they write.

Did I miss a great genealogy blog post? Tell me! I am currently reading posts from over 820 genealogy bloggers using Google Reader, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.

UPDATED 9:30 p.m.:  Added Anne's post and Susan Petersen's summary.