Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - New Genealogy Blogs

Hey, genea-blog readers, it's Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!

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

1)  Go to the Geneabloggers website - - and look for the post New Genealogy Blogs March 12, 2011.

2)  Pick out at least five blogs from this list that interest you.

3)  If you like them, add them to your blog reader (whether Google Reader, Bloglines, your Favorites or Bookmarks, whatever). 

4)  Tell us which ones you subscribed to in a blog post or a comment on this post.  Also tell us how many genealogy blogs are in your blog reader.

Each week, Thomas MacEntee writes a post concerning new genealogy blogs that he finds or is tipped to on Geneabloggers.  These posts make it easy for blog readers to find new content, and potentially useful content, in their never-ending thirst for more genealogy information.

5)  For extra credit (no actual rewards...), go back through the past few weeks of these New Genealogy Blog listings here.

6)  Was that FUN?  I hope so.

Here's mine:

New blogs that I've added to my Google Reader from this week's list:

* African Roots

Ancestral Journeys


Family Pursuit

Leaves & Branches

Mann Hunt

Real Big Tree

R.I.P. - Resting in Pennsylvania

Your Local History

And from earlier lists:

AK's Genealogy Research

Ancestral Wormhole

Four Generations Genealogy

Frustrated Genealogist

Genealogy Your Way

Generations Archiving

Hildreth-Tobey Ancestry (I have Hildreth ancestors!)

It's a CHURCH thing

My Family Search

Fantastic Electrisoil

Keeping the Story Alive

Walking with Ancestors

I see that I have missed quite a few weeks of "new" genea-blog announcements.  It's hard to keep up all of the new ones when 20 to 40 are added each week.  I added 21 to my Google Reader list.  Now to read the added 97 posts in my Reader!

I now have 862 subscriptions in my Google Reader, of which all but about 15 are genealogy related.

Yes, this was FUN for me.  Was it good for you too?

Surname Saturday - CARD (England > Rhode Island)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 189,  who is Phoebe CARD (1730-1787), 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 CARD families is:

1.  Randall Jeffrey Seaver (1943-....)

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)

94.  Joseph Champlin (1758-1850)
95.  Nancy Kenyon (1765-????)

188. Elijah Champlin, born 1730 in probably Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island, United States; died before 19 February 1779 in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States. He was the son of 376. William Champlin and 377. Joanna. He married 27 November 1751 in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States.
189. Phoebe Card, born about 1730 in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States; died 19 February 1787 in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States.

Children of Elijah Champlin and Phoebe Card are: Phoebe Champlin (1752-????); Elijah Champlin (1756-1825); Joseph Champlin (1758-1850); William Champlin (1759-1844); Mary Champlin (1760-????); Jeffrey Champlin (1761-1837); Hannah Champlin (1762-????); Amy Champlin (1764-????); Anna Champlin (1766-????); Elizabeth Champlin (1768-????); Alice Champlin (1770-????).

378. Job Card, born 02 September 1690 in New Shoreham, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died before 1760 in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States.  He married before 1718 in probably Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island, United States.
379. Judith Greenman, born about 1694 in Westerly, Washington, Rhode Island, United States; died 1786 in Charlestown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States. She was the daughter of 758. Thomas Greenman and 759. Mary Weeden.

Children of Job Card and Judith Greenman are: Job Card (1718-1777); Joseph Card (1720-????); Joshua Card (1722-1808); Martha Card (1724-????); Prudence Card (1726-1774); John Card (1728-1803); Phoebe Card (1730-1787); Jonathan Card (1732-1810).

756. Job Card, born about 1653 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died before 07 September 1739 in South Kingstown, Washington, Rhode Island, United States.  He married  01 November 1689 in New Shoreham, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
757. Martha Acres, born 26 February 1668 in New Shoreham, Newport, Rhode Island, United States; died before 28 May 1716 in New Shoreham, Newport, Rhode Island, United States. She was the daughter of 1514. John Ackers and 1515. Margery.

Children of Job Card and Martha Acres are: Job Card (1690-1760); Rebecca Card (1694-1739); Martha Card (1699-1789); Margery Card (1702-????); Jane Card (1703-1727); Sarah Card (1705-????);

1512. Richard Card, born about 1620 in England; died before 01 July 1674 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States. He married  before 1647 in probably Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.
1513. Rebecca, born about 1625 in England; died after 20 November 1692 in Newport, Newport, Rhode Island, United States.

Children of Richard Card and Rebecca are: Joseph Card (1648-1729); James Card (1650-1706); Job Card (1653-1739).

The most comprehensive works that document this Card family are:

*  Maxine Phelps Lines and Mary Card Yarnell, "Descendants of Richard Card of Rhode Island With Corrections and Additions," on FHL Microfilm 1,307,501, Items 1-3.

*  Maxine Phelps Lines, "Descendants of Richard Card of Newport," Rhode Island Genealogical Register, Volume 3, Number 3 (January 1981).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Exploring WikiTree - Post 2: Navigating the Tree

As noted yesterday in WikiTree - Post 1: Getting Started, I uploaded a small GEDCOM file (2,860 persons, 10 generations of my ancestors and their children from my larger 40,000 person database) to WikiTree. 

I didn't note the time that I uploaded the GEDCOM file, but it was about 12:15 p.m.  I received an automated email at 2:19 p.m. from WikiTree noting that "The gedcom file that you uploaded to WikiTree has now been completely processed."  Then at 2:24 p.m. I received an email from Chris Whitten, the WikiTree webmaster, that said:

"As you may also see from a separate automated message, your gedcom has
been processed. Here's the report:

I went ahead and merged the page that the gedcom created for you into
your account page, so that your tree is integrated:

You may find you want to edit the bio sections of pages. We programmed
our gedcom import system to be very conservative so nothing gets lost.
What isn't processed into a database field is included in the body of
the page. It ends up having a very machine-generated feel. For
example, see your own bio
Many people choose to edit this into a more natural-language

Let me know when you have questions. I'm happy to help. With two
thousand people in your gedcom you're already a leading WikiTreer!
E-mail me anytime.

You can also browse our Help section  or post comments or
questions on our Facebook page
I don't know if Chris sends an email to each new GEDCOM submitter, but I was impressed.  WikiTree also has a Facebook page for questions and comments.  Cool.

I was anxious to see what my Tree looked like, and how I could navigate around the tree.  When I signed in this morning to WikiTree, I clicked on the "Tree" link in the top menu and saw:

There's My Tree.  On the "Tree," view, only the names of the persons in a five generation pedigree chart, plus their birth and death dates, are shown.  If there is no name in a position in the five generation tree, there is a link that enables you to add a person.

For the #1 person in the five generation tree, WikiTree displays a preferred picture, their birth date and death date, their siblings (with links), their spouse(s) and their children (with links).

I could click on any one of the underlined names in the tree, and see a Person Page (we'll do this in the next post).  The person in the #1 slot in the pedigree chart is highlighted at the top of the tree.  There is a menu line below this name with "Profile (public view)," "Edit," "Photos," "Family Tree," "Changes," "Privacy" and "Profile (private view)."  The user can click any one of these menu items and see the details. 

Below that menu line is a menu line in smaller type with (for my tree) the following links:  "Print Friendly," "My Tree," "Seaver Tree," "Richmond Tree," "Carringer Tree," and "Auble Tree."   There is also the note to use a "Tree" icon and a "Descendants" icon to navigate the tree.

What does the "Print Friendly" link do?  Here's the "print-friendly" tree for "My Tree:"

It prints on one 8.5 x 11 page.  There is not much decoration, but it's functional (although it doesn't have place names or marriage data on it).  Use your "Back" button to go back to the graphic Tree.

The use of the four grandparents (in my case Seaver, Richmond, Carringer and Auble) to easily navigate the Tree is very handy, and it may be unique in online family trees.  I don't recall seeing a similar feature.  I clicked on "Seaver Tree" and saw the tree of my paternal grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942):

The "Richmond Tree" link showed me the tree of Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962), my paternal grandmother:

The tree of my maternal grandfather, Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976) in the "Carringer Tree:"

The tree of my maternal grandmother, Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977) in the "Auble Tree:"

All of those are just one click away from anywhere in the tree (if you are on a person's page, you have to click the "Tree" button on the larger menu).

On the "Seaver Tree" page, I wanted to see Isaac Seaver's ancestors, so I clicked on the "Tree" icon (it's a small green pedigree chart to the left of the person's name in the tree chart - everybody has one), and saw:

The five-generation tree for the person selected appeared, and I could almost instantly see Isaac's ancestors.

What about descendants?  The small green "Descendants" icon is to the right of the person's name (it looks like a descendant's chart).  I clicked the one next to Isaac's name and saw:

A classic Descendants Chart was created.  The data on the chart includes the person's name, their birth and death dates and spouse's name(s), but not birth and death locations, marriage date and place, or spouses information.  To see that additional data, the user has to click on the "Profile" button for a person. 

To edit any data about a person, the user has to click on the Person's name or click on the "Edit" button. 
My first impressions after using the Tree and navigating it are: 

*  The Tree is graphical, but the Person pages are text based with links to other Person pages.

*  Navigation is fast - much faster than some other online editable family trees (e.g., Ancestry Member Trees).  That may be because there are very few profiles on the WikiTree right now.

We'll explore the "Person" page features in the next post in this series.

Genealogist Michael Hait schedules webinars

Genealogist Michael Hait, who resides near Washington, D.C. has scheduled a number of webinars (WEB semINARS) on several genealogy topics.  He announced this on the TGF mailing list here.  Here is the text of Michael's announcement (he encouraged readers to pass it on):

I know it is short notice but I hope that some of you might be able to attend the following.

I love to talk about genealogy. In the past few years I have lectured around Maryland and the District of Columbia, and even twice in New Jersey. I have several more lectures coming up this year in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, the costs of travel prohibit my being able to lecture in distant cities and states. To get around this issue, I would like to offer my services as a lecturer remotely to societies around the country. This strategy is already being used with success by other lecturers, within our field and many others.

To promote my services, I am offering a series of free lectures, presented as online webinars. I have scheduled the first two lectures for tomorrow, 12 March 2011. Additional lectures will be presented later this month. I would like any members of genealogical societies to attend these lectures, especially society program coordinators. These lectures can all be given directly to genealogical societies at any time. Speakers' fees will be discussed upon request.

All interested parties are of course welcome.

The two presentations scheduled for tomorrow are:

* What is a 'Reasonably Exhaustive Search'? * The first step of the Genealogical Proof Standard is to "complete a reasonably exhaustive search for all relevant records" related to your research objective. This presentation discusses what a "reasonably exhaustive search" constitutes, why this is necessary, and how to conduct a search.  A case study explores how failing to identify all relevant records can lead to missing information and forming inaccurate conclusions about your ancestors' lives. (Intermediate)
Date:  Saturday, March 12, 2011
Time:  12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EST

Reserve your Webinar seat now at: Space is limited to 100 attendees.

* Your Civil War Ancestors: A Guide to Research * Learn how to identify your Civil War ancestors, and what information can be found in the Civil War records.  Both Union and Confederate ancestors are covered. (Beginner/Intermediate)
Date:  Saturday, March 12, 2011
Time:  3:00 PM - 4:00 PM EST
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
Space is limited to 100 attendees.

The following presentations will be scheduled for later this month:

* African-American Genealogy:  Tearing Down the Brickwalls * Brickwalls in African-American genealogy can be caused by lack of records or improper research habits. Learning to research effectively can help to avoid these brickwalls. [optional case study available]

* Beyond Ancestry and FamilySearch: Online State Resources for Genealogy * There are many different sources for online digital record images, from state archives to historical societies.  This presentation will sample several of these resources, showing the great depth of records available online.

* Beyond Ancestry and FamilySearch: Online Records for African-American Research * There are many different sources for online digital record images, from state archives to historical societies.  This presentation will sample several of these resources, showing the great depth of records available online, focusing on resources available for African-American genealogy.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Michael Hait

These webinars sound like they will be informative and interesting.  I hope to watch some of them as my schedule permits.  I also hope that Michael will provide an archive for them if the technology permits that so that those that miss the actual webinar can watch them.

Follow Friday -- How to make sense of a Civil War Pension File

I ran across an interesting post today on the NARAtions blog (the blog of the U.S. National Archives) by John titled "Family Tree Friday: How to make sense out of a Civil War pension file…with some online help!"

Just what I needed!  I've been trying to make sense of the order of the papers in Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File that I've been posting and transcribing in my Treasure Chest Thursday series. 

The post provides a link to the book Orders, Instructions, and Regulations Governing the Pension Bureau (Washington: Government Printing Office), which is available to read or download on The Internet Archive.

The NARAtions post summarizes the intended order and content of the different documents in a typical Civil War Pension File, whether for the Invalid soldier, a Widow or a Minor Child.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Exploring WikiTree - Post 1: Getting Started

WikiTree, a FREE online family tree, has been around for several years, but is now gaining more and more contributors.  It passed one million profiles today - see the GeneaPress announcement here. 

The website says:

"About WikiTree: This is a free and collaborative project started in 2008. The webmaster is Chris Whitten, the creator of WikiAnswers. The technical infrastructure is based on Mediawiki and is developed and operated by, Inc. The content is edited and owned by contributors. Expenses are paid by ads on public pages for those who don't login."

In summary - it's a family tree, it's collaborative, it's a wiki, and it's FREE.  The example pages I've seen look beautiful.  What's not to like?  I love family tree programs and websites.  I believe in spreading my genea-seeds around as cousin bait and am hoping to find the "ultimate" in family trees.  Hence - I'll give WikiTree a whirl.

I registered back in November when WikiTree was announced as available for use.  Today, I decided to jump in and upload my family tree.

Here's the home page for WikiTree:

I clicked on the "My Nav Page" in the top menu and saw:

The Navigation Page is my own - yours will look different depending on what you've already added.  The Navigation Page tells me what I've done to date and what I can do next.  I was impatient, and wanted to upload my family tree, so I clicked on the "Tree" link in the top menu:

My tree is EM-TEE!  I can start over?  I don't want to, since I have almost 40,000 persons in my RootsMagic database.  On the "Tree" screen above, there is no obvious way to add or edit more information, other than by clicking on the links for the persons on the page.

Can WikiTree upload a GEDCOM file?  I clicked on "Help" in the top menu, and there was a list on the "How to Use WikiTree." page.  I saw "6. GEDCOMs, Back-Ups, and Moving Your Family Tree" so I clicked on that, and then on the "Upload it here" link.  The screen for uploading a GEDCOM is:

This "Upload GEDCOM" page has some helpful warnings, including:

"Do you have thousands of distant ancestors in your GEDCOM?

"WikiTree is designed for collaboration. Every human being should only have one profile page on our worldwide family tree. An ancestor's profile should be shared by all their descendants.

"WikiTree collaboration is personal and private when it comes to modern family history. But ancestors from hundreds of years ago are large-scale collaborative efforts.

"If you import a GEDCOM with 2,000 individuals you will become the Profile Manager for 2,000 new profiles. This means making a commitment to participate in the WikiTree community. Other WikiTreers will want to merge and share the profiles you created.

"Some new users choose to experiment with WikiTree first or start with a smaller GEDCOM. We want you to participate — serious genealogists make the best WikiTreers — so please e-mail Chris to talk about it."

Hmmm, a warning not to upload a large GEDCOM, in fact something less than 2,000 is recommended.  I went into RootsMagic to see how many people are in my ancestral families, and  decided to choose to create a GEDCOM for 10 generations, starting with me.  The result was a GEDCOM with 2860 persons, and is 2.6 megabytes.  Let's see how that works.

I added the GEDCOM file to the field in the screen above, and clicked on the "Upload a GEDCOM File" button.  The next screen was:

"Your GEDCOM has been uploaded and will be processed within the next few days."

Okay, I'll be patient.  I was curious why they do it this way - there is a link on this page for GEDCOM FAQs:

One of the FAQs is for "Why isn't a GEDCOM imported immediately after you upload it?"  This says:

"Some GEDCOMs take time to process. A web page is created for each individual in the file, then the family connections are made between them, then any notes or source information is added. In order to avoid creating too much of a load on the server, we only process one GEDCOM at a time, and we like to process large GEDCOMs during non-peak hours.

"Also, every program that creates GEDCOMs has its own unique way of formatting information. GEDCOMs are designed to store the data in a standardized, universal manner so that information can be cleanly exchanged, but the reality isn't quite that simple. Many things can go wrong. In order to minimize the likelihood of problems, and be available to solve them, we like to personally manage every GEDCOM import."

Fair enough.  I'll wait until they notify me, and then we'll go exploring around my WikiTree.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension Papers: Widow's Drop Report

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 M. Seaver, was awarded a pension of  $12 per month in 1908.

This week is the last two dated documents in the Pension File - an envelope and the Drop Report - Pensioner that the pensioner has died.

The first image is the envelope mailed by the Pension Department to the Pensioner, Alvina M. Seaver:

Someone, probably the mail carrier or the town postmaster, has written "Deceased, Apr 20 1923" on the face of the envelope and sent it back to the Pension Department.

The second item below is the Drop Report - Pensioner that was put into the Pension File as a result of the report of death:

The top part of the card has the Pensioner's address typed or stamped on the card:

667027   ACT APR

The two parts of this card that were filled out read (filled in lines underlined, handwritten items italicized):


May 12 1923
Check No. 8755439   $ 30
dated  May 4 1923, Section 2
returned by postmaster with information that the
above-described pensioner died Apr. 20
19 23 has been canceled.


May 18 1923

The name of the above-described pensioner who
was last paid at the rate of $ 30 per month
to April 4, 19 23, has this day
been dropped from the roll because of death.

I'm concerned that the "word" of a postmaster or mail carrier would be taken, apparently without question, that a person has died.  I guess those were more innocent times.  You would think that the Pension bureau would request and receive a death certificate from the town clerk.

From this "record," we know the death date and last known address of Alvina M. (Bradley) (Lewis) Seaver, widow of Isaac Seaver 3rd (1823-1901).  We also know that the monthly payment had risen to $30 per month from $12 per month in 1908, although there are no documents in the pension file about the increase in payment.  Was it due to legislation and applied across the board to all pensioners?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

San Diego Genealogical Society meeting on Saturday - Alfredo Pena presenting

The March program meeting of the San Diego Genealogical Society is this Saturday, 12 March at 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church (8350 Lake Murray Blvd). 

The program speaker will be Alfredo I. Pena.  The following information was published in the SDGS Newsletter:

While the central theme this month revolves around Spanish and Mexican ancestry, core research techniques using church, civil and local records are at the heart of these educational and informative lectures.  You may find some surprising ties with notable American families.

"The Conquest of Mexico: Finding Your Ancestor among the Conquistadors."  The myths and realities about the conquistadors: some of the families that descend from them and what sources can be used to find a link to one or several of the conquistadors.

"Coming to the New World after the Conquest: 1600 to 1900."  Not everybody arrived to the New World at the same time with the conquistadors.  Some of the Spanish families went to Mexico after the conquest.  Find out what are some of the books and other sources that can be used to find them.

"Exodus: The Reasons for the Massive Immigration from Mexico to the U.S."  Political and economic events such as the Mexican Revolution and the religious war against the government (Cristeros) fueled a massive immigration from Mexico to the U.S.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Alfredo has a degree in Graphic Design with 25 years experience in publications and advertising.  He is a member of the National Genealogical Society, Chula Vista Genealogical Society, Genealogical Societies of the Valley of Mexico, Northeastern Mexico, Northern Mexico, Society of Hispanic Historical and Ancestral Research, and the Association of Professional Genealogists.

RootsTech Streaming Videos now Available

According to Geneabloggers, streaming videos of some of the presenters at RootsTech are available online.  Click on the links to watch each video:
These videos start out on a very small screen on the Brightcove site.  Click on the "Full Screen" icon to see them in a larger format.  The full screen video is excellent!

I have watched all or part of these videos, and the only one I felt lost in was Brian Pugh's.  My recommendation is that, if you only have time for one, watch Curt Witcher's. 

I've been watching the Roots Tech page on the FamilySearch Research Wiki every day for these videos, and have not seen them there to date.

They are now at  You can click on each one in the playlist.

Family Tree Magazine Top 40 Genealogy Blogs for 2011

The popular Family Tree Magazine has unveiled the 2011 Family Tree Top 40 Genealogy Blogs, as voted upon by readers of the magazine using an online survey system.  Sunny Jane Morton wrote the piece, which describes each blog on the list, and provides a link to each blog.  The article will be in the May 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine, and will be available later this week.

The article starts:

"If you haven't joined the genealogy blog scene yet, let me describe what you're missing: Imagine eavesdropping on the best lunchroom buzz at a big genealogy conference. Smart, experienced researchers exchange advice and laughter-laced banter. Advice flies from every table: on French Canadian sources, on using the Flip-Pal mobile scanner. You tune in (or out) as you please; listen or comment at will. The speakers don't mind -- in fact, the more eavesdroppers, the merrier."

Why isn't Genea-Musings or some of my other genealogy blogs on the list?  Or se veral other really popular blogs?  It's because I was one of the panelists that helped select the Top 40 genealogy blogs.  You can read about the panelists in the side article Meet the Family Tree 40 Panel.

Congratulations to the winners as selected by the readers - you've earned the distinction of being selected by your readers and your peers. 

It should be pointed out that there some fairly stringent requirements to qualify for inclusion, including:

*  be primarily about genealogy.
*  have original content (aggregators featuring posts from other blogs will be disqualified).
*  belong to a private individual or individuals, not to a business (a change from last year’s Family Tree 40). They may not exist primarily to market products.
*  be active, having at least four posts per month for the past three months (or, for blogs newer than three months, four posts per month since the blog has been in existence).
*  contain or link to information about the blogger(s), such as an “About Me” page.
*  not be hosted by a Family Tree 40 panelist or by Family Tree Magazine.
The online article does not list the URLs for the winning blogs, but it does link to them.  I hope that the magazine article will provide the URL for each blog for the readers of the published magazine issue.

Dear Randy: Do Family Tree Maker 2011 Smart Stories have any practical function?

In a comment on Adding a Smart Story to Family Tree Maker 2011 - Post 1, reader Rick wrote:

"I haven't been able to figure out how to make good use of Smart Stories. Do they have any practical function? Wouldn't it be a lot more useful if Family Tree Maker could create a regular Register report in HTML format? Or if you could save a Register report as an RTF file with embedded codes so you could edit the file and then generate a name index? Now that would be a real smart story. "

I'll address the second issue about Register reports in another post, but I want to add my opinion about the practical value of FTM 2011 Smart Stories.

I noted in the earlier post that the FTM 2011 Help section says this about the purpose of Smart Stories:

"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."

Those features are, of course, provided when a user creates an Individual Report, an Ahnentafel Report, or a Descendants Report using the "Publish" workspace. 

As pointed out in my post Adding a Smart Story to Family Tree Maker 2011 - Post 2, there are some limitations to the story creation.  Users have to intentionally create one for every person in the database that the user wants, which is fairly time consuming.  Users also have to create a new Smart Story for any person that has Facts added to their "Person" page.

The Search Support page has an article titled "In Family Tree Maker 2011, what are Smart Stories and how do I use them?"  Users with an interest in Smart Stories should read this article.

Here are my views on why and Family Tree Maker 2011 created Smart Stories:

1)  The main reason that created the Smart Story concept is because many users that create Ancestry Member Trees online have added text to the "Stories" tab on the "Media Gallery."  Those "Stories" are visible to all readers, whereas the "Notes" for each Person is not visible to anyone but the owner and designated editors of the Member Tree.  The "Story" in an Ancestry Member Tree is downloaded with the Member Tree data into a Family Tree Maker 2011 database, and put in the "Media" workspace.  Therefore, the information in the Story is not lost - it appears in FTM 2011 as a "Smart Story."

2)  A "Smart Story" created in FTM 2011 is in a discrete file - and that file can be saved to a user's computer and shared with another person via an email attachment.  It will also upload to an Ancestry Member Tree and be placed in the "Media Gallery."

3) wants users to create MyCanvas Books.  MyCanvas obtains information from Ancestry Member Trees.  The "Story" in an Ancestry Member Tree can be saved as an RTF file.  Stories saved in an RTF format can be added to the MyCanvas Book (but not any other format, like a Microsoft Word document), according to the FTM 2011 Search Support article here.  Note: users can also do a copy-and-paste from a separate document to add narratives to the MyCanvas Book. 

4)  This is all about integrating Family Tree Maker 2011 with Ancestry Member Trees and MyCanvas Book creation.

So the practical use is to permit Stories in an Ancestry Member Tree to download to an FTM 2011 database, or vice versa.  And to permit those Stories to be easily added to an Ancestry MyCanvas Book. 

The usefulness is in the mind of the individual user.  If I wanted to create a MyCanvas book, I would create Smart Stories in FTM 2011 for selected persons to be included in the Book, upload the FTM 2011 database to a new Ancestry Member Tree, and then create a MyCanvas Book. 

Thank you, Rick, for the question.

Disclosure:  I am not an employee or contractor for or its subsidiary entities.  I pay for my US subscription.  I have accepted travel expenses and Family Tree Maker software from in the past.  I was not remunerated to write this post.

UPDATE 3/10:  Russ Worthington has several posts about Smart Stories - see his latest post Family Tree Maker 2011 - Smart Stories that describes his effort in creating a book in Family Tree Maker 2011. 

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 143: The Carringer Home in 1925

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 shows the Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer home at 2105 30th Street in San Diego (on the northeast corner of 30th Street and Hawthorn Street) in the 1925 time frame.  The sidewalks are in, the telephone and power poles are up, and the vegetation around the home is mature.  The palm tree in the front yard is fairly young, however. 

This home was built in about 1895, and I have posted photographs of it several times.  In 1926, the house was moved to the middle of the block and remodeled.  I have photos of the remodel too, and will show them in future pWordless Wednesday posts.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

GenerationStation - Adding and Connecting More Family Members

When we last worked with GenerationStation ( last Friday in GenerationStation - Adding Family Members, we created a Person Page for Devier James Lamphear Smith.  A biography and a photograph was included.

Today I want to add Devier's wife to the collection, and connect them both to their daughter, Abbie Ardell "Della" Smith.  Note that I had already added Della to the collection, and identified her mother as Abbie A. Vaux.

Starting with Devier James Lamphear Smith's page:

I want to add the Spouse information, so I clicked on the "Add Details" link for Abigail A. Vaux (in the right-hand area).  I added her birth and  death date and location, then added text to her Biography page.  I did not have a thumbnail head shot of her, so I didn't upload a photo at this time.  Here is Abigail A. Vaux's page:

Now I need to connect both Abigail A. Vaux and Devier Smith to their daughter, Abbie Ardell "Della" Smith.  I clicked on the "Family" button and saw:

There are links on the left side to Add a parent, a spouse, a sibling, or a child.  I chose to "Add a Child":

An empty set of fields opened and I started typing the child's name - I got as far as the middle of the middle name when the name of Abbie Ardell "Della" Smith appeared to the right of the text fields.  The system offers suggestions for children, and presumably parents, children, and spouses if they are already in the system (presumably submitted by any registered user).

I clicked on the "Link to profile" button below the suggested person and the child was added to the profile for Abbie A. Vaux

I went back to the "Family" page for Abigail A. Vaux and saw:

The spouse and the daughter are linked to her.

Now I need to link the daughter Abbie Ardell Smith to her father, Devier James Lamphear Smith using the same process.  Here's the page for Devier making the connection:

And after the connection:

And here's Abbie Ardell "Della" Smith's page showing her connections:

I see that Della has two mothers now - one with details and one without.  That's a result of identifying her mother as Abbie A. Vaux when I created Della's profile.  Now how do I delete the second profile for Abbie A. Vaux?  I could find no way to do it.  There is no online Help file yet - you have to email the website.

I still don't see any way to add a Marriage date and location for a couple.  Did they leave it out on purpose or by mistake?

This process seems a bit arduous to me, but it is fairly logical and straightforward once the user gets the hang of it.  I chose to do this exercise by selecting "Create a New Person" rather than starting from a Child's page and selecting "Add People" from the "Family" page or "Add Parents" from the "Snapshot" page.  The latter seems to be the easier path to take.

Having to enter data one person at a time works fairly well, but it does take time.  This is not unlike other online family trees (e.g., Geni, FamilyLink, etc.) that do not permit GEDCOM uploads.  Using this "one person at a time" method does prevent many duplicates in the system that would occur when thousands of GEDCOM files are uploaded. 

Tuesday's Tip - Use PERSI to find genealogy-related periodical articles

Today's Tuesday's Tip is:  Use the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) to find periodical articles on genealogy-related topics.

In my experience, periodical articles provide many solutions to specific brick-wall research problems.  The peer-reviewed journals (like the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ), the New England Historic Genealogical Register, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and others) often publish articles about previously unsolved ancestral problems, describe and demonstrate the research techniques for solving those problems, etc.  Many regional, state, and local genealogical journals provide research articles, descriptions of repository holdings, listings of previously unpublished records, etc.  All of these may be extremely useful for genealogy researchers, especially for periodicals published near and articles written about ancestral towns and counties.

In my humble opinion, a researcher cannot perform a reasonably exhaustive ancestral search without using genealogy-related periodicals. 

The PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) "indexes articles in 11,000 periodical titles (including 3,000 defunct titles), dating back to 1847, published by thousands of local, state, national and international societies and organizations, arranging 2.25 million entries by surname or location and 22 basic subject headings."  This is a continuous effort by the staff at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

You can read all about PERSI in the article Periodical Source Index (PERSI) on the FamilySearch Research Wiki. 

There are some limitations that users should know:

*  PERSI is a subject index to articles, not an every name or every word index. Entries are by:
- Location and record type;
- Surname as subject; or
- How-to topic.

*  PERSI does not cover surname periodicals and does not normally include queries, charts, fiction, cartoons, or poetry.

PERSI is available online at two websites:

*  Heritage Quest Online, which is available in many public libraries (and available remotely using a library card from the participating library) and at all LDS Family History Centers.  There are four options for beginning a search in HeritageQuest: People, Places, How-tos, and Periodicals., which is available through personal subscription, or is free at subscribing libraries and all LDS Family History Centers. From the main page, click the “Search” tab, then under “Dictionaries, Encyclopedias & Reference” select “Periodical Source Index.” 

PERSI is available in book form many public and genealogical libraries, but the yearly publications ended in 1997.

The FamilySearch Research Wiki page has much more information about the two services and how to effectively search using them.

All of the periodicals indexed by PERSI are available at Allen County Public Library (ACPL) to peruse and copy.  The indexes are updated regularly.

The ACPL Foundation offers an article copying service for those unable to visit or access the periodicals elsewhere. To use this service, print an Article Request Form available on the Genealogy Center's webpage. For each article requested, include Title of Article, Title of Journal, Volume (if cited), Number (if cited), Month (if cited) and Year. A pre-paid handling fee of $7.50 (check or money order to “ACPLF”) covers up to four articles and should be sent with each form. Multiple forms may be submitted, accompanied by the appropriate handling fee (e.g. for 10 articles: $7.50 X 3 = $22.50). An additional copying fee of 20 cents per page will be billed when the copies are sent. Please allow up to 4 weeks for delivery.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Why Do People Have Favorite Ancestors?

In her post, Why do people have favorite ancestors? on the Marian's Roots and Rambles blog, Marian Pierre-Louis provides her own, and Elissa Scalise Powell's, answers to the question.

My reasons are somewhat similar.  But different.

Like Marian, I identify "favorite ancestors" with a good story, or a relatively full family history file.  It is difficult to identify with an ancestor that you know nothing about.  My Devier J. Smith is a good example - I know quite a bit about his life, but nothing about his birth parents.

I also identify "favorite ancestors" with those that are difficult to find information about but that I've worked on for a long time.  My Elizabeth Horton Dill, Thomas J. Newton and William Knapp are examples of this. 

I identify with several "favorite ancestors" that suffered hardship in their lives, and overcame those hardships to be productive persons.  My Isaac Seaver (orphaned at age 2, first wife died after childbirth, Civil War soldier), Isaac Buck (illegitimate, Revolutionary War soldier, dirt poor in old age), Henry Austin Carringer (moved to IA at age 5, then to Iowa, then to Colorado, finally to San Diego, California). 

The genealogy information is useful and somewhat interesting, but the life details are what provide the "real fun" for me in family history research. 

Thanks, Marian, for the blog fodder on a day that I've been too busy to write anything before now!

What about your "favorite ancestors?"  Who are they, and why do you identify them that way?

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Solomon Carpenter (1677-1850) of South Kingstown, 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 Solomon Carpenter (1677-1750) of South Kingstown, Rhode Island.  He married Elizabeth Tefft (1687-????), and they had children:  Elizabeth Carpenter (1703-????), married James Braman; Solomon Carpenter (1706-1743); Joseph Carpenter (1708-????); Daniel Carpenter (1712-????); Samuel Carpenter (1714-????); Sarah Carpenter (1716-????).

Solomon Carpenter, yeoman of South Kingstown,  died testate, having written a will dated 30 April 1750, which was proved 18 October 1750. The will reads (transcribed by the author from the clerk's copy in the South Kingstown (Rhode Island) Probate and Town Council Records, Volume 4, Pages 318-320, on FHL Microfilm 0,931,834, paragraphs added for readability):

"In the Name of God Amen the Thirtyeth Day of April Anno Domini one Thousand Seven Hundred fifty.  I Solomon Carpenter of South Kingstown in the County of Kings County in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations in New England yeoman.  Being ancient but Perfect in mind and memory Thanks be therefore given to Almighty God and Calling unto Mind the Mortality of My body and Knowing that it is Appointed for men once to Dye do make and Ordain this to be my Last will and Testament That is to Say

"Principally and first of all I Give and Recommend my Soul into the Hands of God that Gave it and my body I recommend to the Earth to be buried in a Decent Christian Like manner at the Discrestion of my Executor hereafter Named And as Touching such worldly Estate wherewith It hath Pleased God to bless me with in this Life I Give Demise and Dispose of the Same in the following manner and form (Viz)

"Imprimis my Will is That my Just Debts be Duly Paid by my Executor herein and hereafter Named.

"Item  I Give and Bequeath unto my well beloved Daughter Elizabeth Braman the Sum of Fifty Pounds in good and Passable Bills of Publick Credit of said Colony to be paid by my Executor hereafter Named with in Twelve Months Next after my Decease.

"Item I Give to my Grandaughter Joanna Rogers the Sum of fifty Pounds in good and Passable Bills of the Colony before said to be paid by my Executor hereafter Named at his Discrestion and as he shall think she the said Joanna hath agreed thereof.

"Item I Give to my GrandSon Samuel Carpenter the sum of Twenty Shillings in good and Pasable Bills of Publick Credit in the Colony aforesaid to be paid by my Executor hereafter named when the said Samuel shall Arrive to the Age of Twenty one years and the reason why I Give him no more is because his Deceased Father had received his Part of my Estate in his Lifetime.

"Item  I Give and bequeath unto my GrandSon Joseph Carpenter the sum of twelve Pounds in good and Passable Bills of Publick Credit in said colony to be Paid by my Executor hereafter Named when the said Joseph shall Arrive to the Age of Twenty one years.

"And as to the rest and Residue of my Estate both Real and Personal be it of what Kind or Nature soever or Where soever the Same is or may be found I do Give Demise and Bequeath the same unto my well beloved Son Daniel Carpenter to him and his Heirs and Assigns for Ever And I do hereby Nominate Constitute make and ordaine my said Well beloved Son Daniel Carpenter my whole and Sole Executor of this my Last will and Testament and I do hereby utterly Disallow Revoke and Disannull all and Every other Former Testament Wills Legacies and bequeaths and Executors by me in any wise before Named Willed and bequeathed Rattifying and Confirming this and No other to be my Last will and Testament.  In Witness whereof I have herewith Set my hand and Seal the Day and years first before Writen.

"Signed Sealed Published Pronounced and Declared by the said Solomon Carpenter as his Last will and Testament in the presence of us the Subscribers
............................................................................... Solomon Carpenter (Locus Sigillus)
Rouse Helme
Job Gardner
Oliver Helme"

On 8 October 1750, the subscribers personally appeared before the South Kingstown town council and declared that they witnessed Solomon Carpenter sign, seal and declare this instrument to be his last will and testament and that they signed as witnesses in his presence, and that Solomon Carpenter was in his perfect mind and memory at the time.

No inventory of the estate, executor's account or distribution of the estate was found in the town probate records.

My ancestral line to Solomon Carpenter is through his son, Daniel Carpenter, named as the executor in the will.  Daughter Elizabeth is named in the will, but I don't know who the granddaughter Joanna Rogers is - she may be a daughter of Elizabeth or of son Solomon Carpenter.  I don't know who the parents are of the grandsons Joseph Carpenter and Samuel Carpenter - they may be sons of son Solomon Carpenter, who died in 1743.  The will does not mention the other four children of Solomon - Solomon, Joseph, Samuel and Sarah.  I know that Solomon died in 1743, but I have no death record for the other three.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 27 February to 5 March 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:

Place Name Standardization by John Newmark on the TransylvanianDutch blog.  John disagrees with my "standardizing" place names - he reasons why we should use historical place names.

PARI, Part 1, Who, What, When, Where, and WhyPARI, Part 2, The Computers and DatabasesPARI, Part 3, Special Collections, PARI, Part 4, The Art, PARI, Part 5, The Wall, and PARI, Part 6, The Panorama Room by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog.  Jasia visited the Polonica Americana Research Institute and described her findings.  Looks like a great place to do research and meet friends.

Genealogy vs. Family History: Is There a Line in The Sand? by Lynn Palermo on The Armchair genealogist blog.  Lynn discusses the differences here, finds value in both sides of the line, and wonders why it matters.

Spilling Secrets by Linda Gartz on the Family Archaeologist blog.  Linda has a wonderful family travel story to tell - with more to come.

Getting Musty and Dirty by Ruby Coleman on the You Go Genealogy Girls blog.  Ruby says she has no research brickwalls, only research problems to be solved.  Great attitude!

Beyond Wills and Trusts – What Do You Do With Your Intellectual Property? by Stefani Twyford on the Legacy MultiMedia Blog.   Good question, and Stefani has some suggestions.

Research Civil War History and Genealogy records online by Sandy Amone on the blog.  Sandy's list is an excellent summary of available Civil war resources.

February Ruminations by T.K. Sand on the Before My Time blog.  T.K. shares some opinions and feelings about genealogy and technology - many will agree!  And laugh...

What I Learned About the Future of Genealogy from Running a Student Genealogy Grant, or A New Challenge for the Genealogy Community by Denise Levenick on The Family Curator blog.  Denise found it hard to pick a grant winner, and has ideas on how to involve young people in genealogy.

WDYTYA – Episode 2×04 – The Nitpicker’s Version by Banai Feldstein on The Ginger Jewish Genealogist Blog.  I love the way Banai analyzes each episode - I count on these posts now as the definitive summary!

Carnival of Genealogy, 103rd Edition by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog.  The topic for this carnival was
"Women's History" and there were 20 submissions about special women who made history.

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

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

Friday News Letter and Follow News: 4 March 2011 by Greta Koehl on Greta's Genealogy Bog blog.

Follow Friday: Around the Blogosphere - March 4 by Susan Petersen on the Long Lost 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.