Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gary Hoffman and Barbara Renick at CGSSD Today

I really enjoyed both parts of the Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meeting today at UCSD. 

In the first hour, Gary Hoffman made a short presentation on "Cloud Computing," describing what is "New" in the computing world, including the message of the Japan earthquake - put your valuable data in the cloud somewhere!  He then took us on a tour through some of the new features of (mainly about the Ancestry Tree app for iPads, iPhones and iPods), (date changes, adding sources), and (the Family Tree becoming available to the public gradually, not all IGI information in the tree).

In the second hour, Barbara Renick gave us a 90 minutes whirlwind look at a number of free websites - both genealogy related and non-genealogy-related - in "Internet Tools for Genealogists."  The links for many of Barbara's topics today are on her Links page at her ZRoots site -  There are 115 links there on one page, including genealogy sites, search and travel sites, tool sites, organization and index sites, and library sites!

She highlighted the FamilySearch Research Wiki over and over ( as a place to determine useful information for research helps, genealogy subjects, localities (country, state, county), and historical record collections on FamilySearch.  When Barbara finds a new website with useful genealogical information, she checks the FamilySearch Research Wiki to see if it has been included already.  If not, she adds it to the appropriate wiki page on the site.  This is a wonderful practice of "giving back and adding on" to grow the Research Wiki content.  Many in the audience of about 100 were unaware of its' existence and surprised by the content.  This was an excellent lead-in to my presentation next month at CGSSD about the updated FamilySearch website in general.

The most useful material for me was the information that can be obtained from many non-genealogy-related websites like Search Engine Colossus (, for searching websites in other countries), RefDesk (, for finding handy tools like Medical and Legal dictionaries, Calendars and lots more), EpoDunk (, for information about localities), BabelFish (, which has no limits on translation text length), the  site (including surname maps for 1850, 1880 and 1990 census years), and many more.

I will try to feature some of the suggested websites in my Tuesday's Tip weekly series over the next few months.

All in all, it was an excellent genealogy day spent with friends and colleagues, and two exciting and helpful presentations.

UPDATED 20 March: Modified the Hamrick link to go to the Surname maps - thank you, Carol!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Contribute to the Genealogisms Dictionary

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

After the Friday Night Fun on Geneabloggers Radio (you have to listen to Geneabloggers Radio!), and being encouraged by the chatters with too much time on their hands (since WDYTYA? was a repeat), or too much Irish whiskey (who knew?), I have to do this topic this week.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (and, really folks, turnout has been pretty light these last two weeks) - is to:

1)  Recall that some genealogists love to make up new words to define what we do or where we are... we want to make a "Genealogisms Dictionary" so that we all understand what we're writing about.

2)  Make up one or more words that deal with some aspect of genealogy - they could start with genea- or ancest- or end with -ology (we don't care), and then define the word for us. 

3)  Submit your genealogisms(s) as a Comment to this blog post, or write a blog post of your own, or in a Facebook status or comment (please let me know if you do this in a comment here).

Here are some of my genea-logisms contributions to date:

genea-logism -- "a newly invented word or phrase from the field of genealogy."

Genea-gasm -- "the 'Magic of Genealogy' moment - a chill in my body, a tremendous feeling of thankfulness, and tears of joy.  Usually occurs in a moment of genealogy discovery or extreme happiness."

Genea-cave -- "the genealogy work area, surrounded by the ancestral collections of a lifetime of research, where you have all of your genea-stuff."

Forrest Gump Principle of Genealogy Research -- "Genealogy research is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to find, but you have to look everywhere your 'genealogy gem' might be hiding"

 Genea-crapola -- "unsubstantiated or fabricated online family trees, published books or articles."  synonym: Genea-dreck.

You get the idea!  Go forth and create more genea-logisms.

Surname Saturday - LNU (????? > Rhode Island)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 191,  who is Anna LNU (about 1742- before 1831), one of my 5th-great-grandmothers. [Note: The 5th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts] 

In reality, I don't know her surname - so I've called it "LNU" for "Last Name Unknown."  Others would put "--?--" as her sutrname until it is identified, and others would just use "Unknown."  I wrote everything I know about Anna LNU in The Elusive Anna Kenyon (ca 1742-????, wife of John Kenyon) and have learned nothing since.

My ancestral line back to Anna LNU (also known as Anna --?--) 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-????)

190.  John Kenyon, son of Sylvester Kenyon and Anna Barber, was born about 1742 in Richmond, Washington, Rhode Island. He died in July 1831 in Sterling, Windham, Connecticut. He married Anna in 1764 in probably Rhode Island.
191. Anna --?-- was born about 1742 in Rhode Island. She died before 1831 in probably Windham, Connecticut. 

The children of John Kenyon and Anna --?-- are: 

i. Nancy Kenyon, born about 1765 in Washington County, RI. She married Joseph Champlin before 1785 in prob. South Kingstown, Washington County, RI; born about 1758 in Charlestown, Washington County, RI; died 17 June 1850 in South Kingstown, Washington County, RI.

ii. Lewis Kenyon, born about 1767 in Washington County, RI. He married Elizabeth Austin.

iii. Sylvester Kenyon, born about 1769 in Washington County, RI; died 1838. He married Polly Vaughn 08 June 1817 in Sterling, Windham County, CT.

iv. Almy Kenyon, born about 1770 in Washington County, RI. She married Perkins.

v. Abigail Kenyon, born about 1772 in Washington County, RI. She married Warren.

vi. Cynthia Kenyon, born about 1773 in Washington County, RI.

vii. Mary Kenyon, born about 1774 in Voluntown, New London County, CT; died June 1810. She married William Dixon.

viii. John Kenyon, born 10 May 1776 in Richmond, Washington County, RI. He married Susanna Thurston 14 April 1799; born 12 December 1779 in Sterling, Windham County, CT.

ix. George Kenyon, born about 1778 in Exeter, Washington County, RI; died 21 March 1850 in Sterling, Windham County, CT. He married Sarah; born October 1780; died 11 June 1834 in Sterling, Windham County, CT.

My own ancestry is through Nancy Kenyon, who married Joseph Champlin.

One idea is that the father of Anna was named Lewis or George, the other two names of their sons (since John Kenyon's father's name was Sylvester).  But without a surname, it is pretty much a hopeless task to find a father using that method.

Hope does spring eternal - my hope is that the land records and probate records of Rhode Island are all digitized (hint hint, FamilySearch!) and there will be a revelation in a deed or will or distribution that will name Anna, wife of John Kenyon in the record. 

Anna maiden name is particular important to me because this is my father's Mitochondrial DNA line - the matrilineal line.  That may prove to be another fertile field for research, but I need to convince one of my female cousins to provide the DNA sample.  There are a number of candidates!

Does anyone else have this particular Anna (LNU) Kenyon in their ancestry? 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rosie is on WDYTYA? Tonight - a Re-run

I noted that Rosie O'Donnell is the subject on Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC-TV tonight.  It was shown three weeks ago.  If you haven't watched this episode, I encourage you to to do so - especially if you have Irish ancestry, because it will help you understand how to access some of the records.

Why is another re-run on the air this week?  My guess is that it is because the NCAA Men's Basketball games are on CBS, TNT, TBS and truTV networks. 

There will be NCAA games next Friday also, so I expect another re-run episode for WDYTYA? next week also.

The next Friday, April 1, doesn't have an NCAA basketball game on, so I'll bet the next new episode is then.

There are still three unseen episodes of WDYTYA? coming:

*  Steve Buscemi
*  Ashley Judd
*  Gwyneth Paltrow

I don't know the dates or order, though.  does anyone?

William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - A Jailhouse Confession

On Tuesday, I posted "A Horrid Murder" in Alexandria.  The newspaper article about his murder on 6 July 1821 was lurid, but what happened after that?  On Thursday, I wrote William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - a Reward Offered - by the President of the United States, and three mayors.

Was anyone ever arrested?  Was the reward given?

An article in the Boston Semi-Weekly Advertiser newspaper dated 4 May 1822 (found on, reprinting an article from the Washington Gazette newspaper (which I cannot find on GenealogyBank) sheds some light on the issue:

This article says:

"Murder of Wm. Seaver. -- A man named Van Orden, whilst under confinement in the Baltimore penitentiary, it is reported, confessed to a fellow prisoner that he was the murderer of the late William Seaver.  Orden, who, we understand, has, in consequence, been removed to the Alexandria jail for trial, was shortly after the perpetration of the horrid deed, apprehended on suspicion, examined in this city and discharged, for want of sufficient evidence.  An intelligent friend, tells us Orden at that time, gave very contradictory statements, when closely questioned on the subject, seemingly incompatible with innocence; but still there was not sufficient testimony against him then to justify detention. -- Wash. Gaz."

This article also appeared in the Baltimore (MD) Patriot newspaper dated 30 April 1822 (but it was incomplete in GenealogyBank), the Providence (RI) Patriot newspaper of 11 May 1822, and the Saratoga (NY) Sentinel dated 15 May 1822.

You would think that there would be news of a confession, or of a trial, perhaps the conviction and even the execution of the murderer, and the giving of the reward.  What happened to Van Orden, and wa?  s that his real name.  Alas, I haven't been able to find any more evidence of these potential events.  Why not?  Probably because of my search tactics, or, more likely, because of the fragmentary nature of online newspapers and their indexes. 

I've looked for this incident in GenealogyBank (, the newspaper collections (mainly NewspaperARCHIVE), the Chronicling America collection at the Library of Congress, and the Early American Newspapers, Series I 1690-1876 (from Readex and Newsbank) and the 19th Century U.S. Newspapers (from the Gale Group) collections on the site. 

As you can see on the District of Columbia page on Miriam Midkiff's Online Historical Newspapers website, the coverage of online newspapers for Washington D.C. is really pretty limited at this time.  That pages shows the Washington Gazette is available for 1817 to 1821, which is why I couldn't find it online.

It is likely that there were additional articles about this incident, but they are not (yet!) available online with a useful index.  One lesson in  this series is that not every issue of every newspaper is online yet.  These historical newspapers are probably available in local or state archives, but are usually not indexed, which makes perusing them very difficult.

This is not the end of the William Seaver murder story, however.  There is more to come!  Plus the efforts to identify William Seaver and his family members.

Exploring WikiTree - Post 6: Privacy Levels

I uploaded a GEDCOM file to WikiTree in the first post of this series.  In Post 2 in this series, we explored the Family Tree and navigation within the tree on the WikiTree site.  In Post 3, we saw what was included on a Person Profile previously edited, in Post 4 we went through the process to Edit a Person Profile, and in Post 5 we added a photograph to a Person's profile.

One of the major issues for any researcher or family member that contributes a family tree, or information about a person, to an online family tree system is PRIVACY. 

The WikiTree system has a number of privacy levels that are tailored to the facts about each person in the tree.  The Privacy Level  of each person in the online tree can be  changed by the Profile Manager, and Trusted List persons, of each specific person. 

I'm going to quote extensively from the Help pages available on WikiTree.  They define the policies and procedures that are in place to protect the privacy concerns of WikiTree registered users.

The key person for each Person Profile is the Profile Manager, whose responsibilities are:

"The Profile Manager is the person who has primary responsibility for taking care of a profile of a person, place or thing. When you create a new profile you automatically become the manager. If you create a profile for a living person and they become an active WikiTree user they become the manager of their own profile. You can add and replace managers through the Trusted List on the Privacy page. There can be more than one manager.

"Functionally, the most important roles of a manager are: They get the e-mail requests when someone wants to be added to the profile's Trusted List. They control the privacy level on a profile. They can delete the profile."

Other registered WikiTree users can be on a Trusted List.  The function of those on the Trusted List are:

"WikiTree has a unique privacy balance. It's what makes WikiTree special.  Our system is based on what we call Trusted Lists.  Every single profile of a person, place, or thing has its own Trusted List. Similar to "Friends Lists" on social networking sites, each user on a Trusted List has to be individually approved. To view or edit a Trusted List, click the Privacy tab on a profile.

"You approve or reject users for your own profile's Trusted List. Trusted Lists for ancestors and other non-living or inactive people, places or things are controlled by the users already on the Trusted List, especially the Profile Manager.

"You can ask to be added to a Trusted List by clicking on the link on the profile. The Profile Manager will be e-mailed. If they approve you they'll be given the opportunity to add you to the Trusted Lists of related profiles at the same time. And there's a handy form for adding or removing someone from multiple Trusted Lists."

The different Privacy levels are shown on the screen below for one of my ancestors, Mary Jane Sovereen (1840-1874):

These Privacy levels are (from the WikiTree Privacy page -

"*  Unlisted:  The default for new profiles of children under 13, and an option for any profile that you want to keep entirely hidden from everyone but the Trusted List. Unlisted names do not appear in search results, surname index pages, or automatic matches.

"*  Private: The default for profiles of living people over 13 and those that are added as the child, spouse, sibling, or parent of a living person. The public can still see certain limited information on a Private profile. Like being listed in a phone book, this enables others to find it. When editing a profile you can tell at a glance whether a particular piece of information is private with the following colored icons.

"*  Private with Public Biography:  Exactly like Private profiles, with all the protections outlined above, except that the Biography (body of the page) is public. It can still only be edited by the Trusted List.

"*  Private with Public Biography and Family Tree: Exactly like the above, but the person's Family Tree page is also public.  If other family members are Private their names will not appear.

"*  Public:  The default for profiles of non-living people under 200 years old, unless they are added as the nuclear relative of a living person. Anyone can view the information on a Public profile. However, even though anyone can view a Public profile you still need to be in the Trusted List to add or change information.

"*  Open:  The default for profiles of people over 200 years old.  Not only can anyone view the information on an Open profile, any registered user with a confirmed e-mail address can make edits, like on Wikipedia. All edits are tracked, credited to the appropriate users, and can be reversed.  Supervisors can merge Open profiles. The mission of the WikiTree community is to connect modern families with ancestors on a single worldwide family tree. Merging duplicates is an important part of this.  The Profile Manager and the Trusted List still lead the collaboration. The manager is the only who can change the Privacy Level or delete the profile. The Profile Manager and the Trusted List are also the only users who can add or change family relationships, or upload or edit images. However, this may change in the future if WikiTreers prefer it to be liberalized."

There is an Extra Privacy option available for WikiTree users and Person Profiles.

The profile for my ancestor Mary Jane Sovereen (1840-1874) above was a "Public" profile by default when I uploaded my GEDCOM, since she is a non-living person who was born less than 200 years ago.  As the Profile Manager for her, I could manually change her profile to "Open" if I chose to.  Or I could select any other privacy level for her using the "Privacy" tab on her Person Profile.

This Privacy system on WikiTree is, I think, very well thought out.  It protects the privacy of living persons, and permits the openness on deceased persons that is necessary to encourage collaboration of distant cousins, while providing sufficient privacy control by the Profile Managers.

For my WikiTree, I want to invite my living cousins to add content to the information about their parents,  grandparents and collateral lines.  I also want to encourage more distant cousins to connect with deceased persons in my tree and hope that they will be able to add more content to those mutual ancestors.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mark Tucker's Vision on What Genealogy Software Should Be

Did you read Mark Tucker (who writes the Think Genealogy blog) has written GenPerfect - My Ideal Genealogy software.  His critical paragraph:

"What do I think it should look like? What implications does that have on a data model? As a user, what is my vision of the perfect genealogy software?"

I love "out-of-the-box" thinking, which is probably normal for Mark, but unusual in myself and most everybody else.  Genea-smacked is my reaction.  Excellent suggestions, and a vision of the genealogy software of the future.

Genealogy software developers need to take Mark's suggestions and examples to heart - the developer that makes something like this work will sweep the genealogy field, in my humble opinion.

Website developers that enable the interactions with software that Mark suggests will also gain a step on their competition. 

Mark's suggestions go much further than the Better GEDCOM efforts currently being developed, and much further than the Internet Search features currently available in the software packages.  Rather than tacking on patches and fixes, Mark's vision is a whole new ball game.

You need to read this blog post if you read nothing else today!

William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - a Reward Offered

On Tuesday, I posted "A Horrid Murder" in Alexandria.  The newspaper article about his murder on 6 July 1821 was lurid, but what happened after that?

Would you believe that the President of the United States, James Monroe, offered a reward?  Here's the screen from the American Presidency Project website with the Proclamation:

The transcription of this proclamation is:

"Proclamation 27 - Offering Reward for the Apprehension of the Murderer of William Seaver
July 10, 1821

"By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

"Whereas information has been received that an atrocious murder, aggravated by the additional crime of robbery, was on the 6th or 7th dau of this present month, committed in the county of Alexandria and District of Columbia on William Seaver, late of this city, and

"Whereas the apprehension and punishment of the murderer or murderers and his or their or accessary or accessaries will be an example due to justice and humanity and every way salutary in its operation:

"I have therefore thought fit to issue this my proclamation, hereby exhorting the citizens of the United States, and particularly those of this District, and requiring all officers, according to their respective stations, to use their utmost endeavors to apprehend and bring the principal or principals, accessary or accessaries, to the said murder to justice.

"And I do moreover offer a reward for $300 for each principal, if there be more than one, and $150 for each accessary before the fact, if there be more than one, who shall be apprehended after the day of the date hereof and brought to justice, to be paid upon his conviction of the crime or crimes aforesaid.

"In testimony whereof I have caused the seal of the United States to be affixed to these presents, and signed the same with my hand.

"Done at the city of Washington, this 10th day of July, A.D. 1821, and of the independence of the United States the forty-sixth.

By the President:

Secretary of State."

The Washington area newspapers carried articles about this proclamation for several mnths, often daily.

In addition, the Mayors of Washington D.C., Georgetown and Alexandria offered a reward, as seen in this newspaper announcement from the Washington Gazette newspaper, dated 16 July 1821 (obtained at GenealogyBank):

This article transcribed is:

"Five Hundred Dollars

"WILL be given to any person who shall afford, Information whereby the murderer of William Seaver can be brought to punishment.  The subscribers, in their individual as well as their official capacities, feeling solicitous that the dreadful villain should receive the punishment due to an offence of such enormity, and also an anxiety for the preservation of the peace and the good government of the District, will pay the above reward to any person by whose agency the murderer shall be convicted.

Mayor of Washington City.
Mayor of Alexandria.
Mayor of Georgetown."

This article ran in the Washington area newspapers for several months also.

I'm amazed that the President of the United States would offer a reward.  Was this a common occurrence?  I got 65 matches on Google when I searched for the words murder proclamation and 77 matches when I searched for the words murder reward on the American Presidency Project website.  So it was done occasionally, but it wasn't common.  Some of the matches overlap, and some are for a general discussion on the pages.

What happened in this case? Was the murderer ever found and convicted?  Were the rewards ever awarded?  I'm still looking for more information.

The bigger questions for me are "Who is this William Seaver?"  "Who were his parents, and where was he born?"  "Who were his wife and children?"  I have clues, but I don't have confirmation of the details.

If you have or find information about this case, I would love to know about them, and will credit you for the finds in my posts.  Email me at

Stay tuned. 

Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: Compendium of Posts

It's Treasure Chest Thursday, time to share one of the documents or artifacts in my family history collection.  In many 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. 

This week, I'm making a Compendium of my Isaac Seaver Civil War posts, since I'm having difficulty determining what I've posted and what I haven't posted. 

I need to make a list of the pages in the Civil War Pension File as provided by NARA, put them in a date order, and then correlate the pages in the file with the posts in this compendium.  I should have done this when I first received the file, but I didn't - I was too anxious to jump into the details of the pages and discover nuggets of information.
So here are my Treasure Chest Thursday posts to date, with post dates and page numbers from the Pension File:

* Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Pension Declaration (18 November 2010, page 58)
* Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: Widow's First Declaration (25 November 2010, page 69)
* Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: General Affidavit #1 (2 December 2010, page 34)
* Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: General Affidavit #2 (9 December 2010, page 46)
Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: 1900 Status Report (16 December 2010, page 60)

Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: Dropped from the Rolls (23 December 2010, page 57)
Treasure Chest Thursday - 1888 New York Marriage Record of Isaac Seaver and Alvina Lewis (6 January 2011, page 27)
Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Physical Examination for Civil War Pension (13 January 2011, pages 39 and 38)
Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension Papers: Affidavit Supporting the Widow (20 January 2011, page 34)
Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension Papers: Deposition (Part 1) of the Widow (27 January 2011, pages 19, 20 and 21)

Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension Papers: Deposition (Part 2) of the Widow (3 February 2011, pages 16, 17 and 18)
Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension Papers: Deposition (Part 3) of the Widow (10 February 2011, pages 14 and 15)
Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension Papers: Widow's Second Application (17 February 2011, page 78)
Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension Papers: Widow's 1908 Affidavit (24 February 2011, page 74)
Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension Papers: Widow's Pension Awarded (3 March 2011, page 8)

Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension Papers: Widow's Drop Report (10 March 2011, pages 54 and 55)
Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: Isaac's Death Record (24 March 2011, pages 65 and 66)
Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: Surgeon's Report in 1900 (7 April 2011, page 30)
Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension: War Department Folders (14 April 2011, pages 42 and 43)
Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: Claim for Increase in Pension (21 April 2011, pages 44 and 45)

I will add to this post as I add more content from the Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File.

Last updated:  21 April 2011

Censuswhacking on St. Patrick's Day

Here's an oldie but a goodie from 17 March 2007 on Genea-Musings (with 2011 additions):

I browsed through the 1920 census on  looking for funny or strange names to help celebrate St. Patrick's Day and Irish names.There is a rich selection:

* Patrick Ireland resided in Matagorda County TX (born in Texas - who knew?)
* St. Lester Patrick resided in Hillsborough county NH (born in Canada)

* Patrick Patrick resided in Macon County AL (born AL)

* Patrick Fitz Patrick resided in Queens County NY (born in Ireland)

* Paddy Green resided in Lucas County OH (born Ireland)

* Green Kelley resided in Hudson County NJ (born Ireland)

* There are 64 males named Patrick Green born in Ireland.

* Daniel Boy resided in Cuyahoga County OH (born in Russia)

* Daniel Erin Ireland resided in Wyandotte County KS (born in KS)

* Patrick Luck resided in Kings County NY (born in Ireland)
*  Erin Ireland resided in Logan County, CO (born in Nebraska)

* There are 87 females named Rose Ireland - but only one was born in Ireland.

*  There are 1,889 persons with the surname Clover, but only 6 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 222 persons with the surname Shamrock, and 6 with the first name of Shamrock, but none were born in Ireland.

*  There are 9 Kate Irelands in the census, but none were born in Ireland

*  There are 91 persons with surname Ireland that were born in Ireland.

*  There are 606 persons with the surname Limerick, but only 5 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 5,372 with the surname Cork, but only 39 were born in Irreland.

*  There are 102 persons with the surname Fairy, but only 2 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 3,861 persons with surname Irish, but only 22 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 26,144 persons with the first name starting with "Kat" and 41,434 with starting with "Cat" born in Ireland

*  There are 22,043 persons with the surname Shannon, but only 880 were born in Ireland.

*  There are 52,560 persons with the first name starting with "Pat" and 49 starting with "Pad" born in Ireland

*  There are 1,060,061 persons in the 1920 census that were born in Ireland.

*  There are 3,888,662 persons whose father was born in Ireland.

There were no people in the census with the surname of Leprechaun or Banshee.  Not being Irish, or having known Irish ancestry, or much experience researching in Ireland - I don't know all of the legends and songs that might provide more names to search.  What other names should I look for next year?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

First Look at Mocavo - A New Genealogy Search Engine

A new genealogy-specific web page search engine was announced today (15 March) - a site called Mocavo (  Cliff Shaw, who is well-known in the genealogy industry, is the principal in development of this search engine.

What is Mocavo?  How will it work?  The web page says:

"The world’s largest free genealogy search engine,, giving genealogists access to the best free genealogy content on the web including billions of names, dates and places. seeks to index and make searchable all of the world’s free genealogy information. While discovers new sites every day, some of the existing sites searchable on include genealogy message boards, family trees, state and local historical societies, the Library of Congress, National Archives, Ellis Island, Find A Grave, the Internet Archive, various U.S. state archives, and many tens of thousands of genealogy sites built by individuals. Similar to other search engines, honors site owners by linking directly to their content."

The goal to "index and make searchable all of the world's free genealogy information" is admirable, and also challenging.  The list of already indexed websites is impressive, but the challenge is to find the rest of them (including genealogy related blogs), and to keep the indexing updated as new content is added each day.

I was provided the opportunity to "test drive" Mocavo and to provide impressions of the site and its capabilities.  In the process, I suggested several modifications to the navigation and functionality of the site and the changes were added to the site quickly.   

The user is encouraged to "Enter full names, places, years etc. Full names in quotes" in the search box.  While these are well-known "tricks" to narrow a search for a person in other search engines (e.g., Google, Bing, Yahoo), the matches obtained in Mocavo do not include social network sites, person search sites, or non-genealogical content.  Therefore, the matches are fewer using Mocavo and are restricted to specific genealogical websites. 

Here is the screen resulting from my search for "isaac seaver" 1823:

One of the "hidden" features of Mocavo is this:  if you enter a name in quotes (e.g., "isaac seaver") you will receive matches from web pages that have "isaac seaver" and "seaver isaac" on them - you don't have to search again with the last name first.  Search results also capture the words in quotes with one or two words between them (for example, a middle name or a middle initial).  As of today, there is no wild card search for a name such as "seav*" to capture all results for a name or word stating with "seav."  Cliff Shaw says that they are working on this capability.

Mocavo seems to work very quickly.  In my time trials, it always found matches within one second, similar to Google searches (although Google found many more matches, but many of them are not genealogy related).  The times are acceptable to me - I don't think that fast!

When a user clicks on one of the links for a search result, the web page comes up in a frame within Mocavo.  I clicked on the first match in the screen above, and saw:

Cliff Shaw assured me that the web page was not cached, and that Mocavo is loading the content directly from the site and not through us.  They want site owners to get traffic, ad revenue, etc. 

The Mocavo frame is intended to ease navigation back to the search results.  There is a nice big "Back to search results" button in the top Mocavo frame, and the requested search string is in the search field.  I like those features a lot! 

My impressions of, after using it occasionally for about one week, is that:

*  Mocavo promises to be a genealogist's dream - a search engine focused on free online genealogy resources.

*  Mocavo listed genealogy specific matches on the first results page which were buried many pages deep on other search engines.

*  Mocavo has the potential to guide family historians to free online resources fast.

*  Mocavo is another search tool for genealogists in their never ending quest for ancestral information.

Of course, the proof is in the functionality and use of the site - the developers of Mocavo need to continue to add more genealogy websites to the "free genealogy" list.  My suggestions include Google Books; Rootsweb mailing list archives; family tree sites like Geni, WeRelate, WikiTree; Wikipedia; Familysearch Research Wiki; and genealogy research blogs come to mind.

I encourage readers to try out the site, but understand that there will be many more free genealogy sites indexed and searchable in the foreseeable future.

Disclosure:  I was granted time to explore by the developers, and to suggest additions and changes to the web site navigation.  I promised to provide quotes for use in the announcement and promotion of the web site, but I made no promise of a favorable review.  I was not remunerated in any way by the Mocavo developers. 

UPDATE 7:30 p.m.:  Reader Pamela Storm of SFGenealogy asked in Comments about:

"As a web-site owner, I'm concerned that the original web pages of our website are all displayed as if they belong to Mocavo, under Mocavo's banner and URL.  I see no way for users to get directly to the ORIGINAL website. Have I missed something?"

Cliff Shaw answered:

"If you click the X on the top right of the frame, it will close the frame. This bar is just designed for convenience."

I missed that nuance - you can see the X in the last screen shot above.  It may be better to add text in red or bold to say "Click to go to source website."  We all want to cite our sources or bookmark useful information, and the X takes you to the source website. 

As I mentioned, this site is still in development, and I know that Cliff will appreciate suggestions!

UPDATED 3/16, 9 a.m.  Changed date so that this post will stay at the top of the blog. The original post date was 15 March.

Exploring WikiTree - Post 5: Adding Photos

I uploaded a GEDCOM file to WikiTree in the first post of this series.  In Post 2 in this series, we explored the Family Tree and navigation within the tree on the WikiTree site.  In Post 3, we saw what was included on a Person Page previously edited, and in Post 4 we went through the process to Edit a Person Page.

In this post, I'm going to upload a photo to a Person Page.  I'm going to add a thumbnail size photograph of my great-grandfather, Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946).

Starting from his Person Page (private profile, of which I'm the Profile Manager):

From the Person Page, I can click on the small "place-holder" image next to the person's name, or on the small "upload image" link beside the "Photos with Henry Austin" section on the right side of the screen.

When I click on either one, an Upload Photo window that says "Click a browse button to find an image or PDF on your computer. For help working with pictures, click here."  The user can browse their file folders for the image to be uploaded.  The site says "(Uploaded files need to be in a standard JPG, GIF, or PNG image format, or Adobe PDF, and be 10MB or less. Inappropriate images may be removed. Please see our Terms of Service.)"  The screen for my upload looked like:

I picked Austin's photo from the list, and it uploaded fairly quickly.  After the upload, my screen went back to an "Edit Photo Info" page and showed Austin's photograph:  I added the date and location for the photo to the fields provided, and could choose "certain," "uncertain" or "location not applicable" for the place and "exact/certain," "approximate/uncertain," "before this date" or "after this date" for the date.  This screen looks like:

 Here's Henry Austin Carringer's Person Profile after the photo upload:

A user who sees the Person Profile can click on any of the icons below the picture on the right side of the screen above - the icons are for "I Like This," "Send e-card," and "View/Edit."

The Profile Manager and Trusted List can add any number of images to a Person Profile using the "upload image" links on the Person Profile page.  Images of families, homes, census records, passenger lists, military records, etc. can be uploaded to the WikiTree system.

The user can select the new image to be the preferred photo to be shown on the WikiTree family tree.  I haven't figured out yet how to delete a photograph from the Photo list, or change the preferred photo once I have more than one.

What does my WikiTree family tree look like after I've uploaded some photographs? Here's the tree for my mother:

Due to page size limitations (they want this to print on one page, I think, using the Print-Friendly link), the photos for only the latest three generations are shown.  My preference would be that there be space available for a photograph for each person on this page, and the capability to save it as a JPG or PDF file.  I could do a screen capture of this and save it as an image if I wanted to.

Here is the Print-Friendly image of the above chart:

It prints out as you select - portrait or landscape, using your File == Print selection - on one page.

That was pretty easy and fairly fast to perform.  I love easy and fast.  I still like WikiTree!

CGSSD Meeting on Saturday, 19 March, Features Barbara Renick

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego (CGSSD) meets on the 3rd Saturday of each month (except December) from 9:00 a.m. to noon on the campus of UCSD, University of California, San Diego. See our map page for directions.
The next meeting will be held on 19 March 2011 from 9:00 am to noon. Here are the details:
9:00 - No user groups this month; SIG: Cloud Computing

10:00 - Break, refreshments

10:15 - Announcements followed by:

Internet Tools for Genealogists
by Barbara Renick.

    Barbara will demonstrate various types of online tools that genealogists find helpful. Examples of websites for each type of tool will be explored along with some of their hidden features and limitations. Note: Google is not necessarily the best way to find such tools online.

    Barbara is a nationally known genealogy lecturer, speaking frequently at National Genealogical Society, Brigham Young University, and the Federation of Genealogical Societies conferences. She serves on staff and teaches at the Regional Family History Center in Orange, California. Barbara writes for several genealogy publications, including the NGS NewsMagazine, was co-author of The Internet for Genealogists: A Beginner’s Guide, and author of Genealogy 101: How to Trace Your Family’s History and Heritage which was sponsored by NGS for its 100th Anniversary. Her 'Z' Links page at her website is a favorite tool for many of her students. Barbara also has authored several instructional videos on how to trace your family tree online.

Massachusetts Jewish Cemetery Records on

From my email...


Access Program Part of collaboration with
Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts and
American Jewish Historical Society

Boston, MA–March 2, 2011 –The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) today announced that, together with the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts (JCAM), and the American Jewish Historical Society of New England (AJHSNE) have made available for the first time online access to a growing database that currently includes 13 Massachusetts Jewish cemeteries, with approximately 5,000 records. More records are being added weekly until all 106 JCAM cemeteries, which include more than 100,000 total records, are online.

The names in this extensive database cover the years 1844 to the present, and, when completed later this year, will offer access to more than 100,000 names of Jewish Americans buried in Massachusetts.

NEHGS President and CEO, D. Brenton Simons, said, “For genealogists and researchers, this database is a tremendous resource and provides unique access to a set of names vital to Jewish family research. We are pleased to work with AJHS and JCAM in this way. The Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts is a marvelous society for those with Jewish ancestry and we know countless people will benefit from having it available online.”

“This is one of the first of many benefits that will accrue as a result of our strategic partnership with NEHGS,” said Justin Wyner, chair of the Boston Board of Overseers of the American Jewish Historical Society. “This additional resource is of significant genealogical importance. AJHSNE now makes its home inside the NEHGS research center in downtown Boston.

According to JCAM’s Executive Director Stanley Kaplan, “This partnership with NEHGS and AJHS provides people with access to where their loved ones are resting, a source that is known for genealogy,” said Kaplan. “We have broadened …our reach within the community.”

For more information, visit the NEHGS website at , the American Jewish Historical site at or visit the Jewish Cemeteries Association of Massachusetts at

Founded in 1845, New England Historic Genealogical Society is the country's leading resource for family history research. We help family historians expand their knowledge, skill, and understanding of their family and its place in history. The NEHGS research center, located at 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, houses millions of books, journals, manuscripts, photographs, microfilms, documents, records, and other artifacts that date back more than four centuries. NEHGS staff includes some of the leading expert genealogists in the country, specializing in early American, Irish, English, Italian, Scottish, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, Native American, and Jewish genealogy. Our award-winning website,, provides access to more than 135 million searchable names in 3,000 collections.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 144: The Carringer Home in 1926

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 is of the Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer home that was moved in 1926 from 2105 30th Street (the northeast corner of 30th and Hawthorn Streets) to the middle of the block on the east side of 30th Street midway between Hawthorn and Ivy Streets.  The house, as it looked in 1925, is shown in (Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 143: The Carringer Home in 1925.  Another view of the house soon after it was built in about 1895 is in (Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 140: The 30th Street House.
Another post that shows the two houses are in The house I grew up in.

Comparing the photographs shows many differences between the two buildings shown in the photographs.  From what I can tell, the changes made to the house included: 

*  The house front porch was modified so that it faced only south and became an alcove, and a living room and den were added on the west side (essentially where the west porch was).  The lower flat became 2115 30th Street.
*  A separate second story flat was created by adding to the existing rooms, eliminating the inside staircase, and building two staircases on the north side for the front entry and the kitchen exit, resulting in 2119 30th Street.
*  The structure was then stuccoed over, and the roof was flattened, so that the original frame of the house could not be discerned.

These changes must have taken place over an extended time period.  The family would have moved their belongings to another place (perhaps to the new two-story apartment built on the same block on Fern Street?), then prepared the new site for the house on 30th Street, prepared and moved the house (how? on a truck? on rollers? I doubt that they took it apart and rebuilt it), remodeled the house, and moved back in.  I wonder how long it took, and who did the work? 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"A Horrid Murder" in Alexandria

I posted  Amanuensis Monday - a Seaver Merchant in Washington D.C. yesterday, and asked the questions "Who was he?" and "What happened to him?"  No one answered... so I'll tell you today "what happened to him."

This article appeared in the New York Evening Post newspaper on 11 July 1821, reprinting an item from the National Intelligencer (of Washington DC) of 9 July 1821 (and found on GenealogyBank (

The article says:

"From the National Intelligencer, July 9.

"Horrid murder -- Yesterday morning was found in the bushes by the side of the road leading from the Potomac Bridge to Alexandria, and not far from Sebastian spring, the body of Mr. William Seaver, a respectable merchant and grocer of this city.  He was shot through the head and had his throat cut!  His pockets were empty -- and doubtless rifled.  He had been to Alexandria to purchase goods, and was on his return; and, it is supposed, was shot on Friday evening, about sunset, as a report of a gun or pistol is said to have been heard about that time.  May swift justice overtake the final murders!  The bloody deed was committed in the county of Alexandria, and it is earnestly hoped the people there will be able to trace the miscreants.  We have not heard all the circumstances; but suspicions are abroad as to the perpetrators of this deed, it being supposed there was more than one.  We are sorry to say that Mr. S. has left a wife and several children, to bear most heavily the shock of this atrocious crime, which a just Providence will not permit to pass unpunished."

An interesting, and tragic, twist of fate, isn't it!  Will the perpetrators be apprehended?  Will a reward be offered for information?  Who is the family?  Answers to come in future posts.

Exploring WikiTree- Post 4: Editing a Person Page

I uploaded a GEDCOM file to WikiTree in the first post of this series.  In Post 2 in this series, we explored the Family Tree and navigation within the tree on the WikiTree site.  In Post 3, we saw what was included on a Person Page previously edited.

In this post, we will show the process to Edit a Person Page.

As a Profile Manager of a Person's Page, I can edit  the content on that page.  Other registered users, who are on the "Trusted List" for that page, can edit the content also.

Starting from the Person Page for my grandmother, Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (the first screen form Post 3):

To Edit a Person Page, the Profile Manager or Trusted List person clicks on the "Edit" button in the menu line just below the person's name.  The "Edit Profile for..." screen opens:

The information on this person is laid out in fields for each vital record, including:

*  Names fields: Prefix, Proper First Name, Preferred First Name, Other Nicknames, Middle Name, Last Name at Birth, Current Last Name, Other Last Name, and Suffix (bold items are required).
*  Birth fields:  Birth Date, Birth Place.
*  Death fields: Death date, Death Place
*  Gender
*  Email address (if living) [Note: When you add/replace an e-mail address for a living family member they will be invited to join. E-mail addresses aren't used for spam.]

For each of the Name sub-fields, there are check boxes to denote certainty of the entry (uncertain, certain).  For birth dates, there are check boxes to denote about/uncertain, exact/certain, before this date, after this date, and blank for extra privacy. For birth places, the check boxes are for uncertain, certain, and blank for extra privacy.  For death dates, the check boxes are for about/uncertain but definitely not living, exact/certain, before this date, after this date, and still living.  The check boxes for death places are uncertain, certain, and still living.  These vital record entries are very well organized and logical, but it will be a chore to go through each person and check the applicable boxes. 

On the right side of the screen above is the list of the Person's family - their Father, Mother, Siblings, Spouses and Children - with each name linked to their own Person Page.  If a user wants to add a spouse or children, this is one place to add them.  Here is the "Add/Edit Child" page:

If the child already has a WikiTree profile, the user adds their WikiTree ID number to the box in the first line and clicks the "Add Child to the Person and the child is added to the list.  If the "new" child has no profile already, then the fields for names, birth and death can be entered.  There is a box to check or uncheck if the spouse of the mother is correct.  In the screen above, the default last name was the mother's current last name, which was Richmond in her Person Page, rather than Seaver (her husband's name), so users beware!

It appears that WikiTree puts the added child in the correct birth order based on the birth date - I added another child for my grandparents as a trial.  Further down this "Add/Edit Child" screen, the user can remove children from the list by clicking the box next to their name. 

Back to the "Edit Profile for..." screen, and further down the screen is:

On the right side of this screen is an opportunity to add or edit photographs.

The person's biography notes can be edited in the "Edit Bio Notes" section shown above.  The Notes that came across in the GEDCOM file are already here, with some HTML coding.  The Profile Manager and Trusted List users can add or delete information in this Notes section at will.  Since this is a wiki, the Changes are saved (you can see them in the "Changes" button on the Person Page menu).

The Notes section can be edited with fairly primitive tools - the buttons are Bold, Italicize, Internal Link (another person profile), External Link (a web page), a Level 3 Headline, Ignore Wiki formatting, and Horizontal Line (use sparingly).  There are editing Tips in the area to the right of the Notes field with handy methods to help you get links correct in the Notes field. 

The Notes that came over in the GEDCOM file have two colons to denote a line break.  However, even with a double line break, there are no blank lines when the Notes are printed on a Person Profile.  I played around with these for awhile and managed to mess up this profile (all but one paragraph ended up indented about an inch for some reason).  I'll have to go Change it back to the earlier version.

If the editor wants to add text copied from another resource, the editor can use the "Ignore Wiki formatting" editing tool and Paste the text into the area between the HTML code.  Using the NoWiki code messes up the wiki-like text in my recent experience to the point that I don't want to touch it again!

Hmmm, I see a way to see all of the Changes, but don't see a way to revert back to an earlier version.  Perhaps the Help function can tell me; I didn't see anything that helped me revert to an earlier version of a Person Profile.

At the bottom of the "Edit Profile for..." page, the field to enter "Personal Memories of..." is provided for memories from the Trusted List persons.

With any changes to the "Edit Profile for..." page the user has to click on the "Save Changes" button to make them active.

That's enough for today...if you are just starting out with WikiTree, please read my earlier posts and read the WikiTree Help page. 

I will discuss Privacy issues in the next post.  After that, we'll see what develops.

Tuesday's Tip - use the U.S. Military Indexes site


Today's Tuesday's Tip is:  Use the U.S. Military Indexes ( site to find information and online databases with United States military records.

On this site created by data portal whiz Joe Beine, there are sections for the major wars that the United States participated in, including:

* Revolutionary War
*  War of 1812
*  Mexican-American War
*  Civil War
*  Spanish-American War
*  World War One (World War I)
*  World War Two (World War II)
*  Korean War (Korean conflict)
*  Vietnam War

In general, each page has a listing of online databases at a national level, and then at the state level, with each state identified.  Collections on some subscription services are listed with a "requires payment" note.

This site is my "go-to" data portal when I'm searching for military records online.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Exploring WikiTree- Post 3: Viewing a Person Page

I uploaded a GEDCOM file to WikiTree in the first post of this series.  In Post 2 in this series, we explored the Family Tree and navigation within the tree on the WikiTree site. 

In this post, we're going to look at the page created by WikiTree after the GEDCOM upload to determine what was transferred into the WikiTree system. 

I decided to show the "Person Page" for my paternal grandmother, Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (1882-1962).  Here is the top of her Person Page (Private view):

On the right-side of this page is a link for the profile manager or another registered user to upload  "Photos of ..." the person.  Below that is a "Public Bulletin Board" where other registered users of WikiTree can add messages to the profile manager about the person (limit of 800 characters, and anyone can see it on the person's public profile).

On the left side of the page is a listing of the person's "Facts" - birth information (date, place, parents), sibling information (names with links to their person pages), marriage information (spouse, date, place), children (with links to their pages) and death (date, place).  The places have small icons that, when clicked, take the reader to a Google Map of the place. 

Below the Facts is a notation on the manager of the Person profile, and when the person was created on WikiTree.  The page notes "The following data was included in the gedcom. You may wish to edit it for readability."

The "Contents" section has links to the sections for different elements -- Birth, Death, User ID, Data Changed, Note, Burial, Reference, Marriage, and Sources.  The start of this section is shown above, and the screen below shows the start of the "Contents" elements:

If a Source is provided for a Fact, it is provided with a link to the Source number in the Source list further down the page.  For instance, the Birth Fact gives a Source number of S106 (assigned in the GEDCOM file), with the "Page" line containing the citation detail copied from the GEDCOM file.

The start of the Notes section of "Contents" section is shown below:

I had line breaks in my Notes with blank lines between paragraphs, and those blank lines were not included in the WikiTree notes.

Further down are the Facts for Burial, Reference (I'm not sure what this is -- I think it's the Reference number for the person in the GEDCOM file), and Marriages:

In the Marriages section, the marriage of my grandparents is listed, with their children.

However, the marriage of her parents with their children is also listed.  I don't understand why this is, except that it shows the connection of the Person to her parents and siblings.  Any person named has a link to their own Person Page for easy navigation.

The screen below shows the continuation of the screen above, and includes the first Source Fact in the list:

The Source Fact includes the Repository number and then the Repository information.

At the bottom of the Person Page, is a field where the Profile Manager and Trusted Persons can add "Personal Memories" of the person:

These "Personal Memories" will show up on the Public Profile of the Person.

All in all, it appears to me that all of the information about this Person that was in my RootsMagic 4 database has come across via the GEDCOM file into WikiTree.  The Facts, Notes, Sources and Repositories are not mangled and appear just as they do in RootsMagic, with one exception:  In RootsMagic, the dates are listed and sorted with lower case month names (e.g., Sep) while WikiTree lists them in capital letters (e.g., SEP).  My guess is that this is a GEDCOM artifact.  My preference would be to spell out the month without abbreviation (e.g., September).

In the next post, I'll show, and comment on, the process for Editing the information on a Person Page profile.