Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - the 1940 US Census

Hey, genea-buffs (notice I didn't say "buff genealogists," or "genies-in-the-buff"), it's Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!!!

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

1)  Know that the 1940 United States Census will be released for public viewing on the National Archives website on Monday, 2 April 2012 (366 days from today!).  My understanding is that, when it is first released, that there will be no indexes available - we will have to search them the "old way" - with known addresses, finding enumeration districts from maps and websites, and then go page-by-page to find our folks.  Eventually, there will be indexes available, but we don't know how long after the release that will be.

2)  Which of your ancestral family members will be in the 1940 census?  Consider not just your ancestors, but also their siblings. 

3)  Where did your ancestral family members live in 1940 on Census Day?  Have you found all of the addresses in city directories or telephone books?  Please list the ones you know the addresses of, and the ones you need to find addresses for.

4)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, a comment to this blog post, or on a Facebook note or comment.

Note:  This idea came to me on Friday night while participating in the Geneabloggers Radio chat - we had a discussion of the 1940 census release.

Here's mine:

*  My great-grandparents Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer were residing in San Diego at 2115 30th Street.
*  My grandparents Lyle L. and Emily (Auble) Carringer, and their daughter, Betty, were residing at 2130 Fern Street in San Diego.  I'm curious to see who the neighbors were!

*  My grandparents, Frederick W. and Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver were residing in Leominster, Massachusetts, but I'm unsure of the address.  It may have been on West Street.
*  My father was in Leominster, Massachusetts, or environs, perhaps residing with his sister's family, Bowers and Ruth (Seaver) Fischer, who resided in either Leominster or Sterling.
*  I don't know where my Seaver aunt, Marion (Seaver) Braithwaite and her family were residing - perhaps Ashburnham, Massachusetts.
*  I don't know where my Seaver aunt, Evelyn (Seaver) Wood and her family were residing, and can't even guess.
*  I don't know where my uncle Edward Seaver was residing, perhaps in Leominster with his parents or perhaps he had his own home somewhere else.  He was married in the summer of 1940.
*  I don't know where my Seaver aunt, Geraldine Seaver was residing in Massachusetts.  She was probably teaching, perhaps in Northampton.

All of my Seaver aunts and uncles are deceased, but I'll bet that some of my first cousins recall where they lived in 1940!

Surname Saturday - VON ERNEST (Germany to Pennsylvania)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 203,  who is Maria Ursula Von Ernest (1713-1793), another of my 5th-great-grandmothers. [Note: The 5th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts] 

My ancestral line back to Maria Ursula VON ERNEST is:

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

2.  Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983)
3.  Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002)

6.  Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976)
7.  Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977)

12.  Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946)
13.  Abbie Ardell "Della" Smith (1862-1944)

24.  David Jackson Carringer (1828-1902)
25.  Rebecca Spangler (1832-1901)

50.  John Daniel Spangler (1781-1851)
51.  Elizabeth King (1796-1863)

100.  Rudolf Spangler (1738-1811)
101.  Maria Dorothea Dinkel (1748-1835)

202. Johann Daniel Dunckel, born in Germany; died before 07 November 1755 in York, York, Pennsylvania, United States. He married before 1736 in Germany.
203. Maria Ursula Von Ernest, born 02 April 1713 in Colmar, Haut-Rhin, Alsace, France; died 29 September 1793 in York, York, Pennsylvania, United States.

Children of Johann Dunckel and Maria Von Ernest are:
i. Margaret Salome Dinkel, born 06 April 1736 in Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France; died 29 June 1813 in York, York, Pennsylvania, United States; married Philip Caspar Spengler; born 1730 in Germany; died 1782 in York, York, Pennsylvania, United States.
ii. Anna Maria Dinkel, born Abt. 1738 in Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France; died 23 February 1797 in York, York, Pennsylvania, United States; married Philip Albright.
iii. Johan Daniel Dinkel, born 17 June 1741 in Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France; married Anna Margaret Riehl Bef. 1758 in York, York, Pennsylvania, United States.
iv. Peter Dinkel, born 11 July 1742 in Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France; died 22 December 1827 in York, York, Pennsylvania, United States; married Eliza Wolf 15 February 1767 in York, York, Pennsylvania, United States; born 1748; died 07 May 1830 in York, York, Pennsylvania, United States.
v. Maria Catherina Dinkel, born 22 June 1746 in Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France; died 22 March 1831 in York, York, Pennsylvania, United States; married David Candler 30 October 1763 in York, York, Pennsylvania, United States; born 28 April 1740 in Schlotterdam, New Jersey, United States; died Bef. 04 August 1801 in York, York, Pennsylvania, United States.
101 vi. Maria Dorothea Dinkel, born 1748 in Strasbourg, Bas-Rhin, Alsace, France; died 12 June 1835 in York, York, Pennsylvania, United States; married Rudolf Spangler 01 January 1767 in York, York, Pennsylvania, United States.

Just as I don't know a lot about last week's person, I don't know a lot about Maria Ursula Von Ernest.  Everything I know about her I obtained from the book:

Edward W. Spangler, The Annals of the Families of Caspar, Henry, Baltzer and George Spengler, who settled in York County, respectively, in 1729, 1732, 1732, and 1751 : with biographical and historical sketches, and memorabilia of contemporaneous local events (York, Pennsylvania : York Daily Publishing Company, 1896).

If there are any cousins reading with more knowledge than the Spangler book, please contact me!

Friday, April 1, 2011

New or Updated FamilySearch Historical Collections in March

I last listed the new or updated collections on the FamilySearch Historical Collections website on 3 March, when there were 561 collections on the list.  Since then, these Historical Record Collections have been added or updated to make a total of 584 collections:
In the list above, I was able to identify many of the collections as newly added or a previously existing collection.  When FamilySearch sends their email notifications to interested parties, they have started identifying whether they are new or previously existing collections.  I appreciate that!   I don't have to guess now!  Or spend time looking for some indication of them (like in past website images). 

There are 57 items on the list above, but only 23 were newly added databases since 3 March.  All FamilySearch Historical Record Collections can be accessed at  You can see which collections were recently added or updated by clicking on the "Last Updated" link.

Do We Need a Genealogy Tea Party?

I try to avoid politics on my Genea-Musings blog, but... I received an email this morning from a very concernedfriend who was reading the U.S. government's regulations passed to implement bills passed by the Congress last year.

Did you know that there is a new regulation, as part of the Internet Commerce Regulation Act of 2010, that imposes a fee for every 1 kilobyte of information sent over the Internet.  Effective 1 July 2011, this fee will be calculated, on a monthly basis, and billed to your account, by your Internet provider (every Internet provider you have). 

According to my friend, the fee will be only one cent ($0.01) for every megabyte, but when you think about it, that adds up!  That's $10 for every gigabyte. 

How much data do you send via email attachments?  How many uploads to family tree databases do you do?  How big are the images and videos that you attach to your blog posts?  What about the downloads of images and data from websites (like Ancestry, GenealogyBank) through our browsers?  How many gigabytes of files do you store in the cloud every month?  Those will be subject to the same fee.  Who will pay for those?  One guess!!

It's time for a tea party to throw this 21st century equivalent of the onerous Stamp Act overboard.  If we don't nip this in the bud, they'll try to raise the per megabyte fee on us next year! 

Before you know it, the government will try to exact a fee for every person in our family tree if we're not careful.  Keep your hands off my ancestors, Mr. President!

Update 4/3:  This was an April Fool's post, not a real, political, post.  I made it up (and I guess many others have also over the years) on the spur of the moment and tied it to genealogy.  I meant no offense to any politician, political party, or voter. 

William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - the 1866 Confession: Part 2

On 15 March, 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 17 March, I wrote William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - a Reward Offered - by the President of the United States, and three mayors.  The William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - A Jailhouse Confession post on 18 March seemed to solve the case.  William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - Was it Ever Solved? posted on 21 March was an article from 1874 claiming that the murder was a "cold case," but mentioned a confession to a murder printed in the Alexandria Gazette newspaper in 1866. 

William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - the 1866 Confession, posted on 30 March, provided the first part of the 1866 Confession of John Trust from the Alexandria Gazette newspaper.  We got up to the point where John Trust confessed to the murder and was describing his seeming escape to a friend's home about 20 miles away, seeing the news that the murdered man was named "Seaver" and not "Wroe," and ending with a call to go to Alexandria for bad news.  What was the bad news?  John thought the authorities wanted him for the murder.  Did they? 

We finish the story about the murder with these excerpts from Chapter 10, the last chapter, of "A Wonderful Narrative of Old Alexandria, or the Confession of John Trust," published on 2 August 1866 in the Alexandria Gazette newspaper (found online on GenealogyBank -

"I soon learned that my sister had died a short time after I left her, and that the letter, and exclamation of Mrs. H., had referred to the news of her death, and not to my guilt.

"But my great stay was Lorentz [apparently a family servant].  Never once did I miss him from the side of my couch when I needed his services, and under his untiring care I rapidly improved.  I regained my health so far as to resume my apparel.  The first time I dressed I remembered the locket..."

"My knees trembled, and without waiting to finish my toilette, I searched my pockets.  It was gone!  While I was searching, Lorentz came to assist me.  At a glance he knew I missed something.

"'Oh,' said he, 'the locket fell from your clothes as we were disrobing you, and I put it in your dressing case' and then, continuing, for I was too embarrassed to answer, 'I did not know you had that locket; it is an old acquaintance of mine, I assure you.'

"'My poor brother painted it as a birthday present for your father.  They were the only miniatures he ever made, and he painted them especially to suit this old locket, that one of the schoolboys found and gave to your father.'

"The time occupied in this statement gave me a chance to collect my thoughts.  I intended to allow his mistake to pass by, and change the subject, but he was too full of it, and continued to talk, until I told him he was mistaken. 'Oh no,' he answered, taking up the locket, 'Look here;' he pressed it as though trying to touch a hidden spring -- 'It must have rusted, but it is here,' continued he, as I took up the ornament which he laid upon the table, in order to open his pocket knife.  'What is there,' said I, doubly interested.  'Your dear mother's miniature too: the thing has two faces, one of which opens by a spring that has been clogged up.  It is strange you did not know it.' 

"'No one ever told me before,' said I, most truly.  The knife did the work in the twinkling of an eye, and another lid sprung open.  I looked with eager interest, and saw, if ever portrait was true, Blanche Fordenhame [his sister].  The other picture, too, seemed to me more like Wroe than ever.  I was disappointed.  Lorentz must have been mistaken.  This was certainly Wroe and his wife; the similarity of the case had doubtless led the old man into the belief that the faces were identical.  These conclusions made themselves mentally whilst I gazed at the picture.  I thought it prudent, however, to dissemble my knowledge, and let the intelligence just given explain my emotion, which I was sensible the old man plainly perceived.  So I pressed my lips to the locket and returned it to the case.

"But a new surprise awaited me.  A few messages had been left for me during my illness, mostly notes of courtesy or business; when I entered my cabinet, they were for the first time put in my hands.  One of them at once riveted my attention; the handwriting was as familiar as my own - it was Wroe's:  I eagerly broke the seal.  It was dated the day after the murder, and read thus:


"'This note will be the punishment of your crime, for it will tell you that you have lost the chance of winning, with your brother, the proudest triumphs man has ever achieved.  When I toss away crowns as baubles, you may sorrow to feel that in despairing of a success you did not earn, you sought to steal from me, by murder, a glorious future; which I valued most, because I could share it with you.  In my despairing travels, after my wife's death, I met, in England, people, and learned circumstances, which showed that you were my long lost brother.But for my unstrung nerves and wandering faculties, at our first meeting, beside the grave, I would have made myself known.  Deterred, then till a calmer time, I thought that I would postpone the revelation until, our art perfected, we should achieve our triumph, and then clasp you to my heart as my brother.  You know, with what unwearied zeal, I sought to guard you from everything which might interfere with our high pursuit.  You were unworthy, you were morose, suspicious: at last, jealous of my success, you laid in ambush to murder me.  My father watched over me, and his image, by dropping from my breast, and causing me to go back in a fruitless search, saved one son from becoming the assassin of another.

"'I saw the pedlar fall, and watched you hide your dreadful burden, but wretch as you are, I cannot consign to the gallows, my brother.

"'Go! ingrate wretch! Cain! The world is wide enough for us both, but remember when triumphs cluster around me that they would have been won for you -- MURDERER.'"

"Used as I had grown to startling and unlooked for events, the recitals of the page before me, were strange beyond all the marvels I had seen worked in my apprenticeship to that fatal art.  As I recalled under the impetus of the strange intelligence, all Wroe had told me of his early life, it seemed strange that a suspicion of the truth had not crossed my mind.  That the kind seaman and his wife, of whom he had spoken to me so often, were the same persons to whom my poor mother had intrusted her two eldest children on my father's death, was now beyond doubt.

"I could well understand, too, that he had dropped the locket on the road, that 'Seaver' coming along behind, had picked it up, and passing Wrote, as the latter turned back, held the locket in his hand when he was shot.  My first impulse was to seek my new found brother, confess my guilt, implore his pardon, and begin again at his side the pursuit which had proved my undoing.  But stronger than the fear of his hatred, which I even now I believe I could have overcome, my promise to my dead sister interposed, and I dashed the thought aside as a temptation from the evil one, and then my thoughts turned again upon the locket.  I opened it once more.

"Lorentz was then right -- that was my father, and I bedewed his picture with reverential tears; and this - my poor mother; again the striking resemblance to Blanche pressed itself upon me with a deadening conviction that no one but my mother's daughter could be so like her, and that she too was my sister."

It continues from there - John Trust goes to Baltimore with his servant, Lorentz, and the embark for the West Indies, then to Mexico where he found religion, wrote the letter and sent it via a Spanish envoy to Washington, and perhaps lived out his life as a hermit near Alexandria and dying in 1857.  Was John Trust his real name?  Was Wroe the real name of his intended victim? There is no telling.

There is so much detail in his description of the murder and his actions following, and the explanation of how he came to obtain the locket seems to hang together.  As mentioned before, the murder happened in 1821 and it is not known when the manuscript was written by John Trust, and it was published 45 years later. 

These historical newspaper article archives are wonderful, aren't they?  GenealogyBank has done an excellent job of continually imaging and digitizing over 5,000 titles; however, not every title has the full run of the specific newspaper.  The indexing done by optical character recognition seems better on GenealogyBank than most other commercial historical newspaper providers.  The indexes permit genealogists and historians to uncover articles like these that may shed significant light on the lives of our ancestors.  We could not do this work well without the images and indexes!  We all need to remember that not every historical newspaper ever published has not been imaged yet - far from it!

If you had been a reader in 1866 of the Alexandria Gazette newspaper, would this set of ten chapters have intrigued you?  Whoever wrote it was a gifted writer of the times.  Reading it aloud really helps a person understand the vocabulary and speech traits of the time, doesn't it?  I was mesmerized by the whole ten chapters.  I can see news-hungry readers in 1866 waiting impatiently for the next installment of the saga.  It is a story about more than the murder of William Seaver, although I've tried to focus on that in my excerpts from the lengthy chapters. 

What of poor William Seaver, perhaps mistakenly murdered by John Trust?  Where did he come from?  Who were his family? What happened to them?  Are there any descendants? 

Or were the last three posts in this series just an April Fool's Day prank on my part?  Did anyone really go to GenealogyBank and check out these articles?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Exploring WikiTree- Post 11: A Better Way to Merge Profiles

The Exploring WikiTree Compendium has all of the posts in this series. 
In Post 10, I explored merging two duplicate profiles in WikiTree that resulted from importing two different GEDCOM files.  The method I used in Post 10 was not very time efficient - and after reading the Help page I found a better way to merge two duplicate profiles.  Here is the "better way," in my opinion:

1)  From any WikiTree page, the registered user can click on the "Watchlist" link in the menu line at the very top of the page.  The "Watchlist" is the list of Profiles that the registered user manages.  I now have over 3,200 of them now.  Here is the top of my WikiTree Watchlist page:

The text at the top of the page says for "My Watchlist:"

"These are the profiles you are watching. You are on the Trusted List for all of them and can therefore access and expand on their information. You may have created these pages yourself, or requested access to them, or been proactively given access to them by someone who trusts you.

"Key: The colored dots are the Privacy Level: Unlisted Unlisted, Private Private, Private with Public Biography Private with Public Bio, Private with Public Bio and Tree Private with Public Bio and Tree, Public Public, or Open Open. Icons after names link to the person's family tree ancestors or descendants descendants. WikiTree IDs can help you create your own links. Status indicates whether the profile is managed by you Profile Manager or if a person is pending Pending i.e. they've been invited to join WikiTree but haven't responded, or active Active [Note: the colored dots don't show up in this blog post]

"Sorting: The profiles are currently sorted alphabetically by last name at birth. You can resort them in reverse alphabetical order, by date of birth, by most recent edit date, or by Privacy Level (most public first)."

The Watchlist can be paged through in 500 Profile increments, or the user can click a link to show the whole Watchlist on one page.  I usually do that!  Here is the Watchlist almost at the end of the list, in the T surnames that shows a number of Thurston Profiles that are duplicates caused by submitting my two GEDCOMs:

I want to merge the two Profiles for Job Thurston - so I note the Profile numbers for Job's two Profiles - they are "Thurston-112" and "Thurston-144."  I wrote those down, so that I'm sure to remember them. 

2)  I opened another window to access the "Merge Person Profiles" page since I wanted to leave the Watchlist page intact because I have many more duplicates to merge. 

There are two fields in the screen above for the Profile numbers for the two Profiles that I want to merge into one Profile.  I entered the two Profile numbers for Job Thurston in the fields, and clicked on the "Continue" button.

3)  The familiar "Merging ..." page opens, showing the Profile numbers for Job Thurston and his information from the two Profiles (two screens below - some overlap shown):

There is an interesting feature shown in the bottom screen above - the system found that there were probable Profile duplicates for Job Thurston's parents also - and advised me that I should merge their profiles before I merge Job Thurston's Profile.  I did that - it saved me two manual merges.  Then I click on the "Confirm Merge" button for Job Thurston and his two Profiles were merged into one.

4)  Here is the merged Job Thurston Profile:

Because I merged two duplicate Profiles for Job Thurston, there are now two sets of information for Job in the Contents section of the Profile.  For Job, there are duplicate entries for his birth, death, user ID, Reference Number, Notes, etc.  The Sources and Repositories were not duplicated, presumably because they had the same source and reference number.  This duplication will require the user to go into each merged Profile and edit out the duplicate information in order to keep the Profile as "neat" as possible.
This Merge process is much easier, more time efficient and logical to use than the Merge process in Post 10 of the series.  In my description above, keeping the Watchlist open on a separate browser window really helps if you have more than one or two duplicate merges to perform.  I put the "Merge People" page in one window and the Watchlist in another window, and when the merge occurs, a separate third window opens.  The other key feature is to write down (or try to remember) the two Profile numbers to be merged. 

The Merge process is not optimum yet - that would be the WikiTree system finding the probable duplicate Profiles and suggesting that they be merged. 

William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - the 1866 Confession - Post 1

On 15 March, 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 17 March, I wrote William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - a Reward Offered - by the President of the United States, and three mayors.  The William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - A Jailhouse Confession post on 18 March seemed to solve the case.  William Seaver's Murder in 1821 - Was it Ever Solved? posted on 21 March was an article from 1874 claiming that the murder was a "cold case," but mentioned a confession to a murder printed in the Alexandria Gazette newspaper in 1866.  The phrase used was:

"A romantic account of the murder and its reasons was published in the Alexandria Gazette in 1866, derived, it was said, from a confession made in Central America and sent to a member of the Spanish American Legation at Washington -- The murdered man was there stated to be an old man, who, just before the late war, made his home in a cave near Four Mile Run."

What about this "romantic account?"  Ten lengthy installments, titled "A Wonderful Narrative of Old Alexandria, or the Confession of John Trust," were published between 12 July and 2 August 1866 in the Alexandria Gazette newspaper (all found online on GenealogyBank -

The story is fairly convoluted, but interesting!  This John Trust was born in England, comes to America to make his fortune, has a problem with a suitor, named Wroe, of his ill sister in Alexandria, Virginia, and lies in wait near the Potomac River determined to kill Wroe.  Here is the description of the murder event:

From the 28 July 1866 issue (excerpted from Chapter 8):

"...I saw Wroe walking on at his usually rapid pace.  The sun fell behind the trees and he disappeared in the valley of the roadway almost at the same moment.

"I cam a short distance down the declivity, and laying myself, at full length, behind a belt of shrubbery, rested my gun upon the roots, so as to be invisible, and at the same time to command any object on the road for several hundred feet.  Ere long I saw the man cross a rivulet  which ran at the bottom of the valley.  I could not discern either his countenance or his clothing in the gathering shadows, but I knew his gait.  He fell before the hill opposite echoed the shot.

"I dashed forward, and as I lifted the still warm body, a golden locket dropped to the ground.  I grasped it as it reached the earth and placed it in my pocket;  hurried on to a culvert near by, and then hid my horrid burden.  I had not dared to look upon its features."

Then the start of Chapter 9, published on 31 July 1866 in the Alexandria Gazette newspaper:

"The body out of sight, my chief care was to gain my boat unperceived.  I hastened into cover of the underbrush, just in time; for I heard the feet of horses approaching, and skulked from the deed of blood.  Still the blood was on me; my hands encardined, stained everything I caught hold of; the body had gushed blood at the murderer's touch, whilst I carried it to its hiding place, and the gore had, in several places, soaked through my clothing, until I felt its clammy touch, like the cold damp hand of the dead upon my skin.  As I fled I knew that every motion marked me yet more deeply, and I feared as I crept through the brushwood lest some of it might rub off upon the leaves, to tell the world which way the murderer had gone.  My gun was bloody; my hair was bloody; my face dabbled in blood; my whole body and soul already before heaven and earth  reeking in blood that called to Heaven for Vengeance; -- each drop armed with worse than serpent's sting, seemed piercing my brain, until, when I reached the river, I ran in, pulling the boat after me, and then swam out into the broad current, pushing the skiff ahead.  The water washed away some of the filthy witnesses of the deed, and cooled the fever which burned upon my brow; so I climbed into the skiff, and still keeping midway of the stream, paddled down the river; meanwhile changing my clothing for the suit I had brought for the purpose, still keeping the locket., and sinking all else in the channel of the stream.  It had originally been my intention to have returned home after the deed was done, and gone about my affairs as usual; but the terror which was now upon my heart warned me that it would be impossible to do so, without subjecting myself to almost certain discovery.  Not that I feared the consequences.  I know that but for the thought of my dear sister, I should have surrendered myself to the authorities, confessed my crime, and offered my life in expiation; but for her to know it! Even the hell then burning in my heart was heaven to that!  So I determined to land in Alexandria, get some further necessaries, and then leave behind me all that could call up the memory of my deed; seek an asylum in South America, and then send for my sister."

After stopping in Alexandria to see his ill but sleeping sister, he traveled about twenty miles to Dr. H's home in Virginia, and took refuge there.  Several days later:

"...I feigned disposition and kept to my chamber as much as possible.  I had, perhaps, from some vague fear , deferred, from day to day, to open the locket I picked up beside Wroe.  But the first day in doors compelled me to do something to keep from going mad, and, with less horror than I expected, I undid its clasp.  It was of fine gold, set with a few precious stones and carved of the fashion of a century gone by, and contained a miniature of Wroe.  How gladly, now would I have laid down my life to have restored breath to him.  I put the gem in my pocket, for a rap was made on my door, and the servant brought Alexandria and Washington papers.  The murder was out, and there was published a proclamation of the President, exciting hue and cry -- terrible thought! -- against me.  Strangely enough the proclamation called the murdered man 'Seaver,' and described him as a citizen of Washington!

"No time was left me for surmises, for almost instantly Dr. H. came to my room, bringing a letter from a friend in Washington, detailing the circumstances attending the discovery of the body.  He read it to me: the body was described as being found precisely where I had thrown it, but there too, the murdered man was called 'Seaver,' with the additional circumstance that he was a pedlar, and had probably been robbed of a large amount of money.  I kept calm enough during the reading, though my heart seemed on fire, and I was able, as he left the room, to thank him for his courtesy in giving me the news.  When the door closed, my brain reeled -- 'Could I have been mistaken? What if I killed some poor man, who never thought harm, and left Wroe alive and my sister at his mercy?'  While in this anguish of perplexity, a servant said that Mrs. H. desired to see me.  I went at once to the sitting room, barely able, with all my strength, to conceal my agitation.  She rose, weeping, as I entered, and handed an open letter to me, saying, 'You must go back to Alexandria -- it is so bad that I cannot have the heart to tell you.'"

"I saw, in my imagination, the officers of the law, and fell senseless."

We'll look at how this turns out in the next post in this series.  There are several mysteries here, aren't there?  He apparently killed the wrong man, but he had a gold locket in his possession with a miniature of Mr. Wroe (remember, this is in 1821 before photographs, so the miniature was hand painted).  I've omitted all of the details of the events before the murder, but suffice it to say that he thought that Mr. Wroe had designs on his sister and was taking advantage of her.  John Trust was apparently a hunter familiar with the rivers and woods of the Alexandria area.

Each chapter in this series takes up about two columns of agate type on one page of the newspaper.  I transcribed about half of Chapter 9 above.  If you want the read all of the chapters, go to GenealogyBank ( and search for the keywords [alexandria confession trust] and limit your search to [July 1866] and you'll find them.  Don't put names in the search field.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chula Vista Genealogical Society Seminar - Saturday, 2 April 2011

The Chula Vista Genealogical Society is sponsoring a FREE seminar on Saturday, 2 April from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bonita Library (4375 Bonitra Road in Bonita, California) in the Community Room.

The seminar topic is: "Probates, Wills, Insurance Papoers and the Law: How It All May Affect Your Genealogy Research" presented by Michael T. Murphy (local attorney) and Del Stevens (local insurance broker).

The doors will open at 9:45 a.m. and the program will begin promptly at 10 a.m. Bring a sack lunch or visit one of the many nearby eateries.

There will be Opportunity Drawings, Two Door Prizes and Information Tables.

To Reserve your Seat:

Complete the reservation form online - type in your browser:, or contact Virginia (619-425-7922, or  Provide your name, street address, telephone number, email address and if you are a current CVGS member.

Jean Wilcox Hibben Series on National Archives Records

I received an email from genea-blogger (Circlemending), speaker and genea-musician par excellence Jean Wilcox Hibben, who lives in Riverside County, California.  As luck would have it, the Pacific Region branch of the National Archives moved to Perris, California just a few miles from her home!  Talk about good fortune!  Apparently, Jean is working there also! 

Jean has started mining records on her ancestral families at the Archives branch, and sent this email to me:

"I want to let you know about a blogging project I have begun, in conjunction with the National Archives, Pacific Region, Riverside County (CA). There are many microfilms with helpful genealogical information, available for viewing, but most people are unaware of them. With the help of Kerry Bartels, my supervisor there, and Gwen Granados, the director, I am highlighting some of these collections throughout the upcoming weeks and months. The first of the blogs simply tells how to navigate the NARA site to find microfilms, then I focus on Letters of Application and Recommendation from various Presidential administrations. Below are the links to these 4 different blogs."

National Archives, Pacific Region, Riverside County, CA - How to Find Microfilms in the Facility (posted 25 February 2011)

Letters of Application and Recommendation During Presidential Administrations, 1797-1877, Microfilm Collection, NARA Riverside (posted 22 March 2011)

Letters of Application and Recommendation During the Administration of Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877, Microfilm Collection, NARA Riverside (posted 23 March 2011)

Letters of Application and Recommendation During the Administration of Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877, Examples from NARA, Riverside (posted 24 March 2011)

Letters of Application and Recommendation During the Administration of Ulysses S. Grant, 1869-1877, Microfilm Collection, NARA Riverside, continued (posted 29 March 2011)

The first one, about finding records on the National Archives site, is especially useful for all researchers.  The step-by-step instructions can be applied for any National Archives facility.

The posts about specific documents available in National Archives record collections are useful as examples of collections that should be searched for your ancestors. 

Note that the method to access the Index for the specific records that Jean is discussing was described in the first post in her series.  Once you have an index entry for your person of interest, you can then go to the National Archives branch that has the record (not every branch has every record set) and read the microfilm (yes, they are on microfilms, not yet imaged or indexed and online). 

I know that I have avoided going to the National Archives branch for many years, and have been very confused by the organization of their records and how to access them.  Jean has provided a wonderful entre into this vital resource that may hold solutions to many elusive ancestor problems. 

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 146: Gram, Mom and Nana

I'm posting family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they won't be Wordless Wednesday posts like others do - I simply am incapable of having a wordless post.

Here is a photograph from the Seaver//Carringer family collection handed down by my mother in the 1988 to 2002 time period:
I love three and four generation photographs.  The persons in this picture are, from the left, Emily Kemp (Auble) Carringer (1899-1977), Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002) and Georgianna (Kemp) Auble (1868-1952).  They are, of course, my maternal grandmother, my mother and my great-grandmother.  This picture was taken in November 1929 (according to the caption on the back of the photo), and was probably taken beside the Lyle and Emily Carringer home at 2130 Fern Street in San Diego. 
My brothers and I called these three "Gram," "Mom" and "Nana." 
I don't have many pictures of my mother smiling, and this is a good one!  She looks tall for age 10, and I can see my oldest daughter in her face.  Besides that, these females are in my direct matrilineal line and share my mitochondrial DNA! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

CVGS Program on Wednesday, 30 March: "Handwriting and History"

The March Program Meeting for the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) is Wednesday, 30 March at 12 noon in the Auditorium at the Chula Vista Civic Center Branch Library (365 F Street, Chula Vista).  After a short business meeting, the Program speaker will be Paula A. Sassi on "Handwriting and History."

Handwriting Analysis gives a glimpse of the past through antique handwritten books, letters and documents.
By exploring a fantastic collection of antique handwriting samples, you will achieve an even deeper insight into what handwriting can reveal about bygone eras. From paupers to presidents, the personality of each writer becomes evident from not only the words they wrote, but the letter formations they used. Examples include old hotel directories containing famous signatures, an 1890’s Mayor’s Docket from the City of Waco, Texas, letters from the Civil War and WWII, autograph books and other unique memorabilia. Take a trip back in time to experience history in a whole new way and find out information the history books never told you.

Paula A. Sassi, Certified Master Graphologist, has worked professionally in the field of handwriting analysis since 1980. Owner and director of her own corporation, Paula serves a diverse group of clients in the area of personnel selection, behavioral profiling and compatibility analysis. Top businesses and corporations seek her services for help in hiring and promoting personnel as well as in conflict resolution. Author, lecturer and teacher, Paula offers you one sure guarantee, you will never look at handwriting quite the same again.

Please enter through the Conference Room door on the East hallway at the library in order to register your presence, receive handouts, buy a drawing ticket and have a light snack.  There will be a social time after the meeting in the Conference Room.

For more information about attending this meeting, or about CVGS, please contact Virginia (email or phone 619-425-7922).

Internet Genealogy Magazine - April/May 2011 Issue

I received my PDF file for the April/May 2011 issue of Internet Genealogy magazine today, and thought I'd share the Table of Contents:

*  page 7:  Skype Your Genealogy! -- Lisa A. Alzo discusses five ways you can use Skype for your family history research

*  page 9:  Florida Memory Project: An Online Goldmine -- Tony Bandy goes online and examines a fantastic resource for family history research

*  page 13:  Genes Reunited -- Marian Press sings the praises of a unique genealogical website

*  page 16: Civil War Genealogical Resources, State by State: Part Two -- David A. Norris takes an in-depth look at the resources available for tracing your Civil War ancestors

*  page 20:  Jewish Transmigration to a Promised Land --  Melody Amsel Arieli looks at online resources for tracing your Jewish ancestors

*  page 24:  Turning Online Genealogy Data Entry into an Application --  According to Howard Burdick, a little ingenuity, and a lot of data, goes a long way!

*  page 31 -- Almanac and Annual Reviews -- David A. Norris looks at a treasure trove of genealogical information

*  page 33: Scandinavian Roots and FamilySearch -- Margaret H. Strand examines a great resource for tracing your Scandinavian ancestors

*  page 37 -- Are You Ready For the 1940 Census? -- Daniel M. Lynch looks at the eagerly awaited release of the 16th census for the United States of America

*  page 40:  Vital Records at Your Fingertips -- Donna Murray shows you where to find vital records online

*  page 42:  Using Upper Canada Land Petitions for Research -- Guylaine Petrin looks at the latest online release from Library and Archives Canada

*  page 47:  Five Ways to Use social Media to Find Your Family -- Gena Philibert Ortega shows you how to use people to power your genealogy research

*  page 50:  Cool Tools For Publishing Your Family History -- Lisa A. Alzo discusses some online resources to help get your family’s story into print

*  page 54:  Office of Coast Survey -- David A. Norris examines the latest resources available from this little-known site

This issue had several excellent articles that I've printed out for my "how-to" research files, and to share at the CVGS Research Group in two weeks.

Exploring WikiTree -- Post 10: Merging Two Profiles

The Exploring WikiTree Compendium has all of the posts in this series. 

Because I imported only ten generations of my ancestry, I did not have my Mayflower 1620 passengers in my WikiTree database.  I decided to add three more generations of ancestors for several of my "end-of-line in WikiTree" ancestors to test the Merge process and to try to attract more collaborators.  I uploaded a GEDCOM with 360 more persons in it, including four of my earlier uploaded persons.  At least, that's what I thought.

One of the ancestors that I added more generations for was William White (1683-1700), whose parents were Sylvanus and Deborah (--?--) White.  Here is my Profile of him from my first GEDCOM submission:

In the William White Profile above, you'll notice that it lists his spouse and children, but not his parents.

Here is my Profile of the same William White from my second GEDCOM submission.  You'll notice that it lists his spouse and parents, but not his children:

Because these are the same person, but have two Profiles in WikiTree (both submitted my myself), they need to be Merged.  How do I do that? 

I went to the Search for Matches from my NavPage.  After scrolling through several pages of matches with other WikiTreers, I finally found my William White born 1683, and there were two Profiles created by myself:

There is a "[merge]" link after the second one.  I clicked on that (two overlapping screens below):

There was a list of the information for each of the Profiles for William White born 1683,   The left-hand column has information colored green, and includes the parents of William White.  The middle column has information colored yellow, and does not include the parents of William White.  The "new" William White in the right-hand column has the information from the green column by default, plus any information from the yellow column that is not included in the green column (which shows up in yellow in the right-hand column, no examples of this on the screen above).  If the user wants to use the information in the yellow column for one or more facts, then they unclick the check box to the left of the green column for specific Facts.  If the check box is unclicked (so that the check disappears), then the information in the "new" Profile turns yellow color.  This is really neat once you figure it out. 

At the bottom of the "Merging" page above is a "Merge Profiles" button.  I clicked on it and saw:

The screen above says that the two profiles were merged into one.  Were they?  Here is the Profile for William White-2352 (which was the Profile number for him from the first GEDCOM upload):

The screen above shows that the parents of William White born 1683 has been added to the Profile.  The Family Tree for William White also shows the link:

That worked, but finding the matches seemed pretty clunky to me (see Post 9 for details).  I had to scroll through several pages to find the specific match using the WHITE surname.  The actual Merging process is pretty easy and fast.

I should have checked the WikiTree Help section first, I think.  The Help page for Merging says:

"If there is more than one profile page about the same person, they should be merged.

"Here is the merge tool.

"Note that you need to be in the Trusted List of both profiles before you can merge them. If someone else created one of the profiles you may need to request access.

"Warning: Merge should be used with caution. It is irreversible. Once two records are combined they can't be separated again."

When will I learn to check the Help page first?  It must be a male thing... I guess that there is no such thing as a wrong way, it can always be used as a bad example.  I digress.

There appears to be a "better way" to do the merges, according to the Help page.  That's good, because it seems that I have many more than four matches in my two uploaded GEDCOM files, since the siblings of the "end-of-line first GEDCOM" persons were uploaded in the second GEDCOM.  I'll report on this "better way" in the next post.

One suggestion for a WikiTree improvement is to be able to perform a search for duplicates owned by the WikiTree user.  I didn't see a way to do that - I had to do it using the surname for the whole WikiTree system rather than for just my WatchList (more on the WatchList soon!).  Even better would be an automated WikiTree matching system that tells me that I have duplicates and asks if I want to merge them.  I think Chris is working on improving the Merging system.  I'll wait! 

Tuesday's Tip - Consider Name Variations For Elusive Ancestors

Today's Tuesday's Tip is:  Consider Name Variations, based on spelling or pronunciation, for those elusive ancestors that you can't find in the census or other records.

The LDS FamilySearch Research Wiki has a page titled "Guessing a Name Variation" with twenty ways to find an elusive name including using competing indexes, initials, abbreviations, middle names, nicknames, IGI standardized names, translations, letter substitutes, finding relatives, and searching the record without an index.  Try out the methods described in this list for your elusive surname.

In the list of 20 ways, there are links to several other useful wiki pages, including:

Traditional Nicknames in Old Documents - A Wiki List
Spelling Substitution Tables for the United States and Canada - includes commonly misread letters, and phonetic substitutes
Rookie Mistakes - check these out, and see if you're still making them

The neat thing about a wiki is that it gathers the collected wisdom and experience of many researchers, not just the author of an article.

Monday, March 28, 2011 U.S. Vital Record Collections summaries

Leland Meitzler has done the genealogy community a big favor on his GenealogyBlog - he has captured the current list of United States Vital Records historical record collections on the LDS FamilySearch site (  Leland has written three blog posts:

1)  United States Birth & Christening Records Found at - there are presently 47 databases for 34 states, plus one relatively small database covering the entire USA.  The states presently covered are:  Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of ColumbiaFlorida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin

2)  United States Death & Probate Records at - there are presently 78 databases for 41 states plus the District of Columbia. In addition, you will find two USA-wide indexes at the end of this list. Note that of the 78 databases, 27 of them contained digitized images of the original documents.   The states presently covered are:  Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Internet Genealogical Research, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Vital Records, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin

3)  United States Marriage Documents & Indexes Found at  - there are presently 62 databases with records for 41 states and the District of Columbia.  The states presently covered are:  Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of ColumbiaFlorida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Leland has updated the Marriage list several times, and the Death list once.  Hopefully, he will continue to update these lists as more information is added to the FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.

Lists of the databases for each state, including the number of images and number of indexed records, can be created at the FamilySearch site ( and using the search box in the top of the left-hand column.  Enter a state name in the search field and all of the databases with the state name in the collection title will appear.  This works for countries also.  Since FamilySearch is adding quite a few databases each month, check the state and country lists regularly.  They are much easier to find this way, rather than searching through the list of (currently 583) historical record collection titles. 

Thank you, Leland!  I really appreciate these vital record lists.