Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - a Genealogy Scavenger Hunt

Hey geneaphiles, it's SATURDAY NIGHT - time for more GENEALOGY FUN!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it (and I hope that you will!), is to:

1)  For each person listed below, provide the name of the mother of the person and the genea-blogger to whom they are related. Easy, eh?

a) Lois Velleda Dreher

b) Mary Philomene Laurent

c) Ernest Francis Sheern

d) Cecelia Jost

e) Mary Jane Sovereen

f) Bethiah Brigham

2)  Tell us how you conducted this search, and what you may have learned from your searches.

3)  Please post the answers on your blog (if you have one), or in my comments (if you don't have a blog).

If you want to do this, then don't read many genealogy blogs before you go on your genealogy scavenger hunt! 

Here's mine:

Hmmm, I'll wait and do it later after everyone has had their shot.

Who will be the first one to correctly name all six mothers and genea-bloggers?  I'll post that later. The defining time will be the time stamp in my Google Reader.  No prizes, except for huzzahs for a job well done quickly!

This would be a neat game to play at a seminar or conference where everyone has access to a computer and the Internet.

UPDATE Sunday 12 noon:

Tamura Jones sent an email with the correct answers at 12:34 p.m., so he is the "winner" of accolades for being really quick with reading Genea-Musings and using the search engines.

Martin Hollick followed quickly at 12:40 p.m. with a comment to this post.

The right answres were:

a: Cynthia Beane, Mountain Genealogists, mother is Caroline Banet

b. Brian Zalewski, Zalewski Family Genealogy, mother is Olivine Marie St. Louis.

c. Sheri Fenley, The Educated Genealogist, mother is Ann Emily LeSeure.

d. Amy Coffin, We Tree Genealogy, mother is Cecilia Kurta.
e. Randy Seaver, Genea-Musings, mother is Eliza Putman

f. Elyse Doerflinger, Elyse's Genealogy Blog, mother is Anne Richardson

In hindsight, this was probably harder to set up than it was to perform.  I had to find relatively unique names of the child in a blogger's post.  I used a Google search then to determine how hard it would be, and if there were any duplicate names in more than one genealogy blog.  Not every genea-blogger puts a lot of names into their blog posts.

Thank you all for playing:

*  Tamura Jones in email
*  Martin Hollick in Comments
*  Sheri Fenley in SNGF - Who's The Mommy Scavenger Hunt
*  Caroline Gurney in SNGF: A Genealogy Scavenger Hunt
*  Sara in Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Scavenger Hunt (I like Sara's blog name, but don't understand it...)

If I missed someone's post, please let me know in email and i'll add you to thel ist above.

Surname Saturday - Christina LNU (????-1804) of Morris County, NJ

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 225,  who is Christina --?-- (????-1804), another of my 5th-great-grandmothers. [Note: The 5th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back to Christina --?-- 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)

14.  Charles Auble (1849-1916)
15.  Georgianna Kemp (1868-1952)

28.  Daniel Auble (1817-1894)
29.  Sarah Knapp (1818-ca1900)

56.  Johannes Able (1780-????)
57.  Anna Row (1787-1863)

112.  Johannes Able (1758-1818)
113.  Sophia Trimmer (1747-1811) 

224.  Michael Able, born about 1719 in Germany; died 26 February 1791 in Roxbury, Morris, New Jersey, United States.  He was the son of 448. Andreas Able and 449. Maria.  He married before 1757 in New Jersey, United States.
 225.  Christina, died 1804 in probably Roxbury, Morris, New Jersey, United States, buried in Zion Lutheran Church graveyard in Oldwick, Tewksbury township, Huntersdon County, New Jersey with her husband.

Children of Michael Able and Christina are:

  i. Andreas Able, born 13 August 1757 in Roxbury, Morris, New Jersey, United States; died 09 August 1830 in Glen, Montgomery, New York, United States; married (1) Mary Christina Schuyler 26 January 1779 in Morris, New Jersey, United States3; born about 1757 in New Jersey, United States; died 05 September 1819 in Glen, Montgomery, New York, United States; married (2) Catherine Winne Aft. 1819 in Montgomery, New York, United States; born 12 April 1772 in Glen, Montgomery, New York, United States.

ii. Johannes Able, born about 1758 in Roxbury, Morris, New Jersey, United States; died Abt. 1818 in Sussex, New Jersey, United States; married (1) Sophia Trimmer 30 January 1777 in Oldwick, Hunterdon, New Jersey, United States; married (2) Mary Cripps 17 April 1811 in New Germantown, Hunterdon, New Jersey, United States.

iii. Matthias Able, born 28 February 1759 in Roxbury, Morris, New Jersey, United States; died 08 March 1826 in Seneca, New York, United States; married Catharina Fritts 10 April 1781 in Oldwick, Hunterdon, New Jersey, United States3; born 23 October 1762 in Hunterdon, New Jersey, United States; died 18 December 1842 in Seneca, New York, United States.

iv. Mary Able, born 1760 in Roxbury, Morris, New Jersey, United States; died 10 April 1829 in New Jersey, United States; married William Fritts 28 July 1782 in Oldwick, Hunterdon, New Jersey, United States; born about 1759 in Hunterdon, New Jersey, United States.

v. Jacob Able, born about 1763 in Roxbury, Morris, New Jersey, United States; died 1816 in Tewksbury, Hunterdon, New Jersey, United States; married Anna Gertrude Pickle 18 January 1794 in Oldwick, Hunterdon, New Jersey, United States; born about 1774 in New Jersey, United States; died 13 August 1862 in Tewksbury, Hunterdon, New Jersey, United States.

vi. Anna Elisabeth Able, born 1765 in Roxbury, Morris, New Jersey, United States; died 18 November 1815 in New Jersey, United States; married George Fritts 17 January 1786 in Oldwick, Hunterdon, New Jersey, United States.

vii. Catharine Able, born about 1767 in Roxbury, Morris, New Jersey, United States.

viii. Eva Able, born about 1769 in Roxbury, Morris, New Jersey, United States.

ix. Christina Able, born 17 May 1771 in New Germantown, Hunterdon, New Jersey, United States; married Johannes Reinhardt 19 August 1792 in Oldwick, Hunterdon, New Jersey, United States.

I have no clue as to Christina --?--'s maiden name, and apparently no other researcher does either.  Are there any other descendants of Christina (--?--) Able that are researching this family?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Recently Added Collections to

I go visit each of the commercial genealogy websites occasionally to see what historical record collections have been added over the past month or so.

I checked out today (Note: this is a subscription website) and noticed that they have a new website design:

That looks pretty nice, and the blue menu bar has  "Home," "View all Databases," "Search," "Places," "Store," and "My Account" options.

I found the link to the "Recently Added Databases" under the "Search" menu button:

I like this list - it is in Date Added order, and alphabetical within the date order.  Looking at the list, they added on 5 May 2011:

*  A number of small city and large City Directories (but not entire collections).
*  Official Army Registers for 1856-1969 (not every year, but most)
*  Parish Registers from many English counties (not complete, they are printed transcriptions)
*  Many miscellaneous English books about families and records

I found San Diego City Directories for 1936 to 1959 here (not every year, but most)

On 20 April 2011, they added:

*  Many college and high school Yearbooks (one or several from many places, not complete collections)

This collection included San Diego High School for 1929 and San Diego Junior College for 1955.  There are quite a few Yearbooks from the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Military Academy West Point, and the U.S. Naval Academy.

The only problem I had using this "Recently Added Databases" page was that I had to go use the "Search" menu item and the "Recently Added Databases" link to get back to the list of the databases.

The overall list of the available databases is at

I have seen no publicity about these significant additions to the list of WorldVitalRecords collection.  I no longer receive the WVR newsletter via email for some reason - did they discontinue that?  There are no press releases from WVR about their website content, either. 

Disclosure:  I have a subscription that I paid for myself.

FGS FORUM Magazine - Spring 2011 Table of Contents

The Spring 2011 issue (Volume 23, Number 1) of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) FORUM online magazine is now available to FGS subscribers at  Here is the cover image:

The Table of Contents includes:

page 5 - From the President
page 7 - Calendar of Events
page 9 - 5 Ways to Help Your Members Get Past Their Brick Walls, by Gena Philibert Ortega
page 13 - MAPS: More Than Pretty Pictures, by Mary Clement Douglas
page 17 - Austin Genealogical Society Goes 'Green,' by Randy Whited

page 19 - Conference and Program Highlights - FGS 2011, by Thomas MacEntee
page 23 - Family Associations column, by Christine Rose
page 25 - Genealogy 2.0 column, by Randy Seaver
page 29 - Records Preservation and Access, by Linda McCleary
page 31 - Book Reviews column, by Paul Milner

page 42 - FGS Award Nominations
page 43 - FGS Member Societies

This is the first issue edited by Matt Wright.  The magazine has had a complete graphic and editorial makeover suitable for an online magazine.

My contribution is the Genealogy 2.0 column - which is titled "FamilySearch Has Changed:"

Attending Genealogy Conferences - My View

In Genealogical Conferences - The Magic Recipe, Thomas MacEntee encourages genea-bloggers to write posts this week about genealogy conference and seminar issues.  The topic for Thursday is supposed to be:

"Taking It All In – and finally on Friday, May 6, 2011, we’ll hear from the attendees of genealogy conferences.  How do you decide which ones to attend? How far in advance do you start making plans? What do you look for when you take in a conference? Again, not only can you post about what you’d love to see at a genealogy conference, but let us know your frustrations and what needs to change."

Finally - a topic that I can answer directly!  However, I started attending major conferences in 2007 (SCGS in 2007-2010, FGS in 2009, NGS in 2010, TMG Cruise in 2008), so my experience is limited.

1)  How do you decide which ones to attend?  If I had unlimited money and time, I would attend all of them.  But remembering that my daughters and grandchildren deserve an inheritance, I decided that we would try to go to either NGS or FGS each year, go to the SCGS Jamboree every year, and go on a genealogy cruise once in awhile.  Then RootsTech raised its head in 2011... so it's probably on the "every year" list, especially if it stays in Salt Lake City. 

One of the determining factors for conference attendance is the genealogy research and family history near the conference location.  For instance, this year FGS is in Springfield, Illinois and NGS is in Charleston, south Carolina.  I've wanted to research in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin for many years, and have no southern ancestry at all, so FGS was the choice for 2011. 

2)  How far in advance do you start making plans?  I usually decide whether to go to NGS or FGS in January of each year.  I try to send my registration information before the early bird deadline (I haven't sent in the FGS registration yet).  We're still trying to work out the travel plans and calendar for the FGS trip in September. 

3)  What do you look for when you take in a conference?  First and foremost is the speakers and topics of interest.  I can usually find one presentation of interest in every time slot.  I like to attend talks by speakers that I've not heard before, but enjoy talks by many of the experts.  I tend more toward presentations about new resources, solving difficult research problems and applying the Genealogical Proof Standard. 

Second of all is the geneablogging community in attendance.  I really enjoy the company of my colleagues - it's like a family reunion at every conference, since we all read each other's work.  I feel like other geneabloggers are my brothers and sisters, and we seem to instantly bond even if we've never met in person before.  This is the really fun part of conferences for me.  Sharing food, stories and laughs is special.

We usually do not attend the special lunches and dinners for two reasons:  first, they interfere with geneablogger meetings, and second, my wife has severe food allergy problems and mass produced meals are dangerous.  I do miss hearing the presentations by notable genealogists, however. 

4)  What would you love to see at a genealogy conference?  I would like to see more opportunities to interact with expert genealogists on difficult research problems.  I know that some local and regional conferences do this in an "Ancestors Roadshow" format, and I think that would be useful to me and many others.

5)  What are your frustrations and what needs to change?  My frustrations include the exorbitant hotel charges, in-hotel restaurant prices, parking fees, and internet access limitations and fees. 

One thing I would like to change is the audio tape system for many of the presentations.  I dislike audio CDs and podcasts because I get no visual stimulation from them and I do not recall what I hear well, plus they are fairly expensive (JAMB Tapes, Inc. charges $12 for one lecture CD).  My preference for audio presentations is to be able to download them from a website. I much prefer visual presentations similar to what FamilySearch is doing with their Research Courses - you can see and hear the speakers and watch the presentation.  Next best would be the audio synced (no speaker video) with the presentation visuals like in the online webinars.  I know that there are production costs for these types of products, and I am not sure of the market for them, but the webinar market is one indicator I think.  A conference and agreeable speakers could sell them on Lulu or a similar site in a profit-sharing mode for a reasonable price. 

I appreciate what RootsTech 2011 did, and what SCGS Jamboree is going to do in June, in providing several presentations in live streaming video with the presentation archived for persons that could not attend the conference.  SCGS will provide the live presentations for free, but the archived presentations are behind their subscription wall.  I think that this may be a pretty good subscription benefit for regional and national genealogical societies.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Branches Software Rewind

I wrote several posts about Branches genealogy software last year after the NGS Conference where I was first exposed to it:

First Look at Branches - Genealogy Software
Using Branches Genealogy Software - Post 1: Navigating an Existing Tree
Using Branches Genealogy software - Post 2: Adding Unrelated Person
Using Branches genealogy software - Post 3: Adding a Spouse and Parents

I received an email yesterday from Mike Miller of Branches, which included this information:

"Normally I would not send out a general email, but I wanted to let you know that we have reduced the price of BRANCHES family tree software to $14.95.  This is the lowest price for a full featured Windows family tree manager ever offered.  I encourage you to download the 30 day free trial again and try the new and improved version (  We have reset the time limit to give you another 30 days.  As in the past, the onetime license fee is good for all the computers you own and includes free upgrades. 

"If you are comfortable using your current family tree software, consider using BRANCHES as a utility to view and manage your data as many of our customers do."

I love free trials, so I downloaded the program today (Version, dated 29 April 2011), uploaded my 40,000 person GEDCOM file created by RootsMagic 4, and did some learning on how to use the program.  Here is a screen shot of the biggest tree in my database:

This is a graphical program.  The user navigates around the tree by using the mouse scroll wheel to zoom in and out of the tree, and using the left mouse hold and drag to move the tree up, down, right and left.  The right mouse button is used to access menus to perform actions for persons in the tree. 

Note the small Mini-Map in the upper left-hand corner of the screen - it shows you where you are in the larger tree.  I zoomed into my tree, and moved to the right and zoomed some more in order to see some of my earliest generations.  The screen below shows a view of a small portion of my tree:

When I reviewed and tested Branches last year, I had some problems:

*  The program and database size swamped my older computer.  I have no problems now with a computer with a much larger hard drive and RAM, although Branches is using over 187 mb of RAM at present.

*  I couldn't figure out how to do certain things.  My readers helped out with suggestions, and the Help function is useful.  My biggest problem was with adding children to a family - the "right answer" eluded me in Post 3 until reader GeneaPopPop told me to run my mouse over the vertical line connecting husband and wife - a green line appears and a right-click permits a user to ADD Children.

*  Another problem I couldn't figure out was how to edit an Event.  Right-clicking an Event permits "Edit Event" which opens a text box to edit the information.  Adding a source to an Event is done with a right-click of the Event and selecting "ADD Source citation to event" (thank you, Deborah Andrew!). 

*  Adding an unrelated person to a Tree can be done by right-clicking in the "white space" and selecting "ADD Individual."

*  The user can right-click on the white space and select "EVENTS Off" and/or "SOURCES off."  In the screens above, I have them On, and they really clutter up the screen.  My preference is "EVENTS On" and "SOURCES Off."

I'm not sure if I will pay for Branches after my 30-day free trial, but I feel a lot more comfortable with it.  It is fairly easy to learn navigation and editing, although the reports and charts have significant limitations at this time, in my opinion.  I may write another post about the Report and Chart options. 

What other topics do my readers want to know about Branches?  What do you like or not like in Branches?  Tell me, and I'll report back.

Genealogy Conference Vendors - My View

In Genealogical Conferences - The Magic Recipe, Thomas MacEntee encourages genea-bloggers to write posts this week about genealogy conference and seminar issues.  The topic for Thursday is supposed to be:

"Selling the Goods – on Thursday, May 5, 2011, we’ll discuss how vendors who sell their wares in the Exhibit Hall see the conference experience.  This will be an eye-opener for sure since most attendees think you just set up a booth and you are ready to sell. We’d love to hear from actual vendors about the process and the realities of selling goods and services at genealogy conferences."

I have no experience selling my wares anywhere (I have no wares!), so I will address this from the attendee's view point.

I greatly appreciate the vendors, suppliers and companies that rent exhibit space, set up displays and have sales and information personnel at genealogical conferences.  Some observations:

*  The purpose of these vendors is to publicize their products and to sell them, whether they are websites, databases, software, hardware, etc. 

*  I want the vendors to be successful - to sell out their products, to invest in new products, to excite the genealogy world, and to advance genealogical and fmaily history research.  They are great examples of entrepreneurship where visions become real products.  I doubt that any vendor "makes a killing" at a genealogical conference.

*  The larger genealogy companies rent larger exhibit space, and bring in a number of employees to answer questions, demonstrate products, and sell products.  These companies often have seating areas with a projector and screen showing short videos or presentations.  Some companies encourage visitors to try out their website or search for records.  They often have "show specials" with reduced product prices.  I usually know the company products fairly well, and now I recognize the names and faces of many of the company employees after several years of writing about them and meeting them previously.

*  Smaller, or start-up, genealogy companies may have static displays, paper handouts, and one or two persons (often the owner of the company) to discuss and demonstrate their products.  I love to talk to these people about their products and gather their material - it may be blog fodder.

*  Local, regional and national genealogical or hereditary societies often have exhibits at conferences.  Usually, these exhibits have a limited display, have handouts, and one or more persons (often these persons rotate in hour shifts) at the booth. 

*  Most exhibit areas have food options so that attendees don't have to leave the exhibit building.  These often include hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, drinks, snacks, etc.  I usually eat lunch at these during the conference.

*  Some conferences have a free day in the exhibit area.  Local researchers can take advantage of this opportunity to visit the exhibit area, interact with the vendors, and buy products. 

*  My guess is that most large vendors at conferences make money through their exhibits - through product sales, through database subscriptions, etc.  Otherwise, why would they attend year after year?  I'm not sure about smaller companies or companies trying to break out into the genealogy world - having these exhibits are important for publicity purposes, but conference appearances may not pay the cost of the exhibit space.  My guess is that the conferences with significant "buzz" and higher attendance produce more sales than others. 

*  As a genea-blogger of modest renown, I am occasionally invited by companies for "blogger sessions" to review the status of the companies products or new offerings coming soon.  These are enjoyable because I can ask questions from knowledgeable persons. 

*  I enjoy meeting and talking to the company representatives in the exhibit hall.  I learn quite a bit, often receive freebie handouts, and add to my knowledge base.

I look forward to the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank, California in June, and the Federation of Genealogical Societies in Springfield, Illinois in September.

Treasure Chest Thursday - the Will of Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)

It's Treasure Chest Thursday, and I'm going to take a break from the Isaac Seaver Civil War Pension File transcriptions.

I checked the voluminous Genea-Musings archives, and found that I haven't posted Isaac Seaver's will. 

Isaac Seaver died testate, and his probate papers are in Worcester County (MA) Probate Records, Probate Packet B-27905, accessed at the Worcester County Courthouse in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

His will reads:

"Know All Men by These Presents, that I, Isaac Seaver of Leominster, in the County of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do make and publish this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made.

"First. I hereby appoint Hamilton Mayo of said Leominster, the executor of this will.

"Second. I give my beloved wife Alvina M. Seaver, the sum of Twelve Hundred Dollars; also all my household furniture and housekeeping effects of every name and nature.  This legacy is given by
me in lieu of all her rights in my real estate and personal property.

"Third.  I give and bequeath to the child or children of my deceased son, Benjamin, the sum of one Dollar.

"Fourth.  All the rest and residue of my estate I give, devise and bequeath in equal shares to my children, Juliette G. Bryant, Frank W. Seaver, Elizabeth L. Blanchard, and Nettie M. Seaver.

"Fifth.  I authorize and empower my said executor to sell my real estate at public or private sale, and to pay from the proceeds thereof the above legacy to my wife, dividing the residue among my children above mentioned.

"In testimoney whereof, I hereunto set my hand and seal, and publish and declare this to be my last will and testament, in the presence of witnesses named below, this twenty-eighth day of February, in the year nineteen hundred and one."
...................................................... Isaac Seaver  (seal)

This is the earliest will in my files that is typewritten.  My guess is that a secretary at Hamilton Mayo's law office typed it from a handwritten draft.  Isaac Seaver signed it on 28 February 1901, less than two weeks before his death on 12 March 1901. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

More Information on the Family of William Seaver (1783-1821)

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, and Part 2 on 31 March provided more detail of the murder from the confession. 

In Clues for the Ancestry of murder victim, William Seaver, I summarized the information I have for William Seaver's ancestry.  It wasn't much, but seemed to point to him being the son of Ebenezer and Sarah (Coolidge) Seaver, born in 1782 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, who married Martha Davis in 1809.  Some Records for the William Seaver Family Members described some records found in online census and city directories for the widow and children.  In Is this William R. Seaver, son of the murdered William Seaver? I thought that I had found the son of William and Martha (Davis) Seaver. 

While searching in the BYU Family History Archive yesterday, I searched the keywords [william seaver murder] and was rewarded with eight books containing those terms.  One of the books was:

Gilbert A. Davis, History of Reading, Windsor County, Vermont, Volume II, Windsor, Vermont, by the author, 1903. 

This work has the following information about the William Seaver/Martha Davis family:

Page 151:

"(d) Martha [Davis]  b March 1 1793, m Wm. Seaver of Roxbury Mass., a grocer.  They had three children living.
William, a tea broker, in Philadelphia.
Martha and Sarah, daughters, unmarried, resided in Baltimore, Md.

"Wm. Seaver, Sr., went to Baltimore, and went into the grocery business.  Then went to Washington, and became a member of the firm of Seaver & Bulfinch, Grocers, Wines, &c., on Pennsylvania Avenue.  Mr. Seaver was a great judge of liquors, teas, &c.  In 1q820 he was murdered between Washington and Alexandria.  He had been to Alexandria to buy goods from foreign vessels, and, missing the stage and boat, was found near the bridge crossing the Potomac.  The murder was thought to have been for the purpose of robbery.  His widow subsequently kept a millinery establishment, including dress and mantau making, employing some 25 girls.  She had the patronage of the best families in Washington.  Her store was on Penna Avenue, and she amassed quite a property.  She d at her home in Baltimore, Md."

Pages 155 and 156:

"Children of Wm. Seaver and Martha Davis (6) --
The son, Wm. R. Seaver, removed to New York City, and was successful in business.  He never married.  He was a devoted, generous and self-sacrificing brother.  His sisters loved him and had entire confidence in his judgment.  At the time of his death, intestate, in 1896, he resided at Newark, N.J.

"Sarah A.C. Seaver was his sole heir, Martha Seaver having died in 1889.

"Sarah died at Baltimore, Md., June 27, 1900, unmarried, in the 84th year of her age.  She owned, and at the time of her death, resided at No. 13 No. Calhoun st.

"A controversy arose over an instrument purporting to be her last will and testament, written and executed Dec. 5, 1898, in which she had entirely ignored and disinherited her heirs-at-law, and cousins, Charles L. Davis, Gilbert A. Davis, Samuel S. Davis, Sarah A. Gordon, and Martha T. Miller, and these cousins filed a caveat, and contested the allowance of said instrument.  Miss Seaver had made three wills previous to this, in each of which she had recognized her cousins and devised to them the balance of her estate.  The last of these wills was executed on May 27, 1898.  The Orphans' Court of Baltimore city, after a protracted hearing Aug. 30, 1891[sic? probably 1901], by a majority decision sustained the instrument of Dec. 5, 1898 as her last will.  The cousins at once appealed to the Court of Errors and appeals, and that Court by unanimous opinion of the Judges reversed the order of the Orphans' Court, set aside the instrument of Dec. 5, 1898, and established the will of May 27, 1898.  O.Brien, J., in giving the dissenting opinion in the Orphans' Court, used this language:--

"'Miss Seaver had all through her life been recognized by her friends and acquaintances as a woman of culture and refinement, and in her later years as a bright, intelligent, and courteous person, affable and kind to her friends, and very capable in transacting business affairs.' 

"The Seaver family are interred in lot 129, in Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, Md."

In Have you checked the collections recently? You should!, I found the will of the daughter, Martha C. Seaver in 1888 in the Maryland Register of Will Books.  I also found, but did not list, the will of daughter Sarah A.C. Seaver, mentioned above, in the 1900 volume of the Will Books.

So far, everything I've posted about this family has been very consistent (with one exception - it was claimed that the murdered William Seaver was killed in the War of 1812). 

Why is the useful and fascinating information printed in the Reading, Vermont history book?  There's a really good reason - the author of the book, Gilbert A. Davis, is related to Martha (Davis) Seaver, the wife of the murdered William Seaver.  I will post more about the Davis family in a subsequent post in this series.  There are some interesting sketches of some of these people, and the accounts provided by this book demonstrate very nicely how complicated family relationships can be.

Presenting at Seminars and Societies - My View

In Genealogical Conferences - The Magic Recipe, Thomas MacEntee encourages genea-bloggers to write posts this week about genealogy conference and seminar issues.  The topic for Wednesday is supposed to be:

"Delivering the Content – on Wednesday, May 4, 2011, the series continues with a look at what it takes to be a speaker or presenter at a genealogy conference.  Everything from the call for papers, to signing the contract, to making the presentation – we want to know everything involved from the speakers’ perspective. Tell us about the glamour, the limelight, the adoring fans; and tell us about the preparation, the travel and all the ugly details as well."

I have intentionally NOT submitted proposals to present at national or regional conferences for two reasons - I don't plan that far ahead (the calls for proposals is usually 12 to 18 months ahead of the event) which conferences I'll attend, and my "stable" of presentations is usually about the latest online genealogy offerings, which are covered at conferences by the providers themselves (e.g., Ancestry, FamilySearch, RootsMagic, etc.).  There may be an element of self-confidence here too!  Frankly, I want to enjoy a multi-day conference by attending presentations by experts, perusing the vendor exhibits, and interacting with my colleagues. 

I do speak at Southern California area genealogical societies, and have really enjoyed meeting Genea-Musings readers in Long Beach, Yorba Linda, Corona, Carlsbad, Escondido, Encinitas, La Jolla, San Diego and Chula Vista.  

Glamour?  Limelight?  Adoring Fans?  Travel Fun?  Right.  Where are my groupies?  Do I need to give away Genea-Musings T-shirts with a pithy saying (like "I think, therefore I write")?  I must say that attendees at my talks are very friendly and encouraging, which I, and all speakers, really appreciate.  It keeps us going, and tells us that we're doing things right.  The only downside is the 100 miles each way it takes to drive to the Los Angeles area for a talk to a new society.  The bright side is the offer to put Linda and I up for the night after the talk (thank you Jean and Ruth!) - we've enjoyed being in the homes of other genealogists and sharing time and meals with them.  I really enjoy observing how other genealogical societies run their meetings and do their publicity, and try to take some of those ideas back to my local society. 

My seminar presentation experience is limited to the Chula Vista Genealogical Society.  In 2008, I did a four session seminar that taxed my endurance.  I remember having cramps in my hand and forearm from gripping the handheld microphone, and recall that my back and feet really hurt afterwards.  I have tremendous respect for presenters that do multi-session presentations in one day. 

Preparation?  Since I speak about actively changing websites and my own research experiences, my presentation content often changes from month to month.  A new presentation usually takes 20 to 30 hours to develop and, if I'm lucky, I can use it 3 to 5 times, but it needs to be updated each time.  I usually make two versions - a 50 minute version and an 80 minute version.  The difference is one or two content "modules," with each "module" being 15 to 20 minutes in length. Why two versions?  Well, one of my local societies (San Diego Genealogical Society) has two 45 minute program segments. The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego usually has one long 75 minute program segment. 

I tend to stuff too much information into my presentations - it's not unusual for me to have over 60 slides in a 50 minute presentation, or 100 slides in an 80 minute presentation set.  Many of them are screen shots with highlighted areas.  I try to speak about the pretty pictures, and minimize the text pages.  I use OpenOffice 3.2 for my presentations (a PowerPoint look-alike) and use a fairly plain format with a title block, a text area and a thumbnail image in the upper right-hand corner (kind of a holdover from my aerospace engineering background).  Not much flash and dance - but lots of information. 

I have not had any real problems with speaker venues or equipment problems - probably because I don't have as much experience as others have.  I take my own laptop with the OpenOffice presentation, and a PDF version of it, on the hard drive.  I take two flash drives with the presentation and handout- one in the laptop bag and one in my pocket in case the laptop dies or is stolen.  I put the presentation files on Google Docs in case something really bad happens to my equipment.  I have had no bad experiences, yet, with hooking up my laptop with the projectors furnished by the host societies.  I do not have my own personal projector yet.  I did have a problem with my pointer unit - it didn't work at my last SDGS talk and I had to advance my slides manually.  I like to have the laptop sitting on the podium, but the SDGS venue doesn't permit that, so I spoke while seated which is not ideal.

The rewards?  The speaker honorariums cover the travel and presentation expenses, and I appreciate them.  Working with a relatively small society in Chula Vista, I understand the budget problems of all genealogical societies.  Could I make a living from speaker honorariums?  Not a chance, even if I presented to every local, regional and national seminar/conference.  My rewards are meeting genealogical colleagues and readers, and, hopefully, providing information that helps other researchers pursue their elusive ancestors.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 151: the Bay Side of the Carringer House

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:

In previous weeks, I've shown the "front-door" side of the Lyle and Emily Carringer house at 825 Harbor View Place in San Diego, built in 1951.  The view above is from the intersection of Harbor View Place and Armada Terrace, looking north.  The included angle between the streets is probably about 30 degrees.  This picture was taken in October 1951.  It shows the "point-of-the-vee" of this particular lot.  This end of the house has a small area to store garden tools, and the earthen bank areas were planted later with shrubs and trees. 

The side of the house in back of the telephone pole is the "bay-side" of the house, and has a magnificent view of San Diego Bay, North Island and downtown San Diego, with Mount San Miguel in the background.  The panorama extends from the US/Mexico border to the south around to Lindbergh Field to the northeast. 

The rooms from left to right along the "bay-side" are the master bedroom, the second bedroom, the living room (with the largest windows), the dining room (set back from the living room) and the kitchen.  On the far end of the house,the dining room opens with a sliding glass door onto a brick patio with several circular steps down to the flat area shielded by the block wall. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

FamilySearch Feature - Books

FamilySearch keeps adding pieces of their resources to the FamilySearch web page - recently they added a "Books" link to their home page:

The "Books" link is to the right of the "Catalog" link in the menu line below the "Discover Your Family History" title.  Clicking on "Books" opens information below the menu line:

The information says that:

The Brigham Young University Family History Archive has produced a valuable collection of scanned historical books.

"This collection includes:

  • Histories of families
  • County and local histories
  • How-to books on genealogy
  • Genealogy magazines
  • Periodicals (including some international)
  • Medieval books (including histories and pedigrees)
  • Gazetteers "
Clicking the BYU Archive link takes the user to:

There are currently 17,777 works in this digital book archive.  The page above has a relatively simple set of search fields - Surname, Author and Title.  The information for the holdings at this digital archive says:

"The Family History Archive is a collection of published genealogy and family history books. The archive includes histories of families, county and local histories, how-to books on genealogy, genealogy magazines and periodicals (including some international), medieval books (including histories and pedigrees), and gazetteers. It also includes some specialized collections such as the Filipino card collection and the “Liahona Elders Journal.” The books come from the collections of the FamilySearch Family History Library, the Allen County Public Library, the Houston Public Library – Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, the Mid-Continent Public Library – Midwest Genealogy Center, the BYU Harold B. Lee Library, the BYU Hawaii Joseph F. Smith Library, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church History Library."

There is an Advanced Search link, which looks like this:

The Keyword searches include "All the words," "The exact phrase," "Any of the words" and "None of the words."

I solved a significant mystery using this collection today - it was just luck, and trying a search term combination.  More later! 

Planning Genealogical Seminars - My View

In Genealogical Conferences - The Magic Recipe, Thomas MacEntee encourages genea-bloggers to write posts this week about genealogy conference issues.  The topic for Tuesday is supposed to be:

"Setting the Space – on Tuesday, May 3, 2011, the series beings by looking at genealogy conferences from the perspective of the planners – those who plan the events, secure the space and manage all the details that many attendees don’t get to see. We encourage those who have held genealogy events – from one-day workshops for your local genealogy society to multi-day national events to weigh in with their opinion.  Tell us your frustrations, your successes, and what changes are taking place or should take place when it comes to genealogy conferences."

My only experience with planning seminars and conferences is with my local society - the Chula Vista Genealogical Society.  As the Program Chairman and the President in past years, I had the lead in planning one-day seminars for four years.  Fortunately, we had a free venue at the Chula Vista Civic Center Library with over 150 seats in the auditorium and decent audio-visual equipment.  For three years, we concentrated on having a FREE four to six hour event on a Saturday, usually in both April and October.  We provided a free lunch - a make-your-own sandwich, salad, fruit platters, chips and dip, dessert cookies and water, and asked for donations to allay the refreshment cost. 

With two one-day seminars each year, we used between our own society speakers on useful genealogical topics (I did one of them myself on Online Resources) and two had an "Ancestors Road Show" format with a panel answering attendee research questions.  In October 2008, we brought Jean Wilcox Hibben in for three wonderful talks.  Attendance at these events ranged from 40 to 60, with 10 to 20 non-members in attendance.  For events at the library, we could not charge registration fees due to library policy.

Because the library hours were reduced in early 2010, we lost our free seminar venue.  For the October 2010 seminar, we used a local senior center with sufficient space for a fee.  Jean Wilcox Hibben gave three presentations, and Alberto Pena gave one.  For the first time, we charged a registration fee to cover the speaker, venue and refreshment costs, and made some money for the society.  However, there were significant venue problems - the venue was crowded, and the kitchen noise intruded on the speakers, and the food wasn't great.  This venue is not available any longer due to budget cutbacks.

Some lessons learned in planning these one-day events:

1)  A separate seminar committee needs to start planning two years before the event.  This needs to be a committee with a number of team leaders, a master action list, and scheduled decision-making.  The committee chairperson needs to be team-oriented and able to delegate well.  Continuity and accountability is vital. 

2)  Lessons learned from earlier events need to be documented and applied to future events.  Venues should be visited and tested for seating, audio/visual limitations, etc.  Seat spacing is important.  Soft seats are better than hard seats.  Having readable visuals, with clear sight lines and clear audio is critical.  Meetings should not be scheduled on community event days, or on days with significant competing genealogical events.

3)   A Seminar theme should be responsive to the needs of the prospective attendees.  An event with three or four disparate topics really doesn't work well.  It is painful to sit through a presentation on a specialized topic of interest to only 10% of the attendees.

4)  Seminar speaker(s) with known capabilities and expertise need to be selected to fit the seminar theme.  It is painful to sit through a presentation by a first-time speaker unfamiliar with his topic, or talks that are too short or too long. 

5)  The seminar date, speaker(s), topics, venue, program publicity and costs should be finalized at least six months before the event, and for larger events one year before the event. 

6)  Program publicity should include flyers to local libraries, local senior centers and schools, and posted on grocery store and other community bulletin boards.  Publicity should be posted on genealogy-oriented blogs, web pages, and message boards.  Notices should be sent to local and regional genealogy societies far enough in advance for publication in monthly newsletters. A press release should be released several weeks in advance of the event to local newspapers.  

7)  Seminar fees should be set to encourage attendance, with a cost break for early registration, but be sufficient to cover the venue, speaker and other costs.  Ideally, the venue should not limit the number of attendees.  Setting fees needs to account for the society demographics - what are the members willing to pay?  What are non-members willing to pay? 

While CVGS is relatively "small potatoes," we are actively serving the needs of our society members and trying to attract new members from the San Diego genealogy community, especially those that are not society members and live in the Chula Vista area.

I will be interested in seeing how other genea-bloggers address this topic.  hopefully, we can all learn some lessons learned and adapt the success stories of other societies to our own events.

Tuesday's Tip - Finding U.S. Naturalization Records

This week's Tuesday's Tip is to:  Use the guidelines at Joe Beine's website "Finding U.S. Naturalization Records" ( to help you determine where naturalization records are located and how to obtain them.

There are two categories for naturalization records - before and after 27 September 1906.  There are links to the Family History Library Catalog, the National Archives, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, and finding aids for specific locations, by state.  A summary of the types of naturalization records can be found at

Online Searchable Naturalization Records are summarized, by state, at

This is the website that I recommend in my genealogy classes for information about the naturalization process and record access.  Thank you, Joe!

Monday, May 2, 2011

New and Updated FamilySearch Historical Collections - April 2011

I last listed the new or updated collections on the FamilySearch Historical Collections website on 1 April, when there were 584 collections on the list.  Since then, these Historical Record Collections have been added or updated to make a total of 605 collections as of today 
In the list above, I was able to identify many of the collections as newly added or a previously existing updated collection.  When FamilySearch sends their email notifications to interested parties, they are identifying whether they are new or previously existing collections.

There are 69 items on the list above, but only 21 were newly added databases since 1 April.  I will update the list as I receive information about the new databases.  All FamilySearch Historical Record Collections can be accessed at  You can see the date that collections were recently added or updated by clicking on the "Last Updated" link.

Amanuensis Monday -Will of James Stone (1702-1783) of Groton, Massachusetts

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started a Monday blog theme many months ago called Amanuensis Monday. What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

The subject today is the will of James Stone (1702-1783) of Groton, Massachusetts.  He was married to Mary Farwell (1709-????) in 1726 and they had ten children:  James Stone (1727-1788); Mary Stone (1729-????); Jonathan Stone (1731-????); William Stone (1734-1757); Abigail Stone (1736-????); Sarah Stone (1739-????); Joel Stone (1742-1806); Salmon Stone (1744-1831); Hannah Stone (1747-????); Levi Stone (1750-1830).

James Stone of Groton died testate, and his will was proved 15 April 1783 [Middlesex County [Massachusetts] Probate Records, Probate Packet 21,617, accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,421,530].  The transcription is:

"The will of James Stone of Groton, yeoman, dated 21 December 1778. To my wife Mary the use of my personal estate and all of my real estate for life.  To my sons, James 3 pounds, Jonathan 3 pounds, 6 shillings, 8 pence,  Joel 3 pounds, 6 shillings, 8 pence, and Salmon 6 pounds, 13 shillings, 4 pence; to my daughters, Abigail Sawtell 6 pounds, Sarah Carleton 13 pounds, 6 shillings, 8 pence, and Hannah Page 7 pounds, 6 shillings, 8 pence.  At the death of my wife, the residue of the personal estate and all of the real estate to remain to my son Levi Stone, he to be sole executor.

"Witnesses Joshua Fletcher, Jonathan Keep, and Oliver Prescott.
....................................................................................... [signed] James Stone"

He names five sons and three married daughters in this will, plus his wife, so we know that they are living as of December 1778 when he wrote the will.

The above looks more like a will abstract to me - I'll have to search my probate record files to see if there is more to it!  Also to see if there was an inventory and an account.

My ancestry is through the daughter Abigail (Stone) Sawtell, who married Ephraim Sawtell in 1757 and resided in or near Brookline, New Hampshire.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 24-30 April 2011

Hundreds of genealogy and family history bloggers write thousands of posts every week about their research, their families, and their interests. I appreciate each one of them and their efforts.

My criteria for "Best of ..." are pretty simple - I pick posts that advance knowledge about genealogy and family history, address current genealogy issues, provide personal family history, are funny or are poignant. I don't list posts destined for the genealogy carnivals, or other meme submissions (but I do include summaries of them), or my own posts.

Here are my picks for great reads from the genealogy blogs for this past week:

* Breaking News: Scientists Pinpoint the Origins of Piles of Genea-Crap by Kerry Scott on the Clue Wagon blog.  Spewingly funny.  Genea-manic.  Priceless.  True!

BLM federal land questions by Pat Richley-Erickson on the DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog.   Ol' Myrt answers reader Diane's question about ordering a BLM land patent, noting that there is a lot in the homestead entries.

Who do they think we are? by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog.  This post addresses the now-public perception that genealogists can solve every research problem in one hour, just like Perry Mason did on TV years ago.

Jasia’s Technology Review for 2011 by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog.  What a great review of Jasia's genealogy and life technology units and applications.  I wish others would do something similar so that I could upgrade my own technology.

Did the U. S. Federal Government Register Births? by Linda McCauley on the Documenting the Details blog.  Linda had a federal birth record for her father, and found out why and how.  Interesting.

The Search for Number 16, part 1 and part 2 by Amy Coffin on the We Tree Genealogy Blog.  Amy found her last great-great-grandmother, with a little help from her new online friends.  This is a great example of collaboration with and cooperation by researchers in another country.

Using Land Records to Solve Genealogical Problems -Summary of William Ballenger's Military Warrant File by Michelle Goodrum on The Turning of Generations blog.  Michelle summarizes her Military Warrant study - excellent research and analysis.

Let's Start at the Very Beginning (A Very Good Place to Start) by Leslie Albrecht Huber on The Journey Takers blog.  Leslie has advice for beginning researchers and writers - a wonderful list.

Local Knowledge–the Kind that Solves Difficult Pedigree Problems by Arlene Eakle on Arlene Eakle's New York Genealogy Blog.  Arlene found a treasure on the shelf at the FHL recently, and now better understands the local history of the NY/MA/CT Berkshires area. 

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

Genealogy Round Up, April 28 by Megan Smolenyak on the Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak Roots World blog.

Follow Friday Newsletter: 29 April 2011 by Greta Koehl on Greta's Genealogy Bog blog.

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

Best Bytes for the Week of April 29, 2011 by Elizabeth O'Neal on the Little Bytes of Life blog.

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

Did I miss a great genealogy blog post? Tell me! I am currently reading posts from over 860 genealogy bloggers using Google Reader, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.