Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - If I Knew Then...

Greetings, genea-philes. it's SATURDAY NIGHT - time for more GENEALOGY FUN!

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

1)  On GeneaBloggers Radio last night ( the discussion turned to regrets that we all have about our genealogy and family history experiences.  Someone said "If I knew then, what I know now, I would have..." I thought that it would make a good SNGF topic, and it may be a general topic on a future GeneaBloggers Radio show.

2)  Tell us about your "If I knew then what I know now, I would have..." regret in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook status or note.

Here's mine (I'm going to pick the low hanging fruit here in the Genea-Cave):

"If I knew then, when I started my genealogy quest, what I know now, I would have written down more complete source citations, and would have added them into the source fields in my genealogy software programs."

I learned about source citations in high school when writing essays that required a bibliography and footnotes (50 years ago!), and that carried into my college courses. 

When I started doing my genealogy and family history search in 1988, I didn't read many "how to" books at first - I just plunged in at libraries and the local Family History Center.  I kept the research logs for all of my surnames up to date for several years and then lapsed.  Those research logs contain a column for "source" and I usually noted the author's surname, an abbreviated book or periodical title, the repository I found the work, and the call number on the shelf, or the microfilm or microfiche number. 

I entered the information I found into my Personal Ancestral File program, but since I wanted to be able to "see" my sources when I printed out a pedigree chart or family group sheet,, or a narrative report, I entered an abbreviated source citation into the location field for birth, marriage and death facts (for example, a birth place in the Vital Records of Westminster, Mass. book might read "Westminster, Worcester, MA (VR, 93)).  That worked really well for me.  I also added abbreviated sources into my Notes for a person - sometimes in approximately Evidence! form, but usually not.

When I finally obtained Family Tree Maker in 1998 (got a new computer!), it had a more complete source citation field, and I had learned a lot from reading "how-to" books, the Internet and attending local society programs and conferences.  However, all of my sources that I transferred from PAF to FTM were still in the location fields, and in my notes. 

Over the years since 1998, I really regretted not doing a better job of writing my source citations on the papers that are now filed in my surname notebooks (or in the stack of papers to be filed), and not using the source citation fields in the genealogy software.  But I let it all slide because I was too busy collecting more paper, doing real ancestral research, working for the society, speaking on genealogy subjects, and writing/blogging.

After Evidence! Explained was published, and I joined the Transitional Genealogists Study Group, and then the ProGen study group (I was in Group 1, graduated in early 2010), I realized that I needed to put my money where my mouth was and get my source citations in better order. 

As devoted Genea-Musings readers know, I've gone through my database of 40,000 persons and over 100,000 events and have added near EE-quality source citations for about 20% of the events.  I'm gradually working through my surname notebooks and paper stacks to enter more.  I doubt that I will ever get up to even 60%, but that's a reasonable goal!  I've documented my saga for creating these citations in the Seaver Source Citation Saga, which had the goal of finding a software program, and a method of creating sources in the software, that transfers using GEDCOM to any other family tree system without being mangled.  I completed converting the 650-odd master sources in my database to near-EE quality earlier this year after about 12 months of effort - I estimate at least 400 hours of work, and probably more.

I actually like doing master source citations now - it's Genealogy Fun (because it's a challenge, I think!).  I have Evidence! Explained on my computer as a PDF file, and I use the RootsMagic 4 source citation templates to create master source citations, and then copy those into a Free-form master source. 

I'm sure that my readers are glad that I have resisted asking SNGF players to tell the world about their own source citation sagas, but this is a way I can bare my soul on the subject.

I look forward to reading about my readers genea-regrets - "If I knew then what I know now..."

Surname Saturday - VAN VORST (Holland > New York)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 241, who is Anna Van Vorst (1732-1789), another of my 5th-great-grandmothers. [Note: The 5th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].

My ancestral line back to Anna Van Vorst  and four more generations 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)

30.  James Abram Kemp (1831-1902)
31.  Mary Jane Sovereen (1841-1874)

60.  Abraham James Kemp (1795-after 1881)
61.  Sarah Sephrona Fletcher (1802-after 1861)

120.  John Kemp (1768-after 1861)
121.  Mary Dafoe (1776-before 1851

240. John Kemp, born about 1723; died before 15 January 1795 in Fredericksburg, Addington, Ontario, Canada.  His parentage is not known.  He married before 1761 in probably Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States.
241.  Anna Van Vorst, born before 22 October 1732 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States; died before 15 July 1789 in Fredericksburg, Addington, Ontario, Canada. 

Children of John Kemp and Anna Van Vorst are:  Joseph Kemp (1761-1836); Jacobus James Kemp (1763-1803); Rachel Kemp (1767-????); John Kemp (1768-after 1861); Nancy Kemp (1770-1836).

482. Jacobus Van Vorst, born before 12 December 1703 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States; died after 06 December 1790 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States.    He married 14 February 1727/28 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States.
 483. Anna Beck, born before 07 October 1704 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States; died before 20 May 1749 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States. She was the daughter of 966. Caleb Beck and 967. Annetje Janse Mol.

Children of Jacobus Van Vorst and Anna Beck are: Margriet Vedder Van Vorst (1726-????); Caleb Van Vorst (1729-????); Anna Van Vorst (1732-1789); Elizabeth Van Vorst (1734-1805); Jellis Van Vorst (1735-1823); Johannes Van Vorst (1741-1844); Abraham Van Vorst (1743-1833); Jan Baptist Van Vorst (1746-1830);

964. Jillis Jacobse Van Vorst, born about 1670 in New York, United States; died after 1735 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States.  He married 16 July 1699 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States.
965. Elisabeth Van Eps, born about 1674 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States; died after 1735 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States. She was the daughter of 1930. Johannes Dirckse Van Eps and 1931. Elisabeth Janse Douw.

Children of Jillis Van Vorst and Elisabeth Van Eps are: Jacobus Van Vorst (1700-1703); Johannes Van Vorst (1701-????); Jacobus Van Vorst (1703-1790); Dirk Van Vorst (1705-????); Gerrit Van Vorst (1708-????); Douw Van Vorst (1710-????); Jan Baptist Van Vorst (1711-????); Sara Van Vorst (1713-????); Elisabeth Van Vorst (1716-????); Gysbert Van Vorst (1721-????).

1928. Jacobus Gerritse Van Vorst, born before 03 July 1642 in New Amsterdam; died about 1689 in Albany, Albany, New York, United States. He was the son of 3856. Gerrit Janszen Van Vorst and 3857. Geertruyd Jacobse. He married
1929. Sara Jillis Fonda, born 18 January 1644/45 in Friesland, Netherlands; died 1682 in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, United States. She was the daughter of 3858. Jillis Douwe Fonda and 3859. Hester Douwes Janse Van Arenstvelt.

Children of Jacobus Van Vorst and Sara Fonda are: Maeke Van Vorst (????-????); Jannetje Van Vorst (????-????); Aaltje Van Vorst (????-????); Geertruy Van Vorst (1670-????); Jillis Jacobse Van Vorst (1670-1735).

I have relied on the research of other genealogists for information about this family.  The major sources for this family include:

1.  Jonathan Pearson, Contributions for the Genealogies of the Descendants of the First Settlers of the Patent and City of Schenectady, from 1662 to 1800 (Albany, NY: J. Munsell, 1873).

3.  Cheryl Kemp Taber has researched and collected a wealth of information about this family from a number of sources, and posted it in her WorldConnect database on Rootsweb (  titled "Kemps and Kin" updated 29 May 2011.

The URL for this post is
(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Trying out the TreeSeek Charts

TreeSeek is a FamilySearch certified affiliate that creates several types of genealogical charts.  They also are associated with (see Geni Welcomes Real-Time Collaboration and TreeSeek as Latest API Partners).  A user must have a FamilySearch and/or account and a family tree on the sites, in order to use it.

Since I was curious about the service, I went to and tried out the chart-making capabilities.  The site says:

"Finding the perfect chart to represent your genealogy can be a challenge. It was this challenge that motivated us to start creating these charts over 50 years ago. We began by publishing blank charts to be filled out by hand. These charts are still available at

"Today we have attempted to make this easier by filling out the chart for you. We do this by obtaining your genealogical information from or The only thing you need to do is provide a starting point to begin creating your chart. You must have an account with either FamilySearch or Geni to use this service."

I used my newFamilySearch family tree, but I could have used my family tree.  Unfortunately, neither of those is "complete" or "perfect" but they will serve as examples for my readers.

After signing in to my FamilySearch account, I was asked to Create a Tree:

 After several seconds, I was given the opportunity to select my own name from the database, or select another person (using the newFamilySearch person identifier number):

The screen says "Please be patient while we create your tree. It can take several minutes." It took less than 30 seconds.

The system went back to the first screen above, and further down the page is a link for "Create Chart" with the choices of "Fan - 9 generation," "Pedigree - 9 generation," "Pedigree - 10 generation" and "Name cloud."

I picked the "Fan - 9 generation" chart and clicked on "Create Chart:"

The nine-generation fan chart above is color coded for each grandparent, and is 33.5 inches wide and 22.5 inches high.  A full-scale portion of the chart looks like this:

The print is readable up close for the oldest generations.  Only names are shown on the chart - there are no dates, places, images or other text on the chart.

The nine-generation pedigree chart is another option, is 22.5 inches wide and 25.0 inches high, and is in black and white only (portion shown below):

The ten-generation pedigree chart is very interesting to me - it has the number one person in the center, the father's pedigree to the left, and the mother's ancestry to the right.  It is 36.8 inches wide and 18.8 inches high (for mine - yours may vary), and is in black-and-white, with the #1 person in blue:

The user can save these trees as images or PDF files, and can send them to be printed by Family ChartMasters and

Because my tree is not complete or accurate on either newFamilySearch or, I've resisted the temptation to order a print of the Fan Chart. 

I really like the Fan Chart (and would love a 12-generation one, but that may be asking too much!) format, but would like at least a lifespan on the chart, and thumbnail images where available, and... 

The Fan Chart (with about 220 degrees included angle) is somewhat different from the ones in my genealogy software - the Legacy Family Tree 7 fan chart is only 180 degrees, while RootsMagic 4 and Family Tree Maker 2011 do not create a Fan Chart.  My guess is that one of the chart printing affiliates can accommodate me with a more complete tree generated by RootsMagic 4 or Legacy Family Tree 7.5 with a 220 degree fan chart design.

In the mean time, the main use that I have for the charts above are to see what I have in the newFamilySearch and family trees - what needs to be added, and what's wrong (there is lots on the nFS tree).  It's a lot easier to see on a graphical image than on the small pedigree charts on nFS and Geni.

Navigating - Post 3: Old Search, Basic Form

In the previous two posts (Navigating - Post 1: New Search, Advanced Form and Navigating - Post 2: New Search, Basic Form), I highlighted using the Basic and Advanced Search Forms using the "New Search" features.  I advocate using the Advanced Search Form because it is much more flexible and the results are organized better than with the Basic Form.  Some readers have pointed out that "it's too complicated."

Not everyone uses New Search - some users like the Old Search capability on because they think that it is simpler to use. 

When users access for the first time, the system will probably come up with the "Basic Search Form" in "New Search." Beginning users will not know about differences between the "New Search" and the "Old Search" capability, and finding the "Old Search" capability can be a challenge (it is on the Search Tab when in "New Search").  Therefore, a new or beginning user will not be using "Old Search" unless they happen to click on the link in "New Search."

Assuming that a user is intentionally or accidentally in "Old Search," here is how to easily navigate "Old Search" using the "Basic Search Form:"

1)  The subscriber home page looks something like this (a user can customize their home page):

The "Basic Form" in "Old Search" has four tabs - for Historical Records, Family Trees, Stories and Publications, and Photos and Maps.  The user can choose one of these to search.  If they choose Family Trees, they will not obtain results form Historical Records or the other tabs.

The Basic Form (screen above) has fields for the First and Middle Names, Last Name, Birth Year and Birth Country (with a dropdown list of countries - select one, or All), and the Death Year and Death Country.  There is a check box for "Exact Matches Only."  The "Advanced Search" link is in the lower right-hand corner of the Basic Form, and there is a link for "Search Tips" in the upper right-hand corner of the Basic form.  The "Search" is consummated by clicking the orange "Search" button.

2)  I added "Isaac" and "Seaver" to the name fields, left the "Exact Matches Only" box unchecked, and saw:

The screen above shows the limitless list of search results, starting with the three-star matches.  My Isaac Seaver is on that list in several databases. 

There is a "Refine Your Search" link that takes you to the Basic Search form at the bottom of the Search Results page.

A user can click on one of the other Tabs to see the matches in Family Trees, Stories and Publications, or Photos and Maps.  Users should not forget to do this.

A user could organize their search by clicking on one of the Record Types (e.g., Census, Vital Records) on the left-hand side of the screen.  A user could also narrow their search by adding a birth date and birth country, and/or a death date and country, to the search fields.

3)  I added a birth year of 1823 to the Basic Search Form and the results were:

The first 9 matches on the list above are for my specific Isaac Seaver.

3)  If a user clicks on the "Old Search" "Basic Form" check box for "Exact Matches Only," the Search Form fields change - instead of the "Birth Year and Country" and "Death Year and Country" there is a "Lived In" field and fields for "Year Range" (e.g., 1823 and 1901), as shown below:

The screen above has "Isaac" and "Seaver" in the name fields, and the "Exact Matches Only" box checked, but with no other field entries.

4)  Clicking on "Search," the Results page looks like:

This page has the list of Record Types, with the number of matches in the list of specific databases.  The databases in each Record Type are listed by the number of matches found.  If there are more than five databases with a match, there is a link to "View all XX results."

As you can see, the "Basic Search Form" in "Old Search" works pretty well - it finds my Isaac Seaver born in 1823 using just a few entries in the Search form, with or without the "Exact Searches Only" box checked.

The "Old Search" with the capability using the "Basic Form" does have one major user advantage over the "New Search" capability - it has an "Exact Search" check box on the Basic Form. 

One major advantage of "New Search" over "Old Search" is that it searches all collections on, not just one category (like Historical Records, as is the case on "Old Search").

We will look at the "Advanced Search Form" in "Old Search" in the next post. 

The URL for this post is

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New and Updated FamilySearch Historical Collections - May 2011

I last listed the new or updated collections on the FamilySearch Historical Collections website on 2 May, when there were 605 collections on the list. Since then, these Historical Record Collections have been added or updated to make a total of 633 collections as of today

U.S. Social Security Death Index, updated 30 May 2011, 89,610,305 records
Wisconsin, Probate Estate Files, 1848-1933, updated 27 May 2011, images only
Italy, Civil Registration, 1806-1940 , updated 27 May 2011, 102,724 records
Saskatchewan Provincial Records, new collection, added 27 May 2011, images only
Vermont, Windham County, Westminster District, Probate Records, 1781-1921, new collection, added 27 May 2011, images only

Canada, Ontario, Toronto Trust Cemeteries, 1826-1935, new collection, added 27 May 2011, 14,864 records
Guatemala Civil Registration, 1877-1934, updated 27 May 2011, 22,448 records
Quebec Notarial Records, 1800-1900, updated 27 May 2011, images only
Germany, Brandenburg and Posen, Church Book Duplicates, 1794-1874, new collection, added 27 May 2011 1,616,960 records
Ohio Tax Records, 1800-1850, updated 27 May 2011 1,101,150 records

Louisiana, First Registration Draft Cards, compiled 1940-1945, new collection, added 26 May 2011, images only
Brazil, Catholic Church Records updated 26 May 2011, images only
Vermont, Vital Records, 1760-1954, updated 26 May 2011, 1,206,606 records
Mexico, Michoacán, Catholic Church Records , new collection, added 25 May 2011, images only
Guatemala, Guatemala, Ciudad de Guatemala, Censo, 1877, updated 24 May 2011 21,173 records

Maine, State Archive Collections, updated 20 May 2011, images only
Mexico, Tabasco, Catholic Church Records, updated 20 May 2011, images only
Georgia Headright and Bounty Land Records, 1783-1909, new collection, added 18 May 2011, images only
Poland, Roman Catholic Church Books, 1600-1950, updated 18 May 2011, 1,002,155 records
New York, Orange County Probate Records, 1787-1938, new collection, added 18 May 2011, images only

Argentina, Catholic Church Records, updated 18 May 2011, 397,859 records
Alabama, County Probate Records, new collection, added 18 May 2011, images only
Maryland, Probate Estate and Guardianship Files, 1796-1940, updated 16 May 2011, 27,021 records
Virginia, Danville City Cemetery Records, 1833-2006, new collection, added 16 May 2011, images only
District of Columbia Deaths, 1874-1959, new collection, added 16 May 2011, 103,160 records

Germany, Baden, Church Book Duplicates, 1810-1869, updated 16 May 2011, 107,547 records
Rhode Island, State Census, 1885, updated 13 May 2011, 302,482 records
Czech Republic Church Books, 1552-1935, updated 13 May 2011, 39,869 records
Spain, Municipal Records, updated 13 May 2011, 20,068 records
New York, Queens County Probate Records, 1899-1921, new collection, added 13 May 2011, images only

Mexico Census, 1930, updated 12 May 2011, 3,129,551 records (complete!)
Peru, Civil Registration, 1874-1978, updated 11 May 2011, 163,944 records
Maryland, Register of Wills Books, 1792-1983, updated 11 May 2011, images only
Mississippi, Tippah County Records, 1836-1923, updated 11 May 2011, images only
Ohio, Stark County Court Records, 1809-1917, updated 11 May 2011, images only

Alabama, County Marriages, 1809-1950, new collection, added 11 May 2011, 216,021 records
Canada, Lower Canada Census, 1831, new collection added 11 May 2011, images only
Luxembourg Births and Baptisms, 1662-1840 , updated 11 May 2011 7,685 records
Mexico, Jalisco, Catholic Church Records, updated 11 May 2011, images only
Texas, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Membership Applications, 1892-2010, new collection, added 10 May 2011, images only

California, San Mateo County Records, 1856-1967, updated 10 May 2011, images only
Tennessee County Marriages, 1790-1950, updated 10 May 2011, 243,460 records
Arkansas, Draft Registration Cards, compiled 1948-1959, new collection, added 10 May 2011, images only
Michigan, County Marriages, 1820-1935, new collection, added 10 May 2011, images only
Texas, Gonzalez de la Garza Genealogy Collection, new collection, added 10 May 2011, images only

South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964, new collection, added, 9 May 2011, images only
South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977, new collection, added 9 May 2011, images only
Philippines Civil Registration, 1945-1996, new collection, added 9 May 2011, images only
Germany Church Records, 1544-1945, new collection, added 9 May 2011, images only
United States, Civil War Soldiers Index, new collection, added 9 May 2011 6,282,360 records

Germany, Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census 1867, new collection, added 9 May 2011, images only
United States, Registers of Enlistments in the U. S. Army, 1798 - 1914, new collection, added 9 May 2011, images only
Russia, Samara Church Books, 1869-1917, new collection, added 9 May 2011, images only
New York State Census, 1865, updated 9 May 2011, images only
Germany, Miscellaneous City Records, updated 6 May 2011, images only

Mexico, State of Mexico, Catholic Church Records, updated 5 May 2011, images only
Puerto Rico Civil Registration, 1836-2001, updated 5 May 2011, 12,475 records
Spain, Cádiz, Passports, 1810-1866, updated 5 May 2011, images only
New Brunswick Provincial Deaths, 1815-1938, updated 5 May 2011, 172,406 records
Vermont Enrolled Militia Records, 1861-1867

Mexico, Morelos, Catholic Church Records, 1598-1969, updated 5 May 2011, images only
United States, Naval Enlistment Rendezvous, 1855-1891, new collection, added 5 May 2011, 262,742 records
Minnesota, Death Records, 1866-1916, new collection, added 4 May 2011, 383,230 records
Chinese Genealogies, updated 4 May 2011, images only
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891, updated 4 May 2011, images only

Austria, Vienna Population Cards, 1850-1895 updated 2 May 2011, 54,980 records
Netherlands, Passenger lists Holland-America Line, 1900-1974, new collection, added 2 May 2011, images only
Virginia Births and Christenings, 1853-1917, new collection, added 2 May 2011, 1,422,855 records
New Zealand, Immigration Passenger Lists, 1855-1973, updated 2 May 2011, 451,538 records

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 28 were newly added databases since 1 May. 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.

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant, with proper attribution. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.

Inflaming Source Citation Passions

Source citation passions seem to bloom every so often - some geneabloggers write whole series about creating them and using them, and some geneabloggers lament that they are so complicated that you need a 1,000 page book to create them.  Other geneabloggers write a long saga about how genealogy software programs mess them up, but I digress.

There are two source citation series started this past month:

The Ancestry Insider has a series on Citations with a plan for many more articles.  I was intrigued by his objectives for this series:

"1. Show beginners how easy it can be to cite and historic record collections.
"2. Convince and that they need to shoulder the heavy lifting, so that citations to their collections can be easy for beginners.
"3. Convince non-beginners that what I am showing beginners is credible (for citing and historic record collections).
"4. Convince users that Mills citation guides are absolutely necessary for citing archive sources.
"5. Pass on some insights I gained during a year's study of citation issues."

I'm enjoying the series, and the comments, and I think that my readers will enjoy and appreciate this effort.  I hope that Mr. AI succeeds in his objectives, especially #2.  Then there is the issue of creating quality source citations in newFamilySearch... (hopefully, that is part of The AI's objective #2).

*  Michael Hait, on his Planting the Seeds blog, has several posts about source citations:

1.  Source Citations: Why Form Matters, part one
2.  Source Citations: Why Form Matters, part two
3.  Source Citations: Getting it “Right,” part one

with more to come, I hope!

Michael's posts were inspired, in part, by Kerry Scott, who writes The Clue Wagon blog and caused a stir in the genealogy world back in February with her post:

Source Citations in Genealogy: Church or Cult? (with 73 comments to date) in which she stated that "I am a devout member of the Church of Citations." but "What I don’t believe in is the Cult of Citations."  That is a useful distinction, I think.

I appreciate the efforts and thoughtfulness of these geneabloggers, and hope that they continue writing about sources and citations.  They break up the boredom of a long genealogy day - I get excited when I see a long post about source citations (um, I hear someone saying "get a life, Seaver"). 

In my own research and database work, I've wholeheartedly adopted the Evidence! Explained models and cheerfully create my sources using the genealogy software templates based on EE.  Basically, I stopped fighting it and learned to love the bomb, er, the process.  I became a member of the church of citations, but don't sweat the really small details.  I don't really know anyone who is in the cult, although some may think I'm a member of it because of my series about mangling sources by genealogy software and GEDCOM. 

My whole attitude has changed - it's now "genealogy fun" for me to create complicated citations that may impress, or confuse, whoever finds my work in a GEDCOM file hundreds of years down the road.   However, I've resisted making "Write a really complicated source citation for ..." a topic on Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. 

I know that several other geneabloggers have opined on this subject, but I don't have URLs to quote.  If you know a good one, please pass it on and I'll update this post.

UPDATED: 11 a.m.  James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog has done us a service by creating a Citation Awareness Chart.  I'm a 10.5!

The URL for this post is:

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant, with proper attribution. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

NARA is Looking for a Host and Search Engine for the 1940 U.S. Census

I came upon a link to the U.S. Government's Federal Business Opportunities website today, and there is a very interesting Request For Information (RFI) titled "Hosting and providing access to the 1940 census."  The due date for the RFI is 22 June 2011.

This page indicates that:

"Solicitation Number:      NAMA-11-RFI-0004
:      Sources Sought
:      Added: Jun 01, 2011 5:13 pm

"The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is seeking industry approaches to award a no-cost contract to provide managed hosting and online access to digital images of the 1940 Census when it is released to the public on April 2, 2012. Managed hosting and online access includes providing the public with the ability to search and browse descriptions and digital images of the 1940 Census, zoom and pan the images, and download single or multiple images associated with each enumeration district.

"This RFI is intended strictly for market research and the potential solutions presented may or may not lead to a solicitation."

There is a link to an 8-page document titled 1940 Census RFI.docx (365.83 Kb).  A user can read or save this document.  I encourage readers with an interest in the 1940 U.S. Census to read it.

There are many really interesting statements in this document.  Let me try to summarize it for my readers:

*  They are requesting that some organization will contract to host all of the 1940 census images, and create a search engine for users to be able to browse the images.
*  The search engine must handle a request for an address, an Enumeration District, or a Geographic Location and provide a set of images for browsing purposes. 
*  There are maps with metadata for 325,000 ED descriptions (state, county, city or township, enumeration district) to help users locate and browse a specific set of census images.
*  The users must be able to zoom, pan and/or download the census page images.
*  NARA wants this hosted and searchable at no cost to NARA.
*  There are 3.8+ million 1940 census images and maps, from 4,745 microfilms.
*  NARA has 20 terabytes of digital image data (JPG files, 40 mb each open, 4 mb compressed)
*  The system has to be in place by 2 April 2012 (10 months from today).
*  NARA requires a capability to serve 10 million hits per day for this collection, and 25,000 concurrent users.

Since this is only a Request for Information, NARA is under no obligation to contract with any of the potential suppliers that submit information.  An evaluation of the RFI responses, a Request For Quote (RFQ) to qualified suppliers, and then a Contract Award, with one (or more) supplier(s) will likely follow, and may take several months to conclude.

My thoughts about this RFI include:

*  NARA sure waited a long time to ask suppliers to submit information to support this request.
*  NARA apparently did not plan for user access on their own computer servers, or planned along to have non-NARA servers host the searchable files.
*  NARA wants a supplier to host the digital images and the search engine, and have sufficient server capacity to handle the perceived maximum hits and concurrent users.
*  There is no mention of an index, but we already knew that.  That comes later from one or more providers.
*  Surely Ancestry, FamilySearch, Footnote, and possibly other companies, have been discussing this for months, or years, with NARA.
I have some questions for my readers:

*  Which genealogy companies would have the capability to host the images and provide a search engine at no cost?  My guess is only and 
*  Could a small genealogy company, or a known non-genealogy company trying to break into the genealogy collection arena, possibly win this contract? 
* Wouldn't whoever wins the contract have to start soon?  That's a lot of large computer files!  There is still an RFQ and Contract Award necessary to even start the work.
*  3.8 million image files sounds like a lot, but don't FamilySearch, Ancestry, WorldVitalRecords and GenealogyBank have large image collections also? 
*  If an organization gets the contract, will they then have a head start on indexing the images? 
*  Would NARA award two or more contracts for the actual hosting and searching? 
*  Would two or more companies decide to work together to spread the hosting and indexing task and cost? 

What observations, comments, conclusions, and questions do you have?  Tell me, or write your own blog post about this issue.

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(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant, with proper attribution. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.

Geneablogging Works: Bloodgood Family Information

One of the reasons that I have posted so many Surname Saturday posts (I'm up to number 239 on my ancestral name list) is that it can be extremely productive in finding cousins.  In my Surname Saturday posts, I list the names of each family with the specific surname.  Sometimes the posting pays off, big time!

Such was the case with last Saturday's post - Surname Saturday - GACH/GAGE (??? > New Jersey).  One of the Gach spouses was Elizabeth Bloodgood (born 1703 in New York to John and Mary (Morgan) Bloodgood).

I received an email last night from Howard Swain that pointed me to the article:

 Howard L. Swain, "Frans Bloodgood (Bloedtgoedt) of Flushing, New York," New Netherland Connections, Volume 12, Number 1 (January, February, March 2007); online archives, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors ( : accessed 31 May 2011), pages 1-11.

Since I have an NEHGS membership, I knew that New Netherland Connections was on their website,  I quickly captured the 11 pages in the article, printed them off, and now have more information about this colonial American family line, than I had previously.  The research is well sourced, the narrative is well written, and is much appreciated.  Thank you Howard!

As a bonus, Howard gave me the information that a companion article, that covers the Bloetgoet family in Holland, was published immediately after his article:

John Blythe Dobson, "The earliest generations of the Goetbloet alias Bloetgoet family" New Netherland Connections, Volume 12, Number 1 (January, February, March 2007); online archives, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors ( : accessed 31 May 2011), pages 12-15.

Needless to say, another superb, well sourced, article!

Yep, Geneablogging works great!

I've found quite a few articles on my early New York and New Jersey ancestors in New Netherland Connections on  I need to go revisit the entire collection just to make sure I haven't missed another elusive ancestral family.

Genealogists should realize that using resources like published books and periodical articles is not "researching."  It is really "searching" what has been published before by other researchers.  The information in these resources needs to be evaluated for their completeness, accuracy and relevance.  If the information is lacking, then the available assertions can be used as "finding aids" to obtain more original source material with primary information to be used as evidence in a proof argument.

My usual practice is to enter the information into my database, with the source being the published work, and a summary of the author's research in my notes. 

Randy Seaver presents "New England Genealogical Research" on 4 June in Bonita

The June 4th Chula Vista Genealogical Society Workshop will feature Randy Seaver speaking on "New England Genealogical Research." The workshop will be at 12:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Bonita-Sunnyside Library (4375 Bonita Road).

New England has a rich trove of genealogical and family history records, starting with the founding of each town, county or colony in the six present states.

In this presentation, Randy will describe the sources for vital records, land records, probate records, town records, family history books and periodical articles for Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont, including significant brick-and-mortar repositories and online research opportunities.
The CVGS workshops are intended to provide information about basic genealogical techniques and resources to San Diego area genealogy and family history researchers.  It is provided on the first Saturday of each month at Bonita-Sunnyside Library, and is FREE to attend. 
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(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this on any other blog, then they have stolen my work. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant.

I'm an Official Blogger for the FGS Conference in September

I am honored to be named an official blogger for the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference to be held September 7th to 10th in Springfield, Illinois.  ...

The following press release was posted yesterday on


National Genealogy Conference Continues to Tap into Social Media

May 31, 2011 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), along with local host Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS), announce the Official Bloggers for the upcoming FGS 2011 Conference - Pathways to the Heartland – to be held in Springfield, Illinois, September 7-10, 2011. The Official Bloggers are:

With less than 100 days left before the start of FGS 2011, be sure to follow each of the Official Bloggers for their perspective on the upcoming conference. Many will be posting about research resources in the Springfield, Illinois area, what to pack for the conference and more. In addition, during the conference look to the Official Bloggers for live reporting via blog posts, Facebook and Twitter.

Complete conference information can be found on the conference website at We look forward to seeing you in Springfield in September!

Learn More and Stay Connected
About the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976 and represents the members of hundreds of genealogical societies. FGS links the genealogical community by helping genealogical societies strengthen and grow through resources available online, FGS Forum magazine (filled with articles pertaining to society management and genealogical news), and Society Strategy Series papers, covering topics about effectively operating a genealogical society. FGS also links the genealogical community through its annual conference -- four days of excellent lectures, including one full day devoted to society management topics. To learn more visit
I look forward to meeting the geneabloggers that I haven't met before - Jennifer, Linda, Carolyn, and Ginger, and enjoying the company of Amy, Myrt, Gena, Dick and Schelly.  I also look forward to meeting many Genea-Musings readers at the Conference, and enjoying the presentations by the experts at the conference.
Amazingly, I've never been an "Official blogger" onsite at a conference previously.  I was one for RootsTech in Februsary 2011, but could not attend the conference due to previous commitments.  So this will be a new experience for me.  Linda and I will tour the Great Lakes area after the conference. 

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(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this on any other blog, then they have stolen my work. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. 

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 155: Emily, Lyle and Georgianna in ca1932

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

Here is a photograph from the Seaver/Carringer family collection handed down by my mother in the 1988 to 2002 time period:

This photograph is of  Emily (Auble) Carringer (1899-1977), Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976), and Georgianna (Kemp) Auble (1868-1952).   Emily and Lyle are my maternal grandparents, and Georgianna is my great-grandmother, widow of Charles Auble.

The picture was taken in front of the lath house on their home property at 2130 Fern Street in San Diego in about the 1932 time frame (it was taken at the same time as last week's photograph, (Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 154: The Carringer Family ca1932).   Georgianna lived with Emily and Lyle after she was widowed in 1916.

This is a fairly large photograph (about 6 inches by 10 inches) that I found recently in the treasure box, and scanned during Scanfest. I don't have many other family photos from this time frame.

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(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this on any other blog, then they have stolen my work. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Using AncestorSync (Pre-Beta Version) - Download from to RootsMagic 4 Looks Good

In the previous post, My First Look at AncestorSync (Pre-Beta Version), I downloaded the AncestorSync program, ran it, and downloaded my database into a RootsMagic 4 native file and intro a GEDCOM file. 

In this post, I want to compare the information in my tree on and the tree that I opened in RootsMagic 4 using the native RootsMagic 4 file format downloaded through the AncestorSync program. 

I checked the File > Properties of the downloaded RootsMagic 4 file, and saw that it had:

The file downloaded from had 1,269 People, 548 Families, 2,662 Events, 774 Places, 0 Sources, etc.  I can't find a way to check what my tree on had in terms of People, Families, etc. 

I made screen shots of the trees for all four of my grandparents on  Here is a screen shot of my maternal grandfather's tree on

Here is the corresponding tree on RootsMagic 4:

After looking through both sets of charts, it appears that all of the persons in my tree on were downloaded to RootsMagic 4 using the native RootsMagic format in AncestorSync.  That's the good news.

Each person on has a Person Profile.  I chose my great-grandfather, Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922).  Here is his profile on

Note that he has a middle name in the screen above.  Clicking on the "Edit Profile" link and the "Relationships" tab reveals that there was a marriage date and place for him with Hattie Louise Hildreth in 

Here is the Person Profile for Frank Seaver in the downloaded RootsMagic 4 file:

There are some differences between the two person profiles:

*  Frank Seaver does not have a middle name in the RootsMagic file
*  A marriage date and place are not included in the Fact list of the RootsMagic file
*   Frank also has an Alternate Name of "Seaver (maiden)" in the RootsMagic file
*  There are three Parent entries for him - "Isaac Seaver and Lucretia Smith," "Isaac Seaver," and "Lucretia Smith" in the RootsMagic file.

Those are all fairly minor problems that will probably be cleaned up in a future release of AncestorSync. 

The GEDCOM upload of a small part of my genealogy database to back in 2008 resulted in  Sources being uploaded, and Notes not being uploaded (they were in my database, but I can't find them on  The download from to a RootsMagic 4 reveals that there are 0 Sources (a surprise) and no Notes (not a surprise). 

In an ideal world, all of the information in an online family tree (like, or in a genealogy program (like RootsMagic 4), would transfer easily to the other tree by AncestorSync.  I hope that it will in the future, and expect that it will.

We'll look at the GEDCOM file transfer from to RootsMagic 4 in the next post.

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(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this on any other blog, then they have stolen my work. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant.

Webinars from Utah Genealogical Association

I spent a pleasant evening over the weekend learning about genealogical maturity, conducting genealogical research on the Internet, and the Library of Alexandria rule.  This was done in my easy chair in front of the computer (I know - get a life, Seaver!).

The Utah Genealogical Association has started motnhly webinars for their members.  However, the upcoming webinars in June and July are open to the public, and the archived webinars from the past five months are available for public viewing until 1 August 2011.

The URL for the Webinar Archive is

The Archived webinars include:

*  May, 2011 - How Mature Are You (Genealogically)? by Robert Raymond, Deputy to CEO,

*  April, 2011 - The Google Genealogist by Devin Ashby, Project Coordinator for
*  March, 2011 - Clue to Clue: Tracking a Family Across Time and Miles by Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, CG
The 16 June 2011 webinar is:
Title: Finding Your Scottish Ancestry
Presenter: Raymon Naisbitt
Date and Time: 16 June 2011 @ 7:00PM MDT

We have webinars coming out of our ears, don't we?  I love them!

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(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.

Navigating - Post 2: New Search, Basic Form

In the previous post (Navigating Old and New Search on - Post 1: New Search, Advanced Form), I highlighted my preferred method of searching using the New Search features and the Advanced Search Form. 

Not everyone uses New Search with the Advanced Search Form, so I want to go through the most effective ways to use the Basic Search Form also.  See the recommendation at the bottom of this post.

When users access for the first time, the system may come up with the Basic Search Form in New Search.  Beginning users will not know about differences between the Basic Form and the Advanced Form, and will happily enter a name into the Basic Form on the screen. 

Trying to act like a beginning user, here is what I might do:

1)  Here is the Home screen with the Basic Search Form (with my Isaac Seaver in the name fields):

Note that there is no "Exact matches" check box on this form.  A user can add a "place your ancestor might have lived" and an "Estimated birth year" to the fields below the name. There is a link to "Show Advanced" in the area above the search fields (on the right).

2)  I clicked on the orange "Search" button, and received this screen with matches:

The system found 295,194 matches for me (note the "Sorted by relevance" in the dropdown box on the Ine with the number of matches).  As an experienced user, I would probably click the down arrow next to "Sorted by relevance" and choose "Summarized by category," but I'll show that later).

Note that the list above is sorted by relevance - meaning how well the items match the search criteria - in this case, only the first name of "Isaac" and the last name of "Seaver."  The results use a "five-star" system that rates how the records found in the databases match the search criteria.  The ones with the most matches will be first - in this case, records that have Isaac and Seaver will receive three stars (why three and not two?  I don't know!).  First names with "I" instead of "Isaac" appear to be next (two-stars).  There are also "1.5 star" matches for "Isaac" and "Seaver" appearing in the same record separated by other words or names.  Other "1.5 star" matches are for "Isaac" and names similar to "Seaver" (the system uses Soundex rules).    After many (hundreds?) of these matches, there are more  "1.5 star" matches for "Seaver" with another first name, and "Isaac" only with another last name.  I didn't go through all 295,194 matches, and don't expect that anyone else will either.

The user needs a way to narrow the search.  One way is to select a set of records.  On the left side are record categories - census and voter lists; birth, marriage and deaths; and several others.   I can click on an item on the list to narrow my search to a specific record set.

3)  I chose the "Census and Voter Lists" from the above screen, and saw:

That worked, there are 28,049 matches in the Census and Voter Lists for Isaac Seaver. In order to get to a specific census, say 1850, I have to either scroll down the list of matches (which a Beginner is most likely to do) or I can select the year from the list on the left-hand side of the screen.

There is an even better way to narrow the search.

4)  The user can try to narrow the search by clicking on the green "Edit Search" link on the left-hand side below the words "Searching for" and a search window will appear:

There are more search fields in this window - Birth (year and location); Lived In (location); Any Event year and location; Family Member (Relationship, first name, last name); More (keyword); Gender; Race or Nationality.

I entered a birth year of 1823 into the Birth field, and clicked on "Search."

5)  The number of matches for Isaac Seaver born in 1823 in the Census records is down to 3,097:

My Isaac Seaver now shows up in the first 50 matches and I'm happy as a clam.  I think. 

6)  There is an alternative to using the on "Edit Search" button - to use the "Hot Keys" list below the list of  "Narrow by Category" on the left-hand side of the screen.  The Hot Keys are:

Using the keyboard, a user can hit the "n" key and receive a new search screen.  The user can Refine the present search (meaning they can edit the current information and/or add information to narrow the search) by hitting the "r" key, can preview the current record with the "p" key, or highlight the next or previous record.

I find the "r" key (to Refine the search" very useful - I use it rather than click on the "Edit Search" button.  The same "Search" window shown in 4) above comes up so that I can edit and/or add information to the search fields.

7)  Another option for using the Basic Search form is to add as much known information as possible - if I had added the birth date (1823) and birth location (Massachusetts) on the very first screen above, the results page looks like this:

There are "only" 48,642 matches, but the top 20 or 30 matches are for my Isaac Seaver.  There is a lesson learned here!
The drawbacks of using the Basic Search form in New Search are:

*  The user cannot specify an Exact Search at any time.
*  The default Search is a ranked Search which provides many matches - it often seems like searching for a needle in a haystack.
*  The "Sorted by Relevance" is the default result.

Although it is not obvious to a Beginning user, the user can narrow the search by adding information using the "Edit Search" button or the "r" Hot Key; and can use wild cards in the names in the search fields (which results in more matches, of course!).  The Hot Keys work only in New Search. 

As you can see, even the Basic Search Form can be quite complicated!  It takes a significant learning curve for a user to figure out  how to effectively search

If a user is using the Basic Search form, the best way to find matches relatively quickly is to add the names, the birth date, and a residence (usually a state) in the very first Basic Search form screen on the Home page or the Search tab page.  If there are way too many matches, then the user should select "Summarize by Category" rather than "Sorted by Relevance" on the Results page in order to narrow the search to a specific record type (e.g., census) and specific database (e.g., 1850).

We'll look at the Old Search in the next post in this series.

Disclosure: I am not an employee, affiliate or contractor for, although I have accepted travel expenses and gifts from them in the past. I have a U.S. Deluxe Subscription that I pay for myself.

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(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website, then they have stolen my work.