Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF) - Who is your genealogy model?

Good evening, Genea-philes!  It's another Saturday Night ... and time for more Genealogy Fun!!  Come and ponder and write and play!

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

1)  Visit Bart Brenner's (GeneaPopPop) Stardust 'n' Roots blog and read his post Sears Catalogue of Genealogists.  I love Bart's thumbnail descriptions of nine models of genealogists.  Thank you, Bart, for the inspiration to use this for SNGF.

2)  Determine which model (or models) of researcher you are, based on his categories.

3)  Tell us which model(s) you are in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, in a status in Facebook or in a Stream post in Google Plus.

4)  Extra credit:  Bart asked if readers have another model to offer for genealogists - if you do, please write about it!

Here's mine:

I had a hard time choosing just I went down the list to write about each one:

1)  Albert Einstein model (the academician):  "Yes" in the sense of speaking, teaching and writing (blogging), "no" in the sense of stopping research and publishing a book.

2)  Marian the Librarian model (the archivist): Not really...I used to hang out at the library more often but my "inner Albert" and "Ambrose" took over.

3)  Indiana Jones model (the archaeologist):  Not really.  I don't have many artifacts and don't really hunt for them.

4)  Margaret Mead model (the cultural anthropologist):  Not really.  I use information like this when I can find it, but it's not my main focus.

5)  Frank Buck model (the hunter and tamer):  "Yes" in the sense of loving the hunt, whether in repositories or on the Internet, 'no" the sense of "never taming it."  Hmmm...maybe my genealogy piles betray me here!

6)  Amelia Earhart model (the test pilot):  "Yes" in the sense of trying out new things and trying to see the "big picture," but "no" for the notion of not wanting to get bogged down in data.  I'm bogged genea-quicksand, I fear.

7)  Ambrose Monk model (the hoarder):  "Yea verily", I fear that this describes me pretty well!  When did Bart sneak into my genea-cave?  I'm not really as bad as Ambrose, honest!

8)  Cinderella model (the fairy princess):  Not really me...I love the family stories, and try to prove them, but I don't obsess on them.  Frankly, I don't recall most of the stories if they aren't written down!

9)  Steve Jobs model (the technogeek):  I wish!  Bart lists ten items here, and I only have some memory sticks, a laptop computer, a desktop computer with five genealogy programs, and two free cloud storage accounts.  I feel so obsolete! 

Extra credit:

10)  Elizabeth Shown Mills model The professional):  S/he is considered a god(dess) of genealogy researching, writing, editing, publishing, and presenting.  Extremely competent, confident, articulate, disciplined, creative, knowledgeable, friendly, supportive and helpful.  S/he earns a living doing it, seems to know everybody and everything, and contributes her energy and knowledge to many endeavors:  I wish!  I try to exhibit many of these model characteristics, but lack time and energy to do genealogy 48 hours a day!

In summary, it looks like I'm a combination of Ambrose, Albert, Amelia, Frank and Steve with a dream of becoming Elizabeth.  Maybe in my next lifetime! 

My guess is that many of those who play SNGF this week will be a combination of several of these models.  It will be interesting to get to know my readers/colleagues a little better!

Wow. Tears. Never again.

Have you read Judy Wilkenfeld's Provenance blog post today - it's simply titled  Evidence.

 It's tragic.  It happened.  Judy's search for answers is amazing.  And courageous.

Surname Saturday - ALLEN (England > Massachusetts)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 269, who is Sarah ALLEN (1717-1796), one of my 6th-great-grandparents. [Note: The 6th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts]

My ancestral line back through five generations of ALLEN  families is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

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

4. Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942)
5. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)

8. Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922)
9. Hattie Louise Hildreth (1857-1920)

16. Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)
17. Lucretia Townsend Smith (1827-1884)

32. Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825)
33. Abigail Gates (1797-1869)

66. Nathan Gates (1767-1830)
67. Abigail Knowlton (1774-1855)

134.  Jeremiah Knowlton (1745->1783)
135.  Abigail Pierce (1750-1776)

 268.  Jeremiah Knowlton, born before 02 August 1713 in Ipswich, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died 1752 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 536. Nathaniel Knowlton and 537. Mary Bennett.  He married 24 July 1735 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
 269.  Sarah Allen, born 04 May 1717 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 10 May 1796 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Jeremiah Knowlton and Sarah Allen are:  John Knowlton (1736-????); Abigail Knowlton (1739-????); Nathaniel Knowlton (1741-????); Benjamin Knowlton (1743-????); Jeremiah Knowlton (1745->1783).

 538.  Thomas Allen, born 1690 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died about 1777 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 27 June 1711 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
 539.  Sarah Grande, born about 1691 in Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Thomas Allen and Sarah Grande are:  Thomas Allen (1713-????); Daniel Allen (1715-????); Sarah Allen (1717-1796).

 1076.  Benjamin Allen, born 30 January 1662 in Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts, United States; died 12 August 1721 in Weston, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married before 1690 in probably Marlborough, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
 1077.  Frances Rice, born 03 February 1671 in Marlborough, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died Aft. 28 August 1721 in Lincoln, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 2154. Thomas Rice and 2155. Mary King.

Children of Benjamin Allen and Frances Rice are:  Thomas Allen (1690-1777); Grace Allen (1696-1730); Jonas Allen (1699-1789); Zebadiah Allen (1702-1777); Frances Allen (1704-1753); Benjamin Allen (1709-1768).

 2152.  John Allen, born about 1631 in England; died 01 December 1711 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married before 1654 in probably Newbury, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.
 2153.  Sarah, born about 1635; died 12 January 1702 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of John Allen and Sarah are:  Deborah Allen (1655-????); John Allen (1656-1711); Samuel Allen (1658-1720); Joseph Allen (1660-1725); Benjamin Allen (1662-1721); Rebecca Allen (1664-????); Thomas Allen (1666-1689); Sarah Allen (1668-1702).

 4304.  Walter Allen, born about 1601 in England; died 08 July 1681 in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States.  He married before 1631 in England.
 4305.  Rebecca, born about 1603 in England; died 06 August 1678 in Charlestown, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Walter Allen and Rebecca are:  John Allen (1631-1711); Daniel Allen (1636-1694); Abigail Allen (1641-????); Benjamin Allen (1647-1678); Joseph Allen (1649-1721).

Walter Allen's biography and descendants are provided in the book:

Allen H. Bent, Walter Allen of Newbury, Mass., 1640 and Some of His Descendants (Boston:, David Clapp & Son, Printers, 1896). 

In addition, many of the births, marriages and deaths are provided in the town vital records. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

MyHeritage Hits 800 Million Profiles and Releases Family Graph API

I received this press release from MyHeritage today:

==================== hits 800 million profiles and releases Family Graph API
New API platform helps developers make the web a friendlier place for families. to run global competition for best family app

NEW YORK, USA, LONDON, UK & TEL AVIV, Israel August 17, 2011 -, the world’s largest online family network, today announced its continued rapid growth and the beta release of its new Family Graph API platform. The leading online destination for families to explore their family history, share special moments and keep in touch, is currently growing by more than one million registered users and 30 million profiles every month. To help families better leverage their connections and relationships across mobile and web, is making its Family Graph API platform available to developers at in beta, and is running a competition for the creation of the best family app.

The Family Graph API empowers developers big and small to develop a new generation of social apps and services on web and mobile, or enhance existing ones, to become family-aware - by taking advantage of the huge amount of information on family relationships on

The World’s Largest Family Network

Families around the world have generated and uploaded approx. 20 million trees, 800 million profiles, and 125 million photos on There are more than half a million birthday reminders sent every day and the site, available in 38 languages, is helping families discover new relatives and ancestors at rate of approx. 20 million new Smart Matches™ a month.

Family Graph API

The Family Graph is a digital representation of this vast collection of information on family relationships - past and present. By enabling developers to securely access this Family Graph API, families will now be able to benefit from a richer and more personalized experience on the web and mobile.

Any website or mobile app can quickly become family-aware using the Family Graph API, subject to user consent. The complex mapping of family relationships makes the Family Graph API significantly more sophisticated than one dimensional mapping that may be found at other sites or networks.

A few examples of how developers can use the new API:
  • E-commerce websites can obtain information about upcoming birthdays and anniversaries of close relatives, and offer quick purchase of personalized gifts or greeting cards for the current user.
  • Photo sharing websites can enable their users to browse previously unseen photo albums of their close relatives.
  • Social networks can use the Family Graph to provide their users with their family members as new connections.
  • Family history websites can create data bridges between and other family history products, databases or websites, and provide users with valuable Smart Matches™ from
  • Mash-ups with other services can be formed to add new value for users. For example mobile apps can pull information from a family tree and show where family members reside on a map, and allow quick chat and photo sharing between them.
Families around the world are increasingly using the Internet more to discover their heritage, share memories and keep in touch - our tremendous growth at is a testament to this”, said Gilad Japhet, founder and CEO of “We’re thrilled to help users experience a more family-aware version of their favorite mobile and web apps by making the Family Graph available to developers. Our Family Graph API aims to improve the online experience for families in the same way that Facebook’s Social Graph has helped websites and apps become more social and friend-aware, and LinkedIn’s API empowered websites to leverage users’ business connections. We look forward to allowing developers to unleash their creativity and create exciting new apps or enhance existing services for sharing and interacting with one’s family.”

All user information is private and secure

All usage of any family data is subject to user consent. No access is possible to information outside one’s own family.

Competition for developers

To mark its beta release, is organizing a competition to run as of September 1 2011 for developers around the world to create the best family oriented app on its Family Graph API, offering a $10,000 prize for the winner - to be selected before the end of 2011.

To apply

For additional technical information on the API, including documentation and sample apps, to apply for free for access or to enter the best family app competition, interested parties should visit is the most popular family network on the web. Millions of families around the world enjoy having a private and free place for their families to keep in touch and to showcase their roots.’s Smart Matching™ technology empowers users with an exciting and innovative way to find relatives and explore their family history. With all family information stored in a secure site, is the ideal place to share family photos, and celebrate and preserve special family moments. With 800 million profiles, more than 19 million family trees, and available in 38 languages, is uniting families worldwide. For more information visit

GEDCOM, Software, Online Trees and Syncing

DearMYRTLE has an interesting blog post about the BetterGEDCOM effort that some interested persons participated in (I bowed out after awhile) - see BetterGEDCOM Update.  She notes the history of GEDCOM development, the BetterGEDCOM history, and the trend toward synchronizing software.

My observations:

*  Synchronization (to me) means making two different files the same - for example, an Ancestry Member Tree and a Family Tree Maker software file with identical data.

Family Tree Maker 2012 has their new TreeSync feature in beta testing as we speak that should accomplish syncing between one Family Tree Maker file and one Ancestry Member Tree.  The sync can be either automatic or manual (from within FTM 2012), and works both ways - to and from Family Tree Maker. 

MyHeritage has a sync feature in place between one Family Tree Builder 5.1 software file and their MyHeritage online tree.  The sync works only from FTB to MyHeritage, not vice versa (I think).

* new FamilySearch Tree (nFST) syncs information, on a person-by-person and fact-by-fact basis, with several software programs, including RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, FamilyInsight and several others. The programs do not sync entire files to nFST, only specific persons and facts.  The sync can go both ways - to and from nFST. 

AncestorSync is working on a sync program between software programs (AncestralQuest, Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, Mac Family Tree, Personal Ancestral File, RootsMagic, The Master Genealogist, GEDCOM) and online family trees (new FamilySearch,, ourFamily*ology).  My understanding is that AncestorSync reads the native format of the first file and creates a file in the native format of the second file.  I've used a beta version of this to download a file to GEDCOM or RootsMagic with success.  The program is still in beta, and has not been updated recently (watch, they'll have a new one tonight!).

*  The sync features that I've seen so far work fairly well for names, dates, places and images, but leave something to be desired for sources.  I showed in The Seaver Source Citation Saga Compendium series that there are significant differences in how software programs and online trees handle source citations using GEDCOM.  My conclusion was that the only rational way to transfer source citations between programs and online trees was to use "free-form" source citations in one SOURce tag, because of the way all of them put sources into GEDCOM files.  Will AncestorSync (or a similar program) find all of the right information in one of the software program databases and put it in the right place in another program database or online tree?  I don't know.  I sincerely hope so.  I think it will be difficult to do.

*  Syncing is easiest done between isolated online trees (which are not interconnected with other submitter's contributions, so that I control my contributions to some extent) and my software program database.  That's what the FTM 2012/Ancestry sync and the Family Tree Builder/MyHeritage sync functions do.  The key is to have one software tree and one online tree.

*  Syncing with an online interconnected family tree (like new FamilySearch Tree, or WikiTree) seems like a more complicated problem.  My "tree" on those sites are limited - I have only hundreds or thousands of profiles, while my database has over 41,000 persons.  How can I sync my "fresh" data with those online trees?  The new FamilySearch Tree does it one person and one fact at a time from within my software program, and it tells me what has been synced and what has not been synced. 

These are all wonderful technology advances, but they are not yet optimum.  I have the feeling that we are in the infancy of family tree synchronization.  The solution that I want is:

*  I use RootsMagic software for my family tree database - and I do all of my adding and editing of family tree information in RootsMagic in order to avoid duplication of effort.  I create a GEDCOM file every month or so, and read that into Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Builder and Family Tree Maker so that I can use their functions and help my colleagues and readers.  In my ideal world, I want the other programs to update themselves (either manually or automatically) whenever I make a change in my "master" program.  However, every time I rename a FTM or FTB file, I cannot sync it to an existing online family tree.

*  I have family trees (complete or partial) on,, MyHeritage, WikiTree, WeRelate, Family Pursuit, GeneTree, GeneaNet, AppleTree, GenesReunited, FindMyPast, and others that I cannot recall off the top of my head.  In my ideal world, I want all of these sites to update themselves (either manually or automatically) whenever I make a change in my "master" program or file - a "master" could be an online tree or a software program. 

* I don't have time in my schedule to update all of my software databases and online trees manually to agree with my "master" family tree database, wherever it is. A solution is to have it automatically done from within the software or website. Genealogy software and online trees could have lists of file names of other software programs or other online trees the user wants to sync files with.

This may not be as important to many researchers as it is to me, because they may use only one software program and have one or two online trees.  That would be manageable for most persons using GEDCOM, FTM's TreeSync, or a program like AncestorSync.

Updated:  Tamura Jones commented that he described a similar system in AncestorSync Ultimate on his Modern Software Experience blog back on 30 May 2011. 

FGS 2011 Conference - my Friday, 9 September Selections

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2011 Conference, "Pathways to the Heartland," is September 7 to 10 in Springfield, Illinois. I'm looking forward to attending and being an Official Blogger.

The program schedule is at I decided that I'd better think about the presentations I want to attend. Here's my list for Friday, 9 September:

*  8 a.m.: F-304: After Mustering Out: Researching Civil War Veterans -- Amy Johnson Crow.  From veteran groups to soldiers home records, the post-war period has countless resources for us to explore. This lecture will examine many types of sources created by and about Civil War veterans.

*  9:30 a.m.: F-311: Navigating the 1890 Gap: Research with State Census Records--- Kris W. Rzepczynski.  Given the near-total loss of the 1890 U.S. Census, state census records frequently serve as an effective substitute. This program will explore these underutilized resources, focusing primarily on the available schedules from across the United States from that time period.

*  11 a.m.: F-316: Wisconsin: History and Resources for Genealogists -- Rev. Dr. David McDonald.  Anglo settlers came to Wisconsin in search of mineral wealth beginning in the 1820s. After 1850, a large influx of Norwegians and Germans, later followed by Belgians and Poles, made Wisconsin their home. An examination of repositories, records and their locations.

*  2 p.m.:  F-333: Using "Correlation" to Reveal Facts that No Record States -- Thomas Jones.  Attendees will learn how to compare and contrast information from related sources to reveal information, relationships, and identities that no single source specifies.

*  3:30 p.m.:  F-342: Avoiding Pitfalls in New England Research -- Rhonda R. McClure.  A look at various major record types for New England pointing out some of the idiosyncrasies that create pitfalls that researchers don't expect.

*  5 p.m.:  F-350: Lessons from a Snoop: Collaterals and Associates -- Debra S. Mieszala.  Crucial information on direct ancestors is often found by exploring collateral relatives, associates, and neighbors. Case studies present examples of invaluable finds.

*  6:30 p.m.: F-353: FGS 35th Anniversary Celebration -- Harold Holzer.  An evening celebrating the Federation of Genealogical Societies' 35th Anniversary, featuring a look into the past and future of FGS, dinner, and "The Lincoln Family Album," by noted Lincoln scholar, Harold Holzer.

I'm sure that I'll wander through the Exhibit Hall several times during the day talking to vendors, providers and friends.  I'll also camp out a bit at the Media Hub, where there will be Internet connections for Official bloggers, of which I am one.

Paula Stuart-Warren has been publicizing FGS Conference activities on the FGS Conference News Blog for several months.  See that blog for more information.  I was chagrined to learn in Miscellanous Conference Tips, Part 3 that attendees cannot use extension cords for their electronic in the meeting rooms.  I guess I'll have to take notes the old-fashioned way.  RootsMagic is sponsoring a CyberCafe where attendees can charge their devices, check email and the web, and print out syllabus pages (is there a charge?).

Disclosure:  I am an Official Blogger for this FGS Conference, and have had my conference registration comped.  One of my duties as an Official Blogger is to write stories leading up to and during the FGS Conference in order to publicize the event.

Follow Friday - Weekend Genealogy Fun

Here are my recommendations for Genealogy Fun this weekend:

1) Listen to Geneabloggers Radio tonight (Friday night, 10 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. CT, 8 p.m. MT and 7 p.m. PT) hosted by Thomas MacEntee. This week's topic is  "Genealogy Back to School Special." The special guests discussing educational programs for genealogists and family historians. Our special guests will include:

Louise St. Denis of the National Institute of Genealogical Studies;
Angela McGhie of the ProGenealogy Study Group;
*   Patricia Walls Stamm, CG, CGL℠ of the National Genealogical Society Home Study Course.

2) Listen to the FGS Radio - My Society show on Saturday (2 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. CT, 12 noon MT, 11 a.m. PT) hosted by Thomas MacEntee this week. The topic is "Websites for Genealogy Societies."  The  special guests are:

Tom Ryder, founder of EasyNetSites in Tampa, Florida. Tom will be discussing how societies can use the EasyNetSites platform to create a dynamic and affordable website for their organization.
*  Amy Johnson Crow CG℠ as our FGS 2011 Conference Speaker of the Week about upcoming presentations at the conference in Springfield, Illinois this September.

3) Check out the recent Webinars on:
* "Newspapers for Genealogists: Using to document every day of your ancestors' lives" with Tom Kemp.
* "Google+ the Next Big Thing" with Paul Allen, Dan Lynch and Mark Olson (free until 25 August from Legacy Family Tree).
* "Organizng for Success" with Karen Clifford (available free indefinitely from Legacy Family Tree)
* "The Power of DNA in Unlocking Family Relationships," with Ugo Perugo (available indefinitely from Legacy Family Tree)
* "Leveraging the Power of "We": a Watershed Event in Discovering Where to Find Your Ancestors (Research Wiki, Research Courses, and FamilySearch Forums)," with Michael Ritchey (available from Legacy Family Tree).
* RootsMagic Webinars (all free) available at
* National Genealogical Society (NGS) Videos (free to view) at
Thomas MacEntee's Explorinar on Easy Website Creation (free to view).

4) Respond to my Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge, posted on soon after 12 noon Pacific time (that's 1900 GMT for those who understand time zones).

5) Go to a local genealogical society program, or go to a library or repository with genealogical resources.  I'm going to stay home and work on preparing for my trip to the FGS Conferenc, research at the Allen county Public Library, and visiting Wisconsin to explore ancestral homes and do research at repositories.

6) Add material (names, dates, places, notes, images, sources, etc.) to your genealogy software program. I collected 127 pages three weeks ago at Carlsbad Library, and have been slowly adding that to my database.

7) Spend time with your family doing fun things.   I did this last weekend.

8)  Attend Scanfest on Sunday, 28 August at 11 a.m. PT (2 p.m. ET, 1800 GMT) on Miriam Robbins Ancestories blog.  Scan your photos and documents and chat with others doing the same.  i'll be there!

Whatever you decide, please tell us about your genealogy endeavors on a social network or in a blog post. You never know when your experiences may stimulate or encourage others to do useful genealogy work.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Planning for my visit to Dodge County, Wisconsin

On our Midwest vacation in September, I plan to visit Dodge County, Wisconsin to search for records pertaining to two of my ancestral families - the Devier J. Lanphear Smith family, the Samuel Vaux family, and any Lanphear families.  They both owned land in Burnett township in Dodge County, according to the 1860 plat map I have of Burnett and Oak Grove townships. 

My goals in Dodge County are:

1)  Visit the Ranslow Smith home location:

As I noted in The Four-Mile House of Ranslow Smith in January 2008, and in Santa comes early - what a gift! in December 2007, Ranslow Smith (1805-1875) built the Four-Mile House in Rolling Prairie (a village in southern Burnett township), and this is where his adopted son grew up.  The restored Four-Mile House is now located at Old World Wisconsin, near Eagle, and I plan to visit there also on this trip.  I described the 40-page portion of a larger typescript, commissioned by Old World Wisconsin, in the earlier post.  This typescript has maps of Burnett township showing the location of three Smith homes, including Ranslow Smith's, plus a small plat map of Rolling Prairie showing the exact location of the Four-Mile House in 1860.  This small plat map shows the Hotel at the southwest corner of Beaver Dam Road and Smith Street (the street running north-south named Watertown Road in the 1873 plat map).  I don't have digital images of these maps for my use, so I will scan them on Sunday at Scanfest.

The image below is from Google Maps satellite view of the area:

From my evaluation, I think that the typescript indicates that the Four-Mile House was located on the southwest corner at the intersection of County Road 1 (running vertically on the map above, on the left of the image) and Prospect Road (the horizontal road about 35% of the way up the image, just above the railroad that runs nearly horizontally at the bottom of the picture).  I think those roads used to be Beaver Dam Road and Smith Street on the 1860 plat map.

Obviously, the Four-Mile House is not there any longer, but I still want to visit the site as best I can.

2)  Cemetery Visits

I went looking in Find-a-Grave for Smith and Vaux persons buried in cemeteries near Burnett.  I found Ranslow's wife Mary Smith, Devier's adoptive mother, and Walter T. Vaux, a nephew of Samuel Vaux, buried in Burnett Corners Cemetery several miles north of their homesteads.  I printed out the pages for the cemetery, which has a map and directions to the cemetery.  I also captured images of the gravestones and entered the source into my RootsMagic database.

3)  Local Newspapers

What newspapers were published in Dodge county, Wisconsin in the 1840 to 1870 time period?  I went to the Library of Congress Chronicling America website and clicked on their link for "Search U.S. NewspaperDirectory, 1690 to Present" and found 29 newspapers that published in that time frame.  Here's a screen capture of the first 20:

From this, I can determine which newspapers were published for specific dates in specific places.  Unfortunately, the Chronicling America site does not have any newspapers digitized in Wisconsin yet.

How do I find if these newspapers are available in a library or archive, and where are they located?

I went to the Dodge County, Wisconsin USGenWeb site ( and they had a link for "Dodge County Newspapers."  What a wonderful resource!  This lists the newspapers published in the county history, the issues available, and the location of print or microfilm pages, and if indexes are available.

Likely candidates include:

Beaver Dam Argus - English language paper: 7 Dec 1860 - 12 Jul 1956.
Microfilm available from the Beaver Dam Community Library, 311 N. Spring St., 920-887-4631. This paper is indexed, though the index is not on microfilm, but in book form at the library.

Dodge County Citizen - English language paper: 10 Apr 1856 - 16 Apr 1924.
Microfilm available from the Beaver Dam Community Library, 311 N. Spring St., 920-887-4631. This paper is partially indexed.

Republican & Sentinel - (English language?) paper: 10 Feb 1853 - 5 Mar 1857.
Microfilm available from the Beaver Dam Community Library, 311 N. Spring St., 920-887-4631. This paper is indexed.

Dodge County Gazette - English language paper for Dodge Center: May to June 9, 1852.
Microfilm available from the Wisconsin State Historical Society through interlibrary loan.

Horicon Argus - English language paper for Horicon: 7 September 1854 - 30 November 1860.
Microfilm available from the Wisconsin State Historical Society through interlibrary loan.

Horicon Gazette - English language paper for Horicon: 9 January 1861 - 1 January 1862.
Microfilm available from the Wisconsin State Historical Society through interlibrary loan.

*  The Watertown Library has copies of The Democrat, The Republican and The Watertown Daily Times dating back to the 1850's. They are all indexed. They are not specific to Dodge Co. but do have whatever Dodge Co. residents live in and near Watertown.

Uh oh, that gives me weeks of work to do, I fear!  Or I could hire a researcher there.  Fortunately, the Four-Mile House typescript lists many articles from these newspapers that refer to Ranslow Smith, but I'm really interested in the Devier J. Lanphier Smith and Abigail Vaux family (my second great-grandparents), who married there and had their first three children thereDevier's age, and perhaps his birth parents and potential siblings.  News of the Samuel Vaux family will be sought also. 

It looks like a visit to the Beaver Dam Community Library is mandatory, and then there's the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison and the Watertown Library.  I probably need more than two days to do this, so I'll need to prioritize places and details.  And make a later visit if I run out of time.

4)  Review Family History books, Local History books, Maps, cemetery transcriptions/indexes, and vertical files at the Beaver Dam library for Smith, Vaux and Lanphear persons. 

5)  What else should I do in Dodge County?  I welcome your ideas! 

My next step is to review the local libraries for open hours, location, and access restrictions (do they permit digital cameras, notebooks, laptops, flash drives, etc.).  Then I'll look at the Madison, Deerfield, and Eagle, Wisconsin areas to prepare for the trip.

One thing I need to firm up is possible hotels in Dodge County for at least a one night stay.  We have the AAA book.  If you have any ideas, please let me know!  I figure Watertown or Beaver Dam are the closest to Burnett.

As you can see, I have used online resources extensively this morning (yes, all this morning in about two hours) to find the material above.  I find that by writing it on my blog, in an organized way, and saving images and web pages to my computer (and to my laptop), I can organize my plans quickly, and can ask my readers to contribute information and resources that I've overlooked or not thought about.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Jonathan Oatley's 1872 Death Certificate

It's Treasure Chest Thursday - time to look in my digital image files to see what treasures I can find for my family history and genealogy musings.

The treasure today is the certified death certificate for Jonathan Oatley (1790-1872) of Killingly, Windham County, Connecticut:

The information in this death certificate is fairly sparse, mainly because the town of Killingly did not collect a lot of information when a person died in this time frame.  The information available is:

*  Name:  Jonathan Oatley
*  Sex:  Male
*  Date of Birth:  ------
*  Race:  White
*  Age:  82
*  Date of Death:  Aug. 10, 1872
*  County of Death: Windham
*  Town of Death:  Killingly
*  City & State of birth:  So. Kingston, Rhode Island
*  Marital Status:  Widowed
*  Last Spouse:  --------------------
*  Usual Occupation:  Clergyman
*  Residence-State:  Connecticut
*  Residence-County: Windham
*  Residence-Town:  Killingly
*  Cause of Death:  Old Age
*  Certification - Physician:  E.A. Hill

I did not include all of the other fields on the form which had no typed data in them.

I obtained this certificate by mail from Kathleen M. Pelletier, Registrar of Vital Statistics for the town of Killingly, on 24 January 1992.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Changes at FamilySearch Coming Soon

Jim Ericson of FamilySearch posted Search Feature Changes in Upcoming FamilySearch Releases yesterday that describes what's going to happen soon with searching the FamilySearch historical record collections.  The changes include (the FamilySearch summaries are edited a bit), with my comments:

FS:  Results Layout in Rows and Columns -- We will be refining the way results are presented on screen to optimize your ability to quickly scan up and down columns of events and relationships and identify relevant matches.

Randy:  I like the idea, but I hope they don't remove the down arrow to see an index summary for the match item without clicking the name.  That works well and is very helpful to see the indexed entries, including the FHL film number in many cases.

FS:   Multiple Event and Relationship Searching -- In coming months, the basic search form will be retired, replaced by an advanced form that is even simpler, but much more powerful.

Randy:  Simpler and more powerful is good.  Will it confuse beginning researchers?  Will there even be an "advanced form?" 

FS:  Improved Filters -- We are refining filters with simpler function which require fewer clicks and allow patrons to select multiple items.

Randy:  To me, filters are useful only with a global search.  They are superflous if I'm doing a search in one specific collection.  I can limit searches for places and years in a specific collection from the Search fields, which are currently hidden in the "New Search" down arrow at the top left.  I would prefer to have the Search fields always present in the left panel showing what I've used, and to enable me to quickly edit as I refine or expand my search.

FS:  A Multiple Collection Search -- We will allow you to select multiple collections on the Browse All collections page as well as in the search form and the results filter.

Randy:  Selecting multiple collections will be an improvement, I think.  Will I be able to use it after using a Keyword to a specific place or topic?  Many collections don't have an index, and I'm concerned that a user might be misled into thinking that there are no matches in their selected databases because there is no index.

FS:  More Matching Options (Exact Search, Close Search, and Missing Search) -- The default search currently displays exact results, close results, and then results that may have one or more of your search parameters missing. You can specify that you want only exact matches, but you cannot specify only exact and close. Shortly you will be able to specify Exact, Exact+Close or Exact+Close+Missing on a field by field basis.

Randy:  This sounds good in principle, but is not really an improvement, I think.  I didn't know that they found "missing" results before.  What is the algorithm for surname spellings for the "close" category - is it only Soundex (or similar)?  Will "Close" find years outside of the date range input?  Is there a dictionary for nicknames, initials and spelling variations of given names?

FS:  A Billion More Records -- The new release of FamilySearch gives you access to nearly twice as many records as the Record Search Pilot. With Record Search Pilot, you had access to 1.2 billion records. With the new release of FamilySearch, you have access to 2.1 billion records. This number increases weekly as millions of new records are added to FamilySearch each week.

Randy:  What is a "record?"  Is it an index entry for a person?  Or is it also an image (in browse-only collections)?

There are currently 696 historical record collections on the FamilySearch list ( and only some of them are indexed.  Many of them came from the "classical" FamilySearch International Genealogical Index (IGI) collection of extracted records.  More and more historical record collections that were on microfilm are coming online as "Browse Only" collections without indexes, such as the "Kentucky Probate Records, 1792-1977" released today.

"Census, census, get'cher 1940 census here..."

I mentioned in Comments on the 1940 U.S. Census RFQ and SOW that the 1940 United States Census would be available to purchase from the National Archives on 2 April 2012.

The NARA E-Store has it for sale (see (two screens):

Yes, you too can have all 3.8 million digital images (almost 20 terabytes, that's 20,000 gigabytes) for the bargain price of 5.2 cents per image, or a grand total of $200,000.  Or you can order specific states for prices ranging from $3,000 to $9,000.  You do need to send a pre-payment of only $10,000 for the full 1940 census before 1 October 2011 if you want to guarantee. delivery on 2 April 2012.

It appears that whoever wins the NARA contract to host and provide access to the 1940 census images, for up to five years, will save $200,000.  However, that company has to follow all of the contract requirements, make reports and presentations to NARA, and manage the actual work of creating index links between the Enumeration District maps and the images, plus permit panning, zooming, printing and saving (up to whole ED sets).  For up to five years. 

Granted, a company that purchases the census images from NARA will have to create the index links to the images and then create the name indexes, but they don't have to manage and execute the contract requirements for up to five years.

So now we have an answer to one of my questions in my earlier post - how much will the 1940 census cost?  The NARA e-Store page doesn't differentiate between digital images and microfilm. 

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 167: Betty and her "Baby"

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
1988-2002 time period:

This photograph is of my mother, Betty Carringer (1919-2002), taken in about 1922, and is in the Pentecost album.  She is cradling a doll, standing in the middle of a red berry bush patch (I think - I remember these bushes, they usually had small red mushy berries and grew prolifically).   The picture was probably taken on the Carringer property between Fern Street and 30th Street on the block north of Hawthorn Street in San Diego. 

Betty is wearing an apron over her dress.  The apron has a pocket, and an image of a girl in a bonnet running with a net.  I wonder if the apron was hand-made by one of her grandmothers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Trying to be a Good Citizen

I decided to work in the online family tree system to see how easy it was to edit a profile, add a discussion item, add a source and several other features.

One of the more egregious errors that I found in the world tree was the information about William White (ca 1708 - ca 1780), the son of William and Elizabeth (Cadman) White, and the husband of Abigail Thurston.  I had not added him to the tree, but I had added his son Jonathan White (ca 1732-1804) in my tree, and then had merged my tree with another tree with Jonathan White that linked to his parents.  

The data for William White (ca 1632-ca 1777) had two sets of parents for him, two spouses (one had the same name as the spurious mother), 14 siblings and five children.  His birth was listed as 1632 in Boston Mass. and the death date was listed as the date he wrote his will in 1777.

I decided to add a Discussion item, which said:

The sketch for this William White, in the book "Mayflower Families Through Five Generations: Volume Thirteen: William White" published by the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in 1997, provides the best information about this person and his family.

This William White is #201 in the book (page 129). Here are the assertions from the book:

* William White was the son of William White and Elizabeth Cadman (page 46). He was NOT the son of "William Fuller White" and "Phillipa Wood." That link should be eliminated.

* William White was born around 1708, probably in Dartmouth MA, not in 1632 in Boston MA. His father, William White was born in 1683 to Sylvanus and Deborah (--?--) White. This birth year of 1632 for this William is a major error in this database and should be corrected.

* His siblings were George, Sarah, Hannah, Roger, Christopher, Susanna, Elizabeth, Oliver, Abner and Thomas. He was not a brother of Ursula, Isaac, Cornelius, and Margaret - these links should be eliminated.

* William White married Abigail Thurston on 2 Oct 1729 in Little Compton RI. He was not the husband of Phillipa Wood - that connection should be eliminated.

* William and Abigail (Thurston) White had children: Sarah, Hannah, Jonathan, Elizabeth and Abigail. Those appear correct.

* William White did not die on 17 Feb 1777. He wrote his will on 17 Feb 1777, and it was proved on 3 Oct 1780 in Bristol County MA Probate Court. It would be more accurate to say that he died before 3 Oct 1780.

The book mentioned above is on bookshelves all over the country. users should be using authoritative books written by respected and credentialed researchers when they are available, rather than picking likely parents, siblings and children off online family trees.

I then clicked on the "Edit Profile" link and added the more correct birth date (ca 1708) and birth place (Dartmouth, Bristol, MA) and the death date (ca 3 Oct 1780) and death place (Dartmouth, Bristol, MA).

Then I added the source citation to the Sources list as:

Ruth Wilder Sherman, FASG and Robert Moody Sherman, CG, FASG, edited by Robert S. Wakefield, FASG, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Volume 13: Family of William White (Plymouth, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997).

I then linked the Facts I had corrected to the source citation.

After doing this, the Profile for William White (ca 1708 - ca 1780) looked like this:

Note that it still has the spurious parents and siblings because I haven't split the wrong ones off from this William White. 

There are six tabs at the bottom of the screen above - for Overview, Media, Timeline, Discussions, sources and Revisions.  The Revisions screen looks like this:

At the bottom of the page, all of the revisions (additions, corrections, deletions) are shown by Geni member, date and fact type.

The Sources page looks like this:

The only other source, before I added the Mayflower Families book, was a Family Tree Maker database.  Not a source citation, just a computer file that no one else can access.

Here is the Discussions page after I typed in it:

I completed the above by 10:12 AM today, and by 11:06 AM the Curator had disconnected the spurious set of parents, the spurious wife, and the spurious children (I figured this out from the Revisions page), as shown below:

In this case, someone was very responsive and made a judgment that my information was correct.  Did the Curator refer to the source I quoted?  I don't know.  I hope so!  If she did, then why hadn't she done it before and corrected these Profiles?  I think it's probably because no one else had added a Discussion item or an authoritative source.

So now I think that the sketch for William White (ca 1708-ca 1780) is now fairly accurate and reflects the information in the Mayflower Families book. 

What about the other sketches for William's parents, grandparents and great-grandparents?  They still need some work - there are spurious names, dates and places for them also in the tree.

I think that I will occasionally hunt for obviously wrong sketches to which I can contribute sourced information, and go through the same process.  This won't be my sole genealogy activity, however.  I have plenty more to do than to fix everybody else's research errors.

My tree on is somewhat out of date now - I have only 1,000 persons in it.  My RootsMagic tree has over 41,000 persons, with standardized place names, and many more source citations.  Currently, there is no way to easily add information on a large scale to  A user can only add data by going one generation and one person at a time entering names, relationships, dates and places.  That is not a useful way for me to spend my limited time, so I'm going to wait to see what AncestorSync comes up with. 

The problem described and corrected above is pretty typical of the problems on all online family trees - not just the one on  Interlinked family trees like,,, FamilySearch Tree, Ancestry's One World Tree and One GreatFamily are the ones with the biggest problems, because they are interlinked, and many erroneous relationships have been created through merges spurred by wishfulness or ignorance.    The stand-alone "owned" online trees on many sites have similar problems but they don't have the collaboration tools that the interlinked trees have, and don't claim a goal of being a world tree.

The key to getting accurate and sourced information into interlinked family trees like may be very simple:  Genealogists need to take the time to add information from authoritative sources to Profiles and to initiate a Discussion to give reasons for the additions/corrections/deletions.

I think that interlinked trees are here to stay, and we all should do the best we can to ensure that the information that we contribute to them is accurate and adequately sourced.  We should participate in the necessary Discussions to drive tree profiles to accurate information and sources.  We also need to understand that we don't "own" the data in the interlinked trees that we contribute to.

Now I need to work on my Source Reference Lists again.    I got them edited last night, and added some content to them using my Ancestor List data.  Now I need to work through my paper piles to add more content.

My Experiences

After last week's major brouhaha about the "rules change" at (see The Changes Genea-Blog Compendium for blog responses), I listened to the Blog Talk Radio show last night with Thomas MacEntee interviewing Noah Tutak, the CEO of  You can hear this episode of Geneabloggers Radio here. 

You can read the announcements about the changes at Geni Pro Just Got a Whole Lot Better and A Message From Geni’s CEO

Noah described the changes made at, and answered many of the chat board questions filtered through Thomas.  George of was on the chat board and answered some chatter questions.  They invited people to make comments on the Blog post about the show.  Only one chat participant has done that so far.

I hope that someone will summarize the questions and answers from the radio program interview.

I started on back in 2008 with a Free account, and uploaded a GEDCOM at that time with about 1,000 ancestral family members.  However, I didn't use the service very much, and did not invite any family members to join me on  The website was "nice looking" but it wasn't a vehicle for me to use for genealogy research, but it was useful as "cousin bait."  It also had the potential to find relationships to celebrities and historical persons, which I have an interest in, mainly for use as blog fodder and my family newsletter.  The problem there is that the persons that I submitted to didn't go back far enough to connect through the early American colonial ancestors.

At the 2011 SCGS Jamboree, gifted me and other geneabloggers with a Pro account, which I appreciate.  I still have not added a lot of content yet, and I will not unless or until there is a functional GEDCOM capability or a true person-by-person synchronization capability.  AncestorSync appears to be able to transfer a file to a GEDCOM or software, or vice versa.  However, I don't think that it will do a person-by-person synchronization.

As a Pro account holder, the changes on enhanced my capabilities - I can now edit Profiles of historical persons without contacting the Profile Manager or other persons who have merged their profile for a person into the Profile.  That has advantages and disadvantages - it may enable better scholarship to be added to the tree, and it may cause Edit Wars if people disagree.  There are tabs on each Profile for the Overview, Media, Timeline, Discussions, sources and Revisions.  Users are encouraged to add content to those tabs.

In another post, I will show some of the changes I made for one of my ancestors that had erroneous data in it, due to the merging of the person by two or more users.  It will be interesting to see the feedback, if any!

Tuesday's Tip - Check out the BYU Family History Archives

This week's Tuesday's Tip is to:  Check for FREE family history books at the BYU Family History Archive site (

This site has 17,777 family history books (and there are probably many more - they haven't updated the number for awhile) available for free access - to read, print or save to your computer.  The collection description is:

"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."

The user can search by Surname, Author or Title keywords.  Alternatively, there is a "Search all" field that will return matches from all of the keyword fields.  There is also an Advanced Search capability that permits a user to search "all of the words," "exact phrase," "any of the words" and "none of the words," and to select specific collections to search.

When you are on the site and click on the "Books" tab, you are taken to the BYU Family History Archive site.  There are links to these books from within the FamilySearch Library Catalog on the FamilySearch site.

The neat thing is that these are not all "out-of-copyright" books.  They are books that patrons donated to the FamilySearch library, or other participating libraries.  For instance, this collection has the book:

Frederick G. Rolfe, The Early Rolfe Settlers of New England ( Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, 1995). 

This book unlocked several mysteries for me on my Rolfe and Martin ancestry.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How do I catch up to 13 years of genealogy sloth?

Thirteen years ago I created a spreadsheet of all of the reference sources I had collected in my genealogy research.  I only had Microsoft Works then, so I used that.  To fill in the columns for each surname, I went through my surname notebooks.  I updated these files occasionally as I gathered more information, which were sometimes put into the notebooks, or put into the "to be filed" pile. 

I'm going to the Allen County Public Library in three weeks on our Midwest trip to the FGS Conference and other destinations.  I recalled where the printout of my spreadsheet was, so I got that out.  I have added information since 1998 in handwritten notes. 

Then I went looking for the computer file of the spreadsheet.  Hmmm, it's not in my files for some reason.  Aha, that was two computers ago!  I must have not copied it to the latest computer for some reason. 

Maybe it's on my external hard drive hiding in the 1998 PC directories.  Yep, there it is...dated 1998.  Well, that's OK, I have my handwritten additions on the printout, I can just use the 1998 list with all of the names, and add the handwritten stuff. 

I opened the 1998 MSWorks file in Open Office 3.3, and saved it as an OO file.  Then I edited it a bit, and added the information entered by hand since 1998.  That took about four hours today for just the Seaver ancestry files (but not all of them!). 

Here is a screen shot of the first page of my 17 page Seaver Source listing:

The column headings are:

*  Surname
*  Earliest person's first name (or immigrant ancestor)
*  Origin of earliest person
*  USA towns where family resided
*  Surname books (shorthand)
*  Anthology books (shorthand)
*  County/town books (shorthand)
*  Periodicals (shorthand)

The shorthand for books usually includes a short title, the author and perhaps the repository (including the Carlsbad collection number of the University Microfilms books).

But I have 13 years of research (more or less) to add to the list.  The tasks still left to do include:

*  Update the Seaver Source list (have one major line to add)
*  Update the Carringer Source list. (have two major lines to add).
*  Create a Leland Source list (start from scratch).
*  Go through the "to be filed" pile and "to be entered" pile to add to the lists.
*  Go through my computer files to find content for the lists.
*  Go through my genealogy database notes for ancestors and find content for the lists.

That covers the resource material that I have in my possession -- somewhere.  What about the material I want to find?  That's the next task, including:

*  Update my Book and Periodical lists of "To be found" items.
*  Go systematically through Martin Hollick's book New Englanders in the 1600s to find items I need to find for my New England families (probably 90% of my surnames) and add items to the "To be found" list. 

That's a pretty big job to do in two weeks...but I'm going to tackle it. If I'm able to finish it, then I'll have a clean list of surnames and resource material already found. 

It's funny - I stopped adding paper to my notebooks and stopped keeping this list updated about the same time online resources started popping up all over.  And then genea-blogging began...I've been such a bad genealogy boy for a long time now.  Yea, verily, I have sinned and fallen short of my expectations.

The short answer to my blog title is:  Figure out what information I already have!  Then figure out what I need to find.

I guess the message here is -- I'm going to try to get better organized. Blogging may be light the next two weeks.  And the two weeks following while we're on the vacation.  Or not - we'll see if I can break away from my three-a-day habit here. 

Comments on the 1940 U.S. Census RFQ and SOW

Links to the 1940 U.S. Census Request for Quote and Statement of Work to host and provide access to it, and selected highlights from the RFQ and SOW, were provided last night.  I have commentary and  questions about this information:

1)  NARA could contract with more than one contractor.  That  might be smart - one contractor might create a significantly better website to provide access than another; and a contractor might fail at completing the job; having more than one contractor provides some insurance.  Free hosting and indexing the images by the contractor costs NARA very little if they have more than one contractor.  Competition creates quality products. 

2)  The FREE access requirement is for searching for, browsing, downloading and sharing the images only - not for the indexing. 

 3) The contract is for one year, with four one-year options for renewal. What happens if NARA decides to not renew the contract? After the contract termination, NARA could host and provide access, using the image search index developed by the contractor, on their own site.

4)  I do not see a contract requirement to CREATE a name index.  A name index is mentioned only in Section 3 in the context that the Contractor can create a name index starting on 2 April 2012, but not before. 

5)  The Contractor can also host the census images on their own web site, and create other products, on its own web site.  Apparently, the Contractor(s) won't have to purchase the images from NARA.  That provides a financial incentive to win the contract.

6)  NARA will offer the 1940 US Census images in digital or microfilm format for sale, after 2 April 2012.  Who would want a microfilm set?  How much will they cost?  Will the cost of the digital set be different from the microfilm set? 

7)  Purchasing the census images will provide an opportunity for all potential name indexers, and will probably spur a competition to complete the name index and to index many fields.  However, the Contract winner(s) will have an advantage early on.

8)  Potential name indexers might be able to use the census images on the Contractor developed site for free, but that may be difficult to accomplish.

9)  Who are the candidates for submitting a proposal for the NARA Contract?  The obvious answers (to me) are,,,, or some other non-profit or commercial website with the required physical, technical and management resources. 

10)  How long will it take to index the 1940 U.S. Census?  There are 130 million names in the census, with 40 or 50 indexable fields on the sheets - that's a lot of indexing.  That's 498 person-years indexing at one name every two minutes (I don't know how long it will take).  Who has the resources to do this indexing?  My guess is that only and have the financial and/or volunteer resources to do this - who else has indexed large databases from scratch recently?

11) said in 1940 Census To Be Free on that "...more than 3.8 million original document images containing 130 million plus records will be available to search by more than 45 fields, including name, gender, race, street address, county and state, and parents’ places of birth. It will be’s most comprehensively indexed set of historical records to date."  Will be able to index the complete census by the end of 2013, when access to the index (and perhaps the images on Ancestry) will go behind their subscriber wall?  I think that Ancestry used paid indexers for the 1930 census, and many other large databases.  Do they have enough volunteer indexers to do this task in 21 months or less?

12)  Has FamilySearch made any statements about the 1940 U.S. census hosting, access and indexing?  I don't think I've seen a report about it, but I've heard some rumors.  The United States Census Population Schedules, 1940 (Family Search Historical Records) Research Wiki page says:  "This article describes a collection of historical records that is scheduled to become available for free online at FamilySearch" but doesn't provide any more details at this time.

What questions do you have about this 1940 U.S. Census contract to be awarded by NARA?  List them here in Comments, or write your own blog post, and I'll create a compendium of questions that need answers from NARA and/or the Contractor(s).

Denise asked (in Comments):  "It appears that NARA wants to keep access at no cost forever, but Ancestry is only offering it for free for a limited time."

My opinion:  I think that NARA will eventually host the census on its own site, with one of the name indexes available from some provider for use in a NARA facility.  That's the type of agreement they made with,,, etc. to permit indexing of other NARA databases they are free to access in a NARA facility.  Ancestry is offering free access through 2013 for the census images, not necessarily the complete index.  It's logical to assume they will index this collection as quickly as possible, state-by-state, but it may not be complete by the end of 2013.

Amanuensis Monday - the Will of Josiah Wood (1629-1691) of Charlestown, Mass.

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 Josiah Wood (1629-1691) of Charlestown in Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Josiah was the son of Edward Wood and Ruth Lee.  He married Lydia Bacon (1637-1712) in 1657 in Charlestown, and they had six children:  Josiah Wood (1658-1741); Lydia Wood (1659-1659); Lydia Wood (1662-1681); Samuel Wood (1671-1711); Joseph Wood (1674-1725); Ruth Wood (1676-1676).  Only the three sons survived Josiah Wood.

Josiah Wood died testate, and his probate papers are in Middlesex County [Massachusetts] Probate Records, Packet #25,488 (accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,432,088). His will was dated 19 May 1691 and was proved in Middlesex County on 29 December 1691. The will reads:

"In the Name of God Amen, I Josiah Wood of Charlestowne being weak & infirm in body, but, of good understanding and memorie, It being my Duty to sett my house in order, Do first of all, Declaring this to be my last will & Testament, Committ my Soul to God and leave it in ye armes and Everlasting mercies of my Redeemer and my body to a Decent buriall at ye Discretion of my Executors and Christian friends. And as for my outward Estate that my God hath graciously lent me I do Dispose of it in manner following:

"Imprimis In Case my Son Josiah Wood never dissect (?) my two Sones Sam-ll and Joseph Seeing to that Cow Common that was Bought of Thomas Allen I do then order and appoint my Executors hereafter named to well and truly pay to him Ten pounds in good Current pay, and In Consideration of what I have done for him already, together wth ye Sad Circumstances of my Condition wth my wife at thy day, Do give unto him my son Josiah Twenty Shillings to be paid by my said Executors aforementioned.

"Item my Just Debts and Duty being handyly (?) paid I do give and bequeath unto my Two Sonnes Samuel Wood & Joseph Wood, all my Estate of housing and Lands, Stock, Goods, Chattels, moveables & what ever I Shall die Seized of, to them to be equally Divided between them to them and their heires for Ever, they equally and jointly maintain their mother Comfortably so long as She shall live, the sume to be equally divided between them within one year after my wife's decease. And my Will is if It please God to take away either of my said sones Samuel or Joseph by Death without Lawfull Issue that ye Survivor Shall have and Enjoy the Deceaseds part to him ye Survivor and his heires for Ever.

"Item my will is that my said Sons shall nowher alienate or Embezill any of my houseing or Lands bequeathed to them in this my Will, one from ye other, but shall if they see Cause to alienate ye Same or any parts thereof, the one shall hand the other upon a good and valueable price.

"Item I do Confirm and ordain my Two sones Sam-ll & Joseph sole Executors of this my Will, and my loving friends Capt John Call, Sam-ll Phipps & Ensign Sam-ll Kettle & Josiah Wood my son overseers of ye same. In wittness whereof I have hereunto Sett my hand & Seal this 19th of May 1691 ... Regina Gulielm & Maria Anglia ...

Signed Sealed & Declared by Josiah Wood to be
his last will & Testament in prsence of us .............................. Josiah Wood Senr
John Sweetser
Susanna Blaney
Sam-ll Phipps"

A postscript to the will said that some time before Josiah Wood died, he gave his wife a free choice to live with the two sons Samuel Wood and Joseph Wood or to live in half the house with half of the household stuff and be provided with six pounds annually by Samuel and Joseph Wood. The undated postscript was signed by Josiah Wood, Samuel Wood and Joseph Wood.

There are two interesting parts in this will - the "Imprimus" paragraph that son Josiah shall "...never dissect my two sons, Sam-ll and Joseph seeing to that Cow Common..." and the fourth paragraph that includes "...shall nowher alienate or Embezill any of my houseing or Lands bequeathed to them in this my Will, one from ye other, but shall if they see Cause to alienate ye Same or any parts thereof, the one shall hand the other upon a good and valueable price."

I sense that there was conflict between the three sons and their father was trying to avoid more conflict. 

The really interesting part of this probate record is what happened after the will was proved.  Here are my summaries from the probate packet:

The first inventory, was taken by John Call Senior and Joseph Phipps on 8 December 1691 and was filed on 29 December 1691. The real property totalled 260 pounds, and the personal estate totalled 118 pounds, 1 shilling. The real estate included:

* Ten acres of land in the first division of Charlestown Common (60 pounds)
* 6 Cow Commons (30 pounds)
* Land and marsh bought of Chalkly (30 pounds)
* House and barn and an acre of land they stand upon and orchard (130 pounds)
* 21 acres of wood lots upon the Rocks (10 pounds)

Another inventory of the estate of Josiah Wood late of CharlestownWhittemore, Joseph Phipps, John Rand, Nathaniel Frothingham and Samuel Frothingham, which listed the following real estate:

* The house and barn with one acre of land, orchard where the house stands, with fencing (93 pounds)
* One and one half acres of marsh and meadow land formerly called Chalklies, with fencing (34 pounds, 2 shillings, 9 pence)
* Four acres of pasture land bordering on the road to Cambridge, with fences (28 pounds, 8 shillings)
* Six acres of orchard and meadow land in the first division, with fences (58 pounds)
* 21 acres of pasture land in the second division, with fences (63 pounds, 9 shillings)
* Eight acres of wood lott on Mystic Side (5 pounds)

The household stuff totalled 10 pounds, 19 shillings and 6 pence. Joseph Wood presented this inventory to the Court at Cambridge on 24 April 1712.

Articles of Agreement were made on 12 March 1712/13 between Joseph Wood, yeoman of Charlestown, of the first part, and Hannah Wood, relict and widow of Samuel Wood, late of Charlestown deceased, together with Jason Russell and Edward Winship, both of Cambridge, Guardians of the three children of Samuel Wood deceased, namely Samuel, Hannah and Abiell Wood, minors on the second part. The agreement defines the distribution of the estate of Josiah Wood after the decease of his wife.

The homestead with an old small house and one acre of land and orchard was set off to Joseph Wood, with two and a quarter acres across the way set off to the minor children of Samuel Wood. The remaining land was to be divided into two equal parts, one part for Joseph Wood and the other part for the minor children of Samuel Wood. Further, Hannah Wood, Jason Russell and Edward Winship agreed that Joseph Wood, as the surviving Executor of the estate of Josiah Wood, had accumulated costs, charges and disbursements of the estate, including the funeral charges of the widow of Josiah Wood, and also sundry legacies paid and discharged, amounting to 62 pounds, 8 shillings and 11 pence. One half of this amount (31 pounds, 4 shillings, 6 pence) was owed by the minor children of Samuel Wood to Joseph Wood. Joseph Wood agreed to a discounted value of 35 pounds for the Samuel Wood share of the homestead, house and land, and agreed to pay the minor children of Samuel Wood a sum of 3 pounds, 14 shillings and 6 pence. Joseph Wood, Hannah Wood, Jason Russell and Edward Winship signed the agreement, with witnesses Joseph Whittemore, Thomas Whittemore and Benjamin Whittemore, and it was accepted by the Court on 23 March 1712/13.

The estate was not settled until after the widow of Josiah Wood died on 25 November 1712.  In the mean time, son Samuel Wood had died (on 14 November 1711) and the guardians of his minor children were involved in dividing the estate and settling the accounts.  The second inventory was taken after the death of Samuel Wood but before the death of the widow, Lydia Wood.