Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 4 (Saturday) at the FGS Conference

It goes so fast.  four days sounds like a long time, but it's all a blur while experiencing it.

*  I even slept in until 7:30...and we went down for breakfast in the hotel, and I was over to the Convention Center by 8:30 a.m.  I tried to go up the back way to the Blogger Cage and they had put a locked gate across it.  Back down to the meeting room area, and I sat in on Audrey Collins talk on "The Parish" fir the last half hour. 

*  The Exhibit Hall opened and I found my place in the Blogger Cage, got the computer out and on and connected, and read my email and blogs.  I spent most of the morning writing my Friday writeup at the FGS Conference, although I went out into the exhibit area several times for a walk and to see specific people.  It took awhile to finish my blog post because my Official Blogger colleagues (you know who you are, CMP, ALC, TM, DM, DR, LA, et al) are really smart and funny and we laugh a lot about blog posts, tweets, and people. 

*  Thomas gave me his ticket to the Genealogical Speakers Guild luncheon over at the Hilton, so I walked over at 12 noon on the 29th floor of the Hilton Hotel, facing south.  The luncheon featured a ham sandwich with a fruit cup... and Tim Pinnick was the speaker on "After Teaching Middle School, I Can Do ANYTHING: Advice on Public Speaking."  Tim described the challenges of teaching middle school, and applied some of those lessons to his advice to GSG members.  While I was gone, Thomas hosted the FGS MySociety Radio Show.

*  Back to the Exhibit Hall, and I took some pictures.  I stopped by the Ancestry booth to talk to Mark and Laurel about Ancestry Content Publisher, then back to the Blogger Cage to write the Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post just in time. 

*   More exhibit hall wandering, more sharing at the Blogger Cage, then it was time to pack up so I could meet Linda for dinner.  I spent some time on the way out talking to Louise St. Denis about the National Institute of Genealogical Studies programs - that is very impressive. 

*  Linda and I went out the door at 4:30 p.m. to meet our friends who live near Springfield, but were in Chula Vista for many years.  They took us to Cracker Barrel for dinner.  We don't have them in California, but we've eaten at them in Maryland and Missouri, and this one didn't disappoint.  I managed to regale them with my answers to "why are you going to Wisconsin?"  I explained my Devier J. Lamphear Smith research challenges, and then my Leland/Natvig Norwegian research challenges.  Linda told them about our Scandinavian trip back in 1999.  They had us back to the hotel by 7 p.m., and I wrote this post and wrote a Best Of post for Sunday. 

We are off to Fort Wayne on Sunday.  I will be at Allen County Public Library on Monday to do some research in periodicals and books on my "to-be-found" list. 

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- Good Genealogy Luck?

It's Saturday Night - time for our weekly Genealogy Fun!

I'm having too much fun at the FGS Conference, so I'm dusting off an oldie but goodie!Genealogy Insider blog by Diane Haddad about Ways I'm Genealogically Lucky. I thought to myself "old Rand, that would be a good SNGF topic." Thank you, Diane, for the idea:

Here's the directions:

1) When have you had a dose of good genealogy luck? What document or resource did you find just by happenstance or chance? By being in the right place at the right time? By finding a family history treasure in your family's attic or basement? By finding a helpful document or reference without even looking for it?

2) Tell us about it in Comments to this post, in Comments on Facebook or Google Plus, or in a blog post of your own.

Here's mine:

Read Treasures in the Closet for my extreme good luck after I thought that all family treasures had been found. This was certainly a case of being in the right place at the right time.

I'm still working my way through all of these items! I wonder where I put some of them? Hmmm, probably the file cabinet! I need to scan them and get them archived somewhere.

John Milton originally said "luck is the residue of design" (and Branch Rickey is often credited with the saying). However, the definition of "luck" is "the chance happening of fortunate or adverse events."

I saw a post on the

Here's another:  Somehow I fell into this blogging gig five years ago, and because of good fortune I've managed to be involved in Geneabloggers where there are hundreds of interesting, smart and fun genealogy writers sharing their family history and their experiences with readers.  Blogging has sort of taken over my genealogy life for some reason - and I feel very lucky!

Day 3 (Friday) at the FGS Conference

It seems like blogging has taken a back seat to attending sessions, and talking to vendors and friends at the FGS Conference in Springfield, Illinois.  My Friday (Day 3) activities included:

*  I started my day at Linda Geiger's talk on "U.S. Territorial Papers, 1789-1873: Records of the Frontiersmen."  This presentation highlighted, for me, just how many records are not yet online.  The National Archives have so many records "hiding" in their repositories that this talk was very useful for me.  Linda's main point was to track the different jurisdictions from first settlement through territorial status to state status.  She mentioned resources created by the Departments of State, Justice, Agriculture and Interior.  There are also collections of territorial censuses, papers of Congresse Papers of US Presidents, US District Courts, Territorial courts and the US Post Office.   Her web page with finding aids is

*  In the Blogger Cage, I hooked up my computer (they were working on the direct wired connection) to the wireless, and I read my mail, blogs and wrote the Thursday summary post.  Then it was off to wander the exhibit hall and learn more about some of the products and vendors.  Two of the interesting, and new, vendors are (with Arphax maps online for a fee) and Genealogy Records Solution (Catalyst Consulting Group) which creates websites for counties to market their vital records certificates.

*  Lunch was at the exhibit hall, and then it was back to the Bloggers Cage for awhile.  At 2 p.m. I attended James Hansen talk on "The Draper Papers: Research in This (In)Famous Manuscript Collection."  Unfortunately, I was in the back row and this was a lecture, not a presentation (no slides).  There are 491 volumes of these materials Also on 130 microfilm reels at several repositories) featuring the "trans-Allegheny West" states, which include some original material, and Lyman Draper's research notes and correspondence.  I sat next to Chris who works with the Wisconsin Historical Society, and she encouraged me to visit their booth for answers to my questions about cemeteries, manuscripts, newspapers and vertical files.

*  Back at the Bloggers Cage, the Geneabloggers Radio Show started at 3 p.m., and I heard Thomas's end of the conversation.  I spent the whole hour trying to make the blasted wireless connection show the online chat - it never did.  The perils of genea-blogging at a conference, I guess.  I should have used the direct connection.

*  I went out vendor stalking again and saw Janet Hovorka at Family ChartMasters and Ed Zapletal and Rick Cree at Family Chronicle Magazine.

*  Ruth Blair (The Passionate Genealogist) came by for my audio interview in the RootsTech Lounge and that went well.  Watch her blog for the audio segment.

*  I went back to the hotel to get ready for the FGS 35th Anniversary Banquet.  We walked across the street to the Hilton Hotel and waited for the doors to open.  We sat with The Ancestry Insider and Mrs. Insider and had a great time chatting.  The FGS History skit, written after the Geneabloggers Radio show, was a smash hit with the audience - the best bit was Josh Taylor noting that he missed most of the events because FGS is older than he is.  After a nice dinner, Harold Holzer, a Lincoln scholar, described the photos in the Abraham Lincoln family photograph album. 

One more day - what will I find on Saturday?

One lowlight from Friday:  Lorel at lost her Mac laptop yesterday - apparently stolen from her booth.  If anyone knows something, please contact Lorel through her website.

Surname Saturday - BARBER (England > Colonial Massachusetts)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 273, who is Ruth BARBER (1696-????), one of my 6th-great-grandparents. [Note: The 6th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts]

My ancestral line back through three generations of BARBER  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)

34.  Alpheus B. Smith (1802-1840)
35.  Elizabeth Horton Dill (1791-1969)

68.  Aaron Smith (1765-1841)
69.  Mercy Plimpton (1772-1850)

136.  Moses Smith (1732-????)
137.  Patience Hamant (1735-????)

 272.  Henry Smith, born 16 December 1680 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States; died 14 April 1743 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 544. Samuel Smith and 545. Sarah Clark.  He married  01 September 1730 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.
 273.  Ruth Barber, born 05 March 1696 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Henry Smith and Ruth Barber are:  Ruth Smith (1730-1813); Moses Smith (1732-????); Asa Smith (1740-1795).

546.  Zechariah Barber, born 29 September 1656 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States; died 11 August 1705 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 30 August 1683 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.
 547.  Abiel Ellis, born 15 October 1662 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States; died 14 April 1716 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 1094. Thomas Ellis and 1095. Mary Wight.

Children of Zechariah Barber and Abiel Ellis are:  Benoni Barber (1684-1684); Zechariah Barber (1685-1746); Joseph Barber (1687-1770); Abiel Barber (1691-????); John Barber (1693-1754); Ruth Barber (1696-????); Thomas Barber (1698-1705); Elizabeth Barber (1700-????); Mary Barber (1703-????).

 1092.  George Barber, born about 1617 in Fressingfield, Suffolk, England; died 13 April 1685 in Medfield, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 24 November 1642 in Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.
 1093.  Elizabeth Clarke, born before 23 July 1620; died 22 December 1683 in Dedham, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 2186. Thomas Clarke and 2187. Mary Canne.

Children of George Barber and Elizabeth Clarke are:  Elizabeth Barber (1641-1642); Mary Barber (1643-1643); Mary Barber (1644-1700: Samuel Barber (1647-1736); John Barber (1649-1688); Elizabeth Barber (1651-????); Hannah Barber (1654-1705); Zechariah Barber (1656-1705); Abigail Barber (1659-????).

So far, the only information I've found about this the George Barber line is from the book:

William S. Tilden (editor), History of the Town of Medfield, Massachusetts, 1650-1886 (Boston, Mass.: Geo. H. Ellis, 1887). 

The family genealogy section of the book provides this summary:

"George Barber was born in England about 1615.  He embarked for the New World in the "Transport" July 4, 1635, receiving a certificate of his conformity to the orders and discipline of the Church of England from the minister at Gravesend.  He was accepted a townsman at Dedham in 1640.  Among the names of those who were members of the Ancient and Honourable Artillery Company in 1646 is that of "Captain George Barber."  In 1647, he took the freeman's oath at Dedham.  He was one of the foremost in forming the settlement at Medfield, and in November, 1651, made a contact with the selectmen to build a mill "for the supply of the town," which he did, locating it on Mill Brook, just below where it crosses Elm Street.  This mill he sold the next year to Henry Adams.  In 1652, he was on the committee for laying out highways, and to his care was intrusted the cutting of the fine timber trees that grew along Vine Brook.  In 1663, he "beat the drum," and received from the town therefor four bushels three pecks of corn.  He was frequently employed in the settlement of estates, and was also, for some time, the principal military officer of the town.  He served ten years on the board of selectmen, twenty-three years consecutively as town clerk, and four years as representative to the General Court. His house was on Main Street, near where that of the late Bradford Curtis now stands.  He married in 1642 Elizabeth Clark, who died in 1683; second, Joan, widow of Anthony Fisher of Dedham.  He died in 1685."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 2 (Thursday) at the FGS Conference

I may be the only San Diego blogger writing today - the power went out on Thursday afternoon and apparently won't be on until Friday afternoon.  I'm in Springfield, Illinois attending the Federation of Genealogical Society Conference through Saturday.  Now I'm wondering about my refrigerated foods...oh well!

Thursday at FGS for me started with rushing across the street to the Hilton Hotel for the 100Memories hosted breakfast, with a panel featuring Josh Taylor, DearMYRTLE and Jonathan Good.  The early birds got the worm, er, pastries, I was five minutes late and got a glass of water.  The discussion was interesting, but it was difficult to hear in the back of the room without a microphone.  About 60 people attended.

Hungry, I went to Starbucks but the line was out the door, and I needed to be back for the Keynote talk at 8:30 a.m.  recalled that there were vending machines in the Convention Center, so I ran over there and the blinking machine wouldn't take my dollar bills.  Foiled again.  I decided to eat the Peanut M&Ms in my laptop pack for breakfast, and went back to the Hilton.

The Official Bloggers got front row seats for the FGS welcome and keynote talk by David Ferriero, the National Archivist.  Jennifer Holik-Urban's blog post I’m at the Media Hub at FGS2011 summarizes David's talk. 

The Exhibit Hall opened at 10 a.m., and there was a mad rush to get in.  I quickly found the Media Hub where the Official Bloggers have a dedicated area with Internet connections.  The hard-wire system didn't work, but we eventually got hooked up using wireless from the Convention Center.  I read my email, and blogs, and checked in on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Many sessions were tweeted from smart phones and iPads on Twitter using the hashtag #FGS2011.  Got to and you can read all of the FGS tweets.

I wandered around the exhibit hall, seeing old friends and meeting new friends at the vendor displays.  Joy Shivar demonstrated her Just a Joy site that I highlighted in a blog post last night.  I discussed the MyHeritage synchronization issues with Daniel Horowitz.  I talked with David Dilts at the FamilySearch booth about volunteer opportunities, and submitted my Fun Card for a free iPad.  The exhibit hall was pretty busy during the first hour and at break times between classes.  Lunch was a cheeseburger from the concession stand in the hall.

The early afternoon was more reading and chatting in the Blogger cage, and I met a number of geneabloggers and readers that I had not met in person before.  I enjoyed chatting with Roger Moffat, Ruth Blair and several others (I'm sorry, I didn't write down everyone I talked to!).

I attended the 3:30 p.m. session by Lisa Arnold on "Online Member Trees: Ancestry's Powerful Tool Keeps Getting Better."  I sat next to Curt from Michigan, who reads Genea-Musings, and we chatted before the talk about Family Tree Maker 2012.  Lisa reviewed Ancestry Member Trees capabilities and features, and noted the benefits of having an Ancestry subscription, and the synchronization with Family Tree Maker 2012.  There were many questions about the details about picture copyrights, searching in trees, and the FTM synchronization.

I packed up and went back to the hotel to take Linda out to dinner.  We walked over downtown Springfield (not many restaurants were open in the near area) and finally ate at Subway with a visit to Cold Stone for dessert. 

We wandered over to Bennigan's at 8 p.m. to join the large group of geneabloggers and readers for fellowship, laughs, and drinks. 

I even took some pictures but will wait to post them when I have more time. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Can you find your Great-Grandfather's Civil War Sword?

One of the more interesting "new" services I saw today at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Springfield, Illinois is Just a Joy (, the brainchild of Joy Shivar.  I spent some time with Joy, and offered to share her press announcement with my readers:

September 6, 2011
For Immediate Release:
Is It Possible to Find Your
Great-Grandfather’s Civil War Sword?

Joy Shivar, owner of the Family Heirloom Exchange has dedicated the last ten years to that question.  As she handled many such artifacts as Revolutionary War items, Civil War letters, WWI and WWII identified photos and hundreds of other surname-related antiques in her business, JustaJoy Historical Treasures, she was constantly alert of the need to be able to make family historians aware of the items existence.  Noting that none of the genealogy sites or auction sites are specifically designed for this purpose she set her mind to creating one and on May 23, 2011, the Family Heirloom Exchange was introduced at the National Genealogical Society’s annual meeting in Charleston, SC to rave reviews. regularly advertises at antique shows and military and Civil War shows to attract vendors who are then invited to add surname related items to the website.  Once a member, antique dealers can list an unlimited number of items on the site for free. Joy then advertises the site to genealogists and others who know their family’s history.  Buyers and sellers negotiate directly and unlike other sites, imposes no listing fees, buyer’s premiums, commissions or final value fees.  The annual membership cost of $20.00 per year helps fund the outreach.

The site currently boasts of original items or “Orphaned Heirlooms” associated with nearly 40,000 families.

The annual membership fee also entitles the user to the “Surname Notification Service” - an e-mail alert system that notifies members as items are added to the site that are associated with the user’s specific surname interests.  This is an important service as there is usually only one of each item available - one family Bible, one Civil War sword, etc.  This also saves the member from the necessity of constantly checking the site to see if anything new has been added, related to his or her specific family.  Up to twenty surnames can be included in this service.

If members have items that are not important to their own family but would be a special find for someone else, they are also invited and encouraged to add them to the site.  As mentioned above this service is free for both listing and selling.   If members are not interested in making matches for profit, the site can accommodate free listings, as well.

Although not billed as an “information site”,, does serve as a resource.  As items are sold, listings remain on the site, allowing users to view and print pictures of the item or the description, as desired - an added value to the site.

In the short time since its introduction, the Family Heirloom Exchange has received broad accolades including being filmed by the History Channel and many other television outlets as well as much print exposure and an extensive interview by GeneaBloggers Radio.

For more information, contact Joy Shivar at 704-948-1912 or

“Let’s Go Antique Hunting in the Family Tree”

FGS Conference Day 1 Summary

Day 1 at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Springfield, Illinois is over, and a fine day it was.  Here are my highlights:

1)  After breakfast at the hotel, I walked the 100 feet to the Convention Center and immediately ran into several geneabloggers and picked up my registration packet, including a nice bag sponsored by NEHGS, which included my tickets and the syllabus on a USB drive (thank you, FamilySearch).

2)  I wandered around a bit since the exhibit hall was not open, and finally found the meeting rooms downstairs.  I sat next to Jana B, and we discussed societies, people, and our grandchildren.  The Plenary Session was at 8:30 a.m., highlighted by David Rencher's presentation on "How Will Our Society Survive? Do We alter, Mutate, Modify, Shift or Switch?"  The answer is YES, one or several of the above.  David noted that one third of the FGS charter societies in 1976 have disbanded...and encouraged every society to embrace change and move into the 21st century in order to survive.  He discussed evaluating your society, identify value in the society, the services you could provide to members, how to provide those services, creating a business model, and to look for opportunities to change in order to include all members - old and new, local and distant - and how to market the society in today's environment.

3)  I couldn't pass up Thomas W. Jones and the "Editing the Society Newsletter" presentation (Tom was filling in for David Ouiment), since I'm the CVGS Newsletter Editor.  Tom described the goals of editing a newsletter as maintaining consistency, providing contrast and being clutter-free.  He listed the 14 parts of the typical newsletter, including many of the finer points of banners, body content, headings, eye catchers, tables, and figures.  The recommendations included having invisible columns, two or more of equal width, with sufficient margins.  Tom suggested that editors not be shy about editing content, and recommended using an active voice, eliminating unnecessary words, and more. 

4)  In the 11 a.m. session, I attended Jane Haldeman's session on "Internet Collaborative Tools for Genealogical Societies."  Jane reviewed file sharing options, online meetings, online group sharing, and Internet surveys and forms. 

5)  It was time for lunch, so I went to the Feed Store with Amy, Jen and Kathryn for sandwiches and soup.  We had a great time sharing and eating. 

6)  The 2 p.m. session I attended was Josh Taylor's "Engaging a New Generation of Genealogists."  Josh identified new audiences as "21sters," meaning they have an online presence, are under 45, technology oriented, and are looking for family stories.  They are largely untapped by societies, find printed resources and forms boring, avoid methodology, and it is essential for societies to engage them.  The question is how.  He suggested that societies create a task force, involving leaders, members and 21sters, to bridge the generations by finding new activities while not abandoning the old.  The 21ster has questions and needs to learn methodology, while the current members need to embrace technology.  He suggested partnering, consulting, case studies, community activities, mentoring, and involving 21sters in society activities, especially when they  can contribute technology expertise.

7)  Thomas MacEntee and Randy Whited led a spirited brainstorming session on "Social Media."  They briefly described the social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, blogs, etc.) and the audience asked questions and offered comments about them.  Many attendees are on Facebook, some are on Twitter and few are on Google Plus.

8)  I went back to the hotel in order to pick up Linda for dinner, and we ate at Bennigan's across the street. 

9)  At 6 p.m. we went into the Hilton Hotel for the Prairie Social hosted by FamilySearch.  The desserts were scrumptious, and the table conversation was excellent.  I discussed NC/TN research with Judy.  Abraham and Mary (Todd) Lincoln strolled around the ballroom, and I took Linda's picture with them.  The program started at 7 p.m., with introductions, Abe Lincoln talked about his ancestry and genealogy in general, there was the door prize drawing, and everybody went back to talking and mingling.  I had the pleasure of meeting Tina Lyons and Audrey Collins, and spoke to many geneabloggers in attendance.   

10)  We were back to our room at 8 p.m.  Linda fell asleep quickly after her big day sightseeing with friends, and I finally was able to read email and blogs, write this post, check Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.

The highlight of the day was meeting geneabloggers I had not met in person before, and meeting Genea-Musings readers who recognized me and stopped me in the hall to tell me that they enjoy the blog.  I really appreciate my readers, and than you all for letting me spend a little time with you on your busy days. 

I took no pictures on Wednesday.  On Thursday, there will be a press conference after the Keynote Session, followed by the opening of the Exhibit Hall at 10 a.m.  I anticipate hanging out at the Media Hub for awhile, roaming the Exhibit Hall, and attending several learning sessions during the day.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

SDGS Meeting on Saturday, 10 September features Del Ritchhart

The San Diego Genealogical Society program meeting for September is on Saturday, 10 September at 10 a.m. at St. Andrew's Methodist Church (8350 Lake Murray Blvd in San Diego). 

The program speaker is Del Ritchhart on two topics:

1.  "Ten Tips for Stimulating Your Family's Interest in Their History (or How to Clear up those 'Glazed Over Eyes.'"  Ask any genealogist when they were "bitten by the family history bug" and the odds are they can tell you that moment.  For many, it was a seed planted in childhood.

This presentation will discuss methods to get your children and grandchildren more interested in Family History.

2)  "Expanding Your Genealogical Horizons."  Are you using all available resources to further your research?  In a pop-quiz, could you name the local assets, many of which are only a couple of hours drive from San Diego?  Del will provide information on many San Diego and Southern California venues.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 169: Baby Geraldine

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

Here is one of the most precious (to me) images from my Seaver family collection:

This is a picture of my father's sister, Geraldine Seaver, daughter of Frederick W. and Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver, taken in 1918 when Gerry was about one year old.

Gerry was the seventh (and last) child of a seventh child (Bessie was the seventh child of Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond), and was always considered "special." 

This photo was included in the Geraldine (Seaver) Remley "Red Album" of family photographs, and was scanned from the pasted page in that album.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

We're in Springfield, Illinois for the FGS Conference

It was a long day, but the travel was easy - on time, no problems, and Lynda the Southwest Airline flight attendant was awesome - funny comments and even seat exercises!  We landed in Chicago at 1 p.m., got our rental car and headed for Springfield, where we are in the Abraham Lincoln Hotel.

I found myself trying to figure out where we were over Kansas and Iowa, and if some of my ancestral homesteads were going past the window.  Central Kansas has a regular pattern of square sections laid out nicely, but the roads don't always follow the section boundaries.  Once we got over northeastern Kansas and southern Iowa, it was difficult to discern the sections sometimes.  It's the end of summer, and the dendritic pattern of the creeks and rivers was amazing to see from the air.  Water runs downhill and creates fascinating patterns!  Living in a large city, I am always amazed by how unpopulated the Far West and the Midwest are, at least away from the population centers.  Many of the small towns in Kansas and Iowa dominate only one section of land, and then it;s one or two farms per section as you get further away from town.

We got to the hotel by 6:30 p.m., just enough time to get unpacked and check out dinner options.  I went over to the Hilton Hotel for the Blogger reception hosted by the FamilySearch team.  I met many bloggers that I had not met before in person, and enjoyed chatting with them and the bloggers I've met before.  It is almost instant bonding here, because we have a common interest and purpose, and our little community is very open and friendly.  FamilySearch provided an interesting presentation about their activities to the 30 or 40 bloggers present.  Ginger Smith has the best summary I've seen so far - check out her post Family Search Bloggers Reception at FGS.

I was intrigued by the mention of a consortium to index the 1940 U.S. Census.  That was the first I'd heard of it.  Jim Ericson would not talk about who is participating in the consortium.  I could guess, but I won't, because I'm usually wrong on things like this and don't want to ruin my accuracy average even more!

Then it was back to the hotel for dinner with Linda in the restaurant, and up to the room to see if the free wireless internet works.  It does, but it sure loads slowly!  I managed to read the 280 posts in my Google Reader (since last night) and the 60 emails since this morning, then wrote this post.

Wednesday morning is the start of the FGS Conference, and I look forward to holding up my end of the Official Blogger bargain.  The problem is, of course, if I write blog posts I don't get to go to a learning session, so I'll have to balance those needs out.

Genealogical Societies Should Consider Ancestry Content Publisher

I listened to the MySociety Radio show on Saturday on Blog Talk Radio - did you?  The subject was Digital Publishing for Preservation and Community Building, hosted by Thomas MacEntee, and featuring Mark Weaver of

The Ancestry Content Publisher page describes the concept as:

" Content Publisher Beta is a FREE online publishing service which provides easy-to-use tools and dedicated support to help you convert your historical digital records into professionally indexed, searchable collections to better serve your patrons and build a more active community."

A society needs to Set Up an Organization Profile, and then after acceptance can start providing imaged records and/or indexes to historical record content that they can legitimately provide.

There is a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page which covers most of the questions that individuals and societies might have about the concept, the process and digitizing/indexing collections.

The San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS), of which I am a proud and active member, is the first society with published records online using Ancestry Content Publisher - the SDGS Group Profile is here.  There are six collections currently available - three are completely indexed, and three are being indexed.  Here is a screen shot of the page:

Most genealogists can see the real benefits of partnering with on this venture.  The advantages I see include:

*  Free hosting of a society's record images a branded page, accessible for free by any user.

*  Entries in the searchable index can be found in an Ancestry search.

*  The society can make the index available on, and keep the digital images behind their subscription wall (according to what I heard on the radio show).

What are the drawbacks?

*  The society has to create the scanned images of the records and create the indexes.

*  The society group profile is on an page, which will bring out the " is stealing free content..." frenetics. 

I think it's a Win-Win-Win for all concerned - societies get their content published, Ancestry gets more content, and researchers get access to more digital record collections, most of which will be  unavailable anywhere else.  

I look forward to discussing this concept and the details with Mark Weaver and his staff at the FGS Conference this week.

For more information about Ancestry Content Publisher, please see their web page

Tuesday's Tip - use FREE Genealogy Forms to Organize your Search

This week's Tuesday's Tip is:  Use FREE genealogy forms to organize your collected records, and your search.

There are several websites with FREE genealogy forms available.  for instance:

*  Family Tree Magazine (  has many different types of forms - including a research calendar, note-taking, online database tracker, repository checklist, research worksheet, correspondence log, article reading list, book reading list, and a book wish list.

* ( has blank U.S. census forms, and links to seven basic forms, plus links to England/Wales and Canadian census forms.

*  The Genealogy site ( has links to many other websites with free genealogy forms. 

Most of the charts and forms are provided in PDF format, so the user can download them and print them, then write in them. 

I tend to create my own form in my word processor by using the good ideas of others and adapt them to my needs.  In a word processor, I am not limited to a set form length and can add content to whichever field I choose.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

Tuesday is the magic day for us - we're leaving home at about 5:30 a.m. and going to the airport to catch a Southwest Flight to Chicago-Midway.  From there we'll drive the 200 miles to Springfield, Illinois and the start of our two week Midwest vacation.

First on the agenda is the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference from Wednesday through Saturday.  Then it's off to Fort Wayne, Indiana, Lake Michigan, Dodge County, Wisconsin, Dane County, Wisconsin, Old World Wisconsin and Chicago. 

Needless to say, blogging and social networking will probably be "light."  I have prepared several of the daily theme posts but not every day is covered.  I am lugging the laptop along with all sorts of cables and things, so I may be able to blog a bit and might even post some pictures of uor travels if I can find the time in the midst of the conference, research, and visiting with friends. 

If you really miss your Genea-Musings fix every day, then play a little Genea-Musings roulette - go to my archive of posts by week, pick one and read it until you're bored, or until you're inspired to do something creative or useful.  There are over 5,200 posts in this archive!

Randy's Job History

It's Labor Day, and I thought somebody (my readers? my kids? my friends?) might be interested in my job history. It is really a short list over a long period of time!

1) My first job was as a newspaper delivery person - a paper boy. I was 11 when my friend Gordon and I got a route for the twice-weekly San Diego Independent newspaper. Our area was between 32nd Street and 34th Street, and Juniper Street to Laurel Street, in the North Park area of San Diego. We held this job for about six months, delivering papers on Thursday and Sunday mornings to subscribers, using bicycles and flexies (Flexible Flyers, not a sled, but with wheels and steering bar) to throw them on porches. The highlight each month was collecting the subscription fees from the subscribers - we got stiffed a lot for what they considered a throw-away newspaper.

2) My second job was an extension of the first - my brother and I had a San Diego Independent newspaper route for about five years, but closer to home (28th Street to Fern Street, Date Street to Fir Street, 10 blocks, about 100 addresses). We got really good at doing this job through experience, got to know our customers, and made some pocket money. The customer that I remember is old Mr. Stoddard, who lived on Dale Street. He had his buddies over to play cards regularly, and when we came to collect, he would ask us in to show off what we learned. He actually paid us 25 cents or 50 cents each month to learn something new - the State Capitals, the National Parks, say the alphabet backwards, etc.

3) I wrote about my first "real" regular paying job in the summer of 1963 with the San Diego Chargers in

4) After three years at San Diego State University studying aerospace engineering, I got my first real "professional" job with Wagner Aircraft in San Diego in the summer of 1964 - I spent about three months there. This was a spinoff company (from Convair) trying to build a 25-seat commuter propeller-driven aircraft designed for small airfields. The innovative feature was a boundary layer control system that would permit takeoffs and landings at 60 miles/hour. I worked as an analyst doing aerodynamics analysis (performance, stability and control, etc.) with several veteran aerodynamicists, including Bob Gusky, who would play a big role in my life a few years later.

5) I went back to school in September 1964, and Wagner Aircraft folded before the summer of 1965. However, Sunrise Aircraft was formed with new investors and Fred Wagner at the helm, but with few of the Wagner Aircraft employees, and none of the aerodynamicists. I got a summer job there for 1965, doing essentially the same things I had done at Wagner in 1964. Larry F. was the only aerodynamicist at the time and he was happy to have someone help out. I stayed on as a part-time employee in late 1965, and then came on full-time in January 1966 after graduating from SDSU. In addition to the aerodynamics work, I picked up some of the Boundary Layer Control (BLC) work and traveled to Cambridge MA twice for model tests and technical discussions with DynaTech, a technical company. In the end, I wrote a NASA Contractor's Report with the DynaTech people. Unfortunately, Sunrise Aircraft couldn't meet payroll in March 1967, and I kept working there for essentially promises (which never came about) until September.

This was the first real crisis in my life - I had my own apartment, was living the good life, but now had to move back in with my parents and borrow money from the bank. I applied for unemployment, started a job search, had several interviews, and finally accepted a job in Thousand Oaks CA with Northrop Ventura as an aerodynamicist. I was going to start on Monday, 24 October 1967. My plan was to live a month in a cheap motel, eat on my credit card, pay the bills with my first paychecks, and then get an apartment there.

My father had worked at Rohr Corporation in Chula Vista in the 1940's, and still had some contacts there in management, to whom he had given my resume. Bob Gusky was at Rohr then, and my resume passed his desk and he asked the employment folks to set up an interview. Gil from Employment called on Friday morning, 21 October, and asked if I could come down the next week for an interview. I explained that I was starting at Northrop Ventura on Monday - could we do an interview on Friday afternoon? The answer was yes - I put on my only suit and tie, drove down to Chula Vista (8 miles), interviewed, and was offered the job on the spot.

6) I worked at Rohr Corporation (later Rohr Industries, Rohr Inc., and now Aerostructures Group of Goodrich) from October 1967 until I retired in August 2002, starting as an Aerodynamicist, then a Senior Aerodynamicist, an Aero/Thermo Group Engineer, Chief of Aerodynamics, Chief of Aero/Thermo and finally as a Senior Staff Engineer. I became an expert in nacelle aerodynamics; turbofan engine performance; thrust reverser design, performance and testing; fluid dynamics; aircraft performance; boundary layers; and FORTRAN programming. I worked on most of the commercial aircraft built by Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Airbus, and traveled all over the USA and Europe. It was a great 35-year career in a good company.

7) After being retired for two years, I went back to Goodrich Aerostructures in August 2004 for two years as a Contract Engineer, working on the Boeing 787 nacelle design and analysis (above).

8)  Genealogy research and Genea-blogging!  After the 2002 retirement, I joined the Board of Directors of the Chula Vista Genealogical Society and have served as Treasurer, Program Chairman, President,, Research Chairman and Newsletter Editor (my present position).  I started writing Genea-Musings in April 2006.  This "job" includes writing, speaking, attending conferences, consulting with genealogy companies, meeting lots of other enthusiastic and committed researchers and bloggers, etc.  I've never had so much fun! 

One of my favorite sayings is "There are things that happen in a second that take a lifetime to explain." This is certainly true for me - with my job search in 1967, meeting my wife in 1968, reading Roots in 1987, and starting to blog in 2006.

What would my life have been like if Rohr had not called me on Friday, 21 October 1967? I really don't know. I would have worked in Thousand Oaks, perhaps met and married a woman near there, or perhaps moved on to Seattle, Long Beach, or some other aerospace center.  Would my daughters and grandchildren be as smart and beautiful as mine are?  Would I still be in my home town enjoying my family and friends?  Would I have become interested in genealogy in 1987 if my life course had been different?   Who knows!

Amanuensis Monday - the will of George Stearns (1690-1760) of Waltham MA

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 George Stearns (1690-1760) of Waltham, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.  He was the son of John Stearns and Judith Lawrence, and married Hannah Sanderson (1689-1770) in 1712.  They had eight children:  Jonathan Stearns (1713-1758); Abigail Stearns (1716-1798); Judith Stearns (1716-????); David Stearns (1717-????); Hannah Stearns (1719-????); Lydia Stearns (1724-????); John Stearns (1727-????); Daniel Stearns (1729-1779).

George Stearns died testate. His probate records (original papers) are in Middlesex County Probate Records, Packet #21,234 (accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,421,526). The will of Mr. George Stearns, yeoman late of Waltham, written on 8 February 1760, was presented to the Probate Court by his son, Daniel Stearns, the Executor, and was proved on 14 July 1760. Daniel Stearns (yeoman of Waltham), David Stratton (yeoman of Waltham) and Ebenezer Cutter (Gentleman of Lincoln) posted bond of 300 pounds. The will reads (transcribed by the author):

"In The Name of god Amen. I George Stearns of Waltham in ye County of Middlesx in ye Province of Massachtts Bay in New England yeoman upon this Twenty Eighth day of Febry Anno Dom 1760 In the Thirty Third year of His Majtes Reign, being of sound & Disposing mind & memory for it I Bless God, Calling to mind ye Mortality of my Body, Do make this my Last Will & Testamnt. Vizt. First I recomend my precious & Imortal soul into ye merciful hands of God that gave it in Hope of ye forgiveness of all my sins for ye merits sake of my Gracious Redeemer, & my Body I comit to the Earth from whence it was Taken to be buried in a Decent Christian manner ... Hopes of a Glorious Resurrection at ye Last day. And as for ye Worldly Estate wherewith it hat pleased God to bless me with in this Life I dispose of in the following manner:

"Imps. I Give to my Beloved wife ye Improvemnt of one Third part of all my Estate During her natural Life. My Exectr to bury me & my wife in a Decent & Christian manner.

"Itm. I Give to the heirs of my Dutiful son Jona Stearns Decd Thirteen pounds six shillings & eight pence Lawful money to be Equally Divided amongst them and to be paid to them after my wifes Decease as they come of Lawful age being with that their Fathr had recd is their full portn of my Estate.

"Itm. I Give to my Dutiful son David Stearns his heirs &c thirteen pounds six shillings & eight pence Lawful money and all my wearing apparrel which together with that he hath already recd is his full portion of my Estate to be paid in four years after my wifes Decease.

"Itm. I Give to my Dutiful son John Stearns Fifty three pound six shillings & eight pence Lawful money it being his full portion of my Estate to be paid in two years after my Decease.

"Itm. I give to my dutiful Daughtr Abig Peirce her heirs &c the Sum of Eight Pounds six shillings & Eight pence Lawful money to be paid in one year after my Decease.

"Itm. I give to the Children of my Daughtr Hannah Hager Decsd Thirteen pounds six shillings & eight pence Lawful money to be paid to them as they arrive at Lawful age.

"itm. I give to my two grand-daughters Vizt. Molly & Eunice Hammond thirteen pounds six shillings Lawful money to be Equally Divided between them to be paid in Seven years after my wifes Decease.

"Itm. I give to my three Grand-daughters Vizt. Sarah, Lois & Lydia Fuller thirteen pounds six shillings & eight pence Lawful money to be paid to them as they arrive at Lawful age.

"Itm. I give to my grand-daughter Hannah Hager one Cow at ye time she arrives at Lawful age.

"Itm. I further give to my Daughtr Abigl Peirce and to my Daughtrs children vizt ye children of my Daughter Hager Decd, my Daughtr Hammond Decd, & my Daughtr Fuller Decd, all my Houshold Goods of Every Denomination and my Three cows it being their full portion of my Estate and to receive the same At my wife's Decease. This article to be Equally Divided to my sd Daughter and my sd Grand Children.

"Itm. I give to my Dutiful son Danll Stearns his heirs and assigns all my Lands and Tenements in the Town of Waltham & also I give him all my utincils of Husbandry & my oxen & sheep & hereby will & require him to provide for his mother all needful assistance of Every Kind durign her Life. Likewise I do appoint my sd son Danll my residuary Legatee & Executor of this my Last Will & Testament hereby willing & requiring him to perform the same in Every article thereof And do hereby utterly revoke & Disanull all other & former wills by me heretofore made & Do Ratifie this to be my Last Will & Testament In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal the day & year above written.

"Signed Sealed published & pronounced ....................................George Stearns
by ye sd George Stearns to be his Last Will
& Testamt in presence of
David Stratton
Phinehas Child
Ebenr Cutter"

The will mentions these children by name:  Jonathan (who died in 1758); David; John; Daniel (executor); Abigail (Stearns) Peirce; Hannah (Stearns) Hagar (who died before 1760).  It mentions children of daughters Hannah (Stearns) Hagar, Elizabeth (Stearns) Hammond (who died before 1760) and Lydia (Stearns) Fuller (who died before 1760).

My ancestry is though Abigail (Stearns) Peirce (1716-1798), who married  Samuel Peirce in 1739.  This will provides an original source with primary information and direct evidence that Abigail Peirce is the daughter of George Stearns.  Of course, more evidence is required to prove that this Abigail is the wife of Samuel Peirce.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

1940 U.S. Census Contractors Questions and NARA Answers

In Comments on the 1940 U.S. Census RFQ and SOW, I linked to the Federal Business Opportunities website with the Request For Quote (RFQ) and Statement Of Work (SOW) for the National Archives (NARA) pending contract to host the 1940 United States Census images, and provide links to census pages in each Enumeration District.

The due date for responses to the RFQ was extended to 8 September at 4 p.m., and now the NARA answers to contractors' questions have been posted.  The link to the Q&A is here (under Amendment 2 on the right-hand side).

Questions and answers that I found interesting include:

How should we interpret the following condition found on page 3 for the SOW? "The contractor may take no action to develop or create a name index or any other product prior to April 2, 2012."
Does this only refer to indexing fields that would be considered Personally Identifiable Information (PII) - as listed on page 2 of NAMA-11-Q-0081 or any of the fields on the images?
The contractor may not create a name index using names or other information found on the Census schedules.
What is the scope of 'or any other product' in this context?
The contractor may not create or develop any product created using the information found on the Census schedules until after April 2, 2012.
Would this clause prohibit [XX] from creating collection specific functionality for our own site prior to April?
The Contractor could develop functionality on their own site but could not use the 1940 Census schedules until April 2, 2012.

This very clearly answers, several times, that the contractor cannot do anything to create an index until after 2 April 2012.  The contract is host the images and link to them.  After 2 April, the contractor can create an index and link to the images.

Will a user be denied access based on his location? Example: user coming from a hostile country.
At this time, NARA does not intend to restrict access to the census data.

That is clear also - anyone anywhere can view, and capture, the census images from the contractor's site.

Given the rapidly approaching deadline of April 2, 2012, what date does NARA expect to award the project?
NARA expects to award the contract by early October.

So the contractor will have about six months to complete the work required to allow thousands of users to view the 1940 census on 2 April 2012 within the specified requirements set out by the Statement of Work.

What specific browsers and versions are to be supported by the website?
The browsers and versions required to be supported are Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Mozilla Firefox, backward-version (versions 4.x and up), and cross-platform (Windows and Mac) compatible

I think that the NARA response here is unclear - shouldn't they have specified specific versions for each browser?

Is there any additional detail available on the requirements for sharing images through social media tools?

A short answer for a specific question.  Entrepreneurs, start your social media engines!

Given NARA’s intent to offer the complete Census for sale in digital format beginning April 2, 2012, what anti-crawling policies should be established and/or what other methods are expected to be employed to prevent parties from simply downloading all images from every Enumeration District (as enabled by specifications in the RFQ) thus circumventing the process of ordering and paying for the digital images?
The National Archives Trust Fund is selling Census data in digital as well as microfilm format as a convenience. We do not wish to limit downloading in any manner.

This seems to say that you can buy it (every page for $200,000) digitally or on microfilm, or download it ED by ED, it's your choice.  I hope you have enough terabytes.

Please clarify if the image presented on the website for viewing in the browser needs to be a 4 MB file or if the file can be compressed and optimized for online viewing, zoom, and pan? It appears the 4MB file size only needs to be available for actual download to save to a user’s computer.
The files can be compressed and optimized for online viewing, zoom, and pan.  We would like the file size to remain at the full compressed size (approximately 4MB) for customer downloads.

Can a link be provided from the search results on the website to the Contractor’s name-index search?
No, however the search interface and search result displays include a link to the Contractor’s web site.

NARA says that the Contractor cannot put a link to the Contractor's name-index search site on the website, only to the Contractor's website. 

Para 9:  Will the contractor be involved with the sale of data or will only NARA sell the data? 
The National Archives Trust Fund will offer the census information in digital form through their online store, and the contractor will not be involved.

Some Contractor was looking to monetize their involvement here.  Um, no.

There are 32 questions and answers in the document. 

Hopefully, some Contractor will be awarded this contract in early October, and will flawlessly host the 1940 census page images, permit their viewing, and permit the ability to download one page, or a whole Enumeration District, on 2 April 2012. 

The challenge for the selected Contractor, and any other interested party, will be to create a useful name-index to the census as quickly as possible.  Who will those parties be?  We'll have to wait to find out.

The challenge for genealogists will be to have patience when the 1940 U.S. Census is released.  Each of us can try to find the EDs where our family members lived in 1940, using the process described in How to Access the 1940 Census in One Step (by Steve Morse, PhD, Joel Weintraub, PhD, and David R. Kehs, PhD).

More patience will be required waiting for the overload on the Contractor's servers on 2 April 2012 to reduce so that we can actually see the page images and download them, and then to wait for the name-index search capabilities to be developed after 2 April 2012.  There are about 130 million names to index, along with their personal identity information.  It's going to take 6 to 24 months to complete, I think. 

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 28 August to 3 September 2011

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

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

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

What To Do With a 547-Page Probate File by Kerry Scott on the Clue Wagon blog.  Silly question for a genealogist...Kerry got it and didn't pay $1 per page.  Very well played!

All I Really Need to Know About Genealogy I Learned in Kindergarten by Elizabeth O'Neal on the Little Bytes of Life blog.  Elizabeth's daughter is going to kindergarten, so Elizabeth passes some "rules" about genealogy to us based on rules that kindergartners should follow.  Works for me!

Brick Wall Breakthrough: A Case Study by Susan Farrell Bankhead on Susan's Genealogy Blog.  Susan uses the FAN Club concept to knock down her brick wall problem. 

Are you doing research? by James Tanner on the Genealogy's Star blog.  James discusses the nature of "research," stating that it really means finding new information.

Things I Don’t Care About in Genealogy by Greta Koehl on the Greta's Genealogy Bog blog.  Greta's interesting list hits most of my items too.

*   And Still I Write by Mel Wolfgang on the Mnemosyne's Magic Mirror blog.  Mel has it right, I think...he has to write!

And Never the Twain Shall Meet – Using Divorce Records in Your Research by Carolyn L. Barkley on the blog.  Everything you've always wanted to know about divorce records.

The Situation of Family & Genealogy by Caroline J. Pointer on the Family Stories blog.  Caroline nails it, I think, about what the family really wants from us.  Snooki!

If Genealogists Were In the Tabloids by Amy Coffin on the We Tree Genealogy Blog.  Amy's humorous post hits nails well - recognize anyone here?

The Bash by Barbara Poole on the Life From the Roots blog.  Barbara provides an ice photo essay of the geneabloggers bash in New Hampshire last weekend, just before Irene blew through.  It's good to see all of the names and faces (well, not Barbara's, I see).

Several genea-bloggers wrote weekly pick posts and news summary posts this week, including:

*   Monday Morning Mentions by Lynn Palermo on The Armchair Genealogist blog.

Links, 8.29.11 by Liz Haigney Lynch on The Ancestral Archaeologist blog.

Monday's Link Roundup by Dan Curtis on the Dan Curtis ~ Professional Personal Historian blog.

Ruth's Recommendations by Ruth Blair on The Passionate Genealogist blog.

Genealogy Round Up, September 1 by Megan Smolenyak on Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak's Roots World blog.

Genealogy News Corral, August 29-September 2 by Diane Haddad on the Genealogy Insider blog.

Week in Review by John Newmark on the TransylvaniaDutch blog.

Around the Blogosphere: September 4, 2011  by Susan Petersen on the Long Lost blog.

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

Did I miss a great genealogy blog post? Tell me! I am currently reading posts from over 1030 genealogy bloggers using Google Reader, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.

NOTE:  I will be away from home for most of the next three weeks - on our Midwest vacation to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.  I doubt that I will have the time, or inclination, to compile this post every week.  I will try to post something, but it may be only pointers to the other Best Of lists that my genea-blogging colleagues compile each week, as listed above!