Saturday, October 29, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Where Do You Fit?

It's Saturday Night again -- and time for more Genealogy Fun!!! 

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

1)  Use the Population Counter on the BBC News website to determine your place in the current world population, and your place in all of history (of course, these are estimates...see the website for how they calculated this).  Enter your birth date into the fields and click on "Go."

2)  Tell us about your results in your own blog post, as a Comment on this blog post, or as a status line in Facebook or a Stream post on Google Plus.  For extra credit, show us the image from the website with your information on it.

Here's mine:

The site says that when I was born that I was the 2,374,409,904th person alive at that time.  I was also the 75,084,100,723rd person ever born. 

My first thought was "what about other persons born on my birthday?"  Well, they get the same numbers.  My next thought was "how many persons were born on that day?"  I entered the next day into the calculator and got 2,374,472,436 - so the answer is 62,532 persons. 

How about my mother and father?  Dad was number 72,629,532,035 (15 October 1911) and Mom was number 73,173,516,367 (30 July 1919). 

What about persons born today?  The counter says there are 6,996,867,315 alive on 29 October 2011.

My next thought was "Can the Ancestry Member Tree handle 75 billion people?"  It currently has over 2 billion names, but many of those are duplicates.  Ancestry, FamilySearch, Geni, MyHeritage and other family tree sites have a long way to go, don't they? 

Another thought: "Will we ever get to the point where each person that ever lived will have a unique identification number?"  Obviously, it will have to have at least twelve digits! 

There are several other charts that can be seen by clicking the "Next" button  - one for your Country (USA has 484 births per hour, 288 deaths per hour, and adds 113 immigrants every hour, for a 0.9% population growth rate per year).  Average life expectancy in the USA is 78 years, with Females at 80.5 years and males at 75.4 years.  Isn't that great?  Oh no, I have just seven years left to finish up my genealogy work!

Surname Saturday - PAINE (England > Massachusetts)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 287, who is Elizabeth PAINE (1702-1772), one of my 6th-great-grandparents. [Note: The 6th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts]

My ancestral line back through four generations of PAINE  families (ancestors in blue) 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 (1791-1869)

70. Thomas Dill (1755-after 1830)
71. Hannah Horton (1761-1797)

142. Nathaniel Horton (1721-1775)
143. Eunice Snow (1722-????)

 286.  Jabez Snow, born 22 July 1696 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States; died 06 September 1760 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 572. Jabez Snow and 573. Elizabeth Treat.  He married 27 October 1720 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.
287.  Elizabeth Paine, born 02 June 1702 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States; died 06 July 1772 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of Jabez Snow and Elizabeth Paine are: Eunice Snow (1722-1????); Edward Snow (1727-????); Elizabeth Snow (1730-????); Mehitable Snow (1731-1811); Jabez Snow (1733-1812); Joshua Snow (1735-1803); Edward Snow (1737-????); Hannah Snow (1740-????)

 574.  John Paine, born 14 March 1661 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States; died 18 October 1731 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.   He married  14 March 1689 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.
 575.  Bennett Freeman, born 05 March 1671 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States; died 30 May 1716 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 1150. John Freeman and 1151. Mercy Prence.

Children of John Paine and Bennett Freeman are:  John Paine (1690-1771); Mary Paine (1693-1770); William Paine (1695-1713);  Benjamin Paine (1697-1713); Sarah Paine (1699-1772); male Paine (1701-1701); Elizabeth Paine (1702-1772); Theophilus Paine (1704-1755); Josiah Paine (1706-1728); Nathaniel Paine (1707-1728); Rebecca Paine (1709-1744); Mercy Paine (1712-1774); Benjamin Paine (1714-1717).

 1148.  Thomas Paine, born before 10 December 1613 in Wrentham, Suffolk, England; died 16 August 1706 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.   He married  July 1650 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.
 1149.  Mary Snow, born about 1630 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, United States; died 28 April 1704 in Eastham, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 2298. Nicholas Snow and 2299. Constance Hopkins.

Children of Thomas Paine and Mary Snow are: Mary Paine (1650-1724); Samuel Paine (1652-1712); Thomas Paine (1657-1721); Eleazer Paine (1658-1660); Elisha Paine (1658-1736); John Paine (1661-1731); Nicholas Paine (1663-1733); James Paine (1665-1728); Joseph Paine (1667-1712); Dorcas Paine (1669-1707).

 2296.  Thomas Paine, born before 11 December 1586 in Wrentham, Suffolk, England; died 1639 in Salem, Essex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 4592. Thomas Paine and 4593. Catharine Harssant.  He married  22 November 1610 in Wrentham, Suffolk, England.
 2297.  Elizabeth Bloomfield, born 1584 in Wrentham, Suffolk, England; died before 15 September 1658 in Southold, Suffolk, New York, United States.

Children of Thomas Paine and Elizabeth Bloomfield are: Mary Paine (1611-1687); Thomas Paine (1613-1706); Peter Paine (1617-????); Dorothy Paine (1618-????); John Paine (1620-1708); Sarah Paine (1622-????); Nathaniel Paine (1626-1636).

I have collected data from several derivative sources, the most authoritative is (for Thomas Paine (1613-1706) and later):

John D. Austin, Mayflower Families Through Five Generations: Volume Six: Stephen Hopkins (Plymouth, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 2001, 3rd Edition).

Friday, October 28, 2011

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 13: Making a Direct-Line Descendants Chart

The blog posted Family Tree Maker: New Chart Options in 2012 on 24 October, which showed a Direct-Line Descendants Chart that looked interesting.  I decided to make my own.  It was harder than it looked, but I thought my readers might be interested in the process.

I selected Robert Seaver (1608-1683), my immigrant Seaver ancestor, to start my Direct-Line Descendants chart, and decided to take it down to my grandfather, Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1942) - 9 generations.  Here is the "Publish" Workspace with the "Charts" collection shown:


For the Direct-Line Descendants Chart, the user has to select the "Descendants Chart" option in the screen above.

After selecting "Descendant Chart," the "Descendants Chart Preview"  screen showed what I already had in the chart (3 Generations, a Title, box contents and colors, Book layout, Perfect Spacing, Include Spouses of primary individual, and a tree background selected from the FTM 2012 "Background" collection in a file folder). 

For three generations, the previous chart had 57 pages of Descendants - for all descendants of Robert Seaver.  Here is the first page:

In the screen above, I changed the number of generations to 10 and, as you can see, the program is working on it. You have to wait for the program to complete the requested chart - It took several minutes.  But if you want a Direct-Line Descendants Chart for ten generations, you need to do that. 

The next secret to the Direct-Line Descendant chart - you have to enter your end-of-line person from the drop-down list of "Descendants" in the right-hand panel.  I did that, and clicked on the "Generate Chart" button and saw:

I wanted to change the Box size to make them wider.  I clicked on the "Box and line styles" icon but saw no way to change the Box width:

At this point, I checked the "Help" file (searched for "direct line descendant chart"), and learned that Box widths are fixed for the "Book" Layout (1.0 inch!), but can be changed for the "Poster" layout (in the right-hand panel).  So I selected "Poster" and then opened the "Box and line styles" and saw that I could change the Box width, which I changed to 2.5 inches:

That worked, but it took several minutes.  Here's the result - it's still on one page.

I wanted to add the birth, marriage and death dates and places to the boxes, so I did that in the "Items to Include" item.  I also wanted to edit the text in the boxes, so I clicked on the Fonts" icon and increased the font size, underlined the name, and changed the color of the type.  That made the chart two pages long but still only one page wide. I changed the background image also.

I added a corner "Embellishment" by using the "Insert Image or Text Box" icon (and finding the one I wanted in the Embellishment" file folder), added a sailing ship image to the top of the list (from my computer files), and a marriage picture (from my computer files) to the bottom of the chart.  Here is the final poster:

Not bad, eh?  It took me over an hour to do that, but I clicked on the "Save Settings" icon and saved it as my "Preferred" Descendants Chart.  I saved the Chart using the "Save Chart" icon, and also chose "Export as PDF" using the "Share" button (top right-hand corner). The key factors in creating the chart were:

*  Select the first generation person for the chart.
*  Put the generation number of the last generation person for the chart.
*  Select the name of that last generation person in the "Descendant" field (use the dropdown arrow and pick your person)
*  Choose "Poster" rather than "Book" for the layout in order to increase box width.
*  Add "Items to Include" and select readable "Fonts" to add or edit content if you choose.
*  Add a Background image and Embellishments and/or Images from your file folders to add color and interest to your chart.
*  If you want to make this the chart that you always want to use, click on the "Save Settings" icon and save it as the Preferred Template.

The user should read the "Help" screen for "Descendant Chart" to review all of the chart options  available. 

This makes a pretty nice chart, and the user has quite a few options to use to make it "pretty" and readable. 

However, it takes a long time to create the final chart because every time you change something, the program starts working on it and you have to wait until it's finished before you can change something else.  A separate "Direct-Line Descendant" Chart option is recommended, wherein the user can specify both ends of the Direct-Line.

See all posts in this series at Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 Compendium.

Follow-Up Friday - FTM 2012, Great Blogs and the ePrize

I'm writing "Follow-Up Friday" posts in order to highlight comments made by readers that raise issues, and I will try to make useful responses.

1)  In Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 9: The "Ahnentafel Report", Russ noted:

"I thought Anhentafel meant Table."

My understanding is that "ahnentafel" mean "name table" in German.  The American adaptation of "ahnentafel" by most genealogists and companies is really a list of the people in a person's ancestry, along with their birth, marriage and death dates and places.  That is more of an "ancestor list" and I prefer to call it that.  The "Ahnentafel Report" in FTM 2012 is really an "Ancestral Families Report" with names, children, dates, places, notes, sources, etc. 

" to images in this type of report, isn't this report a more formal report and that images were not included?  That doesn't mean they shouldn't be, but up until now, I thought that is why they were not included."

To me, a "formal report" is what is published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, the New England Historic Genealogical Register, and other peer reviewed journals.  It also means to report created by a professional researcher under contract to a person for a fee.  I consider that the "Reports" in genealogy software are useful as working research documents - what information do I have - that can be shared with other researchers.  As such, I would love to have photograph and document images in these reports. 

"I am going to guess that your Export to a wordprocessor statement does not include the Export to RTF feature, as you can export to an RTF."

I can export to RTF, but that does not add the Field codes to a word processor file for names and places that can be used to create an index.  If I save to an RTF file, then I have to either add the Field codes one at a time in order to create an index, or hire an indexer.  Other programs create an index for the export to any format (e.g., RootsMagic).  Obviously, I'm trying to get the best "bang" for the least effort - the Reports for each of my grandparents, with say 12 generations, will be on the order of 600 to 1,000 pages each.  A feature that lets me edit text in a word processor while keeping the index updated is really important to me. 

2)  In Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 10: Making an Ancestral Family Book - Part 1, I noted that the Sources in the "Ahnentafel Report" did not print in the PDF export.  That flaw has been reported to the Family Tree Maker development team.

3)  In Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 7: More GEDCOM Trials, and several earlier posts, I noted that the links to Media items for a synced Ancestry Member Tree/Family Tree Maker 2012 file originating from the Ancestry tree, were not included in a GEDCOM file created by FTM 2012.  That was duplicated by several other researchers, and has been reported to the Family Tree Maker development team.

4)  In What is the Status of the FamilySearch Family Tree?, Jay commented:

"Thank you so much for this posting. I like the white paper, but more importantly, you led me to two of James Tanner's blogs, Genealogy's Star, and Tech Tips. For some reason I had never subscribed to them, so for me they are a great find."

I completely agree with you - James Tanner provides excellent information and commentary every week on his blogs, as do many of my geneablogging colleagues.  One of the things I really enjoy doing is leading readers to other geneabloggers by referring to their posts in my posts. 

5)  In Guess Who Won the AARP "Discover Your Roots" ePrize? I received many congratulations on my random win, and many suggestions for a smart phone - thank you all!  I've now received three of my "prizes" - the FamilyTreeDNA Family Finder test (I need to swab one of these days), a one year US subscription (I had to cancel my existing subscription, then have AARP pay for the new subscription.  Due to time zone problems, I went through one day of withdrawal...) and the money (for the smart phone and whatever else.  I haven't bought anything yet).

That's enough Follow-Up for now - I need to get going on entering more data into my RootsMagic database so that I can go find more in the coming months.  I have the urge to do more research.  Where's my to-do list?

Follow Friday - Ideas for Weekend Genealogy Fun

Here are my recommendations for some Genealogy Fun this weekend:

1) Listen to Geneabloggers Radio tonight (Friday night, 9 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. CT, 7 p.m. MT and 6 p.m. PT) hosted by Thomas MacEntee. This week's topic is "Haunted By Ancestors – A Genealogy Halloween Special!" The special guests include:

* Former screen actor turned professional genealogist Henry Z (“Hank”) Jones Jr. Hank will be discussing his popular book, Psychic Roots and how our ancestors often appear to guide us from beyond the grave in our genealogical journeys. Heritage Quest has stated that Hank is “without a doubt the most motivating and entertaining speaker you will hear on genealogical research!”
*   Paul J. Bunnell who is not only a genealogist and an expert in Loyalist studies, but a certified Ghost Hunter with the International Ghost Hunters Society in Paranormal Investigation.
*  Melinde Lutz Byrne, FASG, who used to be a skeptic until she solved a haunting case that just couldn’t be explained any other way!
*  Jonathan Good of who will fill us in on the new Shoebox application which allows a user to scan photos and documents from an iPhone!

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 George G. Morgan this week. The topic is "How Special Interest Groups Can Add to Your Society."   The special guest is:

*   Carol Rooksby Weidlich, President of the Lee County Genealogical Society (LCGS) in Ft. Myers, Florida. Carol will discuss the importance of having special interest groups in a genealogy society and how LCGS has found success in leverage this concept.
*  In addition, we’ll be highlighting FGS member society, the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington in our weekly Society Spotlight feature.

3) Check out the recent Webinars on:

Let Your Voice Be Heard in the Digital Conversation, by Drusilla Pair (Legacy Family Tree)
* The Three Cs of Irish Research: Civil Registration, Church Records, and Census. by Judith Eccles Wight (Legacy Family Tree, free until 31 October 2011).
* Exploring and by their founder, Paul Allen. (Legacy Family Tree)
* "Newspapers for Genealogists: Using to document every day of your ancestors' lives" with Tom Kemp. (Legacy Family Tree)
* "Organizng for Success" with Karen Clifford (Legacy Family Tree)
* "The Power of DNA in Unlocking Family Relationships," with Ugo Perugo (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 (Legacy Family Tree).

* RootsMagic Webinars (all free) available at

* National Genealogical Society (NGS) Videos (some are free to view) at

* Thomas MacEntee's Explorinars, including:

** Easy Website Creation (free to view).
** Evernote - Easy Note Taking UPDATED (free to view)
** Facebook Pages vs. Facebook Groups (free to view)

*'s YouTube page has 56 items on it now, including (free to view):

** LIVE: Search with Ancestry Anne  with Anne Mitchell
** LIVE: One Question with the Barefoot Genealogist   with Crista Cowan

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. I'm not going to any local society this weekend, but you might want to check out what's offered in your area.

6) Go to a local or close repository with genealogy and family history material. Do some research in traditional resources or order FamilySearch microfilms online with original source records.

7) Do some online research in the latest record collections at:

*   FamilySearch (free,,
*  Ancestry ($$,,
*  Fold3 ($$,,
*  WorldVitalRecords ($$,,
*  American Ancestors ($$,,
*  GenealogyBank ($$,,
*  Archives ($$,

8) Add material (names, dates, places, notes, images, sources, etc.) to your genealogy software program. I still have two inches of paper collected from my vacation, and more from before that, and will try to enter some of it into my database this weekend.

9) Spend time with your family doing fun things. We are recovering from last weekend...where we made some great family history.  Your turn!

10) Go to a local cemetery and clean stones, take gravestone pictures, or transcribe epitaphs for your local society, for Find-a-Grave, or a similar online service.

11)  Attend Scanfest on Sunday, 30 October at 2 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. CT, 12 noon MT, or 11 a.m. PT, hosted by Miriam Midkiff.  See Scanfest is Coming! on Miriam's blog, Ancestories: Stories of My Ancestors.

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, October 27, 2011

Off My Chest: Give Me One Column for Reading Online Magazines

I get so frustrated when I read any magazine online, but especially genealogy magazines.  Here are two of my pet peeves:

1)  Some online magazines, like Internet Genealogy and Family Chronicle, put two pages in an online image.  On my monitor, they fill the screen at about 55% scale in my PDF reader.  That is too small for me to read comfortably.  Here's an example:

Scrolling down to one of the articles, they are often three columns per page with liberal use of illustrations (which I greatly appreciate, and can be in color in online publications):

However, for me to comfortably read the articles and see the image details I need to use 100% magnification, which renders the top of the page above as:

2)  On the page above, I have to read down the left-hand column, scroll down further, then scroll back up to see the image and read the next column, etc.  Then I have to scroll over to the right-hand page.  That's a lot of scrolling, and my PDF reader jumps sometimes to another page and then I have to find my place again.

Here's another example - my own column in the FGS FORUM Magazine.  This magazine has only one page per image.  Here's the full page image, again at about 55% magnification:  

When I magnify this to 100%, the scrolling problem is as described above.

However, since my column, and articles or columns in genealogy magazines, use many website addresses (URLs), the URLs are often on several lines (which drives authors to use tiny URLs), with more likelihood of being "broken" when published (editing and proofing the URLs is especially hard!). 

Frankly, I prefer a one column layout (with perhaps a sidebar taking up one-third of the page).  One column is better than two columns, and two columns is much better than three columns for online reading, IMHO.  A quick review of American genealogy magazines that I subscribe to reveals:

Internet Genealogy (online and print) - 3 columns,
Family Chronicle (online and print) - 3 columns
Family Tree Magazine (online and print) - 3 columns
FGS FORUM (online only) - 2 columns for articles, 3 columns for columnists, 4 columns for book reviews
NGS Magazine (print only) - 2 columns
American Ancestors (online and print) - 2 columns

Why do all magazines seem to have at least two columns and often have three columns?  I attended Thomas Jones's presentation on "Editing the Society Newsletter" at the FGS Conference in Springfield, and he said that three columns was the standard, but the standard allowed two columns if the lines of text were no wider than five inches.  My understanding was that "studies show that reader's concentration wanders with wider strings of text." 

I would much prefer one column, and frankly it's a lot easier to read newsletters and magazines with only one column of text.  If that column is only five inches wide, that's fine with me.  There are enough illustrations and eye-catchers (pull quotes, sidebars, etc.) that can be used to fill the space nicely.  The benefit for me, with only one column of article text to read (or write), is that I don't have to scroll up or down, lose my place while scrolling, and URLs are usually on only one line. 

I appreciate standards and tradition, but I think that the three column article needs to be dumped and replaced with a two column format at most, and I prefer a one-column article for online readability. 

What about you?  Do you prefer a three column layout over a two column layout in an online or print magazine?  Would you like to see a one column format for online magazines and newsletters?

RootsTech 2012 Genealogy Conference Video

The second RootsTech Genealogy Conference is fast approaching - it is February 2-4, 2012 in Salt Lake City.  You can find more information about it at

They have released a new promotion video:

There is an Early-Bird registration fee of $129 for the full conference through November 30, 2011.  After November 30th, the registration fee is $189.  National Genealogical Society members can get a $99 price through October 29, 2011 (that's Saturday!) - see details here

I'm looking forward to attending the RootsTech 2012 Conference, where I will be an Official Blogger.  I know that I will see about 100 geneablogger colleagues there.  I hope to see all of my readers there!  Will you be there?

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 12: How Big a Book Can It Make?

I made a four generation Ancestral Families Book using Family Tree Maker 2012 in earlier posts - see Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 10: Making an Ancestral Family Book - Part 1  and Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 11: Making an Ancestral Family Book - Part 2.

I wondered how big a book of this nature that I could make, and how long it would take, and how large the resulting book files would be.  Here are the results of my project:

I used the same Book format in a seven generation book and a ten generation book as I used in the four generation book.  Note that the Endnotes were not included in the Book pages (as reported in Post 2).

1)  Four-generation book project:

*  Number of pedigree chart (four generations on each page) pages: 1
*  Number of "Ahnentafel Report" pages: 33 (including Endnotes)
*  Number of index pages:  1
*  Time to create "Ahnentafel Report:"  20 seconds
*  File Size of PDF Book:  3,089 kb
*  File size of  RTF Book: 25,151 kb

2)  Seven generation book project:

* Number of pedigree chart (four generations on each page) pages: 8
* Number of "Ahnentafel Report" pages: 155 (including Endnotes)
* Number of index pages:  7
* Time to create "Ahnentafel Report:"  2 minutes
*  Time to create Index:  4 minutes
* File Size of PDF Book:  5,513 kb  (not including Endnotes)
* File size of RTF Book: not done

3)  Ten generation Book project:

* Number of pedigree chart (four generations on each page) pages: 57
* Number of "Ahnentafel Report" pages: 884 (including Endnotes)
* Number of index pages: (not enough memory to do this task)
* Time to create "Ahnentafel Report:"  8 minutes
* Time to create Index:  (not created)
* File Size of PDF Book:  18,554 kb (not including Ahnentafel Report or Index)
* File size of RTF Book: not done

In the ten generation Book project, the exported PDF file included only the Title Page, Table of contents, Media Item, Pedigree Charts, and Index (for the Pedigree Charts only).  There was apparently not enough memory to include the 884 page Ahnentafel Report and the Index that included that report. 

I decided to create a nine generation Book project, with these results:

* Number of pedigree chart (four generations on each page) pages: 57
* Number of "Ahnentafel Report" pages: 451 (including Endnotes)
* Number of index pages: 24 pages
*  Time to create chart:  30 seconds
* Time to create "Ahnentafel Report:"  3 minutes
* Time to create Index:  27 minutes
*  Time to create Table of Contents:  11 minutes (before stopping)

This Book gave me the "Note enough memory to do this task" message during creation of the Table of Contents.  However, it showed me the Table of Contents after the message.  When I tried to Export the file to PDF, the Book contained only the Title Page and the Table of Contents.  A Preview of the Book took minutes to tell me that the program was Not Responding and I cancelled the work. 

Frankly, this is a major disappointment to me.  I have over 13 generations of known ancestors in several of my ancestral lines and I wanted to make books for each of my grandparents.  I do have quite a few Notes that I want to include, and have many more pages of Notes to enter into my database.  Apparently, a Book project with over 400 pages (my approximation) is not quickly or easily created using Family Tree Maker 2012, at least with my computer memory (4 gb total memory, about 1.7 gb available memory, and FTM 2012 was using up to 700 mb to run during this process, and used 100% of my CPU).  

I may use RootsMagic 4 to create a similar book for comparison purposes, and to see if it can handle my book creation requirements. 

Please note that I am not trying to bash Family Tree Maker 2012 in these reports.  I have done similar tests and reviews on many other genealogy software programs describing my experiences and expressing my opinions.  I am trying to explore the software, find things that I like, and things that need improvement, in hopes of finding the "perfect software" for my needs, and to provide counsel to my readers and society colleagues.   I think I understand how difficult it is to create software that is as complex as the genealogy programs are with all of the features expected and desired by the software users, and I'm frequently awestruck by the products.

See all posts in this series at Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 Compendium.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Alma Seaver's 1962 Autopsy Report

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.

This week's "Treasure" is my grandmother's autopsy report.  Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver died on 29 June 1962 in Leominster, Massachusetts (see Treasure Chest Thursday - Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver's Death Certificate).

An autopsy was performed on her body on 30 June 1962.  The autopsy report was in the family papers I received after my aunt, Geraldine (Seaver) Remley, died in 2007:

The transcription of the autopsy report is (hand-written comments in italics and blue):

Name:  SEAVER, Alma
Autopsy No.: LH A-62-29
Date: June 30, 1962
Age: 80
Hospital No.: 54906
Attending Physician: Edmund C. Meadows, M.D. & Paul R. VonEigen, M.D.
Body:  E.J. Sparling, Jr. M.D.
Autopsy: 14-1/2 hours post mortem
Head:  ___________________________


1.  Adenocarcinoma of gall bladder with infiltration of the
porta hepatis and extensive infiltration of the liver
and with peritoneal and retroperitoneal metastases
with partial bilateral hydronephrosis; ureteral obstruction
and common duct obstruction (high) with advanced laterum; (jaundice)
recent post-exploratory laparotomy state; chronic chole- (gall)
cystitis and cholelithiasis. (gall stones)

2.  Moderately advanced arteriosclerosis heart disease with
cardiac dilation.

3.  Pulmonary congestion and edema.


It is apparent that this patient, with obstruction
of her common duct, due to carcinoma infiltration of the area,
died in hepatic failure with terminal aspiration.
HJS/ev ..........................  ________________________ M.D.
............................................   H.J. Sparling, Jr. M.D.

The handwritten notes were made by someone other than the medical personnel - I think they were written by either my uncle, Edward Seaver, or my aunt, Geraldine Seaver when the report was provided to them and they asked for an explanation.

The cause of death in the Death Certificate was "Carcinoma of Gall Bladder," which is consistent with the autopsy report. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2011 Financial Results

In the press release, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2011 Financial Results, the company highlights the financial results and the content additions made on the website. 

The highlights about subscribers included:

1)  Subscribers totaled 1,701,000 as of September 30, 2011, growth of 24% from the end of the third quarter of 2010 and 2% since the end of the second quarter of 2011.

2)  Gross subscriber additions were 274,000 in the third quarter of 2011, compared to 252,000 in the third quarter of 2010 and 322,000 in the second quarter of 2011.

3)  Monthly churn was 4.2% in the third quarter of 2011, compared to 4.0% in the third quarter of 2010 and 4.6% in the second quarter of 2011.

The subscriber totals continue to steadily grow;  in the third quarter they averaged 91,000 new subscribers per month.  However, the monthly churn rate continues to be about 4%,  This means that loses about 70,000 customers each month...and must replace those and add more to increase their subscription count.  It's no wonder that they advertise so much!

The highlights about website content included:

1)  Launched 61 content collections during the quarter with records from 9 countries. Collections of note include:

** California Voter Registers, 1866-1898, with over 3.6 million records;
**  U.S. School Yearbooks, 100 million records added to the yearbook collection;
**  The Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970;
**  The 1930 Mexico National Census, the most comprehensive publicly available Mexican census;
**  Our largest ever Irish collection with over 25 million vital records, including civil registration, baptism, marriage and burial records; and
**  German World War I casualty lists from 1914-1917, encompassing more than 5.2 million records.

2) has reached an agreement with the Landesarchiv Berlin (State Archives in Berlin) to digitize a collection of German vital records. This is part of a program to aggregate German records from 1875 to 1920, an important period in German history and a time of significant immigration to the United States.

3)  In August, was the first entity to formally place an order for the 1940 Census images with the National Archives and Records Administration. When complete, more than 3.8 million original document images containing 130 million-plus records should be available to search by more than 45 fields, including name, gender, race, street address, county and state, and parents' places of birth. It is expected to be's most comprehensively indexed set of historical records to date.

4)  Launched Family Tree Maker (FTM) 2012 with TreeSyncTM, which enables users to easily bring their desktop trees online to share with invited guests, engage with the broader community and continue their research from wherever they are. Bringing these incremental trees online will also benefit the overall Ancestry community by allowing additional collaboration using data previously stored only on individual desktops.

5)  Released a beta version of the Ancestry Content Publisher platform, which provides a suite of free tools that enables small- to mid-size archives - such as libraries and genealogical societies - to preserve their historical documents online while providing digital access to the materials in their collections to their users and subscribers.

From the item 3) above, it appears that will purchase the 1940 U.S. Census images and will not be the "host" for the National Archives.  I'm not surprised! 

The financial reports tell me, as an interested observer, that is a stable and profitable company thriving in a weak economy, while adding significant new content and products on a regular basis. 

What do you see in this report that I've missed?

Hat tip to Joel Weintraub for the link!

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 11: Making an Ancestral Family Book - Part 2

In Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 10: Making an Ancestral Family Book - Part 1 yesterday, I started creating a book in FTM 2012, getting as far as creating the title page, a four generation pedigree chart, and a four generation ancestral families report ("Ahnentafel Report" in FTM terminology). 

In this post, I will demonstrate how to add an Index, a Table of Contents, a Media Item, and then I'll save the finished product as a PDF file.

I wanted to add a Name Index to the book, so in the "Publish" workspace for the book, I clicked on the "Plus" sign in the left-hand panel, then the "Other" item in the list of publication types:

The items in this "Other" list include "Calendar Report," "Smart Story (Text Item)," "Table of contents," "Index" and "Place Holder." 

I chose Index, and in about 10 seconds a one-page name index appeared (for names in the items in the book - the pedigree chart and the ancestor report):

When there is more than one person with the same name, the date of birth of the person is included.  There appear to be no "Items to Include" or "Index Setup" menus for the Index - you get what FTM wants to give you.  There is no Place Index option.

I wanted a "Table of Contents" for the book, so I clicked on the "Plus" sign in the left-hand panel, selected "Other" and "Table of contents," and the Table of Contents appeared:

As you can see, I edited the title to make it Bold and Red color.  As you can see, the only items listed are the Pedigree Chart, the Ancestor Report, and the Index.  I don't understand why the Ancestor Report line is indented relative to the other two items - that looks like a detail problem to me.  The Ancestor Report stands alone, and is not subordinate to the Pedigree Chart.

I wanted to try to add some Pictures to the report.  After clicking on the "Plus" button in the left-hand panel, I clicked on the "Media Reports" item and there were three items to select from:  "Media Item," "Photo album," and "Media Usage Report:" 

I chose the "Media Item" and a blank "Media Item" page opened.  It took me awhile to figure out that I should click on the "Media" icon in the right-hand panel next to the "Media item" line.  When I clicked the icon, the "Find Media Item" window opened, showing all of the items in the Media file:

I clicked on the wedding picture of my grandparents, clicked OK, and the picture appeared, with a caption below (not shown):

I saw no way to edit the Caption data (which means that information needs to be perfected in the "Media" workspace before creating the book).  I could move the Media item up or down in the list of Book Items in the left-hand panel using the up and down arrows in the menu icon line. 

I haven't explored the "Photo Album" Media Item, and I'm not sure of the value of the "Media Usage Report" in a Book.

I could delete any Book Item using the "X" icon on the menu icon line.

I'm finished creating my book, so I went in and edited some of the headings in each Book Item, making the headings bold and red. 

Here is the Title Page of the book.  I want to now Save this book to my computer files, so I click on the "Share" button in the top right-hand corner:

The "Share" options include "Send as PDF," "Send as RTF," "Export to PDF," and "Export to RTF." I chose "Export to PDF" and saved it to my Family Tree Maker file.

I paged through the PDF file and when I got to the end of the Ancestral Families Report ("Ahnentafel Report") I noticed that the Sources were not included.  Here is the last page of the Report:

The next page is the Index. 

I went back and looked at the "Ahnentafel Report" in the Book in the "Publish" workspace, and the Sources are included (see last screen shot in Post 10).  However, they are not included when the Book is published as a PDF file or an RTF file.  I've done this process several times, and the sources are not included.  This is a major flaw in the FTM Book feature, in my humble opinion.  I hope that other "testers" will confirm my observation here.

Over the past few days, I have created three similar books - for four generations, seven generations and ten generations, all with the same Book Items.  I will compare page counts, time to create, and PDF file sizes in the next post.

See all posts in this series at Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 Compendium.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 176: Inside the Four-Mile Inn Kitchen

I've been posting old family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but now I want to post some current photographs. This is not a wordless posts like others do - I simply am incapable of having a wordless post.

On Day 13 on the Seaver Family History Mystery Tour five weeks ago, we visited Old World Wisconsin in Eagle, Wisconsin to see the Four-Mile Inn that my second great-grandfather, Ranslow Smith, built in 1853 in Rolling Prairie, Wisconsin. The post noted has pictures of the exterior of the Four-Mile Inn as it stands at Old World Wisconsin.

I took many pictures inside the house, but some of them didn't turn out (and my camera battery died during this day). Here are some of the kitchen photos on the main floor of the house:

1)  This is the main wood-burning oven and stove for the house.  You can see a stove top and an open oven in the photo below:

2)  In one corner of the kitchen is an open cabinet with jugs, bowls, bottles, other large and small containers.  There are barrels on the floor with coffee and other foodstuffs:

3)  In another corner are shelves with baking materials, and a counter for mixing ingredients. 

4)  Another corner of the kitchen has a pass-through opening into the dining room (which I'm looking through).  The young lady in the kitchen is in period dress (1870s they said) and demonstrated all of the kitchen duties and utensils:

Linda spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen talking to the young woman above.  She knew quite a bit about all of the owners of the Four-Mile Inn.  I wish that I had spent more time listening to the docent, and had captured some of the stories she told.  Oh well...another visit calls me!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Moment I Knew

In The Moment You Knew on The Armchair Genealogist blog, Lynn Palermo describes how she knew that she needed to make her family a priority, and that led to pursuing her genealogy and family history.  She challenged other geneabloggers to write about their "Moment You Knew."

For me, the "Moment I Knew" that I wanted to pursue my genealogy and family history was a fairly long process of dabbling occasionally, thinking that I should pursue genealogy research, and that I should connect with my extended family.  I knew who my father's siblings were, but since my mother and her parents were only children, I had no idea if there were relatives on her side. 

The catalysts for me were, in order:

1)  Taking a family vacation trip to New England in 1982 to visit friends and my aunts, uncles and cousins.  Several aunts,  my uncle and several cousins had visited us from 1968 to 1982 on their vacations, but I had not met many cousins.  During this trip, I sat with my uncle Ed Seaver for about an hour with a cassette tape recorder and asked him questions about his life, parents and the relatives.  This was great fun, and I wanted to do more of it.

2)  My father died in May 1983, and I realized that I had never really talked to him about his life in a meaningful way.  I didn't want that to happen again.

3)  During the 1980s, I was busy with life - I had a stay-at-home wife and two growing daughters, and family life was important.  I was stressed at work by technical and management issues, and needed an outside interest to intellectually stimulate and interest me. 

4)  I bought my first IBM PC in 1983, and upgraded it eventually to add a hard drive and a modem, and had word processing software. I had this computer until 1994.

5)  I finally read Alex Haley's book, Roots in about 1986.  The stories were so interesting that I decided that doing genealogy research might be the intellectual challenge I was yearning for.

In early 1988, I looked for (in my collected papers) and found the Seaver genealogy report that my Aunt Marion had compiled when she was a school teacher in Ashburnham back in the 1950s.  It was basically copied from Heywood's The History of Westminster, Massachusetts book, but I didn't know that at the time. 

I also found some family pictures in my mother's home, and wrote the aunts, uncles and cousins asking for their help by sharing information and photographs.  I sent photocopies of several pictures to them and asked them to identify persons in the pictures, and sent family group sheets asking for additional information.  The aunts and uncle were ecstatic that I was doing this, and were very encouraging.

That set me off big time, and I visited the Chula Vista Library and the San Diego downtown library to look at their genealogy collections, and then quickly discovered the San Diego Family History Center.  Before long, I was mining the books and microfiches (especially the IGI) at the FHC, and started ordering microfilms from the FHL in Salt Lake City.  It wasn't long before I had a family tree in PAF 2.0 based on all of the collected information (mainly from on photocopies of published books and periodicals, and slick microfilm copies).  For Christmas 1988, I sent an 8-page Seaver-Richmond Family Journal to my brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins, featuring genealogy data and family stories. 

I went back to New England in 1990 with my brother, Scott, to share in the celebration of Uncle Ed Seaver's 50th wedding anniversary in Leominster.  Most of the living aunts, uncles and cousins were there, and I met many of the cousins for the first time.  I spoke to the group about my research, noting that I thought that I had proved the ancestral connection to Peregrine White of the Mayflower, and there were other Mayflower connections too.  They were supportive.  The Seaver-Richmond Family Journal has continued as a yearly publication, now 16 pages.

From there until today I did a lot more research, found a genealogy community on Prodigy in 1992, joined CVGS and SDGS by 1994.  The family tree got bigger and bigger.  Still to come was speaking, the Internet, helping others, attending conferences and seminars, working for my local societies, writing and teaching. and the geneablogger community. 

Updated 4 p.m.:  Edited several paragraphs to be sensible and grammatically correct. 

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 10: Making an Ancestral Family Book - Part 1

After posting Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 9: The "Ahnentafel Report" yesterday, I had an extended discussion with FTM guru Russ Worthington (the Family Tree Maker User blogmaster) about putting photographs and an index into an "Ahnentafel Report."  Russ told me that he makes Books in Family Tree Maker that include a Title Page, a Table of Contents, charts, reports, photos, and an Index.  I appreciate his guidance!

I experimented a bit last night and again this morning trying to understand the process and created books to use as an example and to test the program capabilities.  This will be a multi-blog post effort because of the many steps required.

To start the Book building process, the user needs to start with a person.  I highlighted my grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942) in the "People" workspace:

I clicked on the "Publish" workspace button, and then on the "Book" item in the "Collection list:"

In the "Book" item list, there are three options:

*  Genealogy Book (created within FTM 2012)
*  Create a Professionally Printed Book Online (using's MyCanvas feature)
*  Go to Existing Online Book Projects (in MyCanvas).

I selected the "Genealogy Report" d was prompted to name the Book in the screen above.

After entering the name of my book, the Title Page appeared with the title.  I added a photograph of my grandfather (using Insert > Image from Media Collection) for the Title Page and added the author's name and the copyright information.  The Title Page is shown below:

If I wanted to add an Introduction or a Preface after the Ttitle Page, I could have added more pages of text or media.

For my book, I wanted to include a Pedigree Chart and an Ancestral Family Report for Four Generations of ancestors.  I clicked the "Plus" sign in the left panel of the screen above - that is to Add an item to the book.  The Collection list appears, and I selected "Charts" and then "Pedigree Chart:"

The four generation Pedigree Chart for Frederick Seaver appeared (using the settings I had saved previously - the user can change all of the settings from within the Book process):

Now I wanted to create the Ancestral Family Report (the "Ahnentafel Report" in FTM 2012 terminology), so I clicked on the "Plus" button again, selected "Genealogy Reports" from the collection list, and then highlighted the "Ahnentafel Report" in the list of reports:

I double-clicked on the "Ahnentafel Report" icon in the screen above, and after about 20 seconds, my report appeared on screen. 

For four generations of ancestors, there were 33 pages of text, including the sources.  Here is the last page of the report, showing the end of the sources:

I could have edited any of the functions (items to include, fonts, header/footer, page setup, etc.) and the report would be re-created. 

So far, this is pretty easy, although any limitations on the charts and reports when created individually are still in the book creation process.

In the next post, I'll add a Media Item, create a Table of Contents, and an Index, and save it to a computer file.

See all posts in this series at Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 Compendium.

Tombstone Tuesday - Levi Holcomb (1763-1854) in Burnett, Wisconsin

On our Midwest Family History Mystery Tour, we stopped at the Burnett Corners Cemetery in Burnett, Dodge County, Wisconsin.  I wrote about finding the gravestone of Mary (Bell) Smith in Tombstone Tuesday - Mary Smith (1805-1865) in Burnett WI.

I took pictures of one other grave while I was there because I was intrigued by it. 

Today's pictures are the memorial and gravestone of Levi Holcomb (1763-1854), a Revolutionary War soldier.  The front of the memorial, with the gravestone below:

The back of the memorial:

The gravestone reads:

1763 ................................ 1854

The memorial reads (front side):

------o o o -------

Levi Holcomb was born in Granby,
Connecticut on January 15, 1763.  He
enlisted at the age of 16 or 17 as a
substitute for his brother Enos.  After
serving for two months in Captain
Phelps's Company.  Holcomb again en-
listed as a substitute, this time for
his brother, Ezra, who had been
drafter for six months.

Levi served the enlistment in the
Simsbury Mines guarding British
prisoners.  When he received his dis-
(Continued on other side)
Dedicated 2010

The memorial back side reads:

(Continued from other side)
------ o o o ------

charge, he at once enlisted in Captain
Granger's Company of Colonel Samuel
Canfield's Regiment for a period of 15
months.  During this final period of
service, Holcomb was stationed at
Stratford, Connecticut.

After the war, Levi lived in New
York and Pennsylvania.  Holcomb moved
to Wisconsin Territory where he died
in Dodge County around 1854.  Levi
Holcomb is buried in the Burnett
Corners Cemetery.

Funded by the generosity of the Nathaniel Ames
Chapter SAR and the Wisconsin Society
Sons of the American Revolution.

Please note that Levi Holcomb is not my ancestor - I just saw this memorial and thought that I could use it for Tombstone Tuesday, and perhaps lead some of his descendants to where he is buried.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 9: The "Ahnentafel Report"

One of the most important features, for me, of any genealogy management program is the narrative reports that it produces.  I put all of my biographical family history information into the Notes. 

In Family Tree Maker 2012, the Narrative Reports are in the "Publish" Workspace and in the "Genealogy report" list.  There are only two Narrative Reports available, the "Ahnentafel Report" and the "Descendant Report."  Here is the "Publish" Workspace screen with the "Genealogy Report" item selected:

I had my grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942) selected in the People workspace previously, so I created the "Ahnentafel Report" (a list of ancestral families from one person, in an ancestor order similar to a pedigree chart) for him:

The default number of generations seems to be four.  In the screen above, you can see that there is a heading at the top of the page, a sub-heading for the generation number, and then text. 

There are icons in the right-hand panel for "Items to include," "Fonts," "Page Setup," "Save Report Settings," "Use Report Settings," and "Save Report." 

For this report, the "Items to include" menu looks like this:

The default seems to be Name, Birth, Marriage and Death facts.  The user can add other items to the list of Facts by clicking the Plus button, or can delete items from the list by highlighting the item on the list and clicking the X (delete) button.  A user can click on the "Name Options" button below the list of items to select from an "Options: Names" list - shown in the screen above).

There are Fact options (I chose "Include only Preferred Facts," Note options (I chose "Include Person notes" and "Include Fact Notes") and Source options (I chose "Include sources"). 

The "Fonts" icon in the right-hand panel opens the Fonts menu which permits the user to specify  the Font, Size, Color, alignment, and font effects (bold, italic, underline) for the Report Title, Report Headers, Report Body, Report Footer and Preparer Information items.  This menu is shown below:

The "Header/Footer" icon opens the Header/Footer menu and the user can select the options desired. 

The "Page Setup" icon opens the Page Setup menu where the user can specify portrait or landscape pages, and select the top, bottom, left and right margins for the report.

Any time the information in one of these four icons is changed, the Report is generated again, so the user is advised to set the report settings using a small number of generations so as to minimize the report generation time (four generations took less than ten seconds, but I've waited several minutes for ten generations).

When the user is finished selecting the "Items to Include," the "Fonts," the "Header/Footer" and the "Page Setup," the settings can be saved using the "Save Report Settings" icon. 

In the right-hand panel (shown above), the user can select or edit the Report Title, specify a background image, define the Number of Generations, and click on several report options.  When everything has been specified, clicking on the "Generate Report" button sets the program off to create the "Ahnentafel Report." 

The screen above shows the top of the "Sources" section of the report.  The sources are always provided as Endnotes - there is no Footnotes option with the "Ahnentafel Report."

The user can use the "Save Report" icon to save the report within the FTM 2012 system on your computer - I haven't been able to find the file in my file folders.  The benefit of this is that the user can go to the "Saved Reports" item in the "Publish" Workspace menu to open a saved report.

The user can click on the "Print" button in the upper right-hand corner to print the report.  The user can click on the "Share" button in the upper right-hand corner (shown in screen above) to share or save the Report to:

*  Upload to Ancestry
*  Upload to MyCanvas
*  Send as PDF
*  Send as CSV
*  Send as RTF
*  Send as Image
*  Export as PDF
*  Export as CSV
*  Export as RTF
*  Export as HTML

The "Export" function permitted me to "Save As" to my computer files. 

While this "Ahnentafel Report" seems very well done, there are some things I would like to see added or improved, including:

*  I would like to see an option to start each Generation at the top of a new page.

*  The "Notes" I have in this particular file, imported from my RootsMagic 4 database, have extra spaces in the text caused by FTM's use of the CONCatenate GEDCOM tag for all lines, rather than the CONTinue GEDCOM tag like most other programs use.  This happens in the Sources also.

*  Each person with Notes has a "Notes for [person name]:" line added.  There is no blank line after this line - I would like to see another option in one of the menus for this so that it stand out a bit.

*  There is no opportunity to include photographs or document images in this report. 

*  While this is a true "Ahnentafel Report" - meaning a list of ancestral families, I would like to see an option to include all spouses and all children for each person in the ancestor list.  The spouses do show up in the Child's list of the person's parents, but the other children do not.

*  Sources are provided only as Endnotes.  I would like to see a "Footnotes" option, and an "Endnotes after each Section" option. 

*  My Sources were improted from RootsMagic 4 and have formatting (bold, italics, etc.) and the formatting does not come through in FTM 2012, but shows up is, for example, <i> for italics.

*  I would like to see an option for the Preparer's Name in the Footer (there is a check box for "Include Preparer's Information" which puts the information on the last page of the report.

*  There is no Index for Names or Places provided in this report. 

*  I would like to see an option for an "Introduction" page that would go at the beginning of the Report, so the user could explain something about the report - not everyone who receives this report will understand exactly what it is and how it was created.

*  One request that I've had for years, and I know that many persons have, is that there be an option to save the file as a Microsoft Word document (and other word processing systems also) with Field Codes for the Names and Places.  That would permit users to move text around without having to completely revise the Index.

What other additions or changes to the "Ahnentafel Report" in Family Tree Maker 2012 would you like to see?

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Ephraim Hildreth (1654-1731) of Westford, 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 Ephraim Hildreth (1654-1731) of Westford, Massachusetts.  He married (1) Dorothy Barnes (1664-1686) in 1685 in Stow, and they had one son, Ephraim (1686-1686).  He married (2) Anna Moore (1666-1760) in 1686 in Stow, and they had 11 children - Ephraim Hildreth (1687-????), Joseph Hildreth (1689-1764), Richard Hildreth (1691-????), James Hildreth (1692-1696), Ebenezer Hildreth (1696-????); James Hildreth (1698-1761), Jonathan Hildreth (1701-1752), Anna Hildreth (1705-1784), Thomas Hildreth (1707-1707), Jacob Hildreth (1709-????), and David Hildreth (1711-????).

Ephraim Hildreth died testate, having written a will on 5 March 1730/1. His probate records are in Middlesex County [Mass.] Probate Records, Packet #11,316 (accessed on FHL Microfilm 0,397,093). The will reads:

In the Name of god, Amen. The Fifth Day of March, in the year of our Lord 1730/31. I Ephraim Hildreth of Westford, in County of Middl-x in New England, Youman, being very Sick & weak in Body, but of perfect mind & memory, thanks be given unto God; therefore calling to mind the Mortality of my Body and knowing that it is expected for men once to dye, Do make and ordain this my last Will & Testament that is to ???? & principally and first of all, I give and recommend my Soul into the Hands of God that gave it, trusting through the Merits, Death and Passion of my Saviour Jesus Christ to have full and free pardon and forgiveness of all my Sins and to inherit Everlasting Life, and my Body I commit to the Earth to be decently Buried at the discretion of my Executors hereafter named nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the Same again by the mighty Power of God. And as touching such Worldly Estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me in this life, I give demise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form: That is to say,

"First I will that those Debts and deuties as I do owe in Right or conscience to any maner of parson or parsons What so ever Shall be well and truly contented and paid or ordained to be paid in convenient time after my decease by my Executor here after named.

"Item I give and bequeath to Anne my dearly beloved Wife all my houshold moveables and stuff and one cow during her natural life and after her decease to Return and Remain to my daughter Anna Butterfield as by a deed I signed to her.

"Item I give and bequeath to my Wife all my money and Bonds which is due or owing or will becom due: and also all my Estate that I have not deeded away all Ready and two cows and four swine to her and her dispose for ever and all so one heffer two years olde to be at her dispose for ever and allso one calf to her and her dispose for ever.

"Item My Will is that my oxen and all my husbandtre tools and instruments and my Waring appariel be Equibly devided amongst all my sons but only Joseph Heldreath my Eldest son to have a duble share of ye same.

"Item I give to my well beloved son Joseph Heldreath all the lands that I gave to him by a deed of gift and allso a duble share of my oxen and husbandtre tools and a duble share of my waring apparriel for his full portion of my Estate.

"Item I give to my well beloved son Ebenezer Heldreath all the lands that I gave to him by a deed of gift and all so a seventh part of my oxen and husbandtre tools and a seventh part of my waring apparrel for his full portion of my estate.

"Item I give to my well beloved son James Heldreath all the lands that I gave to him by a deed of gift and allso a seventh part of my waring apparriel and a seventh part of my oxen and husbandtre tools for his full portion of my estate.

"Item I give to my well beloved son David Heldreath all the lands that I gave him by a deed of gift and all so a seventh part of my waring appariel and a seventh part of my oxen and husbandtree tools for his full portion of my estate.

"Item I give to my well beloved daughter Anna Butterfield forty and six pounds at marradg and a deed I signed to her of several things more which is her full portion of my Estate.

"Item I give to my well beloved son Jonathan Heldreath and to my well beloved son Jacob Heldreath all the land that that I let them have by a deed of sail and Eatch one of them a seventh part of my warring apparriel and all so Each one of them a seventh part of my oxen and husbandtre tools for there full portions of my estate.

"And the sd Jonathan Heldreath and Jacob Heldreath I do likewise constitute make and ordain my ondly and sol Executors of this my last will and testement and I do utterly disalow revoake and disanull all and Every other former Testements Wills Legacies Bequests and Executors by me in any ways before this time named willed and bequeathed Ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my Last will and testement in Witness where of I have here unto set my hand and seal the day and year above Written.

Signed sealed published and declared by the said Ephraim Hildreth as his last Will and testement in the presence of us the Subscribers

Nathaniel Boynton

Samuel Chamberlin .............................................................. /s/ Ephraim Hildreth

Joseph Underwood."

Jonathan Hildreth and Jacob Hildreth presented the will of Ephraim Hildreth of Westford, deceased, to the Judge of Probate of Middlesex County on 12 April 1731. Nathaniel Boynton and Joseph Underwood took an oath that they witnessed the signing and sealing of the will and that Ephraim Hildreth was of sound and disposing mind. The widow, Anna Hildreth, requested in writing that the will be proved.

Jonathan Hildreth, Jacob Hildreth and Joshua Fletcher, yeomen all of Westford, posted bond of 1,000 pounds on 12 April 1731.The Court approved the will and directed the executors to well and faithfully execute the will and administer the estate of the deceased.

The will is very straightforward - it names his wife and all seven living children, including his daughter Anna, wife of John Butterfield.  My line is through the son James.