Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - The YouTube Channel

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

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

1)  visit the YouTube Channel (which has 98 videos now) at

2)  Watch one of these four videos:

** LIVE: Search with Ancestry Anne with Anne Mitchell
** LIVE: One Question with the Barefoot Genealogist with Crista Cowan
** LIVE: Lorraine's 5 Tips for Online Grave Digging with Lorraine Bourne
** LIVE: How do I use newspapers on to find out more about my ancestors? with Crista Cowan     

3)  Go up to the YouTube search field and enter "genealogy" and your surname in the search field.  What results do you get?  Are there any videos of interest on that list, even if they're not about your surname?  Did you watch one of the videos?

4)  In the YouTube search field, enter "genealogy" and the name of one of your favorite genealogists.  What results do you get?  Did you watch one of the videos?

5)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a status Ine in Facebook, a Twitter tweet, or a stream item on Google Plus.

Here's mine:

1)  Did that.

2)  I watched "How Do I Use Newspapers..." with Crista Cowan and learned that the Los Angeles Times obituaries are in the Historical Newspapers, Births, Marriages and Death Announcements" collection.  I didn't know that, and will use that tip soon.

3)  I entered "genealogy" and "seaver" in the YouTube search box, and the first match was the interview I did with Lisa Louise Cooke at the 2009 Jamboree in Burbank.  There was one other match, for Lisa's video about "Our Summer Vacation a Wild Genealogy Story."  That was excellent, funny and short.

4)  I entered "genealogy" and "shown mills" in the YouTube search box (looking for Elizabeth Shown Mills videos) and was rewarded with a list of 25 matches.  I watched "We Are All Cousins.

5)  Done!

I did not know that the NGS videos were also on YouTube, and I will add them to my list of weekend genealogy fun items. 

Surname Saturday - PRESCOTT (England > Massachusetts)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 289, who is Dorothy PRESCOTT (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 PRESCOTT  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)

18.  Edward Hildreth (1831-1899)
19.  Sophia Newton (1834-1923)

36.  Zachariah Hildreth (1783-1857)
37.  Hannah Sawtell (1789-1857)

72.  Zachariah Hildreth (1754-1828)
73.  elizabeth Keyes (1759-1793)

144.  Zachariah Hildreth (1728-1784)
145.  Elizabeth Prescott (1734-1812)

288.  James Hildreth, born 23 December 1698 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 25 February 1761 in Westford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 576. Ephraim Hildreth and 577. Anna Moore.  He married 20 December 1721 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
 289.  Dorothy Prescott, born 1702 in Acton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 03 September 1774 in Westford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

Children of James Hildreth and Dorothy Prescott are: Oliver Hildreth (1723-1793); Rebecca Hildreth (1726-1785); Zachariah Hildreth (1728-1784); Anna Hildreth (1730-????); Dorothy Hildreth (1733-1735); Dorothy Hildreth (1736-1782); Amos Hildreth (1738-1807); Lucy Hildreth (1742-1763); Samuel Hildreth (1745-1748).

578.  Samuel Prescott, born 1674 in Lancaster, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States; died 25 July 1758 in Acton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married  05 May 1698 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
579.  Esther Wheeler, born 01 December 1678 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died before 19 August 1756 in Acton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 1158. John Wheeler and 1159. Sarah Larkin.

Children of Samuel Prescott and Esther Wheeler are: Esther Prescott (1699-????); Dorothy Prescott (1702-1772); Amos Prescott (1705-????); Mary Prescott (1708-????); Mary Prescott (1710-????); Dorcas Prescott (1712-????); Abigail Prescott (1718-????); Rebecca Prescott (1719-????); Dinah Prescott (1725-????).

1156.  Jonathan Prescott, born about 1645 in probably Lancaster, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States; died 05 December 1721 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married  03 August 1670 in Lancaster, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States.
1157.  Dorothy Heald, born 16 October 1649 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 08 October 1674 in Lancaster, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 2314. John Heald and 2315. Dorothy Royle.

Children of Jonathan Prescott and Dorothy Heald are: child Prescott (1671-1671); Jonathan Prescott (1672-1672); Samuel Prescott (1674-1758).

 2312.  John Prescott, born about 1604 in probably Lancashire, England; died December 1681 in Lancaster, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 11 April 1629 in Halifax, Yorkshire, England.
 2313.  Mary Gawkroger, born before 07 February 1613 in Sowerby, Yorkshire, England; died 1674 in Lancaster, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 4626. Abram Gawkroger alias Platts and 4627. Martha Riley.

Children of John Prescott and Mary Gawkroger are: Mary Prescott (1630-1716); child Prescott (1631-1631); Martha Prescott (1632-1656); child Prescott (1634-1634); John Prescott (1635-1635); Sarah Prescott (1637-1727); Hannah Prescott (1639-1697); Lydia Prescott (1641-1712); John Prescott (1643-1718); Jonathan Prescott (1645-1721); Jonas Prescott (1648-1723).

There are many sources of information about the English ancestry and New England life of John Prescott. In my opinion, the most authoritative work is from the book:

MaryLovering Holman, The Ancestry of Colonel John Harrington Stevens and his wife Frances Helen Miller, Concord NH : Rumford Press, 1948.

One line of the John Prescott family was treated in the book:

Joan S. Guilford, The Ancestry of Dr. J.P. Guilford, Sheridan Psychological Services, Inc., 1990, Volume 1.

I suspect that there will be many readers that are descended from John Prescott, but not too many that are descended from Jonathan and Samuel Prescott.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Review: "Genealogy at a Glance: English Genealogy Research"

The Genealogical Publishing Company in Baltimore has published another in its series of "Genealogy at a Glance" laminated research guides - this time for  English Genealogy Research, by Paul Milner.

This "Genealogy at a Glance" booklet has four laminated pages on one 11" x 17" paper (folded). They are designed to give the user the basic elements of genealogy research in the allotted space. They provide an overview of the facts a researcher needs to know in order to begin and proceed successfully with research in the subject.

The English  Genealogy Research "Genealogy at a Glance" folder has these subjects:

* Contents list
* Quick Facts about England 
* English Emigration Background - Passenger Lists
* Unlocking English Family History - Surnames, Paleography, Dates
* Basic Record Sources -- Civil Registration, Parish Registers, Diocesan Records, Probate Records, Census Returns
*  Supplementary Sources - Printed Sources, Archives, Libraries and Societies
 * Major Online Resources - Commercial Websites, Free Websites

This booklet is designed primarily for the person who is not an expert, or has no experience, in English research - a researcher with expertise would rely on quality published books with in-depth knowledge about the resources available.  Reference books, online databases and websites for each topic are cited in the text.

For someone like me that teaches and talks about genealogy a bit, they are invaluable because I can pull them out and provide some guidance to my student or colleague interested in the subject.

The beauty of these "Genealogy at a Glance" folders is that they are very light and portable in a briefcase or laptop case. They are fixtures in my research case.

This four-page laminated booklet costs $8.95. You can order it through the Store, or use the link for the English Genealogy Research booklet and click on the "Add to Cart" link.
I reviewed several similar works in Book Review: Genealogy at a Glance: "How-To" Series (French-Canadian, Scottish and Irish) and Book Review: "Genealogy at a Glance: German Genealogy Research."

Disclosure: contacted me recently and asked me to provide a review of this booklet. They mailed me a review copy for my personal use as remuneration for this review.

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 18: Creating a Vital Record Register Source Citation

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

One of my major criteria for selecting a "preferred" genealogy management program is the ease in creating source citations. I want to demonstrate the source citation creation process in Family Tree Maker 2012 in a number of posts for several different types of records, both for my own education and, hopefully, to help others navigate this fairly complex process.

I worked through a Vital Records Certificate (on paper) source citation in Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 17: Creating a Vital Record Certificate Source Citation. 

The next  set of citations of significant interest to me is Vital Records Register information in online databases (e.g., on, American Ancestors, etc.). 

I'm going to work with my great-grandfather's birth, which occurred on 6 June 1852 in Medfield,  Norfolk County, Massachusetts.  His birth record is in the Birth register created by the Massachusetts State Archives, and is in an online searchable database at  I want to create a source citation for that Birth Register entry. 

1) Here is the "Person" page in the "People" workspace for my great-grandfather:

In the screen above, in the right-hand panel for the Person, and in the "Source" tab, I clicked on the down arrow next to the "New" link, and selected "Add New source citation" from the dropdown menu. 

2)  The "Add source citation for ..." window opened, and I clicked on the "New" button (far left), and the "Add source" window opened, and then I clicked on the "More" button to get to the list of Source Templates, shown below:

The most logical Source Template group for a Birth Register is the "Local and State Records - Registrations, Rolls and Vital Records."  I chose "State-Level Records" in the Category field and then "Vital Records Register" in the Template field.  However, I found no specific template for an online database - either lists or images - in this Source Template group.

3)  The "Vital Records Register" source template opened and I filled in the Source information as best I could, considering there are no fields for an online database.  The data I entered was:

*  State or Country: Massachusetts State Archives
*  Agency/creator: [I left this blank after a trial didn't work well]
*  Record series: "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910"
*  Source repository: New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (,

Here is the screen for my entries into this source template:

I clicked "OK" on the screen above.

4) The "Edit source citation" window appeared with the source title and Repository filled in, and I entered this into the Citation Detail field:

* Citation detail: entry for Frank Walton Seaver, 6 June 1852; citing Medfield, Norfolk County Births, 1852, Volume 64, Page 198

Here is the completed "Edit source citation for ..." window:

 5) The completed "Reference Note" source citation screen shows:

The resulting Source Citation for this birth register record using the only Source Template group that references vital records is:

Massachusetts State Archives, "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910", entry for Frank Walton Seaver, 6 June 1852; citing Medfield, Norfolk County Births, 1852, Volume 64, Page 198; New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (

That does not come very close to the Evidence! Explained model for an online searchable image database of state vital records registers.  The website information should be after the database title, the website title should be italicized, there was no field for access date, and the comma after 1910 should be within the quote mark.  That is nitpicking, I know, but the nitpicks add up eventually, and the fewer things that have to be edited, the better..

Here is my interpretation of the EE model, from pages 467-469 of EE (First Edition) applied to my specific source citation:

Massachusetts State Archives, "Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910," database, American Ancestors (, accessed 21 January 2010); entry for Frank Walton Seaver, 6 June 1852; citing Medfield, Norfolk County Births, 1852, Volume 64, Page 198.

I searched all of the other Source Template groups for online database templates that I could use, and the closest I could get to the EE example was in the "Archives and Artifacts" Source Template group, in the "Archived Material" Category and the "Digital archive" Template.  The resulting source citation looks like this:

"Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910", New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (, entry for Frank Walton Seaver, 6 June 1852; citing Medfield, Norfolk County Births, 1852, Volume 64, Page 198.

 The only things missing are, I think, the words "online database" and the access date.  I entered  "online database" into the "Collection format" field, but it did not print out in the source citation for some reason.  I can add it to the Owner/creator line and it works.  The access date issue is more difficult to fix, since it may vary for each source citation using this template.

While I was working with this, in the "Add source" window, I accidentally entered the word "online" in the field for "Source template" and saw a list of source template groups:

These are also Source Templates, but there is no obvious Source Template for an online vital records register database, similar to those common on or  I didn't know that this set of generic (I think) source templates was available.  I keep learning!

Did I miss something obvious for this type of record source?  If so, will someone please tell me which Source Template group, Category and Template to use? 

If I didn't miss it, I recommend that Family Tree Maker developers add an "Online Archive" or "Online Database" Template to the "Local and State Records - Registrations, Rolls and Vital Records" Source Template Group categories.  Your customers will appreciate it.

The confusion over which source template to use, which took over two hours of my time today, for this particular source type adds to the conclusion that I made months ago to use Free-form Master source citations rather than the Source Templates in the genealogy software programs.  However, to do that I have to learn how to create each type of Master Source.  The Source Templates, and Evidence! Explained, are useful for that task.

Follow Friday - This Weekend's 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 "Copyright and Genealogy – Yours, Mine and Ours." The special guests include:

Dick Eastman, author and founder of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter who will discuss the current problem of copyright violations when it comes to blog posts and content.
Jonathan Bailey of the Plagiarism Today site will be with us to discuss resources available for learning more about copyright law and dealing with content theft.
*  Attorney, genealogist and blogger James Tanner of the Genealogy’s Star blog will help us understand some of the intricacies of US copyright law and how it applies to your genealogy research.

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) is on hiatus this week. It will return on Saturday, 12 November.

3) Check out the recent FREE Webinars on:

Cracking the Case of Nathan Brown's Parents, by Marian Pierre-Louis (Legacy Family Tree, free until 14 November)
Watching Geoff Live: Cemeteries, by Geoff Rasmussen (Legacy Family Tree, free until 7 November)* Let Your Voice Be Heard in the Digital Conversation, by Drusilla Pair (Legacy Family Tree)
* 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 Channel has 98 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
** LIVE: Lorraine's 5 Tips for Online Grave Digging   with Lorraine Bourne
** LIVE: How do I use newspapers on to find out more about my ancestors?  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 content (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 still recovering from two weekends ago...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.

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, November 3, 2011

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 17: Creating a Vital Record Certificate Source Citation

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

One of my major criteria for selecting a "preferred" genealogy management program is the ease in creating source citations.  I want to demonstrate the source citation creation process in Family Tree Maker 2012 in a number of posts for several different types of records, both for my own education and, hopefully, to help others navigate this fairly complex process.

I'm going to work with my grandfather's birth, which occurred on 9 October 1876 in Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts.  I received a Birth Certificate from the Town Clerk of Leominster back in 1996 via postal mail.  I want to create a source citation for that Birth Certificate.  I already had two other source citations for his birth, but they were from the state vital records register, which is not an original source.

1)  Here is the "Person" page in the "People" workspace for my grandfather:

In the "Individual and Shared Facts" panel (the largest panel above), the "Birth" Fact is highlighted, and in the "Person's name" panel on the right, in the "Fact" "Source" tab, the two existing sources are shown.

2)  I want to add a new source for this "Fact," so I click on the "New" button in the "Fact" "source" tab area and select "Add new source citation."  The "Add source citation for ..." window opens:

3)  In the blank "Add source citation for..." window, I clicked the "New" button, and saw the "Add source" window, and then clicked on the "More" button to get to the "Select source template" window:

In the screen above, I selected "Local and State Records - Registrations, Rolls and Vital Records" group, then selected "Local Records" from the "Category" drop-down menu, and then selected "Vital Records Certificate" from the "Template" drop-down menu.

4)  I clicked OK, and the "Add Source" window had the "Source template" and "Source repository" fields had entries (although the "Repository" said "None"):

Note in the screen above, that FTM 2012 provides hints as to what to add to the template fields. 

5)  I entered this information in the template fields:

*  State or country:  Massachusetts
*  County:  [I left it blank]
*  Local jurisdiction:  Leominster
*  Record series:  Birth Certificates
*  Source repository: Town Clerk's Office, Leominster Mass. (50 Main Street, Leominster MA)
*  Call number: [blank]
*  Comments: [blank]

Here is the completed source template:

6)  I clicked the "OK" button on the screen above and was back to the "Add source citation for Birth of ..." window with the "source title" and "source repository" fields filled in.  The next step is to add the "Citation detail" - so I looked at the Birth Certificate and entered:

*  Citation detail:  Volume 16, Page 155, Fred Walton Seaver entry, 1876 (certified 9 September 1996)
*  Citation text: [blank]

Here is a view of the completed Source citation template:

Note at the top of the "Add source citation for ..." window that there are tabs for "Source," "Reference Note," "Media" and "Notes." 

7)  I clicked on the "Reference Note" tab and saw:

The resulting "Reference Note" is:

Leominster, Massachusetts, Volume 16, Page 155, Fred Walton Seaver entry, 1876 (certified 9 September 1996); Town Clerk's Office, Leominster Mass. (50 Main Street, Leominster MA).

That looks pretty good to me - it identifies the location, the record book that the record was found by the town clerk, identifies the person's name, when the certificate was obtained, and the location of the repository.

It compares favorably with the "First Reference Note" item on page 456 of Evidence! Explained (First Edition) under "City Certificates & Registrations." 

8)  Back on Frederick Walton Seaver's "Person" page, I noted that a third source citation had been added to the source list for the Birth Fact:

If I want to Edit this citation, then I can double click on the highlighted source, or click on the Pencil icon on the Fact Source row of icons, and edit the fields on either the "Edit source" or "Edit source citation" templates.

This process is fairly complicated (meaning there's a lot of clicks, and the "next move" is not always obvious) so there is a learning curve, but it seems to create excellent source citations, at least for this record type. 

The source citation creation process for a Marriage or Death Certificate would entail creating a separate "Master Source" each of them, but the process used above would be identical.

UPDATED 4 November:

Russ Worthington commented:

"What's nice, if you add another Fact, and select Use Existing, the LAST Citation will already be selected for you. So, for example, if you want that Citation on the Name, or any other information on that Birth Certificate, you can just enter the New Fact or select an Existing Fact, then click on Source (new), but click the down arrow just to the right, and select Use Existing.

"You can move quickly through the various Facts that you might want to use that SAME citation on.

"Just a word a caution here. Watch the Check Mark to the right of the Citation Text box to make sure that you want to use the Citation Text or not use the Citation Text."

Thanks, Russ, for the added explanations about options.  I learned something!

Marian's "Cracking the Case of Nathan Brown's Parents" Webinar

I had the pleasure of watching the Legacy Family Tree webinar presented on Wednesday by Marian Pierre-Louis titled "Brick Walls: Cracking the Case of Nathan Brown's Parents."  This webinar is free to watch until 14 November 2011, and I encourage all of my readers to watch it.  Go to and scroll down to the Archived Webinars and click on the "Watch Now" button.

The description of this webinar is:

"Join Marian Pierre-Louis as she cracks the long-standing brick wall surrounding Nathan Brown's parents (Geoff Rasmussen's brick wall). Marian will share the analysis process she used to find Nathan's parents. Certain techniques, which you can apply to your own research, can be used to unravel difficult genealogical problems. Follow that up with primary documents to confirm the relationships and the mystery is solved. At the end Marian will reveal - live - a big surprise about Geoff Rasmussen's ancestry based on this new information. Legacy Family Tree webinars host, Geoff Rasmussen, will undoubtedly be in a great mood, so there will likely be some fantastic door prizes given away. This is one webinar you will not want to miss."

In this one hour presentation, Marian demonstrated how rich the trove of New England records are, how to search for persons with a common surname, how to pursue a "reasonably exhaustive search" for records of an elusive ancestor, and how to analyze direct and indirect evidence and resolve evidence conflicts.  At the end, she listed three research goals to further prove the parentage of Nathan Brown. 

The record types that Marian displayed included town vital records, land records, probate records, cemetery records, census records and town maps from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.  These are fairly "rich" record sets - not totally complete, but much more complete than records in many other states.  All of them are available in either the local or county repositories (town hall, courthouse, archives, etc.) or on microfilm (obtained from the Family History Library or available at the New England Historic Genealogical Society or another large repository). 

Marian used online resources as finding aids for records available for these localities, but had to visit repositories to obtain the records that were most critical to solving the research problem.  Further research to prove the relationships will strongly depend on original source records rather than online indexes and databases.  This was probably the most important message in the presentation - that you have to consult records that are not available online. 

I wasn't surprised by many of the comments made during the webinar (transmitted via the chat function), and on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus,  that marveled at the use of indirect evidence to solve brick wall problems, as if it was a new concept to many researchers.  This type of research presentation is commonplace in the scholarly journals (e.g., National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ), New England Historical and Genealogical Register (NEHGR), The American Genealogist(TAG)).   However, "most" genealogy researchers don't read those publications, and therefore are not exposed to the concepts of the Genealogical Proof Standard and its application.

One result of this webinar was that I found that Geoff Rasmussen, the creator of Legacy Family Tree software, is a distant cousin of mine - we share at least Chad Browne and Caleb Carr, early Rhode Island colonists, and probably several more. 

Treasure Chest Thursday - a 61st Wedding Anniversary Celebration

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 a newspaper report of the 61st wedding anniversary celebration of Augustus and Mary Ann (Allard) Brigham in 1901 in Worcester, Massachusetts, as reported in the Worcester Daily Spy newspaper on 10 November 1901 (accessed on GenealogyBank (

The transcribed article is:

Relatives and Friends of Mr. and Mrs. Augustus Brigham Plan and Execute a Celebration of Their Wedding Anniversary
Mr. Brigham's Comrades in the Grand Army Remembered Their Associate and Among the Warmest Congratulations were Those from the Boys of '61

Mr. and Mrs. Augustus Brigham of 51 Abbott Street celebrated the 61st anniversary of their wedding yesterday.

The celebration took the form of a surprise party for the couple, and the day will be long remembered by both of them.  Sergt. Brigham is 80 years old and his wife is 78.  He is, with one exception, the oldest Grand Army man in the city.

A daughter, Mrs. Hanry L. Engley, who lives with her husband and daughter, Miss Rosa, at 1 Cottage Street, conceived the plan of giving her father and mother a surprise that would be the event of their lives on the occasion of their 61st wedding anniversary.  Mrs. Engley is an invalid, and it was decided to have the celebration at her home.  Mr. and Mrs. Brigham were invited to spend the afternoon and meet a friend or two at the Cottage Street residence.  they came unconscious of the plans and the great surprise in store for them.

On arriving at the home of their daughter they were greeted, not by a few, but by a crowd of friends and acquaintances who gathered to congratulate them on the passing of the day.

The couple were met by their son, J. Augustus Brigham, and Mrs. Brigham of Spencer, Mrs. Sophia Hildreth of Leominster, Miss Hattie Brigham of Leominster, Mr. and Mrs. Adam Shandelmayer of  Springfield, Orlando Engley of West Medway and many others from Fitchburg and Newton.

There was a reception from 3 o'clock until 5 o'clock in the afternoon, and refreshments were served to the guests under the direction of Miss Rosa Engley, assisted by Miss Mertie Webber and Miss Edith Grosvenor.  At Thursday night's meeting of George H. Ward Post. Information had quietly been given concerning the surprise, and Grand Army men went to the house in squads to congratulate their old comrade and his wife and wish them many more celebrations of their wedding anniversary.

Letters were read from Mr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Newton, residing at Albany, Vt., extending congratulations and containing a substantial sum and from Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence of Lowell also containing money.  Mr. Newton is a half-brother of Mr. Brigham, also a veteran of the war, and is blind by reason of his services for the Union.

The reception was informal and was a complete surprise to Mr. Brigham.  In addition to the Grand Army visitors, the aged couple were congratulated by delegations from the Woman's Relief corps, from Maple Lodge of Odd Ladies and from Trinity Church, of which both are members.  There were two anniversary cakes prepared, one for Mr. and Mrs. Brigham and another one for the guests.  They were made by Miss Rosa Engley.  The only two children of the guests of honor, Mrs. Engley and J. Augustus Brigham of Spencer were kept busy telling tales of their father's upright and eventful life.

Augustus Brigham was born in Sterling, but has lived in Worcester for more than 40 years with the exception of a brief period spent in Boylston.  He enlisted in the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteers, Company E, in 1861, for three years, and went to the front from Boylston, where he was at that time.  A son, Henry F., now dead, enlisted and endured service with him.  Mr. Brigham was quickly promoted to corporal, but at the battle of Roanoke Island, where Gen. Burnside's army charged through the swamps, he became ill from the effects of disease contracted in the marshes, and was invalided home.  His services were rewarded by prompt promotion and he was made a sergeant during his illness.

As soon as health had been partially restored, Sergt. Brigham decided to enlist again, but his two sons, J. Augustus and Oren W., aged 17 and 15, respectively, bothered him because they determined to follow their father to the front.  He resolved to respect their patriotic wishes and get them sworn in.  He did so with some shame and hesitation, alleging that J. Augustus was 20 and Oren W. was 18 years of age.  Since that time, it is said, he has never told a lie.  Father and sons enlisted in the Fourth Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, Company F, and served until the close of the war in detached service in defense of Washington.  After the war Mr. Brigham returned to Worcester and resumed work at his trade.

Mr. and Mrs. Brigham are both wonderfully preserved for their years.  The former never wore glasses and is able to read as well as anybody without artificial aid.  Mrs. Brigham attends to all the duties of her home and gets about in a manner that would do credit to one much younger.

The reception was continued between the hours of 7 and 9 o'clock last night, when a number of friends of the couple called to pay respects.

Augustus was a step-brother to my second great-grandmother, Sophia (Newton) Hildreth (1834-1923), whose father was Thomas J. Newton, the second husband of Sophia (Buck) Brigham (1797-1882).

This article provided quite a bit of biographical detail about the life of Augustus Brigham,. which I have added to him in my genealogy database.  One of my hopes is that, by publishing information about Augustus, a descendant of Augustus Brigham will contact me for further information, and perhaps has family papers or records about the family, including Thomas J. Newton, the second husband of Sophia (Buck) (Brigham) (Newton) Stone, and the father of Thomas J. Newton (1832-1915) of Albany, Vermont and Sophia (Newton) Hildreth (1834-1923).

I have a list of ten children for Augustus and Mary Ann (Allard) Brigham, and was surprised to read in this article that only two were living in 1901.  I need to find marriage and death records for these children. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

U.S. Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010, on

... has added this database to their list.  The database description says::

"This index contains birth and death dates for more than 14 million veterans who served during the years 1800–2010.

"What’s in the Records
The BIRLS (Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem) Death File is a Veterans Benefits Administration database that lists the names of deceased individuals who had received benefits from the Veterans Administration while they were alive. These include veterans who received educational benefits and veterans’ survivors who applied for benefits. Details listed in the index can include
  • name
  • gender
  • birth date
  • death dates
  • cause of death (unknown, natural, combat, other)
  • branch(es) of service
  • enlistment date(s)
  • release date(s)
"This collection’s scope and the potential for providing birth and death dates make it a significant source for anyone researching ancestors who served in the U.S. Armed Forces."

I searched for my grandfather's record.  Here's the Search form for the database:

I entered only a surname - "Carringer" in the search field (with Exact Matches checked) and received four matches:

My grandfather, Lyle L. Carringer, was at the top of the list.  Here is the record for him:

The data shown is:

Name: Lyle Lawrence Carringer
Gender: Male
Birth Date: 2 Nov 1891
Death Date: 5 Nov 1976
SSN: 553109373
Enlistment Date 1: 7 May 1917
Release Date 1:  29 Apr 1919

Note that there is only the index record, with no image.  There are several very useful bits of information in that record.  I don't think I knew his enlistment date or his release date from the U.S. Marines. 

I also input "Seaver" in the Search field, and saw 247 matches.  My father was number 10 on the list:

This record has only his name, gender, SSN, birth date and death date.  Unfortunately, it does not list his enlistment date or release data for his United States Navy service.  It also has an error - it lists his birth date as 26 May 1893 - it was really 15 October 1911.  I think that is an input error, since he died 26 May 1983. 

This database provides useful data for U.S. military veterans - including the Social Security Number (which is also the military ID number, I think).  A researcher could use that number to obtain military service records and/or the Social Security SS-5 Application.

UPDATED 4 November:

Reader Geolover commented:

"This database has an extremely high number of data-entry errors as to dates of birth (especially) and death. Some men were born and died the same day, many supposedly born 1845 or before, served in WWI or WWII and died after the 1960s.

"There are no Civil War pensioners in the database."

Today is "Gramp's" 120th Birthday

My grandfather, Lyle Lawrence Carringer, was born 120 years ago today, on 2 November 1891 to Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer in San Diego, California. He saw so much in his lifetime of 85 years, and enjoyed almost every minute of it, often expressing awe and wonder at nature, engineering feats and science. I believe that he had a wondrous life.

Lyle was over-protected as a boy because his parents had lost a baby boy in 1889. His parents built a house on 30th Street in San Diego and owned most of the block. He learned from the school books of his parents - the McGuffey's readers and almanacs - and attended school, graduating from San Diego High in 1914.

Here is a picture of Lyle as a boy of 4. Check out the hair and the outfit.

Lyle was curious and inquisitive, and as a boy and teen he explored San Diego and environs on foot or on his bicycle, and on the trolley that ran down 30th Street to downtown. He started working at age 15 as an errand boy at Marston's a downtown department store, and learned how business worked.
As a young man, he stood 5 foot 7 inches and weighed 123 pounds dripping wet. So, he enlisted in the United States Marines in 1917, but never got out of San Diego, serving at the PX in Balboa Park. He had met, and then married in 1918, Emily Kemp Auble and they soon had a baby - my mother, Betty, who was an only child. Soon, they built a house on the same block as his parents and settled in, with Emily's mother, a widow. The book case in the home was full of popular novels, travel stories, popular magazines and the ever-present encyclopedia. Lyle progressed at Marston's and eventually became the head accountant and the paymaster for the store.

Here is a picture of Lyle, Emily and Betty in 1919.

Like most people of the time, he had his own account book to tally his income and his expenses. Four of these books still exist - from about 1920 to about 1945. In them, he counted the eggs collected from the henhouse and sold, the daily expenses at the grocery store, his income and bank deposits, the trials, tribulations and expenses of driving and maintaining the car (tires were very fragile, and the roads were terrible), and details of where they drove and with whom they visited. The details are fascinating - to me, at least. On the home block, there was always plenty to do. More houses were built for rental, and his parents house was moved from the corner to the center of the block in 1927. Repairs to the homes and rentals were endless, furniture was bought, sold or scrapped, gardens were put in and tended. I have rental agreements, rent receipts, home repairs and appliance purchases for the years 1940 to 1975.

Excursions to Balboa Park, La Jolla, the beach, Tijuana, or the mountains were weekly occurrences. There were cousins in Whittier and they often visited them, stopping at Knotts Berry Farm in Garden Grove for dinner. The family took several long road trip vacations - going all the way to Victoria BC one year - and the journal tells all about it (where they stopped, who they visited, how much things cost, etc.) - fascinating!
My mother married in 1942, and I was born in 1943, my first brother in 1946, and my second brother in 1955. My father went into the Navy in 1944 and my mother and I moved back in with her parents. My grandparents doted on me, told me stories, took me places, and let me explore my little world. My grandfather had a movie camera, and I have many 8 mm films of my early childhood (which I need to convert to DVD). I believe I got my love of history, geography and family from my grandparents - nurtured in my early life by time spent with them.

This is a picture of Lyle and his grandson in 1945 - obviously happy to be so high up in the world.

After his parents died in 1945, Lyle inherited the whole set of property. They moved into his parents home and sold the second home and the vacant lots on the south end of the block (which was our ball field playground). With these proceeds, they bought a small parcel of land on Point Loma with a postcard view of San Diego Bay. They built a home on the lot and moved into it in 1951. This home became our Christmas haven - since it had a fireplace, and we spent many happy Christmas Eves snug in our makeshift beds waiting for Santa to visit us. We loved visiting "Gram" and "Gramp."

Gramp took us fishing down on the Bay, out to the end of Point Loma to visit the lighthouse, and explore the tidepools, or we climbed the hills and explored the canyons near their house. He had always collected stamps and had many overseas correspondents. He went monthly to the Post Office to buy sheets of new stamps, and often gave plate blocks and single stamps to my brothers and I for our collections.

Lyle finally retired in 1961 after 55 years at Marstons, and settled into his retirement. He still came over to the 30th Street property and worked on the buildings and the gardens. And to see his daughter's family and to talk to his grandsons - to hear about their education and exploits and dreams. He was so proud that his daughter and grandson had attended and graduated from college.

Here is a photo of Lyle and Emily in about 1970.

He succumbed in 1976 to colon cancer, and his dear Emily joined him soon after. Their deaths pained me, but became the catalyst that made me examine my own life and beliefs, and firmed up my life's goals.

My grandfather was the most moral, studious and intelligent man I've ever known. He spoke quietly, listened well, even to his loudmouth grandsons, and enjoyed good humor. He never lost his sense of awe and wonder.

During his life, he witnessed and experienced - either in person or via newspapers and TV - the development of the automobile, the movie camera, running water and toilets in the home, the washing machine, dishwasher, and refrigerator, dirt streets to interstate highways, telegraph to radio and television, barren scrub land to Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo and Palomar Observatory, gliders to airplanes to blimps and rocket ships, Sputnik to the moon landing, war (Spanish-American, WW I, WW II, Korean, Vietnam), peace, boom times, recession and depression times, 16 Presidents, a 58 year marriage, the birth and growth of a daughter and three grandsons. It was a wondrous life.

The best thing he ever did, perhaps intentionally or perhaps subconsciously, was to spend endless time with his family - wife, daughter, grandsons and friends - telling them stories, listening to their stories, hopes and dreams, playing board or card games, and encouraging everyone he met to be a good person - to be the best they could be.

We always called him "Gramp" and we always went over to "Gram and Gramps house." I think my mother called him Dad and my father called him Lyle.

His legacy was threefold. One was financial - the real estate holdings that he built up over his lifetime provided a decent retirement for him and for my parents, and an excellent inheritance for my brothers and I. More importantly, the legacy of kindness, love, thrift, and happiness provided a wonderful example to his grandsons. Lastly, there was the wonderful stash of family history material - papers, books, photos, movies, memories.

I miss him greatly. I wish that I could have him back for just a month or so - to ask him questions, to hear more about his family, his life and experiences, to thank him for loving me and molding me and providing the impetus to study genealogy and family history.

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 16: Creating a Timeline Report

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

One of the Individual Reports I really like is the Timeline Report.  It highlights the chronology of the Facts of a Person's life that are entered into the genealogy management software. 

A Family Tree Maker 2012 user can create a Timeline Report for a Person by going to the target person in the "People" workspace, and then clicking on the "Publish" workspace and selecting "Person Reports" from the Collection list.  The selection of "Person Reports" screen is:

*  Individual Report
*  Custom Report
*  Notes
*  LDS Ordinances
*  Task List
*  Data Errors Report
*  Timeline
*  Surname Report
*  Index of Individuals

I picked the "Timeline" report from the list:

"The Timeline Report  lists all of the events chronologically for the focus person. Set the focus person in the pedigree navigation bar at the top of the window. You can include immediate family members (parents, siblings, spouse, and children) and historical events along with the personal events recorded for the person."

Here is the starting view for the "Timeline Report Preview:"

In the screen above, the Facts for my grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942) are presented in chronological order.  The Facts I have for him are his Birth, Marriage, Census, Death and Burial.

There are five check boxes in the "Timeline Report Options"panel  that can add content to the Timeline.  In the screen above, none of the five boxes were checked.

I checked the first two boxes for "Include event type icons" and "Include family events."  The "Timeline Report Preview" panel was revised, and looked like this:

Icons for the Person are added for the Birth, Census, Death and Burial Facts.  A different icon of a man and a woman is presented for the Marriage Fact. 

Because I checked the "Include Family Events" box, Facts for his parents (Death), Children (Birth, Marriage, Death), and Spouse(s) (Death) were added to the list.  Facts for his Siblings and Grandparents (or great-grandparents or aunts/uncles) were not added to the Timeline.

I clicked on the "Include Historical Events" box in the "Timeline Report Options" panel, and saw:

This option added major "World Events" to the Timeline list, using a globe icon.  The World Events added for my grandfather were:

*  Colonialism - between 1500-1900, in the World
*  World Slave Trade - between 1500-1900, in Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Caribbean
*  Mass Immigration to the United States and Canada - between 1830-1930, in ?United States and Canada
* Women's Suffrage in New Zealand - in 1893, in New Zealand
*  Spanish American War - between 25 April 1898-12 August 1898, in United States and Cuba
*  Ford Model-T Manufactured - between 27 September 1908-1927, in Detroit, Michigan
*  RMS Titanic Disaster - between 10-15 April 1912, in Atlantic Ocean
*  World War I - between 28 June 1914-11 November 1918, in Europe
*  The Great Depression - between 1929-1941, in USA and Europe
*  The Holocaust - between 1930-1945, in Eastern Europe
*  World War II - between 1 September 1939-1945, in Europe, The Pacific

While these events happened during the lifetime of my grandfather, I think that only a few of them affected his life significantly (e.g., World War I, Great Depression).  There may have been other events in United States history (e.g., Depression of 1893, elections of Presidents and state governors, Stoick market crash in 1929, etc.) that affected his life, and sparked his interest. 

Some of the World History Facts need editing IMHO, for instance the Slave Trade affected the Middle East and Asia too;  the Spanish-American War involved Spain and the Philippines also; the Great Depression affected the whole world;  The Holocaust affected Western Europe also; etc.

Obviously, the program looks at the lifespan of the Person, and finds events from a fairly sparsely populated  database of world events and adds them without regard to the person's locality (other than country, I think). 

I will not be adding the "Historical Events" to my timelines, since they are not very relevant to the persons involved. 

I do think that the Timeline should include Sibling Events and Grandparent events because the Person grows up in a family, and the births, marriages and deaths of siblings and grandparents are often important events in the life of a person.

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 177: Upstairs in the Four Mile Inn

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 photos from the two upstairs floors:

1)  As you enter the Four Mile Inn on the ground floor, you enter a hallway with a staircase to the second floor on the left.  It is blocked off for visitors to go upstairs (the Old World Wisconsin staff permitted me to go upstairs):

2)  On the second floor, there are a number of bedrooms.  Here is a view of the upstairs hallway with doors to the bedrooms:

Note the beautiful railings around the staircase opening.

3)  There is furniture in the upstairs bedrooms, but they are covered.  I'm not sure that they are authentic period pieces (meaning 1870s time frame).  Here is a picture from inside a bedroom looking out on the second floor balcony:

4)  There is another staircase from the second floor to the third floor.  I was told that the third floor was a ballroom or dance room.  Here is the view looking toward the southeast corner of the building:

I really appreciated that the Old World Wisconsin staff permitted me to go upstairs to visit the non-public areas of the Four Mile Inn. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Day of the Dead" Graphic by

I always find the graphics created by to be interesting and informative.  Their latest celebrates the "Day of the Dead" holiday in many countries, and is at and I've posted it below:

Create your family tree on Geni for free, and connect to the World Family Tree
to find out if you're related to any of our famous fathers.

If the graphic on my blog is too small to read, click here

From the graphic above,  I learned that has 2,289,095 users in the United States, with a total of 46,872,699 profiles.   That comes out to be an average of 20.5 profiles per user.  What does that tell you?

It tells me that most users have a very small online tree at  It would be interesting to know what the median sized tree (i.e., 50% have more, 50% have less) was - my guess is that it is something like 10 to 12 profiles.  That is only logical, because people like me have 1,000 or more profiles in their tree (I have 21,089 the last time I checked). 

The website says that there are almost 60 million profiles in their interconnected World Family Tree.

My thanks to Amanda at for the link to the Day of the Dead graphic.

New Historical Record Collections at FamilySearch - October 2011

I last listed the new or updated collections on the FamilySearch Historical Collections website on 1 October, when there were 800 collections on the list. During October, these Historical Record Collections have been added to make a total of 812 collections as of 1 November:
In the list above, I tried to identify many of the collections as newly added by comparing them to last months listing. When FamilySearch sends their email notifications to interested parties, they are identifying whether they are new or previously existing collections - they don't say which collections are added to the list for the first time..

There are 20 items on the list above, but only 12 newly added databases (according to FamilySearch) since 1 October, so I have missed eight. Oh well! I will update the list as I receive more information about the new databases.

All FamilySearch Historical Record Collections can be accessed at You can see the date that collections were recently added or updated by clicking on the "Last Updated" link.  However, there is no indicator whether the specific collections are newly added.

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 15: Creating an Ancestor Name List Report

In Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 9: The "Ahnentafel Report" I created an "Ahnentafel Report" (FTM's term) for my ancestral families.  The report included notes, sources, and children. 

One of my favorite reports is the "Ancestor Name List." Some genealogists call it an "ahnentafel" which means "name table" in German, but as constituted here it is not a table, but a list with standard pedigree-ordered numbers.  Tamura Jones calls this an "AhnenList" which is appropriate, with only the ancestors' names and their birth, marriage and death dates and places.  In other words, no Notes, no Sources, no Children - just a list of ancestors.  I find this is much easier for me to use than an interlinked pedigree chart. 

Here is how I created my "Ancestor Name List" report:

1)  In the "Publish" workspace in Family Tree Maker 2012, I selected the "Genealogy Report" collection. 

2)  In the screen above, I clicked on the "Ahnentafel Report" item and a report was created:

A four generation "Ahnentafel Report" with Notes, Sources and Children was created (because that was what I created last time I worked with this particular report).

3)  I wanted to not have Notes and Sources, so on the "Ahnentafel Report Options" (right-hand panel) I clicked on the "Items to Include" icon and de-selected Notes and Sources from the check boxes:

4)  After clicking "OK" I was returned to the "Ahnentafel Report Preview" page and saw that the Notes and Sources were eliminated.  But the Children are still there:

5)  I clicked on the "Exclude Children" in the "Ahnetafel Report Options" list (right-hand panel), then entered 15 generations in the Generations" field  The resulting "Ancestor List Report" is shown below:

 here are 142 pages in my 15-generation "Ancestor List Report."  With Sources selected, the report is 189 pages.

I clicked on the "Share" button and exported this report as a PDF file, and it is 2.2 mb in size.

6)  I scrolled through  the report looking for flaws, and the only thing I saw, in several places, was the bottom line on some pages was partially showing on the bottom of one page and partially showing on the top of the next page:

That flaw appears to be a Footer spacing issue and should be corrected in the next program release.

This "Ahnentafel Report" process is very flexible - in the "Ahnentafel Report Options" panel, the user can add whatever Fact items they want (using the "Items to Include" icon), can change the Font colors, size, typeface, etc. (using the "Fonts" icon), and can change the page orientation and margins (using the "Page Setup" icon).  The user can add a background image (and transparency) to their report (either from the FTM2012 Background image collection, or from the user's computer files).  There are check buttons for "List non-vital Facts separately;" "Include parent/child relationship types;" "Exclude children;" and "Include preparer information."

What other information would you like to see included in the "Ahnentafel Report" in Family Tree Maker 2012?  Please make a comment here, and I'm sure the FTM developers will read it.

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