Saturday, December 10, 2011

Blog Caroling on Saturday Night! Angels We Have Heard on High

Our dear footnoteMaven is warming up the Choir of Genea-Angels for this year's sing-along of Christmas Carols. We are supposed to claim our favorite Christmas Carol. The collection of songs from genea-bloggers should lift all of our spirits as we shop until we drop.  In addition, this is the Saturday Night Genealogy Fun mission today!

Mine is still "Angels we Have Heard On High" - maybe because of the Latin in it? Or because I can sing it in J-sharp and no one notices because of the joy it brings everyone else? Most likely because Linda collects angels and is referred to as Angel Linda by friends. The rumor that the first angel she collected was me is untrue.

Angels We Have Heard on High

Angels we have heard on high,
Singing sweetly through the night,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their brave delight.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why these songs of happy cheer?
What great brightness did you see?
What glad tiding did you hear?
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Come to Bethlehem and see Him
whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee
Christ, the Lord, the new-born King.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
See him in a manger laid
Whom the angels praise above;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While we raise our hearts in love.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.


Musicologists have decided that this anonymous French tune was probably created around the eighteenth century. Some legends place its origin as as early as the second century.

Traditional French Carol

Words: Tra­di­tion­al French car­ol (Les Anges dans nos Cam­pagnes).Trans­lat­ed from French to Eng­lish by James Chad­wick (1813-1882); ap­peared in Crown of Jesus, 1862.

Music: “Gloria (Barnes),” French carol melody; ar­ranged by Ed­ward S. Barnes.

Recorded/Performed: Andy Williams - 1970

Also recorded by: Tennessee Ernie Ford; Mormon Tabernacle Choir; Tommy Greer; Clancey Brothers; Scarlet Rivera; Eric Rigler; Madeline McNeil; Sandi Patty; Nat King Cole; Lorie Line; Connie Brown; Scott Miller; Vienna Boys Choir; Percy Faith; Collin Raye; Frankie Gavin; Texas Boys Choir; Mel Weston; Donny Osmond.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Blog Caroling!!!

Are you in the Christmas spirit yet?  I love this time of year - and hearing and singing Christmas carols and songs is my favorite pastime. 

So it's Saturday Night again, so let's have some Genealogy Fun!!

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

1)  Identify your absolute favorite Christmas Carol or Holiday song. 

2)  Share your favorite carol or song in a blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook post or Google Plus stream post. 

3)  For extra credit, post an audio or video of the carol or song (almost all are on and the words to the song.  Add the background of the song, and the artists if you can find them.

4)  Enjoy the memories and feelings that the carol or song brings to your heart and mind, and share them too!

Here's mine:

Well, I'll post my absolute favorite in a separate blog post.  My candidates:

1)  Angels We Have Heard on High - a beautiful carol

2)  Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer  - a funny song

3)  The Christmas Song - a contemporary song

4)  Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree - an old rock song

I had fun just trying to pick these...there are some funny, sexy and crude Christmas songs out there!

Surname Saturday - FARWELL (England > Massachusetts)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week. I am up to number 299, who is Mary FARWELL (1709-1783), 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 FARWELLs 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)

74. Josiah Sawtell (1768-1847)
75. Hannah Smith (1768-1827)

148. Ephraim Sawtell (1735-ca 1800)
149. Abigail Stone (1736-ca 1800)

298.  James Stone, born 23 January 1702 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 27 February 1783 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 596. John Stone and 597. Sarah Nutting.  He married 28 December 1726 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
299.  Mary Farwell, born 05 February 1709 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died after 27 February 1783 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States. 

Children of James Stone and Mary Farwell are: James Stone (1727-1788); Mary Stone (1729-????); Jonathan Stone (1731-????); William Stone (1734-1757); Abigail Stone (1736-ca. 1800); Sarah Stone (1739-????); Joel Stone (1742-1806); Salmon Stone (1744-1831); Hannah Stone (1747-????); Levi Stone (1750-1830).

598.  Joseph Farwell, born 24 July 1670 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 20 August 1740 in Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.    He married 23 January 1696 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
599.  Hannah Colburn, born 1673 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died after 1741 in probably Groton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 1198. Thomas Colburn and 1199. Hannah Rolfe.

Children of Joseph Farwell and Hannah Colburn are:  Joseph Farwell (1696-????); Thomas Farwell (1698-????); Hannah Farwell (1701-1762); Elizabeth Farwell (1703-1762); Edward Farwell (1706-????); Mary Farwell (1709-1783); John Farwell (1711-????); Samuel Farwell (1714-????); Daniel Farwell (1717-????); Sarah Farwell (1721-1721).

 1196.  Joseph Farwell, born 26 February 1641 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 31 December 1722 in Dunstable, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.   He married 25 December 1666 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
1197.  Hannah Learned, born 24 August 1649 in Woburn, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 2394. Isaac Learned and 2395. Mary Stearns.

Children of Joseph Farwell and Hannah Learned are: Hannah Farwell (1668-1739); Joseph Farwell (1670-1740); Elizabeth Farwell (1672-1729); Henry Farwell (1674-1738); Isaac Farwell (1678-????); Mary Farwell (1681-????); Sarah Farwell (1683-????); John Farwell (1686-1709); William Farwell (1688-????); Oliver Farwell (1692-????).

2392.  Henry Farwell, born about 1605 in Boston, Lincoln, England; died 01 August 1670 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 4784. William Farwell.  He married  16 April 1629 in Boston, Lincoln, England.
2393.  Olive Welby, born 1604 in Moulton, Norfolk, England; died 01 March 1692 in Chelmsford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 4786. Richard Welby and 4787. Frances Bulkeley.

Children of Henry Farwell and Olive Welby are:  Elizabeth Farwell (1630-1670); Samuel Farwell (1633-1634); John Farwell (1635-1686); Joseph Farwell (1641-1722); Mary Farwell (1642-1714); Olive Farwell (1645-????).

The English ancestry, biography and descendants of Henry Farwell and Olive Welby are provided in the book The Farwell Family, Volume I, A History of Henry Farwell and his Wife Olive (Welby) Farwell of Boston, England and Concord and Chelmsford, Mass. 1605-1927 completed and compiled by Jane Harter Abbott and Lillian M. Wilson from the records of John Dennis Farwell, published by Frederick Henry Farwell and Fanny (Barber) Farwell, 1929. 

Many of the birth, marriage and death dates were confirmed in the various Massachusetts vital record books.

Advent Calendar - December 10: Christmas Gifts

This is the 10th in a series of 24 posts for the 2011 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 15th day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
The greatest gift of all - her love.

1) What were your favorite gifts, both to give and to receive?

I'm guessing at the date, but on about this date in 1969 I realized just how much Linda loved me and that I really loved her also. We had known each other for almost two years, but had been seriously dating only four months. As we made plans for Christmas with our respective families (mine in San Diego, hers in San Francisco), we talked openly about how much we meant to each other. I don't remember the physical gift we gave to each other at Christmas 1969, but I do know we gave each other a gift of commitment and happiness. The proposal was yet to come on Valentine's Day in 1970 (see, I was Mr. Romantic before I started doing genealogy), but this was the happiest Christmas of my life even though we were apart on December 25.

As a child, the best Christmas of all was 1954, when my brother Stan and I got our Davy Crockett coonskin caps and our Daisy BB guns for Christmas. Next best was 1955, when we got our Flexible Flyers, and the next best was 1956 when we got new bicycles. With the Flexies and bikes, we could roam all over San Diego and deliver our paper route on wheels - they meant freedom. We had had older bikes before this, but these were new with balloon tires and better brakes (still braking with the pedals, though).

Nowadays, I can count on receiving something electronic (I'm hoping for a notebook computer) and photographs of the grandchildren from my daughters and their families, some Hawaiian shirts and HP ink cartridges from Linda, and I usually treat myself to some genealogy books after the holiday. I usually get Linda some clothing - usually colorful (aqua, green, blue, red, purple) tops, jewelry (angels!), gift certificates and perhaps a promise of a cruise or vacation.

My daughters provide hints for gifts for the grandchildren which makes it pretty easy to shop online for them.

2) Are there specific gift-giving traditions among your family or ancestors?

I don't recall any gift-giving traditions for my family, nor do I know anything about traditions from the ancestors, and we don't have any for our daughters and their families.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Review: "Genealogy at a Glance: Immigration Research"

The Genealogical Publishing Company in Baltimore has published another in its series of "Genealogy at a Glance" laminated research guides - this time for Immigration Research by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack, CG, MFA.

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 "Genealogy at a Glance: Immigration Research" folder has these subjects:

* Contents list
* Quick Facts and Important Dates
* Immigration History Background - Migration Factors, Immigration by Time Period, Chain Migration
* Ports of Arrival
* Determining Your Ancestor's Time of Arrival 
* Passenger Arrival Lists - Pre-1820, 1820-ca. 1891, ca. 1891-1950s
* Passenger Arrival lists Online
*  Microfilmed Indexes and Lists
* Naturalization Records

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

For someone like me that teaches and talks about genealogy a bit, it is invaluable because I can pull it 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 Immigration 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), Book Review: "Genealogy at a Glance: German Genealogy Research," and Review: "Genealogy at a Glance: English 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.

The American Community Survey Questions

We received the American Community Survey form this week, and I filled it out last night.  The letter from Robert M. Groves, director of the U.S. Census Bureau, said:

"This survey collects critical up-to-date information used to meet the needs of communities across the United States.  for example, results from this survey are used to decide where new schools, hospitals and fire stations are needed.  This information also helps communities plan for the kinds of emergency situations that might affect you and your neighbors, such as floods and other natural disasters.

"The U.S. Census Bureau chose your address, not you personally, as part of a randomly selected sample.  You are required by U.S. law to respond to this survey.  The Census Bureau is required by U.S. law to keep your answers confidential..."

The American Community Survey questions are:

Page 1:

*  Please print today's date.
*  Please print the name and telephone number of the person who is filling out this form.
*  How many people are living or staying at this address?
*  Fill out pages 2,3,and 4 for everyone, including yourself, who is living or staying at this address for more than 2 months.  Then complete the rest of the form.

Page 2 (Persons 1 and 2):

1.  What is Person 1/2's name?
2.  How is this person related to Person 1?
3.  What is Person 1/2's sex?
4.  What is Person 1/2's age and what is Person 1/2's date of birth?
5.  Is Person 1/2 of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin?
6.  What is Person 1/2's race?

Page 3 (Persons 3 and 4) - answer same questions as on Page 2.

Page 4 (Persons 5 to 10) - Person 5 answers same questions as on Page 2, Persons 6 to 10 provide only name, sex and age)

Pages 5 to 7 - Housing

1.  Which best describes this building?
2.  About when was this building first built?
3.  When did Person 1 (listed on page 2) move into this house, apartment or mobile home?
4.  How many acres is this house or mobile home on?
5.  [If more than one acre] In the past 12 months, what were the actual sales of all agricultural products from this property?
6.  Is there a business (such as a store or barber shop) or a medical office on this property?
7a.  How many separate rooms are in this house, apartment, or mobile home?
7b.  How many of these rooms are bedrooms?
8.  Does this house, apartment, or mobile house have -
a.  hot and cold running water?
b.  a flush toilet?
c.  a bathtub and shower?
d.  a sink with a faucet?
e.  a stove or range?
f.  a refrigerator?
g.  telephone service from which you can both make and receive calls?
9.  How many automobiles, vans and trucks of one-ton capacity or less are kept at home for use by members of this household?

10.  Which fuel is used most for heating this house, apartment, or mobile home?
11a. Last month, what was the cost of electricity for this house, apartment or mobile home?
11b.  Last month, what was the cost of gas for this house, apartment, or mobile home?
11c.  In the past 12 months, what was the cost of water and sewer for this house, apartment, or mobile home?
11d.  In the past 12 months, what was the cost of oil, coal, kerosene, wood, etc. for this house, apartment, or mobile home.
12.  In the past 12 months, did anyone in this household receive Food Stamps or a Food Stamp benefit card?

13.  Is this house, apartment, or mobile home part of a condominium?  [If yes, what is the monthly condominium fee?]
14.  Is this house, apartment, or mobile home owned with a mortgage, owned free and clear, rented, or occupied without payment?
15a.  [If rented] What is the monthly rent for this house, apartment, or mobile home?
15b. [If rented] Does the monthly rent include any meals?
16.  [If owned] About how much do you think this house and lot, apartment, or mobile home (and lot, if owned) would sell for if it were for sale?
17. [If owned] What are the annual real estate taxes on this property?
18.  [If owned]  What is the annual payment for fire, hazard and flood insurance on this property?
19a. [If owned] Do you or any member of this household have a mortgage, deed of trust, contract to purchase, or similar debt on this property?
19b. [If owned, with debt] How much is the regular monthly mortgage payment on this property?
19c. [If owned, with debt] Does the regular monthly mortgage payment include payments for real estate taxes on this property?
19d. [If owned, with debt] Does this regular monthly mortgage payment include payments for fir, hazard, or flood insurance on this property?
20a. [If owned] Do you or any member of this household have a second mortgage or a home equity loan on this property?
20b. [If owned] How much is the regular monthly payment on all second or junior mortgages and all home equity loans on this property?
21. [Mobile home only]  What are the total annual costs for personal property taxes, site rent, registration fees, and license fees on this mobile home and its site?

Pages 8 to 11 (Person 1 information):

7.  Where was this person born [state or country]
8.  Is this person a citizen of the United States?
9.  [If not born in U.S.] When did this person come to live in the United States?

10a.  At any time in the last 3 months, has this person attended school or college?
10b. [If yes] What grade or level was this person attending?
11.  What is the highest degree or level of school this person has completed?

13.  What is this person's ancestry or ethnic origin? 
14a.  Does this person speak a language other than English at home?
14b. [If yes] What is this language?
14c.  How well does this person speak English?
15a.  did this person live in this house or apartment 1 year ago?
15b. [If no] Where did this person live 1 year ago? [address, city, county, state, zip code]
16.  Is this person currently covered by any of the following types of health insurance or health coverage plans?

17a.  Is this person deaf or does he/she have serious difficulty hearing?
17b.  Is this person blind or does he/she have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses?
18a.  [If over 5 years old] Because of a physical, mental or emotional condition, does this person have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions?
18b.  Does this person have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs?
18c.  Does this person have difficulty dressing or bathing?
19a.  [If over 15 years old] Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor's office or shopping?

20.  What is this person's marital status?
21.  In the past 12 months did this person get married, widowed or divorced?
22.  How many times has this person been married?
23.  In what year did this person last get married?
24.  [If female, and aged 15-50] Has this person given birth to any children in the past 12 months?
25a.  Does this person have any of his/her own grandchildren under the age of 18 living in this house or apartment?
25b.  [If yes] Is this grandparent currently responsible for most of the basic needs of any grandchildren under the age of 18 who lives in this house or apartment?
25c. [If yes] How long has this grandparent been responsible for these grandchildren?

26.  Has this person ever served on active duty in the U.S. Armed forces, military Reserves, or National Guard?
27.  [If yes] When did this person serve on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces?
28a.  [If yes] Does this person have a VA service-connected disability rating?
28b. [If yes] What is this person's service-connected disability rating?

29a.  Last week, did this person work for pay at a job or business? [If yes, skip to 30]
29b.  Last week, did this person do any work for pay, even for as little as one hour? [If no, skip to 35]
30.  At what location did this person work last week?
31.  How did this person usually get to work last week?
32. [if car, truck or van in 31] How many people, including this person, usually rode to work in the car, truck or van last week?
33. What time did this person usually leave home to go to work last week?
34.  How many minutes did it usually take this person to get from home to work last week?
35a.  Last week, was this person on layoff from a job?
35b.  [if no to 35a] Last week, was this person temporarily absent from a job or business?
35c. [if yes to 35b]  Has this person been informed that he or she will be recalled to work within the next 6 months or been given a date to return to work?
36.  During the last 4 weeks, has this person been actively looking for work?
37.  [if yes to 36] Last week, could this person have started a job if offered one, or returned to work if recalled?
38.  When did this person last work, even for a few days?
39a.  [If worked in last 12 months] During the past 12 months (52 weeks), did this person work 50 or more weeks?  Count paid time off as work.
39b. [If worked in last 12 months] How many weeks did this person work, even for a few hours, including paid vacation, paid sick leave, and military service?
40. [If worked in last 12 months] During the past 12 months, in the weeks worked, how many hours did this person usually work each week?
41.  [If worked in last 5 years] Was this person a private company employee, a government employee, self-employed, working without pay?
42. [If worked in last 5 years] For whom did this person work?
43. [If worked in last 5 years] What kind of business or industry was this?
44.  [If worked in last 5 years] Is this mainly manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, other?
45.  [If worked in last five years] What kind of work was this person doing?
46. [If worked in last 5 years] What were this person's most important activities or duties?

47a.  Annual wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, or tips from all jobs.
47b.  Annual Self-employment income from own nonfarm businesses or farm businesses, including proprietorships and partnerships.
47c.  Annual interest, dividends, net rental income, royalty income, or income from estates and trusts.
47d.  Annual Social Security or Railroad Retirement.
47e.  Annual Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
47f.  Any public assistance or welfare payments from the state or local welfare office.
47g.  Retirement, survivor, or disability pensions.
47h.  Any other sources of income received regularly such as VA payments, unemployment compensation, child support or alimony.

48.  What was this person's total income during the past 12 months?

Pages 12 to 15:  Personal data for Person 2.

Pages 16 to 19:  Personal data for Person 3.

Pages 20 to 23: Personal data for Person 4.

Pages 24 to 27: Personal data for Person 5.

Page 28.  Mailing Instructions.

That took me about two hours to fill out.  I had to find our utility bills and the last income tax return.

Don't we all wish that we had access to this type of information for all of our ancestral families every so often? 

Follow Friday - Pre-Christmas Genealogy Weekend Fun

Are you in the Christmas card, family letter and gift shopping mode yet? It's December, step away from the keyboard, put down your ahnentafel, and have a life. That's my wife's advice, of course. Me? I just want to have some Genealogy Fun this weekend. I recommend:

1) Listen to the Geneabloggers Radio show 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 "Genealogy Gift Guide." The special guests include:

Janet Hovorka, of The Chart Chick blog and also founder of Family ChartMasters right here in the Salt Lake City area who will tell us about the different types of products available at her company for displaying your genealogy research;
Lynn Palermo of The Armchair Genealogist blog in Ontario, Canada who will discuss some of the hottest gifts that should be on every genealogist’s list this holiday season;
*  Caroline Pointer of the Family Stories blog who has recently created some great gift items based on her family history – Caroline will give us some ideas on how to create gifts for friends and family!

2) Listen to the FGS Radio - My Society show on Saturday (2 p.m. ET, 1 p.m. CT, 12 noon MT, 11 a.m. PT) hosted by Thomas MacEntee. This week's topic is "SWAT: Analyzing Your Society from the Inside Out." The special guest is:

Janet Hovorka, President of the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA), who will discuss how UGA was able to analyze its strengths and weaknesses as an organization and then create an ambitious plan to expand its member services as well as offerings to the genealogical community.
*  We’ll be highlighting FGS member society, Genealogical Society of South Whidbey Island (Washington) in our weekly Society Spotlight feature.

3) Check out the recent FREE Webinars on:

* LegacyFamilyTree:
*** Tracing Immigrant Ancestors, by Lisa Alzo (free until 19 December)*** A Closer Look at Google+, by Dan Lynch (free until 12 December)
*** Celebrate the Holidays and Share Family History with Heritage Collector software, by Kathleen Bitter
*** Creating a Shareable CD with Legacy and Passage Express software, by Jefferson Shupe *** Let Your Voice Be Heard in the Digital Conversation, by Drusilla Pair (available free until 5 December)
*** Exploring and by their founder, Paul Allen. *** "Newspapers for Genealogists: Using to document every day of your ancestors' lives" with Tom Kemp.
*** "Organizng for Success" with Karen Clifford
*** "The Power of DNA in Unlocking Family Relationships," with Ugo Perugo

* RootsMagic Webinars (all free) available at Recengtly added:

*** What's New in RootsMagic 5
*** Fun Family Gifts with RootsMagic, Personal Historian, and Family Atlas

* 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 124 items on it now, including (free to view):

*** LIVE: How to Use the World War II Draft Registration Cards  with Juliana Smith
*** LIVE: How do I find the maiden names of women in my family tree?  by Crista Cowan
*** LIVE: I believe my ancestor was Native American/Indian, How do I prove that?  by Crista Cowan*** LIVE: Unlock the Secrets of the 1790 - 1840 US Census Records with Anne Mitchell
*** 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
*** LIVE: How Do I Find My Ancestors Before 1850? with Crista Cowan.
*** LIVE: How to dress up your family tree ...for the holidays! with Anne Mitchell.
*** LIVE: How to Find Your Civil War Roots on with Anne Mitchell.
*** Emigration & Immigration Records Online with Crista Cowan @ Ancestry Day San Francisco
*** Find Them Fast: Secrets to Searching with Laura Dansbury @ Ancestry Day San Francisco
*** Five Tips for Digging Up Answers at with Jeanie Croasmun @ Ancestry Day San Francisco

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. 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.  I think we're going Christmas shopping this weekend.

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) GO SHOPPING for genealogical products or services, or for technology products, for yourself, or for a gift for that special genealogy friend. Online or in a store - go for it!

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.

Advent Calendar - December 9: Christmas Weather

This post is number 9 in a series of 24 for the 2011 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 16th day before Christmas,
I want everybody to know
That it doesn't snow (much) in San Diego.

This is the first "Christmas Grab Bag" edition of the Advent Calendar, which I really appreciate!

Jasia asked four years ago "Did you ever see snow on Christmas" in a comment to my December 1 post.

The short answer is "Yes -- on television - on the weather report, the national news and the football games. Not outside our window ever."

Our weather in San Diego at sea level on Christmas Day is typically partly cloudy, with a high in the low 60's and a low in the high 40's. We have had sunny and warm (highs in the 80s) Christmas Days before, and have had rain all day on occasion. We don't usually have real cold (for us - temps in the 30s) weather in December - it usually happens in January.

The record low temperature in San Diego is 25 F, which happened in 1923 - the water froze in the fountain at the downtown Plaza. The temperatures on the coast are always warmer than inland - if you go 10 miles inland, the low temps are always 5 to 10 degrees colder than the San Diego city temperature.

The Laguna, Cuyamaca and Palomar Mountains to our east and north (all are over 6,000 feet high) get snow occasionally, even at Christmas time. The TV stations always show folks parked on the sides of the roads, sliding down hills and throwing snowballs. Every 5 years or so, we get a snow fall down to 2,000 feet elevation, but rarely at sea level.

It has snowed several times in my lifetime in San Diego. At sea level. In January 1949 (I think), it snowed while I was walking to school (I was in kindergarten and it made a big impression on me). In December 1967, it snowed on my way to work. This time, the snow stuck for most of the day in the suburbs, and many San Diego kids (including the 25 year-old Randy) had a lot of fun. It snowed again in late December 1987 in San Diego, but we were on the way home from San Francisco and missed it. In every case, it snows at sea level early in the morning when a fast-moving cold front follows a clear and cold night.

In all the years that we went to San Francisco at Christmas time, it never snowed on us there, much to my disappointment. In 1987, it did snow on us at King City (south of Salinas) on Highway 101 and we stopped and had a wonderful snow ball fight. In 1985, we went to Yosemite after visiting San Francisco, and stayed several nights in that icy wonderland. We marveled at the frozen ponds, the waterfalls shedding ice, and had a glorious day sledding and snowballing at Glacier Point, a ski resort.

I have been in snow on occasion on trips to Portland in 1968, Boston in 1968, Cincinnati in the 1990's, Topeka in 1987 and 1996, and Salt Lake City in 2010. Each time, I am always filled with wonder. Others (the natives) laugh at me - my lack of preparation (no hat, no gloves, no boots), my giddiness, my sliding on ice (unaware of the dangers).

For me, snow is really special - a treat.Our daughters live in areas that have snow occasionally, but we haven't been there when it has snowed. At least my grandchildren will have some memories of playing in the snow as children. We travel to their homes at Christmas time every other year - we might get lucky and really have a fun snow time with the little ones.

As a kid, I was very jealous that we did not have snow, at least on occasion, just so I could enjoy what other kids all over the country enjoyed. We didn't even have snow clothes, and still don't. We got Flexible Flyers (sleds with wheels) for Christmas, not snow sleds. When there was snow in the mountains, my folks never took us because of the crowds. I did go several times with the church youth group when I was 10 to 12 years old - it was cool! Wet. Cold. Fun.

We don't have snow tires, or own chains, or ice scrapers. We try to avoid driving where it is snowy and icy. We didn't take the kids to the snow when they were young because of our lack of proper equipment. The kids did go with their youth group several times, so they weren't totally deprived.

These days, I look forward to the absolutely clear days that follow a storm that dumps snow on the mountains. We can see Mount Cuyamaca (an Indian name, pronounced "kwee-ah-mack-ah") from all over San Diego County, and it occasionally has a snow mantle down to 4,000 feet. It is majestic and beautiful.

The San Diego Union-Tribune published an article on 6 December 2007 -- "The day it snowed in San Diego" describing December 13, 1967 - the day I remembered in my post above. There is also a list of other San Diego snow days - including January 11, 1949 and December 24, 1987. I saved it to my hard drive. The opening paragraphs:

“ 'This is something you tell to people who are from out of the area. They have a hard time believing it,' said Ken Ayers, a county native who was a dazzled 7-year-old on that wondrous day. 'It's the California Christmas dream.'

"The dream came true 40 years ago this morning, when gale-force winds blew a Canadian cold front far, far off course. Across San Diego County, residents woke up to see the air shimmering with something cold, white and unfamiliar."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wild Card Searches on

I've been corresponding with reader Carol, who uses the databases a lot.  She told me about wild card searches on the site.  I don't recall using wild card searches before!

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page is at and the Wild Card Search section is at  It says:

" only requires one character before using a wildcard. The supported wildcards are:

"The keyword field and all other free text search boxes support the following wildcards:
  • ? matches any single character
  • * matches any number of characters
"The keyword field also supports these additional wildcards:
  • + between two words will require both words to be present in the record
  • – between two word will return results which contain the first word, but excludes the second word
  • “ ” around a word or phrase will require the term in quotations to be present, exactly as typed
  • ~ ~ between two years will search that year range, inclusive. Example, 1748~~1750 "
So it appears that a user can use either the first name, last name fields, or the Keyword fields, to search for a name.  I need to work a bit more in it to determine just how powerful this search feature is.

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 28: Creating an Undocumented Facts Report

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

One of the new features in Family Tree Maker 2012 (added in the Patch released this week) is the Undocumented Facts Report.  I wanted to see how it worked and what the resulting report would look like.  The description of this report is:

"The Undocumented Facts Report lists all of the facts in your tree for which you do not have information."

In the "People" workspace with William Knapp (1775-1856) on my screen, I clicked on the "Publish" workspace button and selected "Source Reports" and highlighted the "Undocumented Facts" report:

I selected the "Create Report" button (I could have double-clicked the report icon also) and a report for William Knapp's family was created.  The report offers three options for "Individuals to Include" in the report:

*  Immediate family
*  All individuals
*  Selected individuals

I wanted to run a report for the descendants of William Knapp, so I checked the "Selected individuals" box, typed "Knapp, William" into the search box, picked the right one, and clicked on "Descendants" and 151 persons were added to the selected group:

The resulting report for Descendants of William Knapp was only 18 pages long, and was created in less than ten seconds.  Yikes!

On a whim, I selected the entire database, and a report that was 2,785 pages long was created after more than ten minutes.  That will keep me busy for awhile, eh?  More yikes!

I tried to save that report as an RTF file, and stopped the program after it tried to do it over a twenty minute period. 

The Undocumented Facts Report finds every Fact for which there is no source provided.  It lists the persons alphabetically by last name, first name.  That includes the Person ID number, the FamilySearch Family Tree number, the Sex, Name, AKA Name, Alternate Facts, and all other Facts.  Note: in my database, I have not provided sources for names, sex, or Person ID, or for personal knowledge items like occupations and residences.

It would be nice if the user could select the Fact types to be reported - that would reduce the report size considerably. 

Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Birth Certificate

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

The treasure today is the birth certificate for
Isaac Seaver in 1823 in Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts:

I obtained this birth certificate by postal mail from the Westminster town clerk's office on 17 September 1990.

Here is the transcription of the birth certificate (handwritten parts in italics, form lines underlined):

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
United States of America
Copy of Record of Birth


I, the undersigned, hereby certify that I am clerk of the Town of Westminster
that as such I have custody of the records of births required by law to be kept in my office, that among
such records is one relating to the birth of

Isaac Sever

and that the following is a true copy of so much of said record as relates to said birth, namely:

Date of Birth  October 16, 1823   Time __________
Place of Birth Westminster, MA

Name of Child  Isaac Sever
Sex --     Color  _______


Name  Benjamin Sever
Residence  Westminster, MA
Place of Birth  --
Occupation  --


Name  Abigail --
Residence  Westminster, MA
Place of Birth  --
Occupation  --

Date of Record  1823   Date of amendment

And I do hereby certify that the foregoing is a truy copy from said records.
Witness my hand and seal of said TOWN of WESTMINSTER
on this seventeenth day of September  19 90
..........................  Denise L. MacAloney
............................................ Clerk

Year  1823
Vol.  Births
Page  246
No.  --

While this "certificate" is an official record of the birth of Isaac Sever, it is not the "original" record.  It is a Derivative Source record since it was not the first record of the event. 

The Original Source record is a handwritten Westminster Town Clerk's record book for Births.  I think that the original volume is this entry from the LDS Family History Library Catalog (FHLC):

Births, marriages, deaths 1738-1845; births, marriages, deaths 1844-1853; births 1853-1910; marriages 1853-1910; deaths 1853-1910. FHL US/CAN Film 2313482

However, I'm unsure.  There are several other entries for Westminster Vital Records in the FHLC that do not include 1823. 

What I am sure about is that the reference given on the certificate is that it is not the Westminster Vital Records to the End of 1849 book - Isaac's birth is on page 83 of that book, which is a derivative source. 

I also noted that all of the microfilm numbers in the FHLC are linked to an order form so that I can order the film and have it sent to my local FamilySearch Center, and pay for it online.  Very convenient!

Advent Calendar - December 8: Christmas Cookies!

This post is number 8 in a series of 24 for the 2011 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 17th day before Christmas,
my angel honey presented me
a whole plate of sugar cookies.

1) Did your family make Christmas Cookies?

My mother, my grandmother, my wife and my daughters all made or make Christmas cookies. They all had or have a set of the classic cookie cutters - a snowman, a Santa, a tree, a sleigh, etc. In olden times (pre-1990 or so), they would make the dough somehow (always a mystery to me), roll it out with a rolling pin (who has one these days?), and try to get as many cookies out of the flat dough as possible. Then they would take the scraps and mash them together, roll it out again and cut out more. Pop them in the oven and then sprinkle them with colored sugar crystals, or cover them with colored frosting and maybe M&Ms or red-hots, when they come out.

Now, the cookies seem to be packaged - you put a blob of dough on the cookie sheet and put it in the oven, bake it and mark it with R (hmmm, wrong song), and dress it up if necessary.

2) How did you help?

I was, and am, a champion cookie eater. I made every female in my life feel good about their culinary skills by devouring their baked goodies. It contributes mightily to my "look like Santa" thing. I did help my mother when I was a kid by being creative with the cookie cutters, and by lavishing extra frosting and sugar on the baked cookies.

3) Did you have a favorite cookie?

I think my favorite Christmas cookie is a Christmas Tree sugar cookie with green sugar crystals on them. Close behind is a Santa cookie with red sugar crystals. Third is a Snowman cookie with white sugar crystals. I don't count chocolate chip cookies with red and green M&Ms in them, or Oreos with red or green filling (why hasn't Oreo come up with a red and green cookie?). I like those too, of course, but they aren't my favorite at Christmas - just the rest of the year? Yummy.

I haven't had any Christmas cookies yet - my first taste will probably be next Wednesday at the CVGS holiday luncheon (see, there is some genealogy in this series!).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

SDGS Family History Seminar Features Thomas W. Jones

The San Diego Genealogical Society (SDGS) Family History Seminar on Saturday, 14 January 2012 features Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS.

The seminar is at The Handlery Hotel and Resort, 950 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108.  The seminar starts at 9 a.m. and will end at 3 p.m.  The seminar cost is $40 per person for SDGS members or $45 per person for non-members.  Registration includes a seated luncheon.  The Handlery Hotel and Resort charges $3 for all day parking with event validation.  The registration deadline is 7 January 2012.  You can download the registration form here.

Thomas W. Jones will make the following presentations:

*  Five Proven Technologies for Finding European Origins

*  Finding "Un-findable" Ancestors

*  The Jones Jinx: Tracing Common Surnames

*  Planning Reasonably Exhaustive Research

Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS, works full-time as a genealogical author, editor, educator, and researcher.  A past president and former trustee of the Board for Certification for Genealogists, he has co-edited the National Genealogical Society Quarterly since 2002.  Tom teaches "Evidence and Documentation" in Boston University's online and classroom-based genealogy certificate programs, "Advanced Genealogical Methods" at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy," and "Writing and Publishing for Genealogists" at Samford University's Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research.

I will be attending this seminar, and I encourage all San Diego area genealogists to attend it - Tom Jones is one of the top researchers, teachers and speakers in the United States at this time. 

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 182: Molster Farm

I recently scanned some photographs from our 1999 trip to Scandinavia, including a visit to Oslo and Voss in Norway. I am posting some of these photos.

This is a photograph from our visit to Molster farm on the hill above the town of Voss in Norway.

When we visited Molster farm in 1999, it was a "living history" museum set in the 1850s, with docents in costume demonstrating family life in the kitchen, the living areas, and the work areas.  There was a small historical museum and gift shop also.  I found it very interesting.

One of Linda's Norwegian ancestral families, that came to Wisconsin in 1855, lived on Molster farm in the years just before they migrated.

My Rooted Technology - a Meme

By attending RootsTech 2012 you’ll have the opportunity not only to network with other genealogists, vendors and developers and share the knowledge you currently have, but you’ll also get the chance to learn even more about the latest in technology for family history.

As an Official RootsTech 2012 Blogger, here’s a look at the technology I currently use and what keeps me rooted in my genealogy research. I also explain why I am using or not using certain technologies and gadgets  as well as what skills and knowledge I’m hoping to gain at RootsTech this year.

If you want to join in the fun and show off your own tech cred, here are the rules for the My Rooted Technology meme:
  • Technology you already use: bold face type (in blue)
  • Technology you would like to use or learn more about: italicize (in red)
  • Technology you don’t use, have no interest in using or no longer use: plain type
  • Explain or give opinions in brackets [ ] at the end of each bullet point
  1. I have a tablet computer such as an iPad that I use for genealogy [I have been pondering buying a Tablet...but probably would use a small laptop to better use]
  2. I have downloaded one or more apps to a Smart Phone or similar device. [I don't have a smart Phone either, and am pondering buying one]
  3. I belong to a genealogy society that uses social media. [NGS, NEHGS, SCGS and SDGS have webinars and a Facebook presence, and they plus CVGS have blogs]
  4. I use GEDCOM files and understand the various compatibility issues involved [too much understanding, I fear!]
  5. I have added metadata to some of my files and digital photos. [another task TBD]
  6. I have utilized an API from a genealogy-related application or website. [what's an API?]
  7. I have taken a DNA test related to my genealogy research.  [Y-chromosome, mitochondrial, and FTDNA Family Finder]
  8. I have used the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
  9. I have a Facebook account and use it regularly for genealogy.
  10. I use tech tools to help me cite my sources in genealogy research. [well, is EE a tech tool?  Are the source templates in RM5, LFT7 and FTM2012 tech tools?]
  11. I have developed a genealogy-related app for a Smart Phone or similar device. [nope]
  12. I use a genealogy database program (Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic etc.) [yes, those three!]
  13. I use cloud computer resources to store my genealogy data. [I use Dropbox for the most critical files, and Google Docs for working files; plus online trees at Ancestry, Geni, MyHeritage, others]
  14. I have made one or more contributions to the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
  15. I have attended a genealogy webinar. [too many to count...]
  16. I have organized and administered a DNA testing group related to my genealogy. [no plans...]
  17. I use apps involving GPS and Geo-caching for my genealogy research. [not yet...]
  18. I have a Google+ account and use it regularly for genealogy. [yes!  We need more genies on Google+]
  19. I have created and published a family history e-book. [Long time ago now, not available online now]
  20. I have created a wiki related to my genealogy research. [Not planning to.  I have contributed to WikiTree and WeRelate family tree wikis]
  21. I have conducted a genealogy webinar as a presenter. [No real desire to do this]
  22. I read genealogy-related blogs to help improve my own research. [All day long it seems!]
  23. I have one or more genealogy-related blogs to help improve my own research. [Only four, with others in mind; great cousin bait]
  24. I have a Twitter account and use it regularly for genealogy. [mainly to highlight blog posts or conference news]
  25. I have one or more genealogy-related websites which I run and administer. [an old one...still there!]
  26. I have created a screencast or video related to genealogy and posted it at a video sharing site (Vimeo, YouTube, etc.).  [Not yet, and don't have plans for it.  Was interviewed by Lisa Cooke once]
  27. I use one or more digital tools to capture and record my family history. ([igital camera for family pictures, photos at cemeteries, document images at repositories; Digital audio recorder for interviews, seminars, etc.]
What about you, dear Readers?  What technology tools do you use (you don't have to be an Official RootsTech blogger to post this meme)?

Advent Calendar - December 7: Holiday Parties

This post is number 7 in a series of 24 for the 2011 Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

On the 18th day of Christmas,
my relatives acted hearty
at a family Christmas party.

1) Did your family throw a holiday party each year?

When I was a kid, we didn't have a separate holiday party that I recall - just celebrations with my grandparents and my cousin Dorothy's family.

After we were married, my parents, my brothers and us would have a Christmas party either on the weekend before Christmas, on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day with the traditional dinner. As the children grew, these became great fun watching the little ones open gifts, show off for grandma and grandpa, and play out in the yard.

Our family would fly (on Christmas Day) or drive (several days before Christmas) to San Francisco to celebrate the holiday with Linda's parents and brother. They would invite their living aunts and uncles to dinner and Paul (Linda's brother) and I would often go pick them up and take them home. Sometimes, we would go down the peninsula to visit the aunts, uncles and cousins. There was always lots of laughs, sharing of memories, interesting gifts and lots of good food at these events.

2) Do you remember attending any holiday parties?

Besides the family parties, there were Christmas parties at church and with colleagues at work. The church couples group adopted a New Year's Eve "progressive dinner" party, with white elephant gift giving, rather than a pre-Christmas party. This was done because everybody had a busy schedule with their kids and family, needed a sober New Year's event to attend, and we could get rid of useless but valuable gifts at the New Year's party. We also attended a pre-Christmas party with our Marriage Encounter board couples with a white elephant gift exchange. If we didn't like the gift we got here, we took it to the New Year's party. Fruitcake, especially!

For many years, my work group got together for an evening pot luck party with much drinking and telling stories about people who didn't attend. These were always at someone's house, and it was a good way to meet the spouses of your colleagues, stand under the mistletoe and be spurned, and to see how they lived. I don't have many specific memories of these, of course, except that Linda had to pour me into bed more than once.

Linda's teaching colleagues also had a pre-Christmas party at someone's house, which was similar to my work colleague party, except it was more interesting because the families were in different income brackets. The group was much more diverse and the people more interesting. There was a designated gift giving at these parties - each teacher drew a name at school to give a gift to.