Saturday, July 28, 2012

Genealogy Fun with the SNGF Genea-lympics - Post 1

Something tells me I'm going to write several posts like this over the next two weeks.

The Saturday Night Genealogy Fun(SNGF) Genea-lympics ARE ON...a friendly competition (mainly against myself...) - see Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - the SNGF Genealympics I for details, how to compete, etc.  See Announcing the Summer 2008 Genea-Blogger Group Games! for the 2008 Genea-Blogger Group Games events and medals.  It is not necessary to post only on a Saturday or to complete everything in one evening or one week. This can be an effort over two weeks.

1)  Here is my competition flag:

My reasoning for this flag design is that England is very much my "mother country"for over 75% of my ancestry(indeed, my autosomal DNA test shows about 90% "British Isles"), so it forms the background.  I have some Canadian ancestors (not all of them English heritage), and I have over one thousand ancestors  born in the American colonies and states.  If I could figure out a design, I would add flags for Germany (but there was no Germany before 1871, right? All of mine came in before 1760), Netherlands (several families in the 17th century), and France (several families in the 17th century) to spice it up a bit.

2)  I will compete in the "Cite Your Sources" event, but need to establish the baseline in order to "count" the additions.  Tonight, I have exactly 29,178 source citations in my genealogy database in RootsMagic 5.  If I add 100 more in the next two weeks, I should be able to receive a Platinum medal!

3)  I will compete in the "Organize Your Research"event also - by putting digital files and photographs into my Ancestor Files filing system, and adding data entries to my database.

4) I will also compete in the three tasks listed in  Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - the SNGF Genealympics I today:

a)  Pick any one of your 16 great-great-grandparents, or one of your spouse's 16 great-great-grandparents.  How many descendants of that person do you have in your family tree records or database?  (Hint, a Descendants Report in your genealogy software should easily provide this number).

I went through several of my 16 great-great-grandparents, and the ones with the most identified descendants are  James Richman (1821-1912) and Hannah Rich(1826-1911). They have 189 descendants in 7 generations.   Unfortunately, several of their grandchildren died relatively young in life, but there were fewer in the other seven sets of great-greats! Of course, I may find more descendants if I concentrate on that task.

My medal for this event is: Gold

b) Pick one of your ancestral surnames, or one of your spouse's ancestral surnames. How many generations back from the last person with that surname in your ancestry have you researched, identified and accept as your ancestor?  [Note:  if you are doing your own surname, don't count yourself).

My Seaver surname goes back 11 generations from me to my 9th great-grandfather, Robert Seaver (1608-1683).  Here is the list back from me:

1)  Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1983) married Betty Virginia Carringer (1919-2002)
2)  Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1942) married Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)
3.  Frank W. Seaver (1852-1922) married Hattie Louise Hildreth (1857-1920)
4.  Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) married Lucretia Townsend Smith (1828-1884)
5.  Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) married Abigail Gates (1797-1867)
6.  Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) married Martha Whitney (1764-1832)
7.  Norman Seaver (1734-1787) married Sarah Read (1736-1809)
8.  Robert Seaver  (1702-1752) married Eunice Raymond (1707-1773)
9.  Joseph Seaver (1672-1754) married Mary Read (1680-????)
10. Shubael Seaver (1640-1730) married Hannah Wilson (1647-1722
11.  Robert Seaver (1608-1683) married Elizabeth Ballard (1613?-1657)

I do have some lines that go back into England in the 16th century, but I don't have a run of more than 11 ancestors in those surnames.

My Medal for this event is:  Diamond

c)  Pick one or more of your end-of-line ancestors (you know, one that you don't know the parent(s) of).  Review your collected data, research log, and database and create a Research Plan to do a Reasonably Exhaustive search for the selected ancestor(s).  

I have not started to compete in this event yet. My plan is to do one every day, if at all possible!!! I will try to share them as I complete them in hopes that my knowledgeable and super-helpful readers may pitch in with some advice and consultation.

So, on the first day of the 2012 SNGF Genealympics, I have scored a Gold medal and a Diamond medal.  
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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - the SNGF Genealympics I

Ah, Saturday Night again, time for lots more Genealogy Fun, but also the 2012 Summer Olympics are on all day for 17 days!!!

Long time  readers of Genea-Musings and other genea-blogs will recall the 2008 Genea-Blogger Group Games, created by Thomas MacEntee, Kathryn Doyle and Miriam Midkiff - see the competition categories here.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to COMPETE in the 2012 SNGF Genealympics.  Your effort can extend until Sunday, 12 August. 

For these 2012 SNGF Genealympics, the motto is "Research, Cite, Analyze, Resolve, Conclude!"

Competitors can:

1)  Perform one or more of the challenges outlined in Announcing the Summer 2008 Genea-Blogger Group Games!  Same medal levels.

2)  Perform one or more challenges outlined below (created by me on the spur of the moment here!):

a)  Design your own Genealympics flag to represent your ancestry, heritage or personal expression. Unfortunately, the custom flagmaking web site used in 2008 is no longer available, and I could find no other free site that did a similar function.  It may be easiest to use the Flags of the World site, save the country flags of your choice, and create your own graphic using a graphics program (or any program that will let you import and manipulate images, and save the image for display.

b)  Pick any one of your 16 great-great-grandparents, or one of your spouse's 16 great-great-grandparents.  How many descendants of that person do you have in your family tree records or database?  (Hint, a Descendants Report in your genealogy software should easily provide this number).

Medal Awards:
*   Bronze:  over 50 descendants
*  Silver:  over 100 descendants
*  Gold: over 150 descendants
*  Diamond:  over 200 descendants
*  Platinum:  over 250 descendants

c)  Pick one of your ancestral surnames, or one of your spouse's ancestral surnames.  How many generations back from the last person with that surname in your ancestry have you researched, identified and accept as your ancestor?  [Note:  if you are doing your own surname, don't count yourself).

Medal Awards:
*   Bronze:  at least 4 generations
*  Silver:  at least 6 generations
*  Gold: at least 8 generations
*  Diamond:  at least 10 generations
*  Platinum:  at least 12 generations

d)  Pick one or more of your end-of-line ancestors (you know, one that you don't know the parent(s) of).  Review your collected data, research log, and database and create a Research Plan to do a Reasonably Exhaustive search for the selected ancestor(s).  

Medal Awards:
*   Bronze:  created one research plan
*  Silver:  created two research plans
*  Gold: created three research plans
*  Diamond:  created four research plans
*  Platinum:  created five or more research plans

NOTE:  This is supposed to be a fun competition, and is based on your word and honor.  No drug tests, no judges.  The intent is to inspire you to do more research, cite more sources, analyze more data, etc.  Bonus points awarded for excellence in humor and style!

3)  Whatever you choose to compete in, please tell us about it in your own blog posts, in Facebook Status posts, in Google+ Stream posts, or as a comment to this post.  You don't have to post your status or accomplishments on a Saturday Night!  Any time is fine! You have until Sunday, 12 August to compete and achieve your medal levels.

4) There will be additional events posted in next week's SNGF.  If you have suggestions for more events for these SNGF Genealympics, please pass them on to me in Comments or in email (  

I will post mine later tonight!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright(c) 2012, RandallJ. Seaver

Surname Saturday - MORRISON (???? > New Jersey)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week.  I am up to number 507: Martha Morrison (ca 1739-????). [Note: The 6th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts] 

My ancestral line back to Martha Morrison is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

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

6.  Lyle Lawrence Carringer (1891-1976)
7.  Emily Kemp Auble (1899-1977)

14.  Charles Auble (1849-1916)
15.  Georgianna Kemp (1868-1952) 

30.  James Abram Kemp (1831-1902)
31.  Mary Jane Sovereen (1840-1874) 

62.  Alexander Sovereign (1814-1907)
63.  Eliza Putman (1820-1895) 

126.  John Putman (1785-1863)
127.  Sarah Martin (1792-1860)

252.  Peter Victorse Putman (1760-1835)
253.  Sarah Mary Kinnan (1761-1841)

506.  John Kinnan, born about 1736 in New Jersey, United States; died 1784 in Wantage, Sussex, New Jersey, United States.  He married before 1756 in New Jersey, United States.
507.  Martha Morrison, born about 1739 in New Jersey, United States.

Children of John Kinnan and Martha Morrison are:
i. John Kinnan, born 1756 in Sussex, New Jersey, United States; died 12 June 1809 in Sandyston, Sussex, New Jersey, United States.
ii. Sarah Mary Kinnan, born June 1761 in Wantage, Sussex, New Jersey, United States; died 22 November 1841 in Springwater, Livingston, New York, United States; married Peter Victorse Putman 20 March 1780 in Wantage, Sussex, New Jersey, United States.
iii. Mary Kinnan, born about 1765 in New Jersey, United States; married Isaac Bedell.

That's all I know about Martha Morrison!  I don't know who her parents were.  I don't know if she had siblings.  There are 76 Public Member Trees on for a Martha Morrison who married a John Kinnan. Some of them are for a daughter of Daniel Morrison and Hannah Griffin, born in 1693 in Massachusetts.  The others don't list a birth date, but do list the children listed above.  Several trees show Martha's parents to be John and Margaret (-----) Morrison.  

The above conjectures are repeated in most of the matches to a Google Search for their names.  One interesting online message board post by Mark Putman (a cousin of mine) is found here, which implies that Martha's name might have been Mowerson.  Another possibly useful message board thread about the Morrison family of northern New Jersey is here. One of the message replies, by Betty Clingman, refers to a will of John Morrison, saying:

"In his will dated 17 June 1751 and proved 25 Oct 1753 in Somerset Co., NY, the father John Morrison names his wife Margrete and nine children, James, Sarah, Marey, Martha, Margrete, Agnes, David, Isaac and John. David, Isaac and John were minors at the time of their father's death and guardianship records were filed in Somerset Co."

There is, of course, no Somerset County, New probably means New Jersey.

Needless to say, this is Kinnan/Morrison family line is one that I have not performed any original research on, and have relied on published information from other researchers.

If you have more information about this Martha Morrison (is that really her surname?), I would appreciate hearing from you.

The URL for this post is: 

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, July 27, 2012 has a New Look

The commercial website has a new look and search results.  I captured these screens today:

1) Here is the updated home page:

The Search Boxhas two buttons - "Keyword" and "Name."  Below the buttons are links for "Advanced," "Help," and"Browse Collections:"

2) If the user clicks on "Name" and"Advanced," the Advanced Search fields for a Name will appear.  I put Martin and Carringer in the Name Search fields. Other fields are "Keywords," and a "Year Range."  The user can narrow the search to records added in the last 1, 3, 6 months on one year, or search all records (the default):

3)  I clicked on the orange "Search" icon (magnifying glass) button and a popup window came up with Search Hints.  The user can watch a short presentation if they want to.  If not, just click the X at the top right of the popup.

4)  The biggest change and improvement (IMHO) is to the Results page:

There are three columns.  The one on the left shows the list of Categories or Titles (different Tabs) with matches.  The middle column shows a Timeline, the States involved, and Results type.

The right-hand column has the Search results - showing the record title, how the name is shown in the match, a thumbnail of the first page of the record, the number of pages in the document, annotations, etc.  I really like this column - rather than show matches for a person on, say, 45 pages of his Revolutionary War Pension File, you see one link to the document.

5)  I clicked on Martin Carringer's Revolutionary War Pension File title and saw:

This provides a larger view of the first page of the document and the film strip at the bottom. The user can magnify the image.  If you determine that this is not a document you want to see, you can click on another match document in the column to the left.

If you click on the image icon on the Search Results page, or on the yellow"View Larger" button in the screen above, you obtain the typical image page, with the Source information in the left-hand panel (can be collapsed or expanded), the film strip at the bottom (can be collapsed or expanded), with the document page image  in the right-hand panel.

I appreciate that has improved their search and their results page.  I think that is is a significant improvement because it's easier to navigate and adds some new features.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver Searches - Post 2: English Census Records

I want to start using my brand new, shiny, subscription for English records, including census, civil registration and parish registers, plus whatever else I can find for the ancestors of myself and my wife.

In the first post in this series, I found U.S. Census records - see Checking Out the Search - Post 1: U.S. Census Records.  

In this post, I will go searching for English Census Records for my Richman family, and specifically my second great-grandfather, James Richman (1821-1912).  From the home page, I clicked on the "Search Records" button and filled in this information:

*  First Name = James (name variant checked)
*  Last Name = Richman (name variant unchecked)
*  Search Dates, From = 1840
*  Search Dates, To = 1870
*  Collections from: United Kingdom
*  Optional Keywords = Wiltshire

I expect to see results from the 1841, 1851 and 1861 English census records, and we'll see what else there is.

I did not use any of the Filters on the left-hand side of the screen.  Here is the Search screen:

Before I clicked on"Search," the screen above told me that there were over 628 million records in the United Kingdom collections.  Is this number the same for both the and web sites (i.e., American and UK subscribers)?

With my search criteria noted above, there were 27 matches. The two screens below show the first page of the matches (there are 10 matches per page of results) that were sorted by relevance:

There are other sort criteria, and can be selected in the dropdown box shown in the second screen above. They are:

*  Sort by Relevance
*  Sort by First Name
*  sort by Last Name
*  Sort by Year
*  Sort by Category
*  Sort by Country
*  Sort by Record Collection
*  Sort by Record Set
*  Sort by Record Type
*  Sort by County

The Record Collections for these  27 matches are:

*  Census - 13
*  Births and Baptisms - 9
*  Deaths and Burials - 3
*  Marriages - 2

The Record Sets for these 27 matches are:

*  England and Wales Births, 1837-2006 - 9
*  1841 England and Wales Census - 5
* 1851 England and Wales Census - 4
*  1861 England and Wales Census - 4
*  England and Wales Deaths, 1837-2007 - 3
*  England and Wales Marriages, 1837-2008 - 2

One of the entries on the 1841 England and Wales Census list was the record for James Richman (who was in the Jno. Richman family) - two screens shown below:

Clicking on the green "Transcriptions" button shows the household member list and all of the information indexed for James Richman:

The indexed information includes:

*  First Name = James
*  Last Name = Richman
*  Collections from = United Kingdom
*  Gender = M
*  Country = England
*  Category = Census, Land and Substitutes
*  Record collection = Census
*  Record set = 1841 England, Wales and Scotland Census
*  Title = [blank]
*  County = Wiltshire
*  Year = 1841
*  Birth Year = 1821
*  Age = 20
*  Parish = Hilperton
* Street = Hilperton Marsh Lane
*  Occupation = [blank]
*  Birth County = Wiltshire
*  City = [blank]
* House Name = [blank]
*  House Number = [blank]
*  Registration District = Melksham
*  Town = [blank]
*  Inhabited = [blank]
*  Institution Name = [blank]
*  Archive Reference = H0107
*  Book = 2
*  Folio = 29
*  Page = 6
*  Piece Number = 1182 
*  Age Transcribed = [blank]
*  Page Type = 6
*  Provider = 2
*  Schedule = 255
*  Schedule Suffix = [blank]
*  Set = 35
*  Sub-District = Trowbridge
*  Transcribed Folio = 2/24
*  Where Born (other) = [blank]

I know that some of those items are important for a source citation. Here is a source citation that I crafted for this digital image based on the information above (using the RootsMagic 5 source template):

1841 England, Wales and Scotland Census, Wiltshire, Hilperton [parish], Folio 24, Page 9 (printed), Lines 7-10, John Richman household; digital image, The Natonal Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, ( : accessed 27 July 2012); Public Record Office HO 107/1182/2.

When I created an 1851 England census source citation in Treasure Chest Thursday - 1851 English Census Record for James Richman Family, reader David Newton provided a typical "English-style" source citation as:

The National Archives of the United Kingdom, "1851 Census of England and Wales," HO 107/1840, folio 254, page 21.

So, for this 1841 English census record, the "English-style" source citation would be:

The National Archives of the United Kingdom, "1841 Census of England and Wales," HO 107/1182/2, folio 24, page 9.

If I have erred here, I'm sure one of my English friends will tell me, and I'll correct it.

Back to the results:  I could see no way to "browse" the images; in other words, to see the previous page, or the next page, or some other page in the record set.  This is a very common requirement that I,and many others, have in order to find persons residing near the target family.

I think that I will work on the Filters in the next post.  And I will look at Wild Cards in a future post.  Then there are the other record types to search and find.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Follow-Up Friday - 1940 Census Indexing, and Toastites

I like to highlight cogent, interesting and useful comments to my blog posts from the previous week on Follow-Up Friday.  Here is this week's crop of highlighted comments, along with my additional thoughts:

1)  There were comments on my series which culminated in 1940 U.S. Census Comparisons - Summary and Conclusions (posted 23 July 2012):

*  Jude said:  "I've indexed over 22,000 names on Family Search. Sometimes, I'll be completely wrong on a name, and when I go back to the name on a second pass, I'll suddenly know that what looked like Ophiel is really Pearl. I wish I were perfect at it, but I'm at 98% accuracy, and after about 2,000 names, I got a lot better. I think that everyone who is doing Family Search's indexing, whether LDS or not (I'm not) really, really cares about getting every name right. I know that *I* feel that way. Unfortunately, perfection isn't possible."

*  Michael W. McCormick noted:  "Thanks for the timely, thorough analysis of these two indexing efforts. At RootsTech an Asian company presented on indexing and I heard does a subcontracted foreign single pass index. I think they might be using them, but I could be wrong. The RootsTech class was impressive though so I thought they'd do a good job. All things considered for a one pass, probably foreign index, it is really good. I'm glad the community can hopefully get insights from this--whatever those might be."

*  Sharon commented: "Thanks for the analysis. I was a bit surprised by how different the results were between the two companies. In time, however, this may change. Ancestry permits corrections to their 1940 census indexing by users; FamilySearch does not. So if it is wrong on FamilySearch, it will stay that way forever. If it is wrong on Ancestry, it might get corrected. 

"This makes it even more important for Ancestry users to submit corrections when they do locate an indexing error. You can even add alternate names if it is not truly an indexing error. For example, the census itself may have been wrong, or perhaps only initials were used instead of a full given name. So if you see something in the Ancestry index that can be improved, please submit a correction or alternate name."

*  Dave said: "This does confirm my experience with both indexes. I recall reading that Ancestry paid a company to index for them. Not sure about onshore/offshore, but based on what I've seen there were some pretty basic mistakes.  Regarding being able to submit corrections on the Ancestry indexes perhaps Ancestry should credit my account for each entry that I fix? If they are willing to pay a company to do it, why should I fix it for free? I'm thinking a nickel per correction would be good. ;-)"

*  Brian W. Schaar noted: "Another thought – is what is written down the correct entry for that person: is the names, date, or locations correct? There could have been communication problems between the informant and the enumerator – thus the inaccurate entries.

"As a FSI indexer and arbitrator – even with several aids at my disposal – it was hard deciphering between the ‘a’ and ‘o’, or ‘e’ and ‘I’. FSI guidelines were to TWYS (type what you see) – not being influenced with the 1930 Census or other sources.

"I know record indexing accuracy is important, but my main excitement will be when I find my family records – with exact spelling or with other filtering aids. I will provide my searching results when Illinois becomes searchable on FamilySearch or Ancestry."

My comments:  I appreciate the views expressed in these comments.  I agree with Jude that it is impossible to be "perfect"in the indexing (having failed myself so many times when indexing).  My accuracy rate was about 98% also (but that's relative to the arbitrated values). 

Sharon noted that users can add corrections or clarifications to the index, which will gradually make the index better. I like Dave's idea - Ancestry should reward corrections to their indexing.

Brian's right - there may have been informant and enumerator problems.  That's why I compared only the index entry vs. the handwritten entry on the census form, and judged the accuracy of the index.  The value of a good index is that the searcher can find their people.  I look forward to his searching results from Illinois.

* Caroline Gurney noted:  "You might want to contact FMP with regard to your point about source citations. In British genealogy we do not use the source citation format you use in the US. It is up to the person using the source to construct their own citation - a variety of different formats being equally acceptable. All we need from the data provider is information about the archive holding the original record and its call number. Since FMP is a British company, they may not realise the different system and expectations in the US."

*  BarbJ commented:  "I subscribed today as well, but ran into frustrations quite quickly. The first was when I downloaded images. The record (Irish Land Records) had 3 images, but downloaded the same image 3 times no matter what image was being viewed in the viewer.

"A search on Henry Sampey came up with 37 results. But when page 3 of the results came up while paging through the results, it said "0 records found" and I could not page back. Also on that same result page, if I clicked on "Land Records" which showed 6 results, I received the "0 records found" message. So there is something wrong with the search facility. I could not find a way to contact the company for questions and the FAQ was not helpful. I hope I have not wasted my $54.90."

My comments:  Thank you, Caroline, for the helpful suggestion.  For a researcher unfamiliar with English records, the sourcing may be a challenge.  Evidence! Explained may be helpful for American researchers. Examples of source citations for an English Vital Certificate, Civil Registration, Parish Registers, Census, and other record sources may be helpful too - in both English and American versions.  

BarbJ's problem is similar to mine to date - the search works differently on FindMyPast than on other websites, and it gets frustrating when it doesn't produce the results you expect.  I will have more Search examples in future posts.  It's not clear to me if the American version of searching works differently than searching the UK version of  The problem with the image download is problematical, and I encourage Barb to reach out to FindMyPast to try to help her obtain what she wants and paid for.  Barb - please email me at and I'll try to connect you with them.

3)  On my post International Record Collections on (25 July 2012):

*  Doris Wheeler commented: "I'm disappointed that all these companies fail to recognize that names of collections are virtually useless to those of us who are not intimately familiar with the places being researched. Every contents listing or index should include, at the very least, the dates and the county/parish/country included in the collection. Only then can we fairly evaluate the potential value of the collection to us."

My response:  I agree with Doris - more detail about a collection is preferable to a summary.  The information received from that I posted was from the FindMyPast office, and was a summary.  You can find a complete list of the record collections on the site at down and click on "Credits Explained").  However, the list does not provide the inclusive years for the collections.  That list is more explanatory than the list provided by

*  Lynne Carothers noted: "We had Toastites pie irons growing up. In fact, we still have them today. You can buy them at any camping store. I remember making sandwiches over a campfire as well as on the stove. We use them for dessert pies - especially with the kids. They are lots of fun."

My comment:  I can see a run on Toastites by genealogists...we'll have to have a cookout outing at Jamboree (or another conference) to make Toastites, S'mores and other goodies out of recipes in Gena Ortega's book!

Thank you to my readers for their cogent, interesting and useful comments - please keep them coming!!

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sorting Out Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) on FamilySearch Family Tree

I was happy to hear that FamilySearch Family Tree was now allowing changes to parent-child and spousal relationships. DGreen posted Try Family Tree on on the FamilySearch Blog yesterday, with images and directions for how to proceed with these tasks.

Previously,I've discussed my problem with relationships concerning Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825),my 3rd great-grandfather and father of Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), in My First Look at FamilySearch Family Tree - Post 1 and earlier posts about New FamilySearch.

Using DGreen's post as a guide, I signed into FamilySearch Family Tree and navigated to the profile of Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) - three screens shown below:

There are many problems with the relationships shown above - there are five marriages shown for Benjamin - the first one to Martha Whitney(1764-1832), the second to an"unknown spouse," the third to Martha Whitney(1764-1832), the fourth to Abigail Gates (1797-1867)and the fifth to Hannah .

Martha Whitney(1764-1832) was the wife of Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) and the mother of Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825).  Therefore, there are two marriages of Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) to his mother.  The purported marriages to the "unknown spouse" and Hannah are spurious, with who knows where they came from.

The only marriage of Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) was to Abigail Gates (1797-1867) on 2 March 1817 in Westminster, Massachusetts.  They had four children between 1817 and 1825.  All of the marriages and births of children for Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) and Abigail Gates (1797-1867), and for Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) and Martha Whitney (1764-1832), are in town record books, and vital record books, for Sudbury, Leominster and Westminster, Massachusetts.

So how can I delete the spurious marriages?  The DGreen blog post told me to click on the "View" link for each Spousal pair (the ones with a yellowish background in the screens above).  When I did that, the "Couple Relationship" screen opened, and I could click the "Delete" link in the upper right-hand corner.  A popup window opened requesting a "Reason for Deleting This Relationship." I typed in my reason:

My reason was: "Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) mother was Martha Whitney (1764-1832), who was not his wife. Benjamin 1791's wife was Abigail Gates (1797-1867)."

I deleted the three other spurious relationships using the same process.  

That left the correct marriage with Abigail Gates in 1817.  So when I checked on the Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) profile, it now listed his parents as Norman Seaver (1734-1787) and Sarah Read.  Those are his paternal grandparents, not his parents!!!

So I need to unlink him as a Child from this set of Parents.  The process is similar --  the user has to roll the mouse over the Child's name, and the"View" link appears.  clicking on the "View" link, the "Parent-Child Relationship" screen opened and I selected the "Delete Relationship" link and entered my reason in the Reason for Deleting This Relationship" box:

In this case, my Reason was: "Norman Seaver died in 1787. Benjamin Seaver was born in 1791 to Benjamin Seaver and Martha Whitney. This is a spurious parent-child relationship and should be deleted."

I'm only partially done by now - there are extra children on the list for the marriage of Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) and Abigail Gates (1797-1867) - they are Benjamin's brothers and sisters, children of Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) and Martha Whitney(1764-1832).  So I disconnected them from that relationship.  Note that all of these persons are still in the FamilySearch Family Tree.

After trying to clean up the Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) profile, here is what it looks like:

For some reason, it still shows two of the spurious marriage entries, but says "No Couple Relationship."

The parents of Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) are still shown as Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) and Martha Whitney (1764-1832).  He is still his own Father, married to his actual Mother!!  The pedigree chart also shows that relationship:

I've been trying to figure out how to fix that problem - how to get Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) in as the father of Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825).  I haven't figured out the process yet, even after experimenting a bit.

When a user makes changes to relationships, or to any data, the "Latest Changes" box near the top of the person's Profile page can show all of the changes by clicking on the"Show All" link (two screens shown below - there were more!):

In this process, I made 19 deletions of parent-child relationships, spousal relationships and specific events that were erroneous or duplicates.

The deletion process of relationships is fairly complicated, but once you discover the "View" link leads to "Delete Relationship," then it is fairly standard.  The more difficult process for me will be to  delete Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) as the father of himself, and get his actual father, Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) in his place without completely messing up the tree(more than I have already!!!).

I'm sure that I'll have more to demonstrate on this problem in FamilySearch Family Tree.  Surely, other researchers are going to have this problem - and their situation may be even worse than this one is!

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Copyright(c) 2012, RandallJ. Seaver

Checking Out the Search - Post 1: U.S. Census Records

I couldn't resist subscribing to because it's an excellent bargain for the money - see my post Debuts - A Pretty Good Deal.  

Note:  The FindMyPast home page that lists the "Pioneer Offer" says (in very small and light print)  "This offer can be discontinued at our sole discretion at any time. Please check the web site to see if the offer still stands."

Chris Paton, on the British GENES blog, in US FindmyPast Pioneer sub offer, noted that persons not in the USA can take advantage of this offer, and one reader noted:

"A UK based reader has just let me know via Twitter that she has taken up the subscription, and was told on the site that the offer expires today July 26th - if so, you need to get in fast folks! (With thanks to Lynn Heiden)'

So, today, 26 July (time unknown...anyone know?) may be the last day to subscribe with the "Pioneer Offer."  

After subscribing, I checked all U.S. records for my grandfather, Lyle L. Carringer (1891-1976) who resided in San Diego, California all of his life. Here was my process:

1)  Here is the Home page (

2)  2)  On the Home page, I clicked the "Search Records" button and put 'Lyle' (name variants checked) and 'Carringer' (name variants unchecked) name in the search box fields and chose a year range from 1900 to 1940:

3)  After clicking on the green "Search" button, I received 21 matches to my search request:

The 21 search matches included the 1920 and 1940 U.S. Census entries for my grandfather, but not the 1900, 1910 or 1930 U.S. Census search entries.  I will discuss these later in the post.

4)  I ran my mouse over the "green "View this Record's Transcription" icon (on the right-hand margin) and a popup window showed me:

5) I clicked on the "View This Record's Transcription" icon and a full transcription of Lyle Carringer, plus a list of all household members and a map, appeared:

6)  I clicked on the green "Image" button at the top of the page above to see the 1920 U.S. Census image (two images):

The full census page image, and the preview information, for Lyle Carringer are provided.

7)  The user can zoom in (magnify) the census page image to see more detail very clearly - here is the maximum zoom in I saw:

8)  The user can click on the blue "Download" button to save the image to their computer system or a flash drive.

The file size for this particular image is 4.604 megabytes.  The image I downloaded today is 1.428 megabytes.

9)  I found no Source Citation for this 1920 U.S. Census record - no indication of the NARA Microfilm Publication, Roll Number, ED number, page number, line number, dwelling number, family number, or street address.  I expect that all historical record providers will provide this type of information, and in a perfect record provider world will provide a complete source citation for the record in a standard format that I can copy and paste into my genealogy software program.

10)  My observations from performing this search include:

*  The search fields are limited - only first name (with variant name check box), last name (with variant name check box), Search dates (minimum and maximum), "Collections from" (All, United States,United Kingdom, Australasia, Ireland) and "Optional Keywords."  I did not explore the "Optional Keywords" feature yet, but I will soon.

*  There are Filters on the left-hand side of the Search match fields.  In the 1920 U.S. Census case, the Filters included different U.S. States, different Record Sets (in this case, census years), County,  Birth Year (with ranges up to +/- 40 years) and City/Township.  This is where the searcher can narrow the search!  It is not self-evident to a new searcher, IMHO.  The Filters for County and City/Township don't seem to work consistently - I was easily frustrated by them.

*  Wild Cards can be used for the Name fields - I tried multiple wild card characters, three, two and one surname letter, and everything worked, although the search returned more records for each permutation.

*  The Search seems pretty fast, and loading the transcriptions and images are also pretty fast. I didn't see any way to stop a Search in progress, however.

11)  I did find name variants for Lyle in the 1900, 1910 and 1930 U.S. Census records on FindMyPast:

*  1900:  Name indexed as"Lyle Caninger" (indexed on as "Lyle Caninger")

*  1910:  Name indexed as "Layle Carringer" (indexed on as " Layle Carringer")

*  1930:  Not found (indexed on as "Lyle Carringer")

That's as far as I want to go with this specific record and analysis.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

1940 U.S. Census - Looking for Grandmother Seaver just announced that the indexing for 12 more states in the 1940 U.S. Census has been completed, and the good news for me is that Massachusetts is one of the states.  Now I can find my grandmother!!!

Ooops... not exactly.  I've spent 30 minutes using all of my census search tricks looking for Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (born 1882 in Connecticut), wife of Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1942), who resided in Leominster, Worcester County,Massachusetts in 1940.  No luck.  She's not there unless the enumeration or the indexing is horribly mangled.

I checked the index for all of her children, and found daughter Geraldine (with her father in Leominster), son Frederick (with his sister Ruth), daughter Ruth (Seaver) Fischer with her husband and daughter, daughter Evelyn (Seaver) Wood with her husband and three children in New Hampshire, and daughter Marion (Seaver) Braithwaite with her husband and daughter in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. I did not find an entry for son Edward R. Seaver, born 1913 in Massachusetts, either.

I did find that the indexing for my father in his sister's family is "interesting."  Here is a snippet of the entry:

*  Bowers A. Fischer is indexed as 'Boner A. Fisher' (and I can't really fault the indexing here, it clearly says 'Fisher,' although I would have indexed the first name as 'Boners')

*  Frederick W. Seaver is indexed as 'Frederick W. Lawon' (and I can't fault the indexing here for the last part of the name, but I would have indexed it as 'Sawon" - the first letter S is written inconsistently on the page).

So, did the enumerator miss my grandmother?  Did my grandfather intentionally leave her off the list for some reason when he gave the information?  Was she left off the enumeration because she was out of town visiting a sibling or a child or a friend?  I guess I'll never know.  She is apparently one of the 3% that were missed in the 1940 U.S. census.

When the FamilySearch index for Massachusetts becomes available, I will have to search it also in case Ancestry missed a page or completely messed up the indexing.

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Copyright(c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - the 1880 U.S. Census Record for Frank W. Seaver Family

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 1880 United States Census record for my great-grandparents and their family in Leominster, Massachusetts: 

Here's a closeup view of the Frank W. Seaver family entry:

The extracted information for the family, residing in Leominster, taken on 9 June 1880, is:

*   Frank W. Seaver -- white, male, age 27, married, works in a comb shop, born Massachusetts, parents born Massachusetts/Massachusetts

*   Hattie L. Seaver -- white, female, age 22, wife, married, keeping house, born Massachusetts, father born Massachusetts, mother born Massachusetts
*  Fredrick W. Seaver -- white, male, age 3, son, single, born Massachusetts, parents born Massachusetts/Massachusetts

The source citation for the census image is:

1880 United States Federal Census, Worcester County, Massachusetts Population Schedule, Leominster: Page 525, dwelling # 354, family #436, Frank Seaver household; online image, (; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T9, Roll 565.

There is only one entry on this census record that doesn't match other information that I have, including:

*  Hattie L. (Hildreth) Seaver's mother was Sophia (Newton) Hildreth, (1934-12923), who was born in Vermont.  The 1880 U.S. census for the Edward Hildreth family in Leominster indicates that she was born in Vermont, as do her marriage and death certificates/records, and U.S. census records in 1850, 1870, 1880, 1910 and 1920. 

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why FHISO? Indeed!

The Family History International Standards Organisation (FHISO) has released their position paper titled "Why FHISO?" - see the blog announcement at and the position paper at

The blog post highlights the reason for FHISO:

"Standards organizations depend on broad support — that includes support across some of the entrenched territorial lines we find in our community.
"Most other sectors have figured out how to bridge those territorial lines — they are already reaping the benefits of open, transparent and democratically developed standards. If we work together as a community, we too can build bridges."
The position paper introduction notes:

"International developers, service providers, family historians and genealogists all depend on a competitive marketplace. Simply put, users have needs that innovative suppliers want to meet. This includes that in an ever more interconnected world, the demands on and benefits of interoperability are great. Change is constant; choice reigns!

"Technical standards play an important role in the competitive market place. Developers and service providers depend on standards in order to deliver innovation and value to users. In the case of genealogy and family history, standards also determine the information that can be exchanged between users’ programs, and between programs and Internet services."

I urge all genealogists to review the position paper and provide comments to the organization via email (  I also urge all family tree software developers, genealogy record collection providers and online family tree providers to become members of FHISO and work together to achieve a unified, common-sense, non-proprietary standard for family history research and documentation.  

The FHISO blog post states:

"One community, one standard. We are stronger and better together. Let’s sort out the issues and start making things happen.
"(1) Don’t be shy! Comments about “Why FHISO?” are welcome on this blog post, but if you prefer, comments via e-mail are welcome, too.
"(2) We’ve opened up a page on the BetterGEDCOM wiki about this position paper.
"It’s a wiki, so if you are not already a member, join up and comment."
Thank you to the nine-member, international group that have formed and developed FHISO and this position paper over the past seven months.  They are doing a service for all of the genealogical community.
Copyright(c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver