Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What Type of Genealogist Are You?

Calling all Genea-Musings Fans: 
 It's Saturday Night again - 
time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!): 

1)  Read Lorine McGinnis Schulze's blog post What Type of Genealogist Are You? (25 August 2012).

2)  Answer the questions, and write about them!!

3)  Share your opinions in your own blog post, in comments on this post, in a Facebook Status, in a Google+ Stream post, or in a Twitter microblog.

My thanks to Lorine for her blog post as instigation for this SNGF.

Here's mine:

I think that I am primarily a Hunter or Detective.  I love the hunt, I love helping others with their hunt, I often go off on hunting "trips" in historical records on or just to see if I can find something for my own database, or someone else's.

I am also an Ancestor Finder for my own research - I do this type of "deep research" only for my own tree, though.

I am also a bit of a Gatherer and Ancestor Collector - I try to find the collateral lines in my tree and add that data to my database.

I am a Scholar type in terms of source citations, but not in terms of publishing my work (yet!).

I am not a Hoarder or Junkyard Collector to any extent.

I wish that I did more Analyzing and Planning to help me in my research.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - BIGELOW (England > Massachusetts)

It's Surname Saturday, and I'm "counting down" my Ancestral Name List each week.  

I am up to number 517: Mary BIGELOW (1677-1708). [Note: The 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].  This starts my 7th great-grandmothers.  

My ancestral line back through three  generations of BIGELOW families is:

1. Randall J. Seaver

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

4. Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942)
5. Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)

8. Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922)
9. Hattie Louise Hildreth (1857-1920)

16. Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)
17. Lucretia Townsend Smith (1827-1884)

32. Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825)
33. Abigail Gates (1797-1869)

64. Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816)
65. Martha Whitney (1764-1832)

128.  Norman Seaver (1734-1787)
129.  Sarah Read (1736-1809)

256. Isaac Read (1704-1780)

257.  Experience Willis (1709-1787)

514.  Thomas Read, born 22 May 1678 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 01 May 1755 in probably Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 1028. Thomas Read and 1029. Mary Goodrich.  He married 03 March 1702 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
515.  Mary Bigelow, born 12 September 1677 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 21 February 1708 in Sudbury, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  
Children of Thomas Read and Mary Bigelow are:  Nathaniel Read (1702-1784); Isaac Read (1704-1780); Katherine Read (1707-????).

1030.  Samuel Bigelow, born 28 October 1653 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 01 February 1732 in Waltham, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married  03 June 1674 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
1031.  Mary Flagg, born 14 January 1658 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 07 September 1720 in Waltham, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 2062. Thomas Flegg and 2063. Mary.
Children of Samuel Bigelow and Mary Flagg are:  John Bigelow (1675-1769); Mary Bigelow (1677-1708); Samuel Bigelow (1679-1734); Sarah Bigelow (1681-1713); Thomas Bigelow (1683-1756); Abigail Bigelow (1687-????); Hannah Bigelow (1689-1717); Isaac Bigelow (1691-1751); Deliverance Bigelow (1695-1762).

2060.  John Bigelow, born before 16 February 1617 in Wrentham, Suffolk, England; died 14 July 1703 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 4120. Randall Baguley and 4125. Jane.  He married 30 October 1642 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
2061.  Mary Warren, born before 12 September 1624 in Nayland, Suffolk, England; died 19 October 1691 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 4122. John Warren and 4123. Margaret.
Children of John Bigelow and Mary Warren are:  John Bigelow (1643-1684); Jonathan Bigelow (1646-1711); Mary Bigelow (1649-1704); Daniel Bigelow (1650-1715); Samuel Bigelow (1653-1732); Joshua Bigelow (1655-1745); Elizabeth Bigelow (1657-1694); Sarah Bigelow (1659-1694); James Bigelow (1660-1728); Martha Bigelow (1662-1728); Abigail Bigelow (1664-1754);  Hannah Bigelow (1666-1666); male Bigelow (1667-1667).

Information on the Bigelow families above were obtained from:

* Henry Bond, Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts (Boston : Brown & Little, 1860)

*  Gilman Bigelow Howe, The Bigelow Family of America (Boston : Charles Hamilton, 1890).

* Patricia Bigelow, editor, The Bigelow Family Genealogy, Volume I (The Bigelow Society, 1986).

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, August 31, 2012

Legacy Family Tree Cruise 2013 News

The following was received from Legacy Family Tree staff:

The 10th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise, to be held September 22 through October 7, 2013, starts in San Diego, California and ends in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and will feature speakers Megan Smolenyak, Karen Clifford, Geoff Rasmussen, Randy Seaver and others. It will visit the following ports:

  • San Diego, California
  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala
  • Puntarenas, Costa Rica
  • Panama Canal (cruising)
  • Colon, Panama
  • Cartagena, Columbia
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Experience the Panama Canal the way you've always dreamed
Stand face-to-face with the grandeur of the Panama Canal aboard Celebrity Cruises - the only cruise that gives you a full vacation while crossing the Continental Divide. When the Celebrity Millennium enters the canal, it will rise 85 feet in one of the legendary Gatun Locks. As you cross the Continental Divide - a journey that took mariners of long ago many years to complete - a new world of wonder and amazement awaits you on the other side. Join us for what will undoubtedly be an enlightening and rewarding journey.
Genealogy Classes at Sea
While at sea attend classes taught by some of genealogy's finest educators, Legacy Family Tree webinar speakers, and Legacy developers:
  • Megan Smolenyak
  • Karen Clifford
  • Geoff Rasmussen
  • Randy Seaver
  • Steve Salisbury
  • Dave Berdan
  • Ken McGinnis
  • Luc Comeau
In addition to the classes, you will benefit from the small-group sessions and lots of time to learn from each other.
The Ship
Luxurious accommodations and intuitive service consistently place Celebrity Millennium at the top of the rankings among large cruise ships. A favorite of many vacationers, Celebrity Millennium was "Solsticized" in May of 2012 and emerged with many award-winning Solstice® Class features. She's been renewed with spa-inspired AquaClass® staterooms, the AquaClass signature restaurant, Blu, and the addition of verandas to her chic Celebrity Suites. We can't think of a better way to experience the exotic beauty of the Panama Canal than aboard Celebrity Millennium. Out of the ordinary? Definitely.
Reservations or questions
Prices begin at $1,443 per person, based on double occupancy. The price includes:
  • Genealogy classes
  • Shipboard accommodations
  • Ocean transportation
  • Meals
  • Some beverages
  • Most onboard entertainment
  • Port charges
Airfare, gratuities, government fees/taxes, and optional tours are extra.
Click here to securely book your cruise online.
To reserve a cabin, or ask questions, contact our travel coordinator, Christy, at 1-888-505-6997 or send an email to
More Information
For class descriptions, frequently asked questions, descriptions of the places we'll visit, or pictures of our past cruises, visit

My comments:  Linda and I went on the 2012 Legacy Family Tree cruise from Oslo, Norway, visiting LeHavre, Cherbourg, Dublin, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Oslo, and we had a wonderful time.  The best part was the camaraderie with over 100 genealogists and the Legacy Family Tree staff.  

I look forward to renewing friendships and enjoying visits to four new countries on my "bucket list," plus the days of genealogy classes onboard, and the offshore excursions, great food and conversation. 

I hope that many of my Genea-Musings readers, San Diego area colleagues and genealogy friends will take advantage of this opportunity.

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Follow-Up Friday - Helpful Reader Comments From This Past Week

For Follow-Up Friday, I'm posting interesting and helpful reader comments, and adding my own response if called for.

1)  On Genealogy Q&A Site Proposal Needs Support (28 August 2012):

*  Louis Kessler said:  "Thanks for helping out again and posting this for us. In the 4 hours since you posted this, the site has had 70 visits and 14 more people signed up.

"What I should also have mentioned is that we had 150 people, including yourself Randy, sign up for it before. But that proposal was closed because it didn't get the required number of participants within the 2 year timeframe.

"Unfortunately, what that means is that you, and those other 150 people who signed up previously will have to sign up again to this new initiative. But that should be easy, since you already have your account at StackExchange and only have to login and click on the button at the left of the page.

"This time, we are restarting this and trying to get a big blast of people sign up right away and see if we can get it going into Beta as fast as possible. I'm really hoping we can get to Beta and then meet the traffic requirements to make the site permanent. The StackExchange network is probably the best system available for any Q&A site - it can handle any level of traffic - it will be run by our genealogy community - and is 100% free."

*  Later, Louis added:  "We need to keep up the interest. I have a new post at Google+ with step by step instructions, since some people found it confusing:"

My response:  I need to sign up again, and I encourage all of my readers to sign up and support this effort.

*  Russ commented:  "1) Because that file didn't have any images, you just completed one part of the upload process. That is to get the Data Online. IF you had images, then FTM2012 would continue to Upload the Media files, and like your file size, the number and size of the media files may take a while longer. You WILL see a Media Complete indication.

2) updating the file going forward should not take as long. Updating either Online or in FTM2012, the TreeSync™ will be much shorter.

To add to Patients, Data first, then Media files second. You can work on your file while the Media files are being upload. WATCH for Media Complete."

My response:  I had links to Media files in my FTM 2012 database, so those media files did upload eventually.  I also hit "Retry" and the ones that had not synced then uploaded.  

Russ's advice of "Patience, Data, Media" is a good one...prayer seemed to help too.  Thank you, Russ, for advising all of us on the intricacies of FTM.

*  Russ added very useful information:  "A couple of the questions are also on the Knowledge Base website (HELP menu):

"Question 1: Can I combine my current Ancestry Member Tree with the tree in my current software?  Please go to the Knowledge Base website: and enter 4576 in the Search Support field and click on the Search Button. That will take you to an article that should help you with this. That is a Knowledge Based Article.

"Question 3: If I have linked Media to persons and facts in my software tree, will it be attached in the Ancestry Member Tree?  Knowledge Based article 5122."

*  Leslie Ann commented:  " It looks like we are cousins! I am also a descendant of Joseph and Sarah Holloway Allen. It has been one of my projects for quite a while to prove once and for all that our George Allen is not the same George who married Katherine Slarks/Starks. That George was indeed the son of Richard Allen, moneyer of Tower of London.

"Thanks to the The Records of London's Livery Companies Online => I was able to find some tidbits that help confirm that fact.

"George Allen, Clothmaker of St. Michael, Queenhithe, London was a new apprentice in 1613 to Joseph Usher. This gives him a birth date of abt 1598. He was admitted a freeman in 1620. He was a master apprentice to a William Johnson in 1658.

"His brother Henry was apprenticed in the 1610. When you put Henry's will (which I have transcribed => )together with the Livery information you can see it more clearly.  George was mentioned in brother Henry's will in 1640. By this time our George was already in Mass."

Leslie Ann wrote a follow-up post on this:  Immigrant George Allen Did Not Marry Katherine Starke

My reeponse:  Thank you, Leslie Ann, for the followup information and the blog posts.  You have done some original research and analysis that advances the George Allen "ball."

For the information of my regular readers and followers - Genea-Musings may be "light" on content over the next ten days - we have the grandgirls (ages 4 and 7) for five days this weekend while their parents move the family to Huntington Beach, and then we fly to San Jose on next Friday to visit the grandboys (ages 6 and 9) for four days.  In between, I have to get the CVGS Newsletter written, edited and distributed.  This is why we didn't go to FGS this year...

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Riding the Ancestry Time Machine has come up with a Time Machine video for persons interested in a typical life in the 1940 time period.  You can access the Time Machine at

You have to fill in some information - your name (they use it in the video), your gender, your email address (why?), where you would like to live (choice of New York, San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Rural South, Rural Midwest), Your Interests (Sports, Pop Culture, Cooking, Science/Tech), Single or Married, White Collar or Blue Collar work, Add a Photo (you can skip this), and add a name of a relative in the 1940 U.S. Census.

The two minute long video starts and tells a story about a typical day in the place you've selected, using vintage photos and typical events in 1940.  The video uses your name twice in visuals - on an envelope and a paycheck:

At the end, it uses the name of the person you entered who was a relative living in 1940, and invites you to search the 1940 census for the person, or invites you to create another video:

In the New York/Sports/Male/White Collar video, it said I was an employee of Random House Publishing, had a wife and three kids, mentioned nothing about sports, and said I enjoyed an evening out with my wife, June, at the Charlie Chaplin movie "The Dictator."  Oh, at the end of the day, June politely refused my amorous advances, and I drifted off to sleep thinking of FDR, Chaplin and June.  Hmm, probably not!

It's somewhat funny, probably accurate as far as it goes, and might be effective in getting people to search the 1940 U.S. Census (for free through 2013).

My "Lyle Carringer" had 458 exact matches, though.  An exact search for "John Smith" had 28,322 matches.  Experienced searchers will know how to use the search fields - those who have never searched Ancestry might be confused.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

My FTM 2012 File Synced with Ancestry - only needed more Patience

In  my post The Perfect Plan ... is that you, Snidely? (28 August 2012), I complained that my Family Tree Maker 2012 database did not synchronize, using the TreeSync feature, with an Ancestry Member Tree after several hours.

Duff Wilson, a developer of Family Tree Maker, emailed me to offer his help.  I loaded my FTM 2012 file into my public Dropbox file, and sent him the link to the file on Tuesday afternoon.

His people worked on it and on Wednesday morning, Duff emailed me with this:

"We were able to upload and sync your tree successfully, and the process took just under three hours here in ideal conditions (uploaded internally with super-fast connection).   My guess is that it would likely take longer for you depending on your Internet speed.  Keep in mind that upload speeds are always much slower than download speeds.  In your case, did you let it continue or did you stop it after a couple of hours?  Your tree is very large, not only in terms of people (~41K), but also in terms of other supporting data such as sources and citations.  It’s hard for me to predict how long it might take for you to upload & sync your tree from where you are, but my guess is that it could take between three to six hours.  That isn’t only the time to upload your file of course, but  includes the time to actually create the tree online and link it to Family Tree Maker.

"If you did stop the process, I suggest trying again and letting it run. " 

I told Duff that I had stopped it after two or three hours.  In a later email, Duff commented:

"...keep in mind that most customer’s trees are much much smaller.  A tree as large as yours is probably in the top 1% in size so it’s certainly not typical of what most people will experience."

I waited until late Wednesday afternoon to try to sync my FTM 2012 to an Ancestry Member Tree.  I set it off and walked away from the computer (mowed the front lawn and watched the Convention on TV).  When I checked it at 8:30 p.m., it was still uploading.  At 10:12 p.m., the Sync was completed, although the Media continued to upload for an unknown period of time (505 Media items).  This morning, here is the FTM 2012 screen:

I took the screenshot above after I did a little editing, I guess, because it says "Sync needed."  I did have four Media items that didn't sync for some reason, and don't know how to find out.

Updated: 1:15 PM:  I clicked the link for the Media item problem, hit the "Retry" button and after several minutes the problem went away.  i'm assuming that the problem Media are now in both the FTM database and AMT, although I have no way of knowing which ones they were.  I'm currently "In Sync."

The "Randy Seaver's Genealogy Database - August 2012" is now a public Ancestry Member Tree (

I edited the "Tree Settings" page a bit also:

So, the answer to my TreeSync problem was PATIENCE!!  

My advice to others who set off to TreeSync a fairly large tree (in my case, 41,000 persons, 16,000 families, 760 sources, 30,000 citations, 5,500 places, 515 media items in a 91 mb file) is:

*  Compact your FTM 2012 file before trying to sync the file.

*  When you sync it, plan on waiting several hours for it to complete.  Don't be impatient.  

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1880 U.S. Census Record for Thomas Richmond 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 Richmond great-grandparents and their family in Killingly, Windham County, Connecticut: 

The entry for the Thomas Richmond family is below: 

The extracted information for the family, residing in Killingly, taken on 2 June 1880, is:

*  Thomas Richmond - White, male, age 31, married, Overseer in woolen mill, born in England, father born England, mother born England
*  Julia Richmond - White, female, age 33, Wife, married, Keeping house, born Connecticut, father born Connecticut, mother born Rhode Island.
*  Annie Richmond - White, female, age 10, Daughter, Single, attended school, born Rhode Island, father born England, mother born Connecticut
*  Everett Richmond - White, male, age 4, Son, single, born Connecticut, father born England, mother born Connecticut.
*  Grace Richmond - White, female, age 3, Daughter, single, born Connecticut, father born England, mother born Connecticut.
*  Emily Richmond - White, female, age 1, Daughter, single, born Connecticut, father born England, mother born Connecticut..

The source citation for the census image is:

1880 United States Federal Census, Windham County, ConnecticutPopulation Schedule, Killingly; Page 379A (stamped), dwelling #26, family #42, Thomas Richmond household; digital image, ( : accessed 29 October 2011), citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T9, Roll 110.

I consider the 1880 U.S. Census records to be an "Original Source" (because this "family snapshot" in June 1880 is in its first written form); mostly as "Secondary Information" (since we don't know who provided the information - although it was probably Julia Richmond), and as "Indirect Evidence" for most of the information (the exception being the birthplaces, and Thomas's occupation which were certainly known by the informant).  

I see several obvious errors in this census record (based on what I know about these persons from other records, including birth and marriage records), including:

*  Julia (White) Richmond's age is listed as 33, but she was born 8 September 1848, so she was age 31 on 1 June 1880.  This may indicate that Julia was not the informant!
*  Thomas and Julia Richmond had a son, Charles Percival Richmond, on 25 May 1880.  He is not listed in this census for some reason.

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dear Randy: Three Questions about Ancestry Member Trees

I had three questions today in reader email about Ancestry Member Trees, GEDCOM files and Media.  These readers do not use Family Tree Maker 2012, and therefore cannot Sync their software database with their Ancestry Family Tree.

My Answers (I believe, I'm sure someone will tell me if I'm wrong!), assuming a person is not using Family Tree Maker 2012 but some other software program (like RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Reunion, etc.) are below each Question:

1)  Question: Can I combine my current Ancestry Member Tree with the tree in my current software?

Answer:  The only way to combine your current Ancestry Member Tree with your current software tree is to download the Ancestry Member Tree using a GEDCOM export in (in your tree, click on "Tree pages" and then "Tree settings" and select "Export tree.).  Then open your genealogy software, figure out how to "Combine" or "Merge" two trees, and combine or merge the Ancestry Member tree GEDCOM file into your existing genealogy software tree.  This is "dangerous, so make a copy and/or a backup of your genealogy software tree just in case you mess it up.  In any case, any Media items that you have attached to Persons or Facts in your Ancestry Member Tree will not be downloaded with the GEDCOM file.

2)  Question:  Do I have to use a GEDCOM file to upload my tree to Ancestry Member Tree?

Answer: Unless you use Family Tree Maker 2012 to download your Ancestry Member Tree, you will have to use a GEDCOM file to upload your family tree into a NEW Ancestry Member Tree.  That NEW AMT cannot be combined or merged with an existing Ancestry Member Tree.

3)  Question: If I have linked Media to persons and facts in my software tree, will it be attached in the Ancestry Member Tree?

Answer:  Any Media items attached or linked to persons or facts in your genealogy software tree will not be uploaded into a NEW Ancestry Member Tree.  The source citations will be uploaded, but not the Media that support the Facts or source citations.

Unasked, but low hanging fruit, is:

4.  Question:  Can I sync, using the Family Tree Maker 2012 TreeSync feature, an existing Ancestry Member Tree with an existing Family Tree Maker 2012 file?  

Answer:  The short answer is YES - but only if you download an existing Ancestry Member Tree file to a NEW FTM 2012 database file, and then combine or merge that file with an existing FTM 2012 file to create one FTM 2012 file.  The combined file can then be synced with the existing Ancestry Member Tree.  Again, you should make a backup of your FTM 2012 tree before you do this just to be safe if something goes wrong.  

That's how it is, folks.  I know that many readers understand this, but not everyone is aware of all of these details, so I wanted to spell it out for them.

Frankly, this is why Family Tree Maker 2012, whether on a Windows machine or a Mac machine is so popular.  The synchronization (TreeSync) feature works pretty well (um, except for relatively large trees, more on that later) and permits up load and download of Media between an Ancestry Member Tree and a Family Tree Maker 2012 software database, in addition to providing access to the tree using many mobile devices.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver U.S. Census Records FREE Until 3 September

I received an email from Matt Deighton of today telling me:

We are still excited about the 1940 US Census here at As you all know, the 1940 Census is available for free on through 2013, but we wanted to share our excitement even more. We will be opening up 25 more databases from today through September 3rd to allow everyone access to Ancestry’s 713 million U.S. Federal Census Records. Below you’ll see a list of the 25 databases that are now searchable for free at

·        1790-1940 United States Federal Census collections
·        1850 U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedules
·        1860 U.S. Federal Census – Slave Schedules
·        1890 Veterans Schedules
·        Non-Population Schedules 1850-1880
·        U.S. Enumeration District Maps and Descriptions, 1940
·        U.S. Federal Census – 1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes
·        U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885
·        U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918
·        U.S., Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940

Part of our celebration includes what we are calling The Time Machine. This interactive experience allows you to see what a typical day would be like back in 1940. You can customize the experience by inputting a few of your interests, and it will create a video of what you may have experienced back in 1940. You can then share that video with your friends and family. Show your love of family history by sharing a video you created at

Matt attached this graphic to the email:

You can read, and save, a PDF file on "Follow your family on census records" at  This is an excellent summary showing what you can find in the census years from 1940 back to 1790.

I am passing this information to my genealogy society colleagues - I encourage others to do the same!

Thank you, Matt and, for your work indexing the 1940 U.s. census in less than four months, and for providing this window of FREE access to all U.S. Census records.

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 220: Gerry and Bud in California in 1942

 I am posting photographs from my family collections for (Not So) Wordless Wednesday (you know me, I can't go wordless!).    

Here is a photograph from the Geraldine (Seaver) Remley family collection handed down from my Aunt Gerry in 2007
 after her passing. 

This is a photograph of Geraldine Seaver (1917-2007), my father's youngest sibling, and William "Bud" Richmond (1909-2003), her first cousin and son of Charles Percival Richmond (1880-1910) and Jessie Louise Brown (1882-1947).  They are grandchildren of Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond (my great-grandparents).

I believe that this picture was taken in July, 1942 in California - either in San Diego during my parents' marriage week, or in Santa Barbara, where Bud Richmond resided.  It was probably taken by Geraldine's mother, or by Bud's mother.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Perfect Plan ... is that you, Snidely?

I have added so many new Names, Facts and Sources to my RootsMagic 5 database over the past two years that I wanted to update my Ancestry Member Tree.  I wanted it to be "perfect" as far as it could be, with attached media, over 30,000 source citations, etc.

However, I knew from past experience that:

*  If I import a GEDCOM file created by RootsMagic into Family Tree Maker 2012 that the Notes and sources have extra spaces in the text due to FTM 2012 GEDCOM file read problems, and truncates long source citations.

*  If I import a GEDCOM file created by RootsMagic into a new Ancestry Member Tree, then long source citations are truncated.  And when I sync that AMT with FTM 2012 all of the line returns in the Notes disappear in FTM 2012.

*  If I import a GEDCOM file created by RootsMagic 5 into Legacy Family Tree 7.5 that everything is added correctly, except long source citations are truncated.

*  If I import a GEDCOM file created by Legacy Family Tree 7.5 into Family Tree Maker 2012 that everything is added correctly (except for the truncated long source citations).

*  If I use Family Tree Maker 2012 to upload the file to a new Ancestry Member Tree, then all information and media are included.

So what to do?  I decided to sacrifice the truncated source citations... and did the following:

*  Created a GEDCOM file in RootsMagic 5 and exported it to a file.

*  Imported the GEDCOM File into Legacy Family Tree 7.5, then exported a GEDCOM file from it and saved it.

*  Imported the LFT GEDCOM file into Family Tree Maker 2012.

*  Upload the FTM 2012 tree to a new Ancestry Member Tree using the TreeSync feature.

That went very well, according to plan, and relatively quickly.  Until the TreeSync step (the last step...).  Here is the screen I've seen about five times since yesterday afternoon:

It gets this far and then hangs up for some reason.  Every time.   Lemme see, the definition of stupidity is what?

This is a fairly large tree - over 41,000 persons, over 90 mb in size, with about 200 media items.

I asked on Twitter:

I've been trying to upload my database from FTM 2012 to a new Ancestry Member Tree for two hours. It seems stuck. What to do?

And @Ancestrydotcom responded:

 Sorry to hear about the inconvenience. Some suggestions that may be of assistance can be found here: 

I wrote back:

 tried the ideas at , compacted it too, TreeSync failed again. This is a new tree uploading first time

Ancestry responded:

  We are sorry to hear  you are still experiencing issues. Please call us at 800-262-3787 for further help.

Finally, I emailed FTM 2012 guru Russ Worthington, and he put me in touch with the FTM developers, and I've transferred my FTM 2012 file to them for analysis.  I'll let you know how it comes out!

To make matters worse (or not?), I deleted my previous "big" tree on Ancestry - the one that was two years old.  

I guess my next plan would be to import the RootsMagic 5 GEDCOM file into a new Ancestry Member Tree, and into Legacy Family Tree 7.5, and then download the AMT to FTM 2012 (and accept the Source citation truncation and the Note text running together).  

Aw, yes, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."  True!!

Another observation:  There is no way to export everything in a RootsMagic 5 database into an Ancestry Mermber Tree, Family Tree Maker 2012 and Legacy Family Tree 7.5 and have them all be perfect!  

As Snidely Whiplash famously said:

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Genealogy Q&A Site Proposal Needs Support

Louis Kessler, the creator of the Behold! genealogy software and author of the Behold Genealogy blog, has a proposal for a Genealogy Question and Answer website on the StackExchange network.  He needs at least 200 persons willing to add questions and give answers during a Beta phase are needed for the proposal to progress.  

Here is the press release from Louis:


August 26, 2012

Genealogists always have had questions on how to do their genealogy, how to find certain records, and whether there is any information available on the family lines they are researching. To date, there has not been one specific place they could go to ask their questions and get answers.

A new proposal for a Question and Answer site for genealogy is now underway at the StackExchange network. They are looking for genealogists interested in signing up and participating to help give the site the momentum it needs to get through the Beta phase. Once it meets the StackExchange network's required activity level, it will be added permanently onto the StackExchange network.

"This would be a Q&A site for genealogy, run independently of the interests of any genealogy company. It would be completely free for anybody to use." says Louis Kessler, one of the proponents of the proposal.

The StackExchange network current hosts 88 Q&A sites on a diverse range of topics ranging from Programming to Photography to Personal Finance to Homebrewing. 


About Louis Kessler

Louis Kessler has been a genealogist and programmer for over 30 years. He maintains the GenSoftReviews site where people rate and review their genealogy software. He is also the developer of the genealogy software named Behold.

I signed up for this months ago, and I urge my readers to do the same. 

The proposed Genealogy Q&A site is at  You can register using your Google, Facebook, Yahoo or other OpenID account.

Once you've registered, you can Vote on 5 of the proposed questions.  Don't answer any of them...the site requirement is creating sample questions and having 200 persons registered.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday's Tip - Check Out State Online Archives

This week's Tuesday's Tip is:  Check out the State Online Archives in your State of interest.

State Archives websites provide links to contributing institutions, and descriptions of the online and physical collections held at those institutions.  These holdings might be publications, official records, collected papers, photographs, databases, etc.

I posted Book Review - Online State Resources for Genealogy E-Book, Version 2.0 yesterday, and in the process, I checked out the Online Archive of California (  

This site "provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 200 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California and collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses."

I chose to explore the Online Archive of California.  Here is the home page:

There is a search box just below the Welcome statement above - I will use that later in this post.

The list of over 200 repositories is in the center box on the  screen above.  I scrolled down to see what they offered for San Diego.  One of the repositories was my alma mater, San Diego State University:

There were a number of family paper collections on the list.  I searched for "seaver," "carringer," and "genealogy" on the collection list page, but didn't find any matches.  I did click on one collection to see what the description looked like:

Each collection has sections for Description, Background, Extent, Restrictions and Availability.  There are links in the "Collection Guide" section for Online access (the one shown above is not online) and the website for the collection.

I also wanted to see what the Online Archive of California had for San Diego, so I put "san diego" into the Search box on the home page (there is a search box on every page), and saw:

There are 2,956 collections with "San Diego" in the title, and 13,421 items.  The collections listed can be investigated to determine the holdings.  The "Items" list is full of historic photographs - here is the first page of photographs for San Diego:

I figured that most of these were in San Diego area repositories, but a check of the list of Institutions (on the right on the screen above) shows that there are many items held in repositories outside of San Diego.

The point here is that every state has online archives similar to this one for California.  Perhaps the biggest value of these archive websites is to help you decide what you want to research when you visit a given institution.  I hope that my readers will search for them, then go and explore them!

This is kind of like the Forrest Gump box of chocolates - you never know what historical or genealogical gems you are going to find.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Monday, August 27, 2012

More on Sourcing Names and Relationships

In my post Do You Source Your Person's Name? Spouses? Parents? (posted 23 August 2012) I received quite a few helpful comments, and wanted to have a separate follow-up post about it.  Since I wrote my post, I've done quite a bit of sourcing names, spousal relationships and parent-child relationship. 

Some of the helpful comments:

1)  Jenny Lanctot said:

"I never really thought about it until I read your post, but I do source the names of individuals IF I discover them BECAUSE of a source (like if I don't know all the names of the children until I look at the census record, or church record, etc.), but now that I think about it, there are probably a LOT of names in my tree that aren't sourced. I'm starting to wish you had thought about this 20 years ago too! :)"

2)  Elyse Doerflinger said:

"I don't source a name UNLESS it is in the case where a name changed (like with immigrants that Americanize their names) or for women that marry a ton of times and therefore, their names change regularly. This is really for my own sanity - because I need it to be clear when a person's name changes.

"In the notes section for an individual, I often add where I got the names of the parents or my reasoning for it.  My goal is just to be able to figure out where I got the information from so I don't have to go searching for it a thousand times. If I have a birth record for an individual, I can bet that the parental information is on it and therefore, rather than going through the trouble of entering into the notes and such."

3)  GenealogyDoug said:

"I enter and attach the source information to every name variation in Legacy's Alternate Names. That way I can tell which record provided that information. Otherwise how would I know where I found: Elizabeth BROECKER; Elesabit MELTHINE; Mrs. Edward BROECKER; Elisabeth WILLIAM; Mrs. Henry BROECKER; or Elizabeth H. MELLENTHINE - all refering to the same woman? For my own purposes I try to identify the full baptismal name of each person and that is what I put in the given name field of my Legacy software. Ultimately when writing about an ancestor I'll use the name by which they were most commonly known, often the name that appears with their death records."

4)  Tonia said:

"I source both names and the sources that I used to connect the individual to their parents. I use the "Note" for the person's Name in RootsMagic and divide it into two sections:

"Name: here I put all the name variations I've found and a brief name for the source (the full source citation is in the source field)

"Connection to parents: here I put each source that I'm using to identify this person as a child of these parents, again with a brief name for the source."

5)  Russ Worthington said:

"I Cite the Name as it was recorded in the source where I found the person. I have many people with many Name FACTS. It reminds be what that source said.

"As to relationships: as you know, not every genealogy database management programs have the ability to put a citation on a relationship, or, there isn't a relationship "fact". But since this IS clearly an issue, I use Fact NOTES to record what that source said the relationship was in that document / record.

"I guess I was lucky, I started citing all facts with citations, so that hasn't been an issue for me. I think it also helps, because I have always gone by my middle name, as did my grandfather. I have found my grandfather listed 6 different ways. So, if I look at the citation for one of those specific listings, I know what I will find in the source document.

"Both of these items, citing names and relationships, were very helpful for me in a case study I did last summer, using Inferential Genealogy."

6)  Debbie Parker Wayne said:

"Randy, I do source names and relationships, but not using the mechanism provided by my software program. I don't source common nicknames like Ben or Benny for Benjamin other than recording the name used on the document in the source citation. 

"Before using a name or relationship source mechanism in a software program, I would print several reports with different options to determine how the data prints and how hard it is to modify or delete. I want an option to enable or disable the inclusion of these sources in output. Depending on the purpose of the output report, I may or may not want to include these sources. 

"I try to think about how I will use the database as a research tool for evidence analysis, how I will use the output from the database, and how the data might transfer to a new database as I determine how best to input the data. For my model, I look at how things are handled in articles in scholarly journals and try to get similar output from my software to reduce the manual modifications needed before sharing or publishing. I don't give GEDCOM files or copies of my database to others."

7)  Denise Spurlock said:

"Randy, I do source names; I record the source where I first find mention of the person. I don't always record and source alternates, depends on how unique the alternate is. I don't always remember to source the parental relationship. 

"The basic premise that every fact should be sourced is one that I try to follow. That being said, name and parental relationship are the ones I am most likely to miss!"

8)  Beth Benko said:

"Randy, I always source names and parental relationships. Geoff has taught me well! I recently applied for a lineage society (Settlers and Builders of Hamilton County (Ohio)) and having the sources for parents was absolutely essential."

9)  Barbara Renick said:

"I have been doing this in PAF notes as a tag since before PAF had source templates. Names get spelled so many different ways in different types of records, I need to know where a particular spelling came from to answer other researchers' questions or perhaps help them determine name usage for an ancestor.

"I have also been teaching people to source relationships (parent & spouse) for a long number of years and bemoaning the lack of source templates in personal genealogy databases for those relationships."

10)  GeneJ said:

"My citations do commonly reference the name as it was found in the source. It sounds like I might have more nicknames in my file than Debbie does. 

"As Debbie said, 'For my model, I look at how things are handled in articles in scholarly journals and try to get similar output from my software to reduce the manual modifications needed before sharing or publishing.'"

My comments:  Thank you all for helpful and interesting observations and discussion.  I note that at least four computer programs are in play here - RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Maker, and Personal Ancestral File.

And we have persons who add the Name and Relationship information to Notes, and persons who add them to the Name and Relationship entries in an Edit Person window.

I have had good success attaching Source Citations in RootsMagic 5 to Names, Alternate Names, Spousal Relationships, and Parent-Child Relationships.  

One issue that I see is that the Spousal Relationship source is the same source and citation as the Marriage Fact.  So the Spousal Relationship Source seems, to me, to be redundant.  

When I attach sources to the Parent-Child Relationship, I am using any Source (Original or Derivative) that provides evidence - a Birth record, a Baptism record, a Marriage record, a Death record, a Social Security Application record, etc.  All of those are Evidence.  Of course, some of the information is primary (e.g. Birth and Baptism record) and secondary (Marriage record, Death record, etc.).  

Here is a snippet from my Parent-Child Relationship Sources for my father:

As you can see, the first two sources listed are for the Marriage itself (from the Marriage Fact for his parents), while the last three sources listed are for his Birth and for his Death (since all three records included his parents full names).  I did not include any records that listed only his mother's maiden name (like the California Birth Index).  

However, those sources show up as Sources in RootsMagic 5 for the Parent-Child relationship of Siblings for my Father, where I don't have an explicit Parent-Child Source for the Sibling.  In other words, my sources for my Father show up in the Parent-Child Relationship for his brothers and sisters.  

The same things happens for a Parents Note in RootsMagic 5 - a Note that provides information for a Person's relationship to Parents shows up in the Siblings' Parents Note as well.

I also found that I could attach a Media item in RootsMagic 5 for the Person to the Spouse and the Parents by using the "Family" Tag.

I'm going to think about this some more, since I don't like how the Parent-Child Relationship Sources and Notes work.  I will also see how these Sources transfer via GEDCOM to other programs and to an Ancestry Member Tree.  

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver