Saturday, September 15, 2012

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Three Degrees of Separation

It's Saturday Night, time for more Genealogy Fun!!

The genealogy world was reminded (again) of how time flies, relatively speaking, by the news earlier this year that there are two living grandchildren of President John Tyler (1790-1862).  There  was also the Robert Krulwich blog post about persons knowing people who knew famous people long ago.

For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I want you to:

1)  Using your ancestral lines, how far back in time can you go with three degrees of separation?  That means "you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor, who knew another ancestor."  When was that third ancestor born?

2)  Tell us in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, in a status line on Facebook or a stream post on Google Plus.

Here are several of mine:

1)  My Seaver/Richmond line:   Me (born 1943) - I met my paternal grandmother once in 1959.  My paternal grandmother Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (1882-1962, daughter of Thomas Richmond (1848-1917))  knew her grandfather, Henry Arnold White (1824-1885).  Henry Arnold White probably met his great-grandfather, David Kirby (1740-1832) (Henry's father was Jonathan White (1806-1850), whose mother was Sybil Kirby (1764-1848), whose father was David Kirby (1740-1832).

 2)  My Carringer line:  Me (born 1943) - my maternal great grandfather, Henry Austin Carringer held me when I was a baby.  Henry Austin Carringer (1853-1946), son of David Jackson Carringer (1828-1902) and Rebecca Spangler (1832-1901),  and surely met his maternal grandmother, Elizabeth (King) Spangler (1796-1863).  Elizabeth (King) Spangler certainly met her husband's grandmother, Maria Dorothea (Dinkel) Spangler (1748-1835) (Elizabeth's father was John Daniel Spangler (1781-1851), whose parents were Rudolf Spangler (1738-1791) and Maria Dorothea (Dinkel) Spangler (1748-1835).

3)  My Carringer/Smith/Vaux/Underhill line:  Me (born 1943) - my great-grandmother, Della (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944) held me (I don't remember it, of course!).  Della Smith (born in Wisconsin), daughter of Abigail Vaux (1844-1931), granddaughter of Mary Ann (Underhill) Vaux (1815-1880) may have met her great-grandfather, Amos Underhill (1772-1865, died in New York), but I doubt it!   Amos Underhill certainly met his grandparents, John Underhill (1721-1793) and Joanna Healey (1718-1809) (through their son John Underhill (1745-1816)).

So I can connect, with three degrees of separation, back to a woman born in 1718 (but one of the links likely did not "meet" his great-grandchild) - almost 300 years!  For the requirement that they actually met, I can get back to a person born in 1738. 

It strikes me that four degrees of separation might be really interesting!  Another time!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Surname Saturday - HAGAR (England > Massachusetts)

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

I am in the 7th great-grandmothers, up to number 521: Sarah HAGAR (1651-1722). [Note: The 7th great-grandfathers have been covered in earlier posts].    

My ancestral line back through two generations of HAGAR 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)

130.  Samuel Whitney (1719-1782)
131.  Abigail Fletcher (1720-1783)

260.  William Whitney (1683-1720)
261.  Martha Peirce (1681-1759)

520. Nathaniel Whitney, born 01 February 1647 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 07 January 1733 in Weston, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He was the son of 1040. John Whitney and 1041. Ruth Reynolds.  He married  12 March 1674 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.

521.  Sarah Hagar, born 01 September 1651 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States; died 29 July 1722 in Weston, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  

Children of Nathaniel Whitney and Sarah Hagar are:  Nathaniel Whitney (1676-1730); Sarah Whitney (1679-????); William Whitney (1683-1720); Samuel Whitney (1687-1753); Hannah Whitney (1689-1768); Elizabeth Whitney (1692-????); Mercy Whitney (1697-????); Grace Whitney (1700-1720).

1042.  William Hagar, born in Nazeing, Essex, England; died 10 January 1684 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  He married 20 March 1645 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.
1043.  Mary Bemis, born before 10 September 1624 in Dedham, Essex, England; died December 1695 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States.  She was the daughter of 2086. James Bemis and 2087. Anne Spray.

Children of William Hagar and Mary Bemis are:  Mary Hagar (1645-????); Ruhamah Hagar (1647-1738); Samuel Hagar (1647-1704); Hannah Hagar (1649-1702); Sarah Hagar (1651-1722); Susannah Hagar (1653-????); William Hagar (1659-1734); Rebecca Hagar (1661-1735); Abigail Hagar (1663-????); Mehitabel Hagar (1665-1691).

The only resources I have for William Hagar's family are the Watertown records in:

Watertown Records, Comprising the First and Second Book of Town Proceedings, with the Land Grants and Possessions. etc. (Watertown, Mass. : Watertown Historical Society, 1894), Volume 1, page 16.

Henry Bond, M.D., Family Memorials: Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts (Boston, Mass. : Little, Brown & Co., 1855).

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Friday, September 14, 2012

Isaac Seaver - My Only Civil War Soldier

Whether through good fortune or happenstance, I have only one known Civil War Soldier.

Isaac Seaver recounted his service in his Civil War Pension Application (see Treasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Pension Declaration for details):

"State of Massachusetts County of Worcester, SS,
on this 11th day of June, A.D. one thousand eight hundred and ninety two,
personally appeared before me, a Notary Public
within and for the County and State aforesaid, Isaac Seaver 3d
aged 68 years, a resident of the town of Clinton
County of Worcester State of Massachusetts, who being
duly sworn according to law, declares that he is the identical Isaac Seaver 3d
who was ENROLLED on the 10th day of August, 1864 in  Company H
(private) 4th Reg't H'y Arty. Mass. Vol's
in the war of the rebellion, and served at least
ninety days, and was HONORABLY DISCHARGED at Fort Richardson, Va. on the 19th
day of June, 1865. "

Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) was living in the 1860-1865 time period in Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts with his second wife Lucretia (Smith) Seaver (1827-1884) and his four children - Juliette Seaver (1847-1910, by his first wife), Frank Walton Seaver (1852-1922), Benjamin Seaver (1854-1894), and Elizabeth Lucinda Seaver (1858-1914).  In the 1860 U.S. Census, Isaac Seaver's occupation is listed as a blacksmith, with real property valued at $1,800 and personal property valued at $300.

Isaac registered for the Civil War draft in 1863, as shown in Isaac Seaver's Civil War Draft Registration Record.  His occupation was listed as a mechanic.

Before he left for his service in the 4th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Heavy Artillery, Isaac and Lucretia Seaver had their pictures taken and put in a Union Case photograph:

When did the 4th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Heavy Artillery form and here did they serve?  There is a Wikipedia article that describes their service:

"In the late summer of 1864, fourteen companies of heavy artillery were raised throughout Massachusetts for the purpose of coastal defense of the state. They were to be "unattached", thus not part of a regiment, and sent to various military locations for a one-year term. They were numbered 17 through 30, and were the Unattached Companies of Heavy Artillery. They encamped on Gallops Island in Boston Harbor, where they organized and were mustered in during latter part of August and into the first days of September 1864. In September, they were ordered to Washington, DC for garrison duty in the forts surrounding the capital. The last companies to leave, the 29th and 30th, left on 26 Sept and 29 Oct, respectively.

"On 12 Nov 1864, a War Department order consolidated 12 of the companies, numbered 17 through 28, into one regiment, the 4th Regiment Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. Col William S King, formerly of the 35th Massachusetts Infantry, was put in command. They remained in Washington for the remainder of the war, until their mustering out on 17 June 1865."

That sounds very unexciting - it sounds like they were the reserve force sent to protect Washington DC in case the Confederates attached the city.  The "unexciting" service is borne out by the number of those in the regiments that died:  the Wikipedia article says:

"The regiment consisted of 72 officers and 1757 enlisted men, 21 of them dying by disease or accident."

For this 10 months of service, Isaac Seaver received a pension in 1892, as detailed in my seriesTreasure Chest Thursday - Isaac Seaver's Civil War Pension File: Compendium of Posts.

In Washington D.C., Isaac was there when President Lincoln was assassinated and the South surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.  Back in Westminster, I'm sure that Lucretia and the (now) five children were anxious to hear of the news from Washington.  Hopefully, Isaac sent letters home on a regular basis to keep them informed.  How I wish those letters, if there were any, had been handed down or put into an archive.  And the homecoming - I would love to have a time machine to go back 147 years to the end of June, 1865 when the 4th Regiment came marching home to northern Massachusetts.  Did they come on the train, on their wagons with their heavy guns, or on horses up the dusty roads of early summer.  Were there celebrations in the home towns for the returning soldiers?  There is so much that we don't know about these times!

This blog post was inspired by the Great Civil War Genealogy Blog Challenge issued by Bill West on his West in New England blog with a deadline of 15 September 2012.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Dear Randy - Which Online Family Tree Do You Use? And Why?

Several weeks ago, a reader asked this question in email and I responded.  I thought my readers might be interested in the answer, so here it is:

I have put my family tree online on a number of family tree sites, including:

1)  Ancestry Member Tree - uploaded my all-in-one database in RootsMagic 5 to Family Tree Maker 2012 via GEDCOM, then used TreeSync to create a new Ancestry Member Tree one month ago.  I will update this tree occasionally by creating a new AMT and deleting the old one (but keep the same tree name).  I have a second tree, with only ancestral families, for use with the mobile app, uploaded in early 2012.  My intent for this condensed tree is to invite family members to contribute.

2)  MyHeritage - all-in-one database imported to Family Tree Builder via GEDCOM and then uploaded to MyHeritage about one year ago.  Not updated since, although I get notifications of matches on a regular basis.  I'm looking forward to the Record Search feature which may provide more research hints when it is operational.

3) - a small portion of my all-in-one database imported via GEDCOM several years ago.  Not updated since, although I respond to queries and get notifications of changes to persons on my watchlist.

4)  WikiTree - several small portions of my all-in-one database imported via GEDCOM, not updated since, although I respond to merge requests and queries.

5) - a portion of my all-in-one database imported via GEDCOM several years ago, but not updated since.  I'm waiting for Ancestor Sync to work so that I can add more here, since Geni doesn't permit a GEDCOM upload any longer..

6) - a portion of my all-in-one database imported via GEDCOM several years ago.  Not updated since.

7) - my all-in-one database imported via GEDCOM several years ago.  Not updated since.

8)  FamilySearch Family Tree - a portion of my all-in-one database via RootsMagic synchronization, then editing data and relationships.  I have about 600 persons synced now, and am waiting for source citation synchronization, and the ability to upload document images, to add more.

9)  GenesReunited - my all-in-one database imported via GEDCOM several years ago, not updated since.

10)  FamilyPursuit - my all-in-one database imported via GEDCOM several years ago, not updated since.  I don't recommend this one due to living person privacy issues..

11)  Appletree - my all-in-one database imported via GEDCOM several years ago, not updated since.  I don't recommend this one due to living persons privacy issues.

There may be others...

Most of these trees are online for "cousin bait," not for research.  Almost all of the sites are impossible to update - you have to upload a new GEDCOM and delete the old one in order to update it.  

I use the condensed ancestral tree on Ancestry to add documents and relationships from the Shaky Leaves using my iPhone and I sync that occasionally with FTM 2012, which downloads the attached images.  Occasionally, the green Shaky Leaves on the AMT provided information which I've added manually to my all-in-one database in RootsMagic 5. 

I receive several Ancestry messages each month concerning persons on my Ancestry Member Tree  and respond to them.  I get more email messages from researchers asking for information, or correcting my information, from my Genealogy website at  I rarely receive messages from persons viewing my tree on the other sites.

What other online family tree sites do you use as "cousin bait" and/or collaboration?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Genealogy Butterfly Type of Day

I finally figured out what kind of genealogist I really am (see Lorine Schulze's post What Type of Genealogist Are You?) - I'm a Genealogy Butterfly!!

I love to flit around, doing many tasks during a day, or even an hour, moving from Gmail to Google Reader to Blogger to Ancestry to Twitter to FamilySearch to RootsMagic to AmericanAncestors to Facebook to GenealogyBank to Google Reader to Google Maps to Family Tree Maker 2012 to MyHeritage to CGSSD to Google Plus CVGS to Legacy Family Tree and back to Gmail and on and on, while listening to the radio - AM or internet.  And that's all in two hours!  Then I settle down to more pedestrian activities, like working on society By-Laws, presentations, or mining online databases for Seaver data or newspaper articles to help a CVGS colleague.

I try to avoid being a Genealogy Caterpillar - making to-do lists, writing/updating research logs, organizing my paper files, labelling digital images of photographs, etc.  I know that I should do these things, and they are necessary to graduate to Butterfly-hood, but they aren't nearly as fun as flitting around the Internet and my computer system to learn new things, find new information, etc.

Here is my day so far (times approximate):

7:30 a.m.  Read my email (I use Thunderbird to access my Gmail and Cox mailboxes)
7:45 a.m.  Read 110 posts on Google Reader, add several to my Best Of post for the week.
8:30 a.m.  Write the Treasure Chest Thursday post.  Tweeted it and G+ed it.
8:50 a.m.  Check out new databases on and  Not much to check out.  Did look at Belgium records on FamilySearch for CVGS colleague - her guy isn't there.
9:10 a.m.  Write the CGSSD post and set it for later in the morning.

9:20 a.m.  Get cleaned up and dressed.
9:40 a.m.  Look at Twitter and Google+ streams.
9:50 a.m.  Checked Google Reader and Email again - answered an email.
10:00 a.m.  Listened to Marian Pierre-Louis' BlogTalkRadio show - on the Fairbanks House in Dedham MA.  I don't have Fairbanks ancestors that lived here, unfortunately, but I still want to see the house.
10:15 a.m.  Worked in RootsMagic sorting out Alternate Names and Nicknames while listening to the show.  Created a small GEDCOM for testing sources and source notes.

10:45 a.m.  Checked in at Facebook, looked for Family items there, noted I still get few comments on my Facebook status or blog posts there.
11 a.m.  Went into GenealogyBank to find articles about Emilio Kosterlitzky for a CVGS colleague.  Wow!  262 articles, including 39 in San Diego Union 1899-1970.  Captured some page images for him to look at.
11:45 a.m.  Checked email and Google Reader again - answered an email about a lone gravestone overlooking the I-805 freeway in Sorrento Valley.  Who knew?  Didn't find anything after magnifying Google Maps satellite view of the area.
12:10 p.m.  Opened FTM 2012 and imported a GEDCOM to it looking for where source elements and notes go.
12:20 p.m.  In RootsMagic - didn't I add the 1940 census facts, citations and image for my Carringer families?  Did that!  Noticed that Carringer family members don't have any census facts, sources or images - did that too!  Noticed that I have "missing media" in RootsMagic because I changed some file names yesterday... arrggghhhh.

12:45 p.m.  Lunch?  did I miss lunch?  Yep - had two hot dogs (no bun), some grapes, and a choc chip cookie.  While reading Google Reader.
12:55 p.m.  Got into FamilySearch Family Tree - noticed that my Carringer data was sparse.  Got into RootsMagic and added Census and Occupation Facts for several families.
1:10 p.m.  Back to RootsMagic - added images for the Carringer family Bible and tagged appropriate Carringer events to the four pages.
1:35 p.m.  What should I write about?  I have nothing ... aha, I'm a Genealogy Butterfly, not a Caterpillar!  Voila.
2:10 p.m.  Post!

I just hope that the Genealogy Organization Police don't come along with a big Net to catch me and make me clean up the piles on the floor, the piles in the bookcase, the piles on my desk... thank goodness, Linda is not home - she'd want me to carry in the groceries, mow the front lawn, and get the wash out of the dryer.  Wait, I forgot to put the wash in the dryer - I didn't fly over there yet!

What to do now?  I think some serious database mining is in order - I've worked my way through my database to the BR surnames...trying to add facts and sources for folks that need it.  There are so many people with no dates or places at all - mainly spouses of siblings of my ancestors, and their parents.  Using Ancestry collections, FamilySearch collections, AmericanAncestors collections, and Find-a-Grave I've been able to add significant content and sources over the last few months to the databases.

This has been a Genealogy Butterfly day so far, and I want to keep it that way.  I've not been able to do much research or collection data mining or database entry for two weeks - we've had two five day stints of grandparenting that make more family history, but not much genealogy fun.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Gena Ortega Coming to CGSSD on Saturday, 15 September

The Computer Genealogy Society of San Diego meets on the 3rd Saturday of each month (except December) from 9:00 a.m. to noon on the campus of UCSD, University of California, San Diego. See our map page for directions.

The next meeting will be held on 15 September 2012 from 9:00 am to noon. Here are the details:

9:00 - User group: MAC. SIGs: DNA.

10:00 - Break, refreshments.

10:20 - Announcements followed by program:

"Finding your Genealogy in Digitized Books"

by Gena Philibert Ortega

Books are so important to genealogists. We are lucky to live in an age where digitized books are increasingly more available from all kinds of sources. In this presentation we will talk about what books are available online, where to find them, and what tools to use to help you make the most out of the books you do find. We will start with Google Books and then talk about elusive resources for digitized books.
Gena holds a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master’s degree in Religion. Presenting on various subjects involving genealogy, women’s studies and social history, she has spoken to groups throughout the United States and virtually to audiences worldwide.
She is the author of hundreds of articles published in genealogy newsletters and magazines including Internet Genealogy, Family Chronicle, GenWeekly and the WorldVitalRecords newsletter. She is the author of the books, Putting the Pieces Together and Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra (Arcadia Publishing, 2007) as well as the forthcoming, From the Family Kitchen (F + W Media, 2012). She is also the editor of the Utah Genealogical Association’s journal Crossroads. An instructor for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, she has written courses about social media and Google.
Gena serves as Vice-President for the So. California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists, is a Director for the California State Genealogical Alliance and a board member of the Utah Genealogical Association.
Her current research interests include social history, community cookbooks, signature quilts and researching women’s lives.

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1880 U.S. Census for Edward Hildreth 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 Hildreth great-grandparents and their family in Leominster, Worcester County, Massachusetts: 

The entry for the Edward Hildreth family is below:  

The extracted information for the family, residing in Leominster, taken on 11 June 1880, is:

*  Edward Hildreth - white, male, age 49, married, a machinist, born Mass., father born Mass., mother born Mass.
*  Sophia Hildreth - white, female, age 46, wife, married, keeping house, born Vt., father born Me., mother born Mass.
*  Sophia Stone - white, female, age 84, mother-in-law, widow, Living with son-in-law, born Mass., father born Mass., mother born Mass.

The source citation for the census image is:

1880 United States Federal Census, Worcester County, MassachusettsPopulation Schedule, Leominster; Page 532A (stamped), dwelling #480, family #605, Edward Hildreth household; digital image, ( : accessed 27 May 2012), citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T9, Roll 565.

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 Sophia Hildreth), and as "Indirect Evidence" for most of the information (the exception being the birthplaces, and Edward's occupation which were certainly known by his wife if she was the informant).  

I don't see any obvious errors in this census record (based on what I know about these persons from other records, including birth and marriage records), although Sophia (Buck) (Brigham) (Newton) Stone's birth year was 1797 and not 1796.   

The birthplace for Sophia (Newton) Hildreth, and for her parents, are consistent with most of the other records I have from birth, marriage and death records.

This census entry was the first clue that I had that Sophia (Buck) (Brigham) Newton, mother of Sophia (Newton) Hildreth, had lived until at least 1880, and was a widow of a man named Stone.  I easily found the marriage of Sophia Newton to Jonathan Stone in 1862 in Westborough, Mass., and then Jonathan Stone's death in 1868 in Westborough, both in the Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 on the AmericanAncestors website.  

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Engaging Genealogical Society Members

Our friend and colleague DearMYRTLE wrote two interesting and challenging blog posts this week:

*  To be engaged with (10 September 2012)

*  Becoming Engaging (11 September 2012)

MYRT's posts were about presentations at genealogical conferences, day-long seminars, and society programs.  In short, Pat espouses more interactive sessions in order to foster communication and education with and of attendees.  For instance, rather than the action-packed 60-minute Powerpoint presentation, she advocates getting out from behind the lectern and having a more active, open, collaborative environment where real learning occurs through demonstration and conversation.  Pat calls them "workshops."

I have been trying to incorporate more conversation and question/answer time into my presentations, with some success.  Three examples:

1)  I did a two-hour RootsMagic workshop in early August to the Chula Vista Genealogical Society (CVGS) to about 20 persons from beginning to experienced researchers.  The society promoted RootsMagic to the last Beginners class in May, and has now helped 30 members obtain the software, along with the how-to book.  Many of the attendees had their laptops with RootsMagic installed, and were able to follow along and experiment on their own.  During the Workshop, I asked attendees for the features they would like to see discussed and demonstrated.  Interestingly, all of the requested features were included in what I had prepared - how to navigate within the program, how to start a new database, using the Help file, GEDCOM import and export, data entry, source citations, reports, lists and charts, etc.  That was the first hour. After a 10 minute break, the second hour was a question/answer session on specific problem areas raised by the attendees - mainly on data entry and data entry standards.  The entire session was done without Powerpoint slides or notes, although I did provide a handout about RootsMagic features, with links to the software, the webinars, and the forums.

The two hours went very quickly, but we did not cover "everything" and we will have a follow-up workshop in early November.  I expect to solicit questions and features of interest in an email to the members two weeks before the event.

2)  CVGS has a monthly two-hour Research Group meeting, usually hosted by myself (we've been doing this for at least 9 years now).  I occasionally have some sort of 30 to 45 minute presentation on a topic of interest - last month it was about FamilySearch record collections and the Research Wiki.  We always discuss upcoming society events, attendees research problems, questions, and successes, and genealogy news.

Today, we had 17 attendees, and we discussed Michele Simmons Lewis's blog post, Starting at the Very Beginning in some detail - embellished by experiences and examples from the attendees themselves.  We got into Conclusion-based and Evidence-based genealogy, and how to implement it in genealogy software; the FamilySearch Learning Center videos; the necessity of using pedigree charts and research group sheets; writing short biographies of your ancestors to help you identify information to obtain to tell their stories.  That was the first hour... and I hope that I stimulated interest in genealogy blog reading (and maybe even blog writing) in addition to the above.

In the second hour, we discussed research problems or questions of the attendees.  We touched on the problem of finding missing parents not in census records, finding an adoptee's biological parents, 1940 census index accuracy with examples, 20th century research problems, New FamilySearch tree, and finding genealogy blogs for a specific research interest.  I tried to keep up with this online using Ancestry, FamilySearch and Google with some success, thereby demonstrating some search techniques using wild cards and sorting results by category rather than relevance.  Since the library's wi-fi is poor in the Conference Room, I used my Galaxy tablet as a hot spot and it worked well (with patience required...).

This meeting is always lively, conducted around a large table, and everyone participates well.  Hopefully, everyone went home with some new research ideas and goals.

3)  I've been adding an audience feedback period in some of my hour-long presentations, with questions like "what additional resources could I have used?" and "Which of those resources were not on the Internet?"  This breaks up 60 minutes into three 20 minute periods and hopefully stimulates curiosity and gets the attendees thinking about how they would attack the research problem posed.

The neat thing about genealogical society presentations is that they don't always have to be limited to a one-hour time period.  Some societies encourage a 60 to 90 minute presentation that is not hurried and includes audience interaction.

Those are my experiences in trying to foster communication and active learning at my local genealogical societies - what are yours?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Alamitos Beach Neighborhood Association Publishes Samuel Crouch picture

You never know what a Wordless Wednesday post will bring...

I posted a picture of Samuel Crouch (1840-1931) of Long Beach, California in (Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 125: Samuel Crouch on 20 October 2010.  Two weeks ago, I received an email from the editor of the Alamitos Beach Neighborhood Association newsletter, Caitlin Crest, asking of they could use the photograph on the front page of their newsletter.

I immediately thought "perhaps a distant cousin will see this on the cover" and "no one else has this photograph." I, of course, agreed to let her use the photograph with a description of the picture (essentially what I put on the blog post above) and credit to myself and a mention of the Genea-Musings blog URL.

The picture appeared on the front page of the Fall 2012 issues of the newsletter this week - Caitlin sent me several copies of it.  The headline says "Samuel Crouch Would Have Loved Our Farmer's Market."  The article describes the Farmer's Market held every Tuesday afternoon in the Alamitos Beach neighborhood.

I was wondering if Samuel Crouch resided in the Alamitos Beach neighborhood boundary, and asked Caitlin for information.  She made a Google Map and outlined the neighborhood and the location of the Crouch farm at 627 Chestnut Street in Long Beach (determined from 1920 and 1930 U.S. Census):

As you can see, the neighborhood is just east of downtown Long Beach and south of East 4th Street with the Bay to the south.  627 Chestnut Street is just west of downtown Long Beach between West 6th and 7th Streets.  Caitlin also went the next step to determine if the Crouch house still exists, but found that it is a modern apartment house at the address.  

The lesson here is that local neighborhoods may have newsletters, associations, historical photographs, etc. in their files or in local libraries or historical societies.  These may be absolutely unique resources to be found nowhere else.  

As family historians, we need to investigate every potential resource that might hold clues to our ancestors lives (and the lives of their relatives, since they provide insight into our ancestors lives).  Some of these resources may be online, but the vast majority of them are not - they are hiding in vertical files, dusty shelves, attics, basements, and thrift stores all over the country.

My thanks to Caitlin Crest, editor of the Alamitos Beach Neighborhood Association newsletter, for the opportunity to share my photograph, and for asking permission to use it.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Post 222: Geraldine and Marcia 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 Marcia Russell Chamberlain (1926-????), a first cousin once removed to Geraldine.  Geraldine was a granddaughter of Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond through their daughter Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver, and Marcia was a great-granddaughter of Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond, through their daughter Emily White (Richmond) Taylor.  Thomas and Julia (White) Richmond are my great-grandparents).

I believe that this picture was taken in July, 1942 in California 
in San Diego during my parents' marriage week. Geraldine and her mother came to California by train from Massachusetts for the wedding and to see their California relatives.  It was probably taken by Geraldine's mother, or by another relative using Geraldine's camera.  

The URL for this post is: 

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Guest Post: Obtaining Vital Records in Your Genealogy Search, by Kaitlin Lackey

This post was written by Kaitlin Lackey, who works with VitalChek - an online vital records service provider.

Obtaining Vital Documents in Your Genealogy Search

Obtaining vital records such as birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates can be very difficult. First, many people believe they need to travel to the county that issued the document in order to obtain it. This can be very expensive and time-consuming. In addition, there are many legal requirements that must be met to obtain a copy of a vital record.

Who Is Eligible to Get a Vital Record?

It’s important to remember that vital records can be used as legal identification as well as submitted to claim insurance money or other parts of the estate. Therefore, states are very careful about who they allow to obtain vital records for other individuals. In general, you can always order your own records, as well as your direct relatives (parents, spouse, children, aunts, uncles, and nephew/nieces). Some states extend this to grandparents and stepchildren.

In any genealogy search, you of course need to know the state and sometimes the county where the vital record was issued. To find out specific requirements to obtain the record, you can search the court websites for each individual state, or you can use a service like to find out for free what the documentation and relationship requirements are to obtain the records you need.

How to Get Vital Records

The first question to ask yourself is whether you need the actual vital record, or simply the information from it. If you only need information, a service like or other genealogy record aggregators may be sufficient. However, if you need the actual record, you have two choices – order directly from the county/city/or state, or use a vital record order service.

Traveling to the actual county courthouse or administration building can be a fun part of a genealogical trip if combined with other activities such as researching graveyards and visiting the homes where your ancestors lived. However, even on those trips the courthouse can be intimidating and difficult. You may find yourself paging through stacks of books to find the exact record number you need to request from the clerk. Then, once you present proof of identification, you will have to wait for the clerk to retrieve the requested document and copy it for you, which could take quite some time if they are busy.

A more efficient and economical option can be using a vital record ordering service such as VitalChek. In fact, many government agencies use VitalChek exclusively, making it an excellent resource for vital records. The ordering service will allow you to select what state and agency you need to order from, advise you of the documentation requirements, and allow you to submit the paperwork and order electronically. This can be extremely convenient if your schedule does not allow for travel.

Genealogy is an exciting way to get in touch with you heritage, and often vital documents are needed to provide key pieces of missing information. Ordering vital records doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming. Online vital records services make getting the information you need quick and easy. Have fun and happy searching!!  

My thanks to Kaitlin Lackey for offering this post - I accepted it as a guest post because it addressed a common problem that all genealogists face.  I have used in the past to obtain vital records certificates and have been pleased with their service.  I have received no remuneration for publishing this post.

The URL for this post is:

Tuesday's Tip - Check Out the "Citation Issues" Forum

This week's Tuesday's Tip is:  Check out Elizabeth Shown Mills' "Citation Issues" Forum on the website.

The URL for the "Citation Issues" Forum is:  You have to Register and Login to submit or respond to a Forum message.  You can read the Forum content without logging in.

There are currently 51 Topics posted, with 229 posts on those topics.  Here is what one Topic looks like:

In the post above, Ann had a question about copies of loose Bible pages and how to cite it, especially the provenance of the item.  Elizabeth Shown Mills responded within one day of Ann's posting.

If you have questions about how to cite sources, and need some help, then a message on this Forum may help you.  However, the expectation is that you will have tried to frame a source citation using the resources you have.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Monday, September 10, 2012

Randy's Bureau of Missing Maiden Names: Rachel

I seem to have hundreds of female names without a maiden surname... so I'm starting a blog post series called Randy's Bureau of Missing Maiden Names.

Here is my list of Rachel persons without a maiden surname who are my direct line ancestors (and the husband and child that I descend from):

1)  Rachel (before 1600-1665 in Colchester, England), wife of Thomas Read (1595-1665) of Colchester, Essex, England; mother of Thomas Read (1627-1701) who settled in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

2)  Rachel (before 1680-1731 in Dartmouth, Mass.), wife of Joseph Allen (1667-1735), who died in Dartmouth, Massachusetts; mother of Rachel Allen (1708-????).

3)  Rachel (before 1705- before 1755 in Scituate, RI), wife of Richard Pray (1683-1755), who died in Scituate, Rhode Island; mother of Sarah Pray (1734-1819).

4)  Rachel (about 1590-1651 in Braintree, Mass.), wife of Peter Brackett (1585-1616), who died in Sudbury, Suffolk, England; mother of Rachel Brackett (1614-1685).  She married (2) Martin Saunders in about 1619.

5)  Rachel (1624-1645, in Concord, Mass.), first wife of William Fletcher (1618-1677), who died in Chelsmford, Massachusetts;  mother of Joshua Fletcher (1644-1713).

It is entirely possible that I have missed previously published research, or surnames provided in online family trees or web pages.

Can anyone help me with any of these?  What do you know about them?  Any suggestions as to resources to check?  Who else is descended from these Rachels?

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Amanuensis Monday - the Will of John Warren (1585-1667) of Watertown, Massachusetts

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme many months ago called Amanuensis Monday. What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

The subject today is the probate file of John Warren (1585-1667) of Watertown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.  John Warren married Margaret --?-- (1587-1662) before 1615 in England, and they had seven children (all born in Nayland, Suffolk, England):  Mary Warren (1615-1622); Elizabeth Warren (1618-1622); Sarah Warren (1620-1621); John Warren (1622-1703); Mary Warren (1624-1691); Daniel Warren (1627-1707); Elizabeth Warren (1629-1691).

The will and inventory of John Warren are in the Middlesex County [Mass.] Probate Records, Probate Packet 23,862 (on FHL Microfilm 0,432,072).   They are also transcribed in the book Middlesex County Records of Probate and Administration, March 1660/61 - December 1670, edited by Richard H. Rodgers, published by The New England Historic Genealogical Register, Boston, 2001.  The will, written 30 November 1667 and proved on 17 December 1667, reads:

"The last will and testament of John Warren Senr.  In the name of god Amen.  I John Warren of Watertowne in the county of Midlesex within the jurisdiction of the Massachusets in  New England, being aged & weake in body but of good memory blessed & praised be god  doe make & ordaine this my last will and Testament in maner & forme following vizt.  first I commend my soule & spirit into the hands of god that gave it hoping throu the merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour to have eternall life and my body to the ground whereof itt was made and to be dccently buried at the discretion of  my executor hearafter mentioned.

"Impr I give & bequeath to my son Daniell Warren the pcell of land that he now lives on being about the quantity of 16 acers with all the apurtenances of itt:  nextly I give & bequeath to my son John Warren & my son Daniell Warren my devident and all my remote meadow with another pcell of remote land cald by the name of farme land lying & being in Watertowne unto these my two sons equally betweene them.

"Further I give & bequeath to my son Daniell Warren my best flocke bed with my greene ruge that lyeth upon my bed and two of my 4 pewter platters that are of a sise and to my daughter in law Mary Warren wife to my son Daniel one pewter porenger.  Further I give & bequeath to my daughter Mary Begalow a pcell of remote land being the quantity of 16 acers & known by the name of the leiw of towneship land lying in Watertowne & is already in her possession further I give to my daughter Mary Begalow 1 smale pewter dish wch is marked in the bottome.

"Further I give & bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth Knape 13 acers plow land lying on the further plaine in Watertown which her husband James Knape hath formerly been posesst of; and further I give to my aforesaid daughter Elizabeth Knape one iron pott wch she hath already in her posession & further I give to my aforesaid daughter Elizabeth A booke cald 'the plaine mans pathway to heaven'.  Further I give & bequeath to my grand child Daniell Warren son to my son Daniell Warren one of my Cowes.  Further I bequeath to my grandchild Mary Begulow a lined box that was my wifes.

"Further I give & bequeath to Michall Bloyse daughter to Richard Bloyse deceased one pewter plate.  Further I give & bequeath to all and every of my grandchildren to each of them the sume of 2 shillings six pence.  and all the rest of my estate houses lands goods catle chattels debts or whatsoever is mine not hearin before bequeathed I doe wholly fully and freely give and bequeath to my beloved son John Warren making and ordaining him my whole and sole executor of this my last will and testament willing & requiring him to pforme all and every the aforesaid pmises respectively attending to the true intent & meaning hearof for confirmation whereof I have hereunto anexed my hand & seale, this 30th day of November in the yeare 1667.

my [mark] mark
John Warren

"Wittnes Joseph Tayntor
and John Randall

"The inventory of the goodes and cattells of John Warren Senior late decessed of Watertown the 13 day of December 1667" was taken by John Coollidge, Henrie Bright and Henry Freeman.   The inventory was untotalled, but included 123 pounds in real estate, including:

*  one tenement of housing and ten acres of upland and three acres of meadow (60 pounds)
*  sixteen acres of waste land (8 pounds)
*   sixty acres of divident land (15 pounds)
*   thirteen acres of meadow (10 pounds)
*   farm land one hundred and fifty acres (30 pounds)"

John Warren bequeaths land to all four of his living children, plus personal estate to Daniel, Mary (Warren) Bigelow and Elizabeth (Warren) Knapp.  

I was curious about the mention of Michall Bloyse, daughter of Richard Bloyse.  Why did she receive a bequest?  It turns out that Michall Bloyse was the daughter of Richard and Micael (Jennison) Bloyse of Watertown.  Her mother, Micael (Jennison) Bloyse, married (2) John Warren (1622-1703) on 11 July 1667 in Watertown; therefore, the daughter Michall Bloyse was the step-granddaughter of John Warren (1585-1667).  

NOTE:  I found, copied and transcribed this will from the Middlesex County Probate Records prior to the transcription published in the Rodgers book.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Best of the Genea-Blogs - 2-8 September 2012

Hundreds of genealogy and family history bloggers write thousands of posts every week about their research, their families, and their interests. I appreciate each one of them and their efforts.
My criteria for "Best of ..." are pretty simple - I pick posts that advance knowledge about genealogy and family history, address current genealogy issues, provide personal family history, are funny or are poignant. I don't list posts destined for the genealogy carnivals, or other meme submissions (but I do include summaries of them), or my own posts.

Here are my picks for great reads from the genealogy blogs for this past week:

*  Tips for Breaking Down Brick Walls by Michele Simmons Lewis on the Ask A Genealogist blog.  Michele has a top ten list of excellent ideas here.

*  Carnival of Genealogy, 121st Edition by Jasia on the Creative Gene blog.  There are 16 entries in this monthly blog carnival on the topic of "Great Discoveries" (genealogical discoveries, that is!).

*  How to Use NUCMC to Perform a Miracle by Diane Beumenot on the One Rhode Island Family blog.  An excellent post - Diane used something she learned at FGS to find original documents in Boulder, Colorado.

*  Migrating to the Cloud - Part 1 and Part 2 by Bart Brenner on the Brenner Genealogy blog.  Bart and his son have been working on this for awhile - it's an excellent blueprint for other researchers to follow.

*  Can We Get Real About Genealogy Conference Attendance Numbers? by Thomas MacEntee on the Geneabloggers blog.  Thomas raises the issue, has a unique perspective, and some questions about this.

*  To Be Engaged With by Pat Richley-Erickson on DearMyrtle's Genealogy Blog.  Pat makes the case for speakers engaging their audience, rather than lecturing, and offers ways that might be accomplished.

*  Previous and Upcoming Genealogy Conferences by Janet Hovorka on The Chart Chick blog.  Janet comments on conference attendance, conference style and has suggestions to improve them.

*  Online Resources for Finding Living Relatives - Part 2 by Bill Dollarhide on Leland Matizler's GenealogyBlog blog.  Bill provides links and commentary about online resources to findl iving people.

*  Midwest Family History Expo - Day 1 and Day 2 by Susan Petersen on the Long Lost blog.  Susan summarizes her experiences in Kearney, Nebraska this weekend.

Several genea-bloggers wrote weekly pick posts and news summary posts this week, including: 

*  Monday Morning Mentions by Lynn Palermo on The Armchair Genealogist blog.

*  Monday's Mentionables - August 27th - September 2nd, 2012 by Cyndi Beane Henry (TexicanWife) on the Mountain Genealogists blog.

*  Ruth's Recommendations by Ruth Blair on The Passionate Genealogist blog.

*  Follow Friday - Fab Finds for September 7, 2012 by Jana Last on Jana's Genealogy and Family History Blog.

*  Follow Friday - Reality Television, Genealogy Police, Mary Todd Lincoln Insane? by Anne Gillespie Mitchell on the Finding Forgotten Stories blog.

*  Genealogy News Corral, Sept. 3-7 by Diane Haddad on the Genealogy Insider blog.

*  Friday Finds - 09/07/12 by Julie Cahill Tarr on the GenBlog blog.

*  From the Blogs, September 7 by Michael Leclerc on the Mocavo Genealogy Blog.

I encourage readers to go to the blogs listed above and read their articles, and add their blogs to your Favorites, Google Reader, RSS feed or email if you like what you read. Please make a comment to them also - all bloggers appreciate feedback on what they write.

Did I miss a great genealogy blog post? Tell me! I am currently reading posts from over 1280 genealogy bloggers using Google Reader, but I still miss quite a few it seems.

Read past Best of the Genea-Blogs posts here.

The URL for this post is:  

Copyright(c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver